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Siegel Sez

April 09, 2021

Siegel Sez

Sixteen months ago, I was in Nashville tweaking the program for our upcoming Executive Vendor Summit. Little did I know that the industry was soon to be tweaked by the Coronavirus. Next week I am off to the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville to once again refine the program for our 16th Executive Vendor Summit scheduled for June 9-11, and this time I feel like a little kid knowing school is out and vacation is about to start.
Remember when attending events was a big part of the industry? When hotels were excited that events were coming to their properties and city? I am on the HITEC Advisory Board and this week’s meeting, even though it was virtual, was so much fun: discussing the program for HITEC, hearing from HFTP that the exhibit floor is nearly 90 percent booked and how quickly the prime hotel rooms are being booked. We are expecting our largest attendance for EVS Nashville. When you think about what the vendors for the industry have gone through the past year, this is amazing. It helps that companies like Wyndham, Hyatt, Ambridge, Highgate and Loews will be speaking at EVS and sharing the journey they have had through weathering the pandemic and what they see for the future. Industry events are a big part of our lives and when conversations now angle to “will you be there?” like the old days, it has to make you smile. There are still many challenges facing the industry, but how nice that we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And finally, it is not an oncoming train!
Along with events kicking off, one of the biggest issues is the current staffing challenge hotels are facing to return staff levels to where they need to be. I think everyone I talk to in the corporate world of hotels has shared what they are going through. In his Definitely Doug column that follows, Doug Rice shares his thoughts not only about staffing hotels, but also what should be done to keep staff onboard. It is well worth the read!
Next week you will be receiving our Spring 2021 issue of Hospitality Upgrade Magazine and then 10 industry leaders will have their lives changed a bit, hopefully for the positive. If you are not a subscriber, quickly go to HospitalityUpgrade.com/subscribe. If you are a vendor who has not received an invitation to our Executive Vendor Summit, then drop a note to me at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.
What an amazing 16 months it has been. Here now is the real reason we are here — the latest technology happenings in the industry along with Definitely Doug. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Welcome back!  

Definitely Doug

Tech that Makes Employees Smile

My last blog addressed the hiring spree that appeared on the horizon once future bookings finally started trending upwards. Several senior hoteliers told me that it was right on the mark, that some hotels now have more than 100 open positions – and very few applicants. Former staff have either moved on to other, more stable industries, and they as well as potential new hires may be disincentivized to return to work by continuing government subsidies and/or child-care needs. If the rapid change from furloughs to hiring spree describes your situation, then you will want to explore some of the tech options I raised in the earlier blog, which continues here.

Hiring new staff is the critical first step, and the last blog covered software that can help source, evaluate, interview, and onboard them. But once new employees are on board, how can we ensure they stay? The hotel industry has had notoriously high turnover in front-line staff positions. The costs of this turnover are enormous: recruiting, screening, interviewing, background and drug tests, training, waiting for new employees to become fully productive (most do not even stay long enough for this to happen!), and service recovery costs from negative guest encounters with inexperienced staff.

This week I will cover technology to improve your staff retention rate. The two main categories of technology that can help are staff communications platforms and staff engagement software. Some products focus mostly on one area or the other, while many integrate aspects of both. The two are interrelated: employees will not engage if no one communicates with them. At the same time, digital communication tools alone do not engage employees; that will depend on the content, frequency, and timing of the communication. Success requires not just that communication happens, but that it be engaging for the staff and productive for the hotel.

Why do communications and engagement software matter? Consider the workday of room attendants, the most common front-line position in most hotels. They spend most of their shift working alone in guest rooms. They have little interaction with colleagues, guests, or managers. They miss out on most of the human connections that can make menial work tolerable – connections that are readily available in retail, restaurant, and other unskilled jobs. Language issues often separate them from colleagues, guests, and managers.

Even the best manager will be challenged to keep housekeeping staff feeling connected, engaged, and an important contributor to the hotel’s success; weaker ones may barely try. Communication tools can enable managers to more proactively engage workers who toil outside their line of sight, while engagement tools can automate some of the communications so that it happens more consistently and with less time and conscious effort by the manager.

Click here to read more of Doug’s column on Tech that Makes Employees Smile


Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/
Tech that Makes Employees Smile


- Cendyn Names Jenny Cybul Chief Human Resources Officer
Cendyn, a leading innovator in CRM, sales, and revenue strategy for the hospitality industry, is excited to announce the appointment of Jenny Cybul as Chief Human Resources Officer at Cendyn.

- GuestTek Welcomes Julian Daniel as Vice President Operations, Americas
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., the global leader in providing premier hospitality technology and support solutions, is pleased to announce that Julian Daniel has been appointed the role of Vice President Operations, Americas.


- Less Hassle, More to Explore: Marriott International Continues to Deliver on Consumer Desire for Enhanced Contactless Technology
Marriott International, Inc. announced the debut of a pilot program for contactless arrival kiosks at several select-service hotels, as well as the launch of a proof-of-concept for contactless grab-and-go marketplaces at two Fairfield by Marriott hotels.

- Oracle Opens Hospitality API Specifications to Help Industry Recover
The pandemic underscored the need for hospitality providers to have flexible systems that can be adapted quickly to exceed changing guest expectations. Making it easier for partners to adapt and innovate, Oracle has made the REST API specifications in the Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP) freely accessible through GitHub under the Universal Permissive License (UPL) model.

- Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort Hotel Implements Agilysys Golf And rGuest® Book to Enrich Player Experience and Streamline Tee-Time Booking
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 Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel in Worley, Idaho has expanded its existing relationship with Agilysys through the addition of its innovative Agilysys Golf and rGuest Book solutions for player booking, course and player management at its championship 18-hole course.


