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Siegel Sez

October 03, 2019

Siegel Sez

We all use our mobile phones. Some people even seem to live on them. Mobile phones work because they are bouncing off a cellular tower or have a wireless connection. Pretty simple, wouldn’t you say? If you are a hotelier who is interested in how the cellular technology changes might impact your business, I would strongly suggest you read Doug Rice’s article following this opening. I thought it was knowledgeable, and I learned a great deal. Everybody talks about how technology changes and the positive things new technology brings to the table but with change there are often challenges. Having a few years behind me now, it never seems to surprise me anymore how the unexpected is actually expected. Please read Doug’s piece. It was ‘definitely Doug.’
Keeping up with change is a challenge. At Hospitality Upgrade we think we do a decent job, but nothing beats face to face conversations which is why I get so much out of industry events. Next week is the Global Gaming Expo, commonly referred to as G2E in Las Vegas. Though it seems like most of the exhibitors are focused on the newest slot machines and other games of chance for on the casino floors, there are some that focus on the hotels that are attached to the gaming world. It is a very unique event with sessions that one normally doesn’t get to experience in the mainstream hospitality world. And it is always an enjoyable experience and I always learn something new while at G2E.
Our fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade will be on its way to our readers in two weeks and if you aren’t a subscriber please take a moment and go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe. There is absolutely great content in this issue and thanks to our partnering with HFTP and HSMAI the reach we have today is far beyond just the technology folks. Everybody needs to know how technology impacts their roles in hospitality today. And, of course, there is a creative look back at our CIO Summit Boston. If you want a sample of what we do to 60 technology leaders, then please click  www.hospitalityupgrade.com/Gallery/Industry-Events/CIO-Summit-2019-Photo-Slideshow/
Sure, we can be a little bit off center with some of the things we do, but I guess we do enough right to have the event grow every year.
Here now is Doug’s article and all the latest technology related news for the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Las Vegas, here we come!


