by
Rich Siegel
10.20.2023

Siegel Sez - 10/20/23

Siegel Sez - 10/20/23

Definitely Doug 10/20/23: Gluing It All Together

CORPORATE NEWS

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

MARKETING

BACK OFFICE

COMMUNICATIONS & INFRASTRUCTURE

FOOD & BEVERAGE

PAYMENT PROCESSING

SECURITY

HOSPITALITY EVENTS & ASSOCIATION NEWS

MARKET REPORTS

PIQUED OUR INTEREST

In his Definitely Doug column that follows, only Doug Rice can critique HFTP, AHLA, HSMAI, HEDNA and not blame the vendor community for the biggest problem the hotel industry faces in the world of technology. Early in his column he asks the simple question, “whose job is it to fix this mess, anyway?” If you’re a hotelier, you’ll relate and if you’re a vendor you might say this makes sense. Hoteliers need to invest correctly in technology, but vendors need to be profitable with all parties needing to be onboard to solve the problem of what Doug describes as interoperability failures. What I love about Doug’s column this week is he doesn’t just state a problem but comes up with suggestions to fix it – though I imagine many will shake their heads in disbelief to what he is suggesting. At Hospitality Upgrade when we gather senior technology people at the Executive Vendor Summit and CIO Summit they confirm much of what Doug brings up in this week’s column, and this is always discussed at the events. Take a few minutes, read through his column, and let me know if you’d like to be included for a follow up at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. Thank you, Doug, for not being afraid to bring up what many might quickly respond as being impossible. Maybe not this time!

I am writing this as the HFTP Annual Conference comes to a close. HFTP’s most prestigious award that it gives out is the Paragon Award. Once each year this award is given to those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the hospitality industry and to HFTP. How great it was that Geneva Rinehart – who really makes Hospitality Upgrade and all our events happen successfully – was this year’s winner. A special Hospitality Upgrade thank you goes to Lisa Funk Martin and Sherry Marek for leading the charge to make this happen. It was a great moment on Wednesday watching the introduction, the many thank yous and the very appreciative crowd in Indianapolis who shared in the celebration. Life is all about moments, and this was a great one for all of us at Hospitality Upgrade and especially Geneva!

Here now is the Definitely Doug column along with the latest technology happenings in the industry. If you are a hotelier, vendor or consultant, please take a few minutes and read through and share your thoughts. There will be a follow up. You have a problem, you now have a suggestion on how to solve the problem and you should do something. Share your thoughts or reach out to Doug directly at douglas.rice@hosptech.net.

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Hardly a day goes by that hotels do not express frustration about the inability to tie together key data sources and technology systems.

Hardly a day goes by that hotels do not express frustration about the inability to tie together key data sources and technology systems. This is not a new problem; it has been around for decades. Progress has been made on many fronts to be sure, but digitalization has created new issues much faster than solutions.

These challenges affect every part of the hotel business. Unlike retail, where UPC codes can be easily identified and cross-referenced, the distribution ecosystem for hotels lacks even the most basic standardization of product. Distributors are often caught unaware of brand changes and closings, and even major ones admit that they far too often sell hotels that no longer exist.

Inside the hotel itself, brands face huge challenges getting mobile keys to work consistently at scale. Energy management technology is a decade or more behind other real estate sectors because building management systems interoperate poorly with hotel guest room management systems. Payment processing is messy. Commission payments are difficult to manage. Multi-brand owners and management companies are challenged by metrics that are defined or calculated inconsistently by various brand-mandated systems, making comparative performance hard to assess.

These are just a few examples of challenges our industry faces from lack of data standardization and interoperability. It is not that standards and interfaces do not exist, but rather that they are incomplete, dated, and often never implemented by legacy systems that still dominate the landscape. The only significant exception I can identify is the USALI standards for financial metrics. In other areas, primarily distribution, standards exist but are less broadly adopted. New standards like HTNG Express for property management system (PMS) integrations with other hotel systems hold promise but have limited adoption to date.

In most cases, it is the technology buyer (the hotel) that must reconcile data managed by different systems or implement and manage interfaces. Most hoteliers I speak with agree that the vendor community is poor at working together to remove friction and pain points faced by hotels and their guests; even some vendor executives admit that they are responsible for creating friction. Brands contribute to the problem as well when they mandate capabilities that cannot be delivered consistently due to vendor disparities across their portfolio.

As just one example, mobile key programs have been pushed out by many brands without always ensuring that existing elevator security controls can respond to mobile keys – and while this is technically possible with most elevators, such integrations are rarely on the radar of elevator manufacturers and are beyond the capabilities of most of the distributors that sell elevators to hotels. This results in what is essentially an unsolvable problem (unless replacing the elevator is an option), and hotel owners spending a lot of money on brand-mandated mobile keys that may never be practical for guests to use.

Whose Job Is It to Fix This Mess, Anyway?

Hoteliers frequently blame vendors for interoperability failures. And to be sure, many vendors manage interoperability poorly; they may deliver something they have, but it often does not meet the hotel’s needs or cannot be fully implemented. Too many vendors see their product at the center of their customer’s universe and assume that it is the other systems, rather than theirs (or frequently both), that must adapt. With an average of around 100 different technologies needed to run a typical modern hotel, the idea that one vendor can provide everything is ludicrous (how many mobile key companies also make elevators?). A few vendors have embraced partner models, often through marketplaces or app stores, but too many have not.

While many vendors have issues, the bigger problem is hotels failing to ask for what they need in a way that will truly engage the vendors. Hotels are, after all, the ones with the underlying business needs; vendors will respond to those needs, but only if they understand them and see a path to deploying them profitably. Few hotels do much to articulate their needs and (in particular) why current solutions fail to meet them. They do not work to build consensus among partners around the need for solutions, nor encourage those partners to address them.If you are a hotel and are not being proactive, it is time to stop complaining that you cannot get what you need and start finding ways YOU can make it happen. This article is designed to give you the tools to do just that – even if you represent a very small hotel group that has little or no clout with your vendors.

Industry organizations sometimes help to address these issues, but there are far too many gaps in both coverage and the extent to which they have facilitate the creation of actual, in-the-market solutions (as opposed to standards or best practices that might enable solutions but never become widely adopted). USALI is a success story because adoption by hotels was a prerequisite for access to capital markets (something every hotel owner understands is essential). Some other industry efforts (notably OpenTravel Alliance, HTNG – now part of AHLA, and HEDNA) have been helpful over the years, but the number of new efforts these organizations have undertaken in recent years has been declining, while the needs have been proliferating as more and more business processes have gone digital.

What’s The Solution?

Having been deeply involved in many industry efforts to address system interoperability and data integration over more than 30 years, I would observe that most of the historically successful efforts involved getting a critical mass of hotels represented in one room with the necessary vendors. The role of the hotels is to define the problems, evaluate solutions, and ultimately to buy the ones that address them. The role of the vendors is to select the technical approach, to define the information exchange standards, and to build and sell the solutions.

The critical mass of hotels might consist of just one larger hotel group or multiple smaller ones; it just needs to represent enough revenue potential to the vendor community to get their attention and engagement. Like all businesses, hotel tech vendors respond to profit opportunities that they understand and for which they can assess the market potential.

Once the critical mass has been assembled, the parties need to meet to define the problem very specifically; to describe the (presumably collaborative) solution; to decide whether and how it can be addressed; to agree on roles and responsibilities; and to establish a rough timeline and project plan.

Many industry collaboration meetings have gone virtual, but for this process to work there is one necessary ingredient that needs at least one face-to-face meeting. Problems are not solved by the companies who participate, but rather by the key people who represent them. It is human beings who must ultimately work together to achieve cooperation, and that requires developing personal relationships and a level of trust, which happens only face to face. This is particularly important when competitors must work together: humans in the business world are typically distrustful of competitors but are still able to establish respect and trust with some of the people who work for them. Unless the people involved already know each other, gathering them in a room for a day or two, and perhaps sharing a meal or cocktail, is often a necessary ingredient to generate cooperation.

These meetings will invariably include attendees who understand the business needs or the technology but not both (at least, not at the level required). It is therefore critical to include a moderator who is business-savvy enough to understand what the businesspeople are saying (clarifying wherever needed) and technologically adept enough to “translate” that into high-level technical solutions. This is important because technical staff often arrive with a preferred approach that may not meet the needs or the constraints of some of the other vendors, and negotiation is needed. Similarly, businesspeople often define the solution rather than the problem, when the better solutions may exist for the underlying problem. Just as negotiations between heads of state who speak different languages need interpreters (and not just language translators) to communicate effectively, the moderator needs to be able to interpret the underlying meaning of the business needs and the technical challenges that need to come together.

Aside from the format, hoteliers need to bring economic incentives to the table. Vendors need to make money and will participate if, and only to the extent that, they see potential gold at the end of the rainbow. A volume commitment of revenue from a large hotel group may be enough in some cases, but if that is not possible (and in the franchise world it often is not), hotels will need to come with a budget, or at least an understanding that they will need to find one. Without money on the table from hotels in one form or the other, the vendors will not stick around for long.

Participants from both hotels and vendors need to be senior enough to either make decisions on the spot, or to get management approval quickly. While the grunt work of defining needs and solutions and of creating interoperability will typically be delegated to departmental and product managers and technical staff, every participating company needs to know that they have sufficient senior management awareness and involvement to get to the right decisions that will have the necessary organizational support.

