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Siegel Sez

February 09, 2018

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

It has been an interesting two weeks that started at the Infor Hospitality Customer Forum in Orlando where I co-led a session with Michael Schubach on the History of Technology that was extremely well received. Then it was off to Las Vegas to the very well attended Agilysys Users Group, Inspire. While at Inspire I heard Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles speak about leadership. Ripken Jr. set a record that will probably never be broken – a 16-year streak and 2,632 consecutive games, surpassing Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games that stood for 56 years. He focused on commitments to success and of course when he opened it up to the floor all the questions were about baseball. It was a great session and a very good event this year. I love users’ groups since many of the conversations are about the technology in use and how users see the future, which can be very different than the vendors’ perspective. I thank both companies for inviting me to their great users’ conferences.
After Agilysys I went to the HFTP Las Vegas chapter meeting. The LV chapter is led by Dennis Montellano, the CEO of up and coming POS provider SkyWire, that seems to be growing pretty quickly as it branches out beyond the hotel/casino industry. Dennis gave me a few minutes to address the crowd (which he might have regretted afterwards) and it was fun. The chapter meetings always have great speakers and this time it was FBI Computer Scientist Michael Hill, the lead investigator for the Oct. 1 Las Vegas Shooting and an accomplished cyber security, cyber investigations and information technology professional with an extensive career spanning nearly 30 years. Security in all forms is a big issue in the Las Vegas market and Hill shared what many of the hotels and casinos are going to implement. What a great meeting, with a great crowd, and it was very informative. I’m grateful to have been a part of the program and I thank those who attended for putting up with me.                
Less than three weeks now to the Hospitality Upgrade Executive Vendor Summit (www.hospitalityupgrade.com/vendorsummit). This is the 14th EVS and a great crowd is joining us in West Hollywood. We are very proud of the unique program we have this year. The event is unique with so many execs from the vendor community getting together, which gives us great leverage on the non-traditional program. Of course, we need to have fun also so why not go whale watching and to dinner at Warner Brothers Studio with our own special tour? You know it will be fun! If you are a vendor for the industry and you have not been invited, please contact Anne Boon immediately at anne@hospitalityupgrade.com. I mean immediately since rooms will be gone in hours. We thank HFTP and Ponterra Business Advisors for their support. John Rovani from Ponterra has done many mergers and acquisitions among the vendor community over the years and is always popular with this EVS crowd. For good reason! Plus he is based in Puerto Rico and was there when the hurricane hit. He has some amazing stories to share.
There is a great deal going on in the industry and it is only going to get busier as event season kicks into high gear next month. Hospitality Upgrade covers just about all of them through our many channels – online, in print, digitally, social and through our e-newsletters. Make sure your subscription is up to date to receive all this coverage as it happens. Go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe.
Here now is the real reason we are here with our look back at the industry technology happenings over the last two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. 



