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Siegel Sez

February 06, 2015

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Money.  Is it truly the root of all evil? I am not sure of that, but I have been dealing with the issue of money for quite a bit now and I am not talking about my investing in slow horses.  The activity in the not-so-distant future technology marketing is absolutely amazing. The solutions, that possibly will enable the industry to be more productive and more profitable, or at a minimum increase revenue, are being developed at a frenzied pace. For these companies or individuals to succeed it often comes down to money. Money to develop, money to market and money to grow. Yes, that need for cash becomes the required roadmap to potential success. I have been spending so much time with venture capitalists, private equity groups and others looking to invest that it makes my head spin trying to understand how they look at the world.  I have learned a great deal. When the stories get shared about how and why they invest, I listen. But in my mind I wonder, are they crazy? Then again, if somebody told me a few years ago about an idea they had to create Uber or Airbnb I would have thought they were nuts. So, what the heck do I know?

I bring this up because after being invited to speak at TNT, an event local to Seattle over a year ago, I realized that type of event was the future for the travel and related industries. TNT–which stands for Travel and Technology–is now under the umbrella of Hospitality Upgrade and will be held March 17 at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. The TNT is open to the industry (all of our other events are invitation-only so this is new for us). TNT will be co-located with our 11th Executive Vendor Summit March 17-19, which brings together CEOs from the leading technology providers. A majority of the EVS attendees are committed to coming in early and also attending the TNT. The amount of money people that will be in the TNT audience is outstanding. There will be startups and entrepreneurs pitching their ideas in a “shark tank” setting. Picking the companies that will be allowed to pitch is a challenge; and I guarantee what they are doing will amaze you. Yes, it wouldn’t surprise me if the next Uber or Airbnb is amongst them. To complement the “shark tank,” there will be sessions by the Ubers, Airbnbs, Yelps, TripAdvisors and others that will share their challenges and future plans. We will also address many existing hotel challenges, such as getting our arms around the extensive amounts of data being collected. We will not only address the hotel industry challenges, but our presenter will also show how other industries have successfully addressed this need. Sessions, startups, investors and a networking St. Patrick’s Day cocktail party including a breathtaking 46th-floor view from high above San Francisco are all part of the TNT package. Charlotte, who has been working nonstop with me putting TNT together, strongly suggested that the first 25 people who register after reading this Siegel Sez should get a discount. If you would like to join us please click here, http://www.cvent.com/d/9rqkth and use discount code SIEGELSEZ100 for $100 off the early bird registration price. It will work for the first 25 people who register. We hope to see you in San Francisco; this will be a St. Patrick’s Day you will definitely remember!

Before St. Patrick’s Day gets here there are many events we will be attending. First, we are off to the Agilysys Inspire Users Group at the Disneyland Hotel in California, which is one of my favorite user groups because its offerings cover so many markets. Then from California I am off to San Antonio for HTNG’s annual North American Conference. I have been asked to moderate the HTNG CIO session on Thursday and am not sure that Kris Singleton from Omni, Vivek Shaiva from La Quinta and Jeff Bzdawka from Hyatt are as happy about this as I am. Yes, there will be a few surprises.  After HTNG I am off to ITB in Berlin which I think every hotelier should get to experience once in his or her lifetime. It is truly an amazing event. This is one of my favorite times of the year getting to see so many customers and readers.  We thank you all for being part of what we do.

Here now is the real reason we are here; Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. There is so much happening and we thank Jon for making it easy for all of us to follow along. Our first issue of Hospitality Upgrade comes out next month, so if you are not a subscriber, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe and get your print or digital magazine issue. And you won’t need a discount code because the subscription is free. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. For everyone who has sent congratulations to me on LinkedIn, thank you. It has been a long time, but continues to be a great trip!


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- What will replace the guestroom phone?
The announcement of another mobile housekeeping app (this time from NORTHWIND, see below) prompts me to wonder when we’re going to see an inexpensive replacement for the in-hotel telephone system.  The need for a hotel PBX has been declining for years through the self-reinforcing combination of more travelers using their cellphones and hotels charging the highest possible rates for calls from the in-room phone. 

