By Eric Rogers – Vice President EMEA FCS Computer Systems EMEA Ltd…
Coming back from HITEC on Friday, I was left with that post-show glow one gets when knowing you made the right decision to exhibit. Everyone talks of this as the first European HITEC, which it was, but some of us have been in the industry long enough to remember the last “first HITEC” – though it was called HFTP Europe – held at the Hilton Amsterdam sometime in the 90s and I think survived two years. I still have the brass and leather coaster given to me to commemorate that first show. Somehow though, this event was very different.
With Carl Weldon running the show, I knew the event was going to be special. He did great things with HOSPA, and the HOSPACE event was (and I am sure continues to be with Jane Pendlebury in charge) the go-to event in the UK. Now back to HITEC. The pre-event emails did give me a few challenges, but all worked out well and Monday evening Chloe (Cardy Stewart – EMEA Business Manager) and I flew into Amsterdam and promptly gate-crashed the HFTP dinner.
Thanks to a rogue invite from Barry Thomas of Rosewood, we found ourselves at the Apollo in esteemed company including Frank Woolfe, Derek Wood, Carson Booth, Rich Siegel, Carl Weldon and his lovely wife, and of course Barry. A beer or two later the journey forgotten and a good catch-up ensued.
As is always the case, I rarely manage to get to the seminars. I did attend the opening event though and it was interesting, she was a good talker and very engaging. One day there might be a live stream from the seminars to the exhibitor hall, but for now, after the keynote, I was back at my stand to press the flesh, meet friends, old and new.
Tuesday evening was great. Following setup, a drinks reception was laid on, and it was a great chance to meet everyone and arrange further meetings for the next day. It was then off to the TELEADAPT event where the night continued. Thank you Gordon for the invite.
The hard work started Wednesday morning, frankly we were kept busy by a fairly constant stream of visitors both during the breaks and seminars, so it was good to be available. Discussions were good, meetings went well and I am sure we will do significant business in the coming weeks and months as a result of our attendance.
Our new friends at NEC were also busy and we did share quite a few discussions and introductions during the course of the show. I have always felt that hospitality is a big family – once you start working in this industry, you never want to leave. The attendee list was fantastic, just about everyone in attendance, delegates from across Europe, even the Middle East, made it a very valuable event to attend. I did hear rumour of it getting into four figures, which is quite believable.
I am sure this is the start of something great, and HITEC Europe will continue to grow – attracting more local and regional chains next year. It doesn’t need to rival the US event, and I am sure the character of this event will remain as something essentially European. I will look forward to being there again next year, though very happy to hear it won’t be clashing with the last week of the FY this time…
Thanks Carl and the team for a great show.