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Siegel Sez

August 27, 2015

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

When you do what we do at Hospitality Upgrade you sometimes find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the technology changes going on in the industry. We receive updates from all over the world for our magazine and online offerings. Some are of interest, and some just make us smile. We recently received an update from the hub London Convent Garden Hotel. Yes, hub by Premier Inn is a new chain of hotels that has totally embraced technology with an app that allows guests to book a room, check in and then control everything in the room via the app, including room temperature and brightness along with available radio and television stations prior to arrival and then share the contents of their mobile devices on their television. All in all pretty cool, but it got me thinking. Last year when I was in London attending HOSPACE, I stayed over to experience Ascot, the famous horse racing track where the Royal Ascot Meet is held in the summer. There are not many places to stay around Ascot and I ended up staying at a Premier Inn located in Bracknell. I had never stayed in a Premier Inn which is a very basic economy lodging property with about 48 rooms on two floors, but it was an amazing experience. Why, you might ask? It was the first time I stayed in a property that didn’t have a phone in the room. Premier Inns are a large chain in the U.K. with properties in the limited-service category, but I kept wondering how Premier Inns got away with no phones in the rooms? This has been an ongoing issue with hotels here in the United States, with some arguing that we are putting phones in the rooms just to call 911. Room service can be done by apps or the television.  Wake-up calls are done on your phone. So, how did Premier Inns get away with it? Is the company ahead of the curve and how long before hotels in the U.S. start doing it? I guess that the company thinks your mobile phone is enough which is why it created an app for the new Hub by Premier Inn.  Who knows, maybe I don’t spend enough time in Europe and this is more commonplace then I realize.  If you know the answer, please email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.  Yes, the industry is changing.

Change is a big subject as we now are only two weeks away from our 14th CIO Summit in San Diego. The role of the CIO is changing as their responsibilities are now expanding and many new marketing initiatives continue to impact them. We like trying new things at our CIO Summit and it is always interesting when we get professionals from other industries to share their challenges and how they handle them.  This year we will have the CMO from NASCAR speaking to our group, which if you are like me you know what NASCAR is but have no idea what challenges they have with technology and marketing.  It is always refreshing and eye opening to see what other industries are doing and hopefully we will learn from these examples and come up with some new ideas for our industry.  We take pride doing new and different things; after all, you never know unless you try. There are two weeks to go, 65 attendees registered (which is our biggest crowd ever), and the beaches of San Diego. I can’t wait.

Here now is the real reason we are here. Dan Phillips’ industry technology review with his thoughts on some of the things he sees evolving. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Siegel Sez

- The Venza Group Helps Davidson Hotels & Resorts Protect Guest Information
- Hyatt Place Jermuk Implements ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Solutions
- Kaba and OpenKey Install Mobile Keyless Access System at Ashford Property
For more information on Security for 08/28/15

Technology NEWSSTAND

Recent headlines,
from Dan Phillips



When asked about my career I respond with, “I have enjoyed great successes and survived epic failures.”  You see, I’ve been an entrepreneur since 1991.  I don’t think that word was around back then, I just needed a job and the only thing people would hire me for was consulting.  At times I’ve been a one-man show, and at other times I’ve had many employees.  I’ve made only $30K in a year and have run a company making 7-figures a year.  I have merged, been bought, bought back, renamed, retooled, and, started up several times.  I never thought of my consulting career as a startup, though it was, but in 1999 I really forged out and with a couple of friends and began a true startup.  This was the stage for many of my successes and failures.

I have a warm heart for startups, especially in the hotel industry. I go to HITEC every year as much for networking as to see what startup companies are bringing a new, energized spirit to one of the oldest businesses known to man.  It is from that perspective that I would like to say that I am impressed with someone like Sandip Jariwala, whom you will read more about below.  He is the owner of a Wyndham Hotel in California and has created a new company called HotelTap.  Like most entrepreneurs, he experienced an area in business that was problematic to his operation and then created a workable solution for it.  My hat is off to companies like HotelTap.

