Highlights from #HITEC 2016

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HITEC 2016 is just around the corner. HITEC, the world's largest hospitality conference, is the must-attend event for anyone and everyone in hospitality, including corporate executives, ownership groups, and academics from around the world. This year's show is at the Ernest N. Morial convention center in New Orleans, LA from June 20-23, and we're hoping to see you there. It'll be hot, humid, and crazy fun. Start the event out right at the opening party on June 20 at Generations Hall in the French Quarter.

More than 6,000 people attended HITEC in Austin last year. With more than 115 speakers and 70 educational sessions, the show addressed important industry issues, including system selection, mobile and guestroom technology, data security, and PCI compliance.

This year's show will be even bigger…and Aruba is going big, too. Come see us in Booth #2007 where our sales, marketing, and technical experts will share our vision and solutions for hospitality.

And don't miss our innovative demos, including personal area networks to create a homelike experience for guests, location-based guest engagement to personalize the guest experience and drive more revenue on property, and analytics capabilities to understand guest behavior and preferences. You'll learn how we're helping you to keep the focus on the guest by creating that unforgettable travel experience that they'll want to share—and turn them into a loyal and repeat customer.

We're all in this together

Some of you may have attended HITEC when it was the NAHMA Computer Users Conference, or this may be your first time at the show. I attended my first HITEC conference last year, and was amazed by the friendliness (even among competitors), collaboration, conversations, speakers, booths, new ideas, sessions, and parties. This year's event will not disappoint!

HITEC 2016 kicks off with a keynote by Jer Thorp, co-founder of Office for Creative Research, as he shares how to make data more human. Using cutting-edge data visualization techniques, Thorp helps people and organizations take control of the information that surrounds them, and use technology and data as a new way to tell stories.

Other keynote speakers include Josh Linkner, CEO of Hyper-Growth, discussing "Entrepreneurial Fire: How to Think and Act Like a Startup (Even if You're Not)" and Johnny Earle of Johnny Cupcakes, sharing how he inspires customer loyalty. It's really cool how each of these topics touches on different aspects of my role, and I'm really looking forward to hearing what they have to share.

Another event I'm looking forward to at HITEC 2016 is the Entrepreneur 20X competition on Monday, June 20, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Startups will pitch innovative ideas to the room (us) and a panel of 10 judges. The judges are industry experts and include CIOs, angel investors, serial entrepreneurs, and industry insiders. Last year, Whistle, a Silicon Beach hospitality startup, took first place for its tool that allows businesses to respond or triage incoming messages via a real-time chat interface to and from a customer's preferred app. This year's selected applicants (about 17) range from a tool that allows a hotel to know who you are, checks you in, and directs you to your room as you walk into the front lobby to a truly personal concierge that responds to your requests in five minutes or less.

Mass personalization is becoming a reality. With data, the ability to make meaning out of it and engage the customer with what's meaningful to them, we can create that wow experience for travelers on a mass scale. I, for one, am truly looking forward to being wowed!

Hope to see you at HITEC!