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Siegel Sez

October 18, 2019

Siegel Sez

What an interesting week it has been. I started off at G2E in Las Vegas which is an event that is trending less to hotel but more to casino solutions with a big push into sports betting. While it is a fascinating event, it’s not so much for the technology solutions, at least that is this guy’s opinion.
Then from Las Vegas I went to Houston and the brand new Intercontinental Houston Medical Center Hotel. I always find it interesting to stay in new hotels whenever the opportunity arises. I was in Houston for the IHG Technology Solutions Summit.  IHG had many industry technology professionals, hotel owners and most of their technology partners (or what I often called vendors) were exhibiting. I absolutely love these types of events where hotel companies share plans for the future along with their current challenges. It is absolutely intriguing. Global Head of Hotel and Owner Solutions at InterContinental Hotels Group Jeff Edwards hosted the event and did an amazing job. I spent a great deal of time with many IHG leaders and of course much of the focus was on Concerto and the IHG Studio. The company shared their journey from the replacement of the Holidex Reservation System all the way to what happens when a guest books a room and arrives at their hotel room today. I found their new pay with points initiative to be very enlightening, I wondered when the hotel industry would go from using rewards points for free or discounted rooms to using them to pay for drinks, meals, spas and other things that guests would spend dollars on while at their hotel. The one message that was hammered home by Jeff was that to IHG technology is an investment, not a cost. If more hotels and vendors looked at technology this way things would definitely progress for the better. At least that is my belief. It was a well-supported tech conference and I thank IHG for inviting me. I had a chance to connect with many of the mover and shakers and a lot was shared all around.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Doug Rice’s thoughts and the latest happenings in the tech world for our industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.

Definitely Doug

Sustainable Innovation
Sustainability can yield multiple benefits to hotels. Saving energy and water yields direct cost savings. Revenue can be generated by guests who prefer to deal with businesses that minimize their environmental impact. And many would argue that conserving scarce resources is simply the right thing to do.
This week will highlight a few innovations that hotels can consider if they want to improve their environmental footprint, or even just save money. One of the experts I spoke with was IHG’s Area Director of Engineering for Northern California, Harry Hobbs. Hobbs has an impressive track record at saving money by going green. The InterContinental San Francisco at Moscone Center opened in 2008, and was already energy efficient by most standards, with utility costs at 2.8% of total revenue vs. 4% for comparable hotels. Hobbs wasn’t happy, though, and led a retro-commissioning just a year later that brought it down to 1.4%. The hotel’s EnergyStar rating increased from 64 at opening to 89 now. Results like this deserve everyone’s attention, and call attention to how energy-inefficient even new-build hotels can be.
The specific actions that can generate savings will vary significantly from hotel to hotel based on factors like climate, cost of energy and water, building materials, services offered, and mix of space utilization. The ideas presented here won’t work for every hotel. As for costs, remember that utility rebates, while less common or lucrative than they were in years past, can still sometimes help to reduce or eliminate capital and conversion costs for some projects.
Guest-room management systems (GRMS) are common sources of energy savings, and can definitely save money at most properties, if they are installed and managed properly. This is, however, a huge “if,” based on my discussions Hobbs and some of the vendors in the space. There are many considerations, and I’m going to defer that topic for a future column, so that I can do it justice, and today I will focus on some interesting sustainability-related ideas unrelated to GRMS.
One solution, which IHG has deployed at more than a dozen hotels in Northern California, is Stem. Stem is a provider of battery storage capacity and related analytics, which can help hotels reduce peak-hour electrical utility pricing. Batteries can be charged during off-peak hours, and the stored low-cost electricity can be used during periods of peak-hour pricing. But battery storage is tricky – if you misjudge demand and use it too soon, you can easily end up with no juice left just when rates peak; if you wait too long, then the low-cost energy you charged the batteries with during off-peak hours never gets used even though it could been used to reduce peak-hour demand on the utility. As opposed to systems that can tell you retrospectively what you did well or poorly, Stem performs analytics on data collected from the hotel in nearly real time. It measures and projects electricity use for coming hours, then uses analytics to optimize the use of the batteries. It’s a simple concept with powerful results.
In recent months, many hotels have joined a war on single-use plastics. Major brands have announced the elimination of single-use plastics for toiletries. While this can certainly generate cost savings, it also has an environmental impact and is increasingly the subject of both regulations (just last week, California passed a law banning them) and public shaming. While many of the opportunities in plastics are, like these, outside the scope of a technology blog, one that is not is guestroom keycards. The vast majority are plastic, are non biodegradable, and end up in landfills or, worse, floating in the ocean. Card supplier Made by Oomph! recently introduced a hotel keycard called Pulper, made of wood fiber that is water- and weather-proof. They are still ramping up production, but in quantity they believe the cost will be similar to that of plastic cards. Pulper keycards are not yet fully biodegradable, because of the RFID chip or magnetic stripe, but they reduce the nonbiodegradable footprint of a keycard to a very small percentage of the original. Moreover, keycard manufacturer Smartrac recently announced its Green Tag program to close this gap with biodegradable RFID chips. Unfortunately, these have not yet shown up in commercial hotel products, but hopefully they will soon.
Another set of innovations centers around reducing food waste. Kitro is a data collection and analytics product that can reduces kitchen food waste. Their goal is to achieve a 40% to 60% reduction, which can raise food profit margins by 2% to 8%. It requires very little work on the part of the restaurant staff, beyond disposing of all food waste from the kitchen and serving areas into a Kitro unit -- basically a garbage can equipped with a camera and mounted on a scale. The camera is activated whenever the scale detects anything being added. Image processing and machine learning technologies identify the waste, and a data point is created identifying the date, time, weight, type of food, and in some cases state (e.g. raw meat vs. cooked). Analytics then enable the chef to see exactly what is wasted, when, where (e.g. preparation vs. left on a plate), and how much. One institutional kitchen that periodically served a Greek dish on pita bread discovered that almost all of the pita bread got thrown away (it turns out no one liked it). By changing to a better quality supplier, they virtually eliminated the waste. Breakfast buffet restaurants learned how to manage refills of scrambled eggs, bacon, and other dishes toward the end of meal periods by checking trays more frequently and replenishing in amount based on the number of diners still in the dining room. Kitro has grown rapidly in its home market of Switzerland and is starting to branch out into neighboring countries, but is not yet available elsewhere. Dörte Bachmann, Sustainability Director for SV Group, a large Swiss restaurant and hotel operator, reported a 34% waste reduction just during a 3-month pilot, and Kitro expects most sites will continue to find even more savings over the longer term.
Sustainability is a big area with a lot of innovations, more than I was able to mention in one week. I’ll revisit the topic before long to talk about some others. If you’ve seen something you think is cool, please drop me a line so I can be sure to look at it!
Douglas Rice

