HFTP Connect – Hospitality Blog

Chapter Report – June 1-15

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Chapter Events

Here is an exciting listing of all events our chapters have planned for the first part of June.

  • June 4

Florida Gulf Coast Chapter

15th Annual Charity Golf Tournament – The Forest Country Club

12:00 – 8:00 p.m.

RSVP to jerilyn@jbshospitality.com

  • June 4

Florida Manasota Chapter

Chapter Summer Social – Bring your family! – Evie’s Golf Center

6:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.

RSVP to eileens@thefieldclub.com

  • June 4

NYC Chapter

Chapter Social Event – Tiro A Segno of New York

RSVP to jhyland@si.rr.com

  • June 8

Milwaukee Chapter

Ronald McDonald House Charity Event

4:00 – 7:30 p.m.


  • June 9

Greater Philadelphia Chapter

Annual Members’ Social – The Acorn Club

6:00 – 10:30 p.m.

RSVP to Susan Aylward – (215) 735-2040

  • June 9

CA Central Coast

Summer Luncheon Meeting – Bacara Resort and Spa

11:30 a.m.

RSVP to Bob Garite, bob@pcsgrp.com

  • June 13

Austin Chapter

2016 CMI Workshop Series – San Antonio Country Club

Day-long Event

RSVP to lauras@westwoodcountryclub.com

  • June 14

Austin Chapter

HFTP Happy Hour – Hotel Granduca

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Email lauras@westwoodcountryclub.com for more info

  • June 14

New England Club Chapter

Luncheon Meeting – Brae Burn Country Club

11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

RSVP to newenglandclub.hftp@gmail.com

  • June 15

New England Hotel Chapter

Boston Harbor Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey – University Club

Boarding begins at 6:00 p.m. – Return at 10:00 p.m.

RSVP to jmooney@lodgesysinc.com

6 Reasons Why Your HITEC Radar Should Include Entrepreneur 20X

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By: Charlotte Somers


Startups, startups and more startups. That’s what HITEC’s E20X is all about. Here are six reasons why you should come hear them pitch on Monday, June 20 from 1-4 p.m.; then give them a hard time, or just take a look at their product, at the Entrepreneur 20X Pavilion on the show floor.

1. They Will Remind You Why You Love this Industry

17 is the number of excited, not jaded, intelligent problem-solvers, who are anxious to let the hospitality industry know what they’ve got that we need. Remember when you first fell in love with the hospitality industry? If you don’t, they will rekindle the old flame. Their creativity and positive attitudes are infectious. Most have been in business less than two-and-a-half years — some only five to six months — hospitality technology toddlers ready to remind you this industry is awesome and there’s no telling what’s next. The pitchers for E20X demo day:

2. Experts Don’t Lie

E20X Judge

We have assembled a panel of 10 top-notch judges to determine the Grand Prize winner of E20X. These judges will play nice and listen to three minutes of pitches from all 17 startups — then watch the startups squirm for two to three minutes during their questions. In the end, they will select the grand poobah and winner of $5k USD. Here are the expert judges:

  • Christina CornwellSenior Director Technology APAC at Hilton Worldwide
  • David Berkus, President at Berkus Technology Ventures, LLC
  • Dmitry Koltunov, CTO at ALICE
  • Edward St. OngePresident Global Sales & Marketing at Flip.To
  • Gregg Hopkins, President at Gregg Hopkins & Associates
  • Jing Zhu, Chairperson at China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA)
  • Martin Thell, CIO at Scandic Hotels
  • Michael Schubach, CHAE, CHTPHospitality Systems Consultant
  • Mike Dickersbach, CHTP, MCP, NICE, CTO at Highgate Hotels
  • Prakash ShuklaManaging Partner at Solarex

3. We Aren’t Throwing Them to the Wolves Without a Little Training

We added many new levels to E20X — enter E20X Mentors. All startups will spend their demo day morning in short one-on-one meetings with industry insiders and veterans. We believe these quick meetups with E20X mentors will provide a great forum to inspire and educate our startups by lending them insights, expertise and guidance. It’s a two-hour “pick-your-brain,” ask anything and everything, opportunity. More than 20 mentors will come face-to-face with eight pitchers for seven minutes. And it won’t be blind — startups will have access to the mentors’ bios so they can find the person whose expertise and experience best matches the knowledge they seek.

4. I’ll Save You a Seat

E20X Audience

If you came to the 2015 E20X, the session was standing-room only and attendees spilled into the hallway. I hereby solemnly swear you will have a seat at E20X this year — we have 500 of them waiting for you. You showed up en masse last year and we took note. We are also giving E20X session access to all HITEC attendee and exhibitor badges this year—if you have a badge, you’re in.

