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Siegel Sez

August 10, 2018

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

I rarely go to the movies, but this past weekend I went to see “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again.” If you enjoyed the original movie you will love the second one. I saw it in a packed theatre on the big screen and with a great sound system. When the movie ended the audience started cheering. I can’t remember the last time that happened at a movie. Then the lights came on and I noticed the crowd was made up of a wide variety of people -- many young and old. I liked that. When we were leaving the theatre, I walked out with a bunch of girls probably around 16 or 17 years old. I asked them if they enjoyed the movie and they were raving about it – what was their favorite scene, their favorite song, and they went on and on. I shared my favorite moments, and we laughed. I was glad I saw the movie in a theatre and not in the comfort of my living room.
That was a great escape but eventually I am back at my desk and the big focus this week is our upcoming CIO Summit in Seattle. This is our 17th year for the event and we believe it will be our best. We have a great crowd with so many first-time attendees. One of my favorite comments from a first-time attendee this year came from Brennan Gildersleeve who has had a long career in the technology space with Starwood and now heads up the technology efforts for Equinox and its hotels. When he received the invitation, he said “I’ve been waiting 17 years for this invitation!” I wonder if others feel the same way. The program for the CIO Summit will include many events and interaction with the other attendees. One of the best things about our summit, and in fact all industry events, is the interaction you have while attending. Maybe it is with suppliers, maybe it is with peers but a big part of it will be the new people you meet. I am sure many are like me deciding which events make sense to attend and, of course, there is the cost to attend and the time commitment to weigh, but how often do you look back and say you were glad you went? For me it is pretty much every time. This is an industry that is all about the people, the more you meet and get to know the more you enjoy it. Nothing beats the interaction, the sharing and the learning you experience when you are face to face with others who share the same concerns you have. So, as you go through the year and are invited or encouraged to attend an industry meeting or event that will help you in your current role, I encourage you to attend. Time and expense come into play but think of the possible return on your investment. I could have saved $16 and waited to watch “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again,” in the comfort of my home, but it would not have made the same impression or created the memories that seeing it in the theatre did. I am glad I didn’t miss the opportunity to “Go Again.”
Here now is the real reason we are here, the latest technology news for the industry including opening thoughts from consultant Ron Hardin. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Four more weeks until Seattle, if you are a technology leader for your company, I hope to see you at our CIO Summit.



by: Ron Hardin

I try to keep up with the latest industry news, but it’s a challenge.  There’s a lot of it.  There are a great deal of different channels – Hotel Online being the best, of course.  And there is the constant need to separate the wheat (news) from the chaff (marketing hype).  Sometimes, a press release contains news, and sometimes a news article contains hype.  Caveat lector: let the reader beware.

Today, I note with interest some recent industry news items that piqued my interest. I’ll let you be the judge how much is news and how much is hype.  First off is the announcement that Hilton’s first tri-branded property has recently opened in Chicago adjacent to McCormick Place Convention Center.  This new hotel, operated by First Hospitality Group, includes 184 Hilton Garden Inn rooms, 187 Hampton Inn by Hilton rooms, and 95 suites under Home2Suites by Hilton flag.  My first thought when I saw the headline was a flashback to the crazy hitchhiker in the Coen brothers’ movie, There’s Something About Mary – his deranged idea for fortune and fame was to one-up a popular workout video, 8 Minute Abs, with a breakthrough new offering … 7 Minute Abs.  Hilton has 13 brands.  Marriott has 29.  Where is the logical end-point for multi-branding?  Unlike 7 Minute Abs, it’s certainly not a crazy idea.  It is one piece of real estate (location, location, location) with one building or multiple interconnected buildings, and the multi-branding allows the property to appeal to a wider range of customers without diluting or confusing the brand product positioning.  I personally would not prefer a Hilton Garden Inn room to a Hampton Inn room with free breakfast in the same building, but the success of these developments clearly shows the demand is there. 

The other recent news item that caught my eye is also about Hilton; in this case, about its new “Hilton Connected Room” initiative.  Hilton is moving with the current trend to leverage IoT (Internet of Things) to improve the guest experience and generate actionable data from the growing ecosystem of interconnected devices and applications.  As I discussed in a recent column, this is an inexorable trend fueled by the growing availability of intelligent, networkable devices in hotels – TVs, thermostats, door locks, door cameras (instead of peepholes, of course), shades and drapes, lighting, DND/MUR controls, etc. (The Great Divide of In-Stay Guest Engagement, March 2018, Hospitality Upgrade)  Hilton’s take on this smart room trend is to use the brand’s HHonors mobile app as the primary guest touchpoint.  It will be interesting to see if the company gets a measurable increase in HHonors enrollments by guests seeking to use these controls and services on their mobile devices, and what percentage of in-house guests actually use the controls and services from the mobile app.  Hilton also plans to have those controls and services accessible through the guestroom TV but given the plethora of different TV systems in place across the portfolio, that may be challenging in the short term unless they move toward standardizing TV platforms. 

