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Siegel Sez

September 11, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Instead of London, try Manchester. Instead of Denver, try Colorado Springs. Boston? How about Providence? Yes, the list could go on for what many would consider secondary cities. When we were planning this year’s CIO Summit, there was a big push from attendees to have it in Chicago. Those that know me know I love Chicago. But did we have our event there? Nope, we decided to go to another secondary city and last week’s CIO Summit was held in Milwaukee. If you don’t receive Hospitality Upgrade then please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe and make sure you get our upcoming issue to see some amazing editorial regarding how technology leaders see the future.  Yes, there will also be many somewhat embarrassing pictures that were all for fun. But what you won’t get is the love affair all the attendees had with Milwaukee. We had attendees from places like Sweden and France along with Canada and Mexico to join those based in the U.S. I would say more than half of the 58 attendees had never been to Milwaukee and when I asked them on the last day their thoughts on the city it was just about a standing ovation. It was that nice. On our last day we had Jeffrey Hess the general manager of the Milwaukee Marriott come in and thank us for staying at his hotel and it was funny how the attendees also thanked him for having great technology in the hotel that worked so well. Yes, I did notice Ken Barnes from White Lodging patting himself on the back since it was a WL property.  We received accolades on the program we had put together including a CEO panel led by Steve Joyce of Choice Hotels who shared his view of the CIO which at times made everybody cringe. But still, his honesty was much appreciated. We closed the event with a session lead by consultant Jeremy Rock who best described it as a CIO intervention. It was beyond amazing.  As I said to the group at closing, it is OK to try new things and fail, what is not acceptable is never trying new things because of the fear of failure. Most the things we tried this year thankfully worked and what a relief that was. You know you have done something right when at the close of the conference the one question everybody asked was simply where is next year’s CIO Summit going to be? That was the greatest of feelings. What a week and what a great feeling when it was over. Again, if you don’t receive Hospitality Upgrade please sign up at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe to receive our print and/or digital edition.  It is one of our most popular issues of the year because of the CIO Summit review.

At the conclusion of the summit I was off to our 10th fantasy football draft in Las Vegas. There is something to be said for doing a weekend with 12 guys once a year.  We have never stayed at the same hotel twice and this year we tried something different and all went to the Red Rock Hotel and Casino. Yes, it is miles from the Strip, but they loved it. I must thank Michelle Lee my new favorite special events manager for making our weekend wonderful. Now if I could only draft a team that was competitive I would be really happy. I guess staying at Red Rock versus the Strip was kind of like staying at a secondary city or am I reaching now?

This is the start of the industry events season and we will be off to many including G2E, the Lodging Conference, the HFTP Annual Conference and a few more along with the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show where we will be doing our Technology Pavilion again. If you have any questions on the pavilion or are a technology provider and would like to join us, please email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. I will probably end the nonstop events season this year with a trip to London to attend the HOSPA Conference. I wonder if I can convince them to move it to Manchester? 

Now finally, if you are a person who has been around the technology world either as a vendor or a hotelier, I strongly recommend you take two and half minutes and watch our video where we prove nobody is beyond our embarrassing them. How many of the victims do you recognize? We will help you at the end. Click here for a moment of entertainment and don’t forget to turn your speakers up!

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of the industry technology happenings. I encourage you to read his opening regarding security which was a very hot topic at this year’s CIO Summit. 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



- Security is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility
- Technovation adds four new partners to Las Vegas technology integration showcase
It was a great CIO Summit last week, well attended and in perfect weather that allowed us to enjoy Milwaukee and its many attractions to the full.  And I don’t mean just the beer… although that was excellent!  Many congratulations to Rich and Charlotte from Hospitality Upgrade for putting on an outstanding event from every viewpoint.

One topic high on most CIOs’ agendas is data security, of course, and this came up both during the CEO panel discussion and at the all-attendee round table that closed the conference.  (A very worthwhile innovation, Rich; this should be the cornerstone of every such conference.)  The three CEOs on the panel showed an enlightened view of the complexities of data security, but from the round table and other discussions during the week, it seems that not all CEOs accept the fundamental nature of security challenges.  A few ownership companies, especially, are reportedly of the opinion that security is someone else’s problem, sometimes stating a belief that a franchise brand should ensure and be responsible for all data security at its franchisees’ properties.

This is clearly unrealistic.  As several participants commented, with the never-ending escalation of threats and countermeasures always in favor of the former it’s only a question of when a security breach occurs, not if.  Taking even elementary precautions reduces the risk significantly (it’s amazing how many network access points are still in use with their default passwords, something that costs nothing but a few minutes of effort to change), but it’s everyone’s responsibility to be aware of data security and contribute to it. 

Yes, the systems that franchisors mandate for their properties to use must be well written, kept secure behind appropriate firewalls and anti-malware programs, and protected with regular security updates.  But it’s the property’s and owner’s responsibility to apply the same standards to systems they buy for themselves, to provide the funds to upgrade all equipment as needed (implementing tokenization at all POS workstations, for example) and to ensure that the hotel GM instills a security-minded attitude among her staff with regular refresher training.

