It is that time of year when the activity, surprises and announcements with industry technology are tied into HITEC, now only eight weeks away. In the last two weeks we had Constellation Software follow up its acquisition of Springer-Miller Systems with last week’s announcement that it has acquired Multi-Systems, Inc., that we all know as MSI. Then just to keep the announcements coming, we get word that Vista Equity Partners, the private equity firm that owns Lanyon, has now bought Cvent. Yes, the rumors and the actual announcements are starting earlier this year, maybe motivated by what has happened the last year in the hotel industry even before the Starwood/Marriott saga. Yes, the world is changing along with the technology that is used; it is fun and exciting trying to keep up with it all.
Yes, keeping up with change can be a challenge, but thankfully I am invited to many of the industry users groups where all is shared with customers. Last week I traveled to Orlando to attend Oracle Connect, which is a little more than a typical users group and still attracts many of its customers from multiple industries. I absolutely enjoyed being there and attended many sessions including one where Marriott was sharing its ongoing installation activity with Oracle, which I am guessing at times has been a bit overwhelming considering how many hotels they are doing each month. It was a great conference that allowed me to bump into so many I knew, and nothing beats face-to-face reconnecting. I thank Oracle for inviting me.
Oracle Connect was held in Orlando, Fla. If you are ever in Florida in early April and you live in a place like Atlanta, here is a suggestion: drive home! All the car rental companies want to get their cars out of Florida since their season is over. I rented a car for $7 a day and drove back to Atlanta. But, this was a mistake. I had friends in Ocala, Fla., who roped me into meeting a new four-legged friend and it was love at first sight. His picture is at the top right. He hasn’t been named yet, so if you have any suggestions drop me a note at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. He is 2 years old, was born in New York and has the nicest disposition. Now if only he can run fast, life would be perfect. We shall see.
On a much more somber note, the industry lost an icon this week. John Cahill was CIO at InterContinental Hotels when it was a stand-alone company, CIO at Denihan Hospitality in New York, and was a great influence at HFTP when he served as its president and helped it become the serious player it is today in the technology world. John’s passing has been painful for many of us. He was one of the true giving persons in the industry who helped so many including myself when I was starting out with this business. He simply touched so many people and was loved by all. He will be missed. Expect something at HITEC this year to honor John; I know I will want to be part of it.
Yes, every conversation I have now includes HITEC. Hospitality Upgrade is proud of our partnership with HFTP and HITEC, and our magazine is the only industry publication inserted into the registration bag of every attendee. Plus we do a lot more to get our supporters exposure. If you are a vendor of technology and would like to get some more information on what we are doing leading up to and at the show, please email mailto:email@example.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. We look forward to seeing so many of you at HITEC and the HSMAI ROC event – both being held at the convention center in New Orleans. We can’t wait!
Here now is the real reason we are here, Dan Phillips’ review of the technology happenings the last couple of weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.
by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips
Robots and bots. Would Bob May (the man inside Mr. Robot on Lost In Space) have had any comment on the state of robots and bots in hospitality today? Rosie from the Jetsons? What about Andrew Martin (played by Robin Williams) in The Bicentennial Man? What would Connie or Botler or Dash have to say to robotic legends like R2-D2 and C-3PO? Can you believe that these questions actually have some relevance?
A robot might be defined as a machine able to perform a complex series of actions typically programmed by a computer. A bot might defined as a machine that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to carry out what could be very complex tasks for the benefit of the user. Today, hotels are using robots to collect luggage or to deliver items to guestrooms, and even to welcome guests at the front desk. And bots are typically being used in messaging platforms like Siri that can listen to real language questions and then provide answers. Some bots are even learning personalities, like the one now being used in pilots with Taco Bell (see the links to related stories in the Guest Services and Piqued Interest sections below).
How will our industry adopt the use of robots and bots while maintaining the human factor of hospitality? If robots eventually get organized and start forming unions, need we find Keanu Reeves to save us?
