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Siegel Sez

July 21, 2017

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

It has been three weeks since HITEC and the conversations about the event and the technology seen seem to continue nonstop. Hopefully you receive our Hospitality Upgrade Watercooler e-newsletter that came out yesterday. (If you missed it you can check it out here.) This edition included a lighthearted while informative video with Simon Eng from CTF Development and Trevor Warner of Warner Consulting, who shared what they saw and experienced at the show. Ron Hardin follows my opening with his thoughts on the show before we get to the technology news that has been fed to us at a tremendous pace. It is exciting that there was record attendance at HITEC this year along with more exhibits than ever before. The feedback on the educational sessions has been very positive and I must thank the group that joined me in the session I did, which in many ways was a coming-out party for IHG as we were brought up to date on the enormous technology initiative the company is involved in replacing its reservation system. It was standing room only and the feedback was tremendous.  Thank you to all the panelists for participating. This year’s HITEC was definitely one for the ages.
The one thing I have not noticed in the many industry reviews of HITEC this year was how everybody fell in love with Toronto, and in the bigger picture, Canada. The city was both beautiful and clean. The people we met were amazingly friendly. When HFTP originally announced HITEC would be in Toronto there were many concerns that it would affect attendance. Kudos to HFTP for trying something new; what a great experience it was for all the attendees. HFTP is on a roll; HITEC-Amsterdam in March was double the attendance expected, Toronto had record-breaking attendance, and next will be HITEC Dubai in November. Let’s see if this trend continues.
Speaking of record-breaking attendance, in the 16 years of Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summit we have never had as many early registered attendees at this point six weeks out. Every major brand has registered along with many of the management companies, vacation ownership, cruise and gaming companies. Maybe it is the magic of Denver or hopefully it is because it is such a unique event for those who lead their companies’ technology initiatives. It seems once they attend the first time, they always come back. We thank these CIOs for their confidence that we will again do a great job. Planning events can be very stressful, but when they work, it is the greatest of feelings. You will read all about it in our next issue of Hospitality Upgrade due out in October.
Before I close, I must thank the many hundreds of attendees at HITEC who shared their often personal stories on the 20-foot wide industry timeline in our booth. The timeline covers a great deal of technology, but also lots of fun personal stories about how technology affected their lives. Seven people shared how they met their spouses while installing computer systems in hotels – that was eye opening for many including me. The time lapse video of those signing the timeline will be in the next edition of our Watercooler e-newsletter, so be sure to sign up here. You won’t want to miss it! Also, thank you to all who gave such fantastic feedback on our History of Technology special issue led by Jon Inge as we celebrated our 25th year in business. This special issue holds 48-pages of great stories and memories from those who created the first computer solutions for the hospitality industry and their stories of what worked and what didn’t. Everybody from some well-known old-timers to those who are relatively new in the industry thanked us for creating it. We had people stopping by the booth to pick up stacks of copies to share with colleagues back at the office. We continue to get requests for more copies every day. The digital version of this special edition will go out next week, so if you missed it, go to the link above and subscribe. We thank everyone for their feedback. For those of us who have been around for way too long, it was a labor of love.  
HITEC is behind us but the technology changes never stop. Here now is the real reason we are here, the latest technology news. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Thanks again to all that came by our booth at HITEC to congratulate us — it is those moments that keep us going.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Ron Hardin

In the three weeks since HITEC Toronto, the deluge of follow-up phone calls and e-mails from every vendor whose booth you visited, or walked by, or were invited to but didn’t visit, should be subsiding. This was the biggest HITEC ever, with more than 6,500 attendees and 366 exhibitors occupying 870 booth spaces. One could fill a book (or a magazine) with interesting product concepts and innovative advancements, so I thought I would share some high-level takeaways and trends – i.e., my 2 cents. 