As I’ve publicly opined, I believe hoteliers should provide a dedicated, easy-to-use touchpoint in the guestroom for these applications.  The ideal device would have a touchscreen, optionally support voice-control, and incorporate telephone and clock-radio functionality.  These devices are also becoming more affordable and more mainstream.  I had heard on the grapevine a while back that Hilton was evaluating in-room tablet options – hopefully, that will be an option for the connected room. The applications are already there; I hope they make them easily accessible without having to sign up for the loyalty program or download another app to our phones. 
Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting


- Travelclick Aquired by Amadeus
- Radisson changing hands again, Jin Jiang International Announces Acquisition 
- Aristocrat and Boyd Gaming Enter Into Long-term Strategic Systems Partnership
- AccorHotels Signs Agreement to Acquire 85% Stake of 21c Museum Hotels for $51 Million
- Hotel Effectiveness, the Leading Hotel Labor Management SaaS Solution, Announces Growth Equity Investment From Growth Street Partners


For more information on Mergers and Acquisitions for 8/10/18


Hyatt Selects Senior Leader to Advance Global Wellbeing Strategy
- NEC Display Solutions Unveils New Headquarters And Briefing Center
- Rosewood Hotels & Resorts Appoints Sharon Cabral as Director of Sales and Marketing for Rosewood Miramar Beach Montecito
- Jumeirah Appoints Glenn Carroll, VP Sales & Marketing for Europe & Americas
- Hyatt Appoints Mia Kyricos as Senior Vice President, Global Head of Wellbeing


For more information on People of the Move for 8/10/18


- Alila Hotels and Resorts Chooses Infor to Streamline Operations and Increase Business Efficiency
- Agilysys Fiscal 2019 First Quarter Revenue Rises to Record $34.0 Million
- Top 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a PMS
- Shiji Group Continues Global Expansion, Opens Office in Australia

For more information on Guest Management Systems for 8/10/18


- Award-Winning Reserve Invites the World to Patagonia With SiteMinder 

Award-Winning Reserve Invites the World to Patagonia With SiteMinder
Travelers the world over can now book a stay inside the Chilean Patagonian Rainforest, thanks to SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading cloud platform. SiteMinder’s technology has been adopted by the multi-award-winning Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve, which offers eight accommodation properties that are located in the heart of the rainforest and are today more accessible to travellers through the multitude of online booking channels offered through SiteMinder.


- How Mobile and Self-Service Technology Can Set Your Hotel Apart from the Competition [Guide]
- Intelity Helping Hotels Boost Guest Satisfaction Scores with its ICEapp and ICEbedside Tablets
- The Clarendon Hotel and Spa Partners With OpenKey to Elevate Its Guest Experience
- Staff Efficiencies at The Chateaux Deer Valley Upgrade From Bunny Hill to Black Diamond With ALICE
- Eli Gerard Is ALICE’s Director of Sales for Mexico

For more information on Guest Services for 8/10/18


- Now Available for Download: HEBStrategy Q3 2018 Hotel Digital Marketing, Technology, and Trends Whitepaper
- Tambourine Shares Three Easy Ways to Tighten the Bond Between Marketing and Revenue Management
- HSMAI Adrian Awards Competition Introduces Facebook Mobile Video Award
- Lodging Interactive Launches Reputation Management for Restaurants
- Marriott International Reports Second Quarter 2018 Results

For more information on Marketing/ Management for 8/10/18


- Shift4 Payments and Venuetize Partner to Add Secure Payment Functionality to Mobile Event Platform
- Shift4 Payments Family of Solutions Wins Two RSPA Awards of Excellence at RetailNOW
- Shift4 Payments Launches Lighthouse Business Management System


For more information on Payment Processing for 8/10/18


- Lightstone’s Business Intelligence Platform Gives Execs Portfolio Performance in the Palm of their Hand

Lightstone’s Business Intelligence Platform Gives Execs Portfolio Performance in the Palm of their Hand
Lightstone is a national real estate investor/developer with 28 hospitality properties nationwide. The company’s current portfolio emphasizes select services hotels, branded by Marriott, Hilton, IHG and Starwood.


- Cloud5 Names Mark Holzberg Chief Executive Officer

Cloud5 Names Mark Holzberg Chief Executive Officer
Cloud5 Communications, the leading communications technology and services provider for hospitality, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Mark Holzberg as President and Chief Executive Officer. Holzberg previously ran Cloud5’s technology products business unit and now will also manage its services business, including contact centers, overseeing the entire 450+ person Cloud5 organization that serves thousands of hotels and millions of guests with superior hospitality communications solutions.


- Hospitality Upgrade Announces Recipient of the John Cahill Student Seat for the 2018 CIO Summit

Hospitality Upgrade Announces Recipient of the John Cahill Student Seat for the 2018 CIO Summit
Hospitality Upgrade
 Publisher and President Rich Siegel announced that the next recipient of the John Cahill student seat will be Juan Jesus Trevino, a student of the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston. The upcoming CIO Summit will be held Sept. 5-7, 2018, in Seattle.


- The Time Is Now for Hotels to Move Operations Into the Cloud / Jonathan Morse
- Why Asia Leads the Race in Smart Hotel Technology / Serene Lim
- The Robot Invasion Of Las Vegas Might Be Horrifying -- Or No Big Deal
- Q&A: Terry Jones on the challenges of creating a successful travel startup
- Virtual Reality – The Next Game Changer for Hotels

For more information on Piqued Our Intrest for 8/10/18


And now for you-know-what … 

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

"Careful," he said. "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my gosh! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my gosh! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the Salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!"
The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you?
You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"
The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving.”

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