by: Ron Hardin

In the immortal words of Sherriff Bart in Blazing Saddles, “I likes to keep my audience riveted.” I do, too. So, let’s talk about... the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry, 11th Edition.  (Insert sounds of crickets chirping, people snoring or stampeding for the exits.)
No, really, I know it’s old news, but it’s important. As I’m frequently reminded by hotel owners, hotels exist to make money for said owners. The financial results of a hotel operation generate income (hopefully), which in turn factors into the value of the asset. Financial reports allow owners, investors, lenders, operators and analysts to evaluate financial performance. And the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI) provides guidelines for standardization that help make financial reports more accurate, more illustrative of the actual financial performance, more useful as management tools, and more comparable between multiple properties. The 11th edition, released in 2014 and in effect since January 1, 2015, sought to improve on those goals with a battery of changes. According to an overview of the 11th edition written by Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, executive director and HFTP fellow at the HFTP Americas Research Center, there is no legal requirement for operators to follow USALI guidelines, but many management agreements dictate adherence to “current” USALI. Some of the biggest changes in the 11th edition were directly related to technology and how the costs for systems and telecommunications were booked and reported. It eliminated the “telephone department,” relegating the dwindling guest revenue (and any variable usage expenses linked to that revenue) to minor operating departments. More significantly, it created a new “undistributed” information and telecommunications systems department for the consolidation of all system-related technology expenses.
If you completely spaced on the 11th edition, then you need to bite the bullet and make the change. It is not easy and will make year-over-year comparisons a nightmare the first year, but that is a small price to pay to be in financial reporting alignment with the rest of the industry. It definitely makes the financial reporting of technology expenses cleaner, and harder to fudge, hide or obfuscate. In the pre-11th edition world (to which some operators are still clinging), technology expenses could be allocated to operating departments using questionable methodology, and major systems expenses could be buried in “maintenance contracts” in the property operations and maintenance department.
If you HAVE made the change, as I’m sure most of you have, has it been done completely and correctly? The devil, after all, does reside among the details. One of the problems I constantly find when I review client operating statements is that they still are not booking the fixed monthly recurring expenses for voice and internet services to the information and telecom systems (I&TS) department. The 11th edition stipulates that the only voice and data expenses charged to the telephone lines in minor operating departments are those variable usage charges that can be directly linked to a guest charge. Even variable expenses for free guest services, like free local phone calls, are supposed to go to the I&TS department, not telephone cost of sales. And if your hotel happens to be run by one of the big brands? Well, let’s just say that some brands are competing to see who can come up with the most inventive interpretation of the 11th edition – particularly as it relates to how brand and corporate technology fees and cost allocations are booked and reported. The 11th edition calls for a line item in the I&TS department called “corporate office reimbursables”; that’s the first one to go as it’s way too self explanatory. And if the brand provides the property management system (PMS), that cost should be charged in I&TS to “rooms systems expense,” not “guest engagement.” It’s disingenuous to categorize the PMS expense as a guest engagement expense, but – to their credit – the charge on the monthly brand fee billing says, “guest engagement.” At least it’s easy to match the charge to the GL line item – just not quite as easy to tell what it’s actually for. So, go to the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute website, buy a copy of USALI, 11th edition, and have some fun with accounting for a change.
Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting

Recent headlines, from Hospitality Upgrade


- Shift4 Payments Announces Acquisition and Integration of Three Leading Point-of-sale Brands
- Choice Hotels Completes Acquisition of WoodSpring Suites Brand and Franchise Business
- Knowland Acquires Competitive Marketing Exchange (CMX)

For more information on Mergers and Acquisitions for 02/09/18


- Choice Hotels Promotes Brian Kirkland to Chief Technology Officer
- Choice Hotels Appoints Chad Fletcher as Vice President of Global Sales
- FCS Expands Further by Establishing Presence in the Middle East & Africa
- Fourth Announces Opening of New York City Office
- Hard Rock International Appoints Jeffrey Hook Executive Vice President of Development and Marketing
- Andrew Jordan Named Chief Marketing Officer of Interstate Hotels & Resorts
- NH Hotel Group Names Laia Lahoz as Group’s Chief Assets and Development Officer and Luis Arsuaga as Senior Vice-President of Development
- Travel Innovator Sweet Inn Appoints Former Google Exec Eitan Reisel as New Chief Revenue Officer
- Elke Reichart becomes TUI Group’s Chief Digital Officer
- UniFocus Appoints New Sales and Marketing Leadership
- Steve Wynn Steps Down as Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts

For more information on People on the Move for 02/09/18


- Agilysys Announces Strategic Partnerships with Both Xuvi and OfferCraft
- Agilysys’ Lodging Management System® Adds Mobile Housekeeping to Help Customers Increase Productivity and Maximize Revenue, and Continues to Offer Increased Payment Security with Support for Elavon Payment Gateway Services
- Groundbreaking rGuest Stay PMS Solution Adds Facial Recognition for More Efficient Guest Service
- Maestro Multi-property PMS and Complete Module Integration Strengthens Preference-based Marketing, Enhances Guest Experience, Drives Overall Efficiency
- WebRezPro PMS Integrates TTI Scan2PMS ID Scanning Solution

For more information on Guest Management Systems for 02/09/18


- Sabre Empowers the Travel Industry to Reimagine Lodging with New Aggregator Content
- Airbnb Launches Global Hotel Technology Partnership to Support Boutique Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts
- SiteMinder Unveils the Top 15 Revenue-generating Booking Channels of 2017 for Hotels in the USA and Canada
- Vertical Booking Adds More Than 1m000 New Hotels in 2017
- eRevMax Completes Two-way Integration with Consolid Argentina
- Kaligo Solutions and TudoAzul Launch New Instant Redemption Platform for Hotel Stays

