A year of more – TRAVHOTECH at HITEC Minneapolis

In a single word Minneapolis’s HITEC 2019 was the year of ‘more’. If there was a technology capability that had been emerging over the past few years this year it was on display with multiple players offering nuanced products in each of the functional areas.

Walking the floor at HITEC is regularly a demonstration for well seated trends in the industry or perceived focus areas. This year we saw more offerings for Service Management, Business Intelligence, Bots, Revenue Management, Housekeeping automation, Kiosk and Self Service. The phenomena bodes well for providers in this space and the depth of capability of incumbents should keep new entrants honest in the capability they are bringing to market

This year it was necessary to look closely to find the next thing that will capture hoteliers interests and might be the ‘more’ of 2021 and onward.

The advent of cloud technology both as a platform and as a software service has supported an explosion of new product to market. In some ways modern development tools and core functional design libraries have positively impacted the linear nature of functionality vs. time equation of software development. Hoteliers purchase technology driven by functional capability to support their operation. The circumstance increases competition and choice.

This year it was necessary to look closely to find the next thing that will capture hoteliers interests and might be the ‘more’ of 2021 and onward.

In a single word Minneapolis’s HITEC 2019 was the year of ‘more’.

The E20X competition was a providore of new capability. In some cases not brand new, but a return to market of technologies in new and improved ways, benefiting from more open technology environments and deployment capability.

From the E20X cadre we liked;

  • IDEM Hospitality’s approach to optimizing the extremely challenging space of group reservation and rooming list management. A genuine operational challenge looking for a solution.
  • SABA Hospitality predominantly for their roots in Asia translating that they have a broader market understanding and a level of mastery of the Asian customer, language requirements and experience with the WeChat platform so important in that market place, but equally important for others. Also that you don’t need an app to use the service.
  • We worked with Focal Revenue Solutions pre-HITEC and approve of their simplified approach to Business Intelligence. Hoteliers only have so much time and keeping the information set simple is a thoughtful first step to growing engagement and interest.
  • Koridor’s extension of the guest self-service model is also topical, bringing Hilton’s in house room selection capability to a broader market.

E20X this year gained an increasing amount of interest and it’s largest audience to date with more chairs needing to be brought into the room to accommodate the audience. Great signs for industry, emerging tech and that there is interest in new capabilities and alternate vendors.

We also liked seeing Video based solutions on the floor. Video is making a rapid rise as the method by which people like to receive their information. When considered it makes a great deal of sense in the same way that Podcasting is gaining popularity. Absorb information without large effort on the behalf of the consumer. TV and Radio have demonstrated a behavioral preference over decades so it should come as no surprise in the business world.

Virtual Reality takes video to the next level. Altoura XR from Microsoft’s partner network, and EXP360 presented solutions that can be used in a customer and staff facing capacity for the capture and presentation of Virtual Reality content. The key being the removal of high tech labor intensive production effort for content. We expect to see more of this moving forward.

After show hours HITEC presented a plethora of activities to connect with industry colleagues. We were pleased to be able to attend a number of events including Intelity’s Wednesday night party, which drew a significant crowd. Once again we enjoyed dining with Jake Buckstead and his team from global payment processing platform, FirstData. We’re looking forward to another Texas experience next year.

This year we arranged some entertainment as well with the inaugural Hi Society drawing 180 industry professionals on Tuesday afternoon and 12 Midnight gathering momentum over the course of the week with 200 late night industry people converging to relax and end the day.

‘The Burger’ at Parlour Bar, Minneapolis

The final highlight of the week was not so much about technology but about food. We had it on good authority that one of the best burgers to be found anywhere could be sampled in Minneapolis. A big claim open to individual evaluation. To sample said burger one needed to attend Parlour Bar in the warehouse district of Minneapolis. The place where the non-convention crowd hangs out and for good reason. Aptly and boldly named ‘The Burger’, it truly is extraordinary. So simple and yet our crowd went back for more multiple times. We went back for dinner again later in the week.

‘The Burger’ reminds us that sometimes in a technically complex hospitality world simple really is the best.

Until the next installment of HITEC in Palma de Mallorca.