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Siegel Sez

May 24, 2019

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

When it comes to the hotel and technology industry the one thing that is different today, than when I started my career in hotel technology a hundred or so years ago, is how change happens almost nonstop. Currently we are dealing with nonstop change from both sides of the fence with not just the technology vendors but the hotel companies. Are you aware how many companies Accor has acquired and what they did after the acquisitions? How about the technology companies that are acquiring each other. They always announce nothing will change but then within six months there are radical changes. I bring this up because in our upcoming issue John Burns, one of the most highly respected technology consultants, dived deep into all the changes we are dealing with as an industry from both sides of the equation, the hotel industry and the technology industry. He looks back but just as importantly he looks ahead. I hope as you read this you are also a subscriber to Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally. If not, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe. John’s upcoming article in our big HITEC issue was amazing, it really gets everybody thinking. Of course, I am privy to many of the rumors of changes that are coming but I stress the word rumors because I would say at best one out of five has any truth behind them, but it is always fun to hear what might be happening. We thank John for his wonderful job. Thanks also must go to Doug Rice whose views follow my opening. Doug is another who has been around forever and shares his thoughts as we get into the latest tech news. I love how he acknowledges the technology that is existing and how it impacts the hotel industry but also highlights newer technology that might or might not have an impact. We are glad he has become part of our bi-weekly look at the latest technology happenings. All these changes and new technology has everybody thinking, what are the next announcements that will be coming since all from the technology side love timing their announcements to coincide with HITEC. We shall see. 

On a much lighter note, and since I have been sharing the wacky ride with Hoboe and lots of readers drop me notes and ask about him, let me quickly share the latest. Hoboe returned from his six-month long break yesterday at Belmont Park in New York and he ran great. He came in second but that was fine after a long break, we will get them next time. Now no more yelling at me for not sharing Hoboe stories.

Here now is the real reason we are here, the latest technology happenings starting with Doug’s thoughts. I will see you at the end with this week’s latest attempt at you know what unless you like cats. We look forward to seeing those going to HITEC next month, write this down. Make sure you visit Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online at booth 3320. See you in Minneapolis!


Definitely Doug

by: Douglas  Rice

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Much has been written about travel as an experience rather than just a destination. While some hotel guests may arrive with a complete schedule of business activities or leisure plans, many have both the time and desire to experience the place they are visiting. The city may have its usual attractions, but we often forget that some of the most important experiences may be the ones right in the hotel’s neighborhood, where a guest who may have only limited time can still enjoy them.
Are your hotels capitalizing on this trend in a way that will attract digital natives? According to a study published by ALICE, 81% of consumers want to receive recommendations from hotels for local experiences. And particularly with respect to the hotel’s immediate neighborhood, no one is better equipped to provide those recommendations. Traditionally this has been the role of the concierge, but even for the diminishing number of hotels that employ a live concierge, some guests prefer the digital approach. Further, the concierge may not be available when or where the guest needs them. My own experience is often trying to find them after I get back from dinner or early on Saturday morning, and this has rarely been successful!
To be sure, you can link your hotel website or mobile app to existing travel and visitor guides to provide local information. But these have significant drawbacks. First, they don’t make it easy for the guest that finds herself with an unscheduled hour and wants to see something interesting, because they tend to list all of the attractions in the city, 99% of which are not close enough to be relevant. Second, they are usually advertising-driven, meaning they only list things that advertisers will pay for, not the many things that are free (or that are provided by operators who can’t or don’t want to pay the advertising fees). Third, they appeal to the masses, not necessarily to your hotel’s specific clientele. Fourth, while they can do a good job of covering things like restaurants and museums, they are poor at answering questions like “what’s a good 5 mile jogging route from the hotel,” or “I have an hour to see the neighborhood, what are a couple of interesting things I could see?” Fifth, most don’t do very well with short-term events, such as street fests or art fairs, which could be great options for guests who are there when they happen. And finally, generic city guides do nothing to improve your search rankings for guests looking for hotels near a particular attraction, because they’re not a part of your website.
If your website, mobile app, or in-room tablet is not providing good, local-neighborhood experiences, curated for your customers and written up in a way that will get their attention, then you may be missing an inexpensive opportunity to make your guests’ experience more memorable. And while it’s possible to create and manage the content on your own, there is a growing number of third-party providers who can do it for you at low cost and little to no effort. The best ones can support the full range of digital strategy, from embedding on your website to a link in prearrival emails, from mobile app to in-room tablet, from lobby kiosk to the guest-room TV. Some even support reviews (by hotel guests) of the recommendations.
Quality of content matters. In evaluating a product, ask if the provider can measure how much time guests spend looking at it. Especially on your website, more time spent there means improved SEO rank. Some of the products provide professional travel writers, while others leave it the hotel to provide the content.
Also consider whether and how to try to monetize referrals via commissions.  If you’re providing valuable referrals to local merchants and if they are willing to pay for that, then you want a platform that provides some way to track referrals. But avoid the temptation to let this influence the choice of what’s included in the neighborhood guide. The critical issue is making sure your guests have a great experience and recommend your hotel to others, not earning a few extra dollars in commissions. To this day, I won’t stay at a particular 5-star luxury hotel in Boston because 20 years ago the concierge sent my party to a simply horrible local restaurant, and it could only be because they were greasing his pockets. That’s obviously a bad strategy with a human concierge, and just as unforgivable to do digitally.
To be sure, traditional guest mobile platforms like Intelity, iRiS, Runtriz, or Crave may (depending on how it’s been deployed) meet many or all of the requirements for a neighborhood guide. If you have such a platform, you should certainly evaluate how well it can meet the need. But if you don’t, you need not buy one just to deploy a great neighborhood guide, there are vendors who will sell you just that one piece. And even if you do have one, you can evaluate it better by first looking at what some of these innovative young companies are doing. A few that have caught my attention, and that meet most of the criteria mentioned above, are Arrivedo, Frictionless Guest, and GuestU. Do you know of others that support original, hotel-specific content?
Finally, a postscript to my article on Enterprise Service Buses in the last Siegel Sez. A few days after that was published, we saw the public announcement of Jonas Chorum, which is essentially MSI’s CloudPM product bundled with Jonas ARC. Jonas ARC is an ESB developed by Jonas Software to support both its hospitality and non-hospitality products, and it has been adapted to provide open APIs that can be used to access all Jonas Hospitality products as well as external third-party systems. It is similar to the ESBs mentioned in the earlier article and it will be interesting to see how Jonas develops its market over time.
Douglas Rice
Twitter:  @dougrice