How to Get the Process Started

Having been involved with or closely observed many efforts to address interoperability problems over the years, I can propose several steps which, if followed, can increase the likelihood of success. There is no single formula; in any given situation you will almost certainly need to adapt some of these ideas.

1. Document the Problem. This starts with a hotel executive (one is enough, but multiple is fine) briefly describing the problem and their vision for a solution. The perspective needs to address why two or more systems – both of which the hotelier selected because they best met a particular need – fail to adequately address the needs of the guest, staff, hotel owner, or other stakeholder because they cannot work cooperatively in the way that is required. In writing this, the hotelier should recognize that vendors view issues through their own, highly colored lenses. Each has built a great product to solve a particular set of needs, but they often focus only on that set of needs, and not on how hotels’ own business processes and other systems might create other requirements that can be met only through collaboration.

The documentation needs to address solely the issues that can NOT be solved by a single vendor. Problems that CAN be solved by one vendor do not need this kind of process; you can address them with the vendor directly. Focusing the document on the collaboration issues helps ensure that the vendor will not have a “we already do that” reaction. If they do, then you need to rework your document and describe the problem more narrowly and clearly so that they understand the gap you are trying to fill.

Avoid describing the solution rather than the problem. For businesspeople, this is harder than you think; I have often heard a problem statement like “we just need system x to do y,” which is a solution rather than a problem. The problem is WHY they need system x to do y. Does it reduce guest disservice vs. the current capabilities? Save staff time? Improve revenue? Be specific and try to quantify the value of solving the problem if you can! A problem statement might be worded like “We have to manually update group statuses in the property management system because the interface does not carry through some of the statuses used by our sales and catering system; that takes four hours of staff time every week.” Businesspeople often have an idea of a solution, and can voice it at the appropriate time, but it’s the technical experts who are better able to find the BEST solution.

2. Socialize the Problem. If the problem is one that you believe other hotel companies share, and the solution is not one where you expect to gain any real competitive advantage, then you will want an industry solution provided by the vendor community – not an expensive custom solution built just for you. Circulate your problem statement informally within your peer network and with any relevant associations to find out if others share your need. One small hotel company may not be able to move the vendor community at a reasonable cost, but several working together often can.

Vendors frequently hear, in one-on-one discussions with their hotel clients, that “they should develop this at their own cost this because everybody needs it.” This argument works only rarely, because it is hard for vendors to assess (a) how many hotels really do share the need (the market potential); and (b) whether the same solution will work for all or most hotels, or whether multiple custom solutions will be needed. Even hotels that share the same problem will have significant variations in how they need to solve it because of differences in business processes and their existing technology ecosystems. The better vendors have learned the hard way never to build functionality for a single client, unless (and sometimes even if) the client is willing to pay the cost. Hence the importance of finding comrades to help persuade the vendors of the need.

Occasionally a key vendor may be aware of a need that is shared by many of their clients and want to solve it but lacks the knowledge or relationships with other vendors to do so. In this case, the vendor may be able to work with you to identify other hoteliers who will be interested.

3. Assess Critical Mass. You will need enough of the right vendors at the table to develop and implement a solution that meets the needs of a critical mass of hoteliers. Certain vendors may be essential, for example ones that large participating hotel groups have and are not able or willing to change. Others will be desirable, including ones in categories where hotels might consider replacing existing solutions, and ones in categories where multiple vendors already serve the hotel group’s properties. Vendors who are dominant in a particular category are often the ones most resistant to partnering with others, but it can be difficult or impossible to change industry practices without them.

If you cannot get the necessary vendors (the ones important to a critical mass of participating hotels) to at least consider participating, then your likelihood of success is low. In this situation, the best choice is usually to wait until something changes, while continuing to push for such changes where you can. Unwilling vendors may have a change of strategy or may relent if they perceive a risk that a major client might switch them out. A hotel company may become more willing to switch providers if the consequences of a gap continue to grow.

4. Get Commitments. Once you have critical mass of interest from hoteliers, they need to sell their vendors on participating – meaning resource commitments. Each vendor needs to see enough business opportunity to be willing to invest, and they will assess this based on what they hear from hoteliers with a need, an interest, and ideally a budget. Each vendor will have at least a rough sense of the cost of building out the necessary integrations, but they need help understanding the potential revenue and timeline. One large potential customer or multiple smaller ones can fill this need.

It is important to engage vendors at the appropriate senior management level, as the project will need ongoing support. A small hotel group dealing with an account executive at a large vendor company has little voice, which is why they need to build critical mass (and visibility with the vendor’s senior management) before asking for commitments. Senior management of hotels and vendors needs to be involved at the outset and at periodic checkpoints. They will normally delegate day-to-day responsibilities to business and technical staff, but it is important to be able to go back to them if the assigned staff cannot or will not carry the workload.

Engagement with vendors on commercial terms should be one-on-one. Hotels can run afoul of antitrust laws if they gang up on a vendor to get a better deal. It is fine to have discussions around the common needs and the technical means for achieving them, but not (at least in most of the Western world) for multiple customers to work together to leverage better pricing or contractual terms.

This is also a good time to suggest partnerships that make sense. A hotel group that needs vendors A and B to cooperate to solve an issue can help guide the vendors into how to productize and market a joint solution not only to them, but also to other hotels that may use both vendors. Vendors may not even be thinking about partnerships, whereas hotels recognize the need and can help vendors understand whether they might make sense.

5. Find or Create a Place to Meet. Once you have hotels and vendors lined up, someone needs to organize a first meeting (and ultimately later meetings, although this plan can come out of the first one). There are several ways hotels can make this happen. Sometimes vendors can do it as well, but this is more likely to raise competitive issues than if a hotel does it. In many cases, preliminary discussions can be held virtually, but once you have the team identified and committed and are ready to get down to work, face-to-face is much preferred. This also forces participating companies to address the cost of participating, if only to cover travel costs. If they cannot or will not fund a single trip to explore solving a customer problem, then they are unlikely to commit the resources required to participate meaningfully.

  • A hotel group can organize, coordinate scheduling, provide a venue, develop an agenda, and provide a moderator. This works best if the project involves only one hotel group (or two that are closely aligned on both the need and solution); otherwise, there is a risk that the solution will meet only the lead hotel group’s needs, disappointing both other participating hotels and the vendors as well.

  • A hotel group can organize it but hire a consultant to develop the agenda and moderate the session. This can be useful especially if the consultant is familiar with each relevant technology, has relationships with many or most of the vendors, and has at least some experience moderating workshops.

  • If you are a larger hotel group and have one core vendor (such as PMS) that you do not plan to change, but need multiple other systems to connect to it, you may be able to get someone from that vendor to lead the effort.

  • You can try to find a home for the effort in a relevant industry association. This can be an excellent solution if the association is interested in playing a lead role and has the necessary skills and resources, but the decision time frame can be lengthy and may end up at “no.” It’s good to engage early, as they can sometimes help with the earlier steps (like socialization as above), and you can get a better sense of what they bring to the table.

As you review the options, be sure to consider the full lifecycle: problem definition, solution design, role and responsibility assignments, proof-of-concept development, pilots, testing, deployment at scale, and continual refinement. You need not decide everything up front; just consider what your options will be for the later steps based on any decisions you make for the initial ones.

Integrations are projects, and projects need management. Most integration projects between vendors do not require a full-time project manager but do need someone to devote time to documenting goals and responsibilities, monitoring progress, organizing technical meetings, and refining the approach as work progresses. An hour or two of project management per hour of meeting is a good guideline. Most of the efforts I have been seen have a regular meeting cadence of one hour every one to two weeks, but this is often adapted as the project progresses.

Importantly, the project manager needs to ensure that participants at each meeting know what will be discussed, why their presence is needed, and how they can contribute. Few sins are as deadly as getting a large group of skilled people together without this – the result is usually disengagement and failure. The project manager should set an appropriate cadence for meetings for each phase and aspect of the project, ensuring that the right people (and only the right people) are present, that they understand what they are trying to accomplish (in a specific meeting, in a specific phase, and overall), that they understand what contributions they are expected to make, and that decisions are documented (and past decisions recited when the group tries to revisit them, which they will).

Critically, the role of hoteliers and vendor product and technical staff are very different. Many technical meetings will not need the hoteliers at all, assuming they have set a clear direction in earlier meetings; the specific vendor staff needed may also change for different aspects of the product. Most hoteliers (except for those who are contributing technically) should only be invited to (and expected to attend) meetings that are intended to define or refine the problem statement, evaluate potential solutions, and review finished product. These might be scheduled monthly or bimonthly, even as the technical group meets more weekly or biweekly.

These are critical organizational and communication skills to seek in a project manager, however chosen. Many consultants can fill this role if the hotel company cannot.

Industry Needs

The challenges of system and data integration have been with the hotel industry for decades; they are not going away anytime soon. While this article lays out some ways that even very small hotel companies can work proactively to solve some of the problems, there remain many opportunities for vendors and other industry players to help. I am always struck, when attending events comprised mostly of vendors, by conversations turning to their desire for a place to discover integration needs and vendor partnerships more holistically. Many vendors WANT to do this but lack the tools to do so successfully except when driven by a particular customer.

There are several ways this could be accomplished, and multiple entities that could take the lead.

