Online Travel Agencies and Occupancy Tax: A Proliferation of Lawsuits

HFTP Connect - 14 July 2017
Online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and are the channel of choice for approximately 14 percent of all hotel bookings in the United States. Typically, these channels are responsible for collecting occupancy tax directly from the guest and then pay the hotel directly for the reservations. Recently, OTAs have come under scrutiny for the way they collect occupancy tax. Typically, taxes and fees are bundled together on the OTA website and the guest does not know what portion are taxes and what portion are fees. Furthermore, when the guest selects the option to pay at the hotel, the hotel charges tax on the full rate paid (retail) while the OTA only charges tax on the amount paid to the hotel (wholesale). Since the OTA receives a commission of between 20 to 30 percent, this discrepancy in tax collection can result in millions of dollars of losses to cities, counties and states.

So Long, Farewell 'O Canada!'

HFTP Connect - 13 July 2017
Another HITEC down, and it may have been one of the best yet. “O Canada” how you impressed me! I must admit I had my doubts on what level of turnout there would be, with potential hassles of passports, border crossings and foreign transaction fees. What I did not expect was the ability to dodge all rain storms, because of the genius design of The Path, which allowed me to walk almost anywhere staying inside. I did not expect to pose with the Art Ross and Calder Trophies from the NHL Hockey Hall of Fame (I was ok that the Stanley Cup was off visiting with my beloved Pittsburgh Penguins). And I did not expect to turn in the HITEC Toronto exhibit hall to see a whole peninsula of additional vendor booths just as I thought I had gotten through all of the aisles!

What I Learned at HITEC Toronto

HFTP Connect - 6 July 2017
Written By: Ron Hardin - Confession: I can not stop playing with the fidget spinner I picked up at the ALICE booth. My wife, a well-known “anti-fidgeter” (ask my kids), rolled her eyes when she saw it come out of my HITEC Toronto swag bag. Correction: In my previous blog post (HITEC Toronto: Our Story Thus Far), I mentioned the “sunset over Lake Erie” as seen from the CN Tower. My gentle readers are either all too polite – or slept through geography – because Toronto is on Lake Ontario, and the lake is southeast of the city – not southwest – so it was technically “sunset over Kitchener.” It was lovely, nonetheless.

13 E20X Pitches and One Home Run

HFTP Connect - 29 June 2017
Written By: Jennifer Jones - As a native to Baltimore, Maryland USA, I was excited to see that the Orioles are in town this week playing the Blue Jays. Now that I reside out west, I do not get to see them much anymore. Granted with a full schedule of meetings, sessions and receptions, sneaking out of HITEC Toronto to catch a few innings just was not possible. However, I made a better decision with my schedule and decided to attend the Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) hospitality technology pitch competition. This was my first time watching the event, and I encourage everyone to make sure that they make E20X a vital part of their HITEC ritual every year.

HITEC Toronto: Our Story Thus Far

HFTP Connect - 28 June 2017
The curtain descends on the second day of HITEC Toronto (#HITECtor), and it has been a busy couple of days. This is my first visit to Toronto, and I hope I get to come back to Canada someday when I have more free time. With the exception of a few showers, we have been blessed with lovely weather. For those of us who have attended this mid-summer event in more southern climes in recent years, the moderate temperatures have literally been a refreshing change.

Getting Organized for HITEC Toronto

HFTP Connect - 22 June 2017
I have attended HITEC now for several years, as both an exhibitor and an attendee. Regardless of my role there, I have learned one valuable lesson: take a vacation after to catch up on sleep! I know that is not realistic, but if my day-to-day job could stop for a week after to allow me to sort through all of the business cards and collateral I collected, not to mention the overflow of emails that came in while at the show, I would not dread the post-HITEC “hangover.”

Why HITEC Toronto Is Important

HFTP Connect - 22 June 2017
It sounds like one of those essays you had to write in school: “what I did on my summer vacation,” “what extracurricular activities mean to me.” It also sounds blindingly obvious – of course HITEC Toronto is important. After all, it is by far the world’s largest and oldest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand. HITEC Toronto is also historically significant, being the first-ever HITEC North America event to be held outside of the United States. #HITECtor will take center stage from June 26-29, anchoring a trilogy of international events in 2017 that include the debut of HITEC Amsterdam and HITEC Dubai. So, HITEC is clearly a big deal. But why?