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


- Marriott International Purchases W New York – Union Square to Create W Brand’s Next-Generation Flagship in North America
- Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Signs With Image Developments to Develop Wyndham Garden Suites in Brisbane
- Radisson Brand Signs With Prospect Group to Make Russia Debut in Perm
- Foster Pepper and Garvey Schubert Barer Combine to Create Mission-Driven Firm, Expand Reach and Services


For more information on Corporate News for 10/18/2019


- ProfitSword Adapts to Ongoing Market Growth with Appointments of Chief Operating Officer and Director of Technology
ProfitSword, one of hospitality's premier developers of business intelligence and data integration software, has announced the appointments of John Crutchfield as chief operating officer and Sean Hoggard as director of technology.


- Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts Optimizes Revenue and Loyalty at 7 Mixed-Use Condo Hotels with Centralized Maestro PMS Multi-Property Solution
“For a large, multi-property destination that combines condo ownership units and hotels, optimizing revenue, loyalty, and occupancy while serving its owners is a big job. Maestro PMS hotel software manages all our properties and maximizes revenue on one centralized system,” said Helen Staton, director of reservations and revenue management for Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts.


- Watch Now: How to Capitalize on the Journey to Increase Direct Bookings
In our latest webinar with Sojern, we discuss strategies for reaching potential guests throughout the entire travel planning journey and address key digital moments in each phase that shape and influence the booking decision.
- New Research Shows Fraudulent, Misleading Hotel Bookings Rob Consumers Of $5.7 Billion Annually
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) released new research that reveals online booking scams and dishonest marketing practices by fraudulent and misleading travel websites continue to deceive and confuse consumers


- Cendyn and SevenRooms Connect Hospitality Platforms
Cendyn, a leading innovator in CRM, sales and revenue strategy for the hospitality industry, is proud to announce an integration partnership with SevenRooms, a data-driven operations, marketing and guest engagement platform for restaurant, hotel F&B, nightlife and entertainment operators. 

- Remington Hotels Selects IDeaS to Enhance Revenue Optimization, Clarity and Control
IDeaS Revenue Solutions, the world’s leading provider of revenue management software and services, announced today it has implemented its G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) at Remington Hotels’ 12 independent luxury U.S. properties.


- INTELITY and Maxxton Join Forces to Offer a Seamless Property Management Experience
INTELITY, the provider of one of the travel industry’s broadest guest engagement and staff management platforms, announced that they have teamed up with Maxxton and its comprehensive property management system.
- FireKeepers Casino Hotel Includes INTELITY Platform as Part of Multi-Million Dollar Expansion
INTELITY, one of the broadest guest engagement and staff management platforms in hospitality, announced that it has inked a deal with FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek, MI as part of the hotel’s multi-million dollar expansion. The current hotel tower has been designated a AAA Four Diamond award winner for the past five consecutive years, and the new eight-story tower will align with FireKeepers’ same standards of excellence.


