Two weeks ago in Siegel Sez after the announcement of TravelClick acquiring ZDirect, I said from the rumblings I had been hearing there were more to come. Of course I was thinking technology, not Marriott buying Starwood. From a technology perspective, this will be interesting watching how the next six months play out. I was at the Hotel Network of Tomorrow Conference in Washington , D.C., last week where I spent time with both Bruce Hoffmeister, the global CIO of Marriott, and Page Petry, the CIO Americas from Marriott, and neither one said a word. Then three days later it was announced? Yikes, I wish I was that good at keeping secrets! Back to technology companies, after I mentioned the possibilities about which company would be next, I got a call from Larry Hall, the president and CEO of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, sharing that the company had been acquired (Dan includes the specifics in the news that follows). I thanked him for making my predictions look good. Larry will be taking some time off, but I am sure will resurface in the not-so-distant future. Then I got a call from Newmarket and was told that Jeff Hiscox, the president and CEO at Newmarket, will be leaving at the end of the year. I also talked to Jeff and all I can say is I am jealous. Lee Horgan will be taking over as president and CEO at Newmarket. Maybe my predictions shouldn’t have been about companies merging but about leaders of the tech companies taking a break. Is there a trend here? We have a solid six weeks before the year ends, we shall see. Rumors are running rampant but this always happens this time of year. Time will tell.
Before I went to D.C. for the Hotel Network of Tomorrow as a guest of Corning, I was in New York for HX: The Hotel Experience, which was the reinvented IH/M&RS that I have been attending since college. They did a great job and the most important thing I heard was that those who exhibited were very happy. Everything was different and it worked; there was plenty of traffic on the exhibit floor on both Sunday and Monday with closing day Tuesday being on the light side. I had Katherine Darsie from our office share her thoughts on the show and her New York experience yesterday in Hotel Online. If you missed it, click here. Oh to be that young and in New York, again I am jealous!
Speaking of being young, we at Hospitality Upgrade are doing something to promote young minds. We are sponsoring a robotics team of students between the ages of 8 and 14. They come to our office to update us on their progress and show us their latest robot that they have created as they get ready for the competition in early December. Sometimes it is so difficult for me not to laugh as I ask them offbeat questions and watch them struggle to come up with the right answer. What fun. If you would like to see a picture of the team, then check out the photo to the right. Wish them luck, I know we are! I am off to London next week for HOSPACE 2015 on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t like that it is on Thanksgiving Day, but I love the event and it grows every year. I am always honored to be invited.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Dan Phillips’ review of what is happening in the technology world for our industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. For those in the states, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!
by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips
What happened this last week in Paris was horrific. The events unfolding at the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali overnight are again putting hotels specifically on alert. Our world has been reshaped again by terrorism and this time I feel there will be significant retribution. I wish not to spout my politics and beliefs here, but my prayers and thoughts go out to Parisians, the guests and staff members at the Malian hotel, and to the human race as a whole.
After 9/11 I wrote a piece about that terror attack and the effect it had on our economy. One of the largest sectors in the world wide economy is travel and hospitality. It appears that one of the goals of this recent strike was to severely impact not only the humanity and culture of Paris but our global industry as well. Newscasts have already begun to measure the financial impact on our business. In my previous posting I used a term, “Economic Warriors.” Those of us in the travel and hotel space must keep focused and go about our business. If you have conferences and events to attend, go. If you have travel plans to make sales calls, go. If you have plans to take vacation over the holidays, go. In each of our own small ways we need to lead by example, to show the public that in fact there are travelers and overnighters still going on with their lives.
Below is a link to a very good article covering what we as hoteliers and an industry should start doing to protect ourselves, our assets, and most importantly, our guests.
