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Siegel Sez

June 09, 2023

Siegel Sez

If you are in any way connected to the hotel industry you must read Doug Rice’s Definitely Doug column that follows. Not only should you read it, but you should also forward it to others you know in the industry. What the hotel industry isn’t doing to address the human trafficking or as Doug clearly calls it sex trafficking issue, should bother everybody in the hotel industry. Yes, there are ways for technology to help, especially when it comes to law enforcement follow-up, but the issue won’t be solved with technology alone. Take a few moments, read what Doug has written and then take action. As you will read, human trafficking relies on hotels NOT doing what needs to be done, and for the most part they are consistently not doing enough. For me, it was a tough read since I grew up in and love the hotel industry. Please don’t hesitate to forward Definitely Doug after you read it! It is sobering and eye-opening as to what is happening and what needs to be done to address this horrible situation.
On a much lighter note, in two weeks I will be joining more than four thousand others in Toronto for HITEC along with the HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC). I can’t help but think back to the last time HITEC was in Toronto, what a great crowd and wonderful city. If you will be there, I am moderating a couple of sessions on Monday and there will be surprises at both. I love it when people expect the unexpected. Trying creative things often fails, but if you know me, I would always rather try and fail than avoid failure by not trying. We do hope to see you there. 

Of course, many will also be going to Las Vegas for The Hospitality Show and Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be there also. Won’t be as large a crowd and of course technology is just part of the show, but for a first-time event it should be interesting. Still bums me out, as it does many others in the industry that we can’t be in two places at once, but thankfully this is a one-time thing because the Hospitality Show takes place in October next year. I still feel for the vendors who were put in this situation, it never should have happened.
Hospitality Upgrade’s Managing Editor Geneva Rinehart is just back from the 2023 Boutique Hotel Investment Conference in New York City.  The orange sky and poor air quality were as bad as you’ve heard, but inside the Florence Gould Hall was nothing but pure energy. Ariela Kiradjian, Partner and COO of BLLA, and half of the mother-daughter duo behind BLLA, facilitated a highly interactive two days of panels focusing on financing, debt, environmental investment, technology and much more. Two of Geneva’s favorite panels included contributor Caryl Helsel, founder and CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, and the Candid Talk on Technology panel moderated by Neil Foster, Global President of HFTP.  Look for a recap and some photos of the event next week on Hotel Online.

Again, take a few minutes and block out everything else you have going on and read Definitely Doug that follows. Think about what the hotel industry could be doing to help address this horrible situation. Doug follows with the latest happenings in the technology world. Hopefully we will see many of you in Toronto or Las Vegas, nothing beats reconnecting with those from the industry face to face. I can’t wait!

Definitely Doug

Hotels Fighting Trafficking: The Role of Technology

This week I want to address an important issue for the hospitality industry, albeit one that technologists have not historically had on their radar. They can potentially play a significant role in addressing the issue, which is human trafficking, and more specifically sex trafficking.

Only a few of the capabilities described here have been implemented, mostly as custom modifications that cannot be purchased commercially. To be clear, the systems deployed in hotels can often capture the information that is needed, but they need enhancements (mostly minor) that have not been written. Cooperation across systems is needed, but hotel systems are not integrated in ways that could help address the problem.

I will come back to the technology piece in a minute, but I will start by framing the issue with some background on trafficking and hotels. According to a Human Trafficking Institute study, 80% of new federal criminal sex trafficking cases filed in the U.S. in 2021, where the location of the sex act was known, were in hotels. The same report showed that hotels were by far the most common defendants in new civil sex trafficking lawsuits, with more than twice as many actions as the runner-up category. Similar numbers emerge from the National Human Trafficking Hotline, which according to a Polaris study had 3,596 reports of human trafficking involving a hotel or motel; in 81% of these cases, sex acts were performed in a hotel under an escort service business model. Trafficking is not limited to one category of hotel; it happens in every category from bare-bones budget to top-end luxury.

Much has been written about this problem, and it is not my purpose as a technology writer to cover it in depth. Suffice it to say that the research shows that most victims of sex trafficking were lured or tricked into it by criminal traffickers, or forced by someone on whom they depend. Traffickers use physical and psychological threats to convince the victims that they are trapped with no way out. Victims are often afraid to speak up due to fear, isolation, guilt, shame, or manipulation by traffickers. Research from OnWatch indicates that 40% of traffickers are related to their victims, often uncles or more distant relatives but sometimes even parents. Many trafficking victims lack the support network from family that may be needed.

Alert hotel staff and guests who see something can call a national hotline operated by the nonprofit group Polaris. The hotline can help assess the situation and take appropriate action. A national campaign by the AHLA Foundation has prioritized actions around awareness, training, and posters for hotels, as well as survivor support. Posters are now appearing in many hotels encouraging guests and staff to make the hotline call.

A free 30-minute training program was developed collaboratively by Marriott International, ECPAT USA, and the AHLA Foundation. This is recommended or required training for many hotel companies. More than 1,000,000 hotel staff at Marriott alone have now completed it, and many more at other hotel companies. If you have not studied sex trafficking before, taking the training will change your perspective significantly.


Click here to read more of Doug’s column Hotels Fighting Trafficking: The Role of Technology

Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas
Hotels Fighting Trafficking: The Role of Technology


- Shiji Appoints Ryan King as Senior Vice President for the Americas
Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced today that Ryan King has been appointed Senior Vice President for the Shiji Americas. This reinforces Shiji’s commitment to strengthening its presence across the American continents, particularly in light of the successful collaboration with global hotel chains in these regions.

