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June 14th, 2010

Nick Price to be inducted into HFTP's Hall of Fame

14 Jun, 2010 Hotel and Motel Management

AUSTIN, TEXAS--When Nick Price, global CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, joined the hospitality technology industry in 2000, he recognized the need for vendor partnerships to be developed in order to address industry needs for well-designed, interoperable, customer-centric systems. For his innovative approach to hotel technology and his influence in bringing hospitality technology vendors together, Nick Price will be inducted into Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals' (HFTP) International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. The induction will take place at the 2010 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) General Session on Tuesday, June 22 at 8:30 a.m.

With the newly-created global CIO/CTO position in 2000, Price's mandate was to build a technology strategy that would establish Mandarin Oriental as a premier brand in the mind of increasingly tech-savvy five-star hotel guests. This was no small task, as at the time, Mandarin Oriental's corporate IT staff consisted of one Fidelio trainer.

Before taking on this job, Price had not worked in the hospitality industry — a fact which may have contributed in part to his success in the industry. He claimed that, in addition to his technology experience, he brought a conviction — based on his 250+ days per year of staying in hotels — that technology could better serve the hotel industry.

Ten years later, Price has successfully opened nearly 20 Mandarin Oriental hotels and is responsible for a broad range of digital technologies and services, including enterprise and hotel networks and infrastructure, Internet presence, telephony and in-room technologies.

“I believe the effort Nick has undertaken to drive more towards a culture of ‘co-opetition' has created recognition that technology in and of itself does not add value. It's what we do with the technology that creates value,” said Neil Shubert, III, CHTP, VP of IT strategy for Marriott International. “With an approach of cooperative innovation and educating our vendors and suppliers on how our brands and companies are different, yet very much the same, Nick has fostered fundamental changes to the hospitality industry.”

Price was on the bleeding-edge of hotel technology, being one of the first to include web services and converged IP networks in a new hotel. He was also the first to deploy high definition content in hotel guestrooms, alongside the capability to integrate guest devices such as laptops, video cameras and iPods with the in-room AV system through an auxiliary panel. This has set the trend which most hotel groups have now adopted as a part of their standard build.

And from the beginning, Price believed that getting vendors to work together would help create a better product for the hotel, and ultimately for the guest. He influenced hospitality technology by taking a lead on getting vendors to work on open architectures and continuously looked into how each of their systems could best be integrated for the benefit of guests, not just for technology's sake. This led Price to be one of the founding members of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), a hospitality technology solutions association that brings vendors, hotel representatives, consultants and other hospitality members together to foster the selection and adoption of open standards.

“Nick's contribution to the industry, more than anything else, has been his steadfast refusal to accept the status quo,” said Douglas Rice, executive vice president and CEO of HTNG. “When told that vendors would never ‘play nicely' on a converged network, he found some that were willing to try. And when told that vendors would never work together on interfaces, he not only proved them wrong in the context of his own company, but he helped found an entire organization on the principle of cooperation and open systems.”

“Nick represents the type of person we should honor with an induction into the International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame,” said Lawrence W. Hall, president and CEO of PAR Springer-Miller. “He gives back to the industry freely, he pushes his vendors to innovate and deliver higher levels of support and product quality — which benefits the industry at large — and he has advanced the state of the art through innovation and leadership.”

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