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Siegel Sez

May 08, 2015

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

There are days I just reflect how simple life was in the old days. Remember when we got our news via television or the newspaper? Do you remember life before social media took over? I bring this up because of some of the things I have read that make me both laugh and cringe. The hotel nuisance and investors’ joy, Airbnb has been getting a great deal of notoriety recently. I had to cringe when I read the story about those who are renting via Airbnb and filming porn movies in the places they rent. Yikes. Then there was the couple who rented their home for a weekend in Canada and the renters had a party there with over a hundred people coming in by bus. The house was nearly destroyed though insurance via Airbnb will cover the cost which is estimated at $75,000 dollars. The owners of the house comment that they wish they had burned the house down, and based on what the renters did to it, that had me cringing. Yes, these are isolated incidents considering the millions of people who use or offer homes via Airbnb but it still makes you wonder. I know it does me.

It is about six weeks to HITEC which means it is the time of year for “announcements” in the technology industry. Jon does a great job covering many of the announcements though I tend to focus on the people aspect because of the friends I have made over these last 22 years. Technology leaders Ken Barnes of White Lodging, Mike Dickersbach of Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties and Bill Martin of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines have all said it is time for a change. One to the vendor side, one to another hotel company and one says it is time to do something he has always wanted, be a teacher. As they say, the only constant in life is change and we all experience it.

Yes, this is the time of year where movement happens because of HITEC. Every year in the exhibit hall we see those in the vendor community show up in different booths. I am guessing via my many conversations that we are going to see quite a few “aisle crossing” again this year. I also won’t be shocked if two booths at HITEC become one if things don’t get tied up in the legal process. Yes, for those of us in technology for the hotel industry you have to love this time of year.

My favorite pre-HITEC news is finding out who will be this year’s inductee into the HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. This year it will be Scot Campbell with Caesars Entertainment and Michael Schubach who is now part of the industry consulting world, and a regular contributor to Hospitality Upgrade. Both are very worthy candidates and how fortunate they both are friends. Have to love when that happens. Congratulations to them both. 

Next week I get to do what I love to do, which is hang out for a few days with hundreds of people that use the technology that we write about in Hospitality Upgrade. The Newmarket Customer Conference (NICC) is something I always attend and this year Newmarket is trying something new. Because of the great crowd that attends, it is always held at a very large hotel in a large city. This year Newmarket is having everybody come to its hometown of Portsmouth, N.H. I know this is going to be different, but I love that they are trying something creative this year. I haven’t been to Portsmouth in a long time and am looking forward to going back. Thank you, Newmarket, for inviting me. I can’t wait.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of all that is going on in the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Let the countdown to HITEC begin!


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Are mobile apps becoming too specialized?
Mobile hospitality technology continues to be a hot topic, and Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research recently surveyed hotel guests about what makes an app worthwhile.  The report, "The Mobile Revolution Is Here: Are You Ready?" was sponsored by Intel and Monscierge. 

It turns out that guests are more interested in using apps to receive room-ready notifications and request room amenities, hotel services and room upgrades – the things of most immediate use to them during their stay – than in marketing or room booking.  Curiously, the report also notes that women and younger travelers were more willing than others to share a limited amount of personal information in order to receive special services; I would have expected women in general to be less open to that.

Significantly, though, travelers reported a preference for having one single app that could be used to create a personal travel profile and would serve as a central location for their information and booking preferences across multiple hotels and brands.  They believe that this would allow for a more personally customized experience than is currently possible by downloading an app for each individual hotel or brand.  Maybe this doesn’t hold true for travelers who make a point of always staying with the same brand family, but I believe anyone who has to stay at a variety of different brands can relate to it. 

What it would need, though, is a very clear way for individuals to set boundaries around what personal information they would be willing to share with what class of business entities under what circumstances.  Hotels would also need to agree that working to this goal for the benefit of the traveler carries greater rewards than does pushing their individually branded apps onto guests’ phones.  That may be a stretch for many hotel brands’ marketing departments to accept, but I hold out hope that someone like Apple® or Google has enough clout to make it happen.  What happened to Apple’s iTravel?

I think we’re in an age of increasingly narrow focus on our apps, to the point where you have to wonder whether some of them are actually useful or are just complicating our lives instead of making them easier.  Apple Pay™, for example, only seems to make sense for those few travelers who have a phone with them but not a credit card.  Apple Watch™ is intriguing but it can’t do a whole lot without its wearer also carrying a phone, so it adds visual convenience (in some cases; how many of those tiny screens do you have to flip through to find what you want?) at the cost of adding yet another device (and charging cable) to the traveler’s load.  Just today I saw a smart suitcase that will display a traveler’s current flight number, status and departure gate.  Why do we need another way to see that?

My sense is that what we really want is the fewest number of apps (and gadgets) that genuinely help us and take the fewest steps to use.  We need to strike a balance between having one app that does many useful things but requires multiple menu choices to get to any of them, and multiple apps that each performs one useful thing very simply.  It’s a fine line, but one that vendors need to be increasingly aware of.  Slapping a chip on something and calling it “smart” doesn’t make it so.



