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Siegel Sez

April 03, 2020

Siegel Sez

Do you find your emotions going all over the place following the latest on COVID-19? I tend to be a news junkie, and like many, my emotions get garbled while keeping up with the daily news. I was in disbelief reading about the Florida church service last Sunday that had more than 400 in attendance. Those that read about this event got angry at the pastor for encouraging his followers to attend. I am a believer in religious rights, but when I read about this, I was more sad that anything. Did everybody who attended those services go right home to isolation afterwards or did they go to the grocery stores? Simply amazing. Florida is interesting, it took the state what seems like forever to close their beaches, which of course would hurt their economy because people would cancel trips. Then I thought of Las Vegas and how quickly they closed their hotels and casinos. It’s a strange world we’re living in today. I guess one of the good things happening is the creative types that are out there creating some very funny parodies of popular songs. I know I’m a bit biased since my all-time, favorite movie is The Sound of Music, but if you want to see something with a great message, take a few minutes and click here. They get it!
For those of us who have been connected to the hotel industry for many years the thing we love most are the great people whose lives are intertwined with the industry. I’ve been thinking about how it wasn’t even that long ago when hoteliers were announcing their commitments to implement new technology to make the business more efficient and the guest journey more enjoyable. Vendors were proudly sharing recent successes and how bright the future was looking for them. Now that seems like ages ago with so many in the industry being furloughed or outright losing their jobs. Hospitality Upgrade has partnered with HTNG to do what we can to help by launching a Career Center which is now on the HTNG site. (https://careers.htng.org/) It has quite a few job listings, which of course are mostly outside the industry. Hopefully soon there will be many more industry jobs posted. One can hope, right?  
These are strange times for all of us. If you’re like me, you might often find yourself reminiscing at the “moments” we had in the hotel industry. It’s hard for me to believe that it was only three years ago that I was in Amsterdam at an HFTP planning meeting, and after I got back to my room at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Center. I found a note left for me. It’s experiences like this that have always made me love the hotel industry.
Along with the latest technology news, Doug Rice does another great job in his Definitely Doug column this week. He offers help and advice for the vendor community on what should be done as we deal with this unknown state of the industry. It is a long read but one worth reading. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at “you-know-what.”

Stay safe and be smart -- distance yourself!


Definitely Doug

Turning Lemons into Lemonade
It may be quite some time before hotels start buying technology again. There will be exceptions, to be sure, but for now they will be few and far between. And as much as I have enjoyed highlighting pockets of cool innovation in this column over the past year, very few readers will be able to act on those insights in the current environment. So while I hope to be able to return to my old format sooner rather than later, I’m going to change focus in this and upcoming columns. I’ll instead talk about what hotels, technology providers, and displaced technologists can do today.
Before I get into it, though, I have an ask of you. In future articles, I want to cover technologies and products that can be used to address opportunities that have been, will be, or might be created by COVID-19 and its fallout. What’s going to be especially relevant during the lockdown or early recovery, that might be less important or even totally useless during normal times? What are some actual or potential products or services that might help the industry deal with post-COVID behavioral changes for travelers, hotel associates or even vendors? I’ve got a few in mind already, but would love to hear your thoughts, including products or companies I should be looking at.  Please drop me a note at the email below or ping me on LinkedIn.
Global disruptions like this are painful, but history teaches us that the more disruptive the event, the more opportunity it creates for new business processes and technology models to emerge. The 2008-09 financial crisis led to much greater willingness to try new ideas to cut costs or generate revenue, and it happened just as newer technologies like cloud and mobile were starting to mature. While many legacy technology providers were hunkering down and cutting R&D, agile startups challenged them with disruptive new products based on more cost-effective and mobile-friendly architectures. A decade later, some of these had become new market leaders. Disruption – and this business cycle will be extremely disruptive – also means opportunity.

So, this week I will look in turn at what the different stakeholders in our industry can do in coming months. Everyone’s situation is different, but I hope that at least one or two of these ideas might apply to you. Given the diversity of readers, I’ll have thoughts for both hotels and technology providers. But first I’ll start with the most important group, those technologists who find themselves suddenly, unexpectedly, and undeservedly furloughed or unemployed.


Click here to read more of Doug’s column on Things for Hospitality Technologists to Do Now

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


- Shift4 Payments Launches Shift4Cares.com to Raise Over $200 Million for Small Businesses and Highlight Economic Impact of COVID-19
Shift4 Payments, a leader in integrated payment processing solutions, has announced the launch of Shift4Cares.com, a round-the-clock online resource for government agencies, news outlets and businesses affected by COVID-19. The website offers a wealth of valuable information on the economic impact of this pandemic and is part of Shift4’s initiative to raise over $200 million for restaurants and other small businesses — including up to $10 million contributed directly from the company.

- Hotel Tech Company Launches COVID-19 Support Platform
The founders of hotel industry software provider Cloudbeds and their team created #hospitalityhelps to connect property owners and operators with health care providers, providing facilities during this time of need. Hospitality professionals willing to open their facilities can provide their information via #hospitalityhelps to assist government and healthcare agencies in need of open beds.


