HospitalityNet has long established its reputation as the hotel industry’s leading news portal for hospitality professionals and leaders. However, where did it all begin? Who was the pioneering mind behind this dominant showcase of hospitality leadership? Perhaps more importantly, where is it headed? What does the future of hospitality publishing hold?
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Henri Roelings, the Founder & CEO of HospitalityNet. Henri is recognized throughout our industry as a tenured thought leader, acting as a frequent guest speaker at events and conferences, while also advising some of the highest regarded boards and associations in our industry. With various successful brand launches padding his professional portfolio, along with a place among HSMAI’s “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing,” Henri has undoubtedly helped to define the trajectory of hospitality – and continues to do so.
“Back in 1994, HospitalityNet started out as a hobby when I was working for Accor’s IT Group, called Prologic. At that point, the world wide web was in its infancy, and as a hospitality professional, I realized our industry needed a better way to access professional resources. While there were only a few hospitality group websites at the time, I wanted to create a page with links to those resources to help industry peers to find relevant information in a central index. At the time, I never imagined it would evolve to what it is today – a highly structured content portal which serves an ever-growing global audience.”
Creation of Hsyndicate – The Hospitality Content Syndicate
In 1999, right after the dot.com crisis, Henri realized that HospitalityNet needed to evolve and re-invent itself. “Hsyndicate, the platform, was created on a rather simple premise. With a growing number of organizations in the industry tapping into evolving digital resources and creating websites and content, we saw an opportunity to streamline this content within one, central hub. Not only would this create something of a ‘highlight reel’ of cutting-edge, industry content, but it would help those organizations increase their visibility. This was the genesis of Hsyndicate. We created a membership model to allow organizations and industry leaders to feed their content into a highly structured database. Whether contributing to or extracting from the database, Hsyndicate proved to be an exponentially valuable industry resource for many organizations.”
Hsyndicate, the underlying platform and technology that drives HospitalityNet, offers an exclusive focus on global hospitality and tourism – serving as the industry’s leading electronic media-hub. Today, the Hsyndicate platform is assisting over 500 companies in the hospitality industry, from Hotel B2B tech companies to educational institutes, hotel brands, and beyond.
Fast forward to 2019, and HospitalityNet is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Not only does this moment mark the celebration of a long-term platform evolution that has passed the test of time, but it also represents the precipice of exciting change.
Introducing HospitalityNet World Panel
“It has always been our purpose to bring content together within a central database from a variety of leaders. In doing that, we have never produced our own proprietary content – that is, until now. We wanted to come up with an innovative way to create content and share knowledge with the incredible network of experts we have developed over the past 25 years. With this in mind, we introduced the HospitalityNet World Panel back in April, which aims to create virtual panels of industry experts in key areas of the hotel industry (digital marketing, tech, F&B, Finance, Wellness, Sustainability, etc.), providing and sharing invaluable expertise with industry peers. We soft-launched the first panel last April, focused on digital marketing, and the response was phenomenal.”
The HospitalityNet World Panel represents an innovative way of driving collaborative peer to peer objective viewpoints — essentially, it sparks conversations across our industry in an impactful manner. With its panel initiative, HospitalityNet is now in its world, offering news, editorial, and paid placement initiatives while holding to its promise of providing the best in hospitality content.
When asked his take on the main issues affecting the industry today, Henri quickly made note of the increasingly digital landscape which we occupy.
“Consumers and travelers live a very digital life, and it’s no secret that the hospitality industry has often lagged behind in how they serve their guests throughout the new digital journey. With this in mind, and as we witness the digitalization of our industry, there is an increasing responsibility for hoteliers to invest in technology that empowers this digital progression to remain on par or exceed guest expectations. Ultimately, hoteliers need to create a stack of innovative platforms, that work in tandem to allow them to better serve and connect with their guests — both online and off.”
This brings us to the ultimate question: Where is HospitalityNet headed?
“Moving forward, Hsyndicate will act as the engine that drives HospitalityNet — which will continue to reach and impact a global audience, while growing our market share to the B2B stakeholders in the industry. Ultimately, HospitalityNet will continue to act as the pulse of the hotel industry, and the go-to source of information for hoteliers and industry leaders. The World Panel will continue to further this impact, creating a more innovative segment where people can learn and drive discussions. I’ll be at HITEC next week, and after that, I’ll be at Phocuswright and then WTM in London and ITB Berlin. I am excited to connect with leaders across the globe and further discuss and explore the future of our industry.”
About Alan Young
Alan E. Young is the Co-Founder and President of Puzzle Partner, the leading agency specializing in hospitality and travel technology marketing. Previously, Alan has held executive level positions with start-up companies such as Newtrade Technologies, (acquired by Expedia), Hotel Booking Solutions (acquired by IBS Software) and TrustYou. Alan is past Chair of The Board of Directors of The OpenTravel Alliance and been very involved with other industry associations most notably AHLA, HEDNA, and HTNG. With over two decades of experience in the travel and hospitality technology world, Alan specializes in helping innovative companies achieve winning performance and dramatic growth. You can connect with Alan on LinkedIn.
HospitalityNet, powered by Hsyndicate, is the #1 ranked website for the global hospitality community. Recognized as the most influential industry trade publication, HospitalityNet attracts the largest number of unique visitors, page views and targeted subscribers through its unparalleled network of sites and partners. Since its inception in 1999, HospitalityNet has been regarded as the most trusted source for industry leaders and experts to connect, share, and learn. Content is distributed to a network of partner sites and associations including HFTP, HSMAI, and HITEC, and supports all facets of the business including opinion articles, press releases, appointments, events, job openings, webinars, reports, sponsored content, and digital advertising. HospitalityNet has the most innovative publishing and distribution technology, as well as robust reporting capabilities to ensure clients can maximize their marketing ROI and measure their success.
To learn more visit hospitalitynet.org
About Puzzle Partner
Puzzle Partner is the most trusted marketing agency focused exclusively on complex B2B initiatives for the travel and hospitality technology industry. We are experts at combining strategy and tactical execution in a way that doesn’t just maximize a company’s potential; it redefines it. By delivering influential content, marketing services, and public relations rooted in the skills of our team and tested through real-world experience, we help our clients gain visibility, raise their profile and ultimately increase their sales revenues. To learn more visit puzzlepartner.co