Siegel Sez

June 01, 2018

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

June 1st, finally. Three weeks from today there will be an estimated 6,000 industry professionals saying what a week that was. If you are one of the 6,000 will you be saying you learned a lot? We are talking HITEC in Houston. There is so much going on from the general sessions, concurrent sessions, super sessions, exhibit floor, meetings and of course, the parties. Every year I am thankful for the experience and also aggravated when I think of the things I didn’t accomplish and the people I didn’t meet. I am trying my best to map out my week, but there are always the surprises that happen. It makes for an interesting week. For those of you who want to know which parties to go to please stop by our booth No. 226 on Tuesday. We will share our thoughts with you and our amazing list. Also, if you are planning which sessions to attend, I want to recommend Wednesday morning at 8:30 where we will have three CIOs (Montage, Omni and citizenM) and one CEO (Sonesta Hotels) on a panel sharing their thoughts as to when is it too much technology. There definitely will be different perspectives on this issue. I hope to see you there, and please bring some questions.
This is a busy time of year for Hospitality Upgrade. Not just all our HITEC commitments, but we are also deep into the planning of our CIO Summit which this year will be in Seattle. When planning the program, we conduct calls with CIOs from all over the world asking for their input. They share the challenges they are dealing with today, but also the challenges they see escalating three months from now. They are extremely open with us, and we learn a lot. The suggestions for session topics are not only technology issues, but also business issues. I think this is what makes the CIO Summit event so unique. I thank them for their help, but also know I am going to be getting my share of grief when we get together at HITEC. Some deserved, some created but always fun times. Houston, here we come.
We receive many positive comments on Ron Hardin’s intro to our technology review. This week he hit home with me. I remember working in hotels when we had a computer system installed and then later in my career I ended up being the guy who installed the systems. The easiest and most successful installations where always when we eliminated the vendor and customer hats and focused on being a partnership to make sure the process and installation of the new technology went well. Nobody wins when it comes down to finger pointing. Ron brought up some great points especially when it is a new hotel. We thank him for his support.
Here now is the real reason we are here, the latest technology happenings in the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.  Don’t forget that one week from tomorrow is the Belmont Stakes in New York. Three years ago I experienced a Triple Crown winner with American Pharaoh – perhaps we will experience it again with Justify. Maybe we will celebrate at HITEC!


by: Ron Hardin

This is your erstwhile correspondent reporting from the front lines – from the trenches – from a new hotel opening. HITEC is approaching, so I can’t wait to arrive in Houston to get more than my fair share of smoke, mirrors and over-amplified product hype. But until then, I am deeply focused on the real-world exercise of making things actually work in a real hotel just about to open its doors. Herewith are some miscellaneous ramblings and random observations:
* I miss analog. I used to look down upon the effete hipsters who rejected CDs and other forms of digital audio for the “warmth” and “realism” of analog vinyl records. This was because I knew – technically – that the “warmth” was just noise and hiss, and that the digital recordings were more accurate. I clearly acknowledge the numerous benefits of technology like voice-over IP and IPTV, but analog was easier – and more reliable. I still find it hard to accept things like guestroom phones new out of the box that have to receive firmware updates from the mothership before they will work. Or having to deal with software licensing or user subscriptions to add a phone extension. Or only being able to use phones certified for the particular IP PBX platform. Or IPTV boxes that just decide to not update over the network. I’m not a Luddite; the advantages outweigh the shortcomings, but I can be nostalgic for the old-school “plug-n-play.”
* I hate analog. Specifically, the pesky little bits that remain lurking in the dark corners of even modern products. Brand new IPTV systems using the latest and greatest model of set-top boxes. Brand new cardio machines in the fitness center with built-in HDTV consoles. But the connection solution to get TV control signals from the fitness consoles to the IPTV boxes involves infrared (IR) extension dongles on each device, with their little IR “eyes” taped together with black electrical tape. I swear I’m not making this up. It works, but it ain’t pretty. 
* Trust but verify. Vendors are not miracle workers, particularly when working in a pre-opening situation with ongoing construction activities. Make sure your vendors’ project plans include post-installation confirmation of functionality, and that your plan includes going behind them to double-check. You must INSPECT what you EXPECT. Most of the vendors involved in my current project have done a great job in this respect, but Murphy’s Law still applies – it’s the stuff you DON’T check that will end up biting you in the butt.
* Cable everywhere. This is an oldie, but a goodie. When the plans for a new property are highly detailed and well thought out, there is an understandable temptation to closely fit the cabling plan – to only put cable in spaces based on the current plan for those spaces. But we all know that needs – and plans – change over time. So, before you delete those cable drops from the storerooms or the public spaces because there is no need for them, think down the road to the inevitable changes. Some of those storerooms WILL become offices. And that empty corner of the lobby? It’s the perfect place for a new concierge desk ... if we only had power and cable. Until we can do everything securely via Wi-Fi, a few extra cable drops and power outlets are inexpensive future-proofing in new construction.
Next stop: HITEC!  Bring on the smoke and mirrors!
Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting

Recent headlines, from Hospitality Upgrade


- LaSalle Hotel Properties to Be Acquired by Blackstone for $33.50 Per Share in $4.8 Billion Transaction
- RLH Corporation Closes Acquisition of the Knights Inn Brand From Wyndham Hotel Group
- Wyndham Worldwide Completes Acquisition of La Quinta Holdings

For more information on Mergers & Acquisitions for 06/01/18


- HSMAI Appoints Insight Out to Manage HSMAI Middle East
- ReviewPro Appoints Hotel Tech Veteran Michelle Marquis as VP of Sales in North America
- SHR Announces VHP PMS Integration for APAC Region
- BENCHMARK®, a global hospitality company, Promotes Jarrad Evans to Senior Vice President, Business Development and Strategy
- Denihan Hospitality Appoints Michael Goldrich Vice President of Marketing
- NAVIS Welcomes New VP of Engineering to Leadership Team
- Red Roof® Names Ted Hutchins as New Chief Information Officer
- UpLift Appoints former Cisco Executive Rob Soderbery as Company’s First President

For more information on People on the Move for 06/01/18


- “Maestro PMS is at the Heart of Our Business” Guest Preference and Stay History Across Multiple Modules Drives Personalized Service, Increases Staff Productivity
- StayNTouch Brings PMS Mobility to New Hotel in London
“Maestro PMS is at the Heart of Our Business” Guest Preference and Stay History Across Multiple Modules Drives Personalized Service, Increases Staff Productivity
For hundreds of independent resort, hotel, conference center and multiproperty operators, the Maestro Property Management Solution is the hub of operations. Maestro’s property management software centralizes a rich supply of guest information across 20+ seamlessly integrated modules. Water’s Edge Resort & Spa, a 188-room year-round full-service destination in Westbrook, Conn., began using Maestro PMS in 2009. Water’s Edge Resort & Spa also uses Maestro’s online Guest Experience Measurement (GEM) module to connect with guests for feedback about their stay.
StayNTouch Brings PMS Mobility to New Hotel in London
StayNTouch, an innovator in mobile technology and property management systems (PMS) for hotels, announced it has partnered with The East London Hotel, a stylish new hotel in the heart of London’s East End. StayNTouch has deployed its Rover PMS™ and Zest™ products which will be available for the opening in mid summer.


- SHR Announces VHP PMS Integration for APAC Region
- SHR to Offer Unique Business Analytics Software
- Head of France at SiteMinder Alerts Hotels: “Direct Bookings are Slowing”
- Hostelling International Looks to Win More Guests Directly with SiteMinder
- eDream Hotels Strengthens Offering to Hotels, Launches Connectivity with SiteMinder
- Tripleseat and SevenRooms Partner to Provide A Seamless Integration Between Online Reservations and Private Event Bookings For Restaurants

For more information on Reservations for 06/01/18


- HSMAI Recognizes Tech Innovation of Smart Space by IDeaS
- Golden Entertainment Selects Comprehensive Rainmaker Suite to Drive Guest Bookings and Increase Profitability
- The Rainmaker Group Continues to Make a Mark in the APAC Region as it Partners with SKYCITY Entertainment Group
- The Rainmaker Group Now Integrates with Hotel Property Management System, RoomKeyPMS

For more information on Revenue Management for 06/01/18


- LuMINN Hotel Minneapolis is Elevating Guest Engagement via Intelity/INNCOM Integration
- Intelity to Showcase 10 Years of Technology Innovation at HITEC Houston
- Phonesuite Integrates with Roxy Voice-activated Assistant to Streamline In-room Technology
- From Coast to Coast: The Parker New York Sister Property in Palm Springs Selects ALICE to Enhance Hotel Operations and Guest Experience
- Historic Hotel Baker Adds Modern Touch with Crave In-room Tablets
- From London to Singapore, DigiValet Expands to Luxury Hotels in Major Cities
- Shephard’s Beach Resort Maximizes Guest Connectivity with Advanced Wi-Fi and BeyondTV by Hotel Internet Services
- Hotel Internet Services Deploys Advanced Television Voice Command Functionality with BeyondTV
- Scribd and KEYPR Partner to Deliver Digital Library to Hotels