For more information on Reservations for 02/09/18


- Destination Hotel in South Africa Chooses IDeaS for Dynamic Pricing Capabilities
- The Rainmaker Group Ends 2017 with Record-Breaking Growth
Destination Hotel in South Africa Chooses IDeaS for Dynamic Pricing Capabilities
IDeaS Revenue Solutions, a leading provider of revenue management software solutions and advisory services, announced a partnership with one of South Africa's best-known destination hotels, the Spier hotel, which has selected flagship IDeaS Revenue Management System (IDeaS RMS) to streamline its business. Powered by advanced analytics and with nearly three decades of innovation in hospitality technology, IDeaS' solutions equip clients with a clear view of their data through pricing, forecasting and optimization strategies, giving them greater control over their business performance.
The Rainmaker Group Ends 2017 with Record-Breaking Growth
The Rainmaker Group (Rainmaker), a leading provider of cloud-based hospitality revenue and profit optimization software, announced that the company ended 2017 with record-breaking performance and growth. Year-over-year, Rainmaker experienced an astounding 64 percent increase in hospitality property deployments. The revintel® business intelligence solution led the way, with an almost 78 percent increase in property deployments.


- Oregon’s Newest Beachfront Hotel Opens with Intelity
- Cetis Announces VoIP Phones Interoperable with BroadSoft
- San Diego Convention Center Welcomes ON Site as its Preferred Audio Visual Provider  

For more information on Guest Services for 02/09/18


- Hotel Beacon Taps Guestware for Fast Guest Response, Personalized Property Experience
Hotel Beacon Taps Guestware for Fast Guest Response, Personalized Property Experience
Hotel Beacon, a 278-room Upper West Side property, installed Guestware to seamlessly connect guests with hotel team members to improve the guest experience. The result today is higher TripAdvisor scores and a new ranking in the top 60 best NYC hotels. Guestware’s automated rapid response system streamlines the property’s operations and improves the guest experience.  The Hotel Beacon replaced its manual log sheets and radios with Guestware’s mobile auto-dispatch app. It uses Wi-Fi enabled Android devices to communicate guests’ requests, create action tickets, and assign staff responsibility for resolution. 


- NAVIS Ends a Record Year of Client and Company Growth and Notable Industry Recognition
- Vizergy® Enhances TargetingHub™
NAVIS Ends a Record Year of Client and Company Growth and Notable Industry Recognition
NAVIS, a leading provider of sales and marketing technology solutions for the hotel, resort and vacation rental industry, announced that 2017 was a banner year for client acquisition, product innovation, partner integration and new market expansion. The company was also top-rated by the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide for its reservations services. As one of the fastest growing hospitality marketing and sales technology companies, NAVIS is considered an essential partner for increasing performance and profits for more than 600 hotel, resort and vacation rental companies across the country.
Vizergy® Enhances TargetingHub™
TargetingHub™ expands the functionality of the Vizergy Marketing System (VMS™) by allowing clients to easily integrate PMS and POS data with various marketing databases such as Salesforce and IBM’s Watson Campaign Automation in one central platform. These interfaces allow customers to seamlessly analyze customer data, launch strategic marketing campaigns and measure results, all within one system.


- Urgo Hotels & Resorts Selects Aptech’s Enterprise Financial Systems for 42 Properties
- Grupo Posadas Partners with ALICE to Standardize Operations Across Its Portfolio of 147 Properties
- Prominent Canadian hotels set to install b4checkin’s revolutionary payment software solution  

For more information on Back Office for 02/09/18


- Viejas Casino & Resort Selects InfoGenesis® POS and rGuest® Pay from Agilysys to Ensure the Security of Guest Information and Enhance the Guest Experience
Viejas Casino & Resort Selects InfoGenesis® POS and rGuest® Pay from Agilysys to Ensure the Security of Guest Information and Enhance the Guest Experience
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced that Viejas Casino & Resort will implement Agilysys InfoGenesis POS, InfoGenesis Flex and rGuest Pay, to optimize food and beverage delivery and enhance guest service throughout the planned casino expansion. The resort’s management team wanted point-of-sale technology that not only would deliver comprehensive functionality, but also could accommodate their growing need for mobile POS capability. Additionally, they required a payment gateway solution that would secure guests’ financial data and reduce the risks associated with credit card acceptance.


