I love this time of year. There is so much activity. I am part of the HITEC advisory board for the educational programs for HITEC and planning for the event is in full swing. We recently announced that this year’s Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit is in Denver so it has been nonstop conversations with those who are attending and those who wish to attend. There are amazing things happening in the hotel technology world with initiatives to implement new solutions seeming to be fast and furious. We coaxed Jon Inge to temporarily come out of retirement to help Hospitality Upgrade celebrate our 25 years in business with a look back at where technology started. This will blow many of you away as we go as far back as the ‘70s where the industry was very different, but you will see how it led to where we are today. Believe it or not, we have many companies that were advertisers in our first issue in September of 1992 that are still with us today. Of course, most have been gobbled up by other companies and then they were acquired by others. It really is interesting to look back and then see where these companies are today. Yes, it has been a wild ride. We have had a blast with those who are asking to be a part of this special issue and share their stories and wanting to add congratulations to HU not only surviving 25 years, but actually thriving. If you would like to join in, please send a note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best part of the year is putting together the HITEC issue of Hospitality Upgrade. The conversations we have with those who supply technology as they share their stories are eye opening. Between the vendors, the consultants who write for us and the industry folks who share where they see the industry going it is just nonstop, but we love it. If you are a vendor that is going to be at HITEC in Toronto and would like us to help you get the word out as to what you are doing today, please send a note to Anne at email@example.com. Two months to go and every conversation we seem to have either starts or ends with, “See you at HITEC.” Make sure you have a passport, and not one that is expiring like mine!
Last week I was once again in Orlando. Why do so many companies hold their events there? Hospitality Upgrade has always been a big supporter of HTNG and I have enjoyed doing the CIO session at the North America conference the last couple of years. As we all need to deal with change, this year HTNG didn’t do its traditional event, but became part of the HT Forum which now has been renamed HT-NEXT. I am thankful I was invited. The feedback for the first HT-NEXT was interesting with much mixed reaction. Many of the exhibitors who always went to HTNG were upset at the increased cost to participate. Of course, the flip side was there was more attendance with the combined events so that was a positive. Then there were some attendees who missed the intimacy of the smaller events when they were separate. I received a great deal of mixed feedback. Personally, I enjoyed the event and thought there was value and enjoyed catching up with so many. My only suggestion would be how about next year they pick a place other than Orlando? Just my two cents.
Here now is the real reason we are here with our look back at the recent technology happenings in the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. See you in Toronto!
by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips
I would think that one of the benefits of the emerging IoT movement is that humans will be better able to integrate with technology. Some think that this will be done by wearables, or smaller devices that we carry. However, with the advent of biometrics and screenless, voice-activated browsers, all we humans need to do to interact with technology is be ourselves.
Last week I was traveling through the Denver Airport with some extra time before my flight. I had seen CLEAR at the Atlanta Airport where I travel from most every week, but hadn’t signed up yet. With CLEAR, I provided my driver’s license and a credit card, and then gave my finger and thumb prints and had my eyes (iris) scanned. (CLEAR uses advanced biometric scanning technology to verify your identification and allow you to skip the TSA identification line. Once identification is verified, users can go straight to the baggage screening and body scanner/metal detector area.) Look at the first article in the “Piqued Our Interest” section that covers something similar with the airlines. How soon will it be before hotels offer check-in with an eye scan and room access with a thumb print? Instead of mobile wallet, could we have eyeball wallet?
The second article in that section covers the new, award-winning guest room device from Angie Hospitality. This is a multilingual, voice-activated device that can browse, make phone calls, has room controls, plays music, tells time, has a built in Wi-Fi access point, and even serves as a night light. All a guest needs to do now is talk.
Technology is being designed today that doesn’t worry about various devices all on different operating systems or protocols. Technology is being designed with the user interface right up front and it is highly intuitive, and it puts the chore of integration in the background, where it should be. These, my geeky friends, are exciting times!
