As the producers of the world’s most significant, oldest hospitality technology convention (#HITEC), HFTP is privileged to have someone as versed in hospitality technological know-how as its most recent leader, Neil Foster, CHTP, MBA. Foster has designed a multitude of strategic moves during his quarter-century vocation that have given him the viewpoint to see the hospitality market from all distinct angles. He understands the methods in which technological innovation supports all areas of the business which include finance and operations, the value of gaining international activities in an marketplace that touches the total planet, and how to navigate the market as both of those a seller and hotelier. This holistic worldview is indispensable to an affiliation that serves users in each finance and technologies from all all over the planet who get the job done for hospitality corporations and remedy vendors alike.
In this 1st “Letter from the HFTP Worldwide President,” get to know Foster on a additional individual level, and how his expert encounters form the way he sees the hospitality industry and how to direct in it.
On acquiring his way into hospitality technological know-how and the journey upwards
I 1st entered the hospitality marketplace “by accident,” getting work opportunities as a dishwasher and bussing tables. From these early experiences I arrived to realize the struggles numerous employees in our market endure and fixed to locate approaches to enhance the top quality of the working surroundings at the entrance strains. It has been just more than 25 years because my first function in hospitality technological innovation as an digital facts processing (EDP) manager with a 300-area Westin assets in Southwestern Ontario in Canada. This was an early IT management position, and matters had been extremely distinctive again then in this career. Technology and finance, at the time, ended up really closely aligned via EDP, and the know-how was incredibly essential with no prevalent Net obtain. How things have changed – and it is encouraging now to see how technological innovation serves the total firm as a instrument to fix enterprise issues.
The initially few many years of my occupation have been enlightened with Starwood Motels in an unforeseen way, just as the somewhat mysterious Starwood Capital was getting the Westin and Sheraton brand names. To say I was fortunate to witness some of the most groundbreaking improvements and developments in the visitor experience and the resort merchandise would be an understatement. There would be tons to find out and excellent vibes aplenty as we built one thing new with each other under open-minded and unconventional hospitality leadership at the major stage. Together the way (like numerous viewers) I was blessed to have astounding mentors. To title a several: Carl Johnston, John Jarvis, Kosta Tomazos, Keval Khanna and Gordon Carncross, who all considered in me, sharing raising responsibility heading into management of four considerable inns in Toronto and the encompassing space.
On gaining a international standpoint
Following a return to faculty, I was lucky to obtain point of view abroad exactly where I labored with just one of the main hospitality technology suppliers, now regarded as Oracle Hospitality, landing assignments in far-flung locations as Bangladesh, the Philippines and Singapore. A stint with Carlson Wagonlit Journey was a further eye-opening, vendor-lover expertise on travel management and world-wide distribution units (GDS). In both circumstances, attaining a new viewpoint on the resort and hospitality business from the “outside” was a beneficial training in being familiar with.
Extra a short while ago, my family and I experienced the exceptional chance to reside on just one of the most remote islands in the environment, Saint Helena Island, as I was recruited to help develop a modest tourism market connected to the likely of a new airport. For the duration of our time there, technological know-how was appreciated by way of its relative absence, and the knowledge of hospitality was baked into daily life in a little and restricted-knit local community we ended up fortunate to be portion of. In the course of the COVID several years, the Island was exceptionally isolated with a single flight to a solitary vacation spot each and every 6 months.
At present I am serving as director, technological innovation with Coast Lodges, aiding to get ready for a growth stage, and privileged to guide a focused and proficient technology crew below.
What he enjoys most about doing work in hospitality technologies
I’ve been blessed to have fallen into an sector I love. If hospitality is about the pleasant and generous reception and amusement of visitors, guests and strangers, this is the place I belong. As I see it, technological know-how is the enabling force of business functions. The course of action of matching business enterprise process advancements to suitable technologies, identifying valuable new visitor solutions, and producing new income streams with the help of know-how are all parts of desire to me.
On his very first introduction to HFTP
My late boss, Carl Johnston, introduced me to HFTP in the late 1990s, as I recall asking about the printed member listing on his desk. My initially HFTP practical experience was as his visitor at a assembly in Toronto, where I instantly felt relaxed and in superior firm with a cross-section of the who’s-who of hospitality finance leaders from about the town. My very first HITEC in ’99 (Atlanta) was, as a younger specialist, a magical working experience, and I recall our corporation technological innovation meeting co-located with HITEC. My curiosity with HFTP advanced to certification, in which I would pursue the CHTP designation in ’01, creating the examination by hand. It took 3 months to get the final results! While in Singapore, and on the foundation of my CHTP designation, I would be invited by James Lee to assistance direct the HFTP Asia Chapter as a director on the community board. The experience of “family” in this distant department of HFTP would leave a lasting affect on me and generate my curiosity in serving to to extend world attain additional in the foreseeable future.
A number of a long time in the past, under [HFTP Past President] Tim Nauss’ assistance, I was lucky to be element of a council tasked to investigate the future stage of global growth, and it is enormously worthwhile to witness the intercontinental improvement and scope of chapters, USALI and HITEC (which includes Toronto!).
In general, in my possess working experience, I have come to fully grasp the essence of HFTP exists in our men and women, and in the spirit of hospitality. Thank you to all the volunteers who provide, or have served, in the chapters, councils, the board, and the govt council. Volunteers are the essence of our association, and I am grateful to every single a single of you for your company. For individuals considering involvement, there are so several strategies to contribute – be sure to sign up for us!
As stellar examples of engagement: my congratulations to Chris Contos, the latest recipient of the HFTP President’s Award, and [HFTP Past President] Daniel Conti, Jr., CHAE+, this year’s receiver of the prestigious HFTP Paragon Award, for acquiring attained the pinnacle of contribution to the affiliation and field.
In closing, I am grateful to [HFTP Immediate Past] President Mark Pate, Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA and Earlier President Michael Levie, CHTP, fellow Govt Committee and International Board members, and to Frank Wolfe (HFTP CEO) and the group at HFTP for encouraging us get by these last handful of extremely difficult many years, and for your management and steerage. It is an honor to observe in reliable footsteps, as I get ready to provide the affiliation as incoming president. I am grateful for all the support, and I glance forward to working together in direction of a sturdy yr forward!
A Return to Toronto Takes Spot in 2023
A lot more than 20 several years afterwards, Foster and HFTP will return to Toronto with HITEC North The usa 2023 – the spot to be for all people who adore hospitality technologies, and who want to experience the inventive means technology transforms how those in the organization of hospitality welcome and serve their visitors and consumers. HITEC Toronto normally takes location June 26-29, 2023, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada. In its 51st calendar year, HITEC proceeds to deliver the brightest minds and best technologies from across the world to a single place. Find out additional at www.hitec.org and start earning your strategies to show up at upcoming yr.
Carry on to Hear from Foster In the course of His Term
Foster will continue on to share his worthwhile insights and experiences with HFTP users and stakeholders through his time as president of the HFTP Global Board in the bi-every month “Letter from the HFTP Global President” sequence published here on HFTP Join. Verify back in January, when he goes in-depth into his ambitions and options for the association in 2023.