For more information on Guest Services for 06/01/18


- Local Measure Announces New App on the Salesforce AppExchange
Local Measure Announces New App on the Salesforce AppExchange
Local Measure, a leading location-based intelligence platform for hospitality, tourism and retail, announced its new app on the Salesforce AppExchange. The Local Measure integration allows businesses to connect in-venue experiences with their digital customer record, creating potential for richer, personalized customer experiences. The integration also provides real-time location context, allowing for a fuller view of the customer and their activity and interaction with specific business locations. Local Measure connects with venue wireless products to offer a social splash screen to sign onto venue Wi-Fi. Once installed, the sign-on data along with the customer profile integrates directly into the customer contact on Salesforce.,


- HEBS Digital’s smartCMS® Wins a Stevie® Award for The Fifth Consecutive Year at the 2018 American Business Awards®
- IVH Travel + InnCentives Loyalty Club Now Available as a Mobile App for iOS and Android Devices
- Lodging Interactive Launches Next-generation ADA-conforming Websites for Hotels
- NextGuest Technologies to Showcase Fully Integrated Guest Acquisition, Engagement, and Retention Platform at HITEC Houston

For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/01/18


- AVaStar Presents the Future of Meetings at HITEC  
AVaStar Presents the Future of Meetings at HITEC  
The adoption and use of new technology has sparked a shift in meeting planner objectives and goals. According to the International Association of Convention Centers’ (IACC) 2017 Meeting Room of the Future™ report, meeting planners are looking to create more personalized experiences for delegates by integrating more interactive technology. This month at HITEC, AVaStar, a digital platform created in direct response to hoteliers’ requests for a solution that guides staff in providing technology services to their customers, will bring more attention to the event technology arena. Hoteliers struggling with keeping event technologies updated, developing technology plans and budgets, and providing training to internal AV teams can learn about AVaStar in the Electro-Media Design booth 1019, June 18 to 21, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.


- Experience One of Hospitality’s Most Innovative Technologies at HITEC Houston with Beekeeper
- The Hospitality Industry Becomes a "HAPI-er" Place with the Launch of HAPI's Integrated Data Platform
- New Hotel Tech Stack e-book Explores the Impact of Technology Throughout the Guest Journey

For more information on Back Office for 06/01/18


- Phoenix Hotel Gains Better Control Over Beer, Liquor and Wine Inventory Thanks to Clear Sky Software
Phoenix Hotel Gains Better Control Over Beer, Liquor and Wine Inventory Thanks to Clear Sky Software
Clear Sky Software, Inc.® announced that The Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel has implemented the company’s beverage inventory control system to help manage and control all beverage products. The Renaissance Phoenix is taking advantage of the features of this industry-leading beverage inventory system. Called Clear Sky BEVERAGE, it is a comprehensive, perpetual inventory system that tracks and controls all beverage products. Functions include purchasing/ordering, receiving, electronic requisition, outlet transfers/issues/returns and physical inventory.  All of these software tools allow management at this hotel to report beverage costs by location, product and product category, thanks to an interface to Oracle's MICROS Simphony POS system.


- Release of New Eatec® Version Brings Simplified Installation and Enhanced Integrations
- Annabel’s, the Most Exclusive Club in London, Tracks Its High-End Garments Using the InvoTech Uniform System
Release of New Eatec® Version Brings Simplified Installation and Enhanced Integrations
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, announced general availability of the latest version of Eatec®, the company’s comprehensive inventory and procurement solution. Eatec v3.7.4 includes a simplified installation process along with improvements to Eatec Pocket, Eatec Client and Eatec Web. Eatec is a full-featured inventory, procurement and production system designed specifically for the hospitality and foodservice industries. Along with its core purchasing, inventory, recipe, forecasting, production and sales analysis functions, Eatec also offers modules for catering, cycle planning, retail management, nutrition and allergens.
Annabel’s, the Most Exclusive Club in London, Tracks Its High-End Garments Using the InvoTech Uniform System
InvoTech Systems Inc. announced the recent implementation of its uniform system at Annabel’s in London, U.K. InvoTech Systems is a leading provider of advanced linen management, laundry and uniform systems that integrate the latest RFID technology to increase profitability for hotels, resorts, casino operators, sports arenas, convention centers and theme parks. The InvoTech System installed at Annabel’s manages the uniform inventory for 300+ employees at the private club. Annabel’s joins InvoTech’s extensive worldwide client portfolio.


