I can assure you that anybody who was at HITEC this year either attending or exhibiting has no doubt that the investment and interest in technology is at an all-time high. I strongly encourage you to take a few moments and read through Jon Inge’s technology news. What is going on in our industry is nothing short of amazing. The crowd this year was reported at more than 5,600, which with the exception for Orlando was the biggest crowd ever. I talked to hoteliers, exhibitors and other industry professionals for four days and the energy level was through the roof. The comments we received about the educational program were very positive and those who attended the general session on Tuesday morning probably saw the best speaker ever at HITEC. If you didn’t read Geneva’s review, then click here to read “Move Fast and Break Things.” Yes, it was an amazing week. Thanks to the many vendors who invited us to their parties. There were way too many to list. Thanks also to Al J Schneider Company, Red Roof Inns and Destination Hotels and Resorts for participating in the session I did as we looked at the changing roles of the CIO and the CMO. Yes, our Newlywed Game was a surprise to them, but they were real troopers and the audience loved it. Thanks to everyone who came by our booth and congratulated us on our HITEC issue. We always love the comments, especially when all of them are positive. If you haven’t seen the issue or would like a copy of our digital edition, you can read the summer issue at http://mag.hospitalityupgrade.com. Yes, for those who attended HITEC this year it was nonstop and quite exhausting, but it still reigns as the industry’s best technology event and we are proud to be part of it. A special thanks this year to HFTP for the week it scheduled HITEC. It was thoughtful of them to schedule HITEC the week before the Fourth of July holiday. I bet a great deal of attendees were thankful for the holiday. I know I was.
I took a few vacation days the week following HITEC and went somewhere that I haven’t been in a long, long time: Buffalo, N.Y. I stayed at the Hyatt in downtown Buffalo which was great. I met the Director of Rooms Victor Liberta when checking in and after a lengthy conversation I told him he should be running his own hotel. Victor is a true hotelier and a nice guy! I went to the Anchor Bar which is the place that invented Buffalo Wings and I ate way too many wings. I visited Niagara Falls and experienced the Maid of the Mist which is the boat ride that pretty much takes you under the falls. Being someone who has no problem embarrassing himself, please see the photo at the top right of this page to see what it is like under Niagara Falls. I also can now confirm that the Canadian side is the better side to view Niagara Falls. It was a great break and I can be counted as a big Buffalo fan. If you have never been to Buffalo I suggest a visit. The people there were great and when you are vacationing, the people you meet can definitely add to your trip. It definitely added to mine!
Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review. To view our traditional HITEC Siegel Sez video with Jon and me discussing the events of HITEC while in the exhibit hall, please click here. Coming soon we will have several other videos from HITEC and HSMAI ROC posted on the HUTube page of our website. Yes, there is a great deal happening in this industry and Jon did a great job sharing this week. You will be glad you read through his news. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what!
by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- HITEC 2014 as busy as ever; guest service apps and Bluetooth room keys proliferate - HTNG charters New Builds Workgroup to guide network and technology infrastructure design -------------------------- Another year, another HITEC, another pair of aching feet, another long list of people and systems I really wanted to see and missed – yes, HITEC was once again unbelievably busy! Despite a noticeable lack of any breakthrough technologies there seemed to be a real buzz among the attendees. Most vendors I spoke with reported very high levels of interest from motivated buyers, reflecting the current buoyancy in the hotel industry in general.
Two application groups seemed to crop up all over the floor this year: guest service apps and Bluetooth-enabled door locks. At least a dozen vendors were offering the former, validating a software segment pioneered for several years by Intelity, Runtriz, Ascension and others. The demand for this appealing mix of guest-related functions (room service ordering, wake-up call requests, housekeeping, dining reservations, etc.) certainly seems to be there; a recent Smith Micro survey reported that 62 percent of travelers prefer to purchase or reserve hotel guest services through their mobile devices, rather than face-to-face with a member of the hotel staff.
However, the apps only really come into their own when effectively integrated with other hotel management systems, and this seems a natural area for hotel chains to focus on. It makes no sense for travelers to have to use one app for booking, one for guest services and one to access their on-site conference agenda when a single app could handle all three – and maybe could control the TV and drapes and lighting as well – in multiple properties within the chain. Accor seems to be heading this way in its partnership with Monscierge, and I expect other chains to follow.
Bluetooth-based phone keys using the guest’s smartphone were also a hot topic and several examples were being demonstrated, apparently in response to a small but vocal segment of guests who want to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms. Technologically this seems to work just fine, though it can’t be a sole solution; phone batteries run down, not everyone has a smartphone, nor wants to leave it by the pool while they swim, and many don’t want to have to register every family member’s phone as a valid key. Overall, therefore, it seems that a Bluetooth/RFID keycard combination is the most likely direction for door locks.
However, even if guests do want to use their phones as room keys after check-in, the whole bypass-the-front-desk concept seems at odds with hotels’ increasing interest in security. It seems that every property nowadays verifies your ID before checking you in and issuing a key, or even (especially in Europe and other countries) scans your passport or driver’s license. Will we need to provide copies of our documents online before we arrive? Even then, how’s a hotel to know that the person authorized to bypass the desk is actually the one in the room?
As so often happens these days, the technology is enticing and works well, but we have some catching up to do operationally, and maybe legally as well. ** HTNG has chartered a New Builds Workgroup, tasked with providing comprehensive architectural and design guidelines for 21st century networks and technology infrastructure in hotels. **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Kris Singleton is Omni’s new CIO - Frederick Wong joins TrustYou as vice president, business development – Asia - Jonica Mark is new sales account manager for Southeastern United States at Clear Sky Software - Richard Dunbar joins Flip.to as director of business development - Eric Sullender promoted to vice president of products at Eleven --------------------------
- Agilysys previews rGuest hotel management system, announces add-on modules - John Keells Holdings orders Indra's TMS for Hotels for 14 Cinnamon properties - Cenium launches Cenium Hospitality ERP version 7 - Oracle acquires MICROS - MICROS integrates Payment Gateway with Elavon’s Fusebox - Xn Hotel Systems releases Serviced Apartment Management System - Southbridge Hotel, Singapore installs protel PMS and Xn POS from Xn Hotel Systems - PAR Springer-Miller releases Secure Payment Solution payment processing integrated with Shift4, Global Payments - PAR Springer-Miller interfaces ATRIO with Windsurfer - FCS develops interface with Ariane Systems online check-in - hospitalityPulse launches roomPulse room management system - Infor partners with Merchant Link for tokenization, Point-to-Point Encryption on HMS Mobile Check in - Spicers Retreat implements RoomKeyPMS at seven properties - YOTEL New York implements StayNTouch - NORTHWIND announces browser-based Maestro, expanded tablet apps, improved e-learning, context-sensitive help --------------------------
- Motel 6 integrates Google Wallet into mobile website - Astotel Group renews agreement with Pegasus Solutions for Pegasus Connect+ Premium at 15 hotels - Atlantis Hotel Vienna signs with Pegasus Connect+ - Filarchipelago Hospitality picks Pegasus Connect+ to provide distribution services for three hotels - Sabre partners with Expedia Affiliate Network for hotel marketing and booking content - Morgans migrates all 12 properties to SynXis - Guestline releases two-way Rezlynx interface with Best Western CRS - FASTBOOKING launches ATTRACTION booking engine - Trust International launches Trust|Corporate Internet Booking Engine (IBE) for corporate business - Travel Tripper announces RezTrip CRS connectivity with all major meta-search sites - Travel Tripper developing Automated Best Rate Guarantee functionality - Travel Tripper to integrate future demand data into RezTrip CRS Rate Grid - Louvre Hotels Group implements MICROS’ OPERA 9 Reservation System (ORS) for 220+ Tulip-brand sites - InnLink adds TrustYou review data to its central reservation services --------------------------
- trivago signs multiyear agreement with Leonardo - TrustYou expands to Boulder, Colo., adds data team from TravelShark - TrustYou announces product enhancements - Milestone releases Galexi CMS 6.0 content management system - Carver Hotel Group incorporates RABS Marketing into XPRESS brand modules - eRevMax launches hosted Analytics BI application - ZDirect unveils Automated Responsive Designer - UIEvolution releases Experience Manager platform - Revinate adds iPad®-based on-site surveys - The Modern Honolulu subscribes to HotelIQ Business Intelligence - Datavision announces Payroll Metrics Suite - R.A. Rauch & Associates implements Flip.to at three properties in San Diego - Lodging Interactive receives three Interactive Media Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Website Design --------------------------
- ResorTime interfaces with RateTiger - Spa & Golf Resort Weimarer Land selects eRevMax’s CONNECT - La Réserve Genève Hotel & Spa implements TSA Solutions’ front desk upselling program - IDeaS Revenue Solutions has announced its IDeaS Reputation Pricing module - Extended Stay America to deploy IDeaS G3 RMS across nearly 700 hotels - PriceMatch announces integration with SiteMinder - Infor announces more than 340 orders for EzRMS in last 12 months - iRates announces demand-based hourly updates for revenue management software --------------------------
- Runtriz releases its Meeting & Events app - Eleven launches new version of Conference Manager - Guest-tek announces RendezView customized network and Internet access for groups of all sizes - 22MILES unveils version 4 of Swift Publisher - Eventgrid offers private-label event and ticketing software - Highgate Hotels implements Groupize’s new Group Booking Engine - hotel SystemsPro launches hotel ProposalPro - MICROS integrating Social Tables with OPERA - Sertifi integrates eSignature with Merchant Link’s payment gateway --------------------------
- HotelWorks Development picks Agilysys’ InfoGenesis for Malana Hotel brand - San Diego Marriott Del Mar implements Clear Sky’s Food & Beverage -------------------------- HotelWorks Development has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system for its new Malana Hotel brand, starting with the Malana Hotel & Suites in Cotulla, Texas, scheduled to open this summer. http://www.malanahotels.com, http://www.agilysys.com ** The San Diego Marriott Del Mar has implemented Clear Sky Software’s food and beverage inventory control system, including Clear Sky's KIOSK feature for better tracking of food and beverage product movements. http://www.clearskysoftware.com **
- Omni picks ResortSuite for six properties - ResortSuite announces tablet-based SPA Check-In -------------------------- Omni Hotels & Resorts has selected ResortSuite to manage all spa, golf, activities, retail and membership operations at five properties it recently acquired as well as the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Florida. Three properties have gone live with ResortSuite – La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas, and The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. – and the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, Va., and Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Florida will do so this year. ResortSuite is also implementing an HTNG Single Guest Itinerary integration with MICROS OPERA to enable guest profile sharing and synchronization, itinerary synchronization and detailed room posting.