- U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Total $21 Billion in February -------------------------- U.S. Travel and Tourism Exports Total $21 Billion in February The National Travel and Tourism Office announced that international visitors spent $21.1 billion in January and $21.0 billion in February on travel to, and tourism-related activities within, the United States, setting a new record for U.S. travel and tourism exports. Year-to-date tourism exports totaled a record-setting $42.1 billion for the first two months of 2017, an increase of nearly 3 percent (nearly $1.1 billion) when compared to the same period last year. **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Sabre Appoints Roshan Mendis as Senior Vice President of Travel Network in Europe and Asia-Pacific - Phocuswright Founder Philip Wolf Joins DataArt’s Travel and Hospitality Practice - QikServe appoints Don DeMarinis as Chief Commercial Officer - Zaplox Accelerates Global Expansion with Appointment of Emma Dupont as Sales Director, North America - Denihan Hospitality Announces Vera Manoukian as President and Chief Operating Officer - Hotel Equities Names Joe Luck Regional Vice President of Business Development - Journal Hotels Appoints Stephen Brandman as Chief Executive Officer - LBA Hospitality Names Thomas Agar as Vice President of Operations - NewcrestImage Names Kevin Ruhman as Vice President, Sales & Marketing - Remington Hotels Appoints Jale Hashimi as Vice President of Operations and General Manager Luxury Division - Sonesta Names David Starmer as Chief Information Officer - Two Roads Hospitality Appoints Landy Labadie As Senior Vice President of Restaurants, Bars, Nightlife and Events - Wyndham Worldwide Names Industry Veteran Michael Brown to Lead Vacation Ownership Business --------------------------
- Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., to be Acquired by Affiliates of Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners -------------------------- Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., to be Acquired by Affiliates of Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., a leading North American mountain resort and adventure company, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a newly formed entity controlled by affiliates of the Aspen Skiing Company, L.L.C. (Aspen) and KSL Capital Partners, LLC (KSL). The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of calendar year 2017 and is subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approvals. http://www.intrawest.com/ **
GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
- RMS Property Management Solution Now Available as a FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Service for U.S. Department of Defense and Civilian Agencies - StayNTouch Partners with Orchard International Group -------------------------- RMS Property Management Solution Now Available as a FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Service for U.S. Department of Defense and Civilian Agencies RMS North America announced that its RMS – The Hospitality Cloud platform is now available as a FedRAMP authorized cloud service through Project Hosts’ Federal Private Cloud. U.S. government Department of Defense and Civilian agencies in need of a comprehensive property management, reservation, point-of-sale and dining management solution can now gain immediate access to the RMS – The Hospitality Cloud solution from a secure FedRAMP authorized cloud. RMS – The Hospitality Cloud provides a fully featured property-management system that has been tailored to the specific needs of the military and includes an advanced property and accommodation management solution with flexible screen layouts ideally suited for the defense industry. A comprehensive reservation management system is a cornerstone of the solution, which can easily handle the intricacies of military camp management, personnel movements as well as dining arrangements. http://www.rmsnorthamerica.com ** StayNTouch Partners with Orchard International Group StayNTouch, an innovator in mobile technology and property management systems (PMS) for hotels, announced the deployment of its Rover PMS™ and Zest™ solutions at San Francisco’s 104-room Orchard Hotel and at 86-room sister-property Orchard Garden Hotel. http://www.stayntouch.com **
