More than 6,500 hospitality technology professionals representing over 65 countries gathered at HITEC Toronto

Hospitality technology professionals from around the world gathered this week in Toronto, Ontario Canada to explore the industry’s best practices and latest innovations at the world’s largest and oldest Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®). Produced yearly by international association Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), this year marked the 45th anniversary since HFTP brought its HITEC brand to life in 1972. HITEC Toronto was held from June 2629, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

HITEC Toronto, the brand’s first Canadian feature, was the highest attended conference in its 45-year history with more than 6,500 industry professionals representing over 65 countries. This year’s North American event had over 130 speakers, including four keynote speakers, for its daily educational sessions that addressed trending topics including: AI/BI, cyber-security, IoT, virtual reality, ROI, blockchain revolution, global travel trends, guest experience and more. The Toronto exhibit floor was home to 366 exhibitors showcasing the latest in hospitality technology products and services, and featured an expanded floorplan of 870 exhibit booths. Also, 47 registered press members, including two official guest bloggers, were in attendance covering the event.

“2017 has been an exceptionally groundbreaking year for both HFTP and its HITEC brand,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO at HFTP. “Based on HITEC’s popularity, HFTP broke international barriers this year by producing inaugural European and Middle Eastern event counterparts to the recognized, larger North American conference. HFTP looks forward to continuing its mission in promoting education within the hospitality industry, and expanding its production of successful events.”

The Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) Toronto innovation competition for hospitality startups featured 13 companies, an expert panel of five judges and 16 industry mentors who coached the entrepreneurs before their four-minute pitch. Contestant Jennifer Wong from Stay Wanderful won the E20X Judge’s Award grand prize of $5,000.00 USD, and startup Arrivedo was chosen by conference attendees via the HITEC 2017 mobile app as the People’s Startup Award winner.

Six hospitality technology industry leaders were recognized and awarded at HITEC Toronto: 2017 Quinquennial HFTP Award of Merit recipients Keith Gruen, Hiroo Ichii and Dr. Ravi Mehrota; 2017 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame recipients Greg Dawes and Monika Nerger; and 2017 CHTP of the Year recipient Clint DeMill, CHTP.

HITEC Toronto was the second of three HITEC’s that HFTP will produce this year. Next up, the inaugural HITEC Dubai – a Middle Eastern counterpart – will take place November 14-15 at the Conrad Dubai in Dubai, UAE in partnership with Naseba. In 2018, HFTP will bring back the European counterpart HITEC Amsterdam on April 11-14 in addition to the larger North American event HITEC Houston slated for June 26-29.

For the latest news, download the HITEC 2017 multi-event app from the Apple Store or Google Play. View event photos on the HITEC website or on the HFTP Flickr account. Read posts from HITEC Toronto Guest Bloggers via HFTP’s official hospitality blog, HFTP Connect. Follow HFTP/HITEC on HFTP NewsHITEC BytesFacebookLinkedInTwitter (@HFTP) and Instagram (@HFTP_HITEC). For more information about HITEC, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at education@hftp.org or +1 (512) 249-5333.

HITEC is the world’s largest and oldest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand. 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.

Historically hosted annually in a different city throughout the United States, HFTP decided to break tradition in 2017 by hosting three HITEC events all taking place outside of U.S. borders– in Toronto, Amsterdam and Dubai. This will be the first time the global association’s largest HITEC event – featuring thousands of hospitality professionals from around the world – will take place outside of the U.S. In 2017, HFTP is producing its larger HITEC Toronto as well as two additional, inaugural HITEC events: HITEC Amsterdam and HITEC Dubai.

For more information about HITEC and HFTP’s other global activities, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department ateducation@hftp.org or visit www.hftp.org and www.hftp.org/hitec. Download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website.

About HFTP
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is an international, nonprofit hospitality association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, that uniquely understands the industry’s problems. HFTP has members and stakeholders across the globe. HFTP assists its members in finding solutions to industry problems more efficiently than any organization via its expert networks, research, conferences such as HITEC and certification programs. HFTP also owns the world’s only hospitality specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segment of the hospitality industry. For more information about HFTP, email membership@hftp.org or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website.


While good communications between staff and customers matter to all businesses, for the hospitality industry the stakes are even higher. Online ratings and reviews can dramatically affect your hotel’s bottom line, and how you handle your guest experience will dictate whether and how well your guests review your hotel. Here are a few key hospitality-specific communications challenges that can make or break your guest experience, and a few ways to solve them with the right hospitality technology.

Challenge #1: Limited resources, particularly at night

The hospitality industry is a 24/7 business, but at night hotels typically have reduced staff numbers. On-duty staff are left multi-tasking, and can miss crucial communications while away from the front desk tending to other matters.

The solution: Automation and effective mobile technology. When your staff numbers are down, it’s important to take advantage of hotel technology that can automate responses to certain types of calls. Features like recorded announcements, multi-level auto-attendant, music on hold and automatic call distribution can be a boon to lean teams. Mobility plays a role in mitigating fewer resources as well – with SIP-DECT handsets or applications designed for personal mobile devices, your staff can take care of issues on-location without worrying about who is answering front desk calls.

Challenge #2: Staff turnover

Staff turnover is a huge issue in parts of the hospitality industry, and can cost hotels up to 33 percent of revenue.1 Staff turnover creates problems for many aspects of a business, but it creates a specific challenge to maintaining effective communications across your property.

The solution: Intuitive user interface. Without an intuitive system that’s easy to learn, new employees will waste crucial time on training and trying to understand your communications system. To give new employees the most effective onboarding, look for a communications system with simple, user-friendly interfaces with intuitive menus and icons to help users find what they need, and mobile applications that leverage the smartphones employees are already familiar with.

Challenge #3: Service consistency

Between shift changes, staff turnover and general variation in staff performance levels, there are a lot of ways your guest experience can vary. With the impact online reviews can have on your property, ensuring your guest experience is as expected is critical.

The solution: Standardized technology. Rather than relying on risky tools like clipboards or paper lists that can be misplaced between shifts, look for technology that streamlines your communications between staff. Give your whole staff access to the same workflow tools by looking for a communications system with mobile application and technology options.

Challenge #4: Limited IT resources

For smaller hotels, access to IT resources on-site can be limited. Older or unnecessarily complicated communications systems can create serious problems for any size hotel, as a communications failure can have drastic results on your guest experience.

The solution: A reliable, easy to maintain system. Not all communications systems have to be overly complicated. To protect your property against downtime, you should look for a communications system that is easy to maintain yourself.

These four challenges are particularly important for the hospitality industry where every guest interaction counts. With limited resources and staff turnover, your hotel’s communications investment matters. Look for a communications system that helps fill the gaps and prevents downtime.



KNOWCROSS is a global leader in providing software and technology intelligence to the hospitality operations industry. In this case study, Knowcross shows how their systems helped management at the Kempinski Hotel and Residences, Palm Jumeirah, increased efficiencies and improved guest experience.

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Knowcross is an exhibitor at HITEC DUBAI taking place at Conrad Dubai Hotel on November 14th and 15th.