AUSTIN, TEXAS; The International Board of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) unanimously approved to unveil an innovative benefit that provides HFTP members with new networking and professional development opportunities. Debuting January 2004, ProLinks will bring members around the globe together through an online community for discussion, education, networking, news and resources. This resource, developed especially for direct members who share similar challenges and concerns, will revolutionize the way member benefits are delivered. This new concept has a number of risks and rewards that may ultimately impact the current chapter structure.
“HFTP is addressing the current needs of its direct members who are not affiliated with a chapter due to geographic limitations,” said Tina Samson, CHAE, the chair of the ProLinks task, as well as the HFTP president-elect and CFO for Loews at Universal Orlando. “In addition, HFTP is considering an alternative delivery mechanism of benefits to the 75 percent of its membership base that currently does not participate at the chapter level. ProLinks allows members to choose an affiliation with professionals based on specific industry commonalities rather than by geographic location.”
A ProLink will comprise organizations of HFTP members representing specific interests, with no distinct and definable geographic location. Currently HFTP has 10 ProLinks planned: hotel technology, club technology, gaming, food and beverage, human resources, hotel finance, club finance, hotel management company, finance (corporate office, management, consulting, etc.), and technology (corporate office, management, consulting, etc.) Topics of discussion will be highly specific (segmented) and will occur electronically in real time using instant message technology. Participants will engage in a wide range of activities which include, but are not limited to, quarterly newsletters, networking directory, seminars, technical tracks at HFTP educational events, teleconferences, interactive web sites and publications.
“Thanks to the ease of communication through modern technology, HFTP is able to promote a different kind of community option,” said Wendy Zurstadt, CPA, CHAE, CHTP, HFTP president and director of finance for the Hartford Golf Club. “While chapters members connect through their location, ProLink members will bridge geographic gaps and come together through their specific hospitality interests. Both have their merit, and the HFTP Board feels it needs to provide such options so that members can advance professionally.”
The board is considering removing all Geographic boundaries for chapter membership and giving HFTP members the choice of joining either a ProLink or a Chapter. Presidents and officers from HFTP`s 54 active chapters were provided an opportunity to comment on the future impact to chapters if geographic and chapter membership restrictions are eventually lifted. The deadline for written comments from chapter officers to the international office is June 10, 2003.
For more information, contact the HFTP membership department at (800) 646-4387, (512) 249-5333 or [email protected]
Based in Austin, Texas, HFTP is the professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, resorts, clubs, casinos, restaurants and other hospitality-related businesses. The association provides continuing education and networking opportunities to more than 4,000 members around the world, and produces the premiere hospitality technology shows HITEC and ONHTEC. HFTP also administers the examination and awards the certification for the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in 1952 as the National Association of Hotel Accountants.