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A Few of My Favorite Takeaways…

I will admit that I am still slightly confused by when and why “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music became a holiday classic, but I’ll go with it to launch into this pre-Christmas countdown. Looking back at 2018, Hospitality Technology was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity for in-depth conversations with leading tech stars from hotels, restaurants, technology companies and beyond.

These chats ranged from formal interviews to discussions on stage during panel discussion to – often the best ones – over a cocktail or two at one of any number of industry events.

The one thing they all have in common is that I come away with a richer understanding of issues impacting operators and technology suppliers and a deeper appreciation for being a part of what can only be described as the best industry in the world.

As we bid farewell to 2018, I’m filled with great hope and excitement for what will come to pass in hospitality technology in 2019. The pace of change is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. More and more innovation is coming to bear with successful deployments, many of which a year ago experts among us were saying were years away from having real applications.

The interviews I conducted over the last circle around the sun, often brought to light how true innovators do things differently. One constant is the focus on the guest and how listening to and delivering on what customers want will be the true differentiator.

So here I offer some of my favorite bolts of inspiration from those much wiser than I….

To make real change you must listen intently, dialogue intently, challenge each other and make each other better. This will drive another level of excellence.
Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience Officer, TGI Fridays
Hospitality technologists and operators have an opportunity – really more of an obligation – to embed technology deeper into the entire guest journey. Our challenge is to meld varied expectations into the guest journey with a simple, intuitive user experience that continues to reduce friction and doesn’t cause increased guest frustration.
David Starmer, CIO, Sonesta Hotels
Solve for the biggest consumer pain point. To do so you have to recognize that the opposite of innovation is iteration. Start big. You can always scale back a big idea but you can’t make a small idea bigger
Duncan Wardle, Innovation & Creativity Catalyst, id8&innov8; Former VP, Innovation & Creativity, The Walt Disney Co.
In the next five to ten years, guest-facing innovation will originate in the need to supply a friction-free, seamless, mobile/digital platform to build from. It’s more about providing choice for guests and not forcing them to change their behavior. Hotels will need to adapt to the customer’s behavior.
Jeff Bzdawka, SVP of Global Hotel Technology, Hyatt
The amazing part of the world today is, that if you dream it, there is a technology to make it a reality.
Veronica Luna, Taco Bell
Because the technology that’s in the hands of the guest is now talking to the POS in the store, these two worlds of technology have become one integrated technology stack, and we are pulling the POS vendor, the mobile app vendor and the delivery dispatch vendors around one table to replace custom integration with tightly integrated APIs and broadcast services.
Tamy Duplantis, former VP of IT, Le Duff America

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