Q&A: HTSA's Bob Hana on Industry Optimism, the Holiday Season and More
At HTSA's fall conference in Chicago this week we had the opportunity to sit down with Managing Director Bob Hana. Hana discussed the conference, members and vendors' predictions for the holiday season and the buying group's new services.
Hana also confirmed 2015's HTSA conference dates: The group will meet April 21-23 in Nashville for its spring conference. And while next year's fall conference will again take place in Chicago, the placement of CEDIA Expo in October means HTSA will instead meet in September (15-17.)
Technology Integrator: I just want to talk first a little bit about the conference. What have your impressions been so far, and what's the mood been among dealers and integrators?
Bob Hana: I am extremely pleased at how upbeat and optimistic everybody is. It's a sign, I think, of a continually strong partnership, and also the fact that business is improving on all fronts, which always makes people a little more pleasurable. It's also highly collaborative- you're seeing a lot of business being written, a lot of new business and new relationships. It's always a nice rewards for all the hard work in putting it together.
TI: So how do you think people feel about the holidays? Is it going to be a good holiday season?
BH: I think it will be. I mean, I can already buy Christmas goods at Menards… I think they're already upbeat. I can see already the ones who are retail-hybrid are getting ready for it. But it continues to evolve to a degree with our group- it's a little less seasonal. But I think you're always excited about having football season start, and other different sorts of things that will drive interest in the products.
TI: I keep asking about 4K every time we talk. And I guess each time it's grown a little bit more. Has there been a breakthrough, or is it still just steadily growing?
BH: I think there has definitely been a breakthrough in the awareness of what the category is, the fact that it is the future, and that most of the serious business with the installs and the applications being put together, are addressing 4K. They're very aware that they are gonna step up, and this is where it is, and so they're going to put that in that job.
TI: Are there any other product categories that you're seeing that are emerging this year?
BH: It's not so much new, but we're still seeing networking driving the business. Not so much driving the install, but being a huge part of that job. Our sales have doubled in that category. But brought along with, obviously, control, and the conversations that are going on with the fact that control is now an affordable solution for more and more people. And services, quite frankly, all of our members are really focused on providing better quality services, and making sure those are part of their value proposition with their clients.
TI: Now, you announced some new partnerships, or I should say new services for your members. What are you hoping to accomplish with those?
BH: They're HTSA service providers, and they're basically companies that have unique solutions and services that we think will complement and add benefits to our members' business. In many instances, we do things, and in many instances have been adding more and more marketing resources to allow them to find and close more clients. This time we've also focused on some of the major business structures, and best practices. It's very important that on top of sales and on top of demand, that the infrastructure of their business is solid, and from a financial standpoint and also from a strategy standpoint. And so the resources that we've brought in from some best-in-class, worldwide companies, are very important for our members to have.
Our financial analyst business, which is the Porte Brown company, we're very pleased to have 435 Digital as a partner, part of the Tribune Company, to be able to offer world class website support, and emphasize their organic search. And to be aligned with a world class training company, like Sandler Training, to be able to work with our members at various levels to assist and make sure once they have found somebody to come in and sell that they be able to close that business and do a good job and closing.
TI: Anything else you'd like to add about this year or the conference?
BH: What we're emphasizing at this one is that we have talked and are going to continue to talk about best practices and share ideas and things like that. But it's also at some point to say- at some point, enough input- let's deliver some tools, and let's get real about it so we can move on- there are more things that we'd like to tackle as an organization. So it's important that we get some of these fundamentals behind us and then move on to that. And then, the fall focus- it's a time that we can get together and get focused on how we want to finish the year. And I think from the vendor community they appreciate that part of it, and our members always appreciate that conversation with our vendors.
Related story: HTSA Meeting Kicks Off in Chicago