  • Existing conferences and trade shows could include a track, perhaps even a half- or full-day, designed to facilitate discovery of integration challenges, hoteliers who want to solve them, and vendor partners who want to address them. For example, hoteliers could do five-minute pre-vetted problem presentations in a conference session, with a poll after each presentation to assess interest. This could segue into roundtable discussions around the topics of greatest interest. Roundtable participants could then agree to informally start a process such as described above, with a volunteer leader or leaders. This could fit into events sponsored by HFTP, AHLA, HEDNA, HSMAI, or any of several media/commercial conferences, including the Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit.

  • Hotel business and/or IT leaders could participate in a meeting devoted to cataloging and prioritizing integration issues, and to identifying one or a few lead hotel groups to drive industry level efforts. Anyone willing to devote a little time to making some phone calls could organize such a session.

  • Industry associations and media sites could create social media threads (on their website, using LinkedIn groups, or other familiar tools) where hoteliers could post integration needs and identify others sharing the same or related problems.

  • Consultants could create templates for managing the process, and provide supporting services for monitoring progress, suggesting refinements, moderating, or product management.

I am sure there are other things that could be done; these are just examples.

The important takeaway is that problems like these do not solve themselves (unless, perhaps, you are willing to throw more money at them than they are usually worth). As a hotelier, you can bitch all day about technology that doesn’t work together. But if you want to fix it, you need to organize a process to make it happen. If you wait for someone else to do it, you may be waiting for decades.

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Travel Outlook's Omnichannel Telephony Enhances Guest Service and Reduces Hotel Labor Expense

In a world where seamless communication is paramount for business success, Travel Outlook is now offering an omnichannel telephony system for its hotel clients.  This new system will revolutionize the way hotels connect with their guests, offering a unified and consistent communication experience across all channels.

traveloutlook.com

Crexendo and Nomadix Sign Strategic Distribution Agreement

Crexendo, Inc. (NASDAQ:CXDO) (“Crexendo” or the “Company”), an award-winning premier provider of cloud communication platform and services, video collaboration, and managed IT services, and ​​Nomadix® Inc​., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the signing of a strategic distribution agreement.www.nomadix.com     www.crexendo.com

Shiji Signs Global MSA With Marriott International for Infrasys Cloud POS

Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced today that a Master Service Agreement has been signed which will allow for expanded use of Infrasys Cloud Point-of-Sale (POS) in Marriott International hotels in Africa, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Infrasys Cloud POS is Shiji’s flagship POS, built for enterprise hotel companies as a cloud-based POS. shijigroup.com

Cloudbeds Expands Proprietary Payment Solution to More Than 36 Countries

Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for lodging businesses around the globe, today announced the expansion of its in-platform payment processing solution, Cloudbeds Payments, to 36 countries globally, allowing tens of thousands of hoteliers to reduce operating costs associated with payment fraud, chargebacks, manual reconciliation, and human error. www.cloudbeds.com

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and Traka Americas Reaffirm Commitment to Provide Give Kids the World Families with Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, a leading provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, alongside ASSA ABLOY Group Member, Traka Americas, have combined their resources and expertise in order to donate the latest in security innovation to the Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.www.assaabloyglobalsolutions.com/hospitality

VENZA Releases Product Roadmap Updates for Q3 2023

VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance tools for the hospitality industry, today announced significant updates to its Product Roadmap as part of Vision ’24. During the third quarter, the company unveiled major upgrades across its range of products. Its continued innovation in tools for comprehensive security awareness training further extends its position as the pacesetter for hospitality IT protection. www.VENZAgroup.com

Maestro to Showcase Its All-In-One Cloud or On-Premises PMS With Unified Guest Booking Journey at Independent Hotel Show London

Next week at the Independent Hotel Show in London, Maestro PMS will play host to global hoteliers looking to learn more about the company’s Web Browser based cloud and on-premises all-in-one property-management system for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups.
www.maestropms.com

HFTP Announces 2023 Paragon Award Recipient – Geneva Rinehart

Geneva Rinehart was selected as the 2023 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Paragon Award recipient for her significant contribution to the production of a key hospitality technology information resource for nearly three decades. She is also recognized for inhabiting the role as a central connector amongst industry players — vendors, hotel companies, and consultants.
www.hftp.org

IARE Partners with HSMAI to Expand Reach and Elevate Opportunities

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has announced the integration of the International Association of Reservation Executives (IARE) membership and program of work into HSMAI.
hsmai.org

HTNG, HSMAI to Co-locate HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore in 2024

The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s technology committee, HTNG, and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announced that they will co-locate HTNG’s HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific event and HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) May 8-10, 2024, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
www.ahla.com

Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index by Knowland and Amadeus Shows Tampa, Las Vegas, and San Diego Leading U.S. Group Revenue Recovery in Q3

Knowland, a world leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, and Amadeus, a global leader in hospitality technology, present the metrics from the companies’ Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index. The third quarter of this year shows the top 25 U.S. markets have recovered 99.1 percent for group business compared to the same time in 2019.www.amadeus.com/hospitality    www.knowland.com

In his Definitely Doug column that follows, only Doug Rice can critique HFTP, AHLA, HSMAI, HEDNA and not blame the vendor community for the biggest problem the hotel industry faces in the world of technology. Early in his column he asks the simple question, “whose job is it to fix this mess, anyway?” If you’re a hotelier, you’ll relate and if you’re a vendor you might say this makes sense. Hoteliers need to invest correctly in technology, but vendors need to be profitable with all parties needing to be onboard to solve the problem of what Doug describes as interoperability failures. What I love about Doug’s column this week is he doesn’t just state a problem but comes up with suggestions to fix it – though I imagine many will shake their heads in disbelief to what he is suggesting. At Hospitality Upgrade when we gather senior technology people at the Executive Vendor Summit and CIO Summit they confirm much of what Doug brings up in this week’s column, and this is always discussed at the events. Take a few minutes, read through his column, and let me know if you’d like to be included for a follow up at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. Thank you, Doug, for not being afraid to bring up what many might quickly respond as being impossible. Maybe not this time!

I am writing this as the HFTP Annual Conference comes to a close. HFTP’s most prestigious award that it gives out is the Paragon Award. Once each year this award is given to those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the hospitality industry and to HFTP. How great it was that Geneva Rinehart – who really makes Hospitality Upgrade and all our events happen successfully – was this year’s winner. A special Hospitality Upgrade thank you goes to Lisa Funk Martin and Sherry Marek for leading the charge to make this happen. It was a great moment on Wednesday watching the introduction, the many thank yous and the very appreciative crowd in Indianapolis who shared in the celebration. Life is all about moments, and this was a great one for all of us at Hospitality Upgrade and especially Geneva!

Here now is the Definitely Doug column along with the latest technology happenings in the industry. If you are a hotelier, vendor or consultant, please take a few minutes and read through and share your thoughts. There will be a follow up. You have a problem, you now have a suggestion on how to solve the problem and you should do something. Share your thoughts or reach out to Doug directly at douglas.rice@hosptech.net.

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Definitely Doug 10/20/23: Gluing It All Together

Hardly a day goes by that hotels do not express frustration about the inability to tie together key data sources and technology systems. This is not a new problem; it has been around for decades. Progress has been made on many fronts to be sure, but digitalization has created new issues much faster than solutions.

These challenges affect every part of the hotel business. Unlike retail, where UPC codes can be easily identified and cross-referenced, the distribution ecosystem for hotels lacks even the most basic standardization of product. Distributors are often caught unaware of brand changes and closings, and even major ones admit that they far too often sell hotels that no longer exist.

Inside the hotel itself, brands face huge challenges getting mobile keys to work consistently at scale. Energy management technology is a decade or more behind other real estate sectors because building management systems interoperate poorly with hotel guest room management systems. Payment processing is messy. Commission payments are difficult to manage. Multi-brand owners and management companies are challenged by metrics that are defined or calculated inconsistently by various brand-mandated systems, making comparative performance hard to assess.

These are just a few examples of challenges our industry faces from lack of data standardization and interoperability. It is not that standards and interfaces do not exist, but rather that they are incomplete, dated, and often never implemented by legacy systems that still dominate the landscape. The only significant exception I can identify is the USALI standards for financial metrics. In other areas, primarily distribution, standards exist but are less broadly adopted. New standards like HTNG Express for property management system (PMS) integrations with other hotel systems hold promise but have limited adoption to date.

In most cases, it is the technology buyer (the hotel) that must reconcile data managed by different systems or implement and manage interfaces. Most hoteliers I speak with agree that the vendor community is poor at working together to remove friction and pain points faced by hotels and their guests; even some vendor executives admit that they are responsible for creating friction. Brands contribute to the problem as well when they mandate capabilities that cannot be delivered consistently due to vendor disparities across their portfolio.

Hardly a day goes by that hotels do not express frustration about the inability to tie together key data sources and technology systems. This is not a new problem; it has been around for decades. Progress has been made on many fronts to be sure, but digitalization has created new issues much faster than solutions.

These challenges affect every part of the hotel business. Unlike retail, where UPC codes can be easily identified and cross-referenced, the distribution ecosystem for hotels lacks even the most basic standardization of product. Distributors are often caught unaware of brand changes and closings, and even major ones admit that they far too often sell hotels that no longer exist.

Inside the hotel itself, brands face huge challenges getting mobile keys to work consistently at scale. Energy management technology is a decade or more behind other real estate sectors because building management systems interoperate poorly with hotel guest room management systems. Payment processing is messy. Commission payments are difficult to manage. Multi-brand owners and management companies are challenged by metrics that are defined or calculated inconsistently by various brand-mandated systems, making comparative performance hard to assess.

