Time often seems to fly by, and it feels like only moments ago that I was writing my column for last month’s edition of The Overview. So much has happened since then though that I’ve decided to dedicate this month to an update of some of the activity.
Immediately after Easter I headed off to New Orleans as a guest of Infor - one of our HOSPA sponsors and regular HOSPACE attendees. They were keen to show off the recent developments made to their product suite. It was a fascinating couple of days with some great discussions on where hospitality technology is heading in general. It was agreed that there is still lots we can improve on, both on the supplier side and the client side.
We discussed an anonymous ‘perfect’ customer who had ensured the switch over to a new Hotel Management System was approached with refreshing vision. The hotel owner had sat in on all the build sessions, ensuring his staff only collected data that they would (and could) actually use. He was keen to take advantage of the new system without continuing any legacy procedures that may well have hampered efficiency at the hotel front desk and beyond. I fear it is all too rare to see such foresight played out in full - as opposed to just being talked about at a high level.
Not only was it informative and useful to meet with some key industry figures from around the world, Infor also treated us to some of the best entertainment that only New Orleans can offer. Thank you to the team for including me.
Almost immediately after returning home - and my children proudly showing me how much Easter chocolate they still had(!) - I was off again. This time to HITEC in Amsterdam. It was fun to see many familiar faces and to catch up with industry friends and colleagues in amongst the exhibition and the education sessions. Amsterdam is a lovely city and HFTP has worked hard to spread its reputation outside the United States. It now hosts a HITEC in the Middle East as well as the annual main event which will be in Houston this year in June. More details can be found on the HOSPA calendar.
HOSPA hosts members’ events around the country, with the most recent one in Manchester towards the end of April. We were lucky enough to secure Hotel Football, which overlooks Manchester United’s ground, Old Trafford, and there were two fantastic speakers.
Chris Beveridge, from Moore Stephens, presented very comprehensively on GDPR, a topic which he first presented to us last year. As we move ever closer to the May 25th deadline, the audience was paying more attention than ever. GDPR seems to be one of those topics that the more you learn, the more you realise you have left to do. Certainly, the questions from the floor appeared more informed and probably more specific than with previous GDPR presentations I have attended, offering evidence that people are both learning and uncovering additional requirements that need ticking off ahead of its implementation.
Our second speaker was Andrew Evans from Keystep - who were also kind and generous enough to sponsor the event. Despite his protestations to the contrary, Andrew was an engaging speaker and delivered some interesting insights into computer based learning and artificial intelligence. He handed out bottles of wine, chocolate and footballs - a sure way to keep the delegates paying attention. As we progress with our plans for this year’s HOSPA, there seem to be more and more exhibitions and events for our industry.
Although I may be biased (I don’t believe I am), I firmly believe that HOSPACE is the best! But it’s not just me that thinks that; I receive positive feedback throughout the year, praising both the content and the atmosphere. Please be sure to mark out the 1st of November in your diaries - both day time and evening.
More details are being added to the HOSPACE website each week, so please keep your eye out for news. We still have space for both exhibitors and sponsors - so do please get in touch if you would like to be part of the action. Delegate tickets are also already selling through the HOSPA shop.
Another thing to keep your eyes peeled for is a series of video clips from my day spent with HOSPA’s President Harry Murray at Lucknam Park. We discussed many topics including Brexit, GDPR, Professional Development and how HOSPA can help the industry grow and maximise its appeal to those yet to be inspired to join us and work in hospitality.
One final call - and quite a specific one: The HOSPA tax committee is up and running, achieving some great results. If you have someone within your organisation who could benefit from joining the discussions on the specifics of tax and how the hospitality industry can work most effectively, then please ask them to get in touch. The debates often result in inspirational new ideas and approaches for hospitality businesses. With the guidance of an HMRC representative, the committee seems to take great strides with every round table meeting.