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Siegel Sez

February 04, 2022

Siegel Sez

February 2022: This is the month that I have been dreading. Word has slowly gotten out that it was 30 years ago when I had this idea to create a newsletter for the hotel industry to keep everyone informed on where technology is but more importantly where it was going. Thirty years to a lot of people (including me) is amazing —what a wild ride it has been.

I won’t bore you with the details of this ride, but thanks to our friends at PROVision Partners, this milestone won’t pass quietly. On March 30th at the Hyatt Regency in Frisco, Texas, we will be holding our 17th Executive Vendor Summit, which brings just about all the industry’s leading tech companies together.  In a world where vendors compete but also partner, it is an amazing event. Last year we also had six leading industry CIOs join us for an eye-opening closing session and they all want to come back - and quite a few others also want to join them. Why, might you ask? PROVision said we need to celebrate this milestone and it plans to do it at my expense.

PROVision had this idea for an old Dean Martin-style roast, and when asking our attendees what they thought of this idea it was simply nonstop laughter and many wanting to be the “roasters.” Many of the attendees are sharing their thoughts on this year’s EVS so we started recording their comments. Here is a recent one from Jeff Bzdawka, the CEO at KNOWLAND.

I can assure you that there will be many private jokes shared. We tweaked the schedule for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit so if you aren’t a vendor but want to attend the celebration on Thursday night in Frisco, we are going to have tickets available for purchase. The proceeds will go to the HFTP Scholarship fund, which is a perfect way to give back to the industry and help those looking to further their careers in the hospitality industry.

Make sure you connect with Hospitality Upgrade on our numerous social media channels as some of the videos we will share leading up to the EVS are funny. If you are a vendor and would like to join us at EVS or have any questions regarding the event, please reach out to kim@hospitalityupgrade.com immediately. The cutoff to participate is a week away. Wow, 30 years, honestly, it is an amazing feeling.

Now back to the technology at hand. One can never be sure what is up Doug Rice’s sleeve in his Definitely Doug column. I believe that eventually robots will be making a big impact in the hospitality industry and truly much progress has happened. Doug does a fantastic job defining the roles robots are playing or will play and where they simply don’t make sense. Great column and something all who are actively following changes in the industry will relate to. We thank Doug for sharing his wisdom with us.

Thanks to all who have encouraged me — there is lots more to come. I will see you at the end for this week’s you-know-what so we don’t ignore the upcoming Super Bowl. Remember, it is the year of the Tiger.


Definitely Doug

The “Cobot” Revolution

Few challenges to today’s hospitality operations are bigger than labor. Shortages have forced many hoteliers to rethink long-held beliefs about hospitality as a business where service is provided only by smiling, welcoming humans. Hoteliers are realizing that they cannot deliver a good experience without changing the mix of humans and technology. And especially during the pandemic, we have learned that many guests want less human contact.

This has led some hoteliers to rethink the potential of robots. To be sure, most hotels do not want cyborgs greeting guests, but robots can be valuable in other ways. And recruiting and retention can be easier if some of the less desirable tasks currently performed by humans can be transferred to robots.

Mobile robots can play a role in addressing this issue. It is not about staffing the front desk with talking robots. While such products exist, the technology as still early stage, not capable enough to provide a satisfactory experience to most hotel guests. The Henn na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan opened in 2015 with a full staff of 243 robots, but ended up “firing” half of them less than four years later due to complaints from both guests and human staff.

The growth area for robotics in hotels today is where mobile robots serve as an extension of human staff. In hospitality, this means taking menial tasks that have little or no impact on the guest experience and giving them to a robot that works alongside (not instead of) humans. Robots never complain, call in sick, or deviate from standard operating procedures. Used properly, they can be excellent employees, wherever a human touch isn’t necessary or where humans don’t like the work. The term “cobot” has been coined to describe a robot that works in collaboration with a human. In the short to medium term, most robotic applications within hotels will fall in this category.