These are just a few examples of challenges our industry faces from lack of data standardization and interoperability. It is not that standards and interfaces do not exist, but rather that they are incomplete, dated, and often never implemented by legacy systems that still dominate the landscape. The only significant exception I can identify is the USALI standards for financial metrics. In other areas, primarily distribution, standards exist but are less broadly adopted. New standards like HTNG Express for property management system (PMS) integrations with other hotel systems hold promise but have limited adoption to date.

In most cases, it is the technology buyer (the hotel) that must reconcile data managed by different systems or implement and manage interfaces. Most hoteliers I speak with agree that the vendor community is poor at working together to remove friction and pain points faced by hotels and their guests; even some vendor executives admit that they are responsible for creating friction. Brands contribute to the problem as well when they mandate capabilities that cannot be delivered consistently due to vendor disparities across their portfolio.

As just one example, mobile key programs have been pushed out by many brands without always ensuring that existing elevator security controls can respond to mobile keys – and while this is technically possible with most elevators, such integrations are rarely on the radar of elevator manufacturers and are beyond the capabilities of most of the distributors that sell elevators to hotels. This results in what is essentially an unsolvable problem (unless replacing the elevator is an option), and hotel owners spending a lot of money on brand-mandated mobile keys that may never be practical for guests to use.

Whose Job Is It to Fix This Mess, Anyway?

Hoteliers frequently blame vendors for interoperability failures. And to be sure, many vendors manage interoperability poorly; they may deliver something they have, but it often does not meet the hotel’s needs or cannot be fully implemented. Too many vendors see their product at the center of their customer’s universe and assume that it is the other systems, rather than theirs (or frequently both), that must adapt. With an average of around 100 different technologies needed to run a typical modern hotel, the idea that one vendor can provide everything is ludicrous (how many mobile key companies also make elevators?). A few vendors have embraced partner models, often through marketplaces or app stores, but too many have not.

While many vendors have issues, the bigger problem is hotels failing to ask for what they need in a way that will truly engage the vendors. Hotels are, after all, the ones with the underlying business needs; vendors will respond to those needs, but only if they understand them and see a path to deploying them profitably. Few hotels do much to articulate their needs and (in particular) why current solutions fail to meet them. They do not work to build consensus among partners around the need for solutions, nor encourage those partners to address them.If you are a hotel and are not being proactive, it is time to stop complaining that you cannot get what you need and start finding ways YOU can make it happen. This article is designed to give you the tools to do just that – even if you represent a very small hotel group that has little or no clout with your vendors.

Industry organizations sometimes help to address these issues, but there are far too many gaps in both coverage and the extent to which they have facilitate the creation of actual, in-the-market solutions (as opposed to standards or best practices that might enable solutions but never become widely adopted). USALI is a success story because adoption by hotels was a prerequisite for access to capital markets (something every hotel owner understands is essential). Some other industry efforts (notably OpenTravel Alliance, HTNG – now part of AHLA, and HEDNA) have been helpful over the years, but the number of new efforts these organizations have undertaken in recent years has been declining, while the needs have been proliferating as more and more business processes have gone digital.

What’s The Solution?

Having been deeply involved in many industry efforts to address system interoperability and data integration over more than 30 years, I would observe that most of the historically successful efforts involved getting a critical mass of hotels represented in one room with the necessary vendors. The role of the hotels is to define the problems, evaluate solutions, and ultimately to buy the ones that address them. The role of the vendors is to select the technical approach, to define the information exchange standards, and to build and sell the solutions.

The critical mass of hotels might consist of just one larger hotel group or multiple smaller ones; it just needs to represent enough revenue potential to the vendor community to get their attention and engagement. Like all businesses, hotel tech vendors respond to profit opportunities that they understand and for which they can assess the market potential.

Once the critical mass has been assembled, the parties need to meet to define the problem very specifically; to describe the (presumably collaborative) solution; to decide whether and how it can be addressed; to agree on roles and responsibilities; and to establish a rough timeline and project plan.

Many industry collaboration meetings have gone virtual, but for this process to work there is one necessary ingredient that needs at least one face-to-face meeting. Problems are not solved by the companies who participate, but rather by the key people who represent them. It is human beings who must ultimately work together to achieve cooperation, and that requires developing personal relationships and a level of trust, which happens only face to face. This is particularly important when competitors must work together: humans in the business world are typically distrustful of competitors but are still able to establish respect and trust with some of the people who work for them. Unless the people involved already know each other, gathering them in a room for a day or two, and perhaps sharing a meal or cocktail, is often a necessary ingredient to generate cooperation.

These meetings will invariably include attendees who understand the business needs or the technology but not both (at least, not at the level required). It is therefore critical to include a moderator who is business-savvy enough to understand what the businesspeople are saying (clarifying wherever needed) and technologically adept enough to “translate” that into high-level technical solutions. This is important because technical staff often arrive with a preferred approach that may not meet the needs or the constraints of some of the other vendors, and negotiation is needed. Similarly, businesspeople often define the solution rather than the problem, when the better solutions may exist for the underlying problem. Just as negotiations between heads of state who speak different languages need interpreters (and not just language translators) to communicate effectively, the moderator needs to be able to interpret the underlying meaning of the business needs and the technical challenges that need to come together.

Aside from the format, hoteliers need to bring economic incentives to the table. Vendors need to make money and will participate if, and only to the extent that, they see potential gold at the end of the rainbow. A volume commitment of revenue from a large hotel group may be enough in some cases, but if that is not possible (and in the franchise world it often is not), hotels will need to come with a budget, or at least an understanding that they will need to find one. Without money on the table from hotels in one form or the other, the vendors will not stick around for long.

Participants from both hotels and vendors need to be senior enough to either make decisions on the spot, or to get management approval quickly. While the grunt work of defining needs and solutions and of creating interoperability will typically be delegated to departmental and product managers and technical staff, every participating company needs to know that they have sufficient senior management awareness and involvement to get to the right decisions that will have the necessary organizational support.

How to Get the Process Started

Having been involved with or closely observed many efforts to address interoperability problems over the years, I can propose several steps which, if followed, can increase the likelihood of success. There is no single formula; in any given situation you will almost certainly need to adapt some of these ideas.

1. Document the Problem. This starts with a hotel executive (one is enough, but multiple is fine) briefly describing the problem and their vision for a solution. The perspective needs to address why two or more systems – both of which the hotelier selected because they best met a particular need – fail to adequately address the needs of the guest, staff, hotel owner, or other stakeholder because they cannot work cooperatively in the way that is required. In writing this, the hotelier should recognize that vendors view issues through their own, highly colored lenses. Each has built a great product to solve a particular set of needs, but they often focus only on that set of needs, and not on how hotels’ own business processes and other systems might create other requirements that can be met only through collaboration.

The documentation needs to address solely the issues that can NOT be solved by a single vendor. Problems that CAN be solved by one vendor do not need this kind of process; you can address them with the vendor directly. Focusing the document on the collaboration issues helps ensure that the vendor will not have a “we already do that” reaction. If they do, then you need to rework your document and describe the problem more narrowly and clearly so that they understand the gap you are trying to fill.

Avoid describing the solution rather than the problem. For businesspeople, this is harder than you think; I have often heard a problem statement like “we just need system x to do y,” which is a solution rather than a problem. The problem is WHY they need system x to do y. Does it reduce guest disservice vs. the current capabilities? Save staff time? Improve revenue? Be specific and try to quantify the value of solving the problem if you can! A problem statement might be worded like “We have to manually update group statuses in the property management system because the interface does not carry through some of the statuses used by our sales and catering system; that takes four hours of staff time every week.” Businesspeople often have an idea of a solution, and can voice it at the appropriate time, but it’s the technical experts who are better able to find the BEST solution.

2. Socialize the Problem. If the problem is one that you believe other hotel companies share, and the solution is not one where you expect to gain any real competitive advantage, then you will want an industry solution provided by the vendor community – not an expensive custom solution built just for you. Circulate your problem statement informally within your peer network and with any relevant associations to find out if others share your need. One small hotel company may not be able to move the vendor community at a reasonable cost, but several working together often can.

Vendors frequently hear, in one-on-one discussions with their hotel clients, that “they should develop this at their own cost this because everybody needs it.” This argument works only rarely, because it is hard for vendors to assess (a) how many hotels really do share the need (the market potential); and (b) whether the same solution will work for all or most hotels, or whether multiple custom solutions will be needed. Even hotels that share the same problem will have significant variations in how they need to solve it because of differences in business processes and their existing technology ecosystems. The better vendors have learned the hard way never to build functionality for a single client, unless (and sometimes even if) the client is willing to pay the cost. Hence the importance of finding comrades to help persuade the vendors of the need.

Occasionally a key vendor may be aware of a need that is shared by many of their clients and want to solve it but lacks the knowledge or relationships with other vendors to do so. In this case, the vendor may be able to work with you to identify other hoteliers who will be interested.

3. Assess Critical Mass. You will need enough of the right vendors at the table to develop and implement a solution that meets the needs of a critical mass of hoteliers. Certain vendors may be essential, for example ones that large participating hotel groups have and are not able or willing to change. Others will be desirable, including ones in categories where hotels might consider replacing existing solutions, and ones in categories where multiple vendors already serve the hotel group’s properties. Vendors who are dominant in a particular category are often the ones most resistant to partnering with others, but it can be difficult or impossible to change industry practices without them.

