TORONTO — The Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals association (HFTP) held its Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre last week — marking the first time the show has been held in Canada.
HFTP reported record setting attendance at the event, with more than 6,500 industry professionals representing more than 65 countries attending the conference. The event, which marked HITEC’s 45th anniversary, featured more than 130 speakers, 366 exhibitors and 870 booths.
“[This year] has been an exceptionally ground-breaking year for both HFTP and its HITEC brand,” says Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO at HFTP. “Based on HITEC’s popularity, HFTP broke international barriers this year by producing inaugural European and Middle Eastern event counterparts to the recognized, larger North American conference. HFTP looks forward to continuing its mission in promoting education within the hospitality industry and expanding its production of successful events.”
The four-day event featured three keynote sessions on top-of-mind industry topics, including the impact of technology on the job market, the blockchain revolution and cybersecurity. The exhibition floor also featured the Tech Talks booth, which hosted a series of 15-minute education sessions throughout the exhibition.
Several awards were handed out at HITEC Toronto, including the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition awards. The Toroonto innovation competition featured 13 start-up companies, which presented four-minute pitches to a panel of five judges. Contestant Jennifer Wong from Stay Wanderful won the E20X Judge’s Award grand prize of US$5,000 and Arrivedo was chosen by conference attendees, via the HITEC 2017 mobile app, as the People’s Startup Award winner.
Six industry leaders were also recognized during the conference. Keith Gruen, Hiroo Ichii and Dr. Ravi Mehrota received the 2017 Quinquennial HFTP Award of Merit; Clint DeMill received the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) of the Year Award; and Greg Dawes and Monika Nerger were inducted into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame.