Here we are in July and the first half of 2016 is now in the books. It’s been a pretty interesting year so far in the vendor community with so many mergers and acquisitions done and it looks like more are still to come. There has been a slew of startups that have received funding, which is the second step (of course, the product is first) of the many steps that have to be travelled to make an impact in the industry. The merger and acquisition (M&A) activity is not just relegated to the vendor community. There have been quite a few in the hotel space with a big one still to come and who can be sure today who is next. The rumors run rampant. We will share a detailed look at the activity from the first six months in the bi-weekly Hospitality Upgrade Watercooler (subscribe at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/Subscribe-Magazine/) and will share our thoughts on what to expect the second half of the year. It really has been an amazing year to date with the investment in technology being at an all-time high and so many products being installed. There were many pages of recent installs in our most recent issue of Hospitality Upgrade; we thank you for all the positive feedback we have received.
There is a downside of so much M&A activity going on in the industry. We start out with two customers and then all of a sudden we have one. Thankfully the new companies or recently funded companies join right in. Then in the world of hotel companies when there is a merger or acquisition the issue becomes who is going to attend our CIO Summit from the new company (www.hospitalityupgrade.com/ciosummit) when both want to attend. Thankfully those who attend our CIO Summit include not just hotel and hotel management companies, but also gaming, vacation ownership and cruise lines. I love that we are holding the event in Philadelphia this year. It is always fun picking cities that are not often used in our industry and everyone comes out of the event with a new found love of the city. A couple of years ago we held the CIO Summit in Milwaukee and that is exactly what happened. We will probably climb the stairs to the Philadelphia Art Museum and do the “Rocky” thing with over 50 CIOs. This should be interesting, and there are only seven weeks to go. I can’t wait.
July is the quiet time in the world of sports. Basketball, hockey and the UEFA European Championship, known as the Euros and considered real football to those outside the United States, is completed with American football still over a month away. I bring this up because today is Opening Day at Saratoga which is the greatest horse racing meeting in the world (yes, this was a bit of bias here). You have to love the little town of Saratoga Springs this time of year. Hotel rooms that any other time of the year go for $99 a night now go for $299 a night. This is good for them, but bad for me. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that our little three-year-old filly B Three will be ready soon, she is getting closer. Running at Saratoga is an unbelievable experience, but winning there would be a dream. It is important that we all have dreams, right? Our fingers are crossed very tightly.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Dan Phillips technology review of the latest happenings in the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Go B Three!
by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips
“Location, location, location,” basically the mantra for every retail and service business for years. In the hotel industry, could that be replaced by, “Experience, experience, experience?”
In the Piqued Interest section below, the articles are separated into two categories – Pokemon and experience. I had a hard time understanding the Pokemon craze when my son was a youngster, and now, at 22 years old and living in Boston, our last phone conversation was with him walking the streets in search of the next best monster. But, the Pokemon craze is a recent example of the goods and bads of hotels pushing the experience angle. This craze went viral in a matter of days, and, hit peak mass in a couple of days and is now, maybe, flaming out. Hotels that were quick to act may have greatly benefited, but a hotelier needs to be careful of the hotel’s brand and reputation. Joining up with every, or any, experience provider can result in mixed branding and hotels run the risk/reward of impacting their own marketing messages.
The second set of articles provides some background on why and how hotels are creating new experiences for their guests. I am a big proponent of hotels creating unique and individualized experience opportunities for their guests. I have personally taken advantage of some of these experiences and though my sample is small, every one of them was very positive. I urge hoteliers to find ways to incorporate both hotel generated and third-party partnership experiences into their guest messaging schemes. Use technology, and your persuasive manner, to craft a menu of experiences to attract new guests and radically impress your existing clientele.
-AccorHotels Shareholders Approve Acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel Brands -Valsoft Enters Hotel Management Vertical with Acquisition of InnQuest
--------------------------- AccorHotels Shareholders Approve Acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel Brands Following the approval of shareholders at the General Shareholders Meeting on July 12, 2016, AccorHotels Group officially announces the acquisition of FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) and its three prestigious luxury hotel brands: Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. This addition of three remarkable brands instantly positions AccorHotels as a leading player in the global luxury hotel market, increases long term growth potential and profitability, and significantly expands the company's footprint in North America, the world's largest and most influential consumer market. ** Valsoft Enters Hotel Management Vertical with Acquisition of InnQuest Valsoft, a company specialized in the acquisition and development of vertical market software companies, is pleased to announce the acquisition of the assets of InnQuest Software Corporation, an established leader in the hotel management software industry. **
GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
-Indie Operators Expand with Maestro Multi-Property Management and Loyalty Programs --------------------------- Indie Operators Expand with Maestro Multi-Property Management and Loyalty Programs Many independent operators are turning to Maestro PMS to provide the enterprise platform to sustain their growth in the hospitality industry. www.maestropms.com
-Travelport and Groupize Launch New Small Group Booking Tool -DHISCO Partners with Nirvana, Continuing Reach into Middle East --------------------------- Travelport and Groupize Launch New Small Group Booking Tool Groupize and Travelport, a travel commerce platform, have jointly announced the launch of a new online hotel booking solution for travel management companies (TMC) that addresses the growing demand for a self-service, centralized solution to source, book, track and manage small group meetings of under 25 hotel rooms or less than 50 participants. **
-The Rainmaker Group on Pace to Grow 50 Percent in 2016 --------------------------- The Rainmaker Group on Pace to Grow 50 Percent in 2016 With the current boom in new hotels and casinos, there is urgency for intelligent analytics to game the competition. That’s why the hospitality industry has turned, in increasing numbers, to The Rainmaker Group for math and science-propelled software solutions that drive revenue, optimize profits and generally help clients outperform their competitors. http://www.LetItRain.com **
-Vizergy Digital Travel Marketing Experiencing Record Growth --------------------------- Vizergy Digital Travel Marketing Experiencing Record Growth Vizergy – Digital Travel Marketing, a provider of online hospitality marketing, reports record growth heading into the third quarter. Revenue, client accounts and profitability have all exceeded YOY projections. **
-Sabre's New Mobile Platform will Support Business Traveler's Needs and Lower Costs for Corporations -Intelity Installs In-Room Tablets at The Umstead Hotel and Spa -First Boutique Hotel in New York’s Garment District is Exceeding Guests’ Expectations with Kube Systems -Hampton Inn Des Moines Airport Provides Guests with InfoBoard Travel Convenience -TrustYou Acquires Checkmate and Integrates Live Messaging Into Its Guest Feedback Platform ---------------------------
-Grand America Hotels and Resorts Selects Agilysys Solution Suite to Streamline Food and Beverage Delivery -Oracle Cloud Solves Undiscovered Stadium Revenue Growth as Sports Fans Desire Mobile Food and Beverage Ordering -Clear Sky Software Expands into Another NYC Times Square Hotel ---------------------------
-Omni Hotels Announced Data Breach of Customer Credit Card Information
-New VENZA Learning Eco-System Combines Gamification, Spaced Learning to Increase Engagement, Retention and Compliance ---------------------------
Omni Hotels Announced Data Breach of Customer Credit Card Information On May 30, 2016, Omni discovered it was the victim of malware attacks on its network affecting specific point-of-sale systems on-site at some Omni properties. The malware was designed to collect certain payment card information, including cardholder name, credit/debit card number, security code and expiration date. ** New VENZA Learning Eco-System Combines Gamification, Spaced Learning to Increase Engagement, Retention and Compliance VENZA has launched a new mobile-enabled learning eco-system that combines gamification, spaced learning and small, flexible content components to increase learner engagement and retention while facilitating just-in-time updates as security considerations, standards and requirements, such as PCI DSS, evolve. http://www.venzagroup.com **
-Shift4, Springer-Miller Systems and Ingenico Group Debut Comprehensive EMV Solution at Beaver Run Resort --------------------------- Shift4, Springer-Miller Systems and Ingenico Group Debut Comprehensive EMV Solution at Beaver Run Resort Shift4 Corporation, a payment gateway provider, and Springer-Miller Systems, a software provider for luxury hotels, resorts and spas, announced the successful installation of EMV-ready, smart payment terminals from Ingenico Group (Euronext: FR0000125346 - ING) at Beaver Run Resort, a full-service resort and conference center in Breckenridge, Colo. http://www.shift4.com http://www.SpringerMiller.com **
-Sabre Introduces SafePoint to Help Protect Travelers by Rethinking Travel Risk Management --------------------------- Sabre Introduces SafePoint to Help Protect Travelers by Rethinking Travel Risk Management The growing priority of employers being able to monitor world events and account for the safety and location of their employees who are traveling will now be easier and more effective with the roll-out of SafePoint, a new mobile duty of care solution that Sabre Corporation unveiled at the GBTA Convention 2016. http://www.sabrehospitality.com **
-Meyer Jabara Hotels are Seeing Green by Being Green --------------------------- Meyer Jabara Hotels are Seeing Green by Being Green Keeping properties performing at peak efficiency is a top priority of Meyer Jabara Hotels (MJH). From the laundry facility and guestrooms to parking lots and rooftops, the East Coast hotel management company is committed to making each of its 22 hotels representing 4,000 guestrooms across 10 states energy efficient and operating green. **
-John Cahill Recognized with a Permanent Student Seat at Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summit -HFTP Announces Advisory Council for Premiere HITECSM Amsterdam, Exhibit Space Sold-Out --------------------------- John Cahill Recognized with a Permanent Student Seat at Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summit Hospitality Upgrade Publisher and President Rich Siegel announced the creation of the John Cahill Honorary Seat, a very special addition to the annual CIO Summit. Beginning this year and each year following, one student will be awarded an exclusive invitation to attend the CIO Summit in Mr. Cahill’s honor. Hospitality Upgrade first announced this special addition at the John Cahill Memorial Reception at HITEC 2016 in New Orleans. www.hospitalityupgrade.com ** HFTP Announces Advisory Council for Premiere HITECSM Amsterdam, Exhibit Space Sold-Out Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), one of the only nonprofit organizations producing hospitality finance and technology global conferences, including the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITECSM), is pleased to announce the advisory council for the premiere HITEC Amsterdam.
-Aspire Launches New Online Learning Environment --------------------------- Aspire Launches New Online Learning Environment Aspire announced aspire365 leadership, a new online learning tool designed to develop leaders and keep the learning alive. **
PIQUED DAN'S INTEREST
-Pokémon Go: A Crazy, Over-the-Top Tech Fad That Might Actually Help Your Business -A Hotelier’s Guide to Pokémon Go -The Smart Tourism Groups Already Leveraging the Pokémon Craze -Pokémon Go a hit at hotels, too
Experiences: -6 Charts on American Traveler Spending and Sentiments Toward Destination Experiences -The View from Europe: Millennials Turning Away from Cruises and Casinos -Bright Lights, Big Yurts: $2,000-a-Night Glamping Comes to NYC -For Hotel Spas and Excursions, Moonlight Feels Right -----------------------------
A duck walks into a pub and orders a pint of beer and a ham sandwich.
The bartender looks at him and says, "Hang on! You're a duck."
"I see your eyes are working," replies the duck.
"And you can talk!" exclaims the bartender.
"I see your ears are working, too," says the duck. "Now if you don't mind, can I have my beer and sandwich please?"
"Certainly, sorry about that" says the bartender as he pours the duck a pint. "It's just we don't get many ducks in this pub. What are you doing around this way?"
"I'm working on the building site across the road," explains the duck. "I'm a plasterer."
The flabbergasted bartender cannot believe the duck and wants to learn more, but takes the hint when the duck pulls out a newspaper from his bag and proceeds to read it.
So, the duck reads his paper, drinks his beer, eats his sandwich, bids the barman good day and leaves.
The same thing happens for two weeks.
Then one day the circus comes to town.
The ringmaster comes into the pub for a pint and the bartender says to him, "You're with the circus, aren't you? Well, I know this duck that could be just brilliant in your circus. He talks, drinks beer, eats sandwiches, reads the newspaper and everything!"
"Sounds marvelous," says the ringmaster, handing over his business card. "Get him to give me a call."
The next day when the duck comes into the pub the bartender says, "Hey Mr. Duck, I reckon I can line you up with a top job, paying really good money."
"I'm always looking for the next job," says the duck. "Where is it?"
"At the circus," says the bartender.
"The circus?" repeats the duck.
"That's right," replies the bartender.
"The circus?" the duck asks again. "With the big TENT?"
"Yeah!" the bartender replies.
"With all the animals who live in CAGES, and performers who live in CARAVANS?" says the duck.
"Of course," the bartender replies.
"And the tent has CANVAS sides and a big canvas roof with a hole in the middle?" persists the duck.
"That's right!" says the bartender.
The duck shakes his head in amazement, and says, "What would they want with a plasterer?"
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