I wish everybody reading this that is involved in technology for our industry could have been with me last week. Hospitality Upgrade hosted its 15th Annual CIO Summit in Philadelphia and it was one for the ages. We had the technology leaders from just about every brand attending including Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, IHG, Best Western, Mandarin Oriental, Loews, Omni, Carlson and many others. We also had more than 40 management companies in attendance who have their own unique challenges when it comes to technology. There were attendees from Europe and others representing the vacation ownership world. It was quite a crowd. This year’s program ranged from a lawyer sharing the “unintended consequences” of innovation and how these advances can cause industry disruptions, to a security expert advising how to protect confidential customer information. In a reversal of what we have done at the Executive Vendor Summit with a CIO panel from the property side, we had vendors on stage sharing their challenges selling and working with the industry. We had three attendees lead our unique mini-sessions on subjects including shadow IT projects they must deal with, understanding the digital journey, and a session that was a bit uncomfortable for some of the attendees as they discussed brands versus owners. We had a hotel executive share his story about becoming a CEO after a background pretty much all in technology, and also had an extremely popular session where JD Powers shared the impact technology has in the ratings of hotels. I could tell you more about the rest of the highly interactive educational sessions at this year’s event, but Kris Burnett from Hospitality Upgrade will have a more in-depth look back at the CIO Summit in our upcoming fall issue. If you are not already receiving Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe. Of course along with a deeper look at the summit program you will see some very unique and often funny pictures that were taken over the two and a half days. If you are a vendor of technology and would like information about getting involved, please email Anne at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. With any event, along with the highlights there are lowlights, and the lowlight was easy to pick out this year. When planning the summit we thought it would be enjoyable to have the attendees take the 15-minute walk to the Philadelphia Art Museum for the group picture to be taken on the steps that Rocky made famous. Who would have guessed that it would be a record hot day with a temperature of 95 degrees and the humidity just as bad. This made for a pretty interesting picture and that is all I am going to say about that. The social events we had at the summit were great with everybody loving the dinner Thursday night at The Linc, also known as Lincoln Financial Field and the home of the Philadelphia Eagles football team. Yes, we all had fun playing on the field, but the location of our dinner was the best. We ate in the Eagles’ locker room! And in case you are wondering, their first game was on Sunday so there were no questionable smells. Definitely one of our more unique dinners ever. I need to thank the more than 50 attendees who joined us this year and the sponsors who made it all possible. I am sure nobody will ever look at Philadelphia the same way again!
Our CIO Summit is always the week of Labor Day in the United States, and in my world kicks off the nonstop conference season. Before the month is over Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be at the Lodging Conference in Phoenix and the Global Gaming Expo known as G2E in Las Vegas. If you will be at either event, drop a note to me at mailto:email@example.com. One of the great things about attending industry events is that nothing beats connecting with friends and customers face to face. I do hope our paths will cross.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Dan Phillips’ look back at the latest industry technology happenings. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.
by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips
I don’t know if technology can solve these issues. What is the cost of loyalty? How do you commoditize unique? How can a hotel showcase uniqueness and authentic, local experiences and make money? How can you put an attractive wrapper around a branded, uniform product?
The mantra for hotel success used to be location, location, location. Well, if in today’s world the location of your guest is paramount – where they are in their journey, in their guest life cycle, as they approach your hotel, as they walk the premises, as the experience the locality – is the location of the hotel still relevant?
More often than not, regardless of the questions, hospitality comes down to service. A hotel chalk full of SOPs and the same room after room after room can still create uniqueness and heighten experiences through a staff that provides exemplary service. Just as easily, that new boutique, ultra-suave hotel around the corner can fail miserably with staff that cares more for the text on their phone than the guest in front of them.
How does technology address these issues? By being the foundation that makes your staff shine in the spotlight. Technology for technology’s sake is not the answer. Technology that resides in the background, simple and functional, that enables guests to seamlessly enjoy their stay more, and that empowers your staff to provide white glove service in a select-service hotel, that is the answer.
