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Siegel Sez

January 20, 2017

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I must thank Ron Hardin (www.ronhardin.tech) for taking a look back at the most important stories from last year. It is only a few minutes long, but it is a great read with Ron adding some of his own comments in the review. It’s an interesting look back at the changes that impacted our industry in 2016. As for things that are happening today, there is a great deal of buzz around the announcement from Wynn Hotel Las Vegas about putting Alexa into all 4,700 rooms at its hotel. So if you are me, the first thing you do is talk to Amazon to get the dirt behind this initiative. Yes, the world of artificial intelligence (AI) is changing us in our personal lives and in the world of business. I then call IBM and ask about Watson, then Google and Microsoft, who also are all over the AI world. It gets my head spinning. For those of you who provide technology and are attending Hospitality Upgrade’s Executive Vendor Summit (www.hospitalityupgrade.com/vendorsummit), you are going to be treated to a session with all these groups sharing where they see the hotel industry going as it pertains to AI. If you would like to join us, please email Anne Boon at anne@hospitalityupgrade.com.  

As we look forward to 2017 the one constant we know in life is there will be change. I am always honored when those who are changing roles share their plans with me even though they always ask me to keep it quiet until it gets announced. Then again, I am thankful that I can help so many people by introducing them to others in our network, and that benefits everyone. Speaking of change, I was at the HEDNA Conference last week in San Diego. The event had a great crowd and some wonderful sessions. When you talk about challenges, in the world of distribution it seems to be a never-ending battle. We will take a deeper look at the distribution challenges in our upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade (click here to receive a print or digital copy). After HEDNA I went to my favorite meeting of the year – this time in Toronto. Toronto is the location of HITEC North America 2017, June 26-29. Comprised of about 20 technology leaders from around the world, the HITEC advisory board spent a couple of days putting the educational program together. Challenges were shared, solutions discussed and appropriate sessions for HITEC were planned. My head was spinning at the end of the day, too, but it was all good. For those of you who are planning to attend HITEC this year, remember to make sure your passport isn’t expiring like mine is. Passing through customs really wasn’t that bad but a bit of extra time should be allowed. Toronto is a beautiful city and I think it is going to be a big hit with the HITEC crowd. HITEC in Amsterdam, March 28-30 (http://www.hftp.org/hitec/amsterdam/) was also discussed, and for a first-time event it looks like it is going to be quite the success based on booth sales and registration activity. Yes, 2017 promises to have lots of changes with so much new technology becoming mainstream. We look forward to updating you throughout the year.

Enjoy the look back at 2016 as well as our update of the latest technology happenings in the industry as we begin 2017. Thanks again to Ron Hardin for doing the year in review. I will see you at the end with our first you-know-what of the year. But let me warn you, it is a groaner. ;-)


Technology NEWSSTAND

Recent headlines, from Ron Hardin



By any measure, 2016 will go down as an eventful year. The end of the year found me transitioning into a new role as an independent hospitality technology consultant. One of my New Year’s resolutions that I actually kept was to do a quick review of the news of the past year, as seen through the eyes of Siegel Sez. It was an eye-opener – I know that I was pretty busy for most of the year, but I was surprised at some of the big news I missed. Feeling intellectually energized, herewith are my picks for the top Siegel Sez headlines of 2016.

Ron Hardin


2016 Year in Review, by Ron Hardin


Biggest single story: 

- Marriott’s Acquisition of Starwood


Biggest story series: 

The seemingly endless, excruciating, painful litany of credit card data breach disclosures:

- Hyatt Hotels

- Trump Hotels

- Omni Hotels

- Kimpton Hotels

- Oracle/MICROS

- HEI Hotels

- Millennium Hotels

- Noble House Hotels

- Atlantis, Paradise Island


Biggest missing story:

The lack of news from Oracle was noticeable, and we’d all like to hear more from the company, given its position in the market.


