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Siegel Sez

January 24, 2020

Siegel Sez

The picture above made me nervous. What was Hospitality Upgrade’s Liz Vogan doing in the kitchen at the annual HSMAI dinner for those who were part of the private tour of CES? Not to worry, Liz still found time to create a video for us. It is nearly impossible to try and explain or share everything that we experienced at CES – from phones that become tablets to how Delta Airlines is incorporating technology to make the travel experience much better. But take a few minutes and watch the CES video by clicking here. You might feel like you were at CES. Yes, there are a few surprises in it. 

It is a strange week for events next week. It must be the allure of southern California’s warm weather. ALIS is again in Los Angeles and HEDNA is also having its conference in LA which I would have loved to attend, but it is difficult being in two places at one time. I will be in San Diego at the Oracle Hospitality Connect, the event where Oracle brings together hoteliers, partners and most of its execs to meet with the industry. There have been many changes at Oracle with the big one bringing Alex Alt in to lead the hospitality division. I will be meeting with Alex on Wednesday morning to see what his plans are for the future. It should be interesting. San Diego in January isn’t the worst place to be anyway.
I love this time of year. We are holding our 16th Executive Vendor Summit in Nashville in March and I have been on the phone almost nonstop hearing updates and plans for the year from those who provide technology solutions. I have had multiple conversations with CIOs who are presenting for our annual CIO session to share what they will be doing moving into 2020. These are all fun conversations. I thank them for sharing their plans for the year. A special thanks to HFTP for partnering with us again this year, along with HTNG for its willingness to participate in the Executive Vendor Summit. It is a busy time of the year for us, and it is hard to believe it was just weeks ago when everybody seemed to be enjoying the holidays and the relaxation of the end of year. If you are a technology provider to the hospitality industry and have not been invited to EVS Nashville, please contact Anne Boon quickly at anne@hospitalityupgrade.com or (678) 802-5304. We have a great program lined up and some fun and unique events planned. Everyone who was there last year has already said they plan on coming back. The industry succeeds when there are great partners and it is amazing how many partnerships and working relationships coming out of the Executive Vendor Summit. I can’t wait.
Here now is the real reason we are there, the latest technology happenings in the industry. Doug Rice kicks it off as he shares what he has learned from those in the early stages of their journey to become serious solutions for the hotel industry with a focus on mobile solutions. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what and will take full responsibility for it. I thought it was funny.