As you read the articles in my Piqued section below, keep in the back of your mind how you might implement technology to answer the questions above.
- Cloud5 Communications Appoints Mark Holzberg as Chief Commercial Officer - iRiS Software Systems Closes Series A Funding Round Led by JMI Holdings, Appoints Chairman - The Rainmaker Group Appoints Mike Cowles as Chief Commercial Officer to Lead Ongoing Growth Initiatives - Rick Rausch to Lead RoamBOOST’s Growing Sales Effort - Sabre Names Hospitality Leader Alex Alt to Executive Vice President - Nicole Stanaway Becomes SpaSoft Business Development Manager - Zaplox Appoints Carlos Lorente as Sales Director EMEA Supporting Global Expansion - AccorHotels Names Three Executives to Development Team for North and Central America, Middle East & Africa and ASPAC - And many more People on the Move stories... --------------------------
- Maestro's 2016 PMS Users’ Conference Focuses On Strategies for Success - The Westin Nashville Deploys Hosted SpaSoft Spa Management System - StayNTouch Partners with Pacific Hospitality Group --------------------------
- SiteMinder Increases Mallorca Market Penetration with Timón Hotel and Ola Hotels - Expedia Announces Next-generation Partnership with Marriott -------------------------- SiteMinder Increases Mallorca Market Penetration with Timón Hotel and Ola Hotels SiteMinder has deepened its market penetration of the vibrant Mallorca hot spot in Spain with the announcement it has secured a strategic integration partnership with Timón Hotel, a local hotel management system provider and a groupwide deal with Ola Hotels. The wins – which come amid a summer period expected to see record arrival numbers – continue SiteMinder’s ever-growing presence in Spain and Europe’s key tourist destinations, including Barcelona, Madrid, London and Paris. http://www.siteminder.com ** Expedia Announces Next-generation Partnership with Marriott Expedia, Inc., has announced a new partnership with Marriott International, Inc., which integrates Expedia’s technology to power Marriott’s own dynamic packaging platform “Vacations by Marriott” on Marriott.com in the United States. A strategic initiative that has been in development for months, Marriott has, as of September 1st, integrated Expedia’s best-in-class dynamic packaging technology into the Vacations by Marriott Hotel & Flight Packages product with its world-class selection of air inventory, tours, attractions and ground transportation options accessible on Marriott.com. Travelers accessing Marriott.com to book a hotel can now also combine their accommodations with a flight booking from the more than 475 Expedia airline partners. http://www.expedia.com, http://www.marriott.com **
- Vizergy Digital Travel Marketing Selected as New Preferred Partner for Worldhotels -------------------------- Vizergy Digital Travel Marketing Selected as New Preferred Partner for Worldhotels Vizergy Digital Travel Marketing, a leading provider of online hospitality marketing, and Worldhotels, an international group of more than 450 independent luxury and upscale hotels, announced their partnership. Vizergy has been selected as Worldhotels’ preferred vendor in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, to power website design, analytics and strategic digital marketing for Worldhotels’ unique, upscale hotel portfolio. Vizergy will also be leading corporate training efforts, providing Worldhotels a solid digital education towards expanding opportunities for its member hoteliers. The new partnership will drive greater exposure and online bookings revenue for each property through strategic online marketing. http://www.vizergy.com **
- Noble House Hotels & Resorts Boosts Business Intelligence with Revenue Management Tools from The Rainmaker Group - Duetto GameChanger Empowers Hotels, Casinos with Personalized Loyalty Pricing -------------------------- Noble House Hotels & Resorts Boosts Business Intelligence with Revenue Management Tools from The Rainmaker Group Noble House Hotels & Resorts (Noble House), a hotel ownership and management company operating award-winning, upper segment boutique hotels across the country, has optimized its revenue management practices with the selection and use of The Rainmaker Group’s revintel business intelligence platform. Noble House began using the revintel solution in its two Jackson Hole, Wyo., locations in August of 2014, with recent implementation across all of its independent properties in June of this year. revintel mines data at a granular level, showing detailed analysis of the various causes behind specific trends