- Hotel One Sixty-Six Selects Agilysys PMS & Payment Solutions to Optimize the Guest Journey & Secure Guest Information
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that Hotel One Sixty-Six has selected its rGuest Stay PMS solution to help streamline operations and deliver an improved guest experience, as well as rGuest Pay to ensure the efficient processing and security of guest payment information.


- Keep Your Hotel Open Virtually
Travel Outlook Premium Reservation Call Center, a virtual hospitality company specializing in voice reservations, is announcing a campaign to assist hotels to stay open for business during the Covid-19 crisis.


- Clairvoyix Announces Their Rapid Recovery Response – R3
Clairvoyix, a leader in enterprise class, hospitality-specific marketing automation, announces their Rapid Recovery Response – R3© solution, designed to give hoteliers the simplest and least expensive email marketing tool available.

- Commingle:Engage to Launch No-Cost Service to Help Hotels Book Local Drive Business
StayPlayExplore.travel will offer locally curated content and hotel offers to target staycations and local social event opportunities.

- Fuel Launches 'Crisis Management Resources for Hotels' Master List to Help Hoteliers Navigate the Coronavirus Pandemic and Other Adverse Market Conditions
Fuel, the premier provider of hotel marketing software and digital agency services for the hospitality sector, announced the launch of a new online resource to benefit the hospitality industry as it works to combat the effects of the COVID-19 virus, titled the “Crisis Management Resources for Hotels” Master List.


- Global DMC Partners Launches “Together at Home” Webinar Series for the Meetings, Events, Travel and Tourism Industry
Global DMC Partners (GDP), the leading global network of independently owned destination management companies (DMCs) and creative event experts, is launching a brand-new weekly webinar series designed not only to combat social isolation but also to educate, innovate and inspire members of the meetings, events, travel and tourism industry.


- Aptech’s 50 Years: Powerful Tech Innovation, Family Culture, Trusted Partner
Aptech Computer Systems celebrates 50 years of hospitality technology leadership in 2020. “We create solutions to increase our customers’ performance and profitability. We are who we are because of the clients we have,” said Jill Wilder, Aptech vice president.


- The Ambrose Hotel Caters to Latest Guest Online Needs by Implementing Advanced Wi-Fi Network Technology with Hotel Internet Services
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has announced the successful implementation of the latest in Wi-Fi network connectivity at The Ambrose Hotel.


- ALICE Launches Free COVID-19 Checklist Software
ALICE’s COVID-19 Checklists Software is available now, and is free to help hotels manage operations through times of low occupancy or closure, back into times of recovery, and up to full occupancy again.

- Beekeeper, Whispr Offering Hotels a FREE ‘Cleaning Task Lists’ App to Fight Covid-19
Smart-checklist app from Beekeeper’s innovation partner, Whispr, is ensuring guestrooms and public areas meet CDC guidelines to prevent further virus spread.
beekeeper.io  whispr.ai


- Hotel Industry Foundation Announces Free Training, Education Courses For Hotel Employees
In an effort to support the 8 million hotel industry employees affected by this unprecedented public health crisis, the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation), the charitable giving arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), announced free resources to help industry employees continue their education during this difficult time.

- FAU Hospitality and Tourism Management Program Offers Lifeline to Workers Struggling During Coronavirus Pandemic
Florida Atlantic University’s nationally ranked Hospitality and Tourism Management program, within FAU’s College of Business, is offering a free certificate to industry workers and professionals with sessions covering hospitality law, career competencies, marketing and revenue management, finance fundamentals and service excellence.


- HFTP Presents “Best of HFTP” with Co-Located Events in October 2020, Including HITEC San Antonio, HFTP Annual Convention, Club Forum and Entrepreneur 20X
In response to the guidance for slowing the spread of Covid-19, Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals HFTP restructured its 2020 event calendar, moving early 2020 events to the second half of the year, and co-locating them for one eventful week.


- Marriott International Notifies Guests of Property System Incident
- This Midwest Hotel’s Hilarious Instagram Feed Is What We All Need Right Now
- Huazhu Reports Start of Recovery for Hotels in China
- Trip.com Group's James Liang: Mobile Apps Could Help to Contain Epidemics


For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 4/3/2020


And now for you-know-what.… 

Shirley and Abe, a retired couple from New York City, living in Miami Beach, are getting ready to go out to dinner. Shirley says, "Abe, darling, do you want me to wear this Chanel suit or the Gucci?"

Abe says, "I don't care."

A few minutes later Shirley says, "Abe, should I wear my Cartier watch or my Rolex?"

Abe says, "Your choice."

A few more minutes pass and Shirley says, "Abe, love, shall I wear my five-carat pearl diamond ring or my six-carat round diamond ring with the baguettes?"

Abe says, "Shirley, I really don't care what you wear, but if you don't get moving, we're going to miss the Early Bird Special."

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