There is a lot of innovation and activity in the area of driving direct bookings and keeping your potential customers away from the OTAs and Airbnb. The big hotel brands have been pushing this message for some time – Badda Book, Badda Boom, Free Wi-Fi When You Book Direct – you know the pitches. Both winners in the Entrepreneur 20X start-up pitch competition are in this space. Out of 13 competitors, the Judge’s Award winner Stay Wanderful provides an instant rewards program to incent customers to book directly. And the People’s Startup award winner, based on attendee voting through the HITEC mobile app, was Arrivedo, a service provider that helps hotels curate their local neighborhood experience and market it to their guests in order to drive direct bookings and better compete with Airbnb. Do yourself a favor and peruse all the E20X competitors here.
Big data is a big deal. It seems like every other solution provider you talk to is figuring out how to generate relevant, actionable customer and business data out of their products. The products themselves may have different primary functions:  a phone system, a guest internet access portal and authentication system, a guest service request and delivery assurance system, a guest communication and engagement platform – I saw examples of all of these where the pitch went like, “Yeah, it’s a great (fill in the blank) system, but what we’re really doing is capturing more data about your customers and your business in order better engage and retain those customers and generate more revenue.” The takeaway here is that operators will increasingly need bigger and better BI (business intelligence) tools to manage, massage and manipulate all that new data.
Additionally, AI (artificial intelligence) is cropping up everywhere. My mother is 83 and has an Amazon Echo Dot. She is perfectly comfortable asking Alexa to add items to her shopping list, or for the weather forecast, or just to play some bluegrass music. With the rapid adoption of voice-enabled AI in our homes, it was inevitable that we’ve already seen first adopters deploying the technology for hotel rooms. Some, such as E2X competitor Angie Hospitality, are bundled into a purpose-built guestroom unit that includes a touch-screen display, clock/radio/alarm functionality, telephone replacement, device charging, etc. The Angie AI is already tailored for the guestroom environment, so you can just say “Angie, turn on the lights, set the temp to 70, and put the TV on ESPN,” and it can understand and comply (assuming the appropriate control integrations are in place, of course). Technology giant Avaya, known primarily for phone systems, introduced a similar guestroom control/communication/interaction AI product. And this is just a partial list of the players in this area which also now includes Nevotek, DigiValet, Volara and Hotel Internet Services.
AI is not limited to voice interaction. An increasing number of guest engagement platforms, ranging from established product suites like Intelity ICE to GoMoment’s IVY, powered by IBM Watson, are bringing powerful AI capabilities to text interaction, which is certainly better suited for initiating a conversation with a guest. 
I must pause here to tout the educational program at HITEC, which was exceptional this year, and seems to get better every year. One of the sessions I caught, “Is IoT Relevant to the Hospitality Industry?”, featured a panel composed of veteran consultant Dan Phillips from Dare2Imagine, and Barclay Brown, global solutions executive at IBM. Barclay provided some amazing insight on how verbal AI products, like Watson, actually work, and what some of the challenges are that must be addressed for AI products and services to work well for hotels.
The other big trend is the adoption of Google’s Chromecast (or similar casting technology) in a solution tailored for the hotel room. Almost every TV entertainment provider I visited now offers casting. It no longer requires you to install an app on your device, and the product can be added to almost any new, and even some existing, TV system environments. Whether it is a separate dongle on the TV, built into the set-back box, or integrated into the TV itself, the feature is going to be ubiquitous in hotel rooms soon. 
I could go on, but that’s the high points. I’m already looking forward to HITEC Houston next year!
Ron Hardin
RonHardin.TECH Consulting


- Blueport Wireless and Broadband Hospitality Announce Merger
- Wyndham Hotel Group Acquires AmericInn
Blueport Wireless and Broadband Hospitality Announce Merger
Blueport Wireless and Broadband Hospitality (BBH), both leading providers of network solutions and technology-enabled services for the hospitality industry, announced their merger. The new company, BBH Blueport, will establish a sophisticated suite of end-to-end technology solutions and support capabilities, while unlocking better tools for hoteliers to enhance guest service and reduce costs.
http://blueportwireless.com/, http://www.broadbandhospitality.com/
Wyndham Hotel Group Acquires AmericInn
Wyndham Hotel Group, a hospitality giant with a portfolio of more than 8,000 hotels globally, announced plans to acquire the Minnesota-based AmericInn® hotel brand and its management company, Three Rivers Hospitality, from Northcott Hospitality for $170 million. AmericInn’s portfolio consists of 200 primarily franchised hotels with approximately 11,600 rooms in 21 states, predominately in the Midwestern U.S., Ohio Valley and Mountain states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota. The brand’s U.S. pipeline consists of 23 hotels. The deal, subject to regulatory and government approval and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, will bolster Wyndham Hotel Group’s existing collection of more than 1,500 midscale hotels while also significantly increasing its footprint in the Midwest.
https://www.wyndhamhotels.com, https://www.americinn.com