in a particular market, and provides the in-depth ability to extract data critical to improving day-to-day and overall operations from across multiple properties. http://www.LetItRain.com ** Duetto GameChanger Empowers Hotels, Casinos with Personalized Loyalty Pricing Duetto, a market leader in hotel profit optimization technology, has developed an answer to how hotels can create true loyalty - through its Personalized Loyalty Pricing, a breakthrough feature available with the Strategy and Casino editions of its revenue management application, GameChanger. GameChanger is now in use in more than 1,000 hotels and casinos in more than 50 countries worldwide. http://www.duettoresearch.com/ **
- ALICE Concierge Delivers Customized Solution at New York City's Dream Downtown - Lola Teams with DerbySoft's Go - Marco Pierre White Restaurants Partners with iRiS Software Systems - Wyndham Hotel Group Revolutionizes Marketing, Quality and Technology Catering to the Everyday Traveler - The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dallas-Love Field Increases Revenue with Flyte Systems® --------------------------
- Agilysys Sponsors Research on Next-generation POS Systems - Postec Wins RSPA POS Pacesetter Award -------------------------- Agilysys Sponsors Research on Next-generation POS Systems Agilysys, Inc., announced availability of The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Restaurant Management and POS Systems, published by Starfleet Research. Based on extensive industry research, the document reveals how food and beverage service operators are looking to next-generation point-of-sale technology to improve efficiency, enhance guest satisfaction and increase revenue. According to the study, today’s restaurant operators are seeing the biggest technology shift since the 1980s, when POS terminals replaced cash registers. http://www.agilysys.com ** Postec Wins RSPA POS Pacesetter Award Postec Inc, a provider of hospitality, retail and grocery point-of-sale systems has received the Pacesetter Award 2016, an annual award given out by Business Solutions magazine and RSPA to recognize the nation's most innovative POS solution providers. Postec serves hospitality – hotels, lodging, family entertainment and restaurants – grocery independents and chains and specialty retail. The announcement was made at the RetailNOW conference, held this year in Grapevine, Texas, from July 31–Aug. 3, 2016. http://www.postec.com/ **
- Shift4 Helps Merchants Provide Short Wait Times With Quick Chip EMV Support -------------------------- Shift4 Helps Merchants Provide Short Wait Times With Quick Chip EMV Support Shift4 Corporation announced it has released a new software update that adds support for multiple quick chip EMV solutions including Visa Quick Chip for EMV, MasterCard M/Chip Fast, Amex Quick Chip and Discover Quick Chip. As one of the first payment gateways to support quick chip functionality, Shift4 continues to deliver timely solutions to merchants’ most vexing payments issues. Quick chip functionality alleviates the consumer’s perceived wait time by allowing shoppers to remove their EMV chip cards a few seconds after inserting their card while the clerk continues to scan items. Once the final item is scanned, the approval process can proceed without the card in the payment device. http://www.shift4.com
- Stark Service Solutions Proprietary Quality Assurance Touch System Software Chosen by IBC Hotels -------------------------- Stark Service Solutions Proprietary Quality Assurance Touch System Software Chosen by IBC Hotels Stark Service Solutions, a provider of customer service training and software for the hospitality industry, has been selected by IBC Hotels to automate key quality assurance processes for its members, specifically housekeeping and maintenance functions. The Stark QA Touch System™ will equip this independent collection of hotels with tools needed for streamlining deep clean schedules, preventative maintenance, daily room checks, work orders and more. http://www.starkservicesolutions.com **