Definitely Doug

The Hot Spot in Telecom Innovation
Much of the innovation in hospitality technology comes from startups and small companies. But this week we will look at a broader tech innovation trend, HotSpot 2.0 (also known by its certification program name, Passpoint). The HotSpot 2.0 revolution is a massive effort being led by telecom, networking, and consumer electronics giants and supported in hospitality by several industry-focused vendors. If you’re a hotel marketer or owner, this subject is one that deserves your full attention, not just that of your IT experts. Read on and I will explain why.
HotSpot 2.0 (HS2) is no longer really an emerging technology; it’s already available through many household brand name products like Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft, as well as common networking products like Wi-Fi access points. It’s been successfully deployed in venues as small as boutique hotels and as large as entire cities. But the products needed to make it viable for most venues are just now coming on the market. Despite this, the technology itself is well past the tipping point of maturity. It’s no longer a matter of whether it will become ubiquitous, but when. To date, it’s been deployed in very few hotels, but that’s about to change.
Many people in the hotel industry find Hotspot 2.0 confusing, so let’s try to clarify what it is, what’s happening and what it means. At issue are the future of Wi-Fi in hotels, the role of brand and hotel apps, marketing analytics, push marketing, and the evolution of mobile telephone networks toward the 5G standard.
To understand HS2, an analogy from the mobile/cellular world may help. Imagine you are driving down the highway using your mobile phone (as a passenger, of course – never while driving!). Every few miles, you start to lose your signal and need to connect to a new cell tower. But instead of a seamless handoff, you lose your connection and are asked to enter your name and driver’s license number in order verify your entitlement to connect to the new cell tower. Clearly this would not be a good user experience. Those of us of a certain age can remember when mobile roaming outside your home metro area was extremely difficult, but it was never this bad.
Yet this is exactly how most hotel Wi-Fi networks work today. Guests log in using credentials like their name and room number. Then they may have to do this again, every day or even every session, even during the same stay at one hotel. To be fair, a few major brands do register the “MAC address” (a globally unique code that identifies a specific device) for devices used by regular customers; they then remember and recognize a device from one stay to the next and even, in some cases, across multiple hotels, which is a great simplification. However, this approach won’t work much longer. Due to privacy concerns, device manufacturers are moving to randomized MAC addresses, meaning the networks won’t be able to recognize the same device at different points in time.
At its core, HS2 is designed to make roaming on Wi-Fi networks as simple as on mobile networks, and to enable Wi-Fi networks to act as seamless extensions of mobile networks. Mobile carriers are investing heavily in HS2 because they need more capacity, especially in busy metro areas where they can’t build enough new cell towers to meet growing bandwidth demand. The move to 5G mobile also creates urgency, because 5G technology is more challenged than earlier generations to penetrate inside large buildings, especially on higher floors. Without the Wi-Fi network extensions HS2 can enable, mobile carriers will simply be unable to provide adequate service in many larger or taller buildings – like many hotels – unless expensive Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) or small-cell solutions are deployed. So HS2 and Wi-Fi roaming are strategically critical for the carriers to keep their customers happy.
HS2 also is much more secure than traditional Wi-Fi. It provides authentication, meaning that when a mobile device joins a Wi-Fi network, the device knows the identity of that network for sure; it’s not a hacker’s honeypot SSID. Equally, the network knows the identity of the device, and in many cases, the person who owns it. Further, HS2 encrypts the connection between the device and the access point so that messages can’t be intercepted over the air. The likelihood of a guest getting hacked on a HS2 network is much lower.
With HS2, each device (phone, tablet, PC) can store multiple secure profiles and security credentials, each of which allows it to connect to a set of Wi-Fi networks, such as AT&T, Starbucks, or Marriott. Some mobile and cable carriers like AT&T, British Telecom and Comcast operate their own public Wi-Fi networks, and when a HS2 device sees a network it recognizes, it connects automatically and securely, with no action required by the user. Other Wi-Fi network operators (think Starbucks, Disney or Hilton) can enable this by getting their customers to load profiles describing their networks. Then when a guest arrives at a hotel with a network that is already loaded on their phone, tablet, or PC, it simply recognizes it and connects, securely and seamlessly. When this happens, the hotel can associate the device with a specific customer, track the device’s movement around one building or multiple hotels, and even provision a specific level of bandwidth/service based on factors such as loyalty tier, corporate rate, group affiliation, or user group (e.g. staff vs. guest vs. day visitor).