- INTEREL Appoints Jeff Johns as SVP Americas and Helmut Frank as SVP Europe
- Marco Roca Joins Caesars Entertainment as President, Global Development
- Choice’s Board of Directors Appoints Patrick Pacious as President and CEO Succeeding CEO Stephen Joyce
- Hyatt Names Malaika Myers as Chief Human Resources Officer
- iRiS Software Systems Appoints New CEO as Company Continues Its Growth
- Marcus Hotels & Resorts Promotes Mike Swasey to Senior Vice President of Operations Along with Two Additional Leadership Positions
- Pegasus Solutions Appoints Phil Steitz as Chief Technology Officer
- Two Roads Hospitality Appoints Sherri Gilligan as Chief Marketing Officer

For more information on People on the Move for 07/21/17


- Infor Hospitality Continues to Gain Momentum
- Maestro PMS Offers Deeper Engagement with Integrated Online Spa and Activities Booking for Independents
- Springer-Miller Partners with OpenKey
- StayNTouch Implements its PMS at Filament Hospitality
- TravelClick Unveils Enhanced Artificial Intelligence-powered Guest Messenger at HITEC
- Indra to Replatform Its Leading TMS Solutions for Hotels Onto SAP S/4HANA
- Xn protel Welcomes Edinburgh Collection’s Haymarket Hub Hotel Edinburgh to the protel Family with a Super Quick PMS Implementation

For more information on Guest Management Systems for 07/21/17


- MSI Solutions and SiteMinder Partner to Automate Distribution for CloudPM Hotel Users
- Integration Partnership Underway for RMS and HomeAway
- Canada’s Vacation Rental Market Now Accessible to More Property Owners as CanadaStays Partners with SiteMinder
- SiteMinder Brings GDS Representation In-house as Hotel Customers more than Triple in One Year
- TravelClick and Vacatia Integrate Systems to Serve the Resort Industry
- TravelClick Debuts Transformative New Pricing Engine at HITEC
- eRevMax integrates with Moroccan PMS Pluri-Hotel

For more information on Reservations for 07/21/17


- IDeaS to Roll out New Revenue Management Solution and Strategy Services for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Portfolio
- Millennium Hotels and Resorts Expands Global Partnership with IDeaS
- the D Las Vegas Increases Profitability and Efficiency with Revenue and Profit Optimization Solutions from The Rainmaker Group
- Duetto Brings Revenue Strategy Solutions to Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

For more information on Revenue Management for 07/21/17


- ADB and Power & Tel Announce Master Distribution Agreement for the Americas
- ADB Reveals vuTyme "Lite" for Economy Hotels at HITEC
- AI Now Available to Thousands More Hotels Via Cloud5 and Go Moment Partnership
- Eleven and Cendyn Partner to Reward Hotel Loyalty Members with High Performance Wi-Fi
- Eleven and DISH Transform the In-room Entertainment Experience
- RLHC Selects ElevenOS to Deliver Automatic Wi-Fi Connection to its Hello Rewards Members
- Intelity Unveils Wrangler Mobile Device Manager at HITEC
- Samsung and TeleAdapt Team up to Deliver an Integrated Streaming Solution Powered by Chromecast for Hotel Guests
- RHLC Puts Guests in Control with In-room Apple TV Experience and Updated Hello Rewards App with new Check-in/Checkout and Digital Key
- Angie Hospitality Partners with Fourteen IP’s Evolution Voice Solution to Leverage Built-in Telephone and Internet Capabilities
- GuestTek Celebrates 20th Year of Business at HITEC in Toronto
- iRiS Software Systems Platform Evolves With Launch of Hospitality API Library
- Kube Systems Showcases its "Fab Five" at HITEC
- Volara and Hotel Technologies to Bring New iAVS1 Docking Station for the Amazon Echo Dot to Hotels

For more information on Guest Services for 07/21/17


- San Francisco’s Hotel VIA Books Comcast Business for its Networking Needs
- INTEREL Improves Guest Experience and Operational Efficiency at Palazzo Versace Dubai through Advanced Integration
- Sabre’s New FareNabber API Inspires Smarter Air Shopping Experience

