Two champions of hospitality technology, Mark G Haley, CHTP+, and Raman (RP) Rama, B.Com, CHA Emeritus, CHTP+, CHAE, have been selected as the 2021 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame inductees. Both were recognised for their experience and leadership in promoting hospitality innovation and technology, and knowledge sharing. Haley is co-founder and partner at Prism Hospitality Consulting. Rama is president and CTO/CIO at Sarona Hotels, Investments & Premier Management Services. The International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame is HFTP’s highest level of recognition in the area of technology. Since 1989, 49 individuals have received this award as a reflection of their contributions to the hospitality industry.

The embodiment of hospitality

Haley is in the right industry, because he is here to help by transforming the way hospitality does business through technology. Co-founder and partner of Prism Hospitality Consulting, Haley provides professional services to help hospitality companies adapt and integrate their business and technology processes together, and he performs these responsibilities as the embodiment of hospitality himself. “Over the course of my two-plus decades in the hospitality industry,” writes one nominator, “I have had the pleasure of meeting many smart people, many fun people and many nice people. Occasionally, the stars align and one person ends up being all three. This would be Mark Haley.”

Throughout his career, Haley has developed a strong reputation for his expertise, diligence and integrity as he guides hotel companies through challenging technology selection and implementation projects. Another nominator praises Haley’s consummate professionalism, writing: “Our industry is indeed lucky to have someone like Mark who is a true professional, operates with the highest level of integrity and is committed to helping technology succeed in the hospitality industry.”

 In his consulting role, Haley performs strategy and concept development, project management, needs analysis, systems analysis, organisational assessment, and implementation services. He also currently serves on HFTP’s HITEC North America Advisory Council, lending his knowledge of hospitality technology to the planning and coordination of the global conference’s education programme.

A hospitality innovator

Next, it is rare to find someone with as much compassion and love for the hospitality industry as Rama – known to everyone as ‘RP’. Born in Malawi, Rama migrated to India at ten-years-old where he received his education and subsequently moved to the US in 1981, where he started his profession in hospitality. Working in a variety of positions, Rama found his niche in finance and technology. In his career, Rama was one of five owners of JHM Hotels, which operated 36 hotels representing brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Wyndham and Choice Hotels in both the US and India. At JHM hotels, he served as CTO/CIO of the company.

Throughout his career, Rama has continuously sought out and implemented technology solutions to support the operations of his hotels. This included upgrading computer systems, implementing new accounting software, and developing custom software that output management reports for data comparison across the company’s hotels. Now as president and CTO/CIO at Sarona Hotels, Investments & Premier Management Services, he has invested in 24 hotels, as well as numerous hospitality-focused technology companies, including a variety of start-ups.

Rama is beloved in the global, tight-knit community of hospitality technology leaders, having received an astounding 56 letters of support from colleagues and friends all over the world for his nomination to the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame this year. One such nominator writes: “[Rama] exemplifies a rare breed of industry stakeholders, being a hotel asset owner, as well as a CIO/CTO – an attribute which he has used to experiment and innovate in the hospitality technology space.”

While Rama has many accomplishments in the hospitality technology industry (too many to list here), one such achievement took place at HITEC, where he purchased a Novel Network System to run new accounting software and migrated to Microsoft with Enterprise Accounting software, converting 72 entities.

Another one of his many nominators writes: “RP is a loving husband, caring father, proud grandfather, visionary educator, humanitarian, and an astute businessman. He works tirelessly around the clock to always give back to the industry and education.” Rama is a great philanthropic supporter of education in the industry; the Rama family built Auro University School of Hotel Management and School of Business Management in Surat Gujarat, where Rama designed and implemented all the technologies.

He also established a scholarship fund for students through HFTP, so students could attend HFTP and HITEC events, and learn all about technology implementations in the hospitality industry. These are simply snapshots of the myriad accomplishments and life experiences of these two incredibly distinguished hospitality technology professionals, both inducted to the 2021 HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) in Dallas, Texas, 27–30 September 2021.