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Siegel Sez

January 12, 2018

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

Where were you when the lights went out … at CES? There are three halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center – north, central and south. The central hall, which had the very popular technology companies like Samsung, Panasonic, Intel, LG and many others, experienced a power outage that didn’t come back for more than two hours. To make matters worse, CES decided to not let anybody in any of the halls during the power outage, probably for safety reasons. Those working the show who went outside for a break couldn’t get back in. It was a strange time for everyone. The show itself was outstanding. The impact technology will have continues to amaze me. There were great sessions at CES, and as you sit in a packed hall and listen to IBM, Amazon and Google share where AI is going, it is eye opening. Of course, when the discussion moved to how advertising is going to impact AI many in the audience started to cringe. The world is changing and four days at CES only confirms this statement. I had a great time joining the group from HSMAI for a very unique private tour of CES. Companies like IHG, MGM, Accor and others were part of the HSMAI group that was sponsored by TravelClick. It was a great time and I thank them for including Hospitality Upgrade again this year. There were many others from our industry at CES. I was able to spend time at the exhibits with Mike Blake and Armand Rabinowitz from HTNG. I remember attending CES in the early days, all at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Today it is also held at Mandalay Bay, Aria and the Sands Convention Center. It is impossible to visit it all, but it does keep you coming back every year. Look for our in-depth review of CES in the upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade. To subscribe go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe.
I need to thank technology executives Jeff Bzdawka from Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, Andrew Arthurs from Two Roads Hospitality, Darren Clark from Viceroy Hotels and Resorts and Andy Tjan from Rosewood Hotel Group, who will be joining us this year and participating in the CIO panel at our Executive Vendor Summit that will be held in very cool West Hollywood, Calif., this year. For those senior executives from the vendor community who have never seen the movie “La La Land,” then I recommend you see it before the summit. That is all I am going to say about that. If you are a vendor of technology for our industry and would like to participate in this invitation-only event, please contact Anne Boon at anne@hospitalityupgrade.com. This is our 14th year. The bar was set very high last year and we are up for outdoing ourselves again.
We are quickly immersed into a new year, but before we get there, Ron Hardin takes a look back at what we learned from certain events in 2017. It is nice that he saw much improvement. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Thank you for both reading and sharing our technology review which has led to amazing growth over the years. Your feedback is always encouraged and appreciated. If you have comments or questions, please email me at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.
Thanks again for your support and let’s make 2018 a great year! 


by: Ron Hardin

A year ago, I offered up my list of the top hospitality technology news headlines of 2016. One of those was the seemingly endless litany of hospitality credit card data breaches throughout 2016 and into 2017. I also wrote a review of the 2017 edition of Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), in which I was not overly optimistic about the trends. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and state for the record that I think the industry is doing better – largely due to the kind of gizmo pictured above. It is a tokenization payment terminal, and it makes most of a merchant’s credit card data vulnerability go away. Tokenization replaces the actual card number with a string of data called a “token” that can be translated back into the card number by the bank/processor, but not by the merchant (or by bad guys who hack into the merchant’s systems). This is combined with another neat technology called point-to-point encryption (P2PE); the data is securely encrypted in the card reader and can only be decrypted by the processor. The merchant does not have the encryption keys. The combination of these two technologies, enabled by this relatively inexpensive payment terminal device which integrates with the POS or PMS application, effectively removes the sensitive (and sellable) credit card data from the merchant’s environment.  As I said in a previous article, if there’s no gold in the vault, the security around the vault is much cheaper and simpler. I did go back and look at the hotel and restaurant data breach headlines of 2017. Without doing an exhaustive study and crunching the numbers, it certainly seems that there were fewer big reported incidents in 2017. One of the largest involved Sabre, a major third-party hotel reservation service provider. Several media outlets latched on – unfairly, in my humble opinion – to the brand names of some of Sabre’s more recognizable customers, such as Trump Hotels and Hard Rock Hotels. One headline stated, “Trump Hotels Experience Third Data Breach in As Many Years.” Technically true, but the data breach occurred with Sabre, not with Trump Hotels or any of the other cited Sabre customers. I’m not letting Sabre off the hook here, but the positive takeaway for hotel and restaurant operators is that this was NOT yet another POS system breach. And the biggest hotel breach reported in 2017 – IHG’s incident that impacted 1,200 hotels – also had a silver lining: IHG reported in its public statements that its payment data tokenization project had prevented the breach in hotels where deployed, and actually stopped the breach in some hotels when deployed. Most of the other breach reports of 2017 were woefully lacking in technical details on which systems were compromised and how they were compromised. However, it’s fairly safe to say that most, if not all, of those compromises probably involved POS or PMS payment systems that did not yet have tokenization implemented. Operators that made the investment to implement tokenization and P2PE are starting 2018 comfortably out of the headlines. Happy New Year, indeed!
Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting

Recent headlines, from Hospitality Upgrade


- Choice Hotels to Acquire WoodSpring Suites Brand and Franchise Business for $231 Million
- Penn National Gaming to Acquire Pinnacle Entertainment in Transaction Valued at Approximately $2.8 Billion
Choice Hotels to Acquire WoodSpring Suites Brand and Franchise Business for $231 Million
Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH), one of the world's largest hotel companies, announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the brand and franchise business of WoodSpring SuitesSM from WoodSpring Hotels Holdings LLC, a portfolio company of Lindsay Goldberg, for approximately $231 million, subject to customary adjustments. The acquisition will add nearly 240 extended-stay hotels in 35 states to the Choice Hotels portfolio, creating an extended-stay portfolio of more than 350 properties with existing brands, MainStay Suites® and Suburban Extended Stay®.
Penn National Gaming to Acquire Pinnacle Entertainment in Transaction Valued at Approximately $2.8 Billion
Penn National Gaming, Inc., and Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Penn National will acquire Pinnacle in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $2.8 billion. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second half of 2018. Pinnacle owns and operates 16 gaming and entertainment facilities in 11 jurisdictions across the United States. Following the acquisition of Pinnacle and the planned divestiture of four of its properties to Boyd Gaming Corporation, Penn National will have significantly greater operational and geographic diversity and operate a combined 41 properties in 20 jurisdictions throughout North America.
http://www.pngaming.com, http://www.pnkmail.com, http://www.boydgaming.com


- Kerry Hirschy to Retire from dormakaba USA Inc After a Successful 31-Year Career
- Implementations Director Rafael Lozada Joins ALICE to Help Lead Next Stage of Company Growth
- BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, Appoints Jay Rocha Vice President of Operations
- Dream Hotel Group Appoints Ariel Freeman Sanett as Vice President of Development
- Extended Stay America’s CFO Jonathan Halkyard Promoted to Succeed Gerry Lopez as CEO
- Loews Hotels & Co Appoints Elizabeth Norberg as Chief Human Resources Officer
- Louis T Collection Appoints Mikael Svensson as Senior Vice President
- Montage International Appoints Vice President, Acquisitions and Development
- RLJ Lodging Trust Names Ryan Meliker Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Investor Relations
- Arash Azarbarzin Appointed President of SH Group
- Waterford Hotel Group Appoints Michael Heaton as President
- Zaplox Reinforces and Expands Management Team with Newly Appointed Chief Technical Officer and Chief Marketing Officer

For more information on People on the Move for 01/12/18


- Osage Casinos to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience and Optimize Operational Efficiency with Agilysys Solutions at New Hotel
- Soboba Casino Resort to Implement Agilysys Hospitality Management Solutions to Improve Operational Efficiency and Deliver Better Customer Experiences
- StayNTouch Partners With First Hotels To Roll Out Its PMS Platform To 32 Hotels
- StayNTouch Announces New Webinar Series: The Best-of-Breed Power of a Cloud PMS Ecosystem

For more information on Guest Management Systems for 01/12/18


- IBC Hospitality Technologies Taps Top Advisors to Direct its Technology and Strategy in 2018
- Bin Majid Hotels & Resorts Enters Distribution Agreement with SiteMinder
- Modus Hotels Selects Vertical Booking CRS for Enterprise-level Hotel Distribution Across its Entire Portfolio

For more information on Reservations for 01/12/18


- Lake Lawn Resort Selects Solution Suite from Rainmaker to Increase Profitability and Outperform the Competition
- IDeaS Revenue Solutions and Springer-Miller Systems Expand Strategic Partnership
- Palladium Hotel Group Implements Duetto to Drive Revenue Strategy in Spain
- Wharf Hotels and Duetto Announce Revenue Strategy Partnership