- VENZA® Chosen as One of Atlanta's 2018 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for®
- Dashlane Releases 2018 Travel Website Password Power Rankings
VENZA® Chosen as One of Atlanta's 2018 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for®
VENZA has been named one of Atlanta’s 2018 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® by Best and Brightest and The National Association for Business Resources (NABR). VENZA stands next to some of Atlanta’s top companies among this year's winners, displaying a commitment to excellence in its human resource practices and employee enrichment.
Dashlane Releases 2018 Travel Website Password Power Rankings
Dashlane, one of the world's most trusted digital security companies, announced the results of its first Travel Website Password Power Rankings™. The rankings, which examined password and account security on 55 of the world's most popular travel-related sites, found that 89 percent of sites leave their users' accounts perilously exposed to hackers due to unsafe password practices. Dashlane researchers tested each website on five critical password and account security criteria. A site received a point for each criterion it met, for a maximum score of 5/5. Any score below 4/5 was considered failing and not meeting the minimum threshold for good password security. For more information, including the full data set, click here.


- OpenTravel Alliance Releases 2018A 2.0 Object Model Publication for Hospitality
OpenTravel Alliance Releases 2018A 2.0 Object Model Publication for Hospitality
OpenTravel Alliance, the not-for-profit responsible for developing and maintaining interoperability for disparate systems in all verticals of the travel industry, has published the 2018A 2.0 Object Suite Publication. This release is primarily focused on hospitality and includes functionality for key actions associated with booking a hotel. Functions of the 2018A Object Suite Publication include searching for hotels, checking availability, creating offers and orders and booking reservations. Part of the larger 2.0 Object Model, 2018A Object Suite Publication affords implementers with the same benefits, such as scalability and message customization and personalization. The specification contains both XML and JSON messaging, WSDLs and Swagger, documentation and examples, as well as supporting artifacts. The 2018A 2.0 Object Suite Publication is available for download here.


- Multiplatinum Artist FLO RIDA Will Perform at the HITEC Houston Opening Party, Presented by Samsung
Multiplatinum Artist FLO RIDA Will Perform at the HITEC Houston Opening Party, Presented by Samsung
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), producers of Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®), announced a partnership with Samsung for the upcoming HITEC Houston opening party this June. Multiplatinum entertainer Flo Rida will perform at the opening party on Mon., June 18, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the House of Blues Houston. HITEC Houston will be held from June 18-21, 2018, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas. HFTP and Samsung, which annually hosts a party coinciding with HITEC, are coming together to create a memorable evening that will help propel the week of hospitality education and networking.,,


- No more check-in lines? New Royal Caribbean app lets you walk right onto ship
- Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant can hear silent commands that you can’t
- 5 ways to ensure AI unlocks its full potential to serve humanity
- Are personalised chatbots the new business travel agents?
- Skill shift: Automation and the future of the workforce
- The birth of the Universal Digital Profile
- Why your next phone might be on your face or wrist, not in your pocket

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 06/01/18


And now for you-know-what…
A lawyer and two friends, a Rabbi and a Hindu holy man, had car trouble in the countryside and asked to spend the night with a farmer.
The farmer said, "There might be a problem; you see, I only have room for two to sleep, so one of you must sleep in the barn."
"No problem," said the Rabbi. "My people wandered in the desert for 40 years, I am humble enough to sleep in the barn for an evening."
With that he departed to the barn and the others bedded down for the night.
Moments later a knock was heard at the door; the farmer opened the door. There stood the Rabbi from the barn.
"What's wrong?" asked the farmer.
He replied, "I am grateful to you, but I can't sleep in the barn. There is a pig in the barn and my faith believes that is an unclean animal."
His Hindu friend agreed to swap places with him. But a few minutes later the same scene reoccurs. There is a knock on the door.
"What's wrong, now?" the farmer asked.
The Hindu holy man replied, "I too am grateful for your helping us out but there is a cow in the barn and in my country cows are considered sacred. I can't sleep on holy ground."
Well, that left only the lawyer to make the change. He grumbled and complained, but went out to the barn.
Moments later there was another knock on the farmer’s door.
Frustrated and tired, the farmer opened the door, and there stood...
The pig and the cow.

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.