The phone system is still in place, though, largely because of legal requirements for the guest to be able to contact the front desk from a precisely identifiable location in case of an emergency during a power failure.  Cellphone location identification still hasn’t reached that level of precision.  Those few hotels without guestroom phones, mostly “technology-free” resorts such as the late lamented Kona Village Resort in Hawaii, have relied instead on devices such as fire alarm pull switches in each room, a far from elegant alternative.  Intercom systems have been suggested but not adopted; in-room tablets provide great communications with the hotel staff, but cannot be guaranteed to be sufficiently charged for emergency use and suffer from the same location-identification problem as cellphones.

Housekeeping had become the other main reason guestroom phones were still needed, as these were a fast and effective means of updating a room’s readiness status through direct-dialing codes into the front office system.  Recently, though, more housekeeping operations are turning to mobile devices for status updates (usually smartphones or iPod touch® units) because they can provide more efficient notifications of the next room to be cleaned to meet immediate priorities, such as an early-arrival guest waiting for her room or a just-departed guest whose room is now known to be free for cleaning.  Mobile devices are also essential for mixed-use properties such as resorts where the housekeepers service not only guestrooms but also condominium units and private residences, none of which are on the hotel telephone network.

Constantly growing demand for Wi-Fi and cellphone coverage throughout all properties is driving the installation of more and more wireless access points and cellphone signal repeaters.  This will in time lead to greater accuracy in locating cellphone positions through triangulation, but it will still then take a while for laws to be changed to allow this as an acceptable guest-location approach.  In the meantime, a number of my clients have old PBX systems that have been out of production for many years and can only be kept running through a scramble for parts on the used equipment market.  Failure of the system would put them in violation of the emergency call regulations, but they’re understandably reluctant to invest in a replacement for a system that is seeing less and less use.

What we need is a really inexpensive, basic device – PBX, usable intercom, whatever – to handle the minimum legal and guest service needs over existing guestroom wiring.  Any takers?  I now confidently expect to be inundated with information from vendors whose products I’ve overlooked!



- Hotel Grand, Sharjah, goes live with Prologic First’s WISH
- Moonstone Hotel Properties picks ATRIO® for five properties
- PAR Springer-Miller appoints Freetime Hospitality its exclusive GMS distributor in Benelux
- Maestro PMS announces Mobile Housekeeping App
- HTL hotels opens first hotel in Oslo, with hetras
- G6 Hospitality picks SkyTouch GMS for Hotel 6 and Estudio 6 properties in Mexico and Latin America
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 02/06/15


- Sabre sells Travelocity to Expedia
- Travel Tripper certified as a Premium Partner with TripConnect
Sabre has sold Travelocity to Expedia, following a marketing agreement the two companies signed in August 2013, moving Travelocity’s technical operations to Expedia.  Orbitz later acquired Travelocity’s private-label division, and Bravofly Rumbo later bought Lastminute.com, Travelocity’s sister brand.  http://www.travelocity.com, http://www.expedia.com, http://www.sabre.com
Travel Tripper has been certified as a Premium Partner with TripAdvisor’s TripConnect, allowing its hotel clients to take advantage of TripAdvisor's Instant Booking feature that lets travelers book direct reservations with hotels without leaving the TripAdvisor site.  http://www.traveltripper.com


- SkyWire releases self-healing central POS database
- ReServe Interactive announces ReServe Cloud Web-based software platform
SkyWire has released what it terms a self-healing database for its remotely hosted POS system.  Most remotely hosted POS systems can regenerate a local POS workstation’s data after a crash; the SkyWire approach, developed in house, allows the central database to be rebuilt (should it crash) from the data on the individual workstations.  http://www.skywire.com
ReServe Interactive has announced ReServe Cloud, its redesigned Web-based software platform for the event management and dining industries.  ReServe Cloud provides complete access from any browser on a PC, tablet or smartphone, and includes a drag-and-drop calendar and event book, global search functionality, secure e-payment and e-signature, multivenue management in a centralized database, enhanced reporting features and customization options.  http://www.reserveinteractive.com


