MARKHAM, ONTARIO—If you were planning on attending a hospitality event in 2020, chances are high that it was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. While this disruption in show business has been devastating to event planners and convention facilities, the advent of virtual events is quickly proving to be a lucrative alternative for everyone involved. The recent BITAC Independent Virtual 2020, produced online Sept. 1 by Hotel Interactive, is receiving rave reviews. Maestro PMS, the leader in cloud and on-premise property-management system solutions for independent hotels and luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups, participated in the inaugural affair and was impressed with the number of connections made among managers and executive-level decision makers. If the success of this virtual event is any indication of things to come, Maestro Vice President Audrey MacRae said she can’t wait to participate in future online conferences and tradeshows, such as CYBER HITEC, scheduled to be LIVE, October 27 to 29, and on demand October 27 to November 29.
“Initially we were hesitant to try a virtual event, but based on the reputation of the BITAC Independent Virtual 2020 organizers, our relationship with the same, and the value proposition from past events we attended, we gave it a try — and we are so glad we did,” MacRae said. “Although it was Hotel Interactive’s first virtual event, it was extremely well organized and provided a good opportunity for one on one conversations in a live meeting setting with key decision makers. We will definitely be participating in more virtual BITACs.”
Now that Maestro has had a successful experience engaging with online buyers interested in learning more the company’s many PMS models, MacRae said she is especially eager for CYBER HITEC, the world’s largest hospitality technology conference that will feature sessions led by industry peers and experts, and an unparalleled expo showcasing the latest industry products and services from hundreds of companies.
“The hospitality industry needs to keep abreast of technology more than ever, and events like the BITAC Virtual Series and CYBER HITEC will bring all of the top tier vendors to one central place for the market to peruse and evaluate more effectively as they enter their opening seasons and consider new ways to satisfy guests,” she said. “These forums are ideal for identifying strong, flexible vendor partners such as Maestro that offer the latest innovations, provide free upgrades, support investment protection, and deliver a host of PMS deployment options to satisfy the diverse needs of operators. With such demand among travelers for contactless technologies today, these online events are critical and they are making it possible for us to bring our personalized and touchless mobile guest service tools to the market and showcase how operators can enhance the guest experience and deliver a safer stay.
“Hoteliers are a tenacious group and combining technology with hospitality to improve the guest experience (or tradeshow) is a testament to the tenacity and strength of our industry during these challenging times,” MacRae said. “It’s exciting to see. While there is nothing that can compare to an in-person event — they will not be replaced ― we must adjust to this temporary ‘new normal’ for now and forge ahead together.”
Future Virtual BITAC events include BITAC® Casino Connect® Virtual 2020 held today; BITAC® Symposium Connect® Virtual 2020 will be held Oct. 6; and BITAC® Operations Connect® Virtual 2020 will be held Oct. 13. CYBER HITEC Sneak Peek Safety and security are top of mind for hotel operators and vendors alike as they strive to protect their staff amidst today’s challenging and ever-changing travel landscape.
At CYBER HITEC, MacRae said Maestro will be showcasing solutions that place safety at the core of hotel operations, via:
➢ A curbside check-in tool utilizing mobile tablet devices to streamline registration while properly socially distancing staff from guests, and guests from each other.
➢ Integration to web/mobile/kiosk/iPad self check-in with mobile key, express mobile check-out, electronic reg card with signature capture, mobile spa provider schedule, mobile intake and waiver forms, and eSignature document management to limit staff interaction with guests and remove high-touch physical documents.
➢ A mobile housekeeping app that protects staff by controlling the availability of rooms and setting a 48-hour time gap between the time a guest departs and the next guest arrives.
➢ POS integration enabling new, customizable, mobile tableside ordering and payment platform to extend social distancing procedures to dining areas. Restaurant patrons can scan a QR code at the table to upload a digital menu, order meals, split the check, add a tip, and pay via their personal mobile devices or post charges directly to the hotel room.
➢ A Guest Engagement Measurement (GEM) tool that provides seamless, real-time integration with instant access to relevant guest feedback, intelligence and insights to encourage operational excellence, meaningful differentiation, and a sustainable competitive advantage.
➢ A workorder management module that supports the operational activities of the teams responsible for maintenance and repair yet limits staff exposure by scheduling repairs at times that are optimal for social distancing.
“Shows like BITAC Virtual 2020 and CYBER HITEC are designed to help hoteliers and vendors connect globally around topics of interest that will help them reopen their hotels more successfully and meet the changing demands of travelers,” MacRae said. “These events will facilitate networking through virtual booths, live webinars and chatrooms to simulate the traditional conference or tradeshow experience. We are excited that our first virtual experience was so positive, and we look forward to connecting online with our customers and peers in the weeks and months ahead.”