DALLAS—The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) was back after 25 months off. HITEC Dallas 2021 ran from September 27-30 and was produced by Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals (HFTP). HITEC showcases the industry’s latest innovations and provides an education program for attendees. This year, just over 4,000 attendees participated, with more than 250 exhibiting companies set up in over 60,000 square feet of exhibit space. In addition, HFTP’s Annual Convention was co-located with HITEC with a focus on education sessions that featured finance-related topics.
“The first word that comes to mind is ‘gratitude,’” said HFTP CEO Frank Wolfe, CAE, FIH. “This week has been a tremendous success and HFTP is extremely grateful for all the support from the vendor community and our attendees representing multiple segments across the hospitality industry. We heard over and over how wonderful it was to be together again.”
HITEC had gone virtual last year due to the pandemic and returned as an in-person event in 2021. To keep its attendees safe this year, HFTP implemented numerous health safety measures, including frequent sanitization of the event area, a mask requirement, and more. The overall sentiment from attendees was an appreciation for a return to a face-to-face event.
Highlights of the event were four distinguished keynote/general sessions. Starting the first day was the opening keynote presentation by Erik Qualman with his session called, “Digital Transformation: Design Your Future.” Followed the next day by the “Industry CIO Panel” with panelists Andrew Arthurs of Aimbridge Hospitality, Carol Beggs of Chatham Bars Inn, Dan Kornick of Loews Hotels & Co., Michael Levie, CHTP of citizenM Hotels, Mohammad Al Qassim of The Manor by JA, and Scott Strickland of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. Other keynotes included presentations by speakers Victoria Labalme and John Sileo.
In addition, a full program of concurrent education sessions was on the schedule covering trending topics including emerging technology in food and beverage, decentralized ID, direct distribution versus third-parties, hyper-personalization, defining a digital hotel, ethical conundrums in technology, pressing cybersecurity threats, and more. Other educational opportunities were available on the show floor, including the non-sales-oriented exhibitor tutorials.
Two hospitality technology industry leaders were recognized and awarded at HITEC Dallas: 2021 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame recipients include Mark Haley, CHTP+, co-founder and partner at Prism Hospitality Consulting, LLC, and Rama P. Rama, president and CTO/CIO at Sarona Hotels, Investments & Premier Management Services. In addition, the HFTP CHTP of the Year recipient Dennis Blair, Jr., CHTP, IT project manager for Hyatt New Openings and Transitions Team was recognized.
Due to travel restrictions, much of the international attendees could not make it to HITEC Dallas 2021. To accommodate those who were unable to attend, HFTP is offering a keynote/general session digital collection. The four sessions are available on the HITEC website through October 31, 2021, for $199. In addition, the HFTP virtual education program will offer three encore sessions as webinars over the next month at no cost.
HFTP is already getting ready for next year’s HITEC Orlando scheduled for June 27-30, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. In addition, HFTP Dubai at the Hotel Show Dubai will be May 24-26 in Dubai.
More of LODGING’s HITEC Dallas 2021 coverage can be found on our website and on our YouTube channel.