For more information on Personalization/Guest Experience for 07/21/17


- Cendyn Debuts Flagship Loyalty Solution for Hotels at HITEC 2017
- HEBS Digital Offers New Monthly Payment Options for Website Design and Technology That Allow Hoteliers to Utilize Their Approved OPEX Budget in Lieu of Capital Expenses
- NAVIS Releases Major Update to Flagship Reservation-Sales Software for Lodging and Hospitality

For more information on Marketing/Management for 07/21/17


- Agilysys DataMagine™ v8.6 Delivers Improved Performance with Enhanced Security
- SnapShot and StayNTouch Partner to Provide Hotels Across the US with a Smarter Analytics Tool
- TravelClick Releases New Demand360 Platform with Customizable Alerts
- The Whitby Hotel "Making Memories" with the Help of GoConcierge

For more information on Back Office for 07/21/17


- DCI Invests in Customer Experience Initiatives to Enhance its World-class Support
- Phonesuite Optimizes Safety and Efficiency for Hotels with Enhanced Voiceware 2.2 Software Release
- Percipia Adds Operator Solution to Frequency PBX

For more information on Communications/Infrastructure for 07/21/17


- SH Group Expands Relationship with Agilysys, Selecting InfoGenesis® POS, rGuest® Pay for 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
- MyCheck Achieves Oracle Validated Integration with Oracle Hospitality Simphony POS
SH Group Expands Relationship with Agilysys, Selecting InfoGenesis® POS, rGuest® Pay for 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that luxury boutique property 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which is managed by hotel brand management company SH Group, has implemented a suite of solutions from Agilysys, including InfoGenesis® POS, InfoGenesis® Flex and rGuest® Pay, to optimize food and beverage delivery and enhance guest service. Three other SH Group properties – 1 Hotel Central Park, 1 Hotel South Beach and Baccarat Hotel & Residences – also use InfoGenesis POS and InfoGenesis Flex.
MyCheck Achieves Oracle Validated Integration with Oracle Hospitality Simphony POS
MyCheck, a leading provider of mobile payment platform solutions and a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), announced it has achieved Oracle Validated Integration of its MyPOS solution with Oracle Hospitality Simphony Point-of-Sale (POS) Client. To achieve Oracle Validated Integration, Oracle partners are required to meet a stringent set of requirements to ensure solutions successfully and reliably meet the needs and priorities of the customers. Through this integration, MyCheck will create a custom mobile payment experience for any hotel restaurant or food-and-beverage outlet running on Oracle Hospitality Simphony with no special hardware or unique reporting tools required.


- Sonesta Resorts St. Maarten Expands Use of Agilysys Solutions to Enhance Efficiency and Service
- New Tableware Inventory System Available from Clear Sky Software
Sonesta Resorts St. Maarten Expands Use of Agilysys Solutions to Enhance Efficiency and Service
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that Sonesta Resorts St. Maarten and its management company The Maho Group have selected Agilysys Eatec® to manage inventory and procurement operations at three all-inclusive properties — Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort, Casino & Spa; Sonesta Ocean Point Resort; and Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa.
New Tableware Inventory System Available from Clear Sky Software
Clear Sky Software, Inc. ® announced the release of Clear Sky TABLEWARE for the hospitality industry. This new software allows hotels, clubs, convention centers, restaurants and other food and beverage outlets to manage and control their china, glassware, flatware and linens. Clear Sky TABLEWARE is offered as a complement to the company’s proven food and beverage inventory software and is available immediately for organizations desiring better inventory control of these items.


- Shift4 Announces U.S. EMV Certification With Heartland Payment Systems
- Sertifi Takes Frictionless Business Global with International Payments via CyberSource Payment Management Platform
Shift4 Announces U.S. EMV Certification With Heartland Payment Systems
Payment services and gateway provider Shift4 Corporation announced this week that it has certified for U.S. EMV with Heartland Payment Systems. With this certification, merchants in any industry will be able to process chip-embedded credit and debit card payments through Heartland. At the same time, they’ll receive unrivaled security and flexibility through Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET payment gateway.
http://www.shift4.com, http://www.heartlandpaymentsystems.com
Sertifi Takes Frictionless Business Global with International Payments via CyberSource Payment Management Platform
Sertifi, a leader of the frictionless business movement, announced it is integrating CyberSource payment acceptance capabilities into Sertifi Closing Pro+ to offer hospitality organizations around the world the ability to capture international digital payments at the time of eSignature. Sertifi Closing Pro+ picks up where traditional eSignatures leave off by allowing hotel properties and other hospitality businesses to quickly capture signed agreements and secure guest payments within minutes online. By adding the payment component to Sertifi Closing Pro+, the closing process is simple and secure for guests.


