HITEC has become a tradeshow that many technology vendors plan for a year in advance and spend thousands of dollars to sponsor and attend so they can network with a variety of potential clients. While the beautiful booths of vendors (and the swag they offer) capture the eyes of many attendees, what are hoteliers truly looking for when they attend this tradeshow? To find out, I sat down with Max Spangler, Director of Technology at Charlestowne Hotels, and discussed his reasons for attending.
Why do you attend HITEC?
Charlestowne Hotels usually attends HITEC every other year and we usually only send one person. But this year we thought it would be prudent to send both myself and Jonathan Capps, our Chief Revenue Officer, as the industry is emerging with some optimism and excitement from the pandemic. Leading up to this year’s conference, we could feel the energy and excitement technology vendors were sharing about the show, and we felt we needed to be here.
This year, we had two main goals for attending HITEC. First, we wanted to connect with our existing partners, catch up, review new products, see their roadmaps for the future, etc. Second, we really wanted to canvas the floor and see what was new. The new ideas and innovations we see often spurs us to create something on our own or lobby some of our existing partners to implement within their own systems.
What key buzzword kept popping up in your show floor conversations?
If I had a quarter for every time I heard the words: 'integration,' 'API,' 'synergy,' or 'holistic,' I would have walked away from that show with a decent chunk of change. Integration is a buzzword that leads to so many philosophical debates in the hotel industry because it means so many different things to so many different people. What we’ve found is that most technology vendors will say something along the lines of: “We integrate with everything!” but then when you peel back the layers of the onion, you realize the integration hasn’t been built yet. And for us, that’s where we want more transparency. It’s good that a vendor may want to integrate, but the process for requirement gathering, testing and deployment for new integrations usually takes months in our industry.