- Starwood Hotels and Resorts Latest Affected by Malware Intrusion - Marriott to Acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide -------------------------- Starwood Hotels and Resorts Latest Affected by Malware Intrusion Starwood Hotels and Resorts announced that a limited number of its hotels in North America were infected with malware, enabling unauthorized parties to access payment card data of customers, for in some cases as long as six months through the time period from November 2014 through June 2015. Starwood Hotels & Resorts locations affected by the payment card security issue include popular properties such as the Walt Disney World Dolphin, the W New York Times Square, the Sheraton New York Times Square and other well-known properties in the Sheraton, Westin and W brands. Promptly after discovering the issue, Starwood engaged third-party forensic experts to conduct an extensive investigation. There is no indication at this time that the Company’s guest reservation or Starwood Preferred Guest membership systems were impacted. The affected hotels have taken steps to secure customer payment card information and the malware no longer presents a threat to customers using payment cards at Starwood hotels. www.starwoodhotels.com/paymentcardsecuritynotice ** Marriott to Acquire Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Marriott International, Inc., and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., announced that the boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which the companies will create the world's largest hotel company. The transaction combines Starwood's leading lifestyle brands and international footprint with Marriott's strong presence in the luxury and select-service tiers, as well as the convention and resort segment, creating a more comprehensive portfolio. Combined, the companies operate or franchise more than 5,500 hotels with 1.1 million rooms worldwide. The combined company's pro forma fee revenue for the 12 months ended September 30, 2015 totals over $2.7 billion. http://www.marriott.com, http://www.starwoodhotels.com **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Richard Pemberton Has Been Appointed IT Director and Hospitality Consultant at Avenue9 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom - Melissa Grossarth-Chavez Has Been Appointed Director of Digital Marketing at Chesapeake Hospitality in Greenbelt, Md. - Cendyn® Continues Global Expansion With Appointment of John Seaton as Managing Director, International - Ponterra Business Advisors Expands Operations to Puerto Rico --------------------------
- Constellation Software, Inc., Acquires Springer-Miller Systems, Inc. - Maestro and Revinate New Integration Enhances Hotel Reputation Management, Guest Communication - InnLink Integrates with Hotel Tech Management for Complete Hotel Solution --------------------------
- Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center Migrates to SHR’s WindsurferCRS Distribution Platform - SiteMinder Partners with Africa's SafariNow.com - Hansar Bangkok Hotel Migrates to SHR’s WindsurferCRS Distribution Platform --------------------------
- SiteMinder Launches Canvas, the Intelligent Website Creator for Independent Hotels - Red Lion Hotels’ Hello Rewards Technology Platform Wins Gold Loyalty360 Award - Gene Juarez Salons & Spas Connects Uses Digital Alchemy to Connect with Clients - Flip.to Boosts Revenue and Direct Bookings for Platinum Hotel - Fuel Increases RevPar for Hoteliers with Advanced Analytic Tool - Cendyn® Expands International Reach With New office in Singapore - For the Third Consecutive Year, Sojern is Top Travel-focused Company on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500™ List - Sojern Releases Interactive Hotel Insights Report that Reveals New Hotel Search and Booking Trends --------------------------
- Now is the Time for Innovation, Say Hospitality Leaders at Europe's First Revenue Strategy Forum Hosted by Duetto -------------------------- Now is the Time for Innovation, Say Hospitality Leaders at Europe's First Revenue Strategy Forum Hosted by Duetto As the international travel community gathered at the World Travel Market just a few miles away, hospitality innovators and brand executives from companies such as Starwood Capital, Wyndham and IHG met at Shoreditch's Ace Hotel to discuss how hotels can create value in a rapidly evolving marketplace. The occasion was Europe's first Revenue Strategy Forum, a thought leadership event organized by Duetto, a market leader in hotel profit optimization technology. Participants agreed that with hotels increasingly challenged by the growth of third-party intermediaries and the further commoditization of the hospitality industry, hotels must develop a holistic approach to revenue strategy – one that optimizes channel mix to achieve greater profitability and retain and create market share. Cindy Estis Green, co-founder and CEO of Kalibri Labs, delivered the keynote address and spoke about hoteliers' quest to find new methods and techniques to measure and overcome rising distribution costs. http://www.duettoresearch.com, http://www.kalibrilabs.com **
SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING
- New Marriott® Enhancement on Meeting Services App Simplifies Billing -------------------------- New Marriott® Enhancement on Meeting Services App Simplifies Billing Marriott's groundbreaking Meeting Services App, which gives planners the power to make requests at the touch of a button, now brings the same level of innovation to billing, making the entire process easier. The new billing enhancement was designed based on meeting planner feedback and gives them the ability to customize their billing and respond to charges instantly and discretely through the app. Customers can select daily and final bill content preferences and specify whether in-person, email or mail delivery is preferred. They can also use the app to ask questions or electronically dispute banquet event checks and group master charges while the event is still fresh in their minds. http://www.Marriott.com **
F&B/POINT OF SALE
- Gravy, ROIchecker Announce VisitCast Foot Traffic Predictor for Restaurants - Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort Streamlines Dining and Retail Operations with InfoGenesis POS -------------------------- Gravy, ROIchecker Announce VisitCast Foot Traffic Predictor for Restaurants Gravy, a location-based behavioral analytics provider, and ROIchecker, a predictive analytics solutions provider to the restaurant industry, announced the launch of VisitCast. The solution helps restaurants increase profitability by predicting foot traffic through analysis tied to historical and future events and activities customers attend around individual stores. http://corp.findgravy.com/, http://www.ROIchecker.com ** Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort Streamlines Dining and Retail Operations with InfoGenesis POS Agilysys, Inc., has announced that Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort, located on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, has selected the InfoGenesis® POS system to streamline dining and retail operations at the all-inclusive beach resort. Windjammer Landing, which also uses the Agilysys Visual One™ property management system, features a mix of luxury accommodations, ranging from rooms and suites to estate villas, as well as a fitness club, full-service spa and several restaurants and boutiques. http://www.agilysys.com **
- Five Innovative Ways Hotels Can Use Text Messaging With Their Guests - RoamingAround Opens the Door to Geolocation with the Unveiling of RapidApp - Bulk TV Makes TBJ Fast 50 List for Seventh Consecutive Year - Denver Airport’s Newest Near-airport Parking Facility, ParkDIA, Has Travelers On Time with FlyteBoard - Expedia India Launches Loyalty Program, Expedia+ --------------------------
- McLaren Completes Digital Installation in Support of COMO The Treasury Perth Debut - ChefTec Software Releases Version xt5 -------------------------- McLaren Completes Digital Installation in Support of COMO The Treasury Perth Debut As one of Western Australia’s newest hotels, COMO The Treasury, is celebrating the completion of its HotSOS installation with McLaren. http://www.mclarenint.com ** ChefTec Software Releases Version xt5 Culinary Software Services, a provider of back-office technology for the foodservice industry, has released its newest version of ChefTec software, xt5. The newest version runs on Windows 10, 8/8.x and 7. It features enhanced ordering and lot tracking, as well as more comprehensive menu and recipe costing. http://www.ChefTec.com **
- Blueprint RF Files Inter Partes Review to Invalidate Five Nomadix Patents - FCC to Fine Hilton Hotels for Failure to Comply with Wi-Fi Blocking Investigation - FCC to Fine M.C. Dean $718K for Allegedly Blocking Wi-Fi Hotspots at Baltimore Convention Center - Quality Inn & Suites Streamlines Staff Communication, Fulfills Requests with HotelTap - The World's Largest iBeacon Network Emerges --------------------------
- Hospitality eResources Launches Series of Bootcamps on Data Security - Noble House Identifies and Stops Payment Card Security Incident - The Venza Group Provides PCI Compliance Training for Heritage Hotels of New Zealand --------------------------
- Las Americas Golden Tower to Open its Doors with Guestroom Security Technology from ASSA ABLOY Hospitality - Kaba, Intelity Announce Collaboration: Simplifies Mobile Key, Guest Services Use for Hospitality - Kaba and hetras Implement Mobile Key Guestroom Access at Village Hotels - Joint Base Andrews Selects Technology by Kaba and Ariane Systems to Streamline Access and Security --------------------------
- Travll Named Winning Travel App at Sabre's First Developer Competition in Latin America - Innovative 3-D Technology Provides Virtual Ride on Dollywood’s Lightning Rod, World’s Fastest Wood Coaster Set to Open March 2016 -------------------------- Travll Named Winning Travel App at Sabre's First Developer Competition in Latin America Sabre Corporation announced the winners of its first travel hackathon held in the Latin America region, based on the creative use of API technology and open developer platform powered by Sabre Dev Studio. DestinationHack Brazil was featured as the only travel technology contest during São Paulo Tech Week, a regional event focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. Ten developer teams including designers and marketers took part in the contest, gathering in São Paulo’s Distrito venture building campus to create mobile apps, websites and aggregator meta-search tools. Each team worked around the clock to brainstorm new software and apps to enhance the way people shop and book travel across platforms and devices, and to explore business opportunities as startup entrants to the industry. http://www.sabrehospitality.com ** Innovative 3-D Technology Provides Virtual Ride on Dollywood’s Lightning Rod, World’s Fastest Wood Coaster Set to Open March 2016 Dollywood is giving coaster fans a chance to jump aboard Lightning Rod, its newest record-breaking offering, before the final pieces of track are even in place. Los Angeles-based 3D Live has made it possible for anyone with a smartphone to stream via YouTube 360 optimized, point-of-view footage of Dollywood’s Lightning Rod and take a virtual ride on the world’s fastest wooden coaster. The pioneering 3-D technology is new to the amusement park industry, and something 3D Live CEO Nathan Huber says will revolutionize the way guests visit a theme park. http://www.Dollywood.com, http://3dliveevents.com **
