Siegel Sez

August 12, 2016

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

http://www.hftp.org/hospitality_association/

Have you ever heard the news about something and thought to yourself, better them than me? I live in Atlanta and when the Delta technology glitch happened on Monday (85 percent of the flights out of Atlanta are Delta’s) that was exactly what I thought. I had a flight to Dallas on Tuesday so naturally I checked to make sure that the flight was leaving on time, which I did before going to the airport. Little did I know that statuses on the Delta.com website and app were not correct. I got to the airport 90 minutes early and found out that my flight had been cancelled. I won’t bore you with my story about what happened next, but I will share that it was kind of strange eventually flying from Atlanta to Dallas via Minneapolis. What an experience I had that travel day because of failed technology.

I was off to Dallas for the IHG Owners and Americas Technology Conference. I was honored to be invited. All the executives presented including Ali Saeb, director of business relationship - Americas technology; Curt Smith, senior VP, global technology; Elie Maaloof, CEO Americas; and finally Eric Pearson, IHG’s CIO. Jeff Eckard, VP, Americas technology, did a fabulous job hosting the event, and I told him if his technology career ever hits a roadblock he would have a great second career as a television game show host. Engaging and funny, he kept the event moving forward. The message throughout the event was about IHG moving forward. The company shared its initiatives including IHG Connect, which it is putting a lot of emphasis on. The company talked in depth about its Secure Payment System, which in this day and age is obviously a hot topic. Sessions also focused on what is coming down the road with regard to in-room technology, point of sale, sales and catering, door locks and how IHG sees its future hotel management system (PMS, POS and sales and catering). IHG talked about the hotel industry’s biggest technology initiative, its new guest reservation system with partner Amadeus, and the plan to go live in 2017. Yes, the company shared quite a lot as to where it has been, where it is today and how it sees the future with technology in the hope that its hotels will jump onboard. Events like this are always interesting for me because as I enjoy hearing what is going on at a company as big as IHG. I also love talking to those in attendance who share their thoughts regarding challenges that come along with change. Of those I talked to, most were very positive as to where IHG is going. That was great to hear. The IHG conference has been eye opening, fun and included a great deal of sharing. I am so thankful for the invitation to attend. It was great connecting with so many technology folks.

Speaking of technology folks or in this case industry technology leaders, IHG and more than 60 others will be on their way to Philadelphia in early September for our 15th CIO Summit. It might be our biggest crowd ever. Putting a program together can be a challenge for a crowd of this level, but it often comes with rewards. We are thankful that companies like Verizon are bringing its experts on security across many industries to share knowledge along with a hotel company CEO sharing his story about being a technology geek throughout his career and now leading Sonesta Hotels and Resorts. I can tell you it is quite a story. We thank those who are traveling great distances to be with us. If you are not receiving Hospitality Upgrade I encourage you to sign up here. Our next issue will include a look back at all that was shared at our CIO Summit.

For those of you who asked about B Three, keep your fingers crossed. She hopefully will be running next Friday at Saratoga. If that happens and you want to join us there, please email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. We won’t know for sure until Monday if it is going to happen, but our fingers are crossed (tightly).

Here now is Dan Phillips with his look back at all the tech happenings the past two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.

Rich@HospitalityUpgrade.com
 
 

Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Dan Phillips
Recent headlines, from Dan Phillips

Introduction

Could it be that the more things change the more they stay the same?  In the pursuit of trying to differentiate themselves, many of the big hotel companies are starting new, boutique-style brands and then building into them or acquiring existing hotels to increase numbers.  In so doing, the boutiqueness of those assets are quashed in a sea of standards and profit-minded operations.

How can we make hospitality better?  What may be the answer is to address the guest journey.  The guest life cycle might be too ambitious to tackle today, but facilitating ease and comfort throughout the guest journey is attainable, and in so doing could revolutionize our industry.  Carlson Rezidor is offering loyal guests an easy way to obtain TSA PreCheck status by using points.  SONIFI will run videos on how to get TSA PreCheck on a million TV screens.  Marriott is offering loyal guests better control of their journey through its app.  Starwood, in the EMEA, lends loyal guests pocket-sized, global hot spots to stay connected.  Four Seasons and Peninsula Hotels offer branded experiences outside of their hotels.

