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Siegel Sez

March 24, 2023

Siegel Sez

What a group at the HFTP/HSMAI cocktail party at ITB. (LtR) Frank Wolfe, Wolfgang Emperger, Rich Siegel, Jason Floyd, Henri Roelings and Carson Booth. The stories and gossip that was shared was amazing!

I am thankful for 31 years of publishing and the opportunity it has afforded me to travel to so many industry events. If I had to pick one that I would never give up it would be ITB in Berlin, Germany. I started my career in the hotel industry in New York City and met many international travelers, and always thought how great it would be to see the world. Technology aside, imagine an event where every country in the world is showcasing why you should plan your next trip to their country. If you spend one day visiting all these exhibits, you feel that you have travelled the world. It is simply amazing. Of course, for those with technology solutions it is one of the few shows where you are guaranteed to have a busy booth for three days. They say the crowd was off from the record attendance they had in 2019, but from those who were exhibiting they would have disagreed — just about everybody was ecstatic with ITB this year. If you are a hotelier, deal with hotels or just want to experience something unique, then put ITB on your bucket list. It was great to catch up with so many from all over the world including the United States. Three years without ITB was too long.
Next week is our Executive Vendor Summit, which has turned out to be one of our biggest crowds, and also includes quite a few attendees from outside the US. Imagine nearly a hundred senior executives from the vendor community sharing their views on the state of the industry. Yes, competitors connect but more importantly many become partners. EVS is beyond unique, and we are thankful that it continues to grow. It might be a bit dangerous having EVS in New Orleans, but we will do our best to keep nighttime activities under control. Hopefully we don’t lose any attendees on our alligator tour! Special thanks to our sponsor CallTek and to the technology leaders from Loews Hotels, Virgin Hotels, Choice Hotels, Ambridge Hospitality and Highgate for joining us for the very popular closing session Friday morning at EVS. I can’t wait.
Doug Rice has branched out a bit this week with his Definitely Doug column that follows. I would say he is describing the next generation of hotels, but I think he might be about five generations ahead. Sea pods? Room service via drones? Is it really coming? Take a few minutes and read Definitely Doug and let us know your thoughts. We thank Doug for highlighting all the industry news along with this column.
I’m not a big fan of college basketball but like most, I get hooked on March Madness. I am cheering for a team from Texas to win this year that is not Houston. That is all I am going to say. Here now is Doug’s column and news. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.

Definitely Doug

Is This a Real-Life Hotel Innovation Lab?

This week I want to focus on an emerging tech-forward hospitality company that is pushing the envelope of innovation. Most of its technological developments service its own unique needs in a market that has yet to emerge. But several of its core technologies could well be applicable in mainstream hotels. My crystal ball is not clear enough to say which ones, how soon, or who will find success with them, but to me they are well worth watching.

The company, Ocean Builders, has completed a first prototype of a unique hotel experience. It is now ramping up to start deployment while continuing to refine the product. The basic concept is self-contained hotel pods, called SeaPods. Each pod has one guest accommodation unit, which sits above an anchored, floating underwater base in a body of water. The accommodation pod rests on a vertical column, well above the water, and includes a kitchen, bath, bedroom, and living area (see photo).  It reminds me of the Skypad Apartments that George Jetson and his family lived in in the 1960s TV cartoon show, but it’s a single-unit version designed to serve as a luxury hotel unit on the water.