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Siegel Sez

March 26, 2021

Siegel Sez

Yesterday, the big news in the hotel and tech world was the announcement of the merger of HTNG and AHLA. When hotel companies merge or when vendors merge you know the motivation is profitability. But when associations merge my first question is why? So, we rounded up Kevin Carey the COO at AHLA and Mike Blake the CEO of HTNG, and got our camera rolling to ask why this happened. Then I asked them how it came about and most importantly where they see it going. We thank them for getting together on a very busy day yesterday to share with us their plans as they pursue coming together. To watch the video, please click here.
Doug Rice was the original CEO at HTNG and he shares a few thoughts in his column below before getting into how the hotel industry and technology deals with hiring in the recovery. We appreciate Doug sharing his thoughts and thank the two leaders of AHLA and HTNG for sitting down with me for our video. This has been an interesting week.
Also, this week we sent our first issue of the year to the printer. Last spring, we did our first Annual Technology Rock Stars list. When the issue came out, the feedback was amazing – including who was and who wasn’t included. But that comes with the territory. In the Spring 2021 issue out in the next two weeks, we have our 2021 list of 10 Technology Rock Stars. We think you’ll agree the 2021 list is well deserving of the recognition. We enjoy this yearly acknowledgement of those who inspire our industry, and we hope more will share nominations with us. If you don’t receive Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe or email ann@hospitalityupgrade.com (there is currently work being done on subscriptions on our site). Your subscription also includes the extremely popular HU Watercooler e-newsletter that comes out twice each month and brings you the latest industry news and happenings right to your inbox. Who knows what interview we will do next, but we thank you for the thousands of views they have received from all over the world.  
Here now is Doug’s Definitely Doug column. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. If you are a technology vendor, we hope you are planning to join us in Nashville from June 9-11 for our 16th Executive Vendor Summit. If you have any questions about attending, please email me at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. What a week!

Definitely Doug

The Coming Hiring Spree

Before I delve into my topic for this week, I will make a short diversion to address yesterday’s news, which is the merger of HTNG into the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). As many readers are aware, I was one of the nine founders of HTNG 19 years ago, became its first employee in 2004, and had the privilege to serve as its CEO for 11 years, until I retired from full-time work in 2015 and transitioned the leadership role to Mike Blake, who has led it very capably since. Many readers met me through HTNG activities between 2002 and 2015 (or even later) and are doubtless curious what today’s news means.

It would be hard to understate the opportunity that this merger creates for technology in the industry. After years as an afterthought for many senior hotel executives, 2020 was the year when technology took center stage, driven by the necessity of COVID protocols and dramatic staff cutbacks. There is now a recognition in the C-suites that technology is a key resource that can be used to help hotels deliver a quality experience to guests with fewer staff than in the past. Intelligent recruitment, scheduling, team communication, service customization, resource management, performance measurement and feedback, and process automation can all reduce cost, while freeing up staff to reinforce the “human” side of the hospitality experience. Most hotel groups I speak with foresee the return to full-scale operations with significantly less staffing than before, and technology will be the key.

HTNG’s outstanding work during the COVID crisis, analyzing the many changes in the guest and staff journeys and the technologies that already existed or that were developed to address them, caught the industry’s attention, and was undoubtedly a driving factor in AHLA’s overture to HTNG. The upcoming transition should help create even greater visibility for HTNG’s efforts in the C-suites of hotel companies, which can only strengthen its efforts to facilitate the development of next-generation technology solutions.

If there is one significant concern I have heard about the merger, it is that as a part of AHLA, HTNG risks becoming too America-focused rather than global. In fact, however, this has been an ongoing criticism of HTNG throughout its life, despite years of investment in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The critical mass of hotel technologists and vendors is, for better or worse, weighted towards North America because most of the larger hotel groups, who generally have the stronger IT organizations, are based there – as are many of the most prominent technology companies. AHLA has emphasized that HTNG’s brand and global activities will continue as before, but there is no question that AHLA is an America-centric organization, and only time will tell.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled programming…

The travel industry is finally starting to see signs of real recovery. Air traffic and hotel occupancy are starting to pick up, and future travel plans are now being made at a robust pace for the summer and fall of 2021. Many hotels that have been operating at reduced or skeleton staffs, or closed entirely, are now starting to make hiring plans. Even with returns to reduced staffing levels, this will likely lead to the largest hiring spree in the industry’s history in coming months.