The sad numbers are that hotels are not doing well with the in-hotel experience.  It is one thing to cower to the OTAs for much of the guest journey experience, but quite another to fail inside of our own doors.  A recent survey by the Revenue Strategy Summit posed this question, “What is the top guest issue revealed through online reviews?”  Fifty-six percent of the responses stated that hotel staff and service were poor, and 34 percent stated hotel operations and cleanliness were substandard.  Only 2 percent had issue with their OTA booking process.

A recent survey by Skift included the question, “When staying at a hotel, what part of the hotel experience do you typically find most frustrating?” Thirty-three percent stated the housekeeping in their room, 25 percent selected the check-in/out experience, and 20 percent said they had issues with requesting hotel services like room service or concierge.

In the Piqued Dan’s Interest section below, you will find several related articles that address portions of the guest journey.  Our challenge, as an industry, is to make our piece of the guest journey the cornerstone that exceeds expectations and then reach out beyond our walls to make that journey even more memorable.

I look forward to serving you,

Dan Phillips
Dare to Imagine
dphillips@dare2i.com  
**




 

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

 

- Gopinath Ramanan Joins GuestTek as SVP of R&D and Product Management
- NAVIS Names Travel Industry Executive Amber Mayer as Vice President of Product Solutions
- Douglas Rice, Founder & CEO Emeritus of Hotel Technology Next Generation, Joins Xn protel Systems as Non-Executive Director
- And more people on the move...
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For more information on People on the Move for 08/12/16
 

MERGERS and ACQUISITIONS

 

- MGM Growth Properties LLC and MGM Resorts International Complete Transactions for Acquisition of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
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MGM Growth Properties LLC and MGM Resorts International Complete Transactions for Acquisition of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
MGM Growth Properties LLC and MGM Resorts International completed the transactions for the acquisition of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa following MGM Resorts' purchase of Boyd Gaming's stake in Borgata. MGP acquired Borgata's real property from MGM Resorts and leased back the real property to a subsidiary of MGM Resorts that will operate that property.
**



 

GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

 

- Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Selects Agilysys Solution Suite to Strengthen Operations Across Entire Property
- Infor Launches Exclusive Deal for Current Aprimo Customers
- Maestro PMS Inks System Installation Agreements with 26 Properties
- StayNTouch Partners with The Dewberry
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For more information on Guest Management for 08/12/16
 

RESERVATIONS

 

- Sabre Expands Hotel Choices with Expedia Affiliate Network
- SiteMinder Report Reveals that Average Booking Value on Direct Hotel Websites Nearly Double that on Third-Party Channels
- SiteMinder Opens Ireland Office to Support Ten Years of Rapid Global Growth
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For more information on Reservations for 08/12/16
 

REVENUE MANAGEMENT

 

- Unique Vacations, Inc., Worldwide Representative of Sandals Resorts, Partners with Duetto for its Revenue Strategy Solutions
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Unique Vacations, Inc., Worldwide Representative of Sandals Resorts, Partners with Duetto for its Revenue Strategy Solutions
Duetto, a market leader in hotel profit optimization technology, announced an agreement to implement its revenue strategy solutions at Unique Vacations Inc. (UVI), an affiliate of the worldwide representative for Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts, bringing new insights on pricing and demand to its the award-winning resorts throughout the Caribbean.
http://www.duettoresearch.com/
**

 




 

MARKETING/MANAGEMENT

 

- The Pines Resort Hits Major Milestone as Guests Introduce More Than 100,000 Travelers to the Hotel with Flip.to
- Internationally Operating Tune Hotels Count on TrustYou to Manage Guest Feedback and Increase Bookings
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The Pines Resort Hits Major Milestone as Guests Introduce More Than 100,000 Travelers to the Hotel with Flip.to
Flip.to, an advocacy platform for hotels, has attracted an audience of more than 100,000 travelers for The Pines Resort in just the first year, while boosting the resort's brand with compelling, co-created stories from their guests. Flip.to has driven more than 5,000 unique site visitors back to The Pines Resort’s hotel website, converting 450 warm leads and over 130 booked room nights for the hotel — and growing.
http://www.flip.to
**
Internationally Operating Tune Hotels Count on TrustYou to Manage Guest Feedback and Increase Bookings
Tune Hotels, operator of 23 hotels in Malaysia, United Kingdom, Indonesia and India, has selected TrustYou, one of the world’s largest guest feedback platforms, to manage guest feedback and meet its strategic needs. TrustYou’s dashboard enables Tune Hotels to collect unlimited surveys, analyze its entire online review ecosystem, and make positive improvements on how more than five billion travelers see their reputation.
http://www.trustyou.net
**