Nevertheless, the only thing that’s completely secure is a system that doesn’t communicate with anything and which no one can use.  In the real world breaches will occur, and every property and every corporate IT department must have a regularly reviewed and regularly practiced action plan in place covering what to do when one is discovered – which may be several months after it occurred.  Choosing what countermeasures to put in place is always an exercise in risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis, and it’s one that needs to involve everyone up to the GM and the owner.  Sharing awareness of the trade-offs shares the risk, encourages a team mentality and is the only true way to provide an effective defense and an effective response.
Technovation Solutions’ technology integration showcase center has signed four new members:
- Cenium [hospitality enterprise resource planning (ERP) software]
- EventPoint (cloud-based event management software)
- Evolve Controls (SaaS-based guest experience software)
- Genesis Gaming Solutions (hardware and software for casino pit and poker room management and player tracking)
Technovation moved its headquarters to a bigger space earlier this year near the heart of Las Vegas.  Existing partners include Microsoft, Cisco, NEC, Rainmaker, RedRock Software, SkyWire and Nevotek.



- Mike Webster to lead MICROS; Peter Altabeff to step down
- Eric Wong joins Infor as VP Infor Hospitality, Asia Pacific
- Sofya McIntosh hired by The Rainmaker Group as director, sales

Fore more information on People on the Move for 09/11/14


- EVEN Hotels deploy PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristbands
- Sabre integrates CheckMate into TripCase
- Mews Systems announces Commander mobile GMS for hotels, apartments, B&Bs and hostels
- Best Western certifies MSI’s CloudPM for general release
- Joie De Vivre deploys StayNTouch at Galleria Park Hotel
- Menin Hospitality selects Ve-Go Technologies’ RoomKey mobile app for Gale South Beach
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 09/11/14


- Hotel Casa Blanca adopts Busy Rooms
- RoomActually announces off-campus student housing platform
- Expedia releases tablet app to shop for both hotels and flights at same time
- Sun-n-Sand Group renews technology agreement with Sabre
- Sonata Software acquires Rezopia, XYKA
- Roomlia releases mobile hotel booking app focusing on rooms available in next seven days
- Skyscanner adds hotel search engine to flight search application
For more information on Reservations for 09/11/14


- TrustYou releases app for Sabre’s Red App store
- SmartDepart adds TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews to hotel booking engine
- Chamberlain West Hollywood implements Flip.to
- Drury Hotels selects Leonardo’s VScape
For more information on Marketing/Management for 09/11/14


- iRates introduces group management module
- Oakwood Managed Properties selects eRevMax’s RateTiger Channel Management for 12 properties
iRates has introduced a group management module to help limited-service hotels manage group reservations and pricing, using automated displacement analysis calculations.  http://www.i-rates.com  
Oakwood Managed Properties has selected eRevMax’s RateTiger Channel Management for 12 of its 28 properties.    http://www.OakwoodAsia.com, http://www.erevmax.com


- Select-TV adds TransGaming’s GameTree TV on-demand gaming service to guest channels
- EVEN Hotels deploys PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristband System
Select-TV has added TransGaming’s GameTree TV on-demand gaming service to its guest channels.  The service launched in Montreal at the Holiday Inn (Pointe-Claire).  http://www.transgaming.com, http://www.selectv.co
InterContinental Hotels Group's new EVEN Hotels brand has deployed PDC's Smart Band RFID Wristband System for guest use as an RFID keycard and POS charge device.   If they wish, guests can purchase the wristbands to take with them for use on future visits to any EVEN hotel.  Two EVEN Hotels opened this past June in Rockville, Md., and Norwalk, Conn.; three additional locations are in the pipeline including two in midtown Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, N.Y.  http://www.evenhotels.com, http://www.pdcorp.com


- Park Hyatt New York opens with InvoTech System's UHF-RFID Uniform System
The 210-room Park Hyatt New York has opened with InvoTech System's UHF-RFID Uniform System to manage its 4,000 uniforms, in conjunction with a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System that automates uniform distribution.  http://www.newyork.park.hyatt.com, http://www.invotech.com


- TheWit Hotel completes refresh of converged network
TheWit Hotel in Chicago has completed a refresh of its converged network, using Hospitality Technical Services (HTS).  The property’s Internet connection was upgraded from a 45 Mbps T3 Internet circuit to a 100 Mbps circuit; 2.4 GHz/54 Mbps access points were replaced with dual mode units supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands with 300 Mbps of bandwidth per access point, and one access point for every three guestrooms.  http://www.thewithotel.com, http://www.htsnow.com


- The Sanctuary Hotel New York selects Groupize
The Sanctuary Hotel New York has selected Groupize Solutions’ Group Booking Engine.  http://www.sanctuaryhotelnyc.com, http://www.groupize.com


- Isis Wallet™ rebrands to Softcard™
Isis Wallet™ has announced that it will rebrand to Softcard™.  http://www.gosoftcard.com  


- ResortSuite receives ISPA Innovate Award
ResortSuite has been recognized by the International SPA Association (ISPA) with an ISPA Innovate Award for its spa guest check-in and questionnaire tablet app.  http://www.resortsuite.com  


And now for you-know-what...

As they stopped at a cheese farm, a young guide led a tour group through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat's milk was used.

She then showed the group a lovely hillside where many goats were grazing.

"These," she explained, "are the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produce."

She then asked, "What do you do in America with your old goats?"

To which a spry old gentleman answered, "They send us on bus tours.

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