1972: The first formal gathering of technology enthusiasts was on April 17–19, 1972 at the Statler Hilton Hotel in Dallas, Texas. The very first version of HITEC was called the NAH-MA (now HFTP) Computer Users conference, with only 38 attendees.The founders: HFTP members Ken Jarvis, Larry Chervenak and Sal Spano were key players in planning and executing the event. “We collectively decided that it might be worthwhile if we could gather together all of the people who were using some aspect of data processing systems in their organizations.” – Ken Jarvis, HFTP Past President and a founder of HITEC.
1976: By the 1976 conference, it clearly showed signs of development. More large corporations, like Honeywell exhibited alongside original supporters like IBM and NCR. Such technology-oriented corporations played an important part in the conference’s early days by attracting attendees who were interested in seeing new technologies and their application to the hospitality industry.
1989: HFTP president Jaakko Talvitie helped establish the Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame award, which would honor these notable professionals. The ﬁrst recipients were Larry Chervenak, Carrol Lund and Raymond Schultz. The Hall of Fame has since inducted 51 individuals.
1991: The event officially became known as HITEC or the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference.
2006: HITEC premiered GUESTROOM 20X in Minneapolis, Minn. The special exhibit offered a peek at the leading-edge and near-future technologies for hotel rooms. GUESTROOM 20X was a feature in the exhibit hall at the following four HITECs.
2015: At HITEC Austin, HFTP introduced Entrepreneur 20X (E20X), a hospitality technology start-up pitch competition. Company representatives compete in front of a panel of judges and an audience of HITEC attendees. In addition to the competition, the participating companies are given a space in the E20X pavilion in the HITEC exhibit hall. E20X remains a fixture at HITEC and will be a feature once-again in 2022.
2017: In an effort to grow the HFTP network internationally, in 2017 the association made plans to produce two boutique HITEC events outside of North America. It held the inaugural HITEC Europe in Amsterdam and HITEC Dubai that same year.
2020: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 HITEC North America was not held in-person for the first time in its history. Rather, the event was able to go virtual with CYBER HITEC in Fall 2020 and returned to an in-person event in September 2021 in Dallas, Texas.
2022: HITEC celebrates its 50th anniversary as the world’s largest, oldest hospitality technology conference in the world at HITEC Orlando.
The story continues… HITEC started off as a small show that was organized to provide hospitality professionals a chance to grasp on to an undeveloped, but possibly important industry. It then ﬂourished right along with the technology wave. Now it is the show to attend for hospitality technology professionals to continue their knowledge and understanding of the integral role that technology is playing in our industry.