- The Pod Hotels Partners with Vertical Booking for Online Distribution Across Whole Portfolio -------------------------- The Pod Hotels Partners with Vertical Booking for Online Distribution Across Whole Portfolio The Pod Hotels, a new generation of budget hotels, has selected the Vertical Booking CRS solution for enterprisewide, integrated hotel online distribution for its growing portfolio. The Vertical Booking CRS offers a built-in channel manager for distribution of rates and inventory across all channels, including a direct web booking engine, IDS (OTAs, wholesalers, tour operators), central reservation offices (CRO), hotel meta-search and GDS. In addition to core distribution, the Vertical Booking CRS also provides optional business intelligence and marketing solutions such as an OTA price comparison widget and a competitive rate checking tool. http://www.verticalbookingusa.com **
- The Rainmaker Group Announces Debut of Next-generation revcaster® Platform -------------------------- The Rainmaker Group Announces Debut of Next-generation revcaster® Platform The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), one of the market leaders in profit optimization solutions for the gaming and hospitality industry, announced the official launch of its next-generation revcaster platform at AAHOA 2017. An affordable, easy-to-use and flexible solution developed specifically to meet the needs of limited-service and mid-market hotels, the new revcaster platform brings actionable insights on market, demand and property dynamics to the surface. This data transparency provides hoteliers with the relevant information they need to identify opportunities and to make pricing decisions and changes that will drive better revenue outcomes for their operations. http://www.LetItRain.com **
- Hyatt and SONIFI to Deliver a Personalized In-room Streaming Experience Powered by Google Chromecast to Travelers around the Globe - W Hotels Worldwide Unveils First W Sound Suite in North America -------------------------- Hyatt and SONIFI to Deliver a Personalized In-room Streaming Experience Powered by Google Chromecast to Travelers around the Globe Hyatt has selected SONIFI Solutions, Inc., as its preferred provider for delivering a personalized in-room streaming solution to hotel guests. SONIFI’s patent-pending STAYCAST™ solution, powered by Google Chromecast, has been seamlessly integrated with the World of Hyatt mobile app. With this first-of-its-kind integration, participating Hyatt hotels now offer guests simple, seamless and secure streaming of their favorite apps, such as Netflix®, Hulu®, YouTube® and 1,000+ others, to the in-room television through a Chromecast device. This technology is already available at 14 Hyatt hotels, including Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Hyatt Centric French Quarter, with more to follow. http://www.SONIFI.com ** W Hotels Worldwide Unveils First W Sound Suite in North America W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR), in partnership with Coca-Cola, unveiled the first W Sound Suite to launch in North America at W Seattle. The private music studio, writer’s room and lounge offers a retreat for musicians and producers to write and record tracks while on the road. Hotel guests are also able to get in on the fun by booking the studio to live out their rock star dreams. The W Sound Suite at W Seattle has been outfitted to professional specifications in a stylish, comfortable and sound-proof space, offering the latest in studio technology. http://www.wseattle.com/WSOUNDSUITE **
- The D’s Downtown Las Vegas Events Center Delivers Complete Wireless Experience for Fans and Vendors with Aruba Wi-Fi - Unico 20° 87° Riviera Maya Deploys Wireless Guestroom Streaming with BeyondTV by Hotel Internet Services -------------------------- The D’s Downtown Las Vegas Events Center Delivers Complete Wireless Experience for Fans and Vendors with Aruba Wi-Fi Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company, announced that The D’s Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (DLVEC), an outdoor entertainment venue in downtown Las Vegas that hosts clubs, festivals, concerts and sporting events, has deployed a new Aruba network to bring free Wi-Fi to thousands of fans and support its wide range of vendors and businesses. Owned by The D Hotel and Casino, DLVEC hosts entertainers from musicians to comedians to world-class fighters outdoors, in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. The D’s goal is to bring reliable, high-performing Wi-Fi to the thousands of fans who attend DLVEC events, the vendors including food trucks, concessionaries and more who will rely on the Wi-Fi for fast transactions and sales, and to DLVEC’s own marketing team who will use the network for social media and other marketing promotions. http://www.arubanetworks.com, http://www.evotek.com ** Unico 20° 87° Riviera Maya Deploys Wireless Guestroom Streaming with BeyondTV by Hotel Internet Services Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has implemented its wireless streaming solution, BeyondTV, at the Unico 20° 87° Riviera Maya in Riveria Maya, Mexico. A newly opened beach-facing property that offers stunning views of the Riviera Maya coastline, its hotel leadership's decision to enhance its in-room entertainment services with BeyondTV comes as a result of growing guest demands for access to personalized content. With BeyondTV, the property also gains the added ability to increase revenues by directing promotional messaging on services and amenities to guests as they interact with guest room televisions. http://www.hotelwifi.com **