ResortSuite has announced ResortSuite SPA Check-In, the latest addition to its ResortSuite OPS (operations) range of tablet-based applications. SPA Check-In streamlines the arrivals process by allowing guests to complete an intake form, health questionnaire and/or sign a waiver directly on an iOS or Android tablet. The SPA Staff Portal allows spa and activity staff to view their schedules online, via their personal computers, mobile devices or any online method. Staff can log in and view their own schedules, eliminating the need to call the front desk and tie up resources to check their work schedules. http://www.omnihotels.com, http://www.resortsuite.com **
- Kempinski Hotel Bahía introduces iRiS-designed Beach Butler mobile app for poolside ordering - Evolve Controls introduces two guest-facing apps for its Room Operations Center platform - Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs equips all rooms with Nexus Tablets and Google Chromecast - Bittel introduces NEO small-footprint guestroom phone - Bittel adds Bluetooth to UNOMedia 4 rapid charging station - Quadriga announces Personal Video Recorder (PVR) and Pause Live TV capability - Quadriga adds Apple’s Airplay® streaming to Sensiq IPTV service - Quadriga Americas announces multiple deployments of Sensiq interactive IPTV service, LG Smart TVs - Sillks International Hotel Group picks Intelity to build mobile app - Intelity’s ICE now available through MICROS’ hosted Commerce Platform - Intelity, Guest-tek partner to let guests stream media content from mobile devices to guestroom TVs - Newmarket releases HotSOS Mobile for North America in English - Flyte Systems unveils InfoBoard, enhanced EventBoard and Apple-compatible FlytePass - Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia Airport Hotel installs FlyteBoard - Kalahari selects Percipia to develop mobile application - Marriott selects Kube charging units for Marriott Hotels brand - Runtriz launches API for hoteliers to add guest service platform to any website, app, digital sign or in-room television - DIRECTV updates DIRECTV Residential Experience, introduces COM2000 head-end HD video service - Eleven releases Mobile Print Zone remote printing service - FCS Computer Systems appoints ECnex as distributor throughout Latin America and the Caribbean - MCOM now offering LG’s new PrCentric Smart STB-2000 set-top box - MCOM expands partnership with Samsung - Accor announces Phase 2 of Novotel Virtual Concierge with Monscierge - Sceptre developing WAYV location services application --------------------------
- pasUNITY launches Push Button Consolidation - NH Hotels rolls out Indra’s TMS for all back office functions to headquarters and more than 50 percent of hotels - Security Validation and Venza Group offer data security program - UniFocus adds Japanese to multilingual Time Clock suite - BirchStreet Systems launches Capital Budget Management module - AMResorts signs with Worldpay for payment services - Data Plus releases Gen8 - Mobile Simple launches ABreez app for minibar operations management --------------------------
- Scandic Hotels selects Ruckus Wireless as brand standard - InTown Suites picks Guest-tek as Internet service provider for all 134 locations - Liberty Hotel updates PBX system with Guest-tek’s OneView Voice iACT --------------------------
- OpenWays creates Partner Certification Program - OKKO HOTELS standardize on Kaba Saflok RT RFID locks with OpenWays - Kaba demonstrates Mobile Access system using BLE to open guestroom doors - Trump National Doral Miami installs VingCard Elsafe’s Signature RFID locks, VISIONLINE --------------------------
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