Industry Update
Opinion Article12 December 2016

HITEC Amsterdam Perspectives - A Talk with Stephen Minall

By Mihaela Lica Butler , Reporter for Hospitality Net

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Lica Butler

A while back we spoke with Stephen Minall, member of the HITEC Amsterdam Advisory Council  and owner of Moving Food Ltd., to address the issue of whether the industry needs to elevate the role of IT Managers. Minall is a man of few words and a brilliant strategist. His answer back then was simple: "it should be a challenge to all hotels."

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We continued our discussion with Stephen to cover other important matters, like shadow IT, less control over every aspect of technology, and mobile technology.

A pressing concern in the industry is how data privacy and nationalization impede capabilities to provide efficient IT operations that enhance guest service. As a response to the question, how should hospitality technology participate in lobbying efforts with governmental jurisdictions, Minall considers that petitioning "should be done at all levels but sadly most general managers rely on positioning, rather than looking at this themselves."

Lobbying may help prevent unintended consequences by opening a direct dialogue between professionals in the industry and governmental policymakers who make the decisions that affect business and the economy. Companies like Uber and Airbnb are already active lobbyists urging lawmakers to ease nationalization standards in cities all over the world. They extend their reach beyond city and state lobbying to create good will and to shift standards.

On to the matter of shadow IT which we previously addressed in an interview with Timo E. Kettern, IT Director at Lapithus Hotel Management, Minall insisted on the role of hotel chains:

"If chains were far-reaching, they could afford to ring-fence certain hotels or regions, and thoroughly test/trial innovation, take the plunge, take the risk, and look at the responses and results."

Concerning mobile technology and easing the guest experience, Minall sees the what and timing of purchasing such technology challenging, but recommends hospitality pros to stay abreast of innovation:

"It has to be a major headache on what and when to buy this new technology. Guests will now expect to book/buy/bargain and then pay as they are doing with every other form of purchase. Follow and lead or die on the vine!"

Concluding the interview, Minall addresses a challenge to industry pros to consider how hospitality IT should engage with gig technologies like AirBNB, Uber, or those that allow customers to order takeout online, and so on. His expert opinion is that these cannot be swept under the carpet.

Planning for HITEC Amsterdam is in full swing with guidance from an advisory council representing eight European countries. The council is chaired by Carson Booth, CHTP and vice-chaired by Derek Wood. For the latest news, follow HFTP/HITEC on HITEC Bytes, PineappleSearch, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (@HFTP) and Instagram (HFTP_HITEC). For more information about HITEC Amsterdam, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at [email protected], +1 (512) 249-5333.

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HITEC AMSTERDAM

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RAI Amsterdam Exhibition and Convention Centre — Amsterdam - The Netherlands
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Mihaela Lica Butler

Mihaela Lica-Butler is the founder and senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues (BBC News, Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Epoch Times and others), with an experience of over 12 years in online PR. When she doesn't work, she enjoys writing children's books and developing recipes.

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