- Hilton Unveils Upgrade to LightStay - AirRevive Refurbishes Little Rock Marriott's Guestroom Air Conditioning Units - EPA Recognizes Wyndham Worldwide as New Jersey's Highest Ranked ENERGY STAR-certified Office Building for 2015 --------------------------
- HFTP CEO Discusses Global Hospitality Technology Trends at the China Hospitality Technology Alliance Global Conference - HFTP 2015–2016 Global Executive Committee and Board of Directors Begin Term - HTNG Adds Strength to Board With New Members - HTNG TechOvation Award Competition Open for Entries --------------------------
- HX a Success With Hospitality Leaders and Decision Makers - Editors' Choice Awards Name Best New Products at HX 2015 -------------------------- HX a Success With Hospitality Leaders and Decision Makers HX: The Hotel Experience — Rooms to Restaurants, formally the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show (IHMRS), made a big splash as it debuted its new brand, mission and overall experience at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, Nov. 8-10, 2015. HX featured 469 exhibitors and 12,000+ registered attendees. With all new environmental treatment, session areas, speakers and event highlights, the multi-million dollar renovation made a big impression on lodging and foodservice executives who were in attendance. One of the most popular additions to the show was the HX: Tech area, which included innovative and practical technology products and services, mini tech-education sessions with big takeaways, breakout-sessions about the newest industry technology and hands-on live support for the event’s mobile app. Plus, the tech team hosted the first ever HX: TECHPitch competition, where exhibitors could submit their best technology products. This year SocialTables took home the win with its event planning software. http://www.thehotelexperience.us/ ** Editors' Choice Awards Name Best New Products at HX 2015 Five exhibitors received Editors’ Choice Awards during the opening day of the 100th annual IHMRS, now HX: The Hotel Experience, on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2015, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Awards recognize the best new products within the categories of food and beverage, kitchen design, guest services, rooms division and technology. From the five winners, the Kenneth F. Hine Best of Show Award also was selected. The 2015 Editors’ Choice Award winners included: Kenneth F. Hine Best of Show – Cardinal International, Reveal' Up Soft Fresh Tumbler; food and beverage – Cardinal International, Chef & Sommelier Reveal’ Up Soft Fresh Tumbler; kitchen design – Evo Inc., EVO EVent self-ventilating portable griddle table; guest services – Aquarius Brands, Aquaboy Solar patented solar-powered atmospheric water generator; rooms division – HOTEL SIGNS, unique and stylish sign line featuring natural settings; and technology – Verdant Technologies, Verdant EMS Thermostats with built-in occupancy sensors. Editors from leading hospitality trade publications reviewed more than 80 submissions of the latest products for the industry, and selected winners based on innovative product design, how a product answers a particular industry need, creative use of material or construction, and development or use of a new technology. Judges for the 20th annual HX Editors’ Choice Awards were Kris Burnett of Hospitality Upgrade, Michael Scinto of Total Foodservice, Geneva Rinehart of Hospitality Upgrade, Michelle Renn of Hotel-Online, Christine Trauthwein of Hotel Business, Dave Turner of Tabletop Journal, and Susan Holaday of Foodservice East. http://www.thehotelexperience.us/ **
- Venza Group Strengthens Melissa Strong Fund through Brew-B-Que 2015: CURE Childhood Cancer -------------------------- Venza Group Strengthens Melissa Strong Fund through Brew-B-Que 2015: CURE Childhood Cancer Venza Group's event, Brew-B-Que 2015: CURE Childhood Cancer, raised $16,856 through sponsorships, personal donations and participation in the event. CURE Childhood Cancer’s Melissa Strong Fund was chosen as this year’s beneficiary by the Venza Group given Melissa’s tremendous love for life which served as an inspiration to so many. http://www.venzagroup.com **
PIQUED DAN'S INTEREST
- Tourism Cares Releases Study of Giving Habits of American Travelers - Airlines Can Profit from Being Smart, But Being Smarter Can Help - Them Own the Journey - A glimpse at what Facebook Messenger and M might do for travel - How Energy Benchmarking Can Help the Hotel Industry - 4 Technology Mega Trends that Will Shape Travel in 2016 - And more stories... --------------------------
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