Information for HTNG Chairs

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This page, intended to be used as a guide for chairpersons of HTNG workgroups, covers a thorough list of topics related to workgroup leadership. It will serve as a valuable resource for guidance on a chair's regular responsibilities, as well as a place to find answers to many of the most common questions that may arise. Please use this page frequently and contact your Workgroup Facilitator with any questions you don't find answered here. Thank you for your leadership!

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Basics - Terminology and the Division of Responsibilities


For definitions of basic HTNG terminology, such as workgroup, forum, council, etc., please visit HTNG Terminology.

Division of Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Workgroup Chair(s)

Being a Workgroup chair entails many important responsibilities. The three major ones are:

  • Providing leadership to ensure valuable deliverables to the industry
    • Ensuring relevant points of view are considered
    • Contributing as a thought leader on the technical problems
    • Working with your facilitator to create, maintain, and monitor a project plan sufficient to assess progress toward milestones
    • Managing discussions effectively; avoiding revisiting prior decisions
  • Making efficient use of the time voluntarily contributed by workgroup participants - so that they'll continue to participate!
    • Make sure that scheduled meetings are productive, even if you can't attend - this means identifying one or more alternates who can step in on short notice
    • Structure brief agendas in advance so people know whether a topic of interest to them will be discussed
    • Reminding the group about deadlines and key tasks from the project plan
    • Preparing appropriate agenda for business advisor calls - these are important opportunities to build hotelier engagement and excitement
  • Being cognizant of HTNG's rules of fair play, to ensure that all members can participate on a level playing field. (The facilitator will help you with the details)
    • Being familiar with HTNG’s Code of Conduct
    • Knowing that there are rules governing who can participate
    • Communicating with workgroup members openly, so that competitors aren't advantaged or disadvantaged
    • Understanding how decisions are made and documented

Responsibilities of the Workgroup Facilitator

HTNG staff facilitators can help you with administrative aspects of these responsibilities. They can also provide guidance on project planning, agenda development, and other tasks. They can help ensure that necessary actions occur at meetings, and can answer policy questions that may arise. They should not, however, be expected to preside at meetings except in rare emergencies.

Your Workgroup Facilitator may assist with many different tasks, including but not limited to:

  • Meeting planning
    • Scheduling and announcing Workgroup meetings and Business Advisor meetings
    • Coordinating F2F meetings
  • Coordinating votes and surveys
    • Maintaining the workgroup voting list
  • Aiding in producing workgroup presentations
  • Producing a draft of meeting minutes
  • Processing new workgroup applications
  • Tracking attendance
  • Assisting in project planning
  • Facilitating communication between the chairperson and the board liaison
  • Documentation
    • Maintaining the master copy
    • Version control
    • Editing and formatting

Workgroup Membership and Participation

Identifying Active Members and Participants

You can obtain a real-time list of the voting members (companies) of an active workgroup by visiting the public home page of the workgroup.

You can obtain a real-time list of the participants (people) of a workgroup from the collaboration site. To obtain the list, do the following:

  • Click the link in the navigation bar for the workgroup of interest
  • Click "Mailing Lists" (near the top of the navigation bar)
  • In the "Subscribers" column of the resulting table, click "View"

Note that individuals whose companies are applying for membership will be temporarily added to the participant list at the time of application. This will be updated after the vote.

Other Categories of Participation

Business Advisors

Business Advisors help ensure that HTNG's workgroup efforts are focused on delivering results that meet the needs of hotels. Business Advisors are invited to attend only those meetings that have the focused objectives of 1) shaping the future of the work product 2) reviewing the current progress, and 3) obtaining feedback on the deliverables.

Business Advisors should expect a request from the Workgroup chair(s) to attend direction setting meetings 4 - 6 times a year, typically by web conference or webinar, around the milestones of a Workgroup's progress. These meetings are focused mainly around the business needs of the work product rather than the technical aspects of the solution.