- Clairvoyix Marketing Automation Clients Surpass $50 Billion in Tracked Revenue - HeBS Digital Recognized with Four Hermes Creative Awards for Excellence in Website Design and Emerging Technologies - TrustYou Expands Presence in Southern Africa Through Strategic Alliance with Distribution Partner Rainmaker Digital --------------------------
- Wequassett Resort and Golf Club Chooses Agilysys Solution Suite to Optimize Food and Beverage Operations -------------------------- Wequassett Resort and Golf Club Chooses Agilysys Solution Suite to Optimize Food and Beverage Operations Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Harwich, Mass., has selected InfoGenesis® POS, InfoGenesis Flex and rGuest® Pay to streamline food and beverage operations and enhance guest service at the 120-room Cape Cod property. The executive team wanted a combination of fixed and mobile point-of-sale solutions that would optimize food and beverage delivery, along with a payment gateway solution that would minimize data breaches and secure sensitive cardholder data. The Agilysys systems met the property’s criteria, with features and functionality that will improve productivity and enable the resort to offer a quality guest experience in a wide variety of settings. http://www.agilysys.com **
- Shift4 Announces Secure EMV Solution for AutoClerk's Cloud-based Property Management System - Shift4 Announces PCI Validation of Enhanced P2PE Solution -------------------------- Shift4 Announces Secure EMV Solution for AutoClerk's Cloud-based Property Management System Payment services and gateway provider Shift4 Corporation and AutoClerk, Inc., provider of property management systems (PMS) for hotels, announced the general availability of EMV. The joint solution features advanced payment security technologies — offering a premium level of security and convenience for hoteliers and their guests. AutoClerk's cloud-based PMS, myHMS, integrates with Shift4's DOLLARS ON THE NET payment gateway, making it one of the first solutions of its kind to support EMV, which helps to prevent instances of card-present fraud while keeping the entire hotel environment free of sensitive card data. http://www.shift4.com, http://www.autoclerk.com ** Shift4 Announces PCI Validation of Enhanced P2PE Solution Payment services and gateway provider Shift4 Corporation announced the PCI validation of its advanced point-to-point encryption solution, True P2PE. Merchants using True P2PE with PCI PIN Transaction Security (PTS) approved devices can now significantly reduce the scope and time of required PCI DSS assessments through the use of the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) P2PE “short form.” Shift4’s nine patents in payment data security include unique aspects of the point-to-point encryption process, offering both merchants and consumers a level of card data security unavailable anywhere else. http://www.shift4.com **
- Premier Gaming and Entertainment Destination ilani Set to Open using InvoTech Uniform Management System -------------------------- Premier Gaming and Entertainment Destination ilani Set to Open using InvoTech Uniform Management System InvoTech Systems Inc. announced the recent implementation of its uniform system at ilani, Washington’s newest premier gaming and entertainment destination. InvoTech Systems is a leading provider of advanced linen management, laundry and uniform systems that integrate the latest RFID technology to increase profitability for hotels, resorts, casino operators, sports arenas, convention centers and theme parks. The InvoTech System installed at ilani manages the uniform inventory for more than 1,000 employees. http://www.InvoTech.com **
- Award-winning Naples Grande Beach Resort Selects Cloud5 for Hosted Telephony -------------------------- Award-winning Naples Grande Beach Resort Selects Cloud5 for Hosted Telephony Naples Grande Beach Resort selected Cloud5 Communications to implement a state-of-the-art cloud-based telephony system for guests and staff, and future-proof its voice network. The fully integrated voice solution includes hosted PBX with hosted voicemail, call accounting, auto attendant and PMS interfacing. Reflecting the resort’s focus on modernizing and optimizing its technology, the Cloud5 solution provides Naples Grande with a holistic, cloud-based system that streamlines operations and improves guest service, while reducing the property’s overall telecommunications costs. http://www.cloud5.com **