My next two installments will address technologies designed to facilitate a successful restaffing surge. This week, I will focus on software designed to plan for, acquire, and onboard staff, particularly front-line hospitality workers. My next column will then address software to help retain staff, because as an industry we do not need to return to the costly turnover levels of the past. I looked at a total of nine companies in some detail for these two columns, and several others in less depth. Some were more focused on the first problem, some the second, and a few addressed key elements of both. Which ones will make sense to you will depend on your needs and what you already have, but I will outline some relevant factors to consider.

Click here to read more of Doug’s column on The Coming Hiring Spree


Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/
The Coming Hiring Spree


- VENZA Acquires CyberTek to Deliver Holistic Cybersecurity and Managed IT Services
VENZA, a leading data protection, compliance, and training organization for the hospitality industry, announced it has acquired privately-owned CyberTek Engineering, an award-winning MSP (Managed Service Provider) that offers a wide range of business IT services and solutions.

- Beekeeper Acquires Lua to Tackle Trillion-Dollar Opportunity in the Frontline Workforce Productivity and Collaboration Space
Beekeeper, the leading mobile workforce productivity and collaboration platform designed specifically for frontline workers, today announced the acquisition of Lua. The acquisition of this prime operational workflow platform underlines Beekeeper’s commitment to providing a full-stack mobile platform to enable frontline teams to operate more efficiently and effectively.
www.beekeeper.io     www.lua.work

- PROVision Partners and Plan A PR Join Forces to Offer Comprehensive Marketing, Public Relations and Strategic Business Advisory Services to Hospitality Technology Clients
PROVision Partners, a leading global strategic growth, marketing, technology, and commercial services advisory firm to the travel and hospitality industry (PROVision), and Plan A PR & Marketing, Inc. (Plan A PR), an established full-service public relations and marketing agency specializing in hotel technology providers, today announced that the companies have finalized an agreement to merge their operations.


- Nonius Appoints Dominic Locascio as the Managing Director at Nonius US & Canada
Dominic Locascio arrives to strengthen the Nonius team in North America and is the new Managing Director of Nonius US & Canada.


- Visual Matrix and Shift4 Payments Partner to Implement EMV Payment Protection at U.S. Hotels
Visual Matrix, an industry leading hotel property management software providing an all-in-one PMS with revenue management, channel management, and operational tools, has announced the completion of an agreement with Shift4 Payments to offer enhanced payment processing capabilities to Visual Matrix PMS hotel customers.
www.vmpms.com     www.shift4.com

- Joint Technology Partnership Is Streamlining Contactless Check In, Halting Fraudulent Chargebacks, and Boosting Guest and Staff Safety
Integration between Maestro PMS and TTI Technologies Scan2PMS is helping hotels better prepare for reopening; TTI is offering special pricing to Maestro customers through April 30th.
www.maestropms.com      www.ttitel.com

- Metropol Hotel Group Standardizes on Infor
Infor today announced that Estonian hospitality leader Metropol Hotel Group has invested in Infor Hospitality Management Solution (HMS) in the cloud. The group consists of the 155-room Metropol Hotel and the 137-room Metropol SPA Hotel, both in the popular Rotermann quarter of the Estonian capital, Tallinn.


- Cendyn Partners with Oaky to Create an Unparalleled Experience for Hotel Guests
Cendyn, the leading innovator in CRM, sales, and revenue strategy for the hospitality industry, is excited to announce a new partnership with Oaky, the leading upselling platform in hospitality, to power Oaky’s first CRM integration.


- Boutique Italian Hotel Partners with IDeaS to Enhance Profitability and Increase Efficiency
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today that Casa Angelina, a luxury, boutique hotel on the Amalfi Coast, has selected IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) and enlisted the IDeaS Advisory Services team.