- FCS appoints Enterprise Data Services as its business partner in Indian Ocean region
- The Cromwell, Las Vegas, installs Kaba’s combination BLE/RFID locks for all rooms
- Dolce Hotels and Resorts rolling out Monscierge Connect to all 26 properties
- Two Broughton Hotels properties adopt KEYPR's guest service system
- Guest-tek™ offers Moodz content from Artcast through OneView Media service
For more information on Guest Services for 02/06/15


- StaySD Hotel Management adopts WAKEUP CALL risk management software for four properties
- American Casino and Entertainment Properties upgrades all properties to InvoTech’s Multi-Property Uniform Management System
- PAS to bring BlackLine Systems Financial Close/ Reconciliation Automation services to hospitality industry
For more information on Back Office for 02/06/15


- Resorts World Bimini selects Stratton Warren
The 480-room Resorts World Bimini resort has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System.  A new 305-room luxury hotel scheduled to open this summer will also use the system.  http://www.rwbimini.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- Thing5 acquires Innflux
Thing5 has acquired Innflux, a guest Internet service provider for the hotel industry.  Innflux has more than 800 HSIA deployments throughout the United States and Caribbean.   http://www.thing5.com


- Felix Laboy joins WayBlazer as chief executive officer
Felix Laboy has joined WayBlazer as chief executive officer.  Using the cognitive power of IBM Watson, WayBlazer is developing intelligent discovery software to deliver contextual, personalized advice and insights for travelers across all phases of a trip. Mr. Laboy was most recently president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions; he had previously co-founded E-site Marketing, which Sabre Holdings acquired in 2007. Earlier, Mr. Laboy held numerous executive positions at hotel companies such as Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Four Seasons.


- HeBS Digital launches smartCMS 6.0
- Cendyn/ONE receives six Adrian awards
HeBS Digital has launched smartCMS 6.0, its 6th generation CMS .  Features include:
- Support for both full responsive and adaptive design for the three screens (desktop, mobile, tablet)
- Complete content control of the property website (visual, promotional, textual)
- Dynamic Content Personalization Module (Smart Personalization Engine)
- One-to-one marketing capabilities
- Merchandising Module to convert lookers into bookers
- Compliance with latest SEO best practices
- Reservation Recovery Module to win back abandoned bookings
- Custom Design Themes Module to update look-and-feel design of the hotel website with the click of a button
- Multi-Language Module, enabling foreign language content across the entire site
Cendyn/ONE has received six Adrian Awards from HSMAI.
Silver Awards for advertising campaigns included:
- Ames Boston
- OPAL Collection
- Noble House
Bronze Awards included:
- Ames Boston Hotel website
- Gateway Canyons social influence campaign
- Rosewood London display advertising campaign
http://www.AdrianAwards.com, http://www.cendynONE.com


- South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa implementing Duetto’s GameChanger
- eRevMax integrates with PriceMatch
- Rusticae signs with SiteMinder for 250+ properties
- SiteMinder signs 16,000th hotel client
For more information on Revenue Management for 02/06/15


- Wick Hill releases WatchGuard Next-Generation Firewall and Unified Threat Management appliances
Wick Hill has released its WatchGuard Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) and Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances for enhanced guest network access security, allowing hotels to provide temporary user passwords to better secure guest Internet and Wi-Fi networks.  Hospitality companies can now provide custom hotspot splash pages branded with company logos, as well as flexible account options such as configurable time limits, batch-generated user names and passwords and password-only voucher options.  http://www.wickhill.com


And now for you-know-what...

Two factory workers are talking. The woman says, "I bet I can make the boss give me the day off."

The man replies, "And how would you do that?"

The woman says, "Just wait and see."

She then hangs upside down from the ceiling. A few minutes later, the boss comes in and says, "What are you doing?"

The woman replies, "I'm a light bulb."

The boss says, "You've been working too much and you've gone crazy. I think you need to take the day off."

The man starts to follow her and the boss says, "Where are you going?"

The man says, "I'm going home too. I can't work in the dark."

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