If you cannot get the necessary vendors (the ones important to a critical mass of participating hotels) to at least consider participating, then your likelihood of success is low. In this situation, the best choice is usually to wait until something changes, while continuing to push for such changes where you can. Unwilling vendors may have a change of strategy or may relent if they perceive a risk that a major client might switch them out. A hotel company may become more willing to switch providers if the consequences of a gap continue to grow.

4. Get Commitments. Once you have critical mass of interest from hoteliers, they need to sell their vendors on participating – meaning resource commitments. Each vendor needs to see enough business opportunity to be willing to invest, and they will assess this based on what they hear from hoteliers with a need, an interest, and ideally a budget. Each vendor will have at least a rough sense of the cost of building out the necessary integrations, but they need help understanding the potential revenue and timeline. One large potential customer or multiple smaller ones can fill this need.

It is important to engage vendors at the appropriate senior management level, as the project will need ongoing support. A small hotel group dealing with an account executive at a large vendor company has little voice, which is why they need to build critical mass (and visibility with the vendor’s senior management) before asking for commitments. Senior management of hotels and vendors needs to be involved at the outset and at periodic checkpoints. They will normally delegate day-to-day responsibilities to business and technical staff, but it is important to be able to go back to them if the assigned staff cannot or will not carry the workload.

Engagement with vendors on commercial terms should be one-on-one. Hotels can run afoul of antitrust laws if they gang up on a vendor to get a better deal. It is fine to have discussions around the common needs and the technical means for achieving them, but not (at least in most of the Western world) for multiple customers to work together to leverage better pricing or contractual terms.

This is also a good time to suggest partnerships that make sense. A hotel group that needs vendors A and B to cooperate to solve an issue can help guide the vendors into how to productize and market a joint solution not only to them, but also to other hotels that may use both vendors. Vendors may not even be thinking about partnerships, whereas hotels recognize the need and can help vendors understand whether they might make sense.

5. Find or Create a Place to Meet. Once you have hotels and vendors lined up, someone needs to organize a first meeting (and ultimately later meetings, although this plan can come out of the first one). There are several ways hotels can make this happen. Sometimes vendors can do it as well, but this is more likely to raise competitive issues than if a hotel does it. In many cases, preliminary discussions can be held virtually, but once you have the team identified and committed and are ready to get down to work, face-to-face is much preferred. This also forces participating companies to address the cost of participating, if only to cover travel costs. If they cannot or will not fund a single trip to explore solving a customer problem, then they are unlikely to commit the resources required to participate meaningfully.

  • A hotel group can organize, coordinate scheduling, provide a venue, develop an agenda, and provide a moderator. This works best if the project involves only one hotel group (or two that are closely aligned on both the need and solution); otherwise, there is a risk that the solution will meet only the lead hotel group’s needs, disappointing both other participating hotels and the vendors as well.

  • A hotel group can organize it but hire a consultant to develop the agenda and moderate the session. This can be useful especially if the consultant is familiar with each relevant technology, has relationships with many or most of the vendors, and has at least some experience moderating workshops.

  • If you are a larger hotel group and have one core vendor (such as PMS) that you do not plan to change, but need multiple other systems to connect to it, you may be able to get someone from that vendor to lead the effort.

  • You can try to find a home for the effort in a relevant industry association. This can be an excellent solution if the association is interested in playing a lead role and has the necessary skills and resources, but the decision time frame can be lengthy and may end up at “no.” It’s good to engage early, as they can sometimes help with the earlier steps (like socialization as above), and you can get a better sense of what they bring to the table.

As you review the options, be sure to consider the full lifecycle: problem definition, solution design, role and responsibility assignments, proof-of-concept development, pilots, testing, deployment at scale, and continual refinement. You need not decide everything up front; just consider what your options will be for the later steps based on any decisions you make for the initial ones.

Integrations are projects, and projects need management. Most integration projects between vendors do not require a full-time project manager but do need someone to devote time to documenting goals and responsibilities, monitoring progress, organizing technical meetings, and refining the approach as work progresses. An hour or two of project management per hour of meeting is a good guideline. Most of the efforts I have been seen have a regular meeting cadence of one hour every one to two weeks, but this is often adapted as the project progresses.

Importantly, the project manager needs to ensure that participants at each meeting know what will be discussed, why their presence is needed, and how they can contribute. Few sins are as deadly as getting a large group of skilled people together without this – the result is usually disengagement and failure. The project manager should set an appropriate cadence for meetings for each phase and aspect of the project, ensuring that the right people (and only the right people) are present, that they understand what they are trying to accomplish (in a specific meeting, in a specific phase, and overall), that they understand what contributions they are expected to make, and that decisions are documented (and past decisions recited when the group tries to revisit them, which they will).

Critically, the role of hoteliers and vendor product and technical staff are very different. Many technical meetings will not need the hoteliers at all, assuming they have set a clear direction in earlier meetings; the specific vendor staff needed may also change for different aspects of the product. Most hoteliers (except for those who are contributing technically) should only be invited to (and expected to attend) meetings that are intended to define or refine the problem statement, evaluate potential solutions, and review finished product. These might be scheduled monthly or bimonthly, even as the technical group meets more weekly or biweekly.

These are critical organizational and communication skills to seek in a project manager, however chosen. Many consultants can fill this role if the hotel company cannot.

Industry Needs

The challenges of system and data integration have been with the hotel industry for decades; they are not going away anytime soon. While this article lays out some ways that even very small hotel companies can work proactively to solve some of the problems, there remain many opportunities for vendors and other industry players to help. I am always struck, when attending events comprised mostly of vendors, by conversations turning to their desire for a place to discover integration needs and vendor partnerships more holistically. Many vendors WANT to do this but lack the tools to do so successfully except when driven by a particular customer.

There are several ways this could be accomplished, and multiple entities that could take the lead.

  • Existing conferences and trade shows could include a track, perhaps even a half- or full-day, designed to facilitate discovery of integration challenges, hoteliers who want to solve them, and vendor partners who want to address them. For example, hoteliers could do five-minute pre-vetted problem presentations in a conference session, with a poll after each presentation to assess interest. This could segue into roundtable discussions around the topics of greatest interest. Roundtable participants could then agree to informally start a process such as described above, with a volunteer leader or leaders. This could fit into events sponsored by HFTP, AHLA, HEDNA, HSMAI, or any of several media/commercial conferences, including the Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit.

  • Hotel business and/or IT leaders could participate in a meeting devoted to cataloging and prioritizing integration issues, and to identifying one or a few lead hotel groups to drive industry level efforts. Anyone willing to devote a little time to making some phone calls could organize such a session.

  • Industry associations and media sites could create social media threads (on their website, using LinkedIn groups, or other familiar tools) where hoteliers could post integration needs and identify others sharing the same or related problems.

  • Consultants could create templates for managing the process, and provide supporting services for monitoring progress, suggesting refinements, moderating, or product management.

I am sure there are other things that could be done; these are just examples.

The important takeaway is that problems like these do not solve themselves (unless, perhaps, you are willing to throw more money at them than they are usually worth). As a hotelier, you can bitch all day about technology that doesn’t work together. But if you want to fix it, you need to organize a process to make it happen. If you wait for someone else to do it, you may be waiting for decades.

CORPORATE NEWS

Choice seeks to buy Wyndham for nearly $10B

Confirming long-held rumors, Choice Hotels International has announced a proposal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts at a price of $90 per share, payable in a mix of cash and stock. Choice is making its latest proposal public following Wyndham's decision to disengage from further discussions with Choice, following nearly six months of dialogue. www.choicehotels.com

Wyndham Board of Directors Rejects Unsolicited Proposal from Choice

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) (“Wyndham” or the “Company”), the world’s largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,100 hotels spanning more than 95 countries, announced that its Board of Directors unanimously rejected a highly conditional, unsolicited stock-and-cash proposal by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) (“Choice”) to acquire all outstanding shares of Wyndham.www.wyndhamhotels.com

Cendyn Doubles Down on the Future of CRM with Strategic Acquisition of PUSHTech

Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, is thrilled to announce its strategic acquisition of PUSHTech, a pioneering force in hotel Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services and marketing automation technology.www.cendyn.com

MDO Extends Leadership Position in Hotel Business Intelligence and Back-Office Automation with Acquisition of HelloGM

MDO, a hotel data platform that centralizes and operationalizes critical performance and financial data for hotel companies, has bolstered its back-office automation and business intelligence capabilities with the acquisition of HelloGM. www.mdo.io

Mews Acquires Nomi to Accelerate AI Guest Experiences and Personalization

Mews, an industry-leading hospitality cloud, has announced its acquisition of Nomi, a Nashville-based hospitality startup, as it continues focusing on its mission to enable remarkable guest experiences. Nomi’s IP will be included within Mews Guest Journey, empowering hoteliers to provide a hyper-personalized experience for guests.
mews.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Leonel Domingues, Co-founder and CTO at Nonius, Appointed to the HTNG Vendor Advisory Council

With a longstanding involvement in HTNG, Nonius reaffirms its dedication to hospitality tech. The HTNG VAC stands as a robust and insightful council of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA). The AHLA boasts more than 32,000 member properties, forming a vast representation of the entire hotel and lodging sector globally.noniussolutions.com