- ProfitSword Partners with foreUP to Provide Golf Course Operators with Latest in Business Intelligence Analytics
ProfitSword, a premier developer of business intelligence and data integration software, has announced an integration of its solutions with foreUP, a leading comprehensive provider of golf course management technology.


- Virdee Integrates with Leading PMS Provider Infor to Deliver Seamless Virtual Reception for Hotels
Virdee, a SaaS company serving the lodging, multifamily and commercial real estate industries, announced certification for the integration of its virtual reception platform, Virdee Concierge, with Infor’s HMS Property Management System (PMS). The move comes as costs of staffing a front desk check-in/check-out operation continue to become increasingly challenging for hotels and other commercial real estate venues in the post-COVID environment.

- Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort to Transform Guest Experience with Full INTELITY Platform
INTELITY®, the developer of hospitality’s most comprehensive guest experience and staff management platform, announced today a new deal with Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The renowned property will implement the entire INTELITY platform, including a branded mobile app, mobile check-in, mobile key, in-room tablets, and GEMS®, INTELITY’s staff suite.


- Agilysys Announces New Cloud-Native Hospitality Marketing Solution - Agilysys Digital Marketing
Agilysys Digital Marketing is a powerful modern cloud-native hospitality marketing automation solution that empowers hospitality providers to deliver personalized, brand-crafted messaging and promotional offers to their guests.


- Knowland Introduces GroupAdvantage 2021 to Enable and Empower Hotel Sales Teams into Recovery
Group business continues to be a key driver for profitability in the hospitality industry, especially in this year of unprecedented challenges. To empower hoteliers, Knowland, a leader in AI-powered meetings and events data for hospitality, today announced Knowland GroupAdvantage 2021, a program that brings together the core prospecting and sales training tools needed to help hoteliers win emerging group business.

- iVvy and ALHI Partner to Make iVvy's Disruptive Sales, Catering and Event Management Platform Available to Luxury Hotels Around the World
iVvy, a disruptor in online meeting technology, is partnering with Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) to help its elite member hotels capture more business and streamline event operations. As hotels prepare for the return of meetings and event business, ALHI members can access IVvy’s cloud-based event management platform to facilitate real time bookings, drive sales and maximize yield.


- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort Selects Cloud5 to Deliver Fast, Dependable HSIA Services
Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of communications solutions for the world’s top hotel brands and management companies, today announced that Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Western North Carolina recently deployed the Cloud5 HSIA solution into their 1,100 room property and will now be extending the deployment as part of their expansion project scheduled to open later this year.

- Hotel Mariposa Deploys Advanced Wi-Fi Network by HIS to Meet Guest Expectations for High-performance Connectivity
Upscale boutique property partners with Hotel Internet Services to ensure that guests are guaranteed a fast and reliable online experience for personal devices.


- Shiji Group Successfully Implements Mobile Infrasys Cloud POS at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago
Shiji Group has recently implemented its Infrasys Cloud POS solution at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago in Santiago Chile across the property’s 10 outlets, including onsite restaurants, in-room dining, and the pool. The success of the large install during the COVID-19 pandemic, is an example of Shiji’s flexibility and character, even in times of complexity.

- Boyne Resorts Implements Agilysys Point of Sale & Cloud-Native Contactless Food & Beverage Ordering
Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation cloud-native SaaS and on-premise hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that Boyne Resorts has implemented the Agilysys InfoGenesis ecosystem of modern POS solutions for its sport and leisure resorts to improve guest service and optimize operations while promoting social distancing through contactless self-service options.

 - Tysons Corner Marriott Expands Use of Clear Sky Software and Benefits from Better Food Inventory Control
After achieving much success with Clear Sky's beverage inventory software, the hotel made the decision to extend this technology to the culinary department.


- Avendra Selects TraknProtect as a Preferred Provider of Hotel Staff Safety and Location-Based Technology
Preferred provider status includes TraknProtect serving as an industry-leading source for advanced employee distress button functionality as well as for the latest in real-time asset, vendor and enhanced cleaning tracking capabilities.


