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Siegel Sez

July 02, 2021

Siegel Sez

When we were putting together our Executive Vendor Summit and now as we finalize our CIO Summit for Sept. 8-10, the events people at each hotel asked if there would be a virtual connection for those who can’t physically attend. For a multitude of reasons, my answer is always no. Yesterday I attended a virtual presentation put on by Cloud5 and hosted by Armand Rabinowitz that included Jeff Bzdawka the new CEO at Knowland and Page Petry who is a Strategic Advisor with UgoVirtual. The presentation was all about the future of meetings. Doug Rice in his Definitely Doug column which follows, focuses on where we are as an industry with virtual and “hybrid” meetings. To me the big issue will be tradeshows, which is why you should read Doug’s column. Tradeshows rely on suppliers to buy booths. They want live bodies to visit them since those who spent the money last year for virtual events pretty much all wish they hadn’t. As discussed yesterday and with Doug’s comments we all need to accept that the virtual world we have lived in for the past 15 months isn’t leaving us, but how impactful it will be in the future is still to be determined. So, I strongly encourage you to take a few moments to read Definitely Doug. It gets you thinking.
I believe it was 8 years ago when I was attending ITB in Munich. There were no hotel rooms available and if you could find one it was beyond expensive. There was this start-up venture called Airbnb where people would rent their homes. I checked it out, found a condo in a great location that was half of what a hotel room would have cost. It was an absolute disaster! Eight years ago, and I have never stayed at an Airbnb since. I bring this up because we are planning a family reunion in Saratoga in July for 8 adults and I booked an Airbnb for the first time since my disaster in Munich. For $600 a night and we can walk to downtown Saratoga. When you look at what four hotel rooms for a three-night weekend stay costs we are probably paying a third of what it would be staying in a decent hotel. I guess 8 years is long enough to get over my bad experience, wouldn’t you say? Everyone I know seems to be embarking on a summer trip somewhere. It is simply about time. July 2nd, Fourth of July weekend, schools are all out — let the summer travel season begin!
Here now is Doug Rice with his Definitely Doug column. Also included are the latest happenings in the world of technology for our industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you know what. Virtual or not, time will tell!
Have a great 4th of July,

Definitely Doug

Evolving Technology for Hybrid Meetings

A little over a year ago, as the first wave of COVID lockdowns was just starting to ease, I wrote in this blog that virtual and hybrid events would be the new normal for some time to come, and that hybrid meetings would persist post-COVID, and perhaps permanently.

After a year in which the world gained more familiarity than it ever wanted with virtual and hybrid meetings, I would no longer use the word “perhaps.” Hybrid meetings and events are now a permanent part of the landscape, even as face-to-face starts to return. While that article and the technologies it discussed are still relevant today, there has been much innovation, experimentation, and learning about virtual and hybrid events in the past year. This week I will provide an update and highlight some of the interesting technologies that have found their way into the meeting and event space.

Both research and experience suggest that many people still want in-person events. Most human beings need physical contact and the deeper relationships that come with spending time together. At the same time, many conferences have discovered a large untapped audience: people who wanted to attend and would pay to do so, but who could not justify the time, expense, or disruption of travel, especially where long distances were involved. Just as televised sports dramatically expanded the audience (and revenue base) of games that once required physical attendance, many conferences have found they can expand their audiences without materially reducing in-person attendance.

Event planners have learned much about managing the challenges of hybrid events. Face-to-face conferences often run from early morning to late evening with a combination of sessions, workshops, breaks, meals, and social events; most attendees can remain reasonably engaged through all or most of the day. The attention span of remote attendees is much shorter, however, and if the audience is global, prime hours for many might be far outside of normal working hours, or even in the middle of the night. As a result, many virtual and hybrid events have learned the importance of keeping the interactive portions short, and for hybrid events, offering much more content in recorded form for attendees to absorb at their own pace over days or weeks.

Virtual attendees can easily be lost during breaks between sessions as well; the herders who marshal attendees back into the main event room at face-to-face conferences have little success doing so with virtual attendees. One successful technique for keeping virtual participants engaged is to hire a dedicated emcee and make it more of a continual show as opposed to simply a live feed. When physical attendees go on break or to lunch, the emcee can fill the time interviewing speakers, visiting interesting exhibits or sponsors, or providing other “color” that makes the virtual attendees’ experience more meaningful.

There is no single answer as to whether hotels and other meeting venues should incorporate fixed technology solutions and offer hybrid-ready meeting rooms, maintain a stock of simple equipment that can be deployed as needed, or rely on a third-party audiovisual provider. The right answer for a hotel may be a combination, and depends on size, business mix, support resources, and the size and design of its meeting rooms. Many of the technologies discussed in this article can be deployed in any of the three models. Hotels that choose equip specific meeting rooms for turnkey use in various common scenarios should be certain to market these capabilities clearly, such as “room fully equipped for up to eight local attendees in a hybrid meeting” or “suitable for a presenter making a virtual presentation.”