Mews Appoints Davin Fan as General Manager, North America

Mews, an innovative hospitality cloud, announced that Davin Fan has joined the company in the new role of General Manager, North America, as it experiences significant growth in the region.
www.mews.com

Hoteliers ‘Get Hoppy’ Over Reopening of Gregg Hopkins & Associates Consultancy

Gregg Hopkins is once again bringing insight, experience and passion to the hospitality advisory services business. Recently the 40-year hospitality industry veteran re-opened his travel and hospitality focused consultancy, Gregg Hopkins & Associates (GH&A), to serve as a trusted technology advisor for hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs, and a hands-on mentor for hospitality technology company executives and front-line marketing and sales personnel.
www.gregghopkins.com

VENZA Names Casey Harrigan as Corporate Communications Manager

VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has named Casey Harrigan as Corporate Communications Manager. In this role, Harrigan will lead VENZA’s communication strategy, and brand and product promotion.
www.VENZAgroup.com

GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Mews Demonstrates Outstanding Growth in the Ten Years Since First Customer

Mews, the industry-leading hospitality cloud, is celebrating 10 years since the very first hotel went live on its platform. The Emblem Prague Hotel was the first to embrace the new generation of hospitality and remains a Mews customer to this day.www.mews.com

Minor Hotels Upgrades to Oracle Cloud to Better Serve its Guests

Minor Hotels is upgrading 100 of its properties to Oracle OPERA Hospitality Cloud. By moving to the cloud, the growing hotel owner, manager, and operator will be able bolster efficiency and unify guest profiles across its global properties.
www.oracle.com/hospitality

Shiji's Enterprise Platform Powers Peninsula Hotels into the Future of Luxury Hospitality

Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced the comprehensive and rapid implementation of its next-generation PMS, sitting upon the Shiji Enterprise Platform, across multiple Peninsula Hotels. This significant transition marks a new chapter in a longstanding, 25-year partnership between Shiji and The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH), reaffirming their mutual commitment to technological innovation and exceptional service.
shijigroup.com

North Yorkshire’s Luxurious Rudding Park Spa Hotel Improves Operational Transparency and Efficiency Using Maestro All-In-One PMS

Rudding Park, a privately owned luxury spa and golf resort in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, has taken great strides to invest in technology and keep pace with new operational challenges. To improve the management of these facilities, improve operational efficiency, and optimize revenue generation, Rudding Park turned to Maestro PMS.
www.maestropms.com

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Glassdoor, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot Launch First Global Coalition for Trusted Reviews

Today, Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Glassdoor, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot announced they have teamed up to launch the global Coalition for Trusted Reviews, a cross-industry collaboration committed to protecting access to trustworthy consumer reviews worldwide. Together, members will define best practices for hosting online reviews and sharing methods of fake review detection, aiming to stop fake reviews at the source.www.tripadvisor.com

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

Agility in Pricing Enables Brera Apartments to React Swiftly to Market Changes

The integration of SIHOT and IDeaS brought about a fundamental shift in how Brera approached revenue management, taking it from a manual and labor-intensive process to an automated one.www.ideas.com

Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina Selects Knowland to Strategically Reallocate Market Share

Today Knowland, the world’s leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina Hotel selected the Knowland platform to gain access to insights into untapped industries and potential accounts, expand opportunities within the luxury hotel sector and empower sales teams to reallocate market share strategically. www.knowland.com

Desa Potato Head Adopts IDeaS G3 RMS Following Business Expansion

IDeaS, a SAS company, a world leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, today announced that iconic Indonesian hotel-resort, Desa Potato Head, has adopted IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS). Following a recent business expansion, this adoption will refine its revenue management approach and deliver room-type optimisation. ideas.com

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

INTELITY Named World’s Best Hotel Digital Key Solutions Provider, World’s Best In-Room Tablet Provider at 2023 World Travel Tech Awards

INTELITY, provider of hospitality’s leading guest experience and staff management platform, announced today it has been recognized as the World’s Best Hotel Digital Key Solutions Provider for its INTELITY Mobile Key solution and the World’s Best In-Room Tablet Provider for the third year in a row by the World Travel Tech Awards 2023. www.intelity.com

Hotel Communication Network Bringing Two-Way Guest Communication Technology to Europe

With increasing demand for two-way guest communications, Hotel Communication Network (HCN) is expanding globally. Developer of the widely popular, modern, multi-lingual Navigator 2.0 in-room tablet platform has recently opened a new sales office in London. Mark Brooks-Belcher will serve as VP of Sales for the UK and Europe region. www.hcn-inc.com

PPDS Unveils New Global Software Development Team to Deliver World-Class AV Software Solutions and “Exceptional” Hospitality Experiences on Philips Displays

PPDS, a exclusive global provider of Philips professional displays, digital signage, interactive displays, direct view LED and professional TVs, has announced a wave of exciting changes for its central team to drive, develop, and deliver advanced AV solutions for hospitality partners and customers around the globe. www.ppds.com

MARKETING

Cendyn Takes Home Two Top Awards at the World Travel Tech Awards 2023

Cendyn, continuing its position as a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has been awarded two top prizes at the 3rd Annual World Travel Tech Awards 2023: World’s Best Data Driven Marketing Agency and World’s Best Hotel CRM Solutions Provider. The awards were officially presented at the World Travel Tech Awards Gala Ceremony 2023, which took place on October 15, 2023 at Atlantis The Royal, Dubai.
www.cendyn.com

Lodging Interactive Launches Affordable Data-Driven Hotel Websites: Empowering Every Hotelier

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing, reputation management, and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry since 2001, is excited to announce the launch of its affordable subscription-based website design and marketing services platform.
www.lodginginteractive.com

GCommerce Welcomes 8th Forbes 5-Star Property to Its Portfolio

GCommerce Solutions, a leading hospitality marketing agency, has added its 8th Forbes 5-star property to its portfolio. GCommerce specializes in luxury hotels and resorts. With a focus on driving direct bookings and revenue growth, GCommerce offers customized digital marketing solutions that elevate a property’s story to the right audience, nurture that audience to capture the booking, and cultivate the long-term relationship between the guest and the property.
www.gcommercesolutions.com

Data Travel Announces Hapi Guest Focus on Salesforce AppExchange, the World's Leading Enterprise Cloud Marketplace

Data Travel, LLC today announced it has launched Hapi Guest Focus on Salesforce AppExchange, empowering hotel companies to craft personalized guest check-in experiences and drive upsell opportunities right at the front desk.
www.hapicloud.io



BACK OFFICE

Historic Windermere House Swaps ‘Dinosaur’ Software for Enterprise Accounting Solution

Overlooking Lake Rosseau since 1870, the iconic Victorian landmark Windermere House needed to modernize its accounting and back-office functions in keeping with its status as Muskoka’s premiere hotel and resort. Management company B•Hospitality tapped Aptech’s PVNG enterprise accounting solution to keep the property’s accounting and financial systems on the same page internally and companywide as B•Hospitality prepares for further growth. www.aptech-inc.com

COMMUNICATIONS & INFRASTRUCTURE

Travel Outlook's Omnichannel Telephony Enhances Guest Service and Reduces Hotel Labor Expense

In a world where seamless communication is paramount for business success, Travel Outlook is now offering an omnichannel telephony system for its hotel clients.  This new system will revolutionize the way hotels connect with their guests, offering a unified and consistent communication experience across all channels.

traveloutlook.com

Crexendo and Nomadix Sign Strategic Distribution Agreement

Crexendo, Inc. (NASDAQ:CXDO) (“Crexendo” or the “Company”), an award-winning premier provider of cloud communication platform and services, video collaboration, and managed IT services, and ​​Nomadix® Inc​., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the signing of a strategic distribution agreement.www.nomadix.com     www.crexendo.com

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Shiji Signs Global MSA With Marriott International for Infrasys Cloud POS

Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced today that a Master Service Agreement has been signed which will allow for expanded use of Infrasys Cloud Point-of-Sale (POS) in Marriott International hotels in Africa, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Infrasys Cloud POS is Shiji’s flagship POS, built for enterprise hotel companies as a cloud-based POS. shijigroup.com

PAYMENT PROCESSING

Cloudbeds Expands Proprietary Payment Solution to More Than 36 Countries

Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for lodging businesses around the globe, today announced the expansion of its in-platform payment processing solution, Cloudbeds Payments, to 36 countries globally, allowing tens of thousands of hoteliers to reduce operating costs associated with payment fraud, chargebacks, manual reconciliation, and human error. www.cloudbeds.com

SECURITY

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and Traka Americas Reaffirm Commitment to Provide Give Kids the World Families with Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, a leading provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, alongside ASSA ABLOY Group Member, Traka Americas, have combined their resources and expertise in order to donate the latest in security innovation to the Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.www.assaabloyglobalsolutions.com/hospitality

VENZA Releases Product Roadmap Updates for Q3 2023

VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance tools for the hospitality industry, today announced significant updates to its Product Roadmap as part of Vision ’24. During the third quarter, the company unveiled major upgrades across its range of products. Its continued innovation in tools for comprehensive security awareness training further extends its position as the pacesetter for hospitality IT protection. www.VENZAgroup.com

HOSPITALITY EVENTS & ASSOCIATION NEWS

Maestro to Showcase Its All-In-One Cloud or On-Premises PMS With Unified Guest Booking Journey at Independent Hotel Show London

Next week at the Independent Hotel Show in London, Maestro PMS will play host to global hoteliers looking to learn more about the company’s Web Browser based cloud and on-premises all-in-one property-management system for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups.
www.maestropms.com

