Siegel Sez

December 14, 2018

Siegel Sez


by: Rich Siegel



It was about a hundred years ago when I travelled to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to install a front office system at the Intercontinental Hotel Riyadh. It was an interesting experience but not totally positive. I was young and didn’t understand the culture, but I loved the hotel staff that we trained to use the new front office system (it was HIS for any of you old-timers who are curious). I was thankful for the experience but was in no rush to return to that part of the world. Fast forward to last week when my travels brought me back, but this time it was to Dubai for both HFTP’s HITEC Dubai and HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC). All I can say is this time my trip to the Middle East was totally different. I fell in love with Dubai. I met great people and was so impressed by how clean the city was and most importantly how friendly the people who live there are.  Of course, that doesn’t include my Uber driver who almost got pulled out of the car in the parking lot during an altercation with an angry pedestrian but that could happen anywhere, right? Dubai was great and I will be back next year for both events. This also seems to be the case with those who exhibited and sponsored the two events. Both events had great crowds and from the feedback I received from exhibitors the attendees were quality attendees. All the ROC sponsors signed up again and the response for HITEC Dubai was amazing with nearly 70 percent of the show floor committing to return before this year’s show even closed. There were 1,600 in attendance at HITEC Dubai, which is about twice the number from last year. There were great educational programs at both events with my favorite was Lorraine Sileo from Phocuswright as the keynote at the ROC event. She shared in great detail the occupancy and rates in all regions and overall trends in the Middle East. What a combination: great sessions, great crowds and a wonderful location at the Madinat Jumeirah Hotel, which is more like a resort. Other than a cancelled returning flight to Atlanta, it was just a great week with quite a few surprises, including how many knew me from Siegel Sez and Hospitality Upgrade. Yes, some gave me grief but all in good fun. I thank HSMAI and HFTP for having us partner with them. I am now a big Dubai fan!
 
This is our last Siegel Sez of the year and what a year it has been. Plenty of highs, some lows but we survived and often thrived, what else can you ask for? One more trip to Minneapolis next week for the HITEC Advisory Board meeting where next year’s HITEC program is strategized and comes together. If you have any thoughts or suggestions for next year’s program, please let me know at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.
 
Here now is the real reason we are here, the latest technology happenings in the industry. Ron Hardin opens the technology news with his somewhat different look at the Starwood/Marriott data breach. Everyone has an opinion about how and why it happened, Ron has a somewhat different spin. He closes with a nice holiday story about a technology failure that turned out to be positive, which is his way of kicking off the holiday season. We thank him for sharing his thoughts. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Enjoy and don’t hesitate to share your thoughts. Happy Holidays.



Introduction


by: Ron Hardin

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!  You really are a heel.”  As a baby-boomer who grew up with Dr. Seuss’ book and the original 1966 animated TV special, I haven’t yet mustered up the courage to go see the new movie.  I have watched my all-time favorite Christmas movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (every year, after Thanksgiving dinner), and I may tackle the new Grinch movie using Clark Griswold Sr.’s advice on how to best handle the holidays: with a lot of help from Jack Daniels.  This year, the Grinch didn’t steal Christmas.  No, apparently, the Grinch works for Chinese state security, and stole 500 million records from the Starwood reservations data warehouse – now, awkwardly, the property of Marriott International.  I’m not going try to analyze this breach based on the sketchiest of details that have so far been made public, nor am I going to pontificate (again) on doing information security right.  I would call the gentle reader’s attention to a couple of recent opinion pieces by Israel del Rio, a former SVP of Technology Solutions at Starwood, and one of the architects of Starwood’s Valhalla platform.  Google it.  There is some interesting insight there.  He questions the accuracy of Marriott’s statement that the hack started in 2014.  Marriott has not provided any details on how they made that determination.  Del Rio states that if investigators are basing that time frame on the age of the records, they may be off-base because the Valhalla data warehouse – the only subset of that platform likely to contain 500 million records – could easily have data on bookings back to 2014.  His other article is about Marriott’s decision to move all the Starwood hotels and data onto the older Marriott MARSHA platform instead of leveraging the more modern Starwood Valhalla.  Both organizations had highly complex environments, and I’m sure the ultimate decision was based on myriad different factors.  I’m withholding judgement, but there certainly seems to be a whiff of “not invented here” in that decision.  We may never know the details, but I can’t help but wonder if the breakdown in security on the Starwood database – assuming it may have been more recent than 2014, as Del Rio posits – was related to the cutting of most of the Starwood technology team in the wake of the merger.  Hopefully more information will be forthcoming.  Marriott has a great team of technologists, and they certainly didn’t need this visit from the Grinch to brighten their holidays.