- JMA Wireless Empowers the World Trade Center Transportation Hub with First-rate Mobile Communications -------------------------- JMA Wireless Empowers the World Trade Center Transportation Hub with First-rate Mobile Communications JMA Wireless, a global leader of wireless communications solutions, is enabling mobile connectivity at New York City’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which is located in the middle of the new World Trade Center buildings and its 9/11 Memorial. Multiple solutions, including JMA Wireless’ powerful Teko DAS (distributed antenna system), have been deployed to ensure wireless network coverage throughout the Vehicle Security Center (VSC), the subway platforms, bus station, loading docks and the Westfield World Trade Center mall. In addition to providing the wireless infrastructure equipment, JMA Wireless also worked closely with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the neutral host on overseeing all aspects of the project, from RF design, deployment and integration to commissioning and optimization of the system. The Transportation Hub is the third largest transportation facility in New York City, measuring one million square feet with 365,000 square feet dedicated to the high end shopping complex. http://www.jmawireless.com **
DATA SECURITY AND CYBER ATTACKS
- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Completes Investigation of Previously Announced Payment Card Security Incident - Blue Mountain Resorts to Pilot VENZA’s Learning Eco-System Gamification -------------------------- Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants Completes Investigation of Previously Announced Payment Card Security Incident Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants received a report on July 15, 2016, of unauthorized charges occurring on payment cards after they had been used by guests at the restaurant in one of its hotels. It immediately began to investigate the report and hired leading cyber security firms to examine the payment card processing system. Findings from the investigation show that malware was installed on servers that processed payment cards used at the restaurants and front desks of some of its properties. This incident involved cards used at certain restaurants and hotel front desks from Feb. 16, 2016 to July 7, 2016. http://www.kimptonhotels.com/protectingourguests ** Blue Mountain Resorts to Pilot VENZA’s Learning Eco-System Gamification Platform to Reinforce Essential PCI and PII Compliance Requirements Ontario-based Blue Mountain Resorts will be the first beta tester organization for VENZA’s new VENZA® Learning Game Eco-System, a mountain-scape, mobile-friendly gamification platform for reinforcing critical PCI and PII requirements so that associates are equipped to keep guest data safe. VENZA previously partnered with Blue Mountain to develop a customized, role-based curriculum to meet the compliance requirements of Canada’s PIPEDA legislation while increasing the security and safety of data across its various lodging options. http://www.venzagroup.com **
- Exploria Resorts Trusts dorma+kaba for Guest Security - Mount Airy Casino Resort Tracks Keys with Barcoding, Inc.’s Active Asset Tracker (AAT)™ -------------------------- Exploria Resorts Trusts dorma+kaba for Guest Security Exploria Resorts, which operates eight properties, furthered its commitment to guest safety by including Saflok electronic door locks from the dorma+kaba Group. The Saflok RFID locks Exploria Resorts is implementing have smartphone integration options, allowing the guests to bypass the check-in process and use their smartphone to unlock the room. http://www.Kaba.com ** Mount Airy Casino Resort Tracks Keys with Barcoding, Inc.’s Active Asset Tracker (AAT)™ Barcoding, Inc., a leader in supply chain efficiency, accuracy and connectivity, has deployed its Active Asset Tracker (AAT)™ Solution at Mount Airy Casino Resort. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons and the power of the Internet of Things (IoT), Barcoding’s AAT is helping the Mount Pocono, Pa., casino enhance security and maintain regulatory compliance by preventing keys from leaving the casino floor. With stringent regulations, the casino industry imposes hefty fines if keys exit a facility, whether accidentally or maliciously. To avoid these fines, establish accountability, and deter theft and duplication, Mount Airy Casino Resort turned to Barcoding for a solution. Comprising BLE beacons, a CloudNode (or smartphone) and a mobile application, Barcoding’s AAT allows users to continuously and accurately track information about an asset’s presence, temperature and movement. http://www.barcoding.com **
- The Hotel at Oberlin: Cutting-edge Green Technology, Architecture and Design -------------------------- The Hotel at Oberlin: Cutting-edge Green Technology, Architecture and Design The Hotel at Oberlin officially opened on September 13, 2016, and is a 70-room property designed to be one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in the world. Owned by Oberlin College, developed by SMART Hotels and managed by The Olympia Companies, The Hotel at Oberlin is one of the first hotels in the United States to incorporate solar, geothermal, and radiant heating and cooling, and one of only five hotels in the United States to qualify for the rigorous LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. http://www.thehotelatoberlin.com, http://www.smarthotelsgroup.com **