 

GUEST SERVICES

 

- August Home Study Reveals 60 Percent of Guests Would Pay More for a Vacation Rental with a Smart Home Feature
- Paradise Point Resort & Spa Generating Immediate ROI with ALICE
- A Parent Media Co. Inc. Signs Deal with GuestTek Interactive Entertainment to deliver Kidoodle.TV® to Hotels around the World
- HIS Offers Insight on Advances in Hotel Wi-Fi Management and Guestroom TV Streaming Technology with Two Newly Released Whitepapers
- HotelTap Keeping Staff, Guests Apprised of Local Events at Hawthorn Suites Livermore
- Pan Pacific Hotel Seattle Bringing Mobile Power to Guests 0utside of Guestrooms with Kube Systems
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For more information on Guest Services for 08/12/16
 

PERSONALIZATION/GUEST EXPERIENCE

 

- Amadeus and Zingle Partnership Revolutionizes Guest Communications and Experience
- iRiS and Travio Partner to Enhance Luxury Guest Experiences in North America
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Amadeus and Zingle Partnership Revolutionizes Guest Communications and Experience
Amadeus, a provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, and Zingle, a provider of mobile messaging software platforms, announced a partnership to integrate Zingle messaging technology with Amadeus’ hospitality service optimization solutions, to provide hotels with the mobile texting and messaging technology they need to better service and communicate with guests.
http://www.amadeus.com
**
iRiS and Travio Partner to Enhance Luxury Guest Experiences in North America
iRiS announced it has partnered with Travio,a British Columbia-based company that provides luxury and midscale hotels with user-friendly interfaces, connecting travellers to hotel services and local businesses. Together iRiS and Travio are working to deliver mobile solutions in North America to address the increasing demand for hotels to connect with their guests. Travio targets every guest touch-point in the hotel, from the initial Wi-Fi connection to in-room tablets.
http://www.iris.net  
**



 

BACK OFFICE

 

- Concord Hospitality Positions for Future Growth with Aptech Computer Systems
- UniFocus Marks Strong Growth Quarter as Managers Increasingly Turn to Staff and Customer Survey Solutions to Drive ROI
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Concord Hospitality Positions for Future Growth with Aptech Computer Systems
Concord Hospitality operates a portfolio of more than 90 properties including Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, Choice, IHG and Hilton brands. Concord has implemented a data analysis, budgeting and hotel forecasting system from Aptech Computer Systems to support its continued growth strategy.
http://www.aptech-inc.com
**
UniFocus Marks Strong Growth Quarter as Managers Increasingly Turn to Staff and Customer Survey Solutions to Drive ROI
UniFocus marked an exceptionally strong growth quarter for its Survey Solutions with eight new clients in June 2016 alone, expanding into new industries and growing its international reach. In addition, two existing clients augmented their relationships with the Dallas-based company, which provides the service industry’s most comprehensive workforce management systems and tools. Of special note, UniFocus’ employee engagement tool, STAFFScope, reached beyond its service industry client base to sign Lehigh Hanson, one of North America’s largest construction materials companies.
http://www.UniFocus.com
**



 

INVENTORY/PURCHASING

 

- BirchStreet Procure-to-Pay Solution is Fully Deployed Across Starwood Hotels & Resorts North American Properties
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BirchStreet Procure-to-Pay Solution is Fully Deployed Across Starwood Hotels & Resorts North American Properties
BirchStreet Systems announced that Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has fully deployed BirchStreet’s Procure-to-Pay Platform across its owned and managed North American properties. As a hospitality industry leader in procure-to-pay (P2P) automation, the cloud-based BirchStreet platform helps its customers increase efficiency and visibility in all purchasing related activities, drive compliance and financial controls, and improve operations, resulting in increased profitability.
http://www.birchstreet.net  
**



 

COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

 