Business Advisors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be covered by an HTNG membership, either individually or through their employer's corporate membership.
  • Is directly employed by a hotel company or is an independent consultant to hotel companies who does not directly sell products.
    • Independent consultants are subject to approval from the respective Workgroup(s). If any objections arise, then a formal vote will occur to determine admittance into the Workgroup's Business Advisor program.
  • Must contribute at least occasionally, either by attending meetings, or by providing written input about the substance of the effort (e-mail, wiki contribution, comment on a Review Document, etc.).
    • Business Advisors who do not contribute to a Workgroup for an extended period of time will be removed from the corresponding roster of advisors (but may reapply at any time).

On a short-term basis for specific expertise, the workgroup may request hoteliers to enlist the participation of appropriate experts from their respective companies, and the HTNG membership requirement may be waived. For example, if a workgroup needs a front-office manager perspective, an individual hotelier member (probably from IT) could recruit one or more front-office managers to join one or several calls.

Board Liaisons

Board Liaisons are members of the HTNG Board of Directors who act as intermediaries between HTNG Workgroups and the full HTNG Board. In some cases, former board members who now serve as Executive Advisors to the board, and who attend Board meetings, may also serve as Board Liaison. At least one Board member or Executive Advisor is assigned to each workgroup as a liaison. They can provide guidance to the Workgroup or can hear concerns form the workgroup that the workgroup thinks merit consideration by the Board. If you would like to schedule a teleconference with your Workgroup's Board Liaison(s), please contact your Workgroup Facilitator.

Admitting New Workgroup Members

Any HTNG member in good standing is eligible to join any HTNG workgroup that is associated with a forum covered by their membership, subject to the new member process for the workgroup. Allied members may participate as non-voting members if agreed by the workgroup and approved by HTNG.

Most HTNG members are listed on our public website [here], but a few may choose not to be listed, and some who are listed have memberships that are limited to a certain number of people. You cannot be certain of eligibility without verifying with your facilitator.

We recommend referring applicants to the following link for information on applying for a workgroup:

  • HTNG will validate eligibility and advise the workgroup chair(s)
  • If a vote is required, it will be scheduled for the next meeting at least one week in the future, and will be posted in the Events section of the collaboration site for the workgroup (see Content Sections).

Members of workgroups are always companies, never people. Companies can be represented at any meeting by one or more individuals of their choice.

  • Each participating individual must be covered by an HTNG corporate or individual membership.
  • Each individual that is participating under a corporate membership must be enrolled with HTNG.
  • Each individual must have requested to be added to the workgroup distribution list, using the form at

Is a vote needed for a new Workgroup applicant?


  • When a workgroup's admission policy requires a vote to occur
  • When a company wants to join a workgroup and isn’t currently a voting member


  • When a workgroup’s admission policy does not require a vote to occur to accept new members
  • When an individual applies to the workgroup and their company is already a voting member of the group

Important: Votes also need to be documented in the minutes by your facilitator.

Workgroups are free to implement additional requirements for membership, which are subject to HTNG's approval. Examples of acceptable requirements:

  • Written statement of interest from applying company
  • Attendance at the meeting where candidacy is to be voted upon
  • Permit new members to join only at specified points in time

Membership requirements may be changed over time, but they must be applied consistently and fairly.

Removing Inactive Members

Participating companies in HTNG workgroups receive public credit for their work in HTNG news releases, conferences, trade shows, and other venues. If you want to make sure that only the companies doing the work get the credit, then your workgroup needs to formally remove the inactive members (or, sometimes less painful, convince them to voluntarily withdraw).

Workgroups can remove members for non-participation according to the default ongoing participation policies outlined: In short, workgroups can enact the following:

  1. Voting to establish a minimum attendance requirement that results in automatic termination under certain conditions (e.g. if the member is not represented at three consecutive meetings).
  2. Hold a specific vote of the voting members.
  3. Defer to the default non-participation policy in the link above.

