Geneva Rinehart, senior vice president and managing editor at Hospitality Upgrade, has been a paragon of information for HFTP members and the hospitality industry at large. So, it seems most fitting that Rinehart was selected to receive the HFTP Paragon Award in 2023, an award that was established more than 20 years ago to recognize individuals for their significant and lasting contributions to the association and the industry. She was honored with the award on October 18 at the HFTP 2023 Annual Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The fundamental purpose and overarching mission of HFTP is to advance the hospitality profession by providing a forum for continuous learning and knowledge sharing. This goal to transform the industry through information and education is enthusiastically shared by Rinehart, who has nearly three decades of experience in industry publishing and event planning.
“Geneva’s tenure and editorial prowess at Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online has impacted literally thousands of hospitality professionals around the globe,” says Robert Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO at HSMAI. “Editorial content under her leadership has consistently strived to educate all levels of hospitality professionals about the role, the implications, and the return on investment of technology solutions and applications. … It’s clearly not just a job for her.”
Dan Kornick, chief information officer at Loews Hotels & Co. on Rinehart’s achievements, “Her efforts in editing, producing events and driving engagement with industry leaders and vendors have certainly made a significant contribution to the hospitality industry as well as HFTP in terms of informing and shaping the communications in our industry.”
Her publishing career first began in 1995, following the launch of Hospitality & Automation, a small hotel technology newsletter produced by Hospitality Upgrade founder and publisher Rich Siegel that predates the magazine we all know today. Rinehart’s ability to understand and write about technology in an easily digestible, enjoyable way made her a compelling and obvious first hire for Siegel. “It’s my pleasure to have been welcomed into the hospitality industry for my entire career and given the opportunity to combine my love of technology with my love of media,” said Rinehart. “Technology is exciting, and we are passionate about sharing technology with the industry.”
Rinehart’s pioneering spirit led to the introduction of the magazine’s first digital edition in 2003, which incorporated cutting-edge technologies such as QR codes, augmented reality, video and multimedia. In 2017, she curated a special publication on the history of technology for the hotel industry and compiled Hospitality Upgrade’s Marriott Americas’ IT edition. She also played an integral role in developing and revamping the Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online websites and newsletters.
Rinehart also possesses a unique ability to share stories and insights from industry visionaries – from Jon Inge and Sally Kelly to Douglas Rice and Mark Haley – many of whom are also dedicated, long-time HFTP members. In collaboration with HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame inductee Sherry Marek, she has created a collection of mentor articles to encourage and inspire industry professionals. “These stories that Geneva curates make our industry more humane and transparent, [and make] us all better at listening and being receptive to learning,” says David Chestler, president at PROVision Partners.
HFTP and Hospitality Upgrade are long-time allied partners, working together to develop hospitality technology information and resources. Throughout the years, Rinehart has been a staunch advocate of the association, its technology events, and the close strategic partnership with her publication. She has been a driving force behind key industry conferences, including the Executive Vendor Summit and the CIO Summit, two popular Hospitality Upgrade events that she has collaborated with HFTP to coordinate the past few years. And she is omnipresent at the HFTP-produced global hospitality technology event, HITEC® – where Hospitality Upgrade is featured as the exclusive technology magazine for HFTP. “As an active member of the industry, Geneva’s energy and enthusiasm for promoting HFTP events knows no bounds,” praises Sherry Marek of Aiken Street Consulting. “Her commitment and dedication to the HFTP brand and her cheerful personality makes her an absolute joy to be around.”
“Geneva participates fully in our industry by attending many events throughout the year,” says Lisa Martin, regional director hotel finance at Davidson Hospitality Group. “She has a way of bringing people together for discussion, dialogue and debate and when all is said and done, there is a cohesiveness in the outcome. Geneva is a perfect example of hospitality. She welcomes all to the table with kindness and grace.”
Rinehart on receiving the HFTP Paragon Award in 2023, “I’m honored to be selected as HFTP’s 2023 Paragon Award recipient and join an impressive group – many of whom are on my personal admiration list. I’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating with so many industry groups, leaders and professionals over the years with Hospitality Upgrade Magazine, The CIO Summit and the Executive Vendor Summit. And it definitely helped to have surrounded myself with amazing people who are dedicated to the cause, always push the bar higher, and are never afraid to try something new. The HFTP team has been absolutely fantastic to work with on our many projects and events, and I thank them for this recognition.”