HITEC, the hotel industry’s premiere conference for technology (and finance) is on in Minneapolis, Minnesota (this blog is naturally taking a first hand look at the offerings). HITEC via the Hospitality Finance & Technology Professional (HFTP) has been a leader in promoting and supporting hospitality technology. In addition to producing HITEC, HFTP, administers the examination and awards the certification for the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) and Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) designations. Generally the event has been a must-see for finance and technology professionals in the industry but somewhat surprisingly there is a noticeable lack of marketing (and sales) personnel. That ought to be corrected. The range of exhibits on the technology front is of tremendous import to savvy marketers. Apart from trawling customer data from the assortment of POS devices, PMS &CRS systems, in-room entertainment options, there is much of strategic value for top and mid-management.
While on the subject of marketing and conferences, there is another conference running at the same time, WOMMA basic training conference in San Francisco. The promoters of the event exhort executives to attend the conference “to master the art of word of mouth marketing and make it succeed for your company” and note that it is a must for anyone involved in “viral, buzz, word of mouth, evangelism, grassroots, and other customer-centered marketing tactics.”. Not entirely coincidentally, The Financial Times of yesterday had a report on how “word of mouth if the new ads message”. The sudden re-emergence of a near ancient form of advertising may seem surprising but the internet has made it an easier and de rigueur form. The ease of email and the use of social networks such as MySpace allows for revival of this ad form even if the age old problem of how to measure its efficacy remains.