HFTP Connect – Hospitality Blog

Key Benefits of HFTP Membership Explained in New Membership Video

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Written By: Susan Savkov


New HFTP Membership Videos Available on YouTube Channel – “HFTPandHITEC”


HFTP® was excited to recently film the association’s new membership video. Watch the full “My HFTP” video on HFTP’s YouTube channel, and hear from a group of HFTP members on how they have benefited from their membership. Hearing our members’ stories on why they joined HFTP, what they have learned and connections they have made reminded us how lucky we are to be in this unique industry. We hope when you hear from your fellow members in the video, it will resonate why this is Your HFTP, a community of sharing, collaboration and support of hospitality professionals.

Find out what people have to say about HFTP as a whole. Below are quotes, pulled directly from the “My HFTP” membership video, from current and former HFTP Global Board directors as well as members, industry leaders and association influencers revealing what they have drawn from their experience as HFTP members.

Favorite part of HFTP membership quotes from “My HFTP” Video Footage:


Former HFTP Global Board member Neil Foster (left) attending an education session at the Annual Convention 2016 that took place at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

Neil Foster – Having my finger on the pulse of what’s really going on in the industry – HFTP has several of the key decision makers in technology and finance right there.”

Ted Horner – “Trading stories and comparing notes about things that are happening in the marketplace. Networking on a global scale – that is one of the great benefits of being a member of HFTP. The educational aspect, the knowledge transfer that happens. The willingness to share and cooperate is one of the great benefits of being part of the HFTP family.”

Sherry Marek – “Getting to know people both locally from a chapter level and globally at conferences – you get to talk to people, share stories and learn from them — it’s the people and the whole learning process.”

Prakash Shukla – “It’s the networking. The industry is fairly fragmented and siloed in many respects, and one doesn’t often get an opportunity to meet other professionals from the industry. HITEC®, for example, is a tremendously useful venue, and people come from all over the world to meet and greet each other and bounce off ideas and so forth.”

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Chapter Events – December 1-15

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Here is a look at the events our chapters have planned for the first half of December.

December 1, 2016

Central Virginia Chapter 

  • 6:30 p.m. | Location TBD
  • Holiday Celebration
  • For further details and RSVP – CLICK HERE

December 2, 2016

Charlotte/Blue Ridge Chapter 

  • 6:00-9:00 p.m. | Country Club of Asheville
  • Annual Holiday Social
  • For further details and RSVP – CLICK HERE

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Facts about Service Animals in the Hospitality Industry

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Do hotels, restaurants and clubs have to extend a warm welcome to any and all types of animals that come onto their premises?

Horses, and ducks and monkeys! Oh, my! We are approaching one of the craziest travel seasons of the year, and you could very well be sitting next to a miniature horse, duck or monkey if you are traveling on an airplane. Do hotels, restaurants and clubs have to extend a warm welcome to any and all types of animals that come onto their premises? Well, this was the topic of discussion during a legal education session at the HFTP® Annual Convention that took place last month at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada USA. The session was moderated by Richard Belair, SPHR, director of human resources at The Westmoor Club. The session was presented by Sean O’Connor, Esq., attorney and partner at Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP and Keith Pabian, Esq., attorney and partner at Pabian Law, LLC. The audience had many questions pertaining to this matter including the types of animals covered, services that must be provided, and legal ramifications.

First of all, a distinction must be made between the laws in the United States governing hospitality businesses on the ground versus those in the air. Hotels, restaurants and clubs must follow legal standards set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and airplanes fall under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). Historically, the ADA held a strict rule that only dogs could be considered service animals. In 2010, these rules were revised to also include miniature horses. Therefore, guests with disabilities visiting locations covered by the ADA are allowed to bring service animals such as dogs or miniature horses onto the property.

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Chapter Events – November 16-30

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Here is a look at the events our chapters have planned for the second half of November.

November 16, 2016

New Mexico Chapter 

  • 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | REDW offices
  • Accounting Ethics Presentation by Joyce L. Ellis, DBA, MAFM, CPA
  • For further details and RSVP – CLICK HERE

Florida Treasure Coast Chapter 

  • 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. | McArthur Golf Club
  • Department of Labor – Salary Update by Mitch Stump
  • For further details and RSVP – CLICK HERE

Dubai Chapter 

  • 7:00 a.m. Nov. 16 – 5:00 p.m. Nov. 17 | Park Hyatt
  • Hotel Technology Summit
  • For further details and RSVP – CLICK HERE

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HFTP Career Development – A Never Ending Story

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Written By: Aditya Prabaswara


HITEC Toronto (#HITECtor) will take place June 26-29, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada.

A file came to my desk, “a handover file,” with the details for the next program I was to handle for The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto. As a meetings and events manager, it is just part of my day-to-day job – however, when I saw the name of the organization listed on the file, I could not help but smile. I would be responsible for organizing the accommodations at the Westin for the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) in Toronto, the world’s largest hospitality technology show, for Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®).

I have known of, and had been a previous chapter member of, HFTP from the very beginning of my career. In 2006, I graduated from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management – an experience made all the better with HFTP’s help.

I was a beneficiary of the Charles E. Fitzsimmons, CHAE Endowed Scholarship. It is a scholarship that HFTP offers to hotel and restaurant management majors, and I can safely say it made a huge difference in my hospitality career.

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Transforming Hospitality Technology Trends in China

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Written By: Evita Ma


The China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) Global Annual Conference was held in Lijiang, China from November 2-4, 2016.

