Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast: Episode 112 – Shocking Predictions For HITEC 2019

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For many, they think of the annual HITEC Expo and Conference as the “Super Bowl” of hotel technology events. For us, the Super Bowl is the “HITEC” of football games. HITEC is simply that darn great. If you’re in the market for new technology or if you just want to see what cutting-edge trends are going to be the next big thing, you should plan on attending HITEC.


What is HITEC?

The Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) is the world’s largest and oldest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand. Produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), a global nonprofit hospitality association that is headquartered in Austin, Texas USA, HITEC offers a unique combination of top-notch education, and brings together the brightest minds and hottest technologies from across the globe to one place. The unparalleled event offers attendees essential education, access to top hospitality technology industry experts and the resources to find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines. Combined with the intimate opportunities to connect with fellow professionals, HITEC has everything to enhance your career.

Learn more at https://www.hftp.org/hitec/


When Is HITEC 2019?

June 17-June 20, 2019


Where is HITEC 2019?

Minneapolis Convention Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota


Who should attend HITEC?

While the primary attendees are hotel executives who have an influence on the technology investments their company makes, HITEC is for anyone interested in taking their property to the next level.


What trends will we see at HITEC 2019?

  1. Legacy PMS companies opening up to third-parties
  2. Data integration startups trying to solve the industries problems
  3. AI getting thrown around willy-nilly but not really being used properly (mostly)
  4. Guest experience technology that has promise but has to be deployed with the appropriate strategy
  5. Voice-Enabled everything that doesn’t really solve a real problem


Here’s what the experts had to say:

Rock Cheetah

1) Voice controlled smart speakers for guest rooms (following Volara)

2) Data bus platforms to interface various systems (following Happy)

3) Analytics/BI platforms to integrate data from multiple sources.

Not expecting to see much disruptive stuff…



  • What technology trends do you expect to see at this year’s HITEC?
    • More and more guests expect personalization from marketers and hoteliers. Personalization can also be really difficult to scale, and if a company scales in the wrong way, it can be ugly. Hoteliers rely on companies like NAVIS to help them personalize effectively, and I’m looking forward to seeing (and sharing) some advancements in marketing technology to meet guests where they are at in the booking journey. I’m also expecting to see some early advancements in data management and predictive analytics unfold this year. The magic here will be in taking a single source of truth on a hotel’s guest and lead data, and leveraging automation to identify trends, preferences and communication needs to get out of having a reactive approach to demand.
  • Of all the innovations you’re hoping to see, what do you think will be the biggest disrupters?
    • From what I’m seeing, the biggest disruptors are going to be the tech companies that play nice with others. Although this is not a disruptive principle, for some time now the tech company trend in the marketplace has been ‘dog eat dog’, but we’re seeing that those companies who think about, and act on, the ‘greater good’ approach to business relations in hospitality technology are finding more opportunities to thrive and collaborate. Trying to find new ways to partner and provide Integrations and APIs with hotels’ needs in mind, is what’s disrupting the marketplace in a positive way. The companies who are less focused on competition and acquisition, and instead take this alternative approach are not common in hotel tech, but the collaborative and transparent companies are also ones who can innovate faster, integrate faster, and make a bigger impact for their clients. Which in the end is the goal, right?



What technology trends do you expect to see at this year’s HITEC?

Not sure if anyone is tackling this, but I think there’s a ton of untapped potential out there to bring more disparate data sources together and apply AI to drive more informed marketing behavior.  There’s been headway on the revenue management and distribution side of things with the advances made in AI tech over the last several years, but the industry needs to address the lack of data integrations as it relates to better marketing practices.  I think if someone can address either or both ends of that equation and demonstrate the effectiveness of such an approach, there would be massive upside both for those companies and for the industry as a whole.

Of all the innovations you’re hoping to see, what do you think will be the biggest disruptors?

I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for disruption coming out of HITEC.  Vendors tend to show off “new” products and services that aren’t much more than a new wrapper on an already proven concept.  If you go back to my comment above, something like that would upend marketing as the industry knows it but it takes finding vendors and senior leaders willing to let their guard down a bit and allow information to flow seamlessly between systems.  There’s so much unnecessary siloing of data out of misplaced paranoia that vendors and customers alike would rather lag behind the technical curve than indulge in what they perceive as risky endeavors. Meanwhile, other industries and the public at large are embracing these concepts and putting them to work in their daily lives in new and innovative ways.



  1. What technology trends do you expect to see at this years HITEC? I predict that there is a big theme around automation, whether that be through IoT technology, AI, or just simply, scaled processes through technology. Hotel demand is rising, budgets often are not, so automation is the key to success in a more digital driven world.
  2. Of all the innovations you’re hoping to see, what do you think will be the biggest disrupters? AI will be a big disrupter, simply because there is a lot to consider when it comes to using this type of technology in a service-driven industry. There is a lot to discuss regarding how we can ensure this will impact the hospitality industry for the better, rather than just simply changing to make a change.


What Will Fuel Be Showing At HITEC 2019?

  • Booking Engine – Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
  • CRM – AI actually being used right
  • Mobile App – Keyless Entry now available with Assa Abloy
  • 2019 Travel Study – key insight 80% of people visit the hotel website prior to booking
  • Live Interviews – with Loren Gray from Hospitality Digital Marketing


Listener Feedback:

From Cheshire Boutique Barns via Twitter, “BTW – LOVE your podcast!  I listen when running so I am now super skinny as well as a genius marketeer!! Not! Ha!! Xxx

  • Question: You mention Freeto or something similar lots of times in context with reviews? What is this please? I am looking for a way to pull all our reviews from different places together onto our website. Can you help?

From Hotelitarian on Apple, “Invaluable!  Excellent resource for hoteliers!”



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Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or info@travelboommarketing.com.

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