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June 30, 2016

HITEC’s Top Takeaways in 2016

David Wang


HITEC, known as the “World’s Largest Hospitality Technology Show,” brought some exciting trends & topics to the limelight this year. Held in New Orleans, included were 342 vendors, various keynote speeches from industry & brand experts, for grand totals of over 6,000 attendees from 65 countries1. The total reach of this event cannot be measured, but let’s just say that for most in the hospitality industry (part-time or primarily), this is “THE” annual gathering for announcements and show & tell of all kinds. Typically the products that succeed are commonly introduced for the first time at this event, and go on to be a part of hotel operations all over the world. What will succeed from this year’s lineup? 

You may recall that Facebook this year just announced “messaging bots” as a highlight of the latest “internet of things” trend, but HITEC 2016 brought into play a different breed of the classic “Ro”-bots. Two players stand out in this catgeory, which is a huge trend from this year’s event.

The first being known to many already, called “Maidbot,” better known as “Rosie” (pictured).  Run by their 19-year old CEO Micah Green, the Maidbot improves not only the staff experience, but the guests’ in turn.  After attending the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Green set out to cut down the amount of time it takes to clean a guest room. Rosie was created to assist a hotel’s housekeeping staff by cleaning floors while the human housekeepers performed other duties, cutting the time spent cleaning each room by 15-20 percent4. You can imagine, as a staff member, and also as a guest, this speeds things up for both sides – hitting customer satisfaction hard (in the best way) once more.

Rosie - Hotel Robot - HITEC 2016Maidbot’s “Rosie”

The second robot is Savioke‘s “Relay”,  which is a actually a guest-facing robotic experience (below). While we could talk for days about all the great things these robots can do, we will stick to our topic of simply highlighting this. Technology continues to make the guest experience better which benefits hotels long-term. 

Savioke Relay Hotel Delivery RobotSavioke’s “Relay”

Moving on to what we consider to be our bread & butter, there was a huge buzz for messaging everywhere this year more than ever. With over 4.8 billion mobile phone users estimated worldwide by 2018 and 350 trillion text messages sent annually worldwide2, the massive mobile growth is having a huge impact on businesses. Messaging is growing at a staggering rate, giving the hospitality industry an opportunity to deliver the next level of guest experience through messaging channels.  Hotels are moving quickly into messaging to improve guest loyalty, extend their competitive differentiation, and grow revenue.

“Hotels are watching guest behaviors closely now in 2016, and (are) identifying opportunities to both connect them closer with services they already use…” – James O. Brien, SKIFT MAGAZINE

By capitalizing on this new mobile way of business communication, hotels can simplify guest service and streamline internal operations. Guests can text for room service,  wakeup calls, or report a broken TV. This has made an enormous impact when it comes to the overall stay of the guest, anywhere they go. Messaging gives brands a direct and intimate relationship with consumers that social media only skims. What will the long-term effect be on marketing to consumers when businesses are on the same channels as their loved ones? “On-demand everything” is happening… starting with messaging in business.

“Offering customer service through texting and mobile messaging is a massive global trend.  Proof points are everywhere that demonstrate that mobile messaging in hospitality is revolutionizing the guest experience .” – Erik Suhonen, VP, Marketing & Product, ZINGLE

Alongside Zingle, capitalizing on this space is Amadeus Hospitality (formerly Newmarket). While we at Zingle help hotels better communicate with their guests through mobile texting and other messaging, our partnership with Amadeus Hospitality gives hotels a better way to service guests. With an integrated MultiChannel messaging platform (Zingle), combined with the industry standard in hotel service optimization, HotSOS, hotels now have the ability to communicate with guests instantly with pre-loaded guest data – via text and messaging through one unified inbox.  

Day1_BoothPic.jpgZingle’s booth on day 1, ready to rock the show
(Zingle Team from left to right: David Bramley, Erik Suhonen, Abbey Elias)

The amount of interest genreated through meetings, demonstrations, and vendor parties, was unprecedented in 2016. Fuel Travel Marketing even featured Zingle in their video post:


Since we first created this space in 2009, messaging are become the fastest way to reach the on-demand consumer. Trends tell us that by 2018, the messaging space will add 1.1 billion users to it’s population, for a predicted 3.6 billion. The close-second? Social media will add 2 billion, totalling over 2.4 billion3. Messaging is easily the biggest trend of business technology in 2016, and easily of HITEC 2016 as well.

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Skift Trends Magazine, 2016

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