For more information on Revenue Management for 01/12/18


- AT&T Hotel and Conference Center Enlists Guestware to Help Raise Customer Satisfaction Ratings with Focus on Guest Experience
- Knowcross and INTEREL Integrate to Offer Enhanced Operational Efficiency and Guest Experience
- Caesars Entertainment Las Vegas Resorts Elevates Customer Service with Ivy Personalized Virtual Concierge Service
- KEYPR Announces Major Platform Release
- Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Selects KEYPR as Exclusive Guest Experience Technology Partner

For more information on Personalization/Guest Experience for 01/12/18


- Aloft Corpus Christie by Starwood Specifies Teledex E Series Micro-Footprint Hotel Phones
Aloft Corpus Christie by Starwood Specifies Teledex E Series Micro-Footprint Hotel Phones
Aloft Corpus Christie has purchased 200 Teledex E Series hotel phones through Cetis channel partner Active Telephones. Active Telephones is a leader in hospitality communication solutions, including complete telephone systems, and wireless high-speed internet access products. Aloft Corpus Christie features modern guestrooms and 2,000 square feet of event space, conveniently located near military bases, energy companies, and popular beaches.


- Cendyn Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Tim Sullivan Named one of Top 25 Extraordinary Minds by HSMAI
- Bridge2 Solutions Announces the Next-generation Rewards Platform, Keystone
- Lodging Interactive Integrates IBM Watson Supercomputer to Offer Social Media A.I. for Hospitality Industry
- Serenata IntraWare Voted World’s Leading Hotel CRM Technology Provider by the World Travel Awards 2017

For more information on Marketing/Management for 01/12/18


- 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge Raises the Bar on Workforce Communications with Beekeeper
- Routier Helps NYC Boutique Hotels Achieve Revenue and Loyalty Increases With the Press of A Button
- UniFocus’s Tip Pool Feature Provides Simple Solutions to Changing Federal Tip Regulations

For more information on Back Office for 01/12/18


- Atlanta Marriott Marquis Benefits from Expanded Use of Clear Sky Software’s Inventory Control Systems
Atlanta Marriott Marquis Benefits from Expanded Use of Clear Sky Software’s Inventory Control Systems
Clear Sky Software, Inc. ® announced that The Atlanta Marriott Marquis has implemented the company’s food inventory control system, Clear Sky FOOD. The Marquis has been a customer of Clear Sky for many years using the company’s Clear Sky BEVERAGE inventory software. Clear Sky FOOD is a comprehensive, perpetual inventory system that tracks and controls all food products. Functions include purchasing/ordering, receiving, electronic requisition, outlet transfers/issues/returns and physical inventory.


- citizenM Implements Conferma Virtual Card Payment System  
citizenM Implements Conferma Virtual Card Payment System
citizenM hotels is partnering with leading virtual payment fintech company, Conferma, to make bookings easier and safer for its business travelers, and has joined the fintech revolution by activating the Conferma Connect virtual card payment system for all travel agencies booking via GDS, as well as all leading OBTs. Conferma Connect is a PCI-compliant secure, automatic and electronic transmission service for virtual payments, allowing virtual card details to be sent by cardholders to the hotel by a secure email. The method involves a unique, secure card number kept and transmitted online to the hotel, eliminating the need for cardholders to have a physical card with them at check-in. Instead, when their reservation is confirmed the virtual card details are sent directly to citizenM via a Conferma Connect secure email, along with client-defined usage parameters for each booking.


- Serent Capital Invests in BirchStreet Systems, a Leader in Procure-to-Pay Business Solutions
Serent Capital Invests in BirchStreet Systems, a Leader in Procure-to-Pay Business Solutions
Serent Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on investing in high-growth technology and services businesses, has made a minority investment in BirchStreet Systems, a leading provider of cloud-based procure-to-pay automation software for customers in the hospitality, restaurant and foodservice industries. BirchStreet’s suite of solutions encompasses e-procurement, accounts payable automation, inventory management, recipe system management and capital projects. The software increases efficiency by streamlining many manual processes and creates a comprehensive, intelligent view of spending compliance. BirchStreet’s customers, which include most of the major multinational hospitality brands and many of the largest management companies, process more than $15 billion in spend across nearly 6 million purchase orders to more than 200,000 suppliers annually.