Dispatches from HFTP Global: HFTP Texas Regional 2017

HFTP Connect - 1 June 2017
On May 19-20, 2017, the HFTP North Texas Chapter hosted the 2017 HFTP Texas Regional Conference which brought together a mix of hospitality finance and technology professionals at the Embassy Suites Dallas Love Field in Dallas, Texas USA. Attendees came from across the state of Texas – as well as neighboring states – for a two-day, education-packed conference. On Friday morning, pre-conference activities started with a CHAE review to assist attendees in preparing for taking the CHAE exam.

Exclusive Interview: Dual Award Winner Hyre Talks Entrepreneur 20X (E20X)

HFTP Connect - 25 May 2017
In June 2015, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), debuted its Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) innovation pitch competition, designed for hospitality technology startups, for the first time at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) – the world’s largest and oldest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand. Rapidly gaining popularity after its introduction at HITEC Austin, E20X has become a reoccurring feature at HITEC. In 2017, HFTP expanded E20X globally with its first European feature at HITEC Amsterdam in March and will be an upcoming feature at HITEC Toronto in June.

Dispatches from HFTP Global: CHTA Disruptive 2017 Innovation and Technology Expo

HFTP Connect - 9 May 2017
This is the second time I have attended a China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) event. Last month, I attended the CHTA Disruptive 2017 Innovation and Technology Expo from April 26-28, 2017 located at the Marriott QianJiang, HangZhou in Hangzhou, China. Featured exhibitors, impressive talks and discussions on heated topics contributed to a successful exhibition in the beautiful city. First introduced by Clayton M. Christensen in 1995, “disruptive innovation” – the event’s concept – is an innovation that provides different values and significantly affects the existing market. This might be the reason why the organizer chose this theme.

Dispatches from HFTP Global Director: Orange County Grassroots Membership Drive

HFTP Connect - 4 May 2017
I was able to realize another first recently – attending the inception of a new HFTP chapter. I was privileged to travel to Orange County, California USA for a grassroots membership drive to re-establish an HFTP chapter in the area.

Revenue Recognition: Comments Due June 1, 2017 on Implementation Issues Facing the Airlines, Gaming, Hospitality and Timeshare Industries

HFTP Connect - 26 April 2017
Since 2002, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) have been working together to bring the guidance provided in the United States General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in closer alignment. Historically, the U.S. GAAP provided complex transaction and industry specific revenue recognition guidance. For example, U.S. GAAP consisted of various revenue recognition requirements for specific transactions and industries which resulted in differing revenue recognition practices for similar transactions.

10 Reasons Your Business Should Not Wait to Switch to the Cloud

HFTP Connect - 24 April 2017
The Cloud was once conversation for techies and a distant future goal for visionary business leaders. How times have changed! Today, internet-based or “Cloud” computing is enabling businesses of all sizes to gain on-demand access to a growing pool of shared computing resources that includes networks, services, storage, VoIP phone systems and even complete omnichannel contact center solutions.

Service Charges: Then and Now

HFTP Connect - 13 April 2017
Have you ever wondered about the history of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI)? Recently an HFTP member contacted the HFTP Americas Research Center to research the history of the treatment of service charges in the uniform system for hotels. This sent me down a path of discovery and I found myself fascinated at the changes throughout the years. For example, the 5th edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for Hotels, printed in 1952, presents information pertaining to “service charges to guests for the purchase of railroad, airplane, steamship or other transportation tickets.”

Dispatches from HFTP Global Director: HITEC Amsterdam 2017

HFTP Connect - 11 April 2017
So the day finally arrived: HITEC Amsterdam. After many strategy meetings and discussions about growing HFTP and HITEC, one of the industry’s most prominent shows, on March 29, 2017 HITEC Amsterdam kicked off to recording breaking attendance. How can one say it is record breaking when it is the inaugural event? Well, as a finance and technology group there are always goals and metrics established, and while forecasting is something we do well, we exceeded our expectations. Therefore, it was record breaking!

HFTP Chapter Event Highlight: Orange County Interest Meeting

HFTP Connect - 10 April 2017
This month, HFTP is inviting HFTP members and hospitality industry professionals in the Orange County, California USA region to join a special Orange County Chapter Interest Meeting on Thursday, April 27, 2017 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hilton Orange County/Costa Mesa. There has been interest in chartering an HFTP chapter in Orange County area, and HFTP is looking for members to be a part of the development of this chapter. Click here to reserve your spot today.

