The think tank with off-the-record character – The role of sponsors

The think tank with off-the-record character – The role of sponsors

Munich (September 3, 2021). Internet, automation, digitalisation and now sustainability: with the disruptions of recent times, the think tank format has become increasingly popular, additionally driven by Corona. Since 2018, HospitalityInside has offered the industry such an unconventional but challenging forum. Even then, there were many questions from unsettled executives about these big issues. Questions that CEOs would never ask in a mega-conference, but in an exclusive setting with an “off-the-record” character. The 4th HITT – in just two weeks – will again create this special spirit – also thanks to old and new sponsors who are themselves in search of answers.

A lot has changed in corporate marketing in recent years: Budgets are no longer easily distributed via high-coverage media and events, but increasingly also reach those who focus on content and its quality – and thus help market participants to find their way in the current hyperdynamics. This is just as true for the companies from which the HITT participants come as it is for those who want to feel the pulse of the industry directly as sponsoring partners of the think tank.

The best thing about think tanks is: they are places for reflection, for exchange, for questioning. Solutions are discussed, are welcome, but none are forced or simply taken off-the-shelf. Sponsors also contribute to this exchange with their know-how. That is why sponsors have also been content partners for HospitalityInside from the very beginning. More than ever before, the implementation of sustainability, for example, will depend on the expertise and innovative spirit of all those involved.

Hotel operators know this too. Accor has managed the transformation to a lifestyle company through a strict rebranding process, which goes hand in hand with the development of a digital structure. Now, the interconnectedness of Digital and Sustainable is on the agenda. The world’s sixth-largest chain has accompanied the HITT since its premiere in 2018, this year even as the main sponsor. The group also wants to learn from and with others.

The message is clear

As Duncan O’Rourke, CEO Northern Europe with 31 countries in charge, said in an interview with our online magazine last week: “The message from the guests is there and it is clear: we see their questions and requirements on sustainability in our RFPs. Internally, I now have more employees who are involved in this topic…” And adds self-critically: “But we are not where we want to be as a chain. For our size, we are not yet aggressive enough on this issue.” So it is important to react concretely to consumer pressure, but also to be prepared for the pressure that may arise from legislation.

The investments in sustainability and the costs of change can only be kept under control through digital tools, more efficient processes, higher scalability and precise target group proximity. All experts agree on this. Klaus Kohlmayer, Chief Evangelist of the American revenue manager IDeaS, also sees and hears the hoteliers’ needs and questions about the big sustainability issues. “Efficient utilization of resources, including products and labour is becoming increasingly digitized as hotels move from spreadsheets to increasingly sophisticated tools.” In the future, IDeaS will invest much more than before in researching and forecasting this networked change. Revenue management is only one part of it.

Further learning in the post-event workshops

Think tanks open up new perspectives, provide orientation and create the first guidelines, just as Drees & Sommer does as a project manager for a wide range of hotel and tourism projects around the world. The Hamburg-based company, which is also supporting the HITT for the 4th time, likes to listen, does further research itself – and is currently developing a “demonstrator” for mixed-use districts.

The HITT participants will be the first to get to know this digital tool in a fortnight. It will help to find the optimal types of real estate and smart hospitality concepts for newly emerging mixed-use districts already in the planning phase, which will benefit all stakeholders, from the owner to the employee.

There will be an in-depth post-event workshop with Drees & Sommer on the topic of mixed use and the demonstrator in Hamburg at the beginning of 2022, for the think tank participants. The HITT community is supposed to grow, not only in numbers, but above all in knowledge. We will continue to adhere to the principle of keeping events within a compact framework. There are still a few places available at the Think Tank on site at the Smart Village in Munich, and of course you can still participate digitally via the Zoom conference. Simply book at

New sponsors and partners

The interconnected topic of sustainability and digitalisation has brought the HITT new sponsors and partners this year. And the colourful diversity alone shows how much the mind is opening up in hospitality companies as well as within the large supply chain, towards joint lateral thinking. This year, the HITT has found new partners in Deutsche Hospitality, Duetto and Uniper.

We would like to thank all sponsors and partners for their commitment to making this project possible.

Find all details and updates here on
Click here to go directly to the description of the individual discussion rounds.
Click here to go directly to the programme.
Click here to go directly to the speakers.
Click here to go directly to booking and reservation!

The HITT 2021: SUSTAINABILITY & DIGITALISATION: THE CHANGE DRIVERS. The Decade of Action: How Sustainability leads the agenda, how Digitalisation enables it.

on 13/14 September in Munich, LIVE in the relaxed co-working space The Smart Village OR Virtual.
All in English language.


Logos: companies / Top photo: unsplash niko photos