To maintain its high value, plans for preventing pirate exhibitors (also known as Outboarders or Suitcasers) at HITEC 2009® (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference) have been established for the upcoming show. It is common for unaffiliated or non-exhibiting vendors to take advantage of the show’s popularity by promoting their wares leading up to and near the show, or on the exhibit hall floor in an unofficial capacity.
Some plan product demonstrations and similar events to “steal” attendees from conference organizers and supporters. Such practices weaken the show’s worth to its supporters and organizers. The producer, HFTP® (Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals), is enacting preventive measures to restrain pirate exhibitors, including rules prohibiting unofficial companies from associating themselves with HITEC, stepping-up security and increasing awareness of the issue among HITEC constituents and official HITEC hotels.
“Pirate vendors ultimately damage the overall success of the show for all involved,” said Lucinda Hart, CAE, HFTP’s COO. “The official exhibitors and service providers spend thousands of dollars to be part of HITEC, and we feel it is our responsibility that they get the best experience possible at the show. Companies that attempt to circumvent the system should be on notice that HFTP will do everything it can to protect the integrity of HITEC.”
Entering its 37th year, HITEC is considered to be the hospitality technology industry’s must-attend event, annually gathering many influential industry players. It is an opportune time for vendors to gain a significant audience, leading to numerous satellite events and promotions hosted by exhibitors and non-exhibitors alike. As a result of HFTP’s continual pirate awareness campaign, attendees in the past have notified the association of non-exhibiting vendor events. In response, HFTP contacts the event’s hosts to inform them of their violation and its negative impact on HITEC. While some pirate exhibitors know they are participating in an unethical practice, many non-exhibiting, new industry players don’t realize that such actions devalue the show for exhibiting vendors.
“We have found that in most cases, this type of behavior is a simple misunderstanding and is rectified immediately,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, HFTP CEO. “At a past HITEC, one particular non-exhibiting vendor was so appalled that his event had impacted the paying vendors in a negative way that he made a donation to HFTP immediately following the event. He wanted his clients to understand that his organization did not want to build their business under a cloud of possible unethical behaviors.”
To prevent pirate exhibitors, HFTP employs the following techniques:
Vigorous promotion of the official HITEC exhibitor list, hotel room blocks and allied organizations,
Increasing security at HITEC 2009,
Attendee and exhibitor awareness of the issue,
Aggressive defense of HITEC and HFTP service marks,
Attendee volunteers who provide show organizers with copies of product demonstration invitations, and
Increasing cooperation from the official HITEC hotels to notify HFTP of attempts by non-exhibiting companies to gain meeting space.
There are numerous practices used by unofficial vendors. Leading up to the show, HITEC exhibitors are solicited by service providers not affiliated with HITEC who peddle computer, audio visual, carpet and other booth-related rentals. Exhibitors who experience this are asked to report it to email@example.com.
A housing pirate is an unauthorized housing provider that often claims a vague affiliation with a conference and offers reduced rates to attendees. The only housing bureau associated with HITEC is the one located on the HITEC web site.
Attendees approached by a hotel company other than the HITEC housing bureau or non-exhibiting vendors with invitations to attend product demonstrations or similar events at HITEC are asked to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to notify HFTP.
HITEC 2009 is the world’s largest hospitality technology exposition and conference. It is June 22-25 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. HITEC 2009 offers attendees a one-stop shop for essential education, access to experts and hospitality technology vendors, networking with top leaders in the industry and the resources to find cost-effective ways to improve company bottom lines. Registration and the full conference schedule are available online at HITEC.org.
For more information, contact the HFTP Meetings & Special Events Department at email@example.com, +1 (512) 249-5333 or (800) 646-4387.
HFTP, Austin, Texas, USA and Maastricht, The Netherlands, founded in 1952, is the global professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, clubs and other hospitality-related businesses. HFTP provides first class educational opportunities, research and publications to more than 4,800 members globally, including the premiere hospitality technology conference HITEC, founded in 1972. HFTP also awards the only hospitality specific certifications for accounting and technology – the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) and the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) designations. HFTP was founded in the USA as the National Association of Hotel Accountants. For more information, visit www.hftp.org.