How to Make Hotel Technology Profitable

HFTP Connect - 3 April 2017
Hotel tech professionals from all over the world gathered at HITEC Amsterdam last week. After dozens of informative sessions, inspiring keynote speeches and one thrilling hotel tech start-up pitch competition, one thing was very clear: The number of companies offering technologies that can benefit a hotel business is overwhelming. How is a hotelier to know which is the right piece of technology to implement? To help with that quandary, here are a couple of takeaways from the 45th HITEC—also the first ever to be held in Europe.

Dispatches from HFTP Global: Midwest Regional Conference

HFTP Connect - 31 March 2017
As it was my first visit up to the Midwest, I was really looking forward to attending the Midwest Regional Conference March 16-18, 2017 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Bloomington is a suburb of Minneapolis and the conference was located at the at the Radisson Blu hotel which is right next to the Mall of America. Just to give you an idea how big it is, to walk around one level is 1.15 miles of the mall and nine Yankee Stadiums can fit inside the Mall of America. It is a big mall.

Entrepreneur 20X: Wi-Fi, Upselling and Digitalizing Daily Operations

HFTP Connect - 29 March 2017
On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, HFTP’s hospitality start-up pitch competition Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) took place in Europe for the first time at HITEC Amsterdam. Each participant had four minutes to pitch their business concept, followed by four minutes for the expert judges panel to ask questions. I did notice that most of the start-ups were evolving around one (or more, in some cases) of three main hotelier-focused goals.

Choose Your Learning: HFTP ProLinks Webinars

HFTP Connect - 28 March 2017
Please raise your hand if you are busy. We are all probably raising our hands. There are many things vying for your attention right now in your job. Deadlines for your hotel budget, getting new technology for your club, managing staff and did we say keeping up with your career?

Time to Come in from the Cold

HFTP Connect - 28 March 2017
The weather may be cool this coming week, but there will be lots of hot new products and warm-welcome networking opportunities at HITEC Amsterdam (#HITECams).

HFTP Continues to Build its Global Presence with First Membership Event in London

HFTP Connect - 27 March 2017
HFTP hosted its first membership event in London this month at the Rosewood Hotel London on Monday, March 6, 2017. The first welcome we received was from the hotel dog – called Pearl – so named as the building the hotel resides in used to be the Pearl Assurance Banking Hall – and very grand it is.

The Times They Are A-Changin'

HFTP Connect - 27 March 2017
Written By: Fee Naaijkens. HITEC Amsterdam kicks off tomorrow on 28 March with its pre- conference events, and I am thrilled to be attending the event as a guest blogger this year. Amsterdam is going to be teeming with hospitality professionals from all over the world this week. But for a popular destination like “Mokum” (the locals’ nickname for their city), dealing with so many out-of-towners is a piece of cake. With the increasing number of hotel guests visiting the Dutch capital every year, running a hotel here should be all smooth sailing from now on, right? Not quite. There is something brewing that is about to shake up the hotel landscape across all of Europe.

Dispatches from HFTP Global Director: Mid-South Atlantic Regional Conference 2017

HFTP Connect - 24 March 2017
I had the great honor of attending the HFTP® Mid-South Atlantic Regional Conference last month in Raleigh, North Carolina USA from February 23–25, 2017. This was my first regional conference, so I really did not know what to expect. Having attended many HFTP Annual Convention and HITEC® events over the years, I wondered how a regional conference would compare. It did not take long to find out.

What to See at HFTP's Inaugural HITEC Amsterdam Conference - Spotlight on Entrepreneur 20X

HFTP Connect - 8 March 2017
Who does not enjoy a little friendly, but very competitive, competition? Whether you are a budding hospitality technology entrepreneur or just interested in the startup world, it is thrilling to watch bold entrepreneurs compete. Making its debut in Europe this month, HITEC Amsterdam attendees should start with the action-packed Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition on March 28, 2017. Viewers will feel the suspense, and remain on the edge of their seats, as representatives from the competing startups present their technologies.

Past Judges Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Information about HFTP's Entrepreneur 20X

HFTP Connect - 7 March 2017
For many hospitality technology entrepreneurs, being selected to participate in HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) innovation competition is a milestone accomplishment on the road for their startup’s successful endeavors. It is no secret that E20X participants gain exposure to a global network of leading industry professionals including: c-level executives, hospitality CIOs, angel investors, serial entrepreneurs, industry insiders and more.


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