Siegel Sez

July 24, 2020

Siegel Sez

For those in the hotel and technology world, the big news recently was HITEC in San Antonio is not going to happen in person and now will be totally online. HFTP is calling it CYBER HITEC. The dates will remain the same for October 27-29 and will also be on-demand for pretty much the whole month of November. Cancelling San Antonio was a tough pill to swallow since everybody in this space was hoping it would happen and throw a bit of normalcy into this very unnormal world, but in the end reality won out. The positive news is that I am on the HITEC Advisory Board which is responsible for putting together the educational program for HITEC and I know since people from all over the world will be “attending” we will have record crowds in the sessions this year. The program is still being worked on but if you have any suggestions please send a note to It should be relatively easy to get speakers this year since there is no travel involved. Yes, it might be a bit of a reach putting a positive spin on something that everyone wanted to physically attend, but sometimes you simply need to adjust. Check out the website for some interesting information about this year’s virtual event.
There are a lot of social media discussions and concerns about going to a cashless society with so many establishments either refusing to take cash or strongly discouraging customers from using cash. There are multiple reasons why, such as potentially passing COVID-19 using cash and because of the down economy there is a lack of coins moving around the country. I was thinking of all the things I do that have to be done in cash and how could they be done in a cashless society? How about hotels? I strongly recommend reading Definitely Doug which follows this opening as Doug talks about how and why hotels need to be aware of the changes upcoming as we move towards a possible cashless world. I remember when I was early on in my hotel career and working at a New York City hotel and the housekeepers’ union called a wildcat strike at our hotel. I was middle management then and realized how tough it was being a housekeeper as I tried to clean so many rooms with our night auditor. As a traveler I have never stayed at a hotel and not left a cash tip for the housekeeper. Can I keep this going if we go cashless? It also got me thinking when I was in college and had the dream weekend job at a resort hotel in the Catskill Mountains as a valet. I worked every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and it was amazing how many crumpled dollar bills I had in my pockets at the end of the weekend. Don’t we all miss the good old days or am I just getting old?

Lastly, a big thank you to all those who reached out from around the world congratulating Hospitality Upgrade on our summer issue. It was amazing how many times we heard that we were right on with the very creative way of sharing what everybody in the industry is going through and how they are navigating through this time. If you haven’t gotten a copy, please go to to get our digital edition of our summer issue. Your feedback has motivated us beyond belief.

Here now is Doug’s column on the impact of going cashless. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Hang in there, we will get through this!

Definitely Doug

The COVID Tipping Point
Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Cash tipping, however, has collided with COVID-19. Consumers now want to use contactless payment for everything they can. Many no longer even carry cash, and cash tips have been dwindling. This means a double whammy to the incomes of cash-tipped staff: travel is down, and the people who are still traveling are less willing or able to tip in cash.
In restaurants, the waitperson’s tip can generally be added to the credit card or guest-room charge. But for other service staff who are tipped in cash, hotels may soon find that their willingness to continue working is dependent on tips they are no longer receiving. This could ultimately impact the base wages hotels will need to pay to attract and retain staff.
Can technology help avoid this? The answer is probably ‘yes’, but there are barriers, and that will be my topic for this week. How can the hotel industry address this issue? The good news is this is a problem that doesn’t need to cost money to solve. The challenge is that some of the major hotel brands will need to work together to solve it.

Douglas Rice
Twitter: @dougrice


- ALICE CTO & Co-Founder Elected to the HTNG Vendor Advisory Council
Dmitry Koltunov was elected by his peers in the HTNG Industry Partner community and will join 14 other senior level executives.

- Marriott's Former Chief IT Officer - The Americas Page Petry Joins Cloud5 Communications Board of Directors
Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of communications solutions for the world’s top hotel brands and management companies, today announced the appointment of Page Petry to the Company’s Board of Directors. The addition of Petry, who served as Chief IT Officer of the Americas at Marriott International, further reinforces Cloud5 as the leading communications technology and services provider in the industry.


- Infor Turns High Touch into High Tech with New Contactless Applications for Hospitality
Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, today announced a fully contactless suite of applications for the hospitality industry, specifically designed for hotels and resorts, casinos and gaming, restaurants and food services, and event sales and table reservations.


- Pillows Hotels Implements IDeaS to Optimize Revenue Amid Market Demand Uncertainty
IDeaS announced Pillows Hotels selected IDeaS Revenue Management System (RMS) to enhance the hotel chain’s strategy and competitive position in the face of the current industry downturn.


- Vegas’s First Adults-Only Resort to Deliver Digital Capabilities with Mobile Check-In, In-Room Tablets
INTELITY®, the leader in contactless guest experiences for the hospitality industry, announced today a new deal with Circa Resort & Casino to provide mobile check-in and mobile key, as well as deploy a fleet of 10” luxury tablets that will enable contactless service and give guests unprecedented digital control over their stays.