Speaking of brightening the holidays, I wanted to end on a positive note.  Earlier this week, I had the unenviable task of standing in line for the one self-service kiosk at my neighborhood post office.  The line inside to mail packages was ugly, and I just needed additional postage for one small oversized envelope and two Christmas cards going overseas.  The line for the kiosk moved pretty quickly because most of the people ahead of me gave up in frustration (USPS, are you listening?).  But I’m an experienced technology professional who was not about to be daunted by a clunky user interface and a balky touchscreen sadly in need of calibration.  When it was my turn, I was doing my level best but it was SLOW and I could feel the gazes of the folks in line behind me as I kept having to back out to get to the right options.  While this was all going on, an older gentlemen came in and appeared to be truly crestfallen at the lines and his options for service.  He asked the group behind me if they thought he would be able to send a money order from the kiosk, instead of waiting in the ugly package line, because – wait for it – he had a won a new Mercedes (from the Grinch, probably) and needed to send them $1000 to cover the taxes.  The good citizens of Whoville in that post office queue, the tall and the small, immediately embraced this fellow and explained to him that he was being scammed.  They then helped him locate the nearest police station so he could report the incident.  And we all left the post office with full hearts, knowing that we had saved one Christmas from being stolen by the Grinch.

Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting
Ron@ronhardin.tech

MERGERS and ACQUISITIONS



- Pebblebrook Hotel Trust Completes Acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties

- Hyatt Completes Acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality 
__________

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust Completes Acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust announced the completion of its previously announced acquisition of LaSalle Hotel Properties (“LaSalle”). With a portfolio of 64 upper-upscale and luxury hotels in or near 18 key urban markets, the combined company is now the largest owner of independent, lifestyle hotels.
www.pebblebrookhotels.com
 
Hyatt Completes Acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality
Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced that Hyatt has completed the previously announced acquisition of Two Roads Hospitality, a lifestyle hotel management company with a unique collection of distinctive brands, outstanding properties and a significant global development pipeline.




PEOPLE ON THE MOVE



- Jonas Hospitality Names Michael Sarkis as Director of Marketing
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Jonas Hospitality Names Michael Sarkis as Director of Marketing
Strong growth within the Jonas Hospitality portfolio has compelled the company to grow its organizational leadership team, which they have done by bringing on Michael Sarkis as the director of marketing. Michael will be working closely with the entire Jonas Hospitality team to further streamline communication across all functional areas as the brand continues to grow and evolve
https://www.springermiller.com/




F&B/POINT OF SALE



- Crystal Springs Resort Selects InfoGenesis® POS Solution to Enhance Guest Experience Across Multiple Properties

- InfoGenesis® POS and rGuest® Pay Solutions to Enhance Guest Experience at New Las Vegas Music Venue 172
 __________

Crystal Springs Resort Selects InfoGenesis® POS Solution to Enhance Guest Experience Across Multiple Properties
Agilysys, Inc. announced that its InfoGenesis®POS solution was selected by Crystal Springs Resort as the point-of-sale system to be implemented across the multi-property resort to provide a more seamless guest experience across the properties and ensure ease-of-use and mobility for the staff.
Agilysys.com

InfoGenesis® POS and rGuest® Pay Solutions to Enhance Guest Experience at New Las Vegas Music Venue 172
Agilysys Inc. announced the newly-opened music venue 172 in the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino has selected rGuest Pay and InfoGenesis POS to help manage their operations.
Agilysys.com




RESERVATIONS



- OpenKey Partners with SiteMinder to Bring Automated Mobile Key to the Masses
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OpenKey Partners with SiteMinder to Bring Automated Mobile Key to the Masses
OpenKey announced it has partnered with SiteMinder, to make the delivery of mobile keys automated, faster and more widely available to hotel properties worldwide.
www.siteminder.com

 




REVENUE MANAGEMENT



- Grand Hotel Baglioni Chooses IDeaS G3 RMS for Revenue Technology Upgrade 

Middle East Hotels Turn to The Rainmaker Group for Better Hospitality Analytics
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Grand Hotel Baglioni Chooses IDeaS G3 RMS for Revenue Technology Upgrade
IDeaS Revenue Solutions is pleased to announce one of Europe’s most historic hotels, the Grand Hotel Baglioni, has chosen IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) to optimise revenue performance across its 192-room property.
www.ideas.com