- Travel Outlook Celebrates 10th Anniversary as the Only Hotel Call Center Certified by Kennedy Training Network
Through its ongoing commitment to KTN, Travel Outlook has a remarkable advantage over other voice channel teams and call centers because its reservationists are thoroughly coached.

- Amadeus Expands Hoteliers' Access to Historical Market Insight to Complement Forward-Looking Data
Combining 2019 and 2020 historical market performance with 12 months of forward-looking, on-the-books occupancy and pace data, hoteliers can now view 36 months of the industry's most comprehensive booking data to create more informed recovery strategies.


- Atrium Hospitality Selects IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System to Help Drive Growth Strategy
IDeaS, a SAS company, a world leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced it will implement IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) at two properties for Atrium Hospitality: the Chateau on the Lake, Branson, and the Wyndham Grand, Oklahoma City.


- Luxurious New Hutton Brickyards Property to Power Relaxing Retreats with the INTELITY Platform
INTELITY®, the provider of hospitality’s broadest guest experience and staff management platform, has signed a deal with Hutton Brickyards to implement the full INTELITY platform at the new retreat located in Kingston, New York.

- The INN at Meadowbrook Adopts BeyondTV GuestCast to Cater to the Latest Trends in Guestroom Entertainment
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions, has announced the successful implementation of its BeyondTV GuestCast in-room entertainment solution at The INN at Meadowbrook. An independent boutique property, The INN at Meadowbrook is a new hotel near Kansas City, located in the beautiful Meadowbrook Park development.


- Incorporating Privacy by Design’s Positive-Sum Approach into Your Smart Data Business Strategy
Consumer-facing industries are seemingly at a crossroads where their customers expect to have products and services instantly personalized while zealously guarding their personal data that makes such custom-tailored experiences even possible. What can businesses do to gain a competitive edge in the era of experience personalization while minimizing such fears?

- Neorcha new dailypoint™ Marketplace Partner
dailypoint™, one of Europe’s leading data management and CRM platforms, has acquired Neorcha, renowned hospitality solutions provider and SaaS (Software as a Service) company, as a new Marketplace partner.


-  iVvy Platform to Power Innovative Events Strategy for Atlantis Paradise Island
iVvy Platform announces Atlantis Paradise Island as the newest customer to engage with the software’s advanced RFP and event management systems. iVvy, a modern, cloud-based event and venue management platform, will support Atlantis Paradise Island by offering online distribution and RFP management; diagramming; invoicing; banquet and event orders; plus on-site execution from any mobile device.


- ProfitSword Unveils Advanced Mobile App-based Business Intelligence Functionality
ProfitSword, a premier developer of business intelligence and data integration software, has today announced the launch of a mobile app that integrates seamlessly with its business intelligence solutions to provide hoteliers with instant insight into key performance analytics from virtually any location.


- Atlas Hotels Selects Shiji Group's Infrasys Cloud POS Solution Across 50 Properties
Shiji Group has recently announced that UK-based Atlas Hotels has selected its Infrasys Cloud POS solution for all 50 hotel properties the company operates under IHG Hotels & Resorts.


- Novotel Convention & Spa Antananarivo Hotel Implements Latest in Security Access and Digital Key Convenience by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions through its reputation as a leader in hotel security innovation and together with regional distributor, Indian Ocean Visions Co. Ltd., have been selected by Novotel Convention & Spa Antananarivo Hotel to implement VingCard Essence door locks with Mobile Access.


- The 32nd Hunter Hotel Investment Conference Partners with CLEAR for Safer Conference Experience
The buzz of in-person events is on the rise and the Hunter Hotel Investment Conference is leading the way as one of the first industry conferences to return in 2021- taking place Monday, May 10th through Wednesday, May 12th. The Hunter Conference will be utilizing CLEAR’s Health Pass for the seamless COVID-19 screening of attendees. 

- HFTP Forms Global Hospitality PII Management Task Force to Develop Guidance on Secure Data Collection and Use
The growing use of high-tech interfaces and digital applications in hospitality operations present a need for thorough, hospitality-specific direction on data management, thoughtfully developed by the experts who implement the solutions.


- March Group Data Shows U.S. Meetings and Events Continue to Rise
Knowland, a leader in AI-powered data for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, conference centers and other meeting venues, today released its monthly meetings and events data for March. The numbers reveal that March U.S. group meetings volume increased 42.5 percent over last month.


- Beekeeper CEO’s New Book on How to Gain a Competitive Advantage with a Digitally Enabled Frontline Workforce
- Nashville Hotel Launches Trend in Accepting Cryptocurrency for Settling the Bill  
- IATA’s COVID-19 Travel Pass App Will Arrive on iPhone in April
- 23 Hotel Design Fails That Need to Go Down in History

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 4/9/2021


And now for you-know-what.…

Sitting by the window of her convent, Sister Barbara opens a letter from home. Inside the letter is a $100 bill sent by her elderly parents. Smiling warmly at their generosity despite their straitened circumstances, she is about to tuck it into her purse when, through the window, she notices a shabbily dressed stranger leaning against the lamp post below.
Quickly, she writes, “Don't despair, Sister Barbara,” on a piece of paper, wraps the $100 bill in it, gets the man's attention, and tosses it out the window to him. The stranger picks it up, and with a puzzled expression and a tip of his hat, trots off. The next day, Sister Barbara is told that a man is at the convent door, and he insists on seeing her. She goes down to find the stranger waiting.
Without a word, he hands her a huge wad of $100 bills.
“What's this?” she asks.
“That's the $8000 you have coming Sister,” he replies, “less my small commission.”
“Don't Despair paid 80-to-1 at Belmont.”

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