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Siegel Sez

August 20, 2021

Siegel Sez


As I look at all the industry events that are being squeezed into the next three and a half months, I keep wondering how they are all going to do. The Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit, which is our invitation only event, usually has between 50-55 industry tech leaders. With three weeks to go we are already at 50, which is a great feeling and does make us a bit proud. This year along with the hotel and hotel management companies we have attendees from the cruise line and gaming industries. One of the things we do is ask those attending what issues they are facing. There are many, but the number one concern is cybersecurity. Do you realize there are hotels that are current victims of ransomware attacks? What they are going through is unbelievable. We have brought in experts from outside the industry to speak on security this year and what they will be sharing will be eye-opening. I think the attendees are going to get a lot out of it, their feedback will be very interesting.

The upcoming event that everybody in technology for the hospitality industry is watching is HITEC, which is again co-located with HSMAI’s ROC. Both organizations are realistic, there won’t be record attendance, but registration is very strong considering the impact of the pandemic which includes challenges for international travel. I for one am going to remain positive, lots of those that I normally see at HITEC have told me that they will be there, so I am encouraged. Speaking of HITEC, congratulations to RP Rama and Mark Haley who were both elected to the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. I’m so happy there will be people in the audience when they are inducted. I do miss the face-to-face events that are such a big part of the industry.

When it comes to events and meetings, how they are booked and more importantly how they should be booked comes into play and things are changing. I encourage you to read Doug Rice’s Definitely Doug column that follows as he shares the changes that are being made and more importantly need to be made as he looks at meeting and event technology post-COVID. After Doug’s column we close with the latest industry news and there is a lot happening. I will see you at the very end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Speaking of seeing you, I hope I will at HITEC Dallas September 27-30. HITEC.org


Definitely Doug

Where Can We Meet?

Groups and events are returning to hotels, even if in fits and starts. In the U.S., long-postponed social events such as family reunions and weddings are now filling up venues, especially on weekends. Smaller corporate meetings are still weak but have been buoyed by offices that went virtual during COVID and now need a place to bring the team together. Some larger events have been scheduled during the summer or fall, with many more planned for early 2022. The specific patterns vary in other parts of the world depending on government restrictions, infection rates, and other factors, but in general it seems like the patient is finally showing signs of recovery.

However, recovery does not mean a return to normal. Rather, the decimation of both hotel sales departments and meeting planners during the pandemic, together with rapidly evolving technologies, are ushering in a “new” normal. Hotels that have for years rejected or underutilized sales and event technologies have realized that not only may technology be the only way to operate effectively with permanently lower staffing levels, but that it is in fact a better way. Travel management companies have cut back staffing, and their corporate clients may no longer have access to planners for small meetings; administrative staff with little or no meeting planning experience may be the new decision makers. Many hotel sales professionals as well as meeting planners have left the industry permanently, meaning new-hire replacements who have limited experience and often no one to coach or mentor them.

Against this backdrop, I spoke to nearly a dozen technology companies scattered across the event and meeting space to find out what the “new normal” might look like and what they are doing (or have seen) to help adapt. Many commented on what they saw as a huge acceleration in technology adoption, and all talked about major initiatives to help … some complete, some in process, others still on future roadmaps. One specific comment, the sentiment of which was echoed by several others, was that COVID seemed to have accelerated the adoption of events and meetings technology by perhaps as much as ten years.

This week’s blog will highlight some of the interesting trends and new ideas in groups and meetings technology. Many pre-date COVID but have seen accelerated adoption, while others came about during the past 18 months. Vendors are at different stages of implementation, and they are moving very quickly, so I will not try to capture the exact status of each company or product. But I will try to identify the common trends as well as a few specific capabilities that are emerging. As you evaluate your own tech stack and the gaps that these might usefully fill, you should be better prepared for discussions with your preferred vendors; it is not only possible but likely that they are working on some of these initiatives. I do, however, encourage you to look at the companies that I have called out, even if just to educate yourselves on the latest approaches before you talk with your preferred providers.

As always, I spoke to the experts to collect their thoughts on best practices and capabilities. My sincere thanks to AmadeusCventEvent IntelligenceEvent TempleGroups360GroupizeKnowlandInfor,  iVvyMeetingPackage,
Tripleseat, and Upmail for making key executives available to provide their perspectives for this article.


Click here to read more of Doug’s column on Where Can We Meet?

Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas
Where Can We Meet?


