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Takeaways from MURTEC & HTF

We just wrapped up the spring event season here at Hospitality Technology magazine, having produced MURTEC in March and Hotel Technology Forum (HTF) in April. Before we turn the page, I like to reflect on what I learned from all of you — the attendees, sponsors and speakers at this year’s events. Here are my picks for top takeaways from MURTEC and HTF:

MURTEC’s Biggest Ah-Ha: Not complying with EMV is shaping up to be a bigger challenge than expected. Leading up to last October, many restaurant executives said the rate of chargebacks was too low to motivate migration. Fast forward, and it looks like “friendly fraud” is now a thing, with some restaurants anecdotally reporting a 400% increase in chargebacks. Ouch.
  • Vendor Mic Drop: From MURTEC’s Audience Choice Vendor Insight panel: “Regarding open APIs, it’s not enough to differentiate your product. You need to enable & differentiate the ecosystem,” as said by Ziosk co-founder Raymond Howard. Because integration benefits everyone.
  • Top Hotel Tech: Like many of our hotel readers, I struggle to see how guestroom technology spending is about anything other than bandwidth and a bad-ass television. But 34% of hoteliers told us in-room tech is their top customer-facing technology priority, second only to mobile apps (36%). It beat mobile payment (18%) and mobile key (9%).
  • HTF’s Most Quotable: From University of Southern California, Dmitri Williams is my pick for “Most Quotable” speaker. “If you really want to know what you’re customers are doing, you have to have trace data because everybody lies. If you ask them what they are doing, they will lie to you.”
The keynote speaker at both of this year’s events was Jeremiah Owyang, founder, Crowd Companies, who talked about the impact of the P2P marketplace on traditional business. My takeaway here is that hotels are paying a lot of attention to P2P disruption, but restaurants… not so much, yet. During the four-week gap between MURTEC and HTF, Accor acquired European-based onefinestay, so in hotels the blurring is real. Crowdsourcing meals is less mature, but before the trend is out I predict the Etsy version of a home-cooked meal, fresh frozen from mom’s kitchen, shopped and paid for via a mobile app. #disruption

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