What’s more, a hotel brand can make a deal with, say, a mobile phone company to enable that carrier’s phones to recognize and use the hotel’s Wi-Fi networks when its subscribers show up at one of their properties, whether as a guest or a visitor. Particularly in dense urban areas, where mobile carriers need more capacity, the hotel may be able to charge the mobile carrier a fee per megabyte of data offloaded for its subscribers. Paid offload has been happening for years but has proven challenging to configure and administer with legacy Wi-Fi networks. HS2, on the other hand, supports all of these use cases natively, and companies like GlobalReach are working to provide a single point of consolidation so a hotel can cut offload agreements with multiple mobile operators all at once. And partnerships like this are not limited to mobile carriers; for example, a hotel and a restaurant group could team up to allow each other’s customers to roam on each other’s Wi-Fi networks.
Today, HS2 can completely handle seamless data roaming between and among mobile and Wi-Fi networks, just like the cellular networks support seamless data roaming. HS2 also supports seamless handoff of voice calls between the mobile network and Voice-over-Wi-Fi, similar to mobile voice roaming. Not all mobile carriers fully support seamless voice handoff to and from Wi-Fi yet, or they may do so without the usual quality-of-service metrics, but this capability is evolving quickly. Voice-call handoff is the “last mile” of the technology: once it is ubiquitous, it can eliminate the (often very costly) need for hotels to boost mobile phone signals within the property. After all, you don’t need a mobile network signal if a phone call or data connection can automatically switch to Wi-Fi when the cellular signal gets too weak. As guests increasingly upgrade their devices to ones that are HS2-capable, hotels will no longer need Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) or small-cell coverage. Owners of larger, more complex hotels should love this: it can be a huge line-item cost savings.
One disadvantage that major hotel brands often cite for HS2 is that it eliminates the need for the Wi-Fi landing page, which many brands consider to be an essential marketing tool. While it’s true that HS2 eliminates the NEED for a landing page, all the companies I spoke with offer solutions that support one in situations where it is needed or wanted. Current approaches may require technical workarounds (for example the Nomadix gateway can intercept the first connection), but the specs for the latest release of HS2 now enable much of this functionality natively. On the plus side, HS2 will over time (as older devices are replaced) eliminate entirely the need for captive portals (and the associated IP royalties, a nontrivial cost borne and typically passed on by high-speed Internet providers).
Big data fans, push-marketers and loyalty program executives will find much to love about HS2.  Every connected device can be identified uniquely, in many cases to the actual individual carrying it. Every connection to every access point is available for analytics, so you can watch the journey of every connected device through the building or across an entire brand. And if a hotel forms roaming agreements with mobile carriers, a far greater percentage of the mobile devices connecting to a hotel’s network will be recognized and tracked over both space and time. For guests registering through a hotel mobile app, that means a permanent record of every connection, brand wide. For guests using a roaming partner, what data you get about them (if any) will depend on your agreement with the partner, but even just knowing the partnership that was used to connect can give you important attributes to guide push-marketing offers, and even with no personal information at all, you can track the movements of everyone using the network. Of course, privacy laws and policies may limit push-marketing offers to opted-in users, but the vendor community is finding clever ways to support and encourage users to opt in.
Loyalty program managers are always trying to get more customers to download brand apps. Making the app the entry point for seamless HS2 Wi-Fi access can do that; guests who download the app can get hassle-free Wi-Fi connections at every hotel in the brand, forever. The app just needs to enable automatic creation of the HS2 profile and installation of the necessary security certificate for the network. To this end, companies like Eleven Software  offers an Application Programming Interface (API), and GlobalReach is in the process of releasing a Software Development Kit (SDK); both approaches make it simple for app developers to add this to a brand or hotel app. Several vendors also support Online Signup, where a non-HS2 enabled device first connects to a non-HS2 network, then uses the landing page to sign up and download the app to obtain the HS2 credentials and connect. HS2 has significant potential to make hotel and brand apps more valuable to guests, and to increase download and retention rates.
While the technology exists for hotels to move to HS2 today (it’s already built into the latest generation of access points), the evolution of guest devices will take some time (3-5 years until legacy devices have mostly disappeared). In the meantime, traditional means of connecting to Wi-Fi will need to be supported. Guests may not start clamoring for HS2 until a critical mass of hotels have implemented it and regular travelers get used to and start to expect the ease of connection. The imminent death of MAC-based authentication, however, will likely cause migration of many hotels to HS2 in coming months; several brands reportedly have programs already in pilot. The critical mass may not be too far away.
My thanks to key executives at Eleven Software, GlobalReach/Nomadix, HP/Aruba, and Hughes Systique for their valuable contributions to this article. While space doesn’t allow detailed discussion of their respective offerings, they are all companies worth talking with about HS2. As always, these aren’t recommendations to buy, but rather pointers to companies with relevant and interesting solutions.
Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas/