- Multi-Systems Inc. Acquired by Jonas Software as it Expands Hospitality Vertical - HITEC 2016 Exhibit Space Sold Out -------------------------- Multi-Systems Inc. Acquired by Jonas Software as it Expands Hospitality Vertical Jonas Software, a division of Constellation Software Inc., has acquired Multi-Systems Inc. (MSI), a provider of mid-market property management software solutions serving the North American hotel industry. MSI joins Springer-Miller Systems (SMS) in Jonas Software’s growing hospitality software group, providing solutions for hotels, resorts and spas. http://www.msisolutions.com, http://www.springermiller.com
** HITEC 2016 Exhibit Space Sold Out Exhibit space for the 2016 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), a service of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), is sold out. A waiting list is available on a first-come, first-serve basis for booth space. HITEC 2016 will be held June 20-23, 2016, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. http://www.hitec.org, http://www.hftp.org **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE - Vikram Singh Joins The Rainmaker Group as VP, Hotel Demand Generation - ALICE Grows Leadership Team with New Hires from Zillow Group and TravelClick - Duetto Expands Its Managed Services Team - Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc., Appoints Darla Morse as Chief Information Officer - Kerzner International CEO Steps Down - And more People on the Move… --------------------------
- Agilysys and HotSchedules Announce Global Partnership - StayNTouch Helps 11 Howard in Soho Reinvent Guest Service -------------------------- Agilysys and HotSchedules Announce Global Partnership HotSchedules, provider of cloud-based technologies that automate restaurant operations, and Agilysys, Inc., a global provider of next-generation hospitality software and services, announced a strategic partnership that adds the power of HotSchedules’ workforce management platforms to the award-winning Agilysys hospitality solution portfolio. http://www.agilysys.com ** StayNTouch Helps 11 Howard in Soho Reinvent Guest Service StayNTouch has announced that 11 Howard, a newly opened 221-room boutique property in New York City's SoHo district, has implemented its cloud-based hotel software solutions. StayNTouch’s solutions are gaining rapid adoption among branded as well as boutique hotels and are now in place at dozens of properties in North America and worldwide. http://www.stayntouch.com **
- SiteMinder Partners with Fastpayhotels to Meet Hotel Demand for Prepaid Rooms - Vagabond Inn Migrates to SHR’s WindsurferCRS Distribution Platform - TravelClick’s iHotelier Reservations Management Solution Now Integrates with Comanche International - Abreu Online Partners with DHISCO to Expand Connectivity --------------------------
- Adrift Hotel and Spa Attracts New Audience of Travelers with Flip.to -------------------------- Adrift Hotel and Spa Attracts New Audience of Travelers with Flip.to Adrift Hotel and Spa, an eclectic boutique hotel Long Beach, Wash., has tapped the Flip.to advocacy platform to attract an enormous new audience of travelers, while enhancing its brand with compelling, authentic guest stories. Since launching February 2014, the property has seen tremendous success, and has since reached a new audience of over 500,000. a future guest, leading to thousands of booked room nights for the boutique hotel. http://www.flip.to/ **
- Infor Delivers Enhanced Revenue Management Capabilities for Hospitality -------------------------- Infor Delivers Enhanced Revenue Management Capabilities for Hospitality Infor, a provider of business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, announced the completion of a transformative upgrade to Infor EzRMS (version 20.x), marking a new era of forecasting and optimization that fortifies its hospitality domain expertise with cross-industry science. The upgrade is the first to reflect the collaboration between the Infor EzRMS science team and Infor Dynamic Science Labs, an internal think tank recently formed to infuse machine learning and big data analytics into all Infor applications. http://www.infor.com/product_summary/hospitality/ezrms/ **
SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING
- IACC Meeting Room of The Future™ Publishes First Research ------------------------- IACC Meeting Room of The Future™ Publishes First Research As part of a dynamic new initiative from IACC, a first set of research has been conducted and reported following the survey of global meeting planners. The IACC Meeting Room of the Future™ aims to transform the meeting experience through a global collaboration of leaders in conference room design, audiovisual technology, hospitality, academia and conference management. http://www.iacconline.org **
- Oracle's Global Study Shows Millennials Mobile Use Reshaping Hospitality Industry - Don’t Sweat the Hotel Robots…Yet - Nonius and Salim Group partner to equip Hilton N’Djamena, Chad --------------------------
- TSA Partners with Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh on a Comprehensive Upselling Program - Omni Hotels & Resorts Renews Partnership with Knowland -------------------------- TSA Partners with Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh on a Comprehensive Upselling Program Continuing its accelerated expansion worldwide, TSA Solutions has implemented its Front Desk Upselling program to support the 438-room Mövenpick Hotel Riyadh in enhancing upselling revenues, building RevPAR and promoting increased guest satisfaction. The Hotel is TSA’s 12th partner hotel in Saudi Arabia - TSA now has more than 100 hotel partners throughout the Middle East. http://www.tsa-solutions.com ** Omni Hotels & Resorts Renews Partnership with Knowland Omni Hotels & Resorts has extended its partnership with Knowland to provide lead generation and market intelligence services to over 25 of its properties through 2016. The brand became a preferred partner of Knowland in September 2015. Before then, it had already selected Knowland’s meeting search tool, Insight, to enable each of its hotels to find the group business that would meet its unique needs. http://www.knowland.com **