5. My Team Is Bigger Than Yours

I am managing the E20X project for HITEC and all-in there are 70 people working to make E20X a can’t-miss. 70! My team may not be the biggest by HITEC standards, but we are pretty darn awesome. Lyle Worthington, CHTP, HFTP Global vice president, is our master of ceremonies and competition moderator, add to that the pitchers, mentors, judges, and our E20X 2015 Winner in Residence, Whistle, coming back to update us on how winning has impacted their startup — chances are you know someone who knows someone. So if you don’t attend, “they” will know.

6. Meet-and-Greet in More Ways Than One

New in 2016 we will have a techie-lounge space dedicated to put the pitchers directly in touch with attendees in the session room. These smart women and men entrepreneurs will be there for your questions, advice and congrats. Even better? We will also be showcasing each and every pitcher in the E20X Pavilion on the HITEC show floor during exhibit hours. HFTP has generously provided complimentary kiosks for these bootstrapped entrepreneurs to show you their innovative and transformative ideas all week. So journey down to the back of aisle 200 and you will practically run into us. While you are there, cast your vote for your favorite startup to win the new E20x Peoples Startup Award that will be announced during the closing session on Thursday.

So there you have it. There is no doubt E20X is bigger and better in 2016 — and you’ve just gotta experience it for yourself. Be there or be square!

Somers_Charlotte_150Charlotte Somers is principal at Somers Communications Meeting & Event Planning. Contact Charlotte at charlotte@somerscommunications.com or +1 (214) 436-6789.

Exciting Changes Coming to the HFTP Annual Convention

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Written by: Linnet Baskett25345023

The 2016 HFTP Annual Convention will be held October 19-21, 2016 at Caesar’s Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The planning process has already begun and this year there will be some noticeable changes to enhance the structure of the event. Here are some of the highlights.

First off, I would like to note the date pattern has changed and the annual convention will run for three full days from Wednesday through Friday. The overall education program will offer a variety of sessions from 20-minute short sessions to three hour workshops.

Wednesday will kick off with a day filled with workshops offering a deep dive into cybersecurity, business intelligence, collaboration/teamwork and going beyond budgeting. The opening session on “Cybersecurity Risks & Data Breach Response Tips” will be held on Wednesday evening followed by a fun-filled opening party.

After much consideration and reviewing many suggestions for change, the tradeshow has been re-purposed. A variety of new vendor networking and sponsorship opportunities will be available to enhance the vendor and attendee experience. New this year on Thursday will be a vendor “speed dating” lunch, which will provide vendors the opportunity to talk briefly about their products and services to a number of attendees. On Friday, attendees can enjoy a buffet lunch and listen to a variety of short vendor sessions.

In addition to education sessions, the Thursday agenda will include a leadership and volunteer breakfast, keynote sessions, a certification reception as well as meet-up opportunities for young professionals, chapter leaders and more. Thursday evening will be a free evening for attendees to get out and explore the bright lights on the Las Vegas strip, take in a show or enjoy a great meal at a celebrity chef restaurant.

Friday morning we are planning a captivating general session presented by Neil Hoyne, head of Customer Analytics at Google. A short annual business meeting will follow the general session to conduct the necessary association business. Many of the award presentations and recognition will be incorporated throughout the week. Keeping with tradition, the president’s evening event will be held of Friday evening and will be a black-tie optional event. To complement the evening, the HFTP Helps silent auction will be open on Friday, beginning at 6:30 p.m., and is open to all convention attendees to participate in the bidding wars. Proceeds will benefit a local charity which will be selected by our own HFTP Las Vegas Chapter.

Keep an eye out as we announce more details of the event. We are expecting a great attendance this year and I invite you to consider joining us for three days of education, networking and fun! I look forward to a successful event and hope to see you in Las Vegas.

Baskett_LinnetwLinnet Baskett is the HFTP Meetings & Events Manager. Contact Linnet at linnet.baskett@hftp.org or +1 (512) 220-4018.

Weekly Connect from PineappleSearch 5/6/16

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Weekly Connect Logo 2

Weekly Connect from Pineapplesearch.com. This week’s tour of news and information from Pineapplesearch.com. Here is what happened in hospitality this week:

  1. Consistency in Quality is the Modern Credibility
  2. Online, Mobile Bookings Strengthen Hotel Performance
  3. Hotel front desk staff still prefer print
  4. 5 ways tech can make your hotel more responsible
  5. 4 Factors That Predict Startup Success, and One That Doesn’t

Visit and register at Pineapplesearch.com – the hospitality-specific search engine – for the latest news and information. When you register you can customize your experience, bringing the topics of interest to you front and center; as well as elect to receive a weekly news digest delivered via email.