- Allbridge Ranks Among the List of 40 Fastest Growing Mid-Market Companies in North Carolina
- Hyatt Introduces Caption by Hyatt, A New Brand Designed to Inspire Personal Connection
- Hilton Named the #1 Best Workplace for Women in the U.S. 
- Secure Engagement Technology Provider Acquires Leading IPTV & Interactive Hotel TV Solutions Company
- NextGuest Wins Four 2019 Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
- Quore Named NEXT Awards Finalist


For more information on Corporate News for 10/4/2019


- Ivonne Prugnaud Joins GuestTek as Managing Director EMEA
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., the global leader in providing innovative and interactive technology solutions for the hospitality industry, is pleased to announce and welcome Ms. Ivonne Prugnaud as Managing Director, EMEA.        
- RoomKeyPMS Continues Expanding Customer Support Team with Customer Service & Hospitality Industry Expert
Mike Watling will put his 30 years of customer service and hospitality expertise to great use, supporting the RoomKeyPMS tool which he has had first-hand experience with.
- Duetto Announces Leadership Appointments
Barry Padgett of Stripe joins Duetto's Board of Directors as company sees record growth and attracts more world class executive talent.


- Maestro PMS – IDeaS G3 RMS Interface Delivers Marked Increase in Revenue to Hotel Operators
Maestro PMS announced it successfully developed and implemented a real-time two-way interface with IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS).

- SkyTouch and AavGo Integrate to Improve Operational Efficiency and Cost Reduction for Hotels
SkyTouch Technology, a dynamic and 100 percent cloud-based Hotel Operations Platform announced that they have integrated with AavGo, a leading hospitality technology product company that develops state of the art and cost effective solutions for the hospitality industry.

- Award-Winning All Season SilverStar Mountain Resort Trusts Maestro PMS for Guest-Focused Multi-Property Resort and Owner Operations
SilverStar Mountain Resort has all the amenities of a luxurious alpine village. Four hotel style properties, more than 10 food and beverage outlets, a variety of retail and grocery stores, fitness center, bike rental and repair store, ski shops, plus multiple residential ownership units.


- Fairmont Zimbali Resort Turns to Rainmaker, a Cendyn Company, for Deeper Insights into Their Business
Fairmont Zimbali Resort has selected Rainmaker’s comprehensive business intelligence solution, revintel®, to help them accelerate hotel growth through faster and easier access to the property’s data and analytics.
- Sandman Hotel Group Partners with Duetto for Data-Driven Revenue Decisions
Canada's fastest-growing, privately owned hospitality company looks to implement a more modern tech stack that will enable the hotel group to deploy more innovative strategies.


- Comcast Business Checks In at Four Seasons One Dalton Street Boston
- Pantai Inn Partners with HIS to Adopt Latest Advances in Content Casting, Voice Control and Wi-Fi Functionality 
- New Benchmark in Technology Recognized for McLaren Technologies' Client Skye Suites Sydney with Best Tech Hotel Award Win
- Locale Grand Cayman Voice-Enables Every Guestroom with Volara-Powered Alexa Solution
- Holiday Inn Krakow City Centre Completes Implementation of InnSpire's All-In-One Technology Suite
- JA Lake View Hotel Dubai Is the First Hotel in the Middle East to Voice-Enable Every Guestroom with Volara-Powered Alexa Solution
- The DAYTONA Opens with the Full INTELITY Platform
- Cedar House Sport Hotel Implements Convenient and Secure Content Casting Abilities with BeyondTV GuestCast™ by Hotel Internet Services


For more information on Guest Services for 10/4/2019


- Global CRM Study Preview: What’s Next for the Future of CRM / Nicki Graham
- Adjara Group Selects Cendyn to Power CRM Across Their Hotels 
- Global CRM Study Preview: The Top Challenges When It Comes to CRM
- Cendyn’s Middle Eastern Footprint Grows as FIVE Jumeriah Village Dubai Adds Revintel® to Their Hotel Tech Stack


For more information on Marketing/Management for 10/4/2019


- Pegasus & Travel Tripper Hits New Milestone in Global Sales Division, Converting 52% of Corporate RFP Targets for Its 700 Partner Hotels for the 2020 Season
Company's success in corporate and TMC/consortia sales helps partner hotels generate $300M+ in GDS bookings annually.


- Scottsdale Plaza Resort Puts Accounting in The Cloud with Aptech’s PVNG Enterprise Back Office System
Aptech Computer Systems, an industry standard for hospitality financial systems, announced Scottsdale Plaza Resort implemented Aptech’s PVNG Enterprise Back Office hotel accounting software system.
- Two Experienced Companies-One Amazing Outcome
ProfitSword’s analytics tool connected with the Hotel Effectiveness labor management system eliminates the complexity and empowers hotel managers to take full advantage of the power of their own data.