- VENZA Helps Driftwood Hospitality Management Implement Proactive Strategy to Prevent Cyber Crime and Minimize the Risk of Data Breach
- The Mark Hotel Chooses VENZA to Protect Guest Data
VENZA Helps Driftwood Hospitality Management Implement Proactive Strategy to Prevent Cyber Crime and Minimize the Risk of Data Breach
VENZA is working with Driftwood Hospitality Management, LLC, a leading hospitality management firm, to institute a cyber resilient strategy designed to protect guest and company data across 46 properties. Driftwood is a leader in providing solutions-based services for the domestic and international hotel industry, working with award-winning franchises, nationally recognized hospitality brands and major resort destinations in top markets. The company’s current portfolio includes 47 properties under its management and asset management, totaling more than 9,000 rooms in top business travel, convention markets, and resort destinations around the United States and Costa Rica.
The Mark Hotel Chooses VENZA to Protect Guest Data
VENZA is working with The Mark Hotel to improve its security posture and protect the private information of its guests. The Mark Hotel is a favorite among celebrities and foreign dignitaries and regularly hosts guests of the Met Gala, the annual fundraising ball for Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. As a first step, VENZA provided The Mark Hotel with a PCI readiness assessment to uncover any vulnerabilities within the hotel. The organization is now implementing VENZA's comprehensive data security compliance training, which consists of PCI/PII awareness training, webinars and awareness audits, as well as a prescriptive component for reinforcement and follow-up. Additionally, VENZA will provide internal network scans, quarterly vulnerability scanning and SAQ preparation.


- SALTO Hospitality Releases New AElement Fusion
- SALTO Hospitality Unveils Website Redesign
- Morse Watchmans Announces Partnership with Grinta Iberica  

For more information on Security for 01/12/18


- HFTP Releases Sample Hospitality Job Descriptions for Industry Professionals’ Use
HFTP Releases Sample Hospitality Job Descriptions for Industry Professionals’ Use
International nonprofit Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) and the HFTP Americas Research Center have compiled information into standardized descriptions for accounting and IT positions in the lodging industry, as well as descriptions for accounting positions in clubs. Sample job description templates are available now via the HFTP website as well as its hospitality-specific search engine, PineappleSearch.com®. The HFTP Hotel Finance Advisory Council and HFTP Club Advisory Council provided guidance for the development of the accounting job descriptions. A combined total of 25 job descriptions are available now with verified text for positions including, but not limited to: accounts payable/receivable manager, controller, staff accountant, director/VP of finance, internal auditor, CFO, IT director, CIO, IT security analyst and more.


- Cal Ripken Jr. Announced by Agilysys as Guest Speaker at the 2018 Inspire User Conference and Executive Summit
- HFTP Now Accepting Applications for Entrepreneur 20X at HITEC Houston 2018
- HITEC Houston Online Registration and Housing Bureau Open; Advisory Council Announced
- HSMAI Honors 2017 Top 25 Extraordinary Minds
- HSMAI Announces Robust Calendar of 2018 Events
- It All Starts with Strategy at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference
- Raman (R. P.) Rama Receives Most Valued Global Technology Professional AWard from China Hospitality Technology Alliance  
- 2018 HEDNA Conference in Austin Attracts Global Industry Leaders & Attendees

For more information on Hospitality Events for 01/12/18


- 10 Tips for 2018 Take-off
- Tech giant is rolling out new robots to replace workers in hotels, airports and supermarkets
- Hilton experiments with the hotel room of the future

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 01/12/18


And now for you-know-what…
My husband and I purchased an old home in Upstate New York from two elderly sisters. Winter was fast approaching and the year's first snow came early, so I was concerned about the house's lack of insulation.
"If those two ladies could live here all those years, so can we," my husband confidently declared.
One night the temperature plunged below zero, and we woke up to find some of the interior walls covered with frost. My husband called the sisters to ask how they had kept the house warm during the winter for so many years. After a rather brief conversation, he hung up. "For the past 30 years," he muttered, "they've gone to Florida for the winter.”

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