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Siegel Sez

April 08, 2022

Siegel Sez

I have written this opening to Siegel Sez since 2001, and trust me, this is the most difficult one for me to write. I want to share what happened last week in Frisco, Texas, but as random thoughts go through my head, I think the best thing to do is wait until our videographer Liz Vogan finishes what will truly be an amazing industry video. If you are involved or have an interest in technology for the hotel industry, I promise this is a must see. If you don’t subscribe to Hospitality Upgrade, please sign up as the video will be in our bi-weekly Watercooler newsletter along with here in Siegel Sez via Hotel Online. It was simply an amazing week in Frisco for our 2022 Executive Vendor Summit.
But let me say this about EVS. When you have more than a hundred vendors who supply technology come together, even though many compete for business, you can imagine how the conversations might go. When you throw in six CIOs to interact with them, it gets very interesting. When you put together a program that goes from how cryptocurrency and SSI will change the hotel industry, to having the local Chief of Police share how the hospitality industry impacts what they do, it turns out to be an amazing program.
From the icebreaker to the now infamous marshmallow challenge, along with how and why companies get acquired or merge, it was an amazing experience. The week ended with a night that I will never forget, and I thank all who had fun roasting me. More importantly, I don’t think there will ever be another industry event that 150 people will all agree was simply so much fun!

If there was one thing, I would suggest to everybody that has been in their professional role for many years, think back to those who encouraged and motivated you along the way and reconnect with them. I started the business 30 years ago, which was the theme of the Thursday night event. My personal highlight was connecting with people I hadn’t seen in well over 20 years. Find people from your past who had an impact and do reconnect with them. It was simply an amazing high for me!
A big thank you to HFTP for being a great partner for our Executive Vendor Summit. Those in attendance will never look at a penguin the same way again. Thanks also to Gregg Hopkins and PROVision Partners for spearheading the Thursday celebration along with co-emcee Richard Tudgay, the CIO from Highgate Hotels who everyone saw in a totally different light, as no one was immune from his harassment.
Mike Schmitt from Clairvoyix brought a band to the event that everybody absolutely loved. What an amazing night! For all who were there from so many different aspects of the industry, I thank you. We all dream of very special moments in life, I know I had mine in Frisco, Texas. Again, please make sure you go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe to make sure you get the video. It will be amazing!
Thank you to all who have shared feedback on our Spring issue. I especially would like to thank Max Starkov, a well-respected consultant in Europe, who after receiving our digital edition shared his optimistic thoughts on what the industry is going through today here on LinkedIn. We thank everybody who shared their comments on Hospitality Upgrade’s Spring issue.
Doug Rice follows with his Definitely Doug column, where he continues advising on the importance of guest feedback via the guest satisfaction survey. If you’re not currently doing this, you need to read Definitely Doug this week. Thanks again to all who have commented on the 30-year celebration. It really has inspired me more than I would have ever imagined. What a long, strange trip it has been!

Thank you! 

Definitely Doug

How Was Your Stay?

My previous column was the first in a series of three focusing on tools that collect, analyze, and act upon guest feedback. The initial installment covered online reputation management (ORM), which matters at the very first step of the sales funnel – where potential guests are qualifying hotels, typically using Google, Tripadvisor or an online travel agent (OTA). This second segment addresses guest satisfaction survey (GSS) software, which can work in tandem with ORM and is offered by many of the same vendors. For branded hotels, however, GSS is often separate because the tools are usually selected by the brand, whereas ORM software is mostly left to the discretion of the owner or manager.

If you already have a GSS tool, this week’s article should help you use it more effectively. If you don’t, then it can help you understand why you might want one, what to look for, and how to use it. The final installment in two weeks will close the loop, providing details on how to operationalize the feedback you get from both GSS and ORM to improve overall performance and customer satisfaction, tying guest feedback to your customer database.

While guest surveys are today’s focus, it’s worth noting that guests are not the only audience that matters. Many hotels and brands will find value in surveying employees, hotel owners, meeting planners, corporate accounts, and even suppliers. Some of the tools can be easily adapted for these audiences, but that is a topic for another day.

I spoke with several companies offering GSS tools, collecting their thoughts on best practices and key considerations in evaluating them. I’m aware of more than 80 companies offering products in the category, far too many to speak with them all. Many of these are lightweight add-ons to other software, so I focused on several that sell GSS (or GSS/ORM combinations) as primary or significant products. For small to medium chains and independent hotels, these included Dailypoint, D-EDGE’s Sentinel product, GuestRevu, Medallia’s Medallia Go product, Revinate, Shiji’s ReviewPro, and Xperium. Medallia also has an enterprise product that is used by major brands; Qualtrics, which also competes in the enterprise space, did not respond to a request for an interview.

