By Ron Strecker

I have spent this past weekend “decompressing” from HITEC 2021. This has included reviewing my session notes, updating my contact information for old friends in new jobs, and adding new contacts for all my new connections.

For me, this was one of my most successful HITECs when measured by the number of changes I observed. The lower attendance did have the side benefit of allowing me to spend more valuable time in one-to-one conversations with our vendor partners. Reflecting on the week, my experiences fall in three categories: reconnecting with long-time friends, connecting with new friends, and the need for follow-up.

With my background in hospitality finance and technology, HITEC is the absolute best networking event in the industry for me. Reconnecting with friends in person was food for the soul. The most common greeting I heard was: “how have you been?” For many, including me, the answer to this question included a change in jobs since the last time we all met in person. Some of these changes were already known, while others came as a complete surprise. The vendor side has also had several changes with all the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity over the past two years. Same applications, different booth!

I quit counting the number of first-time exhibitors on day one of the show. I don’t think I have seen this many new vendors at a HITEC since the early days of managed Wi-Fi. Many of these applications seek to harness the volumes of metadata available to gain a better understanding of our customers. Artificial intelligence (AI) was on display in many booths and is becoming key to managing this data. Revenue management is no longer the domain of a single application.

Leading up to HITEC, I had become aware of several vendors that have been focused on improving the integration of data in support of stronger revenue management and customer acquisition. Seeing these vendors in-person and hearing the conversations in the booths felt different from past years discussions on integration (aka interfaces).

Despite the quality time I was able to spend with many vendors during the show, I still ran out of time to meet with others. My to-do list has several vendors and products that I must follow up on. Some are software applications and others are hardware, but all are worth continued research and demos.

One last task that I need to finish relates to the education sessions. The lineup was great, and I saw many attendees taking pictures of the presentations. Did you know that many of the presenters provided downloadable copies of their presentations? Be sure to check out the schedule of events section of the HITEC and Annual Convention sites or the HFTP Events mobile app.

A big thank you to Frank Wolfe and the entire HFTP team for their dedication and hard work bringing two major events together this week! Now, it’s time to make plans for next year’s HITEC, taking place June 27-30, 2022, in Orlando, Florida USA. It has been an honor serving as one of this year’s guest bloggers. Hope you found my insights useful.