- RoamingAround Update Allows Hoteliers to Use Location Based Services without Annoying Guests
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RoamingAround Update Allows Hoteliers to Use Location Based Services without Annoying Guests
RA2, the upgraded version of RoamingAround's Location Based Marketing Platform, enables resorts, hotels, casinos and destinations to truly optimize hotel operations and guest engagement. With demand for location and preference-based services growing across world-class resorts, hotels and destinations, RoamingAround, an expert in hospitality mobile engagement, set out to improve its popular Location Based Marketing Platform to increase revenues and mobile engagement even futher for owners and operators – and do it without annoying guests.
http://www.roamingaround.com
**



 

DATA SECURITY AND CYBER ATTACKS

 

- Kimpton Hotels Investigates Possible Payment Card Breach
- POS Data Breach Affects More than 700 MICROS Legacy Systems; Customers Told to Reset Passwords
- VENZA Takes Comprehensive Information Security Program on the Road
- VENZA Partnership Supports Breckenridge Grand Vacations' Commitment to Data Security and PCI 3.2 Compliance
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For more information on Data Security and Cyber Attacks for 08/12/16
 

SECURITY

 

- Park Plaza Arena Pula Modernizes Guest Service with Implementation of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access
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Park Plaza Arena Pula Modernizes Guest Service with Implementation of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access
The Park Plaza Arena Pula, an Arenaturist-owned hotel situated within Croatia's Istrian Peninsula, has enhanced its security and guest convenience by upgrading existing VingCard Signature RFID and Classic RFID guestroom door locks with ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access, a state-of-the-art innovation that allows guests to skip front desk lines and use their own smart devices as a digital key.
http://www.assaabloyhospitality.com
**



 

SUSTAINABILITY

 

- Owners and Operators Requested to Complete Green Lodging Survey
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Owners and Operators Requested to Complete Green Lodging Survey
Owners and operators of lodging establishments around the world are encouraged to complete the planet’s premier Green Lodging Survey. The first annual survey was recently launched with the support of Green Key Global, Mekong Tourism Office, Horwath HTL Asia Pacific and Clean the World. Tens of thousands of green lodging establishments around the planet — primarily those in the United States, Canada and Southeast Asia — are encouraged to benchmark their sustainability practices by completing this survey. The Green Lodging Survey is the lodging industry’s annual exercise to assess and catalyze green innovation, best practices, and awareness regarding the state of sustainability across hotels worldwide. 
**



 

HOSPITALITY EVENTS

 

- Hospitality Upgrade Announces Recipient of the John Cahill Student Seat for the 2016 CIO Summit
- HSMAI Adrian Awards 2016 Open for Entry
- HX: The Hotel Experience Announces 2016 Sessions
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For more information on Hospitality Events for 08/12/16
 

HOSPITALITY EDUCATION

 

- HFTP Announces New Global Chapters and Expansion into Mexico and United Arab Emirates
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HFTP Announces New Global Chapters and Expansion into Mexico and United Arab Emirates
Further expanding its global presence, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) has announced the addition of three officially chartered chapters representing three different countries – Mexico, United States and United Arab Emirates. The new chapters include HFTP’s Los Cabos chapter, Dubai chapter and Buffalo-Niagara chapter. This will be the first time HFTP has expanded into Mexico and the U.A.E.
http://www.hftp.org
**



 

PIQUED DAN'S INTEREST

 

- Meet Your Guests in Google’s “Moments that Matter”
- Breaking Out of the Recommendation Bubble in the Age of Digital Discovery
- Breaking out of the cookie-cutter hotel room
- Current Trends in Hotel Tech: 2016
- Understanding the Customer Technology Stack 2.0
- And more stories…
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For more information on Piqued Dan's Interest for 08/12/16
 

You-Know-What

 

And now for you-know-what…

A young boy had just gotten his driver's permit and asked his father if they could discuss his use of the family car. His father said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, get your hair cut and we'll talk about the car."
 
The boy thought about that for a moment, settled for the offer, and they agreed on it. After about six weeks they went in to the study, where his father said, "Son, I've been real proud. You've brought your grades up, and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, and participating a lot more in the community, but I'm real disappointed that you haven't gotten your hair cut."
 
The young man paused a moment, and then said, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair and there's even a strong argument that Jesus had long hair also."
 
And his dad said, "Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?"
**