Much of the information presented here was gathered in interviews for the earlier ORM article, as all but one of the companies listed above offer both ORM and GSS tools. My thanks to the executives from these companies who shared their knowledge and expertise.


- Groups360 Raises $35 Million in Funding to Support Rapid Growth
- Cloudbeds Reports Unprecedented Growth as the Global Hotel Industry’s Recovery Accelerates
- CallTek Adds Video Support as DISH Business Partner
- M3 Helps Launch $350k Ukraine Relief Initiative by Becoming a Founding Partner of HospitalityforPeace.org
- SALTO Takes a Majority Stake in Bluefield Smart Access Technology Company

For more information on Corporate News for 4/8/2022


- Kimberly Berry Appointed as Director of Digital Business Development for Bella, The Virtual Hotel Agent, Travel Outlook's New AI-Powered Service
- Enseo Names Brian Gurley New Chief Financial Officer
- Cloud5 Demonstrates Commitment to Diversity with New Executive Leadership Promotions and Appointments
- Vizergy Names Holly Montroy Vice President, Human Resources

For more information on People on The Move for 4/8/2022


- The Hotel Concord Leverages Stayntouch PMS to Reinforce AAA Four Diamond Award-Winning Service
Stayntouch, a global leader in cloud hotel property management systems (PMS) and guest-centric technology, has partnered with The Hotel Concord, an independent luxury boutique hotel located in the center of New Hampshire’s historic capital city. Under the collaboration, The Hotel Concord is leveraging Stayntouch’s flagship PMS to further heighten its delivery of classic luxury service, powered by flexible and easy-to-use technology.

- Stayntouch Expands Partnership with Real Hospitality Group to Deliver a Streamlined and Enhanced Guest Experience
Stayntouch, a global leader in cloud hotel property management systems (PMS) and guest-centric technology, today announced an expansion of its partnership with Real Hospitality Group (RHG), one of the leading and fastest growing hotel management companies in the United States. RHG will now deploy Stayntouch PMS to two additional properties, Artel Hotel in Brooklyn and Park Place Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.


- SHR’s Wave RMS Connects with Apaleo PMS
Sceptre Hospitality Resources (SHR), which offers a suite of solutions to help hoteliers improve the guest experience and drive revenue at each touchpoint along the guest journey, has integrated its Wave Revenue Management System (RMS) with Apaleo, the open hospitality platform. Apaleo transforms hotels with a flexible Property Management System (PMS) and App Store and is built on the company’s API-First, cloud-native technology.


- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe Partners with INTELITY to Launch Branded App
- Bella The Virtual Hotel Agent Offers a 100% Accurate Understanding of Guest Needs Through Its New Feature, Precise Guest Insight
- INTELITY Introduces 1-Click Mobile Check-in for a Seamless Guest Experience
- The Hills Hotel Deploys BeyondTV GuestCast for Hassle-free Guest Streaming and Enhanced Wi-Fi Network Performance
- Virdee Partners With Mews to Innovate the Guest Experience

For more information on Guest Facing Technology for 4/8/2022


- Cendyn Announces the Launch of the Cendyn Hospitality Cloud for Hoteliers Looking to Drive Direct Bookings
Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, is excited to announce the launch of the new Cendyn Hospitality Cloud, including the release of the platform’s first applications, an industry-leading website content management system (CMS) powered by Cendyn’s customer data platform (CDP), Starling.

- Zoox Smart Data Launches New Partnership Program for Enterprise Networking Companies and the Properties They Serve
Zoox Smart Data (“Zoox”), an international provider of technological solutions that harness big data to build customer profiles from existing Wi-Fi networks, today announced the launch of its new partnership program. Network hardware and software companies now have the ability to partner with Zoox to provide property clients with more access to guest and customer data than ever before.


- Amadeus Unveils Five Defining Trends for The US Group Travel and Events Industry in 2022
As hoteliers evaluate their group business opportunities for 2022, a new report from Amadeus combines hotelier insights with Amadeus business intelligence data to reveal the key trends that will guide the group travel and events market in the year ahead.

- Knowland Helps Kimpton Hotels to Maximize Group Revenue
Today Knowland, the world’s leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has renewed its long-standing relationship with Knowland. The boutique hospitality company’s executive team relies upon Knowland’s market analytics to gain insights into group business trends and help it better manage and grow its portfolio.

- Mills James Evolves Hotel and Convention Center Communications with Worldwide Holographic Technology
Award-winning hospitality AV group seeking companies interested in exploring Proto technology; ‘If you can’t be there, beam there.’