- NextGuest CRM Now Empowers Single Property Hotels and Small to Mid-Size Hotel Groups with Award-Winning CRM Capabilities
- FAQ: How Cendyn Is Preparing for CCPA / Casey Munck
- dailypoint™ Announces Technology Partnership with MEWS systems
- Lodging Interactive Launches Social Media Marketing News Apple Podcast


For more information on Marketing/Management for 10/18/2019


- Struggling to Afford New AV Equipment in 2020? Financing Options Now Available through AVaStar
Don’t wait for CapEX funds to be available to improve your audiovisual offering; hoteliers can transition the expense of building/improving AV services from CapEx to OpEx, plus add SaaS to manage self-operating AV to generate more revenue from this investment.
- HSMAI Introduces New Rising Sales Leader Council
HSMAI has launched an all-new Rising Sales Leader Council. The Council is a professional development and advocacy group comprised of up-and-coming professionals working in a mix of hospitality sales roles across a variety of organizations including hotel on-property, regional, corporate, DMO, DMC, Management Company, brand, partner and more.


- Nomadix Rolls Out Generous Upgrade Program to Encourage Adoption of Its EG 6000 Gateway's Higher Security and Performance
Advanced gateway platform provides the latest security and even faster internet speeds at 50 percent reduced cost to hoteliers still using older discontinued models.


- NCR Aloha Essentials Makes Running Restaurants Simpler with All-in-One Subscription Solution
NCR Corporation announced one of the number-one point-of-sale (POS) solutions, used by more than 75,000 restaurants and known for being easy to use, just got easier to buy.


- Eclipse Hotels Group Is Improving Operations, Guest Satisfaction Across Its Multi-Branded Enterprise with Quore
With a corporate approach to standardizing operations, this U.K. based hotel management company is increasing visibility of its finance and management processes across all properties to improve staff accountability, boost operational efficiencies and make guests happy.

- Nordic Choice Hotels Rolls out New Housekeeping Software and Selection of Brand Standard Operations Software across 130 Hotels
The hospitality startup becomes Brand Standard for Nordic Choice Hotels’ four brands, Comfort Hotel®, Quality Hotel ™, Clarion Hotel®, and Clarion Collection.

- Knowcross Debuts the Know Tenant Mobile App at DLF Offices
Knowcross, a global leader in providing service quality and optimization solutions, is delighted at the debut of the KNOW Tenant mobile app across DLF Cybercity, Gurugram - India’s largest integrated business district. With this implementation, Knowcross ventures into providing technology solutions for Commercial Office spaces and Business Parks.


- Remington Leads the Hotel Industry by Using Data Analytics to Improve Profits
At the recent Hotel Data Conference in Nashville, Ben Vega, Remington’s senior vice president of analytics and optimization, demonstrated an approach to increasing operating profits by using advanced analytics combined with the Hotel Effectiveness labor management system.

- Hotel Effectiveness Partners with Interstate Hotels & Resorts for Labor Management Solutions
Hotel Effectiveness, a leading provider of labor management software for the hotel industry, announces it has partnered with Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a world leading third-party hotel management company, to deliver labor optimization solutions to its nearly 400 hotels in the United States.


- AHLA Joined Secretary of State Hughs to Combat Human Trafficking in Texas
As the hotel industry continues its fight against human trafficking, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) co-sponsored the Texas Businesses Against Trafficking (TBAT) Partnership Forum at the State Capitol, hosted by the Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughs’ Office.

- Hotel Industry Marks Significant Progress Toward 2020 Nationwide Implementation of Safety Devices
One year after a historic announcement pledging to increase safety and security at America’s hotels, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced a 230 percent increase in members participating in the 5-Star Promise, growing the commitment to 56 hotel companies.


- Fuel’s Stuart Butler Selected to Participate as Expert Panelist at Triptease Direct Booking Summit Miami
Fuel COO to weigh in on budget considerations during discussion on how hoteliers can optimize their return on investment in direct booking strategies.


- Hilton CEO: It's "Not a Competition" in Travel Industry to Address Climate Change
- Over 18,000 Websites Infested with Magecart Card Skimming Malware
- Building a Culture around Tech Differentiates Hotels
- How One Tweet Unleashed a Flood of Brilliant Hotel Hacks on Twitter
- 51 of the Most Unusual Places to Stay in the World


For more information on Piqued our Interest for 10/18/2019


And now for you-know-what.… 

Dracula wanted to know which of his bats was the best. So he organized a little competition. The bat which would drink more blood in less time than others would be the winner.

The first bat went and came back after 10 minutes. Its mouth was full of blood. Dracula was impressed. He asked, "Nice, how did you do it?" The bat said, "Do you see that tower? Behind it there is a house. I went inside and drank the blood of all the family." Dracula said, "Very good".

The second bat went and came back after 5 minutes. He too had blood on all his face. Dracula was shocked, "How did you do that?" The bat said, "Do you see that tower? Behind it there is a hotel. I went inside and drank the blood of all the guests." Dracula said, "Fantastic".

Now the third bat went and came back just after 1 minute. There was blood on all his body. Dracula couldn’t believe his eyes, "How did you do that?" The bat said, "Do you see that tower?" Dracula said, "Yes". And the bat said, "I didn’t see it".

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