HITEC 2016: New and Notable in New Orleans, Louisiana USA

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New Orleans is one of the world’s most fascinating cities – it is home to a truly unique melting pot of culture, food and music. Straight from the New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, here’s the scoop on dining hot spots, outdoor rec, trendy tours and fabulous art.

Trendy Tours

No matter your age, interests, or length of stay in New Orleans, there is a tour to suit everyone’s style. Embark on a city tour and view the popular French QuarterFaubourg Marigny and Garden District areas. Learn about New Orleans’ history, culture, architecture and art with a cultural/history tour. Taste the city’s famous, classic cocktails on a distillery/brewery tour. Reveal legends of voodoo or paranormal and visit swamplands. Visit the Tours Directory and find your perfect tour today.

Dining Hotspots

It is no secret that New Orleans offers one of the most incredible and diverse selection of excellent dining and unforgettable cuisine in the world. You will want to make a stop at the famous Café Du Monde for delicious beignets. Browse all of the restaurants here.


New Orleans offers many opportunities for all travelers. Feed alligators at the alligator farm, see exotic fish at the aquarium, or take a bike ride along the Mississippi River. So whether you’re a sports fan, history buff, outdoor adventurer, aspiring chef or music lover, there’s an attraction in New Orleans to suit your every need.

Notable Nightlife

If you are looking for an exciting night, you have come to the right city. The night never has to end in New Orleans since bars and clubs are not required to close. While New Orleans is famous for its exciting Bourbon Street, there are many distinct neighborhoods that offer nightlife options as well. From incredible live music on Frenchmen Street to intimate cocktails just a neighborhood away, this city has it all. Harrah’s Casino caters to the high rollers at heart and the city is home to slick nightclubs where you can dance the night away. Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to have the time of your life in New Orleans.

Additional Things to Do

For more options on things to do in New Orleans, visit the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Weekly Connect from PineappleSearch 4/29/16

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Weekly Connect Logo 2Weekly Connect from Pineapplesearch.com. This week’s tour of news and information from Pineapplesearch.com. Here is what happened in hospitality this week:

Visit and register at Pineapplesearch.com – the hospitality-specific search engine – for the latest news and information. When you register you can customize your experience, bringing the topics of interest to you front and center; as well as elect to receive a weekly news digest delivered via email.

2016 HFTP Mid-West Regional Conference

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Midwest Regional 3

Last week I was able to attend another regional conference and present not once, but twice, to our great membership. This time it was at the HFTP Mid-West Regional Conference in Milwaukee. This is only their second regional and I have to say they did an amazing job from start to finish. Congrats to the organizing committee for all of their hard work and dedication.

The conference started off on Thursday with an exhibitor meet and greet that included a cocktail reception. The room was busy as everyone came to register and network with each other. It was a great way to start off the conference and get everyone in the mood. After the official welcome reception concluded the “unofficial” one started. Various groups went out to dinner but somehow a majority of people ended the night in the lobby bar enjoying themselves and watching the double OT game between the St Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. Apparently there are quite a few Blackhawks fans in attendance who ultimately ended the night happy.

Friday the conference education kicked off. Friday was dedicated to job knowledge and improvement and saw a number of very interesting topics. The day had two highlights for me. The first being one of our global past presidents, Tom Smith, presenting the session, “The CFO Journey – Best Practices and Approaches” where Tom reminded us of some of the simpler things to do to be more effective in our jobs. It was interesting to hear the number of attendees later that night who had already put some of Tom’s teachings into practice. The other highlight was the first ever joint session with another regional. Since the HFTP Texas Regional was going on at the same time, a web session was done thru google meetups. Global Vice President, Lyle Worthington,CHTP presented from Texas, on the topic “Securing Payments, PCI and EMV”. It was great to see technology being used to bring the two regionals together. Lyle did an excellent job in breaking down EMV, chip and signature, chip and pin, as well as other areas of concern.

Friday night then had a wonderful and invigorating social event. A bus arrived to take all of the attendees on a “Club Crawl” to three of Milwaukee’s finest clubs. The night started with Apps and Drinks at the Milwaukee Yacht Club where we enjoyed looking out directly onto Lake Michigan. The night air was crisp and clear and the view was spectacular. Many attendees were taking selfies with the lake, boats and water in the background. We all then loaded back onto the bus and headed to dinner at the Milwaukee Athletic Club, a 13 story building in the middle of the city with unique artwork and design. The club boasts a number of bars, private rooms, restaurants, athletic facilities, a 13th floor outdoor deck, and best of all my friend Nicole as their Controller. We toured a number of the floors and even ventured out onto the 13th floor outdoor deck. The views were great and had it been warmer (or for me much warmer) we probably would have all wanted to eat outside. The night continued with the group hopping on the bus and heading to the Wisconsin Athletic Club. There we were treated to mini pastries, cherries jubilee and bananas foster. The club was actual a large residence over 100 years ago for General Mitchell. It is an amazing piece of architecture and design. As the night drew to a close, we all reluctantly hopped back on the bus for a ride back to the hotel. Once back at the hotel, as is HFTP tradition, a large group ended up back in the lobby bar. More networking and fun ensued as we talked the night away and got to know new friends and catch up with old ones.

