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Siegel Sez

August 21, 2020

Siegel Sez

For those of us whose livelihood relies on the hotel industry, we’re all on a roller coaster. Then we read a Bloomberg News article that explains why a thousand hotels are opening during the pandemic. Then of course we see the stats on how many hotels remain closed. Follow that up with occupancy and revenue statistics for resorts that people can drive to and it’s amazing to see how well they are doing this summer. Of course, we also get the occupancy statistics from downtown locations that are barely at 20%. I talk to so many people on both the hotel side and supplier side, and it seems there’s a bit more optimism recently than there has been over the last couple of months. I know from the vendor world that those who have made it this far are making all the needed changes. 2021 can’t get here soon enough. The stats on the hotel industry overall are still terrible but according to STR they are slowly getting better, with the key word being slowly. At least we seem to be moving in the right direction.
Something that does depress me is business related, but not about business. It’s not seeing the people that we’ve gotten to know over the years, the ones who we do business with and often just those who are in the industry. Every industry event is now virtual, which to me is a negative. Recently I was shown what HFTP is doing with Cyber HITEC. No, there won’t be any handshakes or hugs, but it was quite impressive. Not just the educational sessions, but how the system will inspire virtual interaction among attendees and exhibitors. I’m guessing since there will be no travel expenses this could be the highest “attendance” ever for a HITEC. Check out the HITEC website at www.HITEC.org for more information. I found the FAQS pretty interesting. I just hope virtual events don’t become a part of the new normal, but right now who can be sure of the future. We’ll see.
The one thing that Hospitality Upgrade can proudly say is that we will continue to be the official technology publication for HITEC. Everyone who registers will receive a copy of the upcoming HITEC issue in their virtual attendee bag. If you have any questions about our upcoming issue please contact Anne Boon at anne@hospitalityupgrade.com.
Doug Rice does a great job revisiting the way hotels need to communicate during this pandemic. I liked his comments about what technology works and what doesn’t. It is without a doubt definitely Doug. I’ll see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what following the latest technology news. 

Stay positive, better times are ahead!


Definitely Doug

Are You Getting the Message?

A year ago in June, I wrote about artificial-intelligence (AI) powered chatbots. This week I am returning to the topic, but in the broader scope of all guest messaging technologies. This has been a hotbed of activity since the arrival of COVID – one of very few preexisting segments of hotel technology that is doing better than before. Hotels are striving to find ways to reduce points of physical contact with the guest, and this one can be relatively inexpensive – or even save money.

Preparing for today’s column, I found 61 companies that offer guest messaging platforms to hospitality. With so many products, I was not able to interview most of the companies directly and relied primarily on websites for information. I will apologize in advance for any mischaracterizations, but my purpose today is to provide a better understanding of the lay of the land in the space, not to review specific products.

An important consideration is that most of the companies offering guest messaging products are microbusinesses. Of the 61, only two have more than 100 employees, and most are closer to 10. Few of them (despite what they may think) are really prepared to deal with a chainwide rollout for a large brand. But many are quite capable of supporting small or midsized hotel groups, and some may be open to licensing their platforms to larger brands that can provide their own deployment and support infrastructures.

What I wrote last year, which I will not repeat here, is worth reviewing if you are looking at these systems today. The discussion of features and differences for AI chatbots would be much the same; the only significant differences would be a year’s more maturity, and more integration with existing hotel systems. But whereas that article was really focused on technologies for handling on-property guest requests and questions via text, this time I will talk about the broader set of messaging technologies for connecting with guests throughout the journey, from pre-booking to post-stay. I will still exclude systems that focus primarily on staff communications – those are important too, and there is some crossover, but they are really distinct applications that can’t easily be substituted for guest messaging, and I have covered some of them in prior columns.

Broadly speaking, most guest messaging products focus on one of two areas: revenue generation (sales assistance, product recommendations, upselling, amenity sales) or hotel operations (answering guest queries, requests, and issues during their stay). Some systems support aspects of both, but where they do, one is primary, and the secondary one typically consists of a few add-ons features rather than a complete suite. It is not surprising that different products have emerged to serve these two needs, as much as they end up serving the same guest. On the hotel side, the buyers are different, with brand marketing executives typically making the decision for revenue-generating technologies, but hotel-level executives or brand operating managers doing so for operational systems. Additionally, whereas many revenue-generation technology approaches apply across many industries, the operational aspects are very specific to the hotel industry. Nevertheless, there is now a gradual blurring of the lines between the two areas, and that trend will likely continue. But as you look at the systems, it may be helpful to understand which side they came from, as this tends to affect the way the company views the problems you are trying to solve.

Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/


- Enseo's Kris Singleton Wins Prestigious 2020 CIO of the Year® ORBIE® Award
Enseo®, one of the fastest growing technology service providers in the U.S., congratulates our new CIO, Kris Singleton, on her achievement of winning the 2020 CIO of the Year® ORBIE® Awards recognized by ArizonaCIO. The CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards is the leading technology executive recognition program in the United States, and the selected winners demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.


- Maestro PMS Helps Keep Hotel Workers Safe Via a ‘Use Your Own Device’ Guest Digitalization Strategy
Leader in hospitality property-management systems identifies five ways hoteliers can provide a high-quality guest experience while simultaneously protecting their people.


- Mexico’s Hotel Booking Momentum Hits 150-day High on SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index
Data by SiteMinder, a global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, reveals a steady recovery for Mexico’s accommodation industry, as the country surpasses 65 percent of its 2019 booking levels for the first time since mid-March. SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index shows that hotel bookings in Mexico dropped to their lowest level on 29 April, at 10.88 percent of last year's volumes, and have since risen by 543 percent to 69.9 percent.

- TRACK Hospitality Software and NextPax Announce Connectivity Partnership
NextPax provides fast and seamless connectivity to all major travel distribution platforms like Vrbo, Airbnb, Trip, Google, Booking.com and Expedia as well as numerous local and niche channels.
www.tnsinc.com  nextpax.com

- Taktikon and SHR, Sceptre Hospitality Resources Announce that Taktikon’s Distribution Platform, Rez-Connect, Will Include SHR’s Windsurfer CRS
Taktikon, one of the main revenue management and distribution consultancy companies in Europe, has chosen SHR’s central reservation system, Windsurfer CRS, to power distribution and reservation management within their newly launched distribution platform, Rez-Connect.


- Hotel Carmichael Caters to Latest Guest Connectivity Trends Using BeyondTV With Voice Activated Technology and Enhanced Wi-Fi by Hotel Internet Services
New luxury property set to open in summer 2020 will provide guests with seamless content casting abilities and contactless control over hotel amenities while guaranteeing a fast and responsive Wi-Fi connection.


- Five-Star Laguna Beach Property Finds Success with Digital Marketing During COVID-19
Surf & Sand Resort Partners with GCommerce to maintain brand awareness leveraging digital channels with an emphasis on targeting in-state markets.


- Granduca Hospitality Services, LLC Implements Aptech’s PVNG for Reduced Staff Requirements, Scalable Financial Operations
- Confronted with New Challenges, Hospitality-Industry Remote Employees See Positive Results with M3’s Tailored Software Enhancements
- Marshall Retail Group Deploys Oracle Retail in 100 Days with BTM Global
- M3 to Pass Along More Than $1 Million in Operational Savings to Customers


For more information on Back Office for 8/21/2020


- ALICE Creates Free Hotel Housekeeping Disinfection Checklists
ALICE, the hospitality industry’s leading hotel management and operations platform, has just published free hotel housekeeping disinfection checklists for hoteliers. With more than 15 checklists in the downloadable document, hoteliers can download, print, and start using them today.

- Contactless Linen Inventory Management and Stay Safe Using the InvoTech UHF-RFID System
Safely manage the daily tasks related to your linen and laundry activity and work in the current situation, respecting social distancing and hygiene norms. InvoTech provides a completely contactless, safe experience for everyone in your property dealing with linens and laundry activity.


- ibis Styles Bucharest City Center Hotel Adopts Advanced RFID Locks Compatible with Contactless Mobile Access by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions has announced the successful implementation of its VingCard Signature RFID door locks alongside the Visionline access management system at the ibis Styles Bucharest City Center.


- London’s Luxurious Ritz Hotel Hackers Target Upmarket Restaurant Diners
- Habitas Reveals New 3D Printed Luxury Hotel in Todos Santos, Mexico
- Hotel Robots Become Frontline Workers as Pandemic Grinds On
- Senior Living Industry Seeks to Expand a COVID-19 Hospitality Hiring Wave


For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 8/21/2020


And now for you-know-what.… 

Father O'Malley rose from his bed one morning.
He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside.
He then noticed there was a donkey lying dead in the middle of his front lawn.
He promptly called the local police station.

The conversation went like this:
"Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?"

"And the best of the day te yerself. This is Father O'Malley at St.
Ann's Catholic Church. There's a donkey lying dead in me front lawn
and would ye be so kind as to send a couple o'yer lads to take care of
the matter?"

Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit and recognizing
the Irish accent, thought he would have a little fun with the good
father, so he replied:
"Well now Father, it was always my impression that you people took
care of the last rites!"

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