- Agilysys rGuest Pay Complete Gateway Solution Now Supports Worldpay
Agilysys rGuest Pay Complete Gateway Solution Now Supports Worldpay
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced support for Worldpay in its rGuest Pay® gateway solution. rGuest Pay offers one of the hospitality industry’s first, PCI-validated, point-to-point encrypted (P2PE) payment gateways that meets the latest and most robust security needs of merchants everywhere. Customers using the rGuest Pay gateway and Worldpay will have a payment solution that handles the entire payment process, all the way through clearing and settlement of funds (acquiring bank functions).
https://www.agilysys.com/, https://www.worldpay.com/


- 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.


- Olympia Hotels Select VENZA’s Denali Package Plus Breach Coverage to Secure Guest and Company Data
Olympia Hotels Select VENZA’s Denali Package Plus Breach Coverage to Secure Guest and Company Data
VENZA has partnered with The Olympia Companies to provide the hospitality real estate organization PCI compliance training, awareness audits and reinforcement tools, as well as data breach protection coverage to mitigate data security vulnerabilities and keep the company and its guests’ data safe. Olympia’s employees will participate in the full VENZA training experience, which includes InfoSec training within PEAK, VENZA’s Learning Management System platform and Spot Check Awareness Audits.


- Nordic Choice Hotels Celebrates Milestone in Security Innovation with Implementation of ASSA ABLOY Hospitality Mobile Access at Multiple Properties
- dormakaba and OpenKey Partner For Mobile Access at AMResorts
- SALTO Systems Announces Partnership with Phunware to Deliver Mobile Access Control Solutions to Multifamily Developments
- SecValMSP Releases Risk as a Service to Hospitality

For more information on Security for 02/09/18


- Agilysys Donates Property Management Software to University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to Assist Hospitality Students in Practical Learning
- HSMAI Announces Americas Board of Directors and Executive Committee for 2018
- IDeaS Announces 2017 Cornell Revenue Management Scholarship Recipients
- Latin American Hospitality School Partners with SiteMinder to Support the Careers of Future Hoteliers

For more information on Hospitality Education for 02/09/18


- New at Digital Signage Expo 2018 Emerging Tech Talks
- HFTP Announces Keynote Speakers for HITEC Amsterdam 2018
- Participate in HFTP’s Entrepreneur 20X at HITEC Amsterdam
- Penn State School of Hospitality Management and Alumni to Honor CEO of World’s Largest Hotel Company, Arne Sorenson, in 2018

For more information on Hospitality Events for 02/09/18


- Malaysia’s capital will adopt ‘smart city’ platform from Alibaba
- Why Swiping Your Card at the Table Lags in the US
- Google will let you book hotels and flights through search results
For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 02/09/18


And now for you-know-what…
A man is driving down the road and his car breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, "My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?"
The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, and even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound. It’s a sound unlike anything he's ever heard before. The sirens that nearly seduced Odysseus into crashing his ship comes to his mind. He doesn't sleep that night. He tosses and turns trying to figure out what could possibly be making such a seductive sound.
The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk." Distraught, the man is forced to leave.
Years later, after never being able to forget that sound, the man goes back to the monastery and pleads for the answer again. The monks reply, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk."
The man says, "If the only way I can find out what is making that beautiful sound is to become a monk, then please, make me a monk."
The monks reply, "You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of grains of sand. When you find these answers, you will have become a monk."
The man sets about his task. After years of searching he returns as a gray-haired old man and knocks on the door of the monastery. A monk answers. He is taken before a gathering of all the monks.
The man says, "In my quest to find what makes that beautiful sound, I traveled the earth and have found what you asked for. By design, the world is in a state of perpetual change. Only God knows what you ask. All a man can know is himself, and only then if he is honest and reflective and willing to strip away self deception."
The monks reply, "Congratulations. You have become a monk. We shall now show you the way to the mystery of the sacred sound."
The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, "The sound is beyond that door."
The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man is given the key to the stone door and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. And so it went that he needed keys to doors of emerald, pearl and diamond.
Finally, they come to a door made of solid gold. The sound has become very clear and definite. The monks say, "This is the key to the last door."
The man is apprehensive to no end. His life's wish is behind that door! With trembling hands, he unlocks the door, turns the knob, and slowly pushes the door open. Falling to his knees, he is utterly amazed to discover the source of that haunting and seductive sound... But, of course, I can't tell you what it is because you're not a monk.

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