Welcome to the HT-NEXT 2020 Highlight Hub. Here you can explore the educational sessions we presented at our virtual hotel conference. Use the navigation bar (above) to visit our five virtual hotel environments: Pre-Stay, Lobby, Guest Room, Back of House/Infrastructure, On Property Experiences & Amenities/Meetings. There you will be able to watch audio tours, keynotes, interviews and panel discussions.


Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Keynote Session

Tilak Mandadi, Executive Vice President, Digital and Chief Technology Officer for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, shares how technology has enabled new Disney experiences while helping to transform the operation of the company’s global parks and resorts business during these unprecedented times. Mandadi will provide insight into how his team relentlessly uses technology to innovate and reimagine the Disney guest experience of the future.

Hot New Research: Voice of the Hotel Customer

Listen in as a panel of experts discusses data from the 2020 Customer Engagement Technology Study. This year, we took a deep dive into consumers’ technology preferences when staying in a hotel, eating at a restaurant, or ordering food for take-out/delivery — and focused on how consumer preferences have and have not changed in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The result: A roadmap to meeting new guest expectations. Panelists include: Frank Pitsikalis, Founder & CEO, ResortSuite Josh Rowe, Director of Product and Business Development, DISH Business Daniel Connolly, Professor of the College of Business and Public Administration at Drake University

IT Leadership Panel

The IT leadership panel brings together top executives from leading hospitality brands to unpack the major issues impacting the lodging, travel and hospitality industry. We'll talk about how the pandemic is affecting technology roadmaps and implementations, how workforce management tech is evolving (at the corporate level also!), and ask our panelists about their 2021 plans when it comes to marketing, loyalty and enhancing the guest experience. Panelists include: John Laplante, CIO, G6 Hospitality Brian Kirkland, CTO, Choice Hotels, Michael Mrini, VP of IT, Edwardian Hotels London, and Robert Firpo-Capiello, Editor in Chief, HT.

Restarting the Travel & Tourism Industry

Bonny Simi, president, JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the venture capital arm of JetBlue Airways, will discuss how her company has been sourcing new, innovative startups – especially when it comes to contactless technology. Simi will offer up her perspective on the travel journey and discuss what hotels can learn when it comes to sourcing technologies that are both nimble and creative, based on JTV's work with emerging technology and startups.

5 Privacy Issues Hotels Should Address ASAP

During this quick moving session, Odia Kagan, partner and chair of GDPR Compliance and International Privacy at Fox Rothschild, addresses the many moving parts hotels need to be aware of and working on right now when it comes to CCPA, CPRA, FTC oversight and GDPR. From updates to privacy notices to adjustments in how data can be transferred between the EU and the USA, Kagan lays out in detail how hotels are affected by changing privacy laws.

Hope Springs Eternal: Industry Update Featuring STR and AHLA

Get a full-circle update on the U.S. Lodging Industry: First, Jan Freitag, SVP – Lodging Insights, STR, discusses how COVID-19 shaped industry performance, including RevPAR, segmentation, chain scale data, pipeline and profitability metrics. Jan will conclude with an outlook for the next few years, plus live Q&A. Then, Chip Rogers, AHLA President & CEO provides an update on efforts to support the industry's recovery. Finally, HT & HTNG leadership deliver HT-NEXT 2020 Closing Remarks.


Editorial Tour Pre-Stay

Learn about emerging technologies impacting the pre-stay experiences right now.

2020 Visionary Award Winner: G6 Hospitality

HT interviews G6 Hospitality CIO John Laplante on the process behind replacing its decades old CRS and PMS with a cloud-based solution.

Firechat: Three Key Lessons to Inspire Innovation in a Time of Crisis

Scott Strickland, Wyndham’s EVP & CIO, shares how the company has empowered innovation for key stakeholders, including staff members, owners and guests, in a time of crisis. Learn about the three key takeaways that will have a lasting impact on decision making, project management and more.


Editorial Tour Lobby

Hear about the technologies that hotels are exploring right now to provide an improved check-in and lobby experience.

2020 TechOvation Award Winners

HTNG's COO talks with its 2020 TechOvation winners on how their solutions - designed prior to a pandemic - remain useful in a post-pandemic world and how they are leveraging those products in similar industries to hospitality. Panelists include: Pedro Torres, CEO and co-founder, Yoonik, Leonel Domingues Co-Founder and CTO, Nonius, David Sjolander, CAE, COO, HTNG, Kris Singleton, CIO, Enseo

How Mandarin Oriental Devised Safe Operating Protocols for COVID-19

Anja Luthje, founder and CEO of Unique Hospitality Solutions will take viewers through the thought process and journey Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group embarked on at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.


The 411 on 911 – Big Changes in Emergency Communications for Hotels

It’s easy to take emergency services for granted, but hotels must actively manage systems and service providers to ensure guest and staff safety. Service providers and hotels take note: you are responsible and accountable for dispatching detailed location information to emergency service providers, which many organizations are not doing today. Join this session to learn what you need to do to keep your guests and staff safe, and reduce the risk of non-compliance.

Firechat: Tackling the Topic of ABS

Are you confused by Attribute Based Selling (ABS) and want to know: What it is (and isn’t), how it benefits you and your guests? You aren’t alone! Bring your questions for our experts! They'll address common myths such as: “It’s the same as attribute-based filtering!” “It’s the same as selling ancillaries!” or “It will result in lower ADRs and profitability!” Features George Roukas, Partner, Hudson Crossing & Flo Lugli, Chairperson, Navesink Advisory Group, LLC

Editorial Tour Guest Room

Get an overview of guest room technologies that hotels are looking at right now, and what's on the horizon.


Editorial Tour Back of House

Learn about technologies making an impact now, and what's emerging, in the hotel back of house.

2020 Visionary Award Winner: RLHC

HT interviews RLHC's CIO John Edwards and its VP of IT DevOps John Reeves on the company's creation of a single point of integration that allows 13 hotel systems to communicate seamlessly.

Editorial Tour Infrastructure

Get an overview of technologies making an impact in hotel infrastructure.

2020 Visionary Award Winner: Hyatt

HT interviews Hyatt's Director of Property Systems Don Nichols on Hyatt's implementation of OPERA hosted in Microsoft Azure.


Editorial Tour On Property Experience & Ammenities

Get an overview about how technology is being used to improve on-site dining, entertainment and other amenities at a hotel.

What Hotels Can Learn From Restaurants

Skip Kimpel, CIO at 4R Restaurant Group and host of The Tech Chef podcast, shares insights into how hotels can implement agility and tech-forward initiatives that deliver revenue and customer loyalty.

2020 Visionary Award Winner: Edwardian Hotels London

HT interviews Edwardian Hotels Director of IT Michael Mrini on its guest-facing chatbot: Edward!

Freshly Packed with New Tech: How Aspen Skiing Co. Prepares for a Contactless Experience

When COVID-19 struck, the U.S. ski season came to an abrupt halt. Aspen Skiing Company responded quickly, fast-tracking its digital transformation plans, now with a hyper-focus on reducing crowds and touchpoints. Aspen's CIO John Lilley talks about the mobile and contactless tools that are welcoming guests back to the resort, and how the team got it done in record time.

Editorial Tour Meetings

Get acclimated to the meetings environment with this editorial overview.

The Secret to Successful Meetings at Loews: StreamLine

Dan Kornick, CIO at Loews Hotel Group, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the launch of a new virtual meetings platform for the new normal.

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