- Kelly McGuire Named 2016 Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumnus - HFTP Announces 2016 CHAE of the Year -------------------------- Kelly McGuire Named 2016 Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumnus Kelly McGuire, vice president of advanced analytics at Wyndham Destination Network, has been selected to receive the 2016 Cornell MMH Outstanding Alumnus of the Year Award, presented by the Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) program at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA). McGuire will receive the award at the 15th annual Cornell MMH Reception on Sunday, November 13, in New York City. ** HFTP Announces 2016 CHAE of the Year Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) will honor Kelly Montgomery, CHAE, as the 2016 Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) of the Year at its 2016 Annual Convention. The CHAE of the Year award honors the individual that scored the highest on the CHAE certification exam within a given year. HFTP’s 2016 Annual Convention event will be held at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino from Oct. 19-21, 2016, in Las Vegas. http://www.hftp.org **
- Volunteer Spirit of NAVIS Employees Shines with Community Outreach Program -------------------------- Volunteer Spirit of NAVIS Employees Shines with Community Outreach Program NAVIS, a reservation sales and marketing platform for the hospitality industry, not only contributes to the personal development of its staff, but also to the social and economic fabric of the communities where they work and live. “NAVIS Serves” is a newly launched program that supports employees as they devote their time, energy and passion to inspiring change and making a positive impact. With a long history of giving back, NAVIS is now formalizing the spirit of giving, empowering staff with paid time off to lend their skills and talents to meaningful projects. http://www.TheNavisWay.com **
- HFTP and Naseba Partner to Host 20th Edition Hotel Technology Summit - HX: Tech to Showcase Hot Trends and Tech Innovations for Hospitality Professionals -------------------------- HFTP and Naseba Partner to Host 20th Edition Hotel Technology Summit On Nov. 16-17, 2016, hospitality buyers and experts from around the Middle East will gather in Dubai for the Hotel Technology Summit. The summit is the result of a partnership between Naseba, a business facilitator based in Dubai, and Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP), one of the world’s leading global hospitality associations and organizers of HITEC. Its unique format includes one-to-one business meetings designed to facilitate deals, as well as interactive panel discussions, informative tech talks, live demonstrations and networking sessions. http://www.hftp.org ** HX: Tech to Showcase Hot Trends and Tech Innovations for Hospitality Professionals HX: The Hotel Experience 2016, taking place November 13-15, will highlight how technology is transforming the hotel, restaurant and hospitality industry. With top executives and innovative leaders heading the HX: TECH speaker lineup, the planned content will educate hospitality companies and professionals on the latest trends and how to hone technology and marketing to better engage guests and grow their audiences. Confirmed session speakers include Google, Maidbot, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Savioke, Interstate Hotels and IHG — with more in the works. http://www.thehotelexperience.com **
PIQUED DAN'S INTEREST
- The End of the Branded Hotel - Data suggests hotel loyalty rates may hurt owners more than OTA fees do - Travel Brands Play It Safe on Social With Popular Attractions, Not Local Experiences - Hilton’s Newest App Feature Ups the Game in Guest Personalization - 2 Customer Service WOW Stories to Jumpstart Your Week! - The Cosmopolitan Hotel Takes its Individualized Service One Step Further - Five Scary Facts About Millennial Travel Purchases --------------------------
A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.
"Reverend," said the young man, "I’m so sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."
The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It’s the same in my business."
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