⚠ We would appreciate if you would disable your ad blocker when visiting our site! ⚠

Siegel Sez

July 31, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

We have all heard the saying that you only have one chance to make a first impression.  As everyone reading this is in the hotel industry, it would be difficult to be in our industry and not be aware of the “threat” of Airbnb. It seems to be in the news daily and Jon Inge’s technology review this week includes Airbnb as well. A year ago when I was attending my first ITB in Berlin, the city was packed and hotels were at a premium including premium rates. I decided to give Airbnb a try. The booking process was not smooth but I got through it. The rate for the five nights was not dramatically less than the going rate for a hotel room, but instead of a room I was going to get a top floor penthouse apartment with a beautiful balcony overlooking Berlin. Now we all know that hotels sometimes take liberties with the pictures posted on the website, but I think most of us expect there will be a gap between pictures and reality. Trust me, there has never been a wider gap than the one I experienced in Berlin. The “penthouse apartment” was tiny. Worse than tiny it was a mess. It was both dirty and absolutely not prepared for someone to be staying in there. I was promised Internet and that didn’t work. The beautiful balcony? Don’t even ask. I shared my experience at our Executive Vendor Summit this past March and asked if others had tried Airbnb and to share their experiences. The comments were not similar to mine, so I guess it was just bad luck on my part. If you have ever tried Airbnb and would like to share your experiences, please send an email to mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com and tell me about it. We might have a little fun with this if we get a large enough sampling. All I can say is I am not planning on trying Airbnb again anytime soon. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice…..well, you know how that saying goes.

Speaking of summits, our CIO Summit is coming up in five weeks. We have technology leaders coming from hotel and management companies, cruise lines, vacation ownership and gaming companies. I am not sure if it is the allure of Milwaukee or the uniqueness of the CIO Summit but it is shaping up to be a great event. We are very thankful that we have gotten three CEOs to do a panel as they talk about how they look at the role of the CIO and how it is changing today. This will be a great session. It is funny that when we announced Milwaukee as the location this year, those that had never been asked why. Those who had been to Milwaukee all said that it was a great choice. I am betting that at the conclusion of the summit there will be many converts. Yes, as a guy who lived in Chicago many years ago I loved Milwaukee which I always thought was a small Chicago. I can’t wait. If you have any questions regarding the CIO Summit, please email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

We are now halfway through the summer and it seems like many of us are now getting over our HITEC hangovers, but there is still much happening in our industry and Jon Inge shares that in his technology review this week. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge


- Smartphone key concept gets a boost from Hilton’s planned upgrade of its HHonors app
- HTNG launches three new workgroups
- Back up your photos; your grandchildren will thank you.
The push to have guests’ smartphones act as their guestroom keys received a major boost this week from Hilton, which announced plans to add individual room selection and guestroom key functionality to its HHonors application over the next couple of years. 

Individual room selection isn’t a new concept, of course; Hilton itself tried it in 2008 with its Homewood Suites brand, hetras showcased it (in 3-D form) in its first product release, and Indra’s TMS currently offers it.  It will be interesting to see how Hilton implements it on a phone’s small screen; some form of parameter entry would seem to be essential to make it fast and intuitive.  That’s especially so given Hilton’s caveat that guests will be able to choose a room from a floor plan “or a list of available rooms,” which without some guidance seems rather like taking a blind stab at finding a decent room. 

There’ll also need to be careful integration with the hotel’s guest management and housekeeping systems to make sure the booked room is actually available at check-in.  Restricting the selection function to the day before arrival obviously helps, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hilton eventually followed the airline seat model and allowed higher-tier loyalty members to reserve a specific room at the time of booking.  Hilton aims to have this implemented for all 4,000+ hotels worldwide by the end of the year. 

The room key feature won’t begin implementation until next year, presumably to allow time for a decent number of the locks in those 650,000+ doors to be upgraded to handle it, a massive effort.  Four U.S. brands are planned to be ready by the end of 2015, with global rollout complete by the end of 2016.  In the meantime guests can check in online and pick up their keys from the front desk, an essential option anyway for families. 

Hilton didn’t say what technology it had chosen for this, only that it’s “proprietary,” but for it to work on the majority of smartphones it’s a safe bet that it’s either Bluetooth LE or 2-D bar codes similar to airline boarding passes.  The latter seems like it would be more cumbersome to install; BLE is a cleaner and less obtrusive approach, but doubts have been expressed about its security.  Hilton would only say that security is on a par with magnetic stripe cards, which may or may not be reassuring.  Either way, given the general public’s demonstrated preference for convenience over security where the Internet and phones are concerned, phone-based keys are definitely on their way.
HTNG has announced an Above Property Systems Workgroup, aimed at producing a framework of best practices for implementing cloud-based systems on critical issues such as data ownership, security, termination rights and support.

Two other new workgroups have been chartered, one for Lightweight Messaging to address the growing use of JSON-based APIs for mobile applications and one for Virtual (single use) Credit Cards
Finally, this has nothing to do with hotel technology, but what do you do with all the photos on your phone?  Do you back them up somewhere safe?  Do you have any kind of filing/keyword approach that lets you find specific shots when you want to share them?  Most of us don’t, or at least don’t do a very good job of it, putting us in danger of becoming what photographer Kevin Gilbert calls The Lost Generation.  I strongly recommend that you take 16 minutes to watch his Tedx talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agtMHGoEh4U); it’s engaging, funny, has some wonderful images, will probably start you thinking really hard, and it’s sure to start your day with a smile.  Your grandchildren will thank you.  Thanks to photographer and blogger Scott Kelby for making me aware of this.