- Mike Uwe Dickersbach joins Highgate Hotels as SVP information technology
Mike Uwe Dickersbach is joining Highgate Hotels as senior vice president, information technology.  He had most recently served 15 years at Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties, the last five as VP information technology/hospitality, and started his career as systems and control manager (technology) at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Somerset, N.J.


- Agilysys releases LMS v7.3
- Hotel Schani Wien implements hetras booking module for guests to select individual rooms
- PAR Springer-Miller releases Host interface to Travel Tripper's CRS
- Little Hotelier brings small-hotel front desk, reservation and channel management system to the U.S. market
- Marriott releases rewards app for Apple Watch™
- Starwood launches SPG Keyless in U.K., using Apple Watch app
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/08/15


- DHISCO partners with Nustay.com to offer combination OTA and online marketing channel
- InterContinental and Amadeus developing next-generation guest reservation system to replace HOLIDEX
- SHR certified as TripConnect Premium partner
For more information on Reservations for 05/08/15


- Ingenico launches iWL series Wi-Fi mobile terminal for U.S. market
- Ingenico, Intel® jointly developing mobile tablet that supports EMV1 and NFC payment
- Prologic First releases version 2 of Android Touché POS
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 05/08/15


- FCS signs channel partner agreement with Australia's Unified Network Group
- Ramada Plaza Waikiki adds Bittel's 2-USB port Classic Charger and Multi-Charging Cable to all guestrooms
- National Conference Center installs FlyteBoard
- Primland resort releases Intelity ICE-based mobile app for guest services
- Motel 6 signs with World Cinema, DISH Network for HD satellite TV and HSIA in 500+ corporate properties
- Stanford Court implements Foli’s digital multimedia interactive magazines and e-books
For more information on Guest Services for 05/08/15


- Cendyn acquires Ovations Management Solutions
Cendyn has acquired Ovations Management Solutions, an Atlanta-based corporate ticket management company.  The acquisition lets Cendyn Arcaneo enterprise clients manage corporate tickets and entertainment assets via a stand-alone solution or via Metron Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) software.  Ovations helps companies track and report on their sponsorship spend to improve return on investment (ROI) as well as return on relationship (ROR), while satisfying audit and compliance requirements.  http://www.cendynarcaneo.com  


- Park Hotel Group selects PriceMatch for 12 hotels
- Shangri-La, Meritus and Pan Pacific select TravelClick’s Demand360
- Ctrip.com integrates with eRevMax
For more information on Reveue Management for 05/08/15


- PAS has releases auditor-approved SOPs and USALI 11th Global Framework for PasCLOUD
- HOTELbeat announces Neglected Tickets Report
PAS has released a set of auditor-approved SOPs and a USALI 11th Global Framework for its PasCLOUD software, which includes more than 40 pre-built reports and dashboards, an expense dictionary with more than 4,000 items, and hundreds of application integrations.  http://www.profact.com  
HOTELbeat has announced its Neglected Tickets Report, which operates alongside HOTELbeat's operations management platform to provide a daily summary of assigned tickets that have been left unattended for too long.  http://www.hotelbeat.com  


- Pinehurst implements Percipia's Parallax guest service software and Precision voice mail
- Water Club at Borgata selects Percipia's Frequency PBX, Precision voice mail and Parallax
Pinehurst Resort and Country Club has implemented Percipia's Precision voice mail system and Parallax software with customized guest service applications for its 474-room multi-accommodation property, which includes The Carolina Hotel, The Holly Inn, The Manor Inn and The Villas at Pinehurst.

The 800-room Water Club at Borgata has selected Percipia's Frequency PBX, Precision voice mail and Parallax hospitality suite.  The property, in Atlantic City's Marina District, includes 18,000 square feet of event space, retail outlets and a spa.  
http://pinehurst.com, http://www.theborgata.com/hotel/the-water-club, http://www.percipia.com  


- Hotek Hospitality Group introduces RFID Upgrade Kits for magnetic card systems to U.S. market
- Kaba Holding merging with Dorma Holding to become the dorma+kaba group
Netherlands-based Hotek Hospitality Group is introducing its RFID Upgrade Kits for magnetic card systems to the U.S. market.  Hotek is focused on security solutions for the hospitality industry based on technology including NFC, Bluetooth and QR codes, and currently serves more than 5,000 customers in 65-plus countries.  http://www.hotekhospitalitygroup.com  
Kaba Holding is merging with Dorma Holding GmbH + Co. KGaA to become the dorma+kaba group.  Dorma is a global provider of access equipment and related services, including door closers, automatic door systems and glass fittings. The combined companies will have close to 16,000 staff and locations in 53 countries.  http://www.dorma.com, http://www.kaba.com


And now for you-know-what…

A woman answered her front door and found two little boys holding a list. "Lady," one of them explained, "We're on a scavenger hunt, and we still need three grains of wheat, a pork chop bone and a piece of used carbon paper to earn a dollar."
"Wow," the woman replied. "Who sent you on such a challenging hunt?"
"Our babysitter's boyfriend."

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