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Siegel Sez

November 11, 2022

Siegel Sez

Did video actually kill the radio star?? Remember that video by The Buggles, the first video played with the launch of MTV? If you’ve never seen it, here it is, The Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star (Official Music Video) - YouTube. I’m now wondering if somebody will update the song and ask if video killed the telephone call. I think back to the start of the pandemic when it was all about Zoom and Teams. Of course, now I see so many using FaceTime on their phones, and I just start wondering what’s next. I bring this up because Doug Rice in this week’s Definitely Doug column does a great job sharing the impact of the use of video in the hotel industry. Yes, every conversation in the hotel world eventually leads to the staffing challenges. Is video the answer? Doug’s take might surprise you, an excellent update.

Have you ever done something that just made you proud you did it? I have been in this industry a long time and have been impacted by many I’ve met along the way. Who knows, I might have impacted a few along the way as well. I started my career in hotel software working for Hotel Information Systems that was created by Bob Sanford who wrote the software in the early eighties. HIS became one of the three largest PMS companies back then. When I started at HIS there were 18 employees, and when I left nearly five years later there were 147. So many of those I met at that little company I am still friends with to this day. I was recently informed that Bob Sanford is fighting a losing battle with cancer and was asked if I would help reach out to those whose lives were positively impacted by Bob to send in a short video acknowledging his impact. Talk about a labor of love putting it together. It was shared with all of us how moved Bob was by the videos. It also got many of us thinking of the great people we have met in this industry. The one comment that really got to me was from somebody who had lost her husband this past year. She shared how we should all acknowledge those people that have positively impacted us while they are still with us, not after they’re gone. Renee was right! I think we all need to do that. I apologize for this writeup but there are many in the industry who have been around a long time and know Bob Sanford, so I thought it was worth sharing.

Here now are this week’s industry tech updates along with the great read from Doug Rice on the impact or maybe the potential impact of video in the hotel industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at ‘you know what’. Any comments please use rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.


Definitely Doug

Can Video Chat Help the Labor Shortage?

In the past few years, several product launches have introduced video chat capabilities for hotels. The underlying technologies are quite mature (thanks to the COVID-induced videoconferencing boom), and some hotels and even larger groups are now moving aggressively to implement them. Most, however, have yet to consider them. Today’s column will explore the technology, why it might or might not make sense for a hotel or group, and key considerations for evaluating solutions.

As usual, I will not make specific product recommendations. There are many generic (non hospitality specific) products on the market and depending on your situation and use cases, one of them might be quite suitable. But more commonly, the products used by hotels have been customized to address hospitality-specific needs. Within the hotel tech ecosystem, companies like Crave, Enseo, and Virdee have added video chat to some of their hotel products, and there are others. I was fortunate to engage with these three companies over the past month and had an opportunity to review their products. They address somewhat distinct but overlapping sets of use cases. The approaches and experiences they shared provide a window into this emerging technology.

Why Video Chat?

While your first reaction to video chat might be “that sounds like a marketing gimmick” (and that’s not necessarily wrong), that is not why hotels are considering it. In today’s world of persistent staffing shortage, the biggest advantages can be cost reductions and guest satisfaction. To understand the staffing implications, you need some basic understanding of call-center dynamics and how they affect the number of agents needed to handle calls.

Any contact center (whether a physical or virtual one) needs to have enough agents to handle calls without unacceptably long waits, at least most of the time. Because both the exact timing and length of calls are somewhat random, you cannot predict staffing needs exactly. If you want to avoid long hold times, you cannot schedule staff to keep them busy 100% of the time on calls; you need a certain amount of slack. Mathematical formulas applicable to contact centers (notably Erlang C) state that the greater the call volume, the less excess staff you need to maintain the same average speed of answer. Most professional call centers use such formulas to plan staffing and service levels.

In real life, what this means is that larger contact centers handling more calls will be more staff-efficient than smaller ones, with efficiency gains being significant up to a few hundred agents, after which you hit diminishing returns. From a staffing standpoint, the hotel front desk or concierge are different from large contact centers only in size: the interaction is more likely face-to-face than by telephone, but the same principle applies (fixed staff and somewhat random workload), and it is difficult to get the efficiency very high. Front desks often alternate between long lines during busy periods and long periods where there are few if any guests to serve.