I look forward to serving you,

Dan Phillips
Dare to Imagine


- Emmanuel Clave Joins XN Hotel Systems to Lead New Mobile and Analytics Solutions Division
- Miguel Oliveira has Been Appointed VP Global Digital Commerce and Marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group
Emmanuel Clave Joins XN Hotel Systems to Lead New Mobile and Analytics Solutions Division
Xn Hotel Systems Group Limited (Xn) announced the appointment of Emmanuel Clavé, former group information technology director of Rocco Forte Hotels.  With a wealth of hotel, restaurant and hospitality industry IT operations experience spanning more than 30 years, Clave will be joining Xn in October 2015 in the position of vice president.  As a key part of his role, he will spearhead a new, strategic product division which will focus on the development and delivery of integrated, mobile guest applications and big data analytics solutions.
Miguel Oliveira has Been Appointed VP Global Digital Commerce and Marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group
With more than 18 years of experience, Oliveira has an extensive background in e-commerce, marketing, strategy and operations. Prior to joining Wyndham Hotel Group, he led a cross-functional team at Choice Hotels International to revamp the design and functionality of choicehotels.com digital platforms. Previously, he served Hotels.com leading merchandising strategy and global coupon/value-added offers.


- Orbitz.com Becomes the First Online Travel Company to Offer App-based Vacation Packs
Orbitz.com Becomes the First Online Travel Company to Offer App-based Vacation Packs
As more consumers turn to smartphones as their primary computing device and grow comfortable with making more considered and complex purchases on small screens, Orbitz.com announced that it is the first online travel company to sell vacation packages in a mobile app.  The award-winning Orbitz.com mobile app, named one of the most loved consumer travel apps by Applause, now allows consumers to easily search and book tens of thousands of flight plus hotel vacation package combinations in just a few taps.   http://www.Orbitz.com  


- Singapore Tourism Board Launches Experience Step-Up Fund (ESF) for Tour Development and Technology Initiatives
- Azamara Woos Luxury Cruisers with Virtual Reality App
- Sabre Sweeps Interactive Media Awards with Best-in-class Website Design and Development for Hotels
For more information on Marketing/Management for 08/28/15


- Rainmaker Group Makes the Five-year Honor Roll on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-growing Companies
- Echo Entertainment Group Selects IdeaS for Integrated Revenue Management
Rainmaker Group Makes the Five-year Honor Roll on the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-growing Companies
The Rainmaker Group has made the Inc. 5000 ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States for the fifth consecutive year, a distinction that has earned it a coveted spot on the magazine's honor roll. The Atlanta-based company made the cut once again for its impressive three-year growth of 102 percent, adding 76 jobs to bring its ranks up to 140, and posting 2014 revenues of $32.3 million.  Rainmaker was founded in 1998 by entrepreneurs Bruce Barfield and Tammy Farley, who serve as CEO and president respectively. It has since established itself as a market leader in profit optimization and demand-cycle solutions for the hospitality and multifamily housing industries.  http://www.letitrain.com  
Echo Entertainment Group Selects IdeaS for Integrated Revenue Management
The entire estate of Echo Entertainment Group's Australian-based integrated resort properties – Treasury Casino & Hotel Brisbane, Jupiters Hotel & Casino Gold Coast and The Star in Sydney – have selected IDeaS Revenue Management System (RMS) to provide clear insight into each of its property's booking patterns, accurate pricing, group management and streamlined distribution, ensuring that occupancy and revenue can be maximized now and into the future.  http://www.ideas.com  


- Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort Chooses Agilysys Solutions
Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort Chooses Agilysys Solutions
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global  provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort in Hogansburg, N.Y., has selected the InfoGenesis® POS system and the rGuest® Pay payment gateway solution to streamline operations, enhance guest service and provide secure credit card payment.  The 150-room casino hotel, which includes four restaurants, a lounge and gift shop, wanted fully integrated point-of-sale and payment gateway solutions that would optimize food and beverage service and secure sensitive cardholder data.  http://www.agilysys.com


- Hotel Owner Builds HotelTap, a Workplace Cloud Communication Tool to Boost Staff Efficiency
- Bokun is a Community-based Software Solution That Enables the Cross-selling of Travel Products
- JustVacay Empowers Guests to Plan Resort Activities
- BrandMessenger, Hospitality Employees can Trade Shifts Online, for Free
For more information on Innovators and Startups for 08/28/15


- Agilysys Releases Powerful Integration of rGuest Analyze with LMS Property Management System
- Infor Listed as Champion in Info-Tech Research Group’s 2015 Hotel PMS Vendor Landscape
- Treebo Hotels Chooses Hotelogix as its Multiproperty Solution
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 08/28/15


- Provenance Hotels Eases Booking Process, Increases Revenue with Social Tables
Provenance Hotels Eases Booking Process, Increases Revenue with Social Tables
Provenance Hotels has chosen Social Tables, the award-winning, collaborative event software provider, as a preferred vendor for its current and expanding portfolio of meetings hotels. This partnership furthers Provenance Hotels' commitment to delivering collaborative products to its meetings and events clients worldwide.  "We believe in making the booking process easy for our clients and are always interested in finding that high-tech tool that makes our high-touch approach even more impactful," said Zie Zie Senzaki, vice president of sales and marketing at Provenance Hotels.  http://www.socialtables.com  


- Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts Tests Delivery Robot at its Hotel in the Heart of Silicon Valley
- Hilton Worldwide to Phase Out Porn on In-room TVs
- UniGuest and Google Partner for Cost-efficient , Guest-facing Tech
- Marmara Park Avenue Opens with Intelity’s ICE in Guestrooms
- Travelodge Partners with Monscierge
- Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Taps Digital Alchemy for Personalized Online Guest Services
- Bulk TV Deploys DRE PLUS Solution at Hotel RL Baltimore
For more information on Guest Services for 08/28/15


- nSight Rolls out Next-generation Features to Intelligence Platform
nSight Rolls out Next-generation Features to Intelligence Platform
nSight, a leader in online consumer shopping intelligence for hotels and destinations, announced next-generation target market filters in its nSight for Hotels solutions, providing the ability for hoteliers to isolate consumer demand for future arrival dates by weekend and weekday stay patterns as well as regional source markets. This new filtering provides a higher level of sophistication for hotel e-commerce teams and their agencies that redefines digital campaign strategy, increasing marketing ROI and shifting bookings from OTAs to the hotel website.  http://www.nsightfortravel.com  


- InvoTech Expands to Larger Offices and Adds Staff
- BirchStreet Platform Available on Multiple Browsers
InvoTech Expands to Larger Offices and Adds Staff
As part of a global expansion plan, InvoTech Systems, Inc., a leader in RFID inventory control systems, relocated its headquarters to larger offices to accommodate new staff and worldwide client growth. InvoTech’s global growth prompted the addition of new team members in its product development, system installation and technical support departments. The company will continue to be based in Southern California with offices double the size of its previous location.  http://www.invotech.com  
BirchStreet Platform Available on Multiple Browsers
BirchStreet Systems announced that its procure-to-pay platform now has the ability to support multiple browsers. BirchStreet will now be supported on IE 8.0 or higher, Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers. BirchStreet is a leader in procure-to-pay automation software for the hospitality industry with enterprise customers including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, Fairmont, Four Seasons, Omni, Rosewood, Interstate and Destination Hotels and Resorts.  http://www.birchstreet.net


- Hotel in College Park, Md., Announces LEED Platinum Certification
- Tesla Charging Stations Installed at Seal Cove Inn, a Half Moon Bay Hotel
- Hilton Austin Goes Green with INNCOM for Guest Comfort and Energy Savings
For more information on Sustainability for 08/28/15


- The Most Valuable High Touch Guest Service Channels in the High Tech Digital Age
- Will Unbundled Amenities be the Future for Budget Hotels?
- Barry Sternlicht's SH Group Unveils 1 Hotel Central Park
- Does Your Brand Have a Customer Experience Strategy?
- Reservations Call & Email Lead Management Software Helps Capture and Convert Direct Business
- And other stories...

For more information on Piqued Dan's Interest for 08/28/15


And now for you-know-what…

One night a teenage girl brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents, and they were appalled by his appearance - leather jacket, motorcycle boots, tattoos and a pierced nose.
Later, the parents pulled their daughter aside and confessed their concern. "Dear," said the mother diplomatically, "he doesn't seem very nice."
"Oh please, Mom," replied the daughter. "If he wasn't nice, why would he be doing 500 hours of community service?"

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