In both cases, advance notice to all workgroup members is required as outlined in the Voting Decisions section.

If an attendance rule is established, then the member can only be removed if the attendance is documented in published minutes. Best practices suggest allowing the workgroup chair the discretion to excuse specific absences for cause.

Communicating with Workgroup Members

Communication is key to a successful workgroup. The best way to communicate with your entire workgroup is to send an e-mail to your workgroup's mailing list. If you aren't sure what your mailing list is, go to your workgroup's home page on the collaboration site and click "Mailing Lists" (near the top left).

Please do NOT maintain your own lists of participants outside of the HTNG collaboration mailing list for your workgroup, as it may be out of date. Use of the mailing lists ensures that communications are archived where everyone can see them, and also ensures that no one gets left off of critical communications!


Scheduling Meetings

Your workgroup facilitator will assist in scheduling teleconference and face-to-face meetings, but it's mandatory that you have a regularly scheduled meeting frequency (ex. every other Thursday at 11:00 AM EST/EDT), OR that you have at least a series of future meetings scheduled.

Meetings should always be scheduled through HTNG's office, to ensure that:

  • You have a dedicated teleconference bridge that isn't scheduled for someone else
  • It gets posted on the master schedule and collaboration site
  • Reminders are sent out to workgroup members
  • Correct timezone adjustments can be provided
    • Due to differences in observation of daylight savings (summer) time around the world, this is quite important if you want everyone to show up at the same time!

What Your Facilitator Needs from You

  • Date and day of week (yes it's redundant, but it greatly reduces errors)
  • Expected maximum duration, so we don't schedule your conference bridge for someone else before you are done
  • For recurring meetings, the start date, frequency, and last scheduled date (we cannot schedule "indefinitely repeating" meetings)
  • Agenda - Agendas need not be overly formal or detailed; for many members, one or two phrases may suffice.
    • HTNG's Code of Conduct requires that each meeting be conducted according to a published agenda
    • Known voting matters, e.g. new member admissions
    • Brief description of key topic(s) to be discussed
    • Areas where contentious discussion is anticipated
    • Scheduling the next meeting and to discuss the agenda for that meeting
    • It's a good idea to review the next week's agenda as the final item on each meeting's agenda -- if you need to make adjustments, then members can be better prepared.

Who Can Attend Meetings?

Workgroup meetings are generally restricted to people employed by member companies of the workgroup, but there are exceptions that your workgroup facilitator will handle on a case-by-case basis.

Workgroups may establish a policy limiting the number of people who may attend from one member company.

Business Advisor / Direction Meetings

Business Advisors should coordinate with their facilitator to regularly schedule business direction meetings. The meetings should occur 4 - 6 times a year, typically by web conference or webinar, around the milestones of a workgroup's progress. Business Advisor/Direction meetings must be scheduled with your facilitator with no less than four weeks advance notice.

These meetings are focused mainly around the business needs of the work product rather than the technical aspects of the solution. The first portion of this meeting shall focus on an overview of the current efforts of the workgroup. The latter portion of the meeting shall focus on feedback/Q&A from the business advisors. It is imperative that an agenda be distributed well in advance of this meeting.


Voting Decisions

One company, one vote: All HTNG Forum and Workgroup votes are on the basis of one company, one vote. Your facilitator will handle any special circumstances surrounding voting.

Who can vote: All companies represented at a meeting can vote except for:

  • Guests
  • HTNG staff and contractors
  • New applicants, before they are full-voting members
  • Provisional (nonvoting) members (if a workgroup has them)
  • Workgroup members that have lost their voting rights due to violation of a workgroup policy
  • Companies who are represented by Allied Members of HTNG (generally media, academic, students, etc.).

