Publisher's Letter - Fall 2016

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October 25, 2016
Publisher's Letter
Rich Siegel - Rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Change is the one thing in life that is inevitable.  The Marriott/Starwood acquisition is done, except for all the changes that are to follow.  This might have been the biggest merger/acquisition, but I'm certain it is not the last.  We can look back at the others that have happened - Accor/Fairmont, Destination/Commune, Benchmark/Gemstone and many others.  It is a multiple step process: First, announcing it is happening; second, claiming nothing is going to change; and then finally making changes.  Everybody becomes immune to this.  I could list all the changes that have happened from the supply side of technology, but that would be a novel, and we provide that throughout the year in Siegel Sez via Hotel-Online.com, and also through the Watercooler newsletter from Hospitality Upgrade.  If you are reading this I hope you are receiving both newsletters. (If you are not, it is time to update your subscription.)  The common denominator with all these changes is the impact it has on people.  When you do what I do for as long as I have been doing it, technology and hospitality are a gigantic part of your life both professionally and personally.  For some these changes create opportunity, but for others hardship follows.  As a small business owner, I understand the need to change and how it can affect people, but in business change is the only constant.

When it comes to change, it seems nothing changes as quickly as technology.  Hospitality Upgrade recently held its 15th Annual CIO Summit and we thank the 60 technology leaders who attended representing most of the brands, management companies, vacation ownership groups and the gaming world.  It never ceases to amaze us what is discussed and shared there.  We surveyed industry CIOs and will share that with you in this issue - what has happened, is happening and will happen in the future.  The analysis of this year's survey was done by industry consultant Jeremy Rock, and we thank him for writing an amazing summary for our feature.  He brought insight to this industry feedback.  I also commend Jeremy for staying focused; he could have written a novel with all the information shared with us. Please go to pg.  14 and read his opening paragraphs.  I doubt anyone will stop there.  We also thank the technology leaders across the industry for sharing their challenges, initiatives and also the things that need to be corrected.  It is an amazing read and I promise you will be more knowledgeable because of this article.

The intimate gathering at the CIO Summit helps to focus our content on what is important to the industry - EMV, security, in-room entertainment and digital keys are all timely topics and actual ongoing projects today.  And we have them covered in this issue.  We really must thank HSMAI for partnering with us this year as we continue to expand our readership to those whose responsibilities include sales and marketing and revenue management.  These are areas that are going through rapid change.  HSMAI President Bob Gilbert provides a nice introduction for the section (pg.  112).  HFTP has also been a great partner for many years and we thank the association for allowing its finance and technology members to receive Hospitality Upgrade.  HFTP has an interesting year ahead with the launch of HITEC Amsterdam and other international events next year.  The 2017 HITEC will be held in Toronto and that is the first time HITEC will be held outside the United States.  It's a great city and we look forward to going, but some are wondering if the location will affect attendance numbers.  Life is all about taking chances and trying new things.  If anyone knows that, it would be me.  I am betting it turns out to be a pleasant surprise.

We must also thank hotel companies like Hilton and Wyndham for sharing their initiatives this year along with management company Interstate Hotels.  The industry has supplied some very interesting articles, and I loved what Ron Strecker of AJ Schneider Hotels wrote about budgeting for technology. When people share, we all learn a great deal.  The level of editorial that Geneva orchestrates from the industry is pretty amazing.  We thank all the industry consultants who share their knowledge.  Diane Estner did a great job with guest messaging, one of the "hot topics" in the industry, and her article is complete with a solution comparison chart.  Please take a moment to read through all the columns in the TOC (pg.6) and Geneva's more detailed look at what is inside this issue on page 10.

The fall issue is always a reflective one for me.  I think back to September 1992 when I had an idea for a technology newsletter and launched my first issue (it was 20 pages on bright, yellow paper).  Never did I imagine I would be doing it 24 years later.  It has been a wild and amazing ride.  Thank you for joining us on this journey.  We think the best is yet to come.  Just watch!

If you are a baseball fan, you want to see a ballgame in a real stadium, like Fenway Park or Wrigley Field.  If you own a race horse, you want to run at historic Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.  Rich poses with Hall of Fame Jockey John Velasquez before his horse B Three runs at Saratoga in August.  Hey, not every picture in the Publisher’s Letter has to be from an industry event!
 
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