- Announcing Felix Laboy as Executive Chairman of NextGuest
With the addition of Laboy to drive leadership across organizations, NextGuest is well equipped to fulfill and execute the long-term strategy of delivering high-level service and technology to the hospitality industry.


- Maestro PMS Collection of Open APIs Gives Users the Freedom to Install Their Choice of the Latest Third Party Systems to Enhance Operations
- SkyTouch Integrates with TravelClick’s iHotelier Central Reservation System
Sudima Hotel Group Digitizes with Infor for Expansion
Jonas Hospitality Formally Announces the Launch of Jonas Chorum


For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/24/2019


- Batten Down the Hatches: SHR Sets a New Course for the Future of Hotel Tech with Force10™
New product is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine that will utilize data from proprietary applications (CRS, RMS, and CRM to begin with) to generate optimized recommendations that increase the effectiveness of the apps, and ultimately create more revenue.
- Travel Tripper and Pegasus Launch Conversion Plus
New direct booking tool helps hotels personalize website offers in real time, boosting conversion rates and direct revenues.
- SHR Integrates with DerbySoft to Provide Advanced Distribution Tool
SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, a pioneer of advanced hotel distribution technologies and developer of Windsurfer® CRS, has become fully integrated with DerbySoft, a leader in high-performance distribution services with over 280 connections to OTA, wholesaler, and tour operating groups globally.


- SHR Introduces Wave™ RMS
SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources, a pioneer of advanced hotel revenue generation technologies, has rolled out its new Revenue Management System, Wave™ RMS, joining the best of machine learning with human intelligence to optimize hotel revenue strategies.


- Dream Hollywood Reimagines Guest Marketing
SkyTouch and OpenKey Interface to Transform Guest Engagement and Help Drive Satisfaction Scores
INTELITY to Debut Enhanced Staff Features and Functionalities at HITEC Minneapolis
Ambassador Hotel Kansas City Caters to Guest Connectivity and Convenience Demands via Wi-Fi Upgrade and BeyondTV with Voice Control by Hotel Internet Services
Angie Hospitality Achieves International Certifications to Provide Hoteliers with Seamless Integration and Standards Compliance in Global Hospitality Markets
Volara and INTEREL Enabling Hotel Guests to Control the Room Environment on Voice Command

For more information on Guest Services for 05/24/2019


- Lodging Interactive Launches AI Powered Website ADA Compliance Service for Hotels
Lodging Interactive’s solution utilizes two components that, together, achieve website compliance.


- Westin Book Cadillac Detroit Hotel Uses Clear Sky Software to Better Manage F&B Inventory
Called Clear Sky FOOD & BEVERAGE, this is a comprehensive, perpetual inventory system that tracks and controls all F&B products.
- Managing Beverage Inventory Is a Breeze at the Westin New York Times Square Thanks to Clear Sky Software
The system is a comprehensive, perpetual inventory system that tracks and controls all beverage products.


- With Over a Decade Exhibiting at HITEC, InvoTech is Excited to Return to Minneapolis This Year with New Technology and System Features
InvoTech Systems adopts new android wireless UHF-RFID handheld data terminal for linen, laundry and uniforms.

- ALICE Named to Inc.’s Best Workplaces of 2019
The company was recognized for exceptional growth, benefits, and employee feedback.


- VENZA Voted One of the Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in Atlanta
Every year companies throughout Atlanta compete to be named one of Atlanta’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.


- Mid America Lodging Group Selects dormakaba USA Inc To Provide Electronic Locks for 21 Properties
dormakaba USA Inc, the provider of secure Saflok™ and Ilco™ electronic door locks, announced Mid America Lodging Group selected dormakaba USA Inc to deploy locks in more than 3,000 rooms across 21-properties in its portfolio.


- Report: Hilton Tops List for Most Valuable Brand
- Mobile Boosts Guest Loyalty and Experience
- Google Consolidates, Rebrands Travel Services
- Amazon Confirms Flight-Booking Launch as Part of a Superapp Strategy

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 05/24/2019


And now for you-know-what …  

A German Shepherd, a Doberman and a Cat died and went to heaven. All three are faced with God who wants to know what they believe in.
The German Shepherd says: “I believe in discipline, training and loyalty to my master.” “Good” says God, “then sit down on my right side.”
“Doberman, what do you believe in?” Asks God. The Doberman answers: “I believe in the love, care and protection of my master.” “Aha”, says God. “you may sit to my left.”
Then he looks at the Cat, and asks: “and what do you believe in?” The Cat then answers: “I believe you’re sitting in my seat!"

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