Saturday came a bit too early as we once again had more education. This time sessions were devoted to personal and professional development. I was able to give my public speaking class to the group, which I always enjoy giving. However the highlight of the day was Derek Deprey’s “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” session. His interactive style and the fun and energy he created made for an excellent day. If you ever have the chance to see Derek speak or get him for a session, I highly recommend it. You will not be sorry.

Then around noon, the conference came to an end. It was with sadness that I said goodbye to some of my good friends that attended. I hope to be able to attend again next year and maybe even be able to speak (hint for next year’s organizing committee). The next regional up is the Florida regional. I can’t wait for this one. It should be easy to attend. My hotel is hosting it.

Conti_DanielHFTP Global Immediate Past President Daniel Conti, Jr., CHAE, CAM is the director of finance at Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place in Jupiter, Fla. USA.

April 17, 2016 — A Day Hospitality Cried

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Cahill_John 02This weekend, we received the sad news that John Cahill, CHTP has passed away. John was a significant and active member of the HFTP family, including an HFTP Global Past President, inductee to the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and an HFTP Paragon Award recipient. He was a great influencer in building the technology arm  of our association. Here is my small tribute to John:

A long, long time ago
As I recall now
John Cahill went the extra mile
He knew that given a chance
He could unite technology and finance
And help those in hospitality smile.

But today Facebook made me shiver
A post that was delivered
Bad news on the computer screen
That John would no longer wear his Irish Green

I quickly thought of Oma
His beautiful and loving bride
Thought about our industry
And how much more technology can provide
I realized deep inside
That today would be the day hospitality cried.*

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How HFTP can Contribute to the Future of the Hospitality Industry

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Written by: Connie Hong

Annual Convention 2015 Students

HFTP is constantly searching for ways in which the association can contribute to the future of the hospitality industry. The association strives to serve not only its membership, but potential members, such as students. Through endowments and scholarships, HFTP is able to reach talented students and support them in their educational careers. With rising education costs, hardworking students often work while taking classes and are forced to take out loans to pay for school. HFTP helps to alleviate additional stress that could potentially take away from their focus on school by providing scholarships and endowments. Kacie Braud, recipient of the 2015 Terri Rubin Bartello, CHAE Scholarship, directed her award toward tuition and fees for the University of New Orleans. She is currently a senior studying Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Administration with a concentration in hotels and lodgings as well as events and convention management. Students, such as Braud, will eventually graduate and join the workforce. Braud’s long term career goal is to work in revenue management for the hospitality industry.

HFTP chapters play an important role in supporting students. Carol Powell from the HFTP Greater Philadelphia Chapter says that, “It is one of the missions of our chapter to maintain a strong connection with students of local universities and encourage participation when possible.” The Greater Philadelphia Chapter hosts an annual scholarship golf tournament where all the proceeds are given to two to three deserving students from a local university studying in the hospitality field with a concentration in accounting or IT. This year two awards were given, $4,000 to Spencer Rung who attends Penn State University and $3,000 to Stuart Isaacs who attends the University of Delaware. Powell’s chapter encourages student participation in meetings by offering a reduced student rate to attend. In February, the Greater Philadelphia Chapter was visited by a group of students from Cornell University. The chapter was able to provide them with tours of some local hotels and clubs in the city. Opportunities such as these are valuable in that they allow the students to network and see firsthand how operations flow. This may encourage students to continue their industry related studies as they are better able to imagine what a position in the industry would entail. HFTP chapters help students by acting as mentors and providing support and guidance as they continue their studies. Interactions with students also help chapters and industry leaders gain perspective from a different generation.

Students are the future of the industry and HFTP firmly believes that they have incredible things to offer. Their perspective and insight combined with the tech savviness of their generation is full of promise. HFTP is happy to support great minds and looks forward to the amazing things students will do in the industry.


Connie Hong is the HFTP Executive Services Administrator. Contact Connie at connie.hong@hftp.org or +1 (512) 220-4022.

Weekly Connect from PineappleSearch 4/15/16

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Weekly Connect Logo 2Weekly Connect from Pineapplesearch.com. This week’s tour of news and information from Pineapplesearch.com. Here is what happened in hospitality this week:

Visit and register at Pineapplesearch.com – the hospitality-specific search engine – for the latest news and information. When you register you can customize your experience, bringing the topics of interest to you front and center; as well as elect to receive a weekly news digest delivered via email.

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