- Angie Hospitality Equips Hotels with Advanced IP-PBX Telephony Compatibility to Streamline Guest Communications and Efficiency
Hospitality's first purpose-built guest room assistant offers seamless integration with hotel IP-PBX systems to replace outdated guest room phones.


- Luxury Cayman Villas Enhances Personalized Services with New Software
Luxury Cayman Villas has selected ALICE to streamline communication and enhance staff efficiency across its expansive property of luxury vacation rental villas.

- Radisson Blu Bremen Opts for Knowcross to Achieve Enhanced Service Optimization
Knowcross, a global leader in providing service quality and optimization solutions, is proud to announce that Radisson Blu Hotel, Bremen, has decided to implement the Knowcross platform in their endeavor to optimize and streamline operations enabling them to provide top-notch, highly personalized experiences to their esteemed guests.

- Aspen's Most Anticipated Hotel, W Aspen Is Now Officially Open Using the InvoTech Linen System
W Aspen uses the latest RFID technology to track their high-quality linens from day one.


- HSMAI & ZS Release Incentive Plan Research Report
Take a deep dive into the state of hospitality incentives in a new  Hotel Management Company Incentive Plan Research Report released by HSMAI and ZS to discover key findings in incentive compensation structure, metrics, revenue, goal attainment and more.


- Watermark Baton Rouge Hotel Enhances Property Security with VingCard Essence Door Locks, While Accentuating Unique Art Deco Design
Watermark Baton Rouge, an iconic luxury hotel and part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, has selected VingCard Essence door locks by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions to maximize guest and staff safety with its use of the industry's latest data encryption protocols.


- INTELITY to Attend the 2019 Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas
INTELITY announced that it will exhibit at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E), which will take place on October 15-17 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nev. The company, well known for offering the broadest enterprise guest engagement and staff management platform in hospitality, is focused on further expanding within the casino market.


- Group Booking Lead Time Continues to Increase
A review of the August 2019 data contained in Kalibri Labs’ U.S. Hotel Industry Performance Overview reveals that booking lead time for group reservations continues to extend further out to just shy of 51 days, up more than 5 percent year-over-year (YOY).
- Year of Profit Growth Continues at U.S. Hotels
Any concern over a weakening U.S. economy has not yet infiltrated U.S. hotel industry profits. GOPPAR increased 1.4 percent year-over year in August, matching RevPAR growth, which also clocked in with a positive 1.4 percent gain, according to monthly data from HotStats.


- CoStar Group to Acquire Hotel Data Provider STR for $450 Million
- Malware Targeting Credit Cards Strikes Hotel Websites
- Expedia Group Signs Industry-First Agreement to Become Optimized Distributor of Marriott International Wholesale Rates
- Northernmost Hotel in the World to Open at the North Pole

- What Hoteliers Should Know about Contactless Payment


For more information on Piqued our Interest for 10/4/2019


And now for you-know-what.…  
Three handsome male dogs are walking down the street when they see a beautiful, enticing, lady Poodle. The three male dogs fall all over themselves in an effort to be the one to reach her first, but end up arriving in front of her at the same time.
The males are speechless before her beauty, slobbering on themselves and hoping for just a glance from her in return. Aware of her charms and her obvious effect on the three suitors, she decides to be kind and tells them “The first one who can use the words “liver” and “cheese” together in an imaginative, intelligent sentence can go out with me.”
The sturdy, muscular black Lab speaks up quickly and says “I love liver and cheese.” “Oh, how childish,” said the Poodle. “That shows no imagination or intelligence whatsoever.”
She turned to the tall, shiny Golden Retriever and said “How well can you do?” “Ummmm...I HATE liver and cheese,” blurts the Golden Retriever. “My, my,” said the Poodle. “I guess it’s hopeless. That’s just as dumb as the Lab’s sentence.”
She then turns to the last of the three dogs and says, “How about you, little guy?” The last of the three, tiny in stature but big in fame and finesse, is the Taco Bell chihuahua. He gives her a smile, a sly wink, turns to the Golden Retriever and the Lab and says...
“Liver alone. Cheese mine.”

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