- Enseo Ranks 15 on Fast Company’s Third Annual List of 100 Best Workplaces for Innovators
Enseo, a premier technology services provider offering solutions in hospitality, senior living, education, and healthcare, has ranked No. 15 on Fast Company’s 2021 Best Workplaces for Innovators List. The third annual list honors businesses and organizations that demonstrate a deep commitment to encouraging and creating cultures of innovation.


- PROVision Partners Welcomes Doug Carr as Senior Advisor
- ROAR for Good Hires Peter Klebanoff as Senior Vice President, Business Development
- TraknProtect Appoints Chris Wieland to Board of Advisors
- Vinay Patel Becomes AAHOA Chair
- Mike Hill, Author of Measuring to Manage, Joins Mobius Vendor Partners as Executive Consultant
- iVvy Accelerates Global Growth and Expansion of Executive Management Team with Key Appointments Across Three Continents

For more information on People on The Move for 8/20/2021


- StayNTouch Expands to Gulf Region, Selected by Riyadh Based Hotel Management Company, IRIS Hotels
IRIS Hotels, one of Saudi Arabia’s premier hotel development and management companies, selected StayNTouch, a global leader in guest-centric technology and mobile hotel property management systems (PMS), to implement their PMS technology at the collection of the boutique hotels in Jizan, Taif, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This partnership marks StayNTouch’s first hotel customer in Saudi Arabia and an expansion into the Gulf region.

- Innisfree Hotels Chooses StayNTouch to Deliver Guest-Centric Mobile PMS Across 5 Independent Properties
Innisfree Hotels, an owner and operator of both full and focused service properties throughout the United States, selects StayNTouch, a global leader in guest-centric technology and mobile hotel property management systems (PMS), as the PMS provider for their 5 independent Gulf Coast Properties, totalling more than 590 rooms.

- Town Hall Hotel Selects Suite of Agilysys Property Management, Point of Sale, and Sales & Catering Management Solutions
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 Town Hall Hotel has selected Agilysys modern solutions for its premier London hotel including Agilysys Stay PMS, Agilysys Sales & Catering, rGuest Express for mobile check-in/out, Agilysys InfoGenesis POS and IG Flex for mobile POS.


- Cloudbeds Partners with Rakuten Travel Xchange to Extend Reach
Cloudbeds, the fastest growing hospitality management platform today, announced a partnership with Rakuten Travel Xchange, the hotel wholesale and travel technology division within the Rakuten Group. The collaboration connects Cloudbeds with Rakuten Travel, the highly ranked OTA in Japan, and 400+ B2B partners connected worldwide through API connections, travel agent portals, and websites.

- Elite Hotels to Implement SHR’s Suite of Revenue-Generating Tools
Elite Hotels of Sweden, one of the country’s largest privately-owned hotel businesses, has announced it will deploy SHR’s three revenue-generating products: Windsurfer CRS for optimal distribution; Maverick CRM for guest management; and Wave RMS for revenue management.


- glh Targets Revenue Increase with Infor
Infor, an industry cloud company, announced that glh Hotels, the largest hotel owner-operator in London, has chosen Infor EzRMS to be deployed throughout its estate of 18 properties in the UK.


- Volara Brings Multimedia Interactive Voice-First Solution on Google Nest Hub to Iconic LEGOLAND® Brand
- Nonius Tv Solution is Now Netflix-Enabled, on Selected TV Models
- Peermont Resorts Teams with INTELITY to Upgrade Guest Experience Brand-Wide
- Princess Royale Oceanfront Resort Adopts Latest in Personalized In-Room Entertainment and Guest Service with BeyondTV by Hotel Internet Services
- Iberostar Chooses Nonius as the Preferred Vendor to Implement the Cast Solution in its Hotels

For more information on Guest Facing Technology for 8/20/2021


- Lodging Interactive Celebrates 20 Years of Digital Success
Lodging Interactive has been helping hundreds of hospitality customers since 2001 and the company shows no signs of slowing down as it continues its growth through ongoing diversification.


- Clairvoyix and UpMail Partner to Bring Additional Automation to the Group Sales Process
Leading hotel marketing automation system provider partners with UpMail to bring highly effective personalized one-to-one emails to the group and event sales process.
www.clairvoyix.com     www.upmailsolutions.com


- Millennium Hospitality Management Group Thriving with PVNG from Aptech
At the height of the pandemic, Millennium Hospitality Management Group set out to find an enterprise accounting system that would analyze data and key performance indicators better and ensure that its teams remained focused on energizing sales and controlling expenses by driving bottom line profits.


- Aspen Snowmass Implements Agilysys IG OnDemand for Contactless Food & Beverage Ordering & Payment Self-Service Across Resorts
World-class ski resort, Aspen Snowmass, deploys Agilysys contactless F&B ordering/payment to promote social distancing and provide a safe and healthy F&B experience for staff and guests alike.