Click here to read more of Doug’s column on Evolving Technology for Hybrid Meetings


Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/
Evolving Technology for Hybrid Meetings


- Enseo Secures Growth Investment from H.I.G. Capital
Enseo, a premier service provider offering in-room technology solutions to the hospitality, senior living, education and healthcare markets, has secured a growth investment from H.I.G. Capital (“H.I.G.”), a leading alternative investment firm with $44 billion of equity capital under management.


- Infor Names Mike Dickersbach as Vice President of Global Services of Hospitality Division
Dickersbach joins Infor after more than 20 years working in information systems and technology and is a welcome addition to the company’s long line of hospitality-specific talent.

- b4checkin Announces Peter J. Rogers, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer, Founder Saar Fabrikant Appointed as President
b4checkin, Ltd. has appointed its current Chairman of the Board, Peter J. Rogers, Jr., as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Saar Fabrikant, the Company’s co-founder, who previously acted in both the CEO and President roles, has been appointed as President. Mr. Fabrikant will direct product development & strategic sales, as b4checkin drives to meet the expanding technology needs of a post-pandemic hospitality industry.


- Oracle’s Open Architecture Is Poised to Modernize Hotels Rebounding from the Pandemic
- Hoteliers Excited About Improved Guest Satisfaction with Maestro’s New GuestXMS Mobile Engagement & Feedback Tool
- Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Selects StayNTouch as a Preferred PMS Partner
- Bridgeton Selects StayNTouch Guest-Centric PMS to Enhance Guest Engagement & Drive Ancillary Revenue

For more information on Guest Management Systems for 7/2/2021


- Serviced Apartment Provider SMARTments Business Selects IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced that serviced apartment provider SMARTments business has selected IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) to deliver automated, dynamic pricing and accurate forecasting across its growing portfolio.


- CustomerCount® Cloud-Based Customer Feedback System Builds Greater Trust Between Customers and Brands
Bob Kobek, President of Mobius Vendor Partners (MVP), creator of the  CustomerCount®  online feedback management system and Scott Frey, CEO of PossibleNOW have announced an intent to integrate the MyPreferences consent and preference management platform into a new CustomerCount enhanced service. This service will be offered as a part of the CustomerCount pre-check in survey.

- Comcast Business Delivers Deluxe Viewing and Connectivity Solutions to Make Rally Hotel Guests Feel at Home
Comcast Business today announced it is providing Rally Hotel with services that will improve the guest experience, including customized TV viewing experiences and options to keep guests connected to their home away from home. The Comcast Business solutions include X1 Hospitality, along with a 2 Gig Ethernet Dedicated Internet (EDI) connection and a 500 Mbps EDI circuit.


- Groups360 Announces Enhanced User Interface for GroupSync
Groups360 today announced the release of new product enhancements to GroupSync, the most trusted online marketplace for sourcing and booking hotel rooms and meeting space across a wide selection of brands. Among these enhancements are redesigned menus and navigation to improve the user experience and a quick search feature for planners who have preselected their preferred hotels.


- Maestro PMS Streamlines Financial Management Processes for Award Winning Properties with Intuitive Hospitality's 'Hotel-In-A-Box' Integration
Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, British Columbia, is seeing significant efficiencies with its Hotel-In-A-Box financial management solution developed by former hotelier Steve Bowers and Intuitive Hospitality. Using advanced Microsoft technology, the resort destination’s chief financial officer and accounting staff can access the system from anywhere since all information is stored in the cloud and automatically backed up to ensure 100% redundancy.
maestropms.com    www.hotel-in-a-box.com


- Cloud5 Communications Delivers High-Speed Internet Services for Element Denver International Airport
Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of communications solutions for the world’s top hotel brands and management companies, recently completed the installation of their high speed internet access (HSIA) solution at Marriott’s Element Denver International Airport by Westin in Colorado.

- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Madison Partners with HIS for High-Speed and Reliable Guest Wi-Fi
Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with implementing an advanced Wi-Fi upgrade with enhanced security using multi-factor authentication for the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Madison.


- Clear Sky’s Beverage Inventory Control Software Selected by Sheraton New Orleans
Clear Sky Software, Inc.® announced today that the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel has installed the company’s beverage inventory control software.  The Sheraton selected Clear Sky Software to help control all beer, liquor and wine inventory.

- La Valencia Hotel Implements Agilysys POS SaaS Solutions to Elevate Guest Experience & Enhance Operations
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 the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, CA has implemented the award-winning innovative InfoGenesis and IG Flex SaaS POS solutions, as well as its modern cloud-native SaaS Agilysys Pay Connect secure payment processing product to enhance their guest experience.


- Worldline Partners with Cendyn to Enhance Online Payment Capabilities in the Hospitality Industry
Worldline, the European market leader in payment and transactional services, announced its collaboration with Cendyn, a leading innovator in CRM, sales, and revenue strategy in the hospitality industry. Thanks to this partnership, hotels can now include secure e-payment solutions in any automated guest communication. 


- Caesars Bluewater Dubai Enhances Their Operations with Knowcross
Knowcross, the world’s leading service quality management platform is excited to announce that Caesars Bluewaters Dubai has activated the Knowcross platform including KNOW Maintenance, Knowcross’ newest solution for hotel engineering. The beautiful 575 room property will be utilizing KNOW Maintenance to streamline all their engineering functions like Preventive Maintenance, Work order management and internal communication.