- Crystal Springs Spa & Golf Resort Centralizes Inventory Control Across 12+ Revenue Centers with Maestro PMS/Yellow Dog Software Integration
With six golf courses, four pro shops, and two spas, Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, N.J., wanted to consolidate its inventory processes. Today, through a new integration partnership, these two best-of-breed hospitality solutions are working as one, giving Crystal Springs Resort a centralized platform for retail, pro shop, and spa inventory control.

- M3 and Trintech Announce Strategic Partnership to Help the Hospitality Industry Streamline and Automate the Financial Close Process
M3, one of the hospitality sector’s premiere cloud-based accounting, financial, and data management platform in North America, and Trintech, an industry-leading global provider of Record to Report software solutions for the office of finance jointly announce a strategic partnership.


- Green Fig Resort & Spa Partners with Hotel Internet Services to Cater to Guest Demands for High-speed and Reliable Wi-Fi
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with dramatically improving Wi-Fi service performance for guests visiting the Green Fig Resort & Spa in Saint Lucia.


- MobiusVP’s CustomerCount Adds WhatsApp Communications Channel to Cloud-Based Customer Feedback System
Bob Kobek, RRP President of MobiusVP has announced yet another major distribution vehicle to deploy its CustomerCount® online feedback management system.  MobiusVP/CustomerCount has added WhatsApp Messenger as a communication channel for delivery of its cloud-based surveys and onsite service requests. The application has been made available through its strategic technical partner, ConnectionsGRP.

- SimplyAnnounce, an Electronic Bulletin Board Application, Advances Cloud Communication Platform
Think Simplicity, a cloud communication technology provider of all-inclusive voice and chat solutions for the hospitality industry, announced today the launch of SimplyAnnounce™, an electronic bulletin board application. The new capability has been added to Think Simplicity’s hosted Communications Web Portal (CWP) at no extra charge to clients and is designed to replace traditional employee communication methods.

- Hotel Employees Weigh in on the Benefits of Guesthub
From frontline employees to managers, people using the web-based Guesthub guest services + task management app say it is making their jobs easier and operations is more efficient; Some even say the technology is making them more loyal to their employer.


- VENZA Launches New Support Site
The current business climate values immediacy and accuracy while at the same time placing a premium on personalization and human connection. A recent survey showed that 83% of customers connect most to brands that respond to their needs. VENZA launching their all-new support site rings timely and strikes that just-right balance.


-  Agilysys to Showcase Cloud Native Modern Technology Based Solutions for the Hospitality Industry's Top Challenges at Consultants Forum, May 17-18, 2022
The technology leader will explore solutions to hospitality's top challenges and reveal industry trends shaping the future.


- Knowland’s Meetings and Events Report Indicates March Meetings Up 55 Percent from February
Knowland, a world leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, today released its monthly meetings and events data for March. Meetings volume from February to March increased 55.5 percent. Even more significant is a 428 percent increase over March 2021.


- Survey: 87% of Americans Say Sustainable Travel Is Important
- Flexibility, Choice, & Control: What Options Are You Giving Your Guests?
- Travel Subscription Plans from Airlines and Hotels Are Expanding  
- Self-Service Technologies: The Next Frontier in Hotel Service

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 4/8/2022

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


As many of you will be following the Masters, here a few random & obscure facts...

- The first-ever Masters, in 1934, was held March 22-25. It was then called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament.

- At the inaugural Masters in 1934, the total purse was $5,000, with $1,500 going to the winner. The total purse for the 2022 Masters Tournament has yet to be announced, though it's expected to exceed the $11.5 million awarded to players in recent years. A little over $2 million of that purse has gone straight to the winner since 2019.

- The 1967 Masters was the first sporting event ever broadcast live to an overseas audience.

- In the history of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National, there have been 33 holes-in-one, including two in 2021. 

- The tradition of awarding the tournament winner a green jacket did not begin until 1949. The Green Jacket comes with some rules - jackets are kept on club grounds, taking them off the premises is forbidden. The only exception is for the Masters winner, who is allowed to take their jacket home for one year, then must be returned to the Club. Gary Player is the only Masters Winner to not have his Jacket locked up at Augusta. He was able to keep it by “forgetting” to bring it back after he won the 61’ tournament.

- Almost everything is wrapped in green for a very good reason. Between the Green Jackets and the golf course itself, there's a lot of green to be seen at the Masters. This color trend carries over into the food options, with beverages typically being served in green cups and sandwiches and snacks wrapped in green paper. The reason? So that any piece of trash a patron might drop won't show up on TV.

- Cell phones are prohibited. The club sets up stands of stationary phones to use. Cameras are also a no-no.



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