- Shift4 Achieves Milestone of 33,000 Customers -------------------------- Shift4 Achieves Milestone of 33,000 Customers Shift4 Corporation, provider of the DOLLARS ON THE NET® payment gateway, announced that it has surpassed the milestone of 33,000 customers. What began as a solution to help one customer integrate a new credit card processing system has evolved into an innovative company of more than 200 employees that processes more than half a billion secure transactions annually – over $50 billion worth of transactions. http://www.shift4.com **
- RoamBOOST is Booming with New DAS Installations on the Horizon from Coast to Coast - Florida's Canada House Resort Banishes Internet Connectivity Issues with Hotel Internet Services' Wi-Fi Solution - Brocade to Purchase Ruckus Wireless in $1.5 billion deal --------------------------
- Sabre Introduces Virtual Payment Solutions for Air, Rail and Ancillaries - Fingerprints to Replace Currency for Tourists Visiting Japan -------------------------- Sabre Introduces Virtual Payment Solutions for Air, Rail and Ancillaries As Sabre continues to release products to address growing corporate travel challenges, the latest enhancements of Sabre Virtual Payments showcase the company's deep understanding of complex business travel needs. In the last 12 months alone, the number of virtual cards issued through Sabre Virtual Payments has grown 150 percent globally, demonstrating the valuable benefits virtual cards bring to agencies and corporations. http://www.sabrehospitality.com ** Fingerprints to Replace Currency for Tourists Visiting Japan Japan's government is planning to launch a fingerprint payment system this summer to make shopping and hotel check-in more convenient for tourists, enabling them to travel cashless and cardless. The fingerprint system will also be used as a substitute for presenting passports when checking into hotels. **
INNOVATORS AND STARTUPS
- StayBillety Entering "The Dragons' Den" with Televised Pitch Opportunity -------------------------- StayBillety Entering "The Dragons' Den" with Televised Pitch Opportunity StayBillety, the recently launched online accommodation service that safely connects like-minded guests and hosts, has been selected to pitch on Canada's "Dragons' Den" (a program similar to "Shark Tank" in the United States). The company will record its segment on Saturday, April 23, at CBC Toronto. http://www.staybillety.com **
- Host Hotels & Resorts’ Rick Werber Focuses on Adding Value to REIT’s Portfolio - Hotels Check in to Greener Thinking - Hyatt Regency Maui Celebrates Addition of New Solar Photovoltaic System --------------------------
- HFTP Announces the 2016 CHTP of the Year - HFTP to Sponsor the 2016 OpenTravel Advisory Forum -------------------------- HFTP Announces the 2016 CHTP of the Year Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) will honor Eduardo A. Garcia, CHTP, as the 2016 CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) of the Year at HITEC 2016. The CHTP of the Year award honors the individual that scored the highest on the CHTP certification exam within a given year. http://www.hftp.org/, http://www.hitec.org/ ** HFTP to Sponsor the 2016 OpenTravel Advisory Forum Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) announced that it is a sponsor of the 2016 OpenTravel Alliance Advisory Forum. The event provides an opportunity for technology leaders from numerous verticals of the travel industry to connect and will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Fla., from May 16-19, 2016. http://www.hftp.org **
- Datavision Announces Business Intelligence Customer Conference in May -------------------------- Datavision Announces Business Intelligence Customer Conference in May Datavision has announced a customer conference being held May 4-6, 2016, at Margaritaville Hollywood Spa and Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. A variety of interactive sessions will be held over the three days, covering topics for a new Datavision user and sessions for experienced customers. Other sessions will focus on best practices for using Datavision in specific departments, for creating graphical reports and designing dashboards. http://www.datavisiontech.com **
MERGERS and ACQUISITIONS
- dorma+kaba Merger Expands Kaba Capabilities with 35 North America Offices for Fast System Installations - Mitel Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Polycom -------------------------- dorma+kaba Merger Expands Kaba Capabilities with 35 North America Offices for Fast System Installations Kaba, the provider of Saflok™ and ILCO™ electronic locks, announced that the 2015 merger of Dorma with Kaba, now dorma+kaba Group, created 35 new North American offices to support the installation and service of Saflok and ILCO electronic locks. http://www.Kaba.com ** Mitel Announces Definitive Agreement to Acquire Polycom Mitel and Polycom announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement in which Mitel will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Polycom common stock in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $1.96 billion. The combination of Mitel and Polycom will leverage Mitel's recognized leadership as a pioneer in global communications with Polycom's well-known premium brand and industry-leading portfolio in the conference and video collaboration market. The combined company will be headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate under the Mitel name while maintaining Polycom's global brand. http://www.mitel.com, http://www.polycom.com **
PIQUED DAN'S INTEREST
- How Vizio and Google Radically Reinvented the TV - Inside the making of Taco Bell’s artificially intelligent, drunk-tolerant TacoBot - Hotel technology neglects design thinking at its peril - And more stories… --------------------------
A Texan walks into a pub in Ireland and clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, “I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I’ll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back."
The room is quiet, and no one takes up the Texan's offer. One man even leaves.
Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. "Is your bet still good?" asks the Irishman.
The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses, drinking them all back-to-back.
The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement. The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, "If you don't mind me asking, where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?"
And the Irishman replies, "Oh, I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first."
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