- JP Hebert joins Eleven Wireless as director of emerging markets and channels
- David Dvorak hired by Cendyn Arcaneo as VP strategic accounts
- Daphne Dickson promoted to VP customer satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro
- Katherine Stewart promoted to VP hotel performance at hotel SystemsPro
- Angie Dobney is Rainmaker’s new VP pricing and revenue management services
For more information on People on the Move for 07/31/14


- Choice launches hands-free hotel reservations for Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC® AppLink™
- Orbitz for Business expanding to more than 100 countries
- BCD Travel signs with GetGoing to power its RoomSource® hotel booking platform
- Be Smart Madrid Diana Aeropuerto hotel picks Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium
- Motel 6 lists 1,100+ properties on trivago
- HNA Hotels & Resorts signs with Sabre for SynXis CRS and Guest Connect Booking Engine
- Hilton renews contract for Sabre’s global distribution system (GDS)
For more informaton on Reservations for 07/31/14


- Greece's SETE Tourism Confederation signs with ReviewPro
- Airbnb revamps review system
- TrustYou adds multiple surveys
- Small Luxury Hotels of the World expands contract with Leonardo
- Marriott announces LocalPerks location-specific mobile offers
- PwC Switzerland licenses ReviewPro data
- Clairvoyix enhances Hospitality Solution to help hotels avoid Canada’s Anti-Spam Law penalties
For more information on Marketing/Management for 07/31/14


- JacTravel signs with Allotz.com’s Autopilot channel management
- Germany’s HS/3 Hotelsoftware picks SiteMinder’s pmsXchange
- Kotimaailma Apartments orders eRevMax’s RateTiger
- Sweden Hotels endorses eRevMax’s RateTiger as preferred channel manager for all 60 properties
- Red Lion adopting Duetto across 53 properties
- IDeaS integrates Brand Karma into Reputation Pricing module
For more information on Revenue Management for 07/31/14


- Denihan orders Groupize Group Booking Engine (GBE) for six Affinia suite hotels
Denihan Hospitality Group has ordered Groupize Solutions’ Group Booking Engine (GBE) for its six Affinia suite hotels in Manhattan and Washington, D.C.  Previously available only to hotel chains, Groupize GBE was recently adapted to the needs of independent hotels and smaller chains, and replaces static RFP forms on the website with a microsite tailored for groups, weddings, meetings and more, allowing hotels to quote dynamic group rates in real time to group planners.  http://www.denihan.com, http://www.groupizesolutions.com


- Surf & Sand Resort installs GoConcierge
- FCS signs Valued Business Partnership with Thailand’s Piramid Solutions
- Samsung expands partnership with providers of broadband and interactive services
- JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai installs Acentic’s Panorama IP Interactive system
- Intelity adds location-based awareness to ICE Mobile
For more information on Guest Services for 07/31/14


- Singapore’s Systematic Laundry installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Laundry System
Singapore’s Systematic Laundry has installed InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Laundry System to manage resort laundry operations; it currently processes up to 20,000 garments per day for Resorts World Sentosa and 50,000 garments per day for other hotel clients and international airlines.  Systematic’s InvoTech System interfaces with the similar system at Resorts World Sentosa to further automate operations, and interfaces with White Conveyors’ Mercury Sorting System and U-Pick-It System to automate uniform sorting and the distribution of uniforms.  http://www.laundrynetwork.com.sg, http://www.invotech.com


- JW Marriott Miami selects Telkonet’s EcoSmart
The JW Marriott Miami has selected Telkonet’s EcoSmart Energy Management System for its 307 guestrooms, installed by Telkonet's partner Evolutix.  All rooms will include the EcoCentral Virtual Engineer, a cloud-based monitoring and control system to help the property monitor cost savings room by room, EcoInsight thermostats and EcoView in-room occupancy sensors.  The EcoSmart Platform will connect to the property’s guest management system.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.evolutix.net, http://www.telkonet.com  


- La Quinta implements MSI’s CloudConnect to link GMSs at 830 hotels to its website
- MSI releases two-way CloudPM interface with InnLink CRS
- Rydges selects CheckMate for 49 properties
- Worldhotels names protel as a Partner Software Provider
- Point Pleasant Lodge implements Northwind’s Maestro Web
- FJB Hotels implements Guestline’s Web-based suite for four hotels
- H10 Hotels selects Indra’s Travel Management Suite for all front office functions at 44 properties in seven countries
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 07/31/14


- Viceroy Hotel New York chooses Voxer Business for employee communications
- Choice Hotels names Comcast Business as a qualified vendor for business data, video and voice services
The Viceroy Hotel New York has chosen Voxer Business for employee communications using Wi-Fi-enabled iPod touch® devices for housekeeping and other service staff.  Voxer queues all messages, which are delivered when the user has a usable connection; messages can be set so that audio messages don’t automatically play and distract attendants and managers serving customers.  http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com, http://www.voxer.com
Choice Hotels International has selected Comcast Business as a qualified vendor for business data, video and voice services for U.S. properties in Comcast's service areas.  http://www.choicehotels.com, http://business.comcast.com


And now for you-know-what...

A husband comes home and finds his wife sitting on the couch watching a cooking show on TV. He says, "What are you watching that for? You can't cook."

She replies, "Well you watch porn..."

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.