The technology for autonomous mobile robots has advanced remarkably, thanks to massive investments in self-driving cars by the likes of Tesla, Ford, Google, and Uber. The benefits have spilled over into autonomous service robots, yielding better functionality and lower cost. To be sure, these robots are still not cheap, with unit costs typically in the (low) tens of thousands of dollars. And a robot that might last five years can be similar in cost to paying an unskilled human for just one (although this isn’t a valid comparison, for reasons discussed below). Unlike humans, robots can work 24 hours a day (as long as they get a little charging time), 365 days a year. They don’t incur payroll taxes or fringe benefit costs, and they can perform tasks consistently to quality standards.


Click here to read more of Doug’s column on The “Cobot” Revolution


Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas
The “Cobot” Revolution


- Virdee Is Named One of Austin's '22 Start-Ups to Watch in 2022'
Virdee, a SaaS company delivering digital check-in and virtual concierge services to the hospitality and commercial real estate industries, was named one of Austin’s 22 hottest start-up companies to watch by Built in Austin, a platform connecting innovators, employers and investors in the hot Austin, Texas, tech market.

- Cendyn and Pegasus Complete Merger
Cendyn and Pegasus closed their previously announced merger agreement, bringing two industry leaders together as one company. This merger provides hoteliers with a transformative platform to maximize the direct-booking channel, enhancing the guest experience end-to-end.


- The Copenhagen Admiral Hotel Checks in with Infor
Infor, an industry cloud company, announced that the 366-room Copenhagen Admiral Hotel has selected Infor Hospitality Management Solution (HMS) and Infor EzRMS Revenue Management System (RMS).  Infor HMS went live in Q4 2021 and will be followed by Infor EzRMS in 2022, replacing a legacy property management system (PMS) that restricted growth and limited the guest experience.

- Leisure Hotels & Resorts Selects Stayntouch to Deploy Its Flexible Cloud-Native PMS Across 4 Upscale Independent Properties
Stayntouch, a global leader in guest-centric cloud hotel property management systems (PMS) and contactless technology, today announced a partnership with Leisure Hotels & Resorts, a leading comprehensive hospitality management company that specializes in upscale destination markets and unique independent brands.


- Travelers Push Tripadvisor Past 1 Billion Reviews & Opinions!
Millions of travelers and diners rely on the resource to help inform them on where to stay, what to eat, what to do and how to make the most of their trips — all based on guidance from a community of contributors who have been there, done that before.


- MOB HOTEL Selects IDeaS for Pricing, Forecasting and Reporting Across its Growing Portfolio
IDeaS, a SAS company, a world leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today that MOB HOTEL will implement IDeaS Pricing System across its growing portfolio of eco-friendly, socially-minded properties in France and the United States.


- Buenos Aires' Luxury Hotel Madero to Transform Guest Experience with the INTELITY Platform
INTELITY®, provider of hospitality’s broadest guest experience and staff management platform, announced today a new deal with Hotel Madero in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The modern hotel will implement the entire INTELITY platform, including a branded mobile app, mobile check-in, mobile key, smart-room tablets, and GEMS®, INTELITY’s staff-facing suite of tools.


- How Premier Resorts & Management Leverages STS Cloud to Transform Their Sales Process, Manage Client Relationships, and Drive Productivity Across Properties
Premier Resorts & Management, the full-service hotel operating company known for delivering superior financial returns and increasing asset value to owners and investors in the southeast, has moved their Daytona hotels over to the STS Cloud sales and catering platform. Using the STS Cloud platform, Premier sales teams can easily capture leads, send digital proposals, update the CRM, manage bookings, merge contacts, manage workflows, and so much more.

- Mills James’ Secret to Meeting and Event Success Is Service
Exceptional pre-production sales and service is enabling this boutique hospitality AV group — named ‘Best AV Provider’ in Ohio — to bring revenue-generating differentiation to hotels.


- Onyx CenterSource Announces Launch of Tax Services Solution
Onyx CenterSource, a leading global provider of B2B payments and business intelligence to the hospitality industry, today announced the launch of Tax Services, designed to empower hotels with partner information needed to generate business-critical tax invoicing documentation.


