This past year, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) and Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) organized two gatherings of hospitality technology and marketing executives for an open discussion on the roles each group occupies within their organizations and how their responsibilities intersect. Resulting from these meetings is the just-released report: “Bringing Together Hospitality CMOs and CTOs: Takeaways From European and North American ThinkTanks on the Strategic Integration of Marketing and Technology.”


Now available, the document includes commentary on industry challenges, specific challenges for CMOs and CTOs, how participants characterize the relationship between the two departments, and how they can work together. Some key takeaways:

  • Hotel CMOs and CTOs in Europe identify personalization as the top challenge facing the hospitality industry, while their North American counterparts say it is data analytics.
  • According to European CMOs, consumer behavior is their biggest challenge; North American CMOs say talent acquisition and brand relevance.
  • While European CTOs identify integration as their top challenge, North American CTOs say it is prioritization.

“Bringing together top CMOs and CTOs for these ThinkTanks was an opportune situation, which congregated executives who often have overlapping outcomes, goals and operations, but rarely communicate these strategies to each other,” said Frank Wolfe, CAE, HFTP CEO. “Publishing the Special Report is a concrete way to demonstrate the challenges their counterparts face and how they think the divide can be lessened.”

The two meetings took place at HFTP’s 2019 European and North American HITEC® (Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference) events, where HSMAI co-located the 2019 Revenue Optimization Conferences (ROC). The first was on April 11, 2019 in Palma, Mallorca, Spain; hosting 23 participants and facilitated by Robyn Pratt of Impact Consulting. The second was on June 20 in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA; hosting 16 participants and facilitated by Flo Lugli of Navesink Advisory Group.

The resulting conversation yielded interesting observations and analyses, presented in the Special Report. It aggregates direct quotes, comments and other, including comparing and contrasting what the North American and European groups had to say, and offering potential solutions for transforming the CMO-CTO relationship into a true partnership.

“Clearly the relationship between marketing and technology executives in hotel companies is critical in today’s everchanging landscape,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Enhanced communication and alignment in goals seems obvious. To leverage the strategic and economic value of alignment, these executives must work hand in hand to find success and be competitive and find marketing technology solutions for their organizations.”

The success of the think tanks has prompted both HFTP and HSMAI to consider a similar format for 2020; more information to follow on the 2020 ThinkTanks.


HSMAI is a global organization of sales, marketing, and revenue management professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry while operating as a leading voice for both hospitality and sales, marketing, and revenue management disciplines, as well as connecting its members with customers. Founded in the United States in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprised of nearly 5,000 members from 35 countries and chapters worldwide. HSMAI operates regionally around the globe via Regional boards of directors and staff. There are three regions: the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Each region has signature programs and services for association members.

About HFTP

Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) established in 1952, is an international, nonprofit association, headquartered in Austin, Texas, USA, with offices in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Dubai. HFTP is recognized as the spokes group for the finance and technology segments of the hospitality industry with members and stakeholders spanning across the globe. HFTP uniquely understands the industry’s pressing issues and assists its stakeholders in finding solutions to their challenges more efficiently than any organization. It does this via its expert networks, research, certification programs, information resources and conferences/events such as HITEC. HFTP also owns the world’s only hospitality-specific search engine, For more information about HFTP, email [email protected] or download the HFTP/HITEC media kit via the HFTP website. 

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