DATA SECURITY AND CYBER ATTACKS
- IHG Notifies Guests of Payment Card Incident at IHG-branded Franchise Hotel Locations in the Americas Region - IHG Data Breach Expands: Cyber Thieves Have Struck Nearly 1,200 U.S. Hotels -------------------------- IHG Notifies Guests of Payment Card Incident at IHG-branded Franchise Hotel Locations in the Americas Region Many IHG-branded locations are independently owned and operated franchises, and certain of these franchisee-operated locations in the Americas were made aware by payment card networks of patterns of unauthorized charges occurring on payment cards after they were legitimately used at their locations. To ensure an efficient and effective response, IHG hired a leading cyber security firm on behalf of franchisees to coordinate an examination of the payment card processing systems of franchise hotel locations in the Americas region. The investigation identified signs of the operation of malware designed to access payment card data from cards used onsite at the front desk at certain IHG-branded franchise hotel locations between September 29, 2016 and December 29, 2016. http://www.ihg.com/protectingourguests ** IHG Data Breach Expands: Cyber Thieves Have Struck Nearly 1,200 U.S. Hotels Cyber thieves have struck nearly 1,200 U.S. hotels operated by the parent company of Holiday Inn, including several in eastern North Carolina, raising fears that customer billing information could have been compromised. According to a release from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), malware designed to access payment card data was found on computers at the front desks of the hotels. The company believes the computer virus accessed customer information read from the credit card's magnetic strip. www.ihg.com/content/us/en/customer-care/protecting-our-guests/property-listing **
- U.S. Dept. of Energy Partners With AAHOA in Better Buildings Initiative - Telkonet Launches EcoSmart Mobile for Enhanced Tenant Engagement & Energy Savings in Sustainable Communities - Xeros Announces the Planet’s First Sustainable Collaborative Laundry Project --------------------------
- HFTP Announces 2017 CHTP of the Year Recipient - HFTP Administers Updated CHAE Exam for Hospitality Professionals -------------------------- HFTP Announces 2017 CHTP of the Year Recipient Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), will honor Clint DeMill, CHTP, as the 2017 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) of the Year at HITEC Toronto this June. The CHTP of the Year award honors the individual that scored the highest on the CHTP certification exam within a given year. HITEC Toronto, HFTP’s second and largest HITEC of 2017, will take place from June 26-29 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. https://www.hftp.org/ ** HFTP Administers Updated CHAE Exam for Hospitality Professionals Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) recently launched the newly updated Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE) certification exam. The new CHAE exam is now available for applicants, and was designed to give them the ability to utilize their financial knowledge and skills acquired. The CHAE application is available for download on the HFTP website, and the policies and procedures includes detailed information on the application process and the requirements necessary to sit for the exam. The CHAE is a hospitality-specific designation which shows both a dedication to hospitality and accounting. The new CHAE exam now has four sections instead of five as was in the previous exam and features a more global finance focus. https://www.hftp.org/ **
- DSE 2017 Posts 20 Percent Increase in Attendance - HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X Returns at HITEC Toronto with More Opportunities to Participate - ResortSuite Selected Dr. Bryan K. Williams as Keynote Speaker for Its Recent Annual Conference in Toronto --------------------------
- Airlines and Airports Look to Biometrics to Improve the Passenger Experience - Angie Hospitality Brings Voice-Based Guestroom Technology to Forefront of Industry as Winner of HTNG’s 2017 TechOvation Award - Biometrics: The future of digital security - Biometrics and the Screens That Will Unlock Mankind's Potential in the Not Too Distant Future --------------------------
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