- Hotel On Phillips Highlights Local History, Delivers Global Technology With Local Roots
Before Hotel On Phillips opened in October 2019, a lot of consideration was given to honor the location’s history, offer a one-of-a-kind experience and support the local community. From stunning architecture and design, to local food and drink, to world-class technology from SONIFI Solutions, Hotel On Phillips has delivered on everything it hoped.


- GCommerce Announces Strategic Partnership with Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, a Forbes 5-star and AAA 5 Diamond property, has partnered with GCommerce for digital marketing services. The resort is one of two Forbes 5-star resorts located in Palm Beach. Eau Palm Beach marks GCommerce’s 8th Forbes 5-star property that the company has partnered with, demonstrating the company’s digital marketing expertise in the luxury travel market.


- Cote Family Destinations Partners with ProfitSword to Maximize Business Intelligence Visibility and Company Growth Opportunities
ProfitSword, hospitality's premier developer of business intelligence and data integration software, has announced its partnership with Cote Family Destinations via the implementation of ProfitSage and ProfitPace.


- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Columbus, Georgia Partners with Hotel Internet Services to Implement High Speed Wi-Fi
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has announced the successful implementing of a high speed Wi-Fi network upgrade at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Columbus, Georgia.


- Onyx CenterSource Announces Global Partnership with WEX to Expand Digitized Payments Options
Onyx CenterSource, a leading global provider of B2B payments and business intelligence to the hospitality industry, today announced a new partnership with WEX Inc., a leading financial technology service provider, to streamline payments to travel agency partners. The partnership will focus on virtual payments methods for different transaction types across the hospitality industry.


- SynergyMMS Responds to COVID-19 by Releasing New Features & Strategies for Hotel Operations
- Quore Selected as Brand Standard for Cambria Hotels Preventative Maintenance Program
- Novotel Singapore on Stevens and Mercure Singapore on Stevens Upgrade Their Daily Operations with Knowcross
- Routier Forms Strategic Partnership with Knowcross® to Enhance Guest Contactless Service Quality and Efficiency in Wake of COVID-19


For more information on Operations for 7/24/2020


- Powerful Encoding Capabilities Right at Your Fingertips with the New SALTO NCoder
SALTO Systems, a leading manufacturer of electronic access control solutions, has released the NCoder – a contactless smart card for next-generation access control systems that integrates the encoding capabilities of a powerful updated design encoder with a built-in desktop reader function.

- ‘Employee Safety’ Webcast Series is LIVE!
The “New World, New Employee Safety Culture” webcast series is LIVE! Hosted by React Mobile CEO Rob Monkman, the fast-paced online resource provides answers to some of hoteliers’ most pressing questions about employee safety post pandemic and amidst civil unrest.

- SALTO Systems Earns Certified Carbon Neutral Achievement
SALTO Systems, a leading manufacturer of electronic access control solutions, has received carbon-neutral certification for its factory headquarters in Spain and across all of its operations. Carbon neutrality is achieved by calculating a carbon footprint and reducing it to zero through a combination of efficiency measures in-house and supporting external emission reduction projects.


- HFTP Pivots In-person Events to Cyber HITEC
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) announced today that October’s “Best of HFTP” in-person events will pivot to a virtual “Cyber HITEC.”


- The MAPP Report, by myDigitalOffice Gains Momentum
myDigitalOffice, the information management and back-office automation platform for hotels, recently launched the MAPP report (Market Analytics, Pace, and Performance), a free data analytics tool that enables hoteliers to identify forward-looking bookings pace and performance trends across their hotels and their respective markets, and visualize market recovery in real-time. In a matter of weeks, this free resource has garnered the attention of nearly 200 groups, representing over 15,000 hotels worldwide.


- Is the Hotel Industry About to Self-Destruct? Media Exposes Shocking Hotel Fails and Growing Guest Distrust
- Coming Soon: Antiviral Hotel Beds to Block the Spread of Covid-19
- Consumer Engagement with Travel Sites Dips with Resurgence of COVID-19 Cases
- Hospitality and COVID-19: How Long until ‘No Vacancy’ for US Hotels?
- Hotel Technology Trends: 11 Upcoming Innovations You Must Know


For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 7/24/2020


And now for you-know-what.… 

On a wintry day, my 90-year-old father was in the supermarket trying to pay for his groceries. Bundled up against the cold, his gloved hands were having trouble retrieving and counting the exact change. 

The transaction evidently took too long for the man behind him in line, who muttered a curse. 

Dad stopped counting, turned around, and warned, “Be quiet or I’ll write a check.”

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