HFTP Announces 2023 Paragon Award Recipient – Geneva Rinehart

Geneva Rinehart was selected as the 2023 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Paragon Award recipient for her significant contribution to the production of a key hospitality technology information resource for nearly three decades. She is also recognized for inhabiting the role as a central connector amongst industry players — vendors, hotel companies, and consultants.
www.hftp.org

IARE Partners with HSMAI to Expand Reach and Elevate Opportunities

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has announced the integration of the International Association of Reservation Executives (IARE) membership and program of work into HSMAI.
hsmai.org

HTNG, HSMAI to Co-locate HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore in 2024

The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s technology committee, HTNG, and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announced that they will co-locate HTNG’s HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific event and HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) May 8-10, 2024, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
www.ahla.com

MARKET REPORTS

Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index by Knowland and Amadeus Shows Tampa, Las Vegas, and San Diego Leading U.S. Group Revenue Recovery in Q3

Knowland, a world leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, and Amadeus, a global leader in hospitality technology, present the metrics from the companies’ Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index. The third quarter of this year shows the top 25 U.S. markets have recovered 99.1 percent for group business compared to the same time in 2019.www.amadeus.com/hospitality    www.knowland.com

In his Definitely Doug column that follows, only Doug Rice can critique HFTP, AHLA, HSMAI, HEDNA and not blame the vendor community for the biggest problem the hotel industry faces in the world of technology. Early in his column he asks the simple question, “whose job is it to fix this mess, anyway?” If you’re a hotelier, you’ll relate and if you’re a vendor you might say this makes sense. Hoteliers need to invest correctly in technology, but vendors need to be profitable with all parties needing to be onboard to solve the problem of what Doug describes as interoperability failures. What I love about Doug’s column this week is he doesn’t just state a problem but comes up with suggestions to fix it – though I imagine many will shake their heads in disbelief to what he is suggesting. At Hospitality Upgrade when we gather senior technology people at the Executive Vendor Summit and CIO Summit they confirm much of what Doug brings up in this week’s column, and this is always discussed at the events. Take a few minutes, read through his column, and let me know if you’d like to be included for a follow up at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. Thank you, Doug, for not being afraid to bring up what many might quickly respond as being impossible. Maybe not this time!

I am writing this as the HFTP Annual Conference comes to a close. HFTP’s most prestigious award that it gives out is the Paragon Award. Once each year this award is given to those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the hospitality industry and to HFTP. How great it was that Geneva Rinehart – who really makes Hospitality Upgrade and all our events happen successfully – was this year’s winner. A special Hospitality Upgrade thank you goes to Lisa Funk Martin and Sherry Marek for leading the charge to make this happen. It was a great moment on Wednesday watching the introduction, the many thank yous and the very appreciative crowd in Indianapolis who shared in the celebration. Life is all about moments, and this was a great one for all of us at Hospitality Upgrade and especially Geneva!

Here now is the Definitely Doug column along with the latest technology happenings in the industry. If you are a hotelier, vendor or consultant, please take a few minutes and read through and share your thoughts. There will be a follow up. You have a problem, you now have a suggestion on how to solve the problem and you should do something. Share your thoughts or reach out to Doug directly at douglas.rice@hosptech.net.

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Siegel Sez - 10/20/23

In his Definitely Doug column that follows, only Doug Rice can critique HFTP, AHLA, HSMAI, HEDNA and not blame the vendor community for the biggest problem the hotel industry faces in the world of technology. Early in his column he asks the simple question, “whose job is it to fix this mess, anyway?” If you’re a hotelier, you’ll relate and if you’re a vendor you might say this makes sense. Hoteliers need to invest correctly in technology, but vendors need to be profitable with all parties needing to be onboard to solve the problem of what Doug describes as interoperability failures. What I love about Doug’s column this week is he doesn’t just state a problem but comes up with suggestions to fix it – though I imagine many will shake their heads in disbelief to what he is suggesting. At Hospitality Upgrade when we gather senior technology people at the Executive Vendor Summit and CIO Summit they confirm much of what Doug brings up in this week’s column, and this is always discussed at the events. Take a few minutes, read through his column, and let me know if you’d like to be included for a follow up at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. Thank you, Doug, for not being afraid to bring up what many might quickly respond as being impossible. Maybe not this time!

I am writing this as the HFTP Annual Conference comes to a close. HFTP’s most prestigious award that it gives out is the Paragon Award. Once each year this award is given to those who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the hospitality industry and to HFTP. How great it was that Geneva Rinehart – who really makes Hospitality Upgrade and all our events happen successfully – was this year’s winner. A special Hospitality Upgrade thank you goes to Lisa Funk Martin and Sherry Marek for leading the charge to make this happen. It was a great moment on Wednesday watching the introduction, the many thank yous and the very appreciative crowd in Indianapolis who shared in the celebration. Life is all about moments, and this was a great one for all of us at Hospitality Upgrade and especially Geneva!

Here now is the Definitely Doug column along with the latest technology happenings in the industry. If you are a hotelier, vendor or consultant, please take a few minutes and read through and share your thoughts. There will be a follow up. You have a problem, you now have a suggestion on how to solve the problem and you should do something. Share your thoughts or reach out to Doug directly at douglas.rice@hosptech.net.

Rich

rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Definitely Doug 10/20/23: Gluing It All Together

Hardly a day goes by that hotels do not express frustration about the inability to tie together key data sources and technology systems. This is not a new problem; it has been around for decades. Progress has been made on many fronts to be sure, but digitalization has created new issues much faster than solutions.

These challenges affect every part of the hotel business. Unlike retail, where UPC codes can be easily identified and cross-referenced, the distribution ecosystem for hotels lacks even the most basic standardization of product. Distributors are often caught unaware of brand changes and closings, and even major ones admit that they far too often sell hotels that no longer exist.

Inside the hotel itself, brands face huge challenges getting mobile keys to work consistently at scale. Energy management technology is a decade or more behind other real estate sectors because building management systems interoperate poorly with hotel guest room management systems. Payment processing is messy. Commission payments are difficult to manage. Multi-brand owners and management companies are challenged by metrics that are defined or calculated inconsistently by various brand-mandated systems, making comparative performance hard to assess.

These are just a few examples of challenges our industry faces from lack of data standardization and interoperability. It is not that standards and interfaces do not exist, but rather that they are incomplete, dated, and often never implemented by legacy systems that still dominate the landscape. The only significant exception I can identify is the USALI standards for financial metrics. In other areas, primarily distribution, standards exist but are less broadly adopted. New standards like HTNG Express for property management system (PMS) integrations with other hotel systems hold promise but have limited adoption to date.

In most cases, it is the technology buyer (the hotel) that must reconcile data managed by different systems or implement and manage interfaces. Most hoteliers I speak with agree that the vendor community is poor at working together to remove friction and pain points faced by hotels and their guests; even some vendor executives admit that they are responsible for creating friction. Brands contribute to the problem as well when they mandate capabilities that cannot be delivered consistently due to vendor disparities across their portfolio.

CORPORATE NEWS

Choice seeks to buy Wyndham for nearly $10B

Confirming long-held rumors, Choice Hotels International has announced a proposal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts at a price of $90 per share, payable in a mix of cash and stock. Choice is making its latest proposal public following Wyndham's decision to disengage from further discussions with Choice, following nearly six months of dialogue. www.choicehotels.com

Wyndham Board of Directors Rejects Unsolicited Proposal from Choice

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: WH) (“Wyndham” or the “Company”), the world’s largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,100 hotels spanning more than 95 countries, announced that its Board of Directors unanimously rejected a highly conditional, unsolicited stock-and-cash proposal by Choice Hotels International, Inc. (NYSE: CHH) (“Choice”) to acquire all outstanding shares of Wyndham.www.wyndhamhotels.com

Cendyn Doubles Down on the Future of CRM with Strategic Acquisition of PUSHTech

Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, is thrilled to announce its strategic acquisition of PUSHTech, a pioneering force in hotel Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services and marketing automation technology.www.cendyn.com

MDO Extends Leadership Position in Hotel Business Intelligence and Back-Office Automation with Acquisition of HelloGM

MDO, a hotel data platform that centralizes and operationalizes critical performance and financial data for hotel companies, has bolstered its back-office automation and business intelligence capabilities with the acquisition of HelloGM. www.mdo.io

Mews Acquires Nomi to Accelerate AI Guest Experiences and Personalization

Mews, an industry-leading hospitality cloud, has announced its acquisition of Nomi, a Nashville-based hospitality startup, as it continues focusing on its mission to enable remarkable guest experiences. Nomi’s IP will be included within Mews Guest Journey, empowering hoteliers to provide a hyper-personalized experience for guests.
mews.com

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

Leonel Domingues, Co-founder and CTO at Nonius, Appointed to the HTNG Vendor Advisory Council

With a longstanding involvement in HTNG, Nonius reaffirms its dedication to hospitality tech. The HTNG VAC stands as a robust and insightful council of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA). The AHLA boasts more than 32,000 member properties, forming a vast representation of the entire hotel and lodging sector globally.noniussolutions.com

Mews Appoints Davin Fan as General Manager, North America

Mews, an innovative hospitality cloud, announced that Davin Fan has joined the company in the new role of General Manager, North America, as it experiences significant growth in the region.
www.mews.com