Click here to read more of Doug’s column Can Video Chat Help the Labor Shortage?

Douglas Rice
Email: douglas.rice@hosptech.net
Twitter: @dougrice
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ricedouglas
Can Video Chat Help the Labor Shortage?


- GuestTek Announces Acquisition of Event Conferencing Services (ECS)
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., the global leader in providing innovative and interactive technology solutions for the hospitality industry, announced that it has acquired the shares of Event Conferencing Services Ltd. (ECS) to further grow its hospitality networking and conferencing services.

- Frontline Success Leader Beekeeper Lands $50 Million Series C
Beekeeper, the leading frontline success system, today announced it has raised $50 million in Series C funding after more than doubling revenues since the start of the pandemic. Beekeeper plans to use this round of funding to grow, continue to invest in product development and establish its leadership in the frontline success category.

- GuestTek Announces Its Banking Relationship with Bank of Montreal
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., the global leader in providing innovative and interactive technology solutions for the hospitality industry, is pleased to announce the refinancing of USD $25.0 million to a senior secured credit facility with Bank of Montreal for long-term operations and corporate growth.


- CyberTek MSSP Hires Esteban Velez as Vice President of Information Technology
CyberTek, an award-winning Managed Security Service Provider that delivers advanced on-demand remote management and IT security services, today announced the hiring of Esteban Velez as its first Vice President of Information Technology. He will initially focus on improving service delivery and supply chain management to match CyberTek’s rapid growth expansion plan.

- Lodgistics Appoints Wendy Zapach as Chief Revenue Officer, Jami Poe as Vice President, Sales
Lodgistics, a hotel operations and collaboration platform built by hoteliers for hoteliers, announced the appointment of senior executives Wendy Zapach as Chief Revenue Officer, and Jami Poe as Vice President, Sales. Both accomplished industry leaders with deep hospitality and SaaS management experience, Zapach and Poe will further accelerate the expansion of the company’s people-focused operations platform.


- Storey Hotel Management Group Expands Partnership with Stayntouch to Power Fiji’s Award-Winning Nanuku Resort with Flexible Cloud PMS
Stayntouch, a global leader in providing cloud hotel management solutions and guest-centric technology, today announced an expansion of its partnership with Storey Hotel Management Group, the luxury boutique hotel and resort management company with 7 exclusive properties within its global portfolio.

- INSPIRE Entertainment Resort Selects Agilysys for Property Management (PMS) and Point-of-Sale (POS) Synthesis and the Ability to Elevate Guest Experiences at Landmark Property in South Korea
Agilysys, Inc., a leading global provider of hospitality software solutions that deliver High Return Hospitality, today announced a meaningful addition to its Asia-Pacific customer portfolio: Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort (“Mohegan INSPIRE”), which when completed will be the largest hotel-retail-entertainment complex in South Korea.

- Leader in Hospitality PMS Partners with Hotel Operations Innovator to Give Six JARO Hotels More Control Over Their Properties
Maestro PMS, a leader in cloud hosted, private cloud and on-premise property-management systems for independent hotels and luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups, has partnered with RoomChecking, a hospitality software provider who has aggregated every aspect of operations and communication into a digital platform that can be accessed from anywhere on property.


- Pulse Hotels & Resorts Partners with IDeaS to Gain Market Share Through Automated Data Analysis
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today Pulse Hotels & Resorts has adopted G3 RMS across four of its Maldives-based properties to deliver accurate forecasting, better manage operational resources, and gain market share.


- Sojern and GauVendi Partner to Support Accommodation Operators Drive Direct Bookings and Revenue
Partnership enables a new way of inventory management, attribute-based selling, to drive direct and instant sales while better meeting guest wants and needs.

- Cendyn takes home two top awards at the World Travel Tech Awards 2022
Cendyn, continuing its position as a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has been awarded two top prizes at the 2nd Annual World Travel Tech Awards 2022 - World's Best Data Driven Marketing Agency and World's Best Hotel Sales Proposal Solution.


- Think Simplicity and Cloudbeds Partner to Streamline Cloud Communications for Hoteliers
Think Simplicity, a cloud communication technology provider of all-inclusive voice and chat solutions for the hospitality industry, announced today a partnership with Cloudbeds, the fastest-growing hospitality management platform. The partnership will provide joint customers with the ability to leverage Cloudbeds’ best-in-class property management software (PMS) and Think Simplicity’s full-service cloud communications system seamlessly.