Middle East Hotels Turn to The Rainmaker Group for Better Hospitality Analytics
The Rainmaker Group announced the rapid expansion of use of the business intelligence tool, revintel, across properties in the Middle East, including the Grand Excelsior.
www.LetItRain.com

GUEST SERVICES



- The Evolution of the Panic-Button: How Smart Integration with The Hotel Technology Stack is Making Hotels Safer

- The Hotel Concord is the First in New England to Offer Volara-Powered Alexa Technology in Rooms

- The Intelity Platform is Now Live at The St. Regis Atlanta


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON GUEST SERVICES FOR 12/14

MARKETING/MANAGEMENT



- Cendyn Is the World’s Leading Hotel CRM Technology Provider 2018 
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Cendyn Is the World’s Leading Hotel CRM Technology Provider 2018
Cendyn has taken home four World Travel Awards at the prestigious Grand Final Gala Ceremony on Dec. 1, 2018, in Lisbon, Portugal.
http://www.cendyn.com




BACK OFFICE



- Urgo Hotels & Resorts Installs Targetvue for Standardized Budget Across 40 Properties
__________

Urgo Hotels & Resorts Installs Targetvue for Standardized Budget Across 40 Properties
Aptech Computer Systems announced that Urgo Hotels & Resorts implemented the Targetvue Budgeting and Forecasting system to standardize budget control processes throughout its portfolio.
www.aptech-inc.com




COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE



- Beekeeper and ALICE to Host Employee Engagement Webinar
__________

Beekeeper and ALICE to Host Employee Engagement Webinar
Are your hotel employees disengaged? If so, Beekeeper and ALICE are inviting hoteliers to attend a Webinar on Wednesday, December 12th at 1:00 p.m. EST, that will address one of the biggest problems in hospitality today - employee engagement.
https://www.beekeeper.io/en/webinar/alice-2018
http://www.beekeeper.io/




SECURITY



- VENZA and TraknProtect Empower Hotel Employees

- Sandpiper Cove Installs Oracode Online Access Control for Guest Convenience, Greater Unit Security

-  Fast Kiosk Check-In, Robot Room Service, and dormakaba Electronic Access: Hotel Monville is Canada’s Most Innovative Hotel


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SECURITY FOR 12/14

HOSPITALITY EVENTS



- HSMAI Successfully Launches The First Roc Middle East In Dubai

- Marketing in a Digital World: Best Practices and Innovations for Hoteliers at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference

- HSMAI Honors Stephen Powell with Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Sales

- HX: The Hotel Experience Celebrates Inventive Manufacturers with 2018 TECHPitch and Editors’ Choice Awards in New York City


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOSPITALITY EVENTS FOR 12/14

PIQUED OUR INTEREST



- Checking In? No Thanks. I’m Just Here to Use the Wi-Fi.

- Bright Young Chefs Add Sparkle to Hotels

- Why the Hospitality Industry Shouldn’t Ditch Printed Brochures

- What to Look Forward to in 2019 in Hospitality


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PIQUED OUR INTEREST FOR 12/14

You-Know-What



And now for you-know-what …  A few points to ponder ...
 

Where to eat.....A group of 15 year old boys discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at the McDonald's next to Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because they only had six dollars among them, they could ride their bikes there and Jennie Webster, that cute girl in Social Studies, lives on the same street and they might see her. 

Ten years later, the group of now 25 year old guys discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the beer was cheap, the bar had free snacks, the house band was good, there was no cover charge and there were lot of cute girls. 

Ten years later, at 35 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was decided they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the booze was good, it was near their gym and, if they went late enough, there wouldn't be too many whiny little kids. 

Ten years later, at 45, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the martinis were big and the waitresses wore tight pants. 

Ten years later, now 55, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the prices were reasonable, they have a nice wine list and fish is good for your cholesterol. 

Ten years later, at 65 years of age, the once again group discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the lighting was good and they have an early bird special. 

Ten years later, at 75 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because the food was not too spicy and the restaurant was handicapped accessible. 

Ten years later, at 85 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. It was agreed they would meet at Captain Jack's Seafood Grille because they had never been there before. 




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