Top business stories (other than Marrwood):

- U.S. Hotel Construction at Highest Point Since 2009

- AH&LA Study Reveals Growing Number of Commercial Landlords Using Airbnb to Run “Unregulated Hotels” in Major Cities

- Jonas Software, a Division of Constellation Software, Acquires Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) and Springer-Miller Systems

- Brocade to Purchase Ruckus Wireless in $1.5B Deal

- Interstate Hotels & Resorts Announces Acquisition by Kohlberg & Company

- HNA Tourism Group Enters Agreement with Carlson Hospitality Group for the Acquisition of Carlson Hotels

- Accor Shareholders Approve Acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel Brands

- Data Suggests Hotel Loyalty Rates May Hurt Owners More Than OTA Fees Do 

- What’s Behind the Rise of Chinese Investors in Western Hospitality Companies? 

(From the Starwood/Marriott saga, to the sale of Interstate, and the acquisition of Carlson Hotels.)


Top Stories in Education/Professional Development:

- Rosewood Hotel Group to Require HFTP Certification [CHTP] for Information Technology Staff

- Passing of John Cahill, Industry Icon and Mentor 

- HFTP’s Frank Wolfe to Remain CEO Until May 2022

- First Edition of HITEC Dubai Will Be Hosted by HFTP and Naseba in 2017


Top Stories About Technology and Innovation:

- Hilton and IBM Pilot World’s First Watson-Enabled Hotel Concierge

- Travelzoo Study Reveals Travelers Expect Robots by 2020

- SONIFI Solutions Launches SoniCast Powered by Google Chromecast

- Marriott Hotels Introduces World’s First Hotel Innovation Incubator

- Monscierge Receives Patent for Providing Mobile Services to Hospitality Customers

- Guest Messaging is the New Normal  

- Merchant Link Provides Validated EMV Solution to Oracle Restaurants …(finally)

- Ramler’s Smartphone-Charging Banquet Chair Named Best New Product and Best in Show at HX …(really)

- Cold in Your Hotel Room?  By Voice or By Tablet, You Can Change That

- Netflix and Streaming Video are Replacing Hotel Pay-Per-View Entertainment  

- Sabre’s Technology Report:  The Three Emerging Technology Trends to Watch and Get Ready For 

- Cloud5 Communications:  Five Trends That Will Shape Hotel Investment in Communications Networks in 2017

- Wynn Las Vegas Announces The Addition of Amazon Echo Dot to All 4,748 Rooms 

(This may actually end up being the biggest tech story of the year as I predict the voice-controlled guestroom will rapidly become the norm.)



- Maestro PMS Acquires Strategic Software Assets of Navicom Inc. to Strengthen Integrated Guest Engagement Offerings
- Hyatt Accelerates Growth Strategy Into Adjacent Spaces With Acquisition Of Wellness Leader Miraval Group
- Louvre Hotels Acquires Controlling Stake in Sarovar Hotels Signaling Chinese Growth in India
- Shiji Announces the Acquisition of ReviewPro
For more information on Mergers and Acquisitions for 01/20/17


- Springer-Miller Systems' SpaSoft Adds Enterprise Functionality
- StayNTouch Rover™ PMS Integrates with Vertical Booking to Enhance Booking and Channel Management Capabilities
- InterMountain Management Creates Culture of Accountability with Quore 
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 01/20/17


- HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts Adopts Sabre’s Hospitality Solutions to Provide Customers with Industry-leading Reservation Technology
- SHR Developer of Windsurfer® CRS and Roomer Travel Announce Alliance to Drive Hotel Revenue and Enhance Guest Satisfaction Using Life Happens Cancellation Protection
- Barceló Hotels & Resorts Signs with SiteMinder
- Travel Tripper’s RezTrip Now Interfaces with GuestCentrix Property Management System
- Hilton Joins TripAdvisor Instant Booking Marketplace
- Vimana Franchise Systems Rolling Out Constellation CRS
For more information on Reservations for 01/20/17


- Canyon Ranch® Expands its User Experience with Launch of New Website and Creative Campaign
- Forbes Travel Guide Launches Star Coach, New Hospitality Training App Using Innovative Voice Analysis to Help Improve Guest Experience
- GK Software Launches Mobile Customer Engagement Platform in United States, Providing Personalized Offers, Campaigns, Mobile Payment and Scanning via Consumers’ Smartphones
For more information on Personalization/Guest Experience for 01/20/17