- Beekeeper and Bucketlist Partner to Recognize and Reward SH Hotels & Resorts’ Frontline Workers
Employees of 1 Hotels, Baccarat Hotels, and Treehouse Hotels are recognized via Bucketlist Rewards on the Beekeeper mobile-first communication platform.


- AHLA Integrates HTNG, Strengthening Technology Expertise, Advocacy Focus
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and Hospitality Technology Next Generation (HTNG) today announced that the two organizations have signed an agreement for HTNG to formally become part of AHLA to better serve and support the evolving needs of the global hospitality industry as it looks toward recovery.
www.ahla.com     www.htng.org

- Hospitality Upgrade Announces 2021 Executive Vendor Summit
Hospitality Upgrade Magazine has announced that its 16th Annual Executive Vendor Summit (EVS) will be held in person at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, Tenn., from June 9-11, 2021. The Executive Vendor Summit is a unique invitation-only industry event that brings together senior technology executives from the hospitality industry for learning, thought leadership and networking.

- The Hotel Show Dubai Returns for Its 21st Edition in 2021, Including HITEC Dubai
The Hotel Show Dubai is delighted to announce its return, live and in-person, from 31st May - 2nd June 2021 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Under this year's theme, 'Redefining Hospitality', The Hotel Show Dubai offers the industry professionals in the Middle East a powerful platform from which to source, connect and learn about critical topics over the course of three inspirational days.


- Stats: 65 Percent of Travelers Like the “Vaccine Passport” Idea
- 5 Reasons the U.S. Won’t Have Vaccine Passports  
- The Plane Truth: The Impact of COVID Grounding Business Travel  
- Five Star Spinning Hotel Generates Its Own Power

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 3/26/2021


Did you know these fascinating facts about Easter?
  • The tallest Easter egg chocolate was made in Italy in 2011. It stood at 10.39 meters and weighed an astounding 7,200 kg.
  • In the US, only 12 of the 50 states recognize Good Friday as a holiday.
  • The art of painting eggs is called pysanka, which originated in Ukraine. It involves using wax and dyes to color the egg.
  • The term Easter gets its name from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess who symbolizes the hare and the egg.
  • The exchange or giving of Easter eggs actually dates back to before Easter and the giving of eggs is actually considered a symbol of rebirth in many cultures.
  • There used to be a tradition churches observed that resembled the game of "hot potato." Here, the priest would toss a hard boiled egg to one of the choir boys. The boys would toss the egg amongst themselves and when the clock struck 12, whomever had the egg was the winner and got to keep the egg.
  • Peep peep… did you know Americans buy more than 700 million marshmallow Peeps during Easter? This makes Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
  • Americans consume more than 16 million jelly beans during this holiday. That is enough jelly beans to circle the globe not once, not twice, but three times.
  • Are you an ears, arms or tail person? Seventy-six percent of people eat the ears on the chocolate bunny first, 5 percent go for the feet and 4 percent for the tail.
  • During the holiday, more than 90 million chocolate bunnies, 91.4 billion eggs and 700 million Peeps are produced each year in the United States alone.
  • Next to Halloween, Easter is the biggest candy-consuming holiday of the year. Good thing they are almost six months apart, perfect for your yearly dentist check-ups!
  • An estimated $14.7 billion is spent in total for Easter in the US.
  • The Easter egg is said to symbolize and represent joy, celebration and new life.
  • Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Christ; it is the oldest Christian holiday and one of the most important days of the year.
  • Half the states in the United States banned the dyeing of chicks on Easter; however, Florida recently overturned this law and now prevents the dyeing of all animals
  • Not only did Florida overturn the dyeing of animals, but the state also held the largest Easter egg hunt, where 9,753 children searched for 501,000 eggs.
  • The White House tradition of the Easter Egg Roll started back in 1878, with President Rutherford B. Hayes!
  • The UK Birmingham factory Cadbury makes 500 million Creme Eggs every year! If you piled them on top of each other, it would be 10 x higher than Mount Everest. The Creme Egg is the most popular egg-shaped chocolate in the world.
  • The idea of the Easter bunny giving candies and eggs is said to have originated in Germany during the middle ages.


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