- Hard Rock Data Breach Affects 11 Hotels, Including Chicago Spanning Seven Months
- Kimpton Joins List of Companies Hit by Sabre Data Breach
- Red Lion Hotels Impacted by Sabre Data Security Incident

For more information on Data Security and Cyber Attacks for 07/21/17


- ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Upgrades Guestroom Security at Renaissance Toronto Downtown Hotel with Advanced RFID Solutions
- John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts Standardizes Multibrand Portfolio on dormakaba Electronic Door Locks
- Le Pavillon Hotel Implements dormakaba Mobile Access in Combination with OpenKey App
- RMS Sends Mobile Keys from the PMS via OpenKey Integration
- WebRezPro Offers Lock Up Integration for Keyless Entry

For more information on Security for 07/21/17


- Honeywell Improves Guest Comfort, Helps Lower Utility Costs by Nearly 25 Percent for Best Western Premier Park Hotel
- Cotswold Laundry Installs New Smaller Near-waterless Washer by Xeros
Honeywell Improves Guest Comfort, Helps Lower Utility Costs by Nearly 25 Percent for Best Western Premier Park Hotel
Honeywell announced its INNCOM guestroom automation and energy management project at the Best Western Premier Park Hotel, referred to locally as Park Hotel, in Madison, Wis., is helping the property save nearly 25 percent on guestroom energy costs.
Cotswold Laundry Installs New Smaller Near-waterless Washer
A laundry in the Cotswolds with quality at its heart has become the first in the United Kingdom to install the revolutionary 16kg capacity Xeros washing system. Located in the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water, Cotswold Linen Press services private households, holiday lets, bed and breakfasts, country inns, pubs and other businesses across the North Cotswolds region. The company decided to install the award-winning Xeros system because of its ability to provide a superior cleaning than traditional washers whilst being gentler on fabrics.


- HFTP Announces Blockchain Technology Task Force
- HFTP and OpenTravel Announce Partnership for Industry Initiatives
- HSMAI Foundation Emphasizing Innovative Knowledge Exchange in 2017

For more information on Hospitality Education for 07/21/17


- HITEC’s Canadian Debut Draws Largest Conference Attendance in 45-year History
- Infor Announces Progress Makers Award Winners at Annual User Conference
HITEC’s Canadian Debut Draws Largest Conference Attendance in 45-year History
Produced yearly by international association Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), this year marked the 45th anniversary since HFTP brought its HITEC brand to life in 1972. HITEC Toronto was held from June 26-29, 2017 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. HITEC Toronto, the brand’s first Canadian feature, was the highest attended conference in its 45-year history with more than 6,500 industry professionals representing over 65 countries. This year’s North American event had more than 130 speakers, including four keynote speakers, for its daily educational sessions that addressed trending topics including: AI/BI, cyber-security, IoT, virtual reality, ROI, blockchain revolution, global travel trends, guest experience and more. The Toronto exhibit floor was home to 366 exhibitors showcasing the latest in hospitality technology products and services, and featured an expanded floorplan of 870 exhibit booths. 
Infor Announces Progress Makers Award Winners at Annual User Conference
Infor, a leading provider of business applications specialized by industry and built for the cloud, announced the winners of the 2017 Infor Progress Makers Awards at the company's annual user conference, Inforum 2017, in New York City. These awards distinguish customers who drive innovation and showcase exceptional results in business performance after implementing Infor applications and services in various business operations including Financial Excellence, Operational Excellence, Employee Excellence, Customer Excellence, Innovation and Transformation.


And now for you-know-what…
An elderly woman lived on a small farm in Canada, just yards away from the North Dakota border. Her family's land had been the subject of a minor dispute between the United States and Canada for years. The now widowed woman lived on the farm with her son and three grandchildren. One day her son came into her room holding a letter.
"I just got some news, Mom," he said. "The government has come to an agreement with the people in North Dakota. They've decided that our land is really part of the United States. We have the right to approve or disapprove of the agreement. What do you think?"
"What do I think?" his mother said. "Sign it! Call them right now and tell them we accept! I don't think I could stand another one of those Canadian winters!”

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