- MyCheck Granted Patent for Its Mobile Payment Technology
MyCheck Granted Patent for Its Mobile Payment Technology
MyCheck, a leading mobile payment platform provider to the hospitality industry, announced that it has been issued U.S. Patent No. 9,477,995 B2 related to the system, device and method of payment transacted through mobile payment applications. The patent covers MyCheck’s point-of-sale integration system and the method of allowing a customer to perform self checkout (using a unique, user-specific code or “handshake” between the guest’s mobile device and the POS) at a real-world, non-virtual store, restaurant or other business establishment that the customer is visiting. The patented technology enables a customer to self check out their open table without requiring action on behalf of the business establishment.


- Monarch Beach Resort Implements MEETINGScope to Gauge Planner Feedback
Monarch Beach Resort Implements MEETINGScope to Gauge Planner Feedback
The AAA Five-Diamond Monarch Beach Resort has chosen to implement UniFocus’ Web-based MEETINGScope, one of the most advanced systems available for gathering critical meeting planner feedback. The survey and analysis tool allows organizations to understand how planners perceive entire experiences, from the time they are contracted through the event’s end, and identifies areas in which adjustments can be made to increase meeting and event planners’ intent to return and recommend. This is the second UniFocus solution to be installed at Monarch Beach Resort, and the ninth UniFocus solution for the resort’s management company, KSL Resorts.
http://www.UniFocus.com, http://www.monarchbeachresort.com/


- BlueCart Inc. Releases Brand New Inventory Management Technology for the Restaurant Industry
BlueCart Inc. Releases Brand New Inventory Management Technology for the Restaurant Industry
The breakthrough product allows restaurants to not only take inventory on a mobile device, but also to view the resulting data and par levels, and instantly change ordering accordingly. BlueCart, the restaurant technology company whose namesake app streamlines communication between buyers and suppliers in the hospitality industry, announced the release of a new inventory management tool that allows workers and managers in the restaurant industry to take, share, analyze and react to supply-level data in real time, using just their smartphones.


- AiRstayz Unlocks Keyless Room Access with OpenKey
- OpenKey Announces Exclusive Partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts
AiRstayz Unlocks Keyless Room Access with OpenKey
AiRstayz, a growing coalition of hoteliers and accommodation providers, is elevating the guest experience at the Birches Serviced Apartments in Melbourne by implementing smart keys, also known as mobile keys, for guestrooms via the OpenKey App. Beginning with Birches' Melbourne property, the AiRstayz coalition will use the award-winning OpenKey app to allow guests to securely access and unlock their hotel rooms via their smartphones.
http://www.openkey.co, http://www.airstayz.global
OpenKey Announces Exclusive Partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts
OpenKey, a leading provider of mobile key access solutions for the hospitality industry, announced an exclusive partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts, one of the world's largest independent hotel brands. Through this partnership, properties represented within the Preferred Hotels & Resorts portfolio will have access to OpenKey's robust technology solution that is changing the way hoteliers engage with their guests. The OpenKey app, available for free on both iOS and Android operating systems, enables hotel owners to control guestroom access remotely and allows guests the ability to use their smartphones for mobile entry to their rooms.
http://www.openkey.co, http://www.preferredhotels.com


- Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport Awarded Green Globe Certification
- Mason & Rook Awarded LEED Silver
Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport Awarded Green Globe Certification 
Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport has been awarded Green Globe certification for the first time. Hyatt Place is the second Hyatt property in Amsterdam to be certified with this internationally recognized award for sustainable operations. Several measures have been adopted to minimize energy consumption, including the integration of a carbon assessment program, effectively auditing and measuring reductions in energy consumption. An innovative heating and cooling system uses the soil under the hotel site to store energy, while the building management system (BMS) optimizes temperature settings across the property. In guestrooms, energy efficient TVs and minibars have been installed and the use of motion sensors for lighting and energy efficient bulbs, such as CFL and LED, are always preferred and mostly used throughout the hotel.
Mason & Rook Awarded LEED Silver
The Mason & Rook hotel in Washington, D.C., announced that it has been awarded LEED Silver. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. 
https://www.kimptonhotels.com/stay/mason-rook-washington-dc, http://www.usgbc.org