- Paramount Hospitality Management Enlists Nuvola and Maestro PMS Solutions
Recognizing the role technology is able to play within the current state of contactless needs and staffing shortages across the hospitality industry, Paramount Hospitality ManagementTM (PHM) has announced their partnership with Nuvola and Maestro PMS to integrate the tech providers’ communication tools via open application programming interfaces (APIs).
www.maestropms.com    www.mynuvola.com


- UniFocus Launches ShiftGenius, an Advanced Scheduling Feature to Find Coverage and Promote Employee Schedule Flexibility
Industry leader in workforce optimization solutions introduces ShiftGenius, a feature to make it easier for managers to find coverage and increase flexibility and ownership in schedules for employees.

- UniFocus Partners with Rain to Deliver No-Cost Financial Benefits to Frontline Employees
UniFocus, the leading provider of Workforce Management Systems, today announced a partnership with Rain, a global leader in financial wellness, to deliver employers a solution that equips employees, both hourly and salaried, with more control over their pay and finances.


- Mercure Timisoara Adopts VingCard Allure Locks with Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions to Provide Guests with Latest in Smart Room Convenience and Modern Hotel Design
Newly opened Romanian property integrates advanced LED panel lock with in-room amenities to create enticing welcome environments for arriving guests while offering digital key abilities and assisting towards obtaining BREEAM certification.

- Curator Hotel & Resort Collection Selects React Mobile as Its Preferred Provider of Employee Safety Devices
React Mobile, the most trusted provider of hotel panic button solutions, and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection announced a partnership agreement that enables hotels in the Collection to use React Mobile’s best-in-class safety device platform to keep their employees safe.


- Arne Sorenson to receive Above and Beyond Lifetime Achievement Award Posthumously at 26th Annual “The Lodging Conference” in Phoenix this September
Harry Javer, producer and founder of The Lodging Conference, one of the industry’s leading events for Hotel Owners, CEO's and Deal Makers, announced today that Arne Sorenson, the beloved former President & CEO of Marriott International, has been selected posthumously as the recipient of the 2021 Above and Beyond Lifetime Achievement Award.  The award will be presented at The Lodging Conference on September 29, 2021.

- Hospitality Upgrade Announces the Recipient of the John Cahill Student Seat for the 2021 CIO Summit
Hospitality Upgrade Publisher and President Rich Siegel announced the next recipient of the John Cahill student seat will be Alana Agcaoili, an undergraduate student of the Kennesaw State University School of Hospitality Administration. In its 19th year, the upcoming CIO Summit will be held Sept. 8-10, 2021, in Atlanta.

- Hospitality Industry Conferences Happening In-Person; AAHOA This Week, HITEC and the HFTP Annual Convention Scheduled for September
The annual conference for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) opened to a positive and enthusiastic group of attendees in Dallas, Texas, demonstrating the interest in professional, in-person meetings. Coming up on the calendar for industry events is the 2021 Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) and the HFTP Annual Convention.


- Expedia Group Media Solutions Releases Q2 Trend Report for Travel Recovery
- Knowland Reports U.S. Meetings and Events Volume Growth of 42.1 Percent for July 2021
- SHR Data Shows Record Direct Website Demand and Increased Conversion Rates
- SiteMinder World Hotel Index: UK Hotel Bookings Hit Highest Level Since March 2020

For more information on Market Reports for 8/20/2021


- KFC-Themed Hotel Featuring ‘Press for Chicken’ Button Opening This Month
- Watch a Hacker Hijack a Capsule Hotel’s Lights, Fans, and Beds
- NYC to Require Restaurant Patrons to Show Vaccine Proof
- Business Travel Might Be Going Out of Style

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 8/20/2021


And now for you-know-what.…

Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes: 

Dear Granddaughter, 

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a 'Honk if you love Jesus' bumper sticker. 

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting. 

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumpqer. 

Boy, am I glad I did! What an uplifting experience followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed. 

It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed. 

I found that lots of people love Jesus! 

While I was sitting there, the guy behind me started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed: 'For the love of God!' 'Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!' 

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus! 

Everyone started honking! 

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people. 

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach. 

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air. 

I asked your young cousin in the back seat what that meant. 

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something. 

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii, so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back. 

Your cousin burst out laughing. Why, even he was enjoying this religious experience! 

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. 

I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed. 

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection. 

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared. 

So, I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. 

Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!

Will write again soon. 

Love, Grandma

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