- FIU’s SHTM Addresses Labor Issues with World’s First Bartender Powered by Artificial Intelligence
Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management continues to address pandemic-imposed challenges like labor shortages by introducing its latest teaching tool – Cecilia.ai, the world's first robotic, interactive bartender that offers the potential of round-the-clock service.

- Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Moves Forward with Infrasys Point-of-Sale Across Portfolio and Installs Infrasys in Flagship Properties
Shiji has announced today that Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has completed successful implementations at multiple properties, which then led to the installations at flagship properties in London and Hong Kong.

- The Flying Lark Selects Suite of Agilysys Point of Sale Management Solutions
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation SaaS and on-premise hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that The Flying Lark has selected Agilysys cloud-native solutions for its new gaming, entertainment and dining destination in Grants Pass, OR including its award-winning InfoGenesis POS, IG Flex for mobile POS, IG OnDemand for guest self-service F&B ordering and payment, Agilysys Eatec for inventory and procurement management, and Agilysys Seat for venue reservations.


- Verdant Thermostats Deliver Seamless Compatibility with LG VRF Systems
Verdant is proud to announce a new collaboration with LG Electronics, U.S.A.’s Air Conditioning Technologies that allows for seamless integration of Verdant’s energy management thermostats with the LG Multi V™ VRF series product line available in the United States.

- EB Hotel Miami Airport Leveraging GuestHub to Track Shuttle Service
Leveraging its web-based guest services app, GuestHub, the EB Hotel Miami Airport is finding its airport shuttle service to be a deciding factor for guests considering whether to book again in the future. Via the app, the hotel is providing custom shuttle tracking and real-time location and estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) for each stop or pickup location, thereby eliminating traveler anxiety, and assuring guests that they will soon be en route to the hotel.


- UniFocus Donates Labor Management Technology to Cornell University as Educational Tool to Prepare Future Hospitality Leaders for Industry Success
Top ranked hospitality school program leverages industry-leading workforce management tools to demonstrate how advanced AI and automation can ensure high service quality, employee loyalty and appropriately staffed operations.

- Kennedy Training Network Announces Online (Self-Study) Version of Reservations Sales QUEST
KTN, the lodging industry’s best source for training in the topic areas of reservations sales, hospitality and guest service excellence, and hotel sales team training, announced the first in a series of online, (self-study) versions of its menu of training programs.

- Beekeeper Partners with EduMe to Bring Digital Training Tools to Frontline Workers in One Seamless Platform
Beekeeper, the leading mobile workforce collaboration platform designed specifically for frontline workers, today announced a full-scale integration with EduMe, the market-leading mobile-based training platform for the deskless workforce, to improve organizational productivity and boost employee retention.


- HFTP and HSMAI Renew Strategic Alliance
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) have renewed their commitment to collaborate on industry advancing initiatives. The two leading-associations have long worked together via co-located events, knowledge-sharing, research and recognition of industry leaders. This recent partner agreement continues this tie through 2024.


- Stayntouch, NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality Graduate Students, Release 2022 Hotelier Technology Sentiment Report
Stayntouch, a global leader in guest-centric hotel property management systems (PMS) and contactless technology, today released the 2022 Hotelier Technology Sentiment Report in partnership with graduate students at NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Center of Hospitality. The report captures comprehensive insights and sentiments from over 500 hoteliers.


- Stephen Colbert Monologue – The Great Resignation and Hotel Robotics (video)
- Could Robots Breathe New “Life” Into the Tourism Industry?
- Robot Vacuum Cleaner Escapes from Cambridge Travelodge
- 10 Hotels That Have Robot Employees

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 2/4/2022

And now for the You-Know-What...

A good buddy of mine has 2 Super Bowl tickets, 40 yard line box seats! He paid $2,500 each but he didn't realize last year when he bought them, it was going to be on the same day as his wedding. Probably because of the extra game this year.   
If you’re interested, he’s looking for someone to take his place...It's at Calvary church in San Clemente at 3pm. Her  name is Nicole, she's 5'4", about 115 lbs, good cook too. She'll be in the white dress.

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday! 


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