Notice, Quorum and Voting Margin - WORKGROUP: Each workgroup can establish its own notice, quorum, and voting margin rules. In the absence of a workgroup-specific policy, the following default voting rules will apply:

  • Votes on new applicants for Workgroup membership require one week advance notice, identifying the company(ies) to be voted on.
  • Votes by workgroups to ratify final specifications to be submitted for the HTNG Certification Program require two weeks advance notice. Workgroups may not reduce this notice period.
  • Votes to terminate members, or to establish policies under which members may be terminated for non-participation, require one week advance notice. Workgroups may not reduce this notice period.
  • A quorum for a vote that takes place during a workgroup meeting will be 40% of the number of participating companies, rounded to the next higher whole number, but not less than three companies.
  • A quorum for an online vote will be 40% if the number of participating companies, rounded to the next higher whole number.

Minutes: Votes that are not captured in meeting minutes did not happen.

Using the Collaboration Site

Organization of the Site

The HTNG Collaboration Site has a "home page" for each HTNG Forum and Workgroup . If you login to the collaboration site, you will see the navigation bar on the left with all of the HTNG efforts listed.

Where are you? All the pages look similar, and if you participate in multiple workgroups, it's easy to get confused. To reorient yourself, remember that the name of the workgroup appears in the title bar and to the right of the HTNG logo. At the top of the page, next to "You are here", you will see an abbreviated view of the hierarchical structure.

Organization of the Workgroup Home Page

Each "home page" has a header section and several content sections. The header generally includes a brief description and a link to the workgroup’s HTNG Wiki page.

The content sections mostly work alike, but are used for different purposes (see below). Any active member of the workgroup can add an item to any section by clicking the "Add" link. This will take you to a page where you provide the details of whatever you are adding. The specifics vary but include things such as a title, some categorization information, and visibility (who can see the item - you should always leave this value at its default). In most cases you can also attach documents or provide hyperlinks.

Versions: Documents can have multiple versions. If you post a new document, please enter a low starting version number (such as 0.01) or the corresponding version number you may already have assigned to your document. This provides a starting point for later version numbers to be posted.

Sending alerts: When you post or modify an item, you will always have the option to "Send an alert". If you check this box, then a notification is sent to the workgroup mailing list. It provides a link to retrieve the full item and the description that was submitted when it was posted.

Updating existing documents: Open the latest document posting and select "Version" instead of "Add". Assign a new version number (incrementally from the prior), attach the new document, include a short description of the updates and click on submit when you are finished. This ensures that postings don’t become duplicated and that everyone uses only the latest version of each document, while retaining access to prior versions.

Content Sections

Forthcoming/Recent Events Section: Any official workgroup meeting will be posted here by your workgroup facilitator. Short agendas will be included in the description – Please coordinate with your workgroup facilitator.

Current Polls: This section is used to conduct official workgroup voting measures online. Please contact your workgroup facilitator to coordinate a vote.

Recent News: Your facilitator will use this section to announce general information, voting results, and informational items, as needed.

Recent E-Mail: This is an archive of all e-mails sent to the mailing list. You will not be able to view attachments directly, but if you click on an e-mail and then click the "Re-send" link at the top, you will get another copy of the e-mail delivered to you with any attachments.

Document Categories:

  • Administration – Voting lists, workgroup policies and other relevant documents will be posted here by your facilitator.
  • Design Documents – Work products produced by the workgroup (e.g. working specifications, use cases, technical artifacts) either in draft or final form.
  • Meeting Minutes – The written record of meetings (teleconference/face-to-face). They often give an overview of the structure of the meeting, starting with a list of those present, actions, decisions, next meeting scheduled, and discussion notes.
  • Project Management – Documents that pertain to the workgroup’s project plan and task assignments should be posted in this category.
  • Reference Material – Materials whose information is used to contribute, guide, direct the work product to its final form (e.g. donated specifications on which the work product is based).
  • Collaborative Markup Docs – This category is used to post html documents that can be commented on by workgroup participants. Please consult your facilitator before using this section.
  • Presentations – This category is for presentation documents (PPT, pptx, pdf, etc.) that were distributed at workgroup meetings or events.