- SHR and ComOps Partner to Provide Strategic and Technical Solutions to Hotels Who Value Elevated Service

ComOps, a leading strategic consulting firm in the areas of revenue management, contact center operations, customer experience, and digital innovation, have partnered with SHR, a leading provider in revenue generating technology for the hotel industry, including Windsurfer CRS, Maverick CRM and Wave RMS that enable hotels to execute their best revenue generating strategies.


- PCI Security Standards Council Accredits VENZA as a PCI DSS v4 Qualified Security Assessor
VENZA announced that it has been confirmed as an accredited Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), deemed by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to meet all requirements needed to perform PCI DSS Assessments under the newest version 4.0 standard.

- Sage Hospitality Group Chooses VENZA to Maximize Data Protection and PCI DSS Compliance
Sage Hospitality Group has solidified its already-robust commitment to data protection and compliance by selecting VENZA to provide new, expert-driven assistance in meeting PCI DSS cardholder information security standards.


- Cloud5 Launches New Vendor Management Solution
Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of communications and technology solutions for more than 5,000 hotels, MDUs, and commercial facilities across the Americas, today announced the launch of its new Vendor Management solution.


- React Mobile to Showcase Hospitality’s Most Responsive, Reliable, and Self-Managing Panic Button Solution at Washington State Hospitality Conference
Members of the Washington Hospitality Assn. and students at Washington State University will come together next week to learn, connect, and network with peers, identify trends, and see the latest technologies that ensure the best guest and staff experiences; Visit React Mobile at Table 13.


- U.S. Meetings and Events Eclipse 80 Percent Recovery for Fifth Month in a Row, Knowland Reports
Knowland, the world’s leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, released its U.S. monthly meetings and events data for October, reporting 131.7 percent growth over October 2021. Additionally, October 2022 grew by 21.2 percent over September 2022.

- Global Industry Leaders Express Optimism for the Future of Travel & Events as Group Business Shows Steady Growth
Amadeus, along with Meeting Professionals International and Salesforce, unveil the state of meetings & events through perspectives of global industry experts.


- Web Inventor Tim Berners-Lee Wants Us to ‘Ignore’ Web3: ‘Web3 is Not the Web at All’
- Survey: 4 in 10 Americans Use Facial Recognition Each Day
- A Win/Win/Win: The Self-Sovereign Identity Opportunity for Travel
- Delta Video Chat Gives You Whole New Way to Complain

For more information on Piqued Our Interest for 11/11/2022

And now for the You-Know-What...

A man’s car broke down as he was driving past a beautiful old monastery

He walked up to the drive and knocked on the front door. A monk answered, listened to the man’s story, and graciously invited him to spend the night.
The monks fed him and led him to a tiny chamber in which to sleep. The man slept serenely until a strange and beautiful sound awakened him. The next morning, as the monks were repairing his car, he asked about the sound that had woke him. “We’re sorry,” the monks said. “We can’t tell you about the sound. You’re not a monk.”
Disappointed, the man went on his way and pondered the source of the alluring sound for several years. One day he again stopped at the monastery and explained to the monks that he had so enjoyed his previous stay. So, he asked for permission to spend another night under their peaceful roof. Late that night, he again heard the strange, beautiful sound. The following morning he begged the monks to explain the sound but the monks gave him the same answer as before. “We’re sorry. We can’t tell you about the sound. You’re not a monk.”
By now the man’s curiosity had turned to obsession. He decided to give up everything to become a monk, for that was the only way he could learn about the sound. He informed the monks of his decision and began the long and arduous task of becoming one of them. Seventeen long years later, the man finally became a true member of the order. When the celebration ended, he humbly went to the leader of the order and asked to be told the source of the sound.
Silently, the old monk led the new monk to a huge wooden door. He opened the door with a golden key.
The door swung open to reveal a second door, this one of silver, then a third of gold, and so on. Until they had passed through twelve doors, each more magnificent than the last. The new monk’s face was awash with tears of joy as he finally beheld the wondrous source of the beautiful and mysterious sound he had heard so many years before. But I can’t tell you what it was because you’re not a monk.

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