Definitely Doug

The Movable Feast
The ubiquity of mobile devices for both guests and staff, together with continual improvements in location technologies, has created new possibilities for serving guests and upselling. Nowhere is this more evident than in food and beverage. For many hotels, F&B is a low-profit or loss-leader product that could be moved to profit if just a few more sales opportunities can be found.
In bygone times, if a guest was hungry, her choices were usually just two: go to the restaurant or order room service. At a resort, there might be a third option to sit poolside and hope a waitperson might eventually pass by. In the lobby, a meeting room, or a non-resort pool, or using resort facilities like a spa or golf course or beach, she was often out of luck. And even in a restaurant, it could be challenging to get a waitperson’s attention when there’s a problem with her order, or even just to get the check.
Technology is addressing these issues, creating more choice and better service. Several innovative products I’ll review this week address different aspects for increasing F&B revenue, streamlining operations, and optimizing guest service. Each product uses some combination of mobile devices and/or location awareness technologies.
Reva Anywhere from Reva Hospitality is a full-fledged progressive web application with lots of functionality for ordering F&B, booking activities, and even incorporating delivery from local restaurants (for which the hotel can earn a commission). While there are quite a few vendors offering some combination of these services, what’s different is that Reva Anywhere can locate the guest precisely indoors or out – in the hotel, on the beach or golf course, or at a crowded cocktail reception. This means a guest can place an order from any location where the hotel is prepared to deliver it. The product uses standard locationing technologies (mobile phone outdoor location services, and Wi-Fi indoors) to get an approximate fix. The unusual part is that once the server and guest are within about 100 feet of each other, it switches to an inaudible acoustic communication between the server’s and guest’s devices, and shows the server a directional pointer to guide them to the guest’s device (and presumably the guest!) – within about three feet. Additionally, the app can support all common traditional and mobile payment methods, so it isn’t limited to in-house guests. Reva Anywhere is optimized for integration with existing systems but can also operate as part of a standalone suite of other Reva products.
Curant is a conceptually similar product, although it works only outdoors. Like Reva, it is designed to sell more than just food and beverage, and it is further intended to be used not only on property, but pre-arrival (where F&B may be less relevant but where spa, golf, and other activities may be). Curant’s objective is to make it easy for guests to order from their mobile phone anything the hotel wants to sell, easily and whenever or wherever they want. A guest on the beach who wants a cold drink and a tube of sunscreen can order it, with the drink order be routed to the bar and a server for delivery, while the sunscreen order is sent to the gift shop or beach activities hut.
A lower-tech variation is offered by Text4Service. It starts with a QR-code scan from a placard, which could be in a guest room, lobby area, meeting room, cabana, bar, or even a restaurant. Think something like “Hungry? Scan me!” in a public space, or “Scan to Order Now” at a bar or restaurant. Each QR code has a fixed location, so when the guest places an order, the kitchen gets both the order and the delivery location. The software also supports app calling and text messaging for communicating with the waitstaff. This could be a good standalone solution for room service, but might be ideal for public spaces where the QR placards can be permanently affixed. It could effectively convert the hotel lobby to an F&B opportunity in many three and four star hotels that offer room service or have a kitchen. Many such hotels are already willing to deliver a food order to the lobby or meeting room, but only if a guest asks – which most guests won’t do unless it’s offered. Limitations might apply in some situations, such as if the QR-code placards are movable and could be shuffled from table to table (or where the tables themselves might get moved). Further, some higher-end hotels might object to permanently attaching the placards to furniture or fixed structures. It’s also a standalone application (orders are delivered to the kitchen via a dedicated iPad or printer), so it would work best in low to moderate volume situations where integration with the Point of Sale system isn’t critical.
RoomOrders addresses the narrower issue of room service orders, enabling a guest to see the menu (with photos) and place orders from his mobile phone. A QR code in the room takes him to the menu. Room service in most hotels is very poorly merchandised – it is, unfortunately, still dominated by paper menus that may have food stains from prior guests, and no photos. At best, a digital room service menu with photos might exist, but is hidden behind a complex navigation menu on an in-room tablet or TV that the guest may not be willing to wade through. This is the problem that is RoomOrders’ core focus. The base product is free to implement, with a 5-10% commission on orders; a monthly fee applies for various marketing and analytical enhancements.
Dinggly is a cloud application that connects mobile push-button devices to staff mobile devices (notably wearables). In its simplest application, a restaurant can place a button device on each table, enabling the diner to summon staff whenever needed. Similarly, it could be placed in a meeting room to summon convention services staff, on tables in public spaces to request F&B outside of restaurants, or on a room service tray or trolley to request pickup. The appropriate hotel or restaurant staff receive alerts on mobile devices, such as a smart watch or dedicated wrist pagers, and they know which table or room needs support. The buttons can be customized, as simple as one button to request service, or for specific purposes such as to request the check or rate the service. Staff alerts can be routed to the appropriate person or group, and “picked up” by any group member so that others know the request is being addressed and won’t duplicate effort. The same infrastructure can be used to alert staff when an order is ready for pickup.
Each of these technologies, depending how it’s deployed, can be interesting in three ways: as an enabler of additional revenue, as a simplifier of operations, and as an opportunity to improve guest perceptions of service. F&B is, in my mind, a vastly undermarketed opportunity in most hotels, and it’s great to see some real innovation trying to address that problem!
Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/


- Agilysys Announces Inspire 2020 User Conference
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced its Inspire user conference to be held Feb. 4-7, 2020 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

 - Sabre Forges 10-Year Partnership with Google to Build the Future of Travel
Google Cloud announced it has joined forces with Sabre Corporation — a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry—to help digitally transform the traveler's experience, and co-create the future of travel.

- SiteMinder Breaks Through Billion-Dollar Valuation, Raises New Capital to Fuel Global Growth
SiteMinder, a global market leader in hotel guest acquisition software, has completed a capital raise from international and Australian investors of the highest quality. The raise was led by equity funds managed by BlackRock. Other investors include AustralianSuper; Ellerston, through the Ellerston JAADE Private Assets Fund; and Pendal Group. The process was finalized in January 2020 and values SiteMinder at approximately AU$1.1 billion.


- Duetto’s David Woolenberg Promoted to CEO
- Pegasus Appoints Keno Helmi as Chief Commercial Officer
- GuestTek Appoints William Ng as Director of Sales, APAC
- Cendyn Appoints New Sales Leadership for EMEA & Americas


For more information on People On The Move for 1/24/2020


- Sabre Announces Plans with Accor to Create the First Unified Technology Platform for the Global Hospitality Industry
- RoomKeyPMS Celebrates Milestone 20-Year Anniversary
- The Future of Hotel PMS - Maestro 2020 Development Roadmap
- SkyWire and protel Announce Partnership Focused on Guest Experience


For more information on Guest Management Systems for 1/24/2020


- Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Partners with MCOMS
Parklane, a Luxury Collection Resort and Spa has partnered with MCOMS to install HOTstream hospitality platform in all its 274 rooms and suites.