Hoteliers ‘Get Hoppy’ Over Reopening of Gregg Hopkins & Associates Consultancy

Gregg Hopkins is once again bringing insight, experience and passion to the hospitality advisory services business. Recently the 40-year hospitality industry veteran re-opened his travel and hospitality focused consultancy, Gregg Hopkins & Associates (GH&A), to serve as a trusted technology advisor for hotels, resorts, restaurants and clubs, and a hands-on mentor for hospitality technology company executives and front-line marketing and sales personnel.
www.gregghopkins.com

VENZA Names Casey Harrigan as Corporate Communications Manager

VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance solutions for the hospitality industry, today announced that it has named Casey Harrigan as Corporate Communications Manager. In this role, Harrigan will lead VENZA’s communication strategy, and brand and product promotion.
www.VENZAgroup.com

GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

Mews Demonstrates Outstanding Growth in the Ten Years Since First Customer

Mews, the industry-leading hospitality cloud, is celebrating 10 years since the very first hotel went live on its platform. The Emblem Prague Hotel was the first to embrace the new generation of hospitality and remains a Mews customer to this day.www.mews.com

Minor Hotels Upgrades to Oracle Cloud to Better Serve its Guests

Minor Hotels is upgrading 100 of its properties to Oracle OPERA Hospitality Cloud. By moving to the cloud, the growing hotel owner, manager, and operator will be able bolster efficiency and unify guest profiles across its global properties.
www.oracle.com/hospitality

Shiji's Enterprise Platform Powers Peninsula Hotels into the Future of Luxury Hospitality

Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced the comprehensive and rapid implementation of its next-generation PMS, sitting upon the Shiji Enterprise Platform, across multiple Peninsula Hotels. This significant transition marks a new chapter in a longstanding, 25-year partnership between Shiji and The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH), reaffirming their mutual commitment to technological innovation and exceptional service.
shijigroup.com

North Yorkshire’s Luxurious Rudding Park Spa Hotel Improves Operational Transparency and Efficiency Using Maestro All-In-One PMS

Rudding Park, a privately owned luxury spa and golf resort in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England, has taken great strides to invest in technology and keep pace with new operational challenges. To improve the management of these facilities, improve operational efficiency, and optimize revenue generation, Rudding Park turned to Maestro PMS.
www.maestropms.com

RESERVATIONS & DISTRIBUTION

Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Glassdoor, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot Launch First Global Coalition for Trusted Reviews

Today, Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia Group, Glassdoor, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot announced they have teamed up to launch the global Coalition for Trusted Reviews, a cross-industry collaboration committed to protecting access to trustworthy consumer reviews worldwide. Together, members will define best practices for hosting online reviews and sharing methods of fake review detection, aiming to stop fake reviews at the source.www.tripadvisor.com

REVENUE MANAGEMENT & ANALYTICS

Agility in Pricing Enables Brera Apartments to React Swiftly to Market Changes

The integration of SIHOT and IDeaS brought about a fundamental shift in how Brera approached revenue management, taking it from a manual and labor-intensive process to an automated one.www.ideas.com

Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina Selects Knowland to Strategically Reallocate Market Share

Today Knowland, the world’s leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced the Crowne Plaza Dubai Marina Hotel selected the Knowland platform to gain access to insights into untapped industries and potential accounts, expand opportunities within the luxury hotel sector and empower sales teams to reallocate market share strategically. www.knowland.com

Desa Potato Head Adopts IDeaS G3 RMS Following Business Expansion

IDeaS, a SAS company, a world leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, today announced that iconic Indonesian hotel-resort, Desa Potato Head, has adopted IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS). Following a recent business expansion, this adoption will refine its revenue management approach and deliver room-type optimisation. ideas.com

GUEST FACING TECHNOLOGY

INTELITY Named World’s Best Hotel Digital Key Solutions Provider, World’s Best In-Room Tablet Provider at 2023 World Travel Tech Awards

INTELITY, provider of hospitality’s leading guest experience and staff management platform, announced today it has been recognized as the World’s Best Hotel Digital Key Solutions Provider for its INTELITY Mobile Key solution and the World’s Best In-Room Tablet Provider for the third year in a row by the World Travel Tech Awards 2023. www.intelity.com

Hotel Communication Network Bringing Two-Way Guest Communication Technology to Europe

With increasing demand for two-way guest communications, Hotel Communication Network (HCN) is expanding globally. Developer of the widely popular, modern, multi-lingual Navigator 2.0 in-room tablet platform has recently opened a new sales office in London. Mark Brooks-Belcher will serve as VP of Sales for the UK and Europe region. www.hcn-inc.com

PPDS Unveils New Global Software Development Team to Deliver World-Class AV Software Solutions and “Exceptional” Hospitality Experiences on Philips Displays

PPDS, a exclusive global provider of Philips professional displays, digital signage, interactive displays, direct view LED and professional TVs, has announced a wave of exciting changes for its central team to drive, develop, and deliver advanced AV solutions for hospitality partners and customers around the globe. www.ppds.com

MARKETING

Cendyn Takes Home Two Top Awards at the World Travel Tech Awards 2023

Cendyn, continuing its position as a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, has been awarded two top prizes at the 3rd Annual World Travel Tech Awards 2023: World’s Best Data Driven Marketing Agency and World’s Best Hotel CRM Solutions Provider. The awards were officially presented at the World Travel Tech Awards Gala Ceremony 2023, which took place on October 15, 2023 at Atlantis The Royal, Dubai.
www.cendyn.com

Lodging Interactive Launches Affordable Data-Driven Hotel Websites: Empowering Every Hotelier

Lodging Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing, reputation management, and social media engagement agency exclusively serving the hospitality industry since 2001, is excited to announce the launch of its affordable subscription-based website design and marketing services platform.
www.lodginginteractive.com

GCommerce Welcomes 8th Forbes 5-Star Property to Its Portfolio

GCommerce Solutions, a leading hospitality marketing agency, has added its 8th Forbes 5-star property to its portfolio. GCommerce specializes in luxury hotels and resorts. With a focus on driving direct bookings and revenue growth, GCommerce offers customized digital marketing solutions that elevate a property’s story to the right audience, nurture that audience to capture the booking, and cultivate the long-term relationship between the guest and the property.
www.gcommercesolutions.com

Data Travel Announces Hapi Guest Focus on Salesforce AppExchange, the World's Leading Enterprise Cloud Marketplace

Data Travel, LLC today announced it has launched Hapi Guest Focus on Salesforce AppExchange, empowering hotel companies to craft personalized guest check-in experiences and drive upsell opportunities right at the front desk.
www.hapicloud.io



BACK OFFICE

Historic Windermere House Swaps ‘Dinosaur’ Software for Enterprise Accounting Solution

Overlooking Lake Rosseau since 1870, the iconic Victorian landmark Windermere House needed to modernize its accounting and back-office functions in keeping with its status as Muskoka’s premiere hotel and resort. Management company B•Hospitality tapped Aptech’s PVNG enterprise accounting solution to keep the property’s accounting and financial systems on the same page internally and companywide as B•Hospitality prepares for further growth. www.aptech-inc.com

COMMUNICATIONS & INFRASTRUCTURE

Travel Outlook's Omnichannel Telephony Enhances Guest Service and Reduces Hotel Labor Expense

In a world where seamless communication is paramount for business success, Travel Outlook is now offering an omnichannel telephony system for its hotel clients.  This new system will revolutionize the way hotels connect with their guests, offering a unified and consistent communication experience across all channels.

traveloutlook.com

Crexendo and Nomadix Sign Strategic Distribution Agreement

Crexendo, Inc. (NASDAQ:CXDO) (“Crexendo” or the “Company”), an award-winning premier provider of cloud communication platform and services, video collaboration, and managed IT services, and ​​Nomadix® Inc​., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the signing of a strategic distribution agreement.www.nomadix.com     www.crexendo.com

FOOD & BEVERAGE

Shiji Signs Global MSA With Marriott International for Infrasys Cloud POS

Shiji, the global hospitality technology innovator, announced today that a Master Service Agreement has been signed which will allow for expanded use of Infrasys Cloud Point-of-Sale (POS) in Marriott International hotels in Africa, Asia Pacific, the Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Infrasys Cloud POS is Shiji’s flagship POS, built for enterprise hotel companies as a cloud-based POS. shijigroup.com

PAYMENT PROCESSING

Cloudbeds Expands Proprietary Payment Solution to More Than 36 Countries

Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for lodging businesses around the globe, today announced the expansion of its in-platform payment processing solution, Cloudbeds Payments, to 36 countries globally, allowing tens of thousands of hoteliers to reduce operating costs associated with payment fraud, chargebacks, manual reconciliation, and human error. www.cloudbeds.com

SECURITY

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and Traka Americas Reaffirm Commitment to Provide Give Kids the World Families with Enhanced Security and Peace of Mind

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, a leading provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, alongside ASSA ABLOY Group Member, Traka Americas, have combined their resources and expertise in order to donate the latest in security innovation to the Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.www.assaabloyglobalsolutions.com/hospitality

VENZA Releases Product Roadmap Updates for Q3 2023

VENZA, a leading provider of data protection and regulatory compliance tools for the hospitality industry, today announced significant updates to its Product Roadmap as part of Vision ’24. During the third quarter, the company unveiled major upgrades across its range of products. Its continued innovation in tools for comprehensive security awareness training further extends its position as the pacesetter for hospitality IT protection. www.