As technology evolves at a lightening speed, hotel electronic distribution managers need to keep up with the pace of change, just like anyone else in the industry.
Solutions that may have worked even four years ago do not cut it today.
Keeping up involves education and one event where hotel executives can get this is at a twice yearly Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) conference.
The latest meeting in Frankfurt, Germany again lived up to its reputation for networking and for offering insight into the latest strategies of the GDSs, the tour operators and the hoteliers.
BTN talked to Tiffany Topcik president of HEDNA and VP of Hotel & Supplier Relations, ABC Corporate Services in Frankfurt about how the event progressed.
BTN: What has the HEDNA conference in Frankfurt achieved this time?
Topcik: We have achieved a tremendous amount in this conference. It has been two full days of action packed information that is key to any distribution manager’s portfolio and tool box. We have covered a myriad of subjects ranging from RSS, content management, rich media, working with tour operators and groups in an online environment.
We have given distribution managers new tools for their businesses and the ability to look at their businesses with new perspectives. It is about getting their content out to the travel agents, as well as their distribution partners and other customers that may come to them through brand sites.
BTN: What was the highlight of the HEDNA conference?
Topcik: Certainly Henry Harteveldt, vice president of Forrester Research and his presentation, he laid a tremendous foundation for us in giving the conference demographic and industry trends about what is happening in the Europe and EMEA marketplace.
Through Henry we examined the usage of online tools and technologies in distributing the hotel product. It is incredible to notice the variances in terms of who is on the web and how they are using it, but also the forms of payment they are utilising and the tools and techniques that are involved—such as rich media.
BTN: What has made the conference a success?
Topcik: It is truly the action and involvement of all of our members. HEDNA is a very interactive conference and that is a key point of differentiation from any other meeting, particularly in the distribution arena. Our committees themselves are hands on working groups that are addressing compelling issues.
This time we addressed areas pertaining to standardisation, as well as distribution management. The conference has delved in to hot topics such as credit card verification issues. If cleared up this could literally save hotels millions of dollars through the works of the banks and what they are doing to eliminate fraud and support the monies that have been earned by the hoteliers.
BTN: What can we expect from the next HEDNA conference in Florida this coming December?
Topcik: December is going to be fabulous. We welcome back Henry Harteveldt, as well as a host of other high level speakers.
Dr. Lalia Rach, Associate Dean for Hospitality at New York University, will be back with us to moderate, she always provides a very compelling and insightful presentation and she always challenges any panellist before her in a way that they need to think different and be on their toes.
Dr. Rach truly brings forward the issues and ideas behind the distribution manager’s business. She is able to dig in and get from them new ideas and ways that they can strengthen their business and achieve maximum profitability.