It was a great honor to attend the China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) Global Annual Conference held in Lijiang, China, this November. The conference was held in such a beautiful, ancient town, and the opportunity to listen to various views shared by industry experts was impressive and extremely beneficial. The conference itself had several innovative and interesting highlights, in terms of operation and marketing effects.

As China’s live-streaming sites have become increasingly popular, internet real-time broadcast was devised. This concept provides a platform to encourage the engagement of on-site participants and online audiences. Through this platform, people can raise questions, take surveys after each speech and even vote for the speakers they like. Every on-site participant has $200 (in virtual money) to reward the presenters at will. This new trial on live-streaming breaks the traditional settings of audiences listen to the speakers present on stage – it adds more dimensions of interaction between on-site and off-site participants.

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Steven Stout, CAE, the Definition of a Professional, Leaves HFTP with Contributions That Will Have Lasting Impact

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HFTP staff (left to right): Steven Stout, CAE; Lucinda Hart, CAE, MBA; Fritz Johnson; Frank Wolfe, CAE; Thomas Atzenhofer, CPA; Linnet Baskett; Bryan Wood.

After 14 years, HFTP Director of Meetings and Special Events Steven Stout, CAE moves on to highly coveted executive director position at the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE).

During my 25 years at HFTP®, I have had several very proud moments as the leader of my team. One was watching Lucinda Hart, CAE, MBA, who came to us with limited education, receive her MBA and become one of the most well-respected association executives in Texas, helping break the glass ceiling for women. Another is seeing Thomas Atzenhofer, CPA, an auditor and CPA with limited speaking skills, sit at a table of globally-recognized hotel company CFO-types and presenting to them without blinking an eye. Charlotte Sommers left us to start her own successful company. Fellow East Tennessee State University (ETSU) alumni and pro golfer Bryan Wood “grew up” in HFTP to become one of the most successful membership directors in association management. I am proud to have seen Eliza Selig win media awards on behalf of HFTP, and also represent HFTP in a podcast flawlessly. Celina Mendieta, CMP, DES, who came to us as a relatively shy meeting planner not only receive her Certified Meeting Planner designation, but also volunteered to take on tasks (and succeed at them) that were initially out of her comfort zone. Jennifer Lee, CAE, a former CVB executive, took on the marketing of the greatest show in the world and succeeded. Linnet Baskett has worked with so many committees and planned so many incredible events.

Even my stepson, Niles, (an HFTP summer intern) sent me a text one day with the message: “So Frank, what do you think about a career in hospitality?” – my heart missed a beat! Fritz Johnson, who left and then came back to HFTP, adopted not only one beautiful young child, but four of them. Frank Garza became one of the most outgoing accountants on record with his quick wit and determination to become a “fit” accountant. And for me personally, was winning the HFTP Paragon Award and being inducted into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. This is a very long list, and I could never list all of these moments because HFTP has been blessed with a long list of awesome individuals that have made us the great organization that we are today.

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A Hotel in the “Middle of Nowhere”

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Written By: Carl Weldon


HFTP COO Europe Carl Weldon at Hilton St. Georges Park.

There are many kind of hotels – from resorts to five star and to budget. However, I was able to attended the National Hotel Marketing Conference held in the Midlands of the U.K. – at a Hilton – known as Hilton St Georges Park. One chain hotel is the same as another right? Definitely wrong in this case.

I was wondering why there was a Hilton here – effectively in the proverbial “middle of nowhere.”

Now as you may know, England takes its football (or soccer in the U.S.) extremely seriously. The English Premier League (EPL) is covered worldwide, and who has not heard of Manchester United when it comes to football? We did win the World Cup in 1966 you know?

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Why Students Should Attend HFTP’s Annual Convention

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Written By Michael Bonn


Official Guest Blogger Michael Bonn at Annual Convention 2016.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” – Mark Twain

My father has instilled a value in me that will inspire me for the rest of my life. He told me to “take advantage of every opportunity you get” and to “surround yourself with people smarter than you.” The experience I had attending the 2016 HFTP Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada USA was just that. I learned so much from this wonderful event that will encourage me to strive for the best, and to lead others in their quest to achieve their dreams.

I would like to thank every individual that participated in executing this spectacular ceremony from the HFTP Global executive team, HFTP members, HFTP staff and all the way to the wait staff that flawlessly performed at their highest level to be sure attendees had an unforgettable experience. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to serve as a 2016 Annual Convention Official Guest Blogger, and I look forward to the continued relationships we have all had the pleasure of building together.

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How Much Do You Actually Know about HFTP’s Annual Convention?

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Written By: Michael Bonn


Surprise guests at the 2016 HFTP Annual Convention Opening Party last week.

“Going out with a bang” is an understatement for the HFTP® organization. Our last day of the convention blew me away AGAIN, and it went by way too fast! Friday’s schedule started a little later than Thursday’s itinerary and allowed us to sleep in an extra hour (or two for some of us), which was nice, but I could not wait to get back to Caesars Palace to see everyone again and hear more from our great speakers.

The first keynote session started at 8:00 a.m. and led in to the Annual Business Meeting. Watching the HFTP Immediate Past President, Daniel Conti, CHAE, CAMspeak with emotion about his passion for HFTP gave me a sincere understanding about what HFTP is all about. The many kind words chosen by Daniel’s friends and family to describe him were incredible. His desire for success was apparent, and the strong love for his wife awarded her a standing ovation. All of this really said a lot about his character. I had not met Daniel before, but I did introduce myself during the President’s Evening – I have to agree with everyone, Daniel is truly a remarkable human being.

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