- Flip.to Positions for Scale with the Appointment of Product Growth Expert, Jon Ruggles, as Director, Partnerships
Flip.to, the marketing platform to reach, inspire, and win over travelers, is pleased to announce the appointment of industry veteran Jon Ruggles as Director, Partnerships. Tapped to bring his extensive experience from partnerships and product management to enterprise relationships and growth, his strategic vision will help accelerate the use of the Flip.to platform around the globe.


- Is Your Hotel Leveraging Technology to Do More With Less?
Hotels rely on technology to provide the best guest experience and address new challenges big and small, but responsibly leveraging their investment in technology requires a concerted effort. A large part of realizing the benefits of the tech stack is ensuring that stakeholders and users are engaged in doing the work to achieve the desired benefits.


- Amadeus and Pattern Announce Travel Protection Integration to Help Travelers Book with Confidence
The pandemic raised awareness to the criticality of trip insurance – giving travelers peace of mind to leave home knowing they would not be expensively stranded if the unthinkable were to happen. Travel protection was a must have during the height of COVID-19 and remains important now as traveler confidence returns.


- INTELITY to Showcase Platform Updates at HITEC Toronto 2023
INTELITY, provider of hospitality’s leading guest experience and staff management platform, announced it will highlight exciting updates to its cloud-based platform, including mobile feature set enhancements, enterprise brand-level and API utilization examples, and the latest on Platform R5, during the annual Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference, HITEC, from June 26–29, 2023, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

- Infor to Deliver Anywhere, Anytime Mobile Gratuity Options for the Hospitality Industry
Infor, an industry cloud company, announced a new partnership with TipQwik to offer hoteliers the ability to provide guests more flexible tipping options. 


- Highpointe Hotels Corp. Is Calling Its New BI and Accounting Tools ‘Outstanding’
Highpointe Hotel Corp., a full-service management and development company based in Gulf Breeze, Fla., has reaffirmed its commitment to Aptech through the recent adoption of its PVNG enterprise accounting software and NEW Execuvue Business Intelligence platform.


- IDeaS Powers Park Plaza Hotels Europe’s Revenue Management
IDeaS, a SAS company, a world leading provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, has been selected as the preferred RMS provider to Park Plaza Hotels Europe in Europe.


- Nomadix Passpoint Named Semi-Finalist in HTNG TechOvation Awards
Nomadix® Inc​., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the Nomadix Passpoint solution has been named a semi-finalist in the HTNG TechOvation Awards, which recognize and reward leading technology innovations throughout all sectors of the hospitality industry each year. Nomadix is the first and only technology provider to commercially productize Nomadix Passpoint for hospitality and deliver with real-world deployments globally for a major brand.


- Henderson Beach Resort Selects Clear Sky Software for Better Management of Their Food, Beverage and Retail Inventory
Clear Sky Software, Inc. ® announced today that the Henderson Beach Resort has installed the company’s Food, Beverage and Retail inventory control software. This beautiful resort in Destin, Florida selected Clear Sky Software to help control all inventory in beverage, food and retail areas.

- Springfield Marriott Downtown Implements Clear Sky Software's Food & Beverage Inventory Control System
Clear Sky Software, Inc.® announced today that the Springfield Marriott Downtown, managed by Aimbridge Hospitality, has implemented the company’s food & beverage inventory management software.  Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Springfield Marriott Downtown selected Clear Sky Software to help control all alcohol and food products. 


- Aavgo Partners With Econo Lodge Franchise Association as Exclusive Provider of Smart Reception Kiosks for Econo Lodge Hotels
Aavgo, a cutting-edge, cloud-based SaaS provider, announced an agreement with the Econo Lodge Franchise Association (EFLA) to offer its Smart Reception capabilities at the more than 700 Econo Lodge hotels across the U.S. and Canada. The partnership allows Econo Lodge owners to provide guests with a streamlined, personalized check-in experience while maximizing hotel profitability.


- Grazzy's Digital Tipping and Instant Earnings Disbursement Solution Now Integrates with Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud
Available through the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, new integration enhances digital tipping enablement with charge-to-room functionality, automated employee tip distribution, and robust reporting.


- Seneca Resorts & Casinos Selects ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions to Enhance Property Safety and Boost Guest Check-in Convenience
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, a leading provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, has been credited with increasing both guest safety and convenience with the implementation of several of its advanced technologies at Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.


- The Hospitality Show Announces New Speakers, Programming, Parties, Tours, and App
- IDeaS Supports Women in Travel THRIVE Organization
- Women in Hospitality Technology Celebrated at HITEC 2023; With Sponsorship Support From Corporate Spending Innovations
HFTP Announces HITEC 2023 International Perspectives Headliner Panelists to Explore Tech Trends for Today’s Global Traveler
- Agilysys to Participate in 20th Annual Craig-Hallum Capital Group Institutional Investor Conference May 31st in Minneapolis

For more information on Hospitality Events and Association News for 6/9/2023


- Chicago Leads in U.S. Meetings and Events in May for Second Month
- The Hotel Profit Playbook: Data-Driven Strategies to Move Beyond Rooms Revenue
- New Report from Cvent and GBTA Sheds Light on the Transforming Role of the Corporate Travel Manager
- Shiji ReviewPro Launches Guest Experience Benchmark Report for Q1 2023

For more information on Market Reports for 6/9/2023


- Human Trafficking in the Hospitality Industry
- Re:Thynking Technology’s Role in Today’s Hospitality Industry

- How We Use Robots at Our Hotel
- ChatGPT and Generative AI - How Hotels Benefit Today
- Say Goodbye to ChatGPT: Here Are New AI Tools That Will Blow Your Mind

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 6/9/2023

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

Amazing CGI – Singing cat Noodle has us fee-line good!

Noodles' Audition


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