Other categories may be created at the discretion of your facilitator.

Project Planning

The interim chair or other integral individuals will complete a preliminary project plan, which is included in the workgroup's charter application. It is imperative that the workgroup follows the project plan according to the time line stated. Minor deviations from the project plan are acceptable, however major revisions to the deliverables and project plan may need to be submitted for board review and approval.

Why is the project plan important? Different skills or expertise are typically needed for various aspects of deliverables, and will be needed at different points in time. The project plan helps participating companies identify the resources that are needed for their effective participation - which may be minimal during one phase but extensive during another. If you don't have, or follow, a project plan, your volunteer participants will have a much harder time being there when you need them.

In addition, identifying early on the concrete steps that will need to be taken to complete the deliverables helps to reduce the risk of having to backtrack. It also makes it easier to apply a "reality check" to your time lines, and to make quick adjustments when you find that one piece of the plan is taking longer than expected.




Certification Schedule

When Does HTNG Certification Make Sense?

HTNG Workgroups create lots of different things. How can your group decide whether to look at putting certification around one or more of your efforts? Given that certification requires a lot of work, you want to make sure that it will yield enough benefits. Here are the top things to consider:

  1. Why would a hotel company want to swap one certified product for another, or "mix and match" multiple certified products? If there is little reason for them to do so, then certification may not make much sense. Consider situations such as the following:
    1. Deploying different devices or systems at different hotels, connected to one central system
    2. Deploying different devices in different rooms within the same hotel
    3. Integrating in-place systems at newly acquired hotels with existing corporate systems
    4. Performing system changes necessary to achieve re-branding
  2. Is it possible to establish, unambiguously, whether a vendor has met the requirements for certification? There should be no room for interpretation. If, for example, a hardware system needs to deliver certain physical characteristics, there must be an agreed method (such as a specified testing methodology or suite) for determining whether, in fact, it does. If this can't be done, then certification probably is not appropriate.
  3. What type of hotel companies benefit? Brands? Management companies? Ownership groups? Independents? Global companies? The greater the audience, the more compelling the case to certify.
  4. How diverse is the choice of products today? Certification helps buyers to distinguish the more capable products from the less capable ones. The more choices and the greater the variety of capabilities, the more value certification brings.
  5. Is this a hospitality industry challenge, or do other industries face the same issue? Not every certification opportunity is appropriate for an industry-focused organization like HTNG to tackle.
  6. Is the underlying technology reasonably mature and broadly adopted?

Giving Credit to Contributors

HTNG workgroup activities are collaborative, but on many workgroups, a few key contributors may be more critical than others to achieving the end result. The following guidelines are suggested for all workgroup activities and are required for HTNG publications, specifications, presentations, and expositions. They insure that the assessment of "how much did company X contribute" cannot be biased by the perception of one or a few people.

  1. Certification specifications often evolve from contributions of existing specifications by one or a small group of vendors. It is fully appropriate to recognize such contributions, with (for example) a brief statement and the company's logo on the title page. Such recognition requires majority vote of the full workgroup. This vote may be taken at the time of contribution or at a later date. A vendor may reasonably qualify its willingness to contribute a specification based on a commitment of recognition. Recognition language should be agreed by the workgroup and the contributing vendor(s) but is subject to review by HTNG.
  2. When listing the contributors to a workgroup effort, all of the companies who are (or were, for historical efforts) members of the workgroup must be listed unless they agree otherwise. You may call out special actions performed by specific people if the workgroup agrees.
  3. Each member company of HTNG has an official name that we are required to use on any such lists, and a few do not permit HTNG to use their names at all. Workgroup participants, even from the same company, may not be aware of these requirements and restrictions. For this reason, lists of participants that are included in HTNG publications, presentations, or expositions must be reviewed and approved by HTNG.
  4. Nonmember participants (e.g. consultants who assisted an effort) may be cited but must be distinguished from members.
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