Somewhere to start

6 January 2021

A not-for-profit trade association dedicated to fostering collaborations and partnerships among hospitality professionals and technology providers, Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) is firmly dedicated to improving technological proficiency within the hospitality sphere. Here the group outlines some of the insightful recent publications and workshops available to all hoteliers, large and small.

Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) is encouraging those in the hospitality sector to start off the new year by providing industry thought leadership, creating connections and more, by participating in its workgroups. Its focus is on all technology-related issues throughout the global hospitality industry and serves to educate readers on the latest developments, helping them improve their grasp of the current technology landscape and how best to use these solutions. For anyone not interested in getting involved in an active workgroup, over 150 resources are hosted on the HTNG website. The following article walks through these groups by overviewing recent publications, highlighting some popular HTNG workgroups and wrapping up by sharing some new groups on the horizon.

Recent publications

HTNG publishes a number of papers each year breaking down technology-related problems faced by those in the hospitality sector and their potential solutions. Some recent publications came from HTNG workgroups like:

911 Location Communication: This workgroup produced a document that provides hoteliers and hospitality technology professionals an overall understanding of the new Federal 911 laws: Kari’s Law and the RAY BAUM’s Act. Additionally, this document provides information to help them ensure their hotels’ MLTS are compliant with the laws.

Fiber to the Room: This group published ‘Day 2 Support for Managed Service Providers and Hoteliers’, which discusses solutions, document requirements and troubleshooting. Prior to this, it created a series of best-practice documents and webinars on how to deploy a fibre network in a hotel.

Internet of Things (IoT): IoT poses challenges for hospitality executives to determine which solutions offer tangible benefits, no unnecessary complexity and are compatible with existing solutions. The IoT workgroup addressed this challenge by publishing documents and guidelines for successful IoT network design, communication protocols, integration and security concerns. The most recent output of this group were the publications of an IoT security white paper and an IoT protocols white paper.

Current featured workgroups

Of course, its the workgroups themselves that are HTNG’s bread and butter. Some of its most popular workgroups include:

5G for Hospitality: Spectrum, protocol, speed and latency are just a few changes and benefits of a 5G deployment, but how will this affect connectivity in a modern hospitality company? This workgroup produced a 5G FAQ and will continue to create white papers on 5G’s characteristics and capabilities, the implications for existing network infrastructure, and its potential for the hospitality ecosystem.

Business Analytics Transactional Extract (BATE) 2.0: Over 400 PMS systems on the market store valuable transaction data ripe for analysis, but no standards exist to export all that data. The BATE group developed a standard extract, transform and load (ETL) target to create consistency across the industry. This group is working on a 2.0 version.

Converging AV and IT: Audio-visual requirements, implementations and operations in hospitality are often an afterthought to hotel design and infrastructure planning. To improve the event space’s flexibility, audience experience and performance of installed solutions, this workgroup is creating a white paper detailing the current state of AV equipment and equipment IP capabilities.

Express PMS Integrations: A hotel property management system (PMS) serves as the primary interface for guests, reservations, folio and room data. Therefore, any system that interacts with any of these entities requires an affective integration. Express PMS Integrations brings together the PMS providers and ecosystem partners to explore and develop best practices that drive improvements to the integration processes and increase efficiency.

Guest Room Entertainment: Entertainment in hospitality has rapidly evolved to a complex, sophisticated ecosystem of suppliers, content providers and services. Planning an ideal guest entertainment experience, therefore, requires constant re-evaluation. This group is gathering market data and research to inform the industry on the current state of guest room entertainment and its usage.

Hospitality Operations Revitalisation: As a result of Covid-19, many hospitality industry stakeholders are evaluating staffing, operations, technology, real estate and other vital components of a modern business. Hospitality Operations Revitalization is identifying hotel operation closures and reopening best practices, candidates for automation and other strategies to ensure a strong, resilient resurgence of the hospitality business.

Improving the Guest Wi-Fi Experience: Hospitality companies do not have an accurate, consistent nor objective measure of a guest’s quality of experience in terms of Wi-Fi. This group is developing a common methodology and recommendations to define and measure key performance metrics to give insight into, predict and ultimately improve the guest quality of experience.

Open Payments Alliance (OPA) Standards: The complexity of the billion-dollar travel and hospitality B2B payment ecosystem has led to widespread insecure and legacy system adoption across the distribution landscape. The Open Payment Alliance was created to solve these issues, but software standards, business rules and best practices are needed to increase adoption and scale the solution across hundreds of payment providers.

Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2): PSD2 (PSD v2, Directive (EU) 2015/2366) is a set of laws focused on banking and payment processes in the EU. As a result, strong customer authentication and certain types of technology processes must be adopted by many industries, including hospitality. This workgroup is evaluating operational and technical requirements to document and publish prior to these laws going into effect.

Travel Safe: In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, how can consumers be confident that lodging is safe? Changing consumer behaviour and expectations are driving new health and safety measures. This workgroup is helping the industry determine the future of distribution and Covid-19 messaging.

Unique Hospitality Identifier (UHI): A UHI is a unique random code that can identify and provide information about legal entities in hospitality. UHIs can be linked to identify relationships such as a hotel with its franchise, chain and member associations. The workgroup Unique Hospitality Identifier is defining the value proposition of a UHI, which will lead to an associated business model, minimum viable product and governance structure.

Upcoming pre-charter workgroups

Prior to launching an active workgroup, individuals with common interest on a topic can come together to determine what the team wants to accomplish, and develop a charter for the group’s time frame and output. The current groups in this phase are ‘Attribute Modelling for the Distribution Ecosystem’, ‘Optimising Relationships Between Marketing and IT’ and ‘Refining Marketing Initiatives’.

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