- Milestone Inc's Head of Hospitality Recognized as Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality for 2019
- Fuel Promotes Hotel Digital Marketing Innovation as Sponsor of 2020 HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference
- HospitalitySoft 365 Introduces Industry’s First All-In-One CRM: Hospitality Suite CRM
- Lodging Interactive Establishes Gen Z Think-Tank with Rutgers University Students
- Sojern's Digital Marketing Platform Built to Reduce Reliance on OTAs for Hotels of All Sizes, Now Available as a Subscription


For more information on Marketing for 1/24/2020


- FOUND Hotels Partners with HIS to Implement Advanced Wi-Fi Network Capable of Catering to Latest Online Guest Needs
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been selected by FOUND Hotels to provide advanced Wi-Fi network functionality for its two recently opened locations in Chicago and San Francisco.

- Pechanga Resort Casino Drives Automation and Visibility with Infor CloudSuite
Infor, a global leader in business cloud software specialized by industry, today announced that Pechanga Resort Casino entered into an agreement with Infinium Software, Inc., an Infor company, expanding their long-term technology partnership.


- The Current Hotel Selects Agilysys InfoGenesis POS to Provide a Superior Guest Experience
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that The Current Hotel, a new Autograph Collection property in Tampa, Fla., has selected Agilysys InfoGenesis point of sale to help deliver a world-class guest experience and maximize operational efficiency in its food and beverage operations.


- The Guestbook CEO James Gancos Chosen to Join Expert Panel at HSMAI Marketing Strategy Conference
The Guestbook, the world’s largest rewards program for independent and boutique hotels, announced that the company’s CEO and founder, James Gancos was selected by Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) to participate in a panel of hotel industry thought leaders at its 2020 Marketing Strategy Conference, taking place next week in New York.

- Milestone Wins Big at Adrian Awards With Two Golds and Three Silvers
Milestone announced today it won a total of 8 prestigious Adrian awards including two highly coveted gold awards, three silvers, and three bronzes. The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) honored Milestone Inc. for innovation in digital marketing and for its digital marketing platforms that drove significant ROI for its customers.

Shift4 Payments Announces Certification with Innowi's Handheld POS
Shift4 Payments, a leader in integrated payment processing solutions, announced they have completed certification with Innowi's ChecOut M mobile point of sale (mPOS).


- VENZA Now Offers IT Security Managed Services
VENZA now offers IT Security Managed Services at its new Security Operations Center at three West Garden Street in downtown Pensacola, Fla. With an official ribbon-cutting event scheduled for February, the MSP division employs a full-time staff both locally as well as in remote locations securing the hospitality industry 24/7/365.

- TraknProtect Announces New Partnership with Intello Technologies
TraknProtect, a pioneer of real-time location-based technology purpose-built for the hotel industry, has announced a new partnership with Montreal-based Intello Technologies, a leading guest internet and hospitality solutions provider in Canada.

- ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions Wins Top Spot for Best Mobile Key Solution
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions has been named the winner of Mobile Key & Keyless Entry for the 2020 HotelTechAwards. In winning the Mobile Key & Keyless Entry category, ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions competed against the world's leading digital key providers and was able to stand apart thanks to the reputation of its Mobile Access platform in providing unparalleled guest satisfaction, reliability and efficiency.


- HSMAI Adrian Awards Recognize Future-Forward Campaigns in Travel Marketing
- HSMAI 2020 ROC Regional Conferences Set in 5 Diverse Cities Around the Globe
- HSMAI Americas Releases an Ambitious 2020 Calendar of Events
- Hotel Industry Spotlights Superstars at Annual Fundraiser
- AHLA Announces 2020 Officers, Board, Executive Committee Amid Record Membership
- Hotel Industry Foundation Announces 2020 Board of Trustees
- HSMAI Adrian Awards to Recognize the Best in Travel Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations


For more information on Hospitality Events and Association News for 1/24/2020


- Total U.S. Booking Window and Average Length of Stay Continue to Compress - November 2019
"Our November 2019 Market Kalibration report showcases several underappreciated bright spots in the US hotel industry, along with a few key areas where additional optimization by operators, CVBs, and asset management could yield enhancements in profitability and returns," said Mark Lomanno, partner and senior advisor at Kalibri Labs.


- Are Hotels Missing Out as Instant Booking for Meetings Grows?
- Floating Luxury Hotels Coming to Qatar for FIFA World Cup 2022
- You Haven’t Been Yourself Lately: Digital Identity Trends 2020
- 7 Technologies Transforming the Restaurant Industry


For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 1/24/2020


And now for you-know-what.… 

A man walked into a bar on a slow night and sat down. After a few minutes, the bartender asked him if he wanted a drink. He replied, "No thanks. I don't drink. I tried it once but I didn't like it." 

So the bartender said, "Well, would you like a cigarette?" 

But the man said, "No thanks. I don't smoke. I tried it once but I didn't like it." 

The bartender asked him if he'd like to play a game of pool, and again the man said, "No thanks. I don't like pool. I tried it once but I didn't like it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be here at all, but I'm waiting for my son." 

The bartender said, "Let me guess, your only son?”

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