- Bluestone National Park Resort Partners with Knowcross
Knowcross, a respected innovator in service optimization solutions for hotels and resorts, is happy to announce that Bluestone National Park Resort has installed its service management software. The resort consists of 344 studios, cottages, and lodges on 500 scenic acres in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

- Autocamp Partners with Knowcross
Knowcross, a respected innovator in service optimization solutions for lodging companies, is happy to announce that AutoCamp has activated its service management software in three locations:  Cape Cod, Yosemite, and Russian River.


- UniFocus Launches Odin, an Intelligent Assistant for Hotel Operators
UniFocus, the leading provider of workforce management systems, has today announced the launch of Odin, an intelligent assistant specifically designed to equip operators with the relevant, timely data they need to make the best decisions every day.


- Autohost and Streamline Vacation Rental Software Partner to Provide Increased Security for Property Managers as Travel Rebounds
The relationship provides increased security to Streamline customers, including access to Autohost’s unique guest verification and online check-in automation platform.
www.autohost.ai     streamlinevrs.com

- Virdee and MIWA Partner to Provide End-to-End Digital Check-In Solution
Virdee, a SaaS company delivering digital check-in and virtual concierge services to the hospitality and commercial real estate industries, has completed an integration with MIWA Lock Systems, a leader in high-performance locks and security systems serving the hotel industry. The integration allows hotels to provide an end-to-end digital check-in experience from the time the guest walks into the lobby all the way through opening their guestroom door.
www.virdee.co     www.miwalock.com

- The SALTO Neoxx Electronic Padlock is Here & Ready for Your Tough Assignments
Built to withstand all access control needs, the tough new SALTO Neoxx electronic padlock takes security beyond your expectations. SALTO Systems has invested years of working with some of the best minds in the security industry – our community of security specifiers and installers – to build the most reliable and smartest electronic padlock on earth.


- AHLA, AAHOA Announce New State, Local Advocacy Organization American Hospitality Alliance will Coordinate Political Engagement, Accelerate Recovery
The nation’s two largest hotel and lodging associations, the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), announced the creation of the American Hospitality Alliance (AHA) at the International Society of Hotel Associations’ summer meeting. AHA will promote the hospitality industry at the state and local levels by harnessing the power and influence of industry leaders and directing it toward advocacy and political engagement.
www.aahoa.com   www.ahla.com


- Amadeus Data Alert: Independence Day Holiday Travel Looks to Be a Sparkler Based on Hotel Occupancy in Top US Destinations
Summer is underway and US travelers are ready to celebrate the Independence Day holiday weekend. As vaccination numbers increase and COVID restrictions have eased or lifted in many states, hotel stays are being booked further in advance of any holiday since the beginning of COVID-19.

- As Pandemic Concerns Fade, 76% of North Americans Plan to Travel Soon
After more than a year in lockdown, 76% of consumers in North America plan to travel within the next six months. According to a new Oracle Hospitality survey, 24% of respondents in the US and Canada plan to travel immediately, 31% in the next one to three months, and 21% by the end of the year.


- Cyber Attacks are Spiking - Is Your Hotel Prepared?
- Nation’s 1st “Net Zero” Hotel Takes Form
- Hotel Marketing Focuses on Seniors, the Most Widely Vaccinated Group of Travelers
- EU Lawmakers Greenlight COVID-19 Travel Pass in Time for Summer Holidays

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 7/2/2021


Did you know?   
Some fun & quirky facts about 4th of July

- Three Presidents died on July 4th: Thomas Jefferson – Jul 4, 1826, John Adams – July 4 1826, James Monroe – July 4, 1831. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence and both died on the same day. Weird.
- President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4th, 1872, putting him forever into the history books.
- The term “Sign Your John Hancock” comes from John Hancock himself. He was the president of the Continental Congress and has the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence.
- Congress officially declared its independence from Britain on July 2nd, 1776. John Adams believed that American independence should be celebrated on July 2, as that’s the actual day the Continental Congress voted for independence in 1776. Annoyed that Independence Day wasn’t celebrated on July 2, Adams reportedly turned down invitations to July 4 celebrations throughout his life.
- Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird to be a Turkey. He said the bald eagle is a bird of bad moral character, the turkey is a more respectable bird.
- Each year Americans light about 200 million pounds of fireworks! And most of them are imported from China – $247,100,000 worth.
- 65% of Americans own an American Flag. And you guessed, most are made in China.
- The first week of July is typically the busiest travel week on the road. The most popular road trips are the California Coast, Route 66, Black Hills of South Dakota, the Florida Keys.
- Ironically, on July 4th, 1946, the Treaty of Manila was signed in the Philippines giving them independence from…The United States.
- We typically eat 150 million hot dogs on Independence Day, “enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times,” according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
- Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is held annually on July 4. In 2020, champion Joey Chestnut ate 75 hot dogs with buns in just 10 minutes to capture the famed mustard-yellow belt for a 13th time in 14 years.


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