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If HITEC Were Five Days

A recap of personal experiences from the Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel-Online Staff

by Geneva Rinehart
June 24, 2011

As the completely overbooked Delta flight pulled away from gate 5 at the Austin airport, a collective sigh of relief can be felt. We’re slightly delayed on our departure back to Atlanta, which gave our team a few “extra innings HITEC style” to see one or two more friends seated at various airport restaurants. The key word here is sitting and yes, believe it or not there were even a few faces which we hadn’t connected with during the duration of the show, so how fortunate to be delayed!

The sentiments were the same: blistered feet, hoarse voices, weary brains and oh, so tired. I have in my lap a book of notes nearly 50 pages deep of private meetings, press conferences and education sessions from the week. I took notes on everything, not wanting to forget a face or a nugget of information during this whirlwind. The HITEC Advisory Board deserves our accolades for the outstanding content. I tweeted from many of the sessions (, although I have to confess I prefer to take written notes which were feverishly converted to tweets. I call this social multitasking under pressure.

While all the sessions I attended were great, the closing session by Scott Klososky was a huge hit. To those who left before this entertaining and insightful hour, I couldn’t possibly do his presentation justice. If you have a chance, pick up his book Enterprise Social Technology. This confusing world of social technology is more than Twitter and Facebook. It is far, far more and those businesses that can embrace, understand and continually engage have a clear upper hand going into this new phase of communications. I could see the heads bobbing in agreement as Klososky made some great insights. And the roars of laughter during the video examples surely were heard well outside ballroom D. There were many insights, but I will point out just one: we are at the beginning of a completely new communication norm so dramatically changed from even a few years ago. Social technology tools have already started to change the way the world operates, and the fact is we may look back at the past decade as the dark ages of information and knowledge transfer.

Geneva's HITEC 2011 Scrapbook

So many meetings packed into four days. The days were long. The nights were even longer. There were years at HITEC (I’ve been to 16 in a row, missing only one) when the last day really fell off and was simply a day to recover from the many Wednesday night parties. In the past I have walked the aisles on Thursday morning to see the tired, bleary eyed and often green booth attendants propped up with chairs or anything stable. But this year as I walked around making the final rounds to salute those who braved the unofficial sending off party (a.k.a. MTech/Libra OnDemand/Intelity bash) and still managed to arrive on time, bright and upright, most were still answering questions and giving intelligent demos to eager attendees and the occasional press person like myself still meandering the hall. I finished up my last official meeting with a vendor at 2:10 p.m., 10 minutes after the show floor closed. Looking back, it was probably the busiest and most productive week I have ever had at HITEC.

So as the plane lifts off the exhaustion sets in. I slip off my flip-flops and rub my tired eyes.  I look around at this full flight of so many industry friends in much the same condition and I wonder, could we even survive a fifth day of HITEC?

Geneva Rinehart is Vice President and Managing Editor of Hospitality Upgrade magazine.
Geneva Rinehart
Hospitality Upgrade

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