6 Insights from HTNG 2015 North American Forum

We had the pleasure of hosting the HTNG 2015 North American Forum Meeting in our hometown of Portland, Oregon last week. A record-breaking crowd of HTNG members gathered at Sentinel, a Provenance hotel in the heart of the city, to learn from and teach each other about the future of our industry. After events like these, our office buzzes with new life and fresh ideas and it’s customary for us to do a “download” of our key learnings.

This year, we even got the chance to host a panel discussion and we immediately knew: this shouldn’t be a product pitch. HTNG is a pretty tight-knit group, so we asked ourselves, what don’t we know about each other? It’s a lot easier to talk about our successes and wins. So, we created a panel around the idea of “What if the secret to success is failure” and we got some pretty awesome stories (full video coming soon - stay tuned!)

We asked our fearless panelists - and ourselves - to provide some observations from the event. What did you learn? What’s new and what’s stood the test of time? How are people feeling - what’s the overall vibe? Our top 6 insights from the HTNG 2015 North American Forum are (make sure to add yours in the comments below):

  1. HTNG is a Forum for Problem-solvers: According to Brennan Gildersleeve, VP of Brand & Guest Technology at Starwood, “HTNG remains the best industry forum for bringing hoteliers and suppliers together to solve technology problems and discuss innovative new technologies.” We couldn’t agree more, Brennan.
  2. Personal Area Networks are Hot: most forward-thinking organizations (Eleven included) have PAN technology on their roadmap for 2015 and beyond. This technology will allow hotels to better deliver personalized service for guests - including the ability to securely connect to in-room devices, like a Chromecast or Apple TV.
  3. Products Are Systems: Ultimately, the technology we build is part of a bigger ecosystem and the cost of fixing it - especially securing it - after it’s built is 100 times more expensive than doing it at the time of initial design. In other words, do it right the first time.
  4. The Time for Central Authentication is Now: we have been telling the central authentication story since we first started building our platform in 2001. The gist being one centralized place to securely identify and manage guests on your network. Now, some 14 years later, the market is ready. 
  5. Failure is About Expectations: failure is not just about doing something wrong and trying again. You only truly fail when you don’t meet expectations. Brian Epstein, CEO of Deep Blue Communications, gives us a great real-life example of this on our panel - Watch the clip below.
  6. People ♥ Portland! Perhaps we’re biased, but the numbers don’t lie. This year’s North American Forum Meeting drew the largest crowd HTNG has seen - up 75% from last year. Our quirky town has quite a few new hotels coming soon too. Surely the abundance of beer and donuts doesn’t hurt.

Thank you to the wonderful HTNG team and all the members who came to Portland to join us for the forum!

Did you attend the forum? What was your top insight or learning?