- AHLEI to Offer Certifications in Partnership with Lobster Ink
AHLEI to Offer Certifications in Partnership with Lobster Ink
The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has entered into a new partnership with Lobster Ink, a global hospitality learning platform, to offer the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s globally recognized industry certification in conjunction with select Lobster Ink training courses. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Lobster Ink courses teach international skills and product knowledge training across 100 countries. Using a unique blended learning platform, Lobster Ink helps learners at more than 20,000 establishments achieve course outcomes efficiently, improving both their practical and theoretical knowledge of hospitality service.


- Sabre Announces Two Senior Executives to Lead Product Management and APAC Region for Its Hospitality Business
- SHR, Developer of Windsurfer® CRS, Announces New Senior Management Appointments to Address Aggressive Growth Objectives
- Springer-Miller Systems Promotes Carson Foerster to Director of Sales
- Eleven Software Board Announces Peri Pierone as New CEO
- American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation Hires Two New Individuals to Focus on Career Development
- And more People on the Move…
For more information on People on the Move for 01/20/17


- Cendyn Celebrates 20th Anniversary with New Brand, Product Repositioning
- Hotels Create Up to 100 Times More Knowledge About Their Guests with the New dailypoint™ Profile Engine
- TravelClick and Weebly Partner to Deliver Web Solution for Global Hoteliers
- HSMAI to Honor HeBS Digital with Nine HSMAI Adrian Awards, Including Two Gold
- Kaptivating Hospitality Group Welcomes Hotel Stratford to its Portfolio of Hotel Clients
- RIU Hotels & Resorts Chooses TrustYou to Manage and Analyze Feedback Globally Through One Guest Feedback Platform
For more information on Marketing/Management for 01/20/17


- Millennium Hotels® Announces Enseo® Rollout Across All U.S. Properties
- Hotel Internet Services In-room Access Point White Paper Offers Expert Insight on Implementing Fast, Reliable and Affordable Guestroom Wi-Fi
- Crestron Announces the Grand Opening of "Crestron China"
- DIRECTV CINEMA Now with On Demand as Part of the DIRECTV RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCE Gives Guests an Unrivaled In-room Viewing Experience at Hotels Nationwide
- Hotels.com Releases New Apple TV App
- Intelity Rolls Out Enterprise Hotel Brand App for Pacific Hospitality Group’s Meritage Collection
- $3.4 Million Funding Round for Mobile Ordering and Payment Business QikServe
- Digital Menu Provider Urban Translations partners with Samsung Electronics to Bring Innovation to the Hospitality Industry 
For more information on Guest Services for 01/20/17


- Digital Signage Expo 2017 to Offer Educational Opportunities in Digital Signage for Hotel Operators, System Administrators, Marketers and Technologists
- DSE 2017 to Host Digital Signage Federation Digital Out-of-Home Strategy Summit
- What to Expect from Global Hospitality Association HFTP in 2017
- HFTP Now Accepting Applications for Entrepreneur 20X at HITEC Amsterdam
- HITEC Amsterdam Online Registration Open
- HSMAI Honors Randy Smith and Melanie Brandman with Lifetime Achievement Awards
For more information on Hospitality Events for 01/20/17


And now for you-know-what…

A man walks into a bar and sees two pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling. He asks the barman, "Why are those two pieces of meat hanging from the ceiling?"
The barman replies, "It's a competition which we run every night. If you can jump up and touch the meat, you get free drinks for the whole night."
"Great," says the man. "But what if I can't reach them?"
"Then you have to buy drinks for everyone all night," the barman answers. "Do you want to try?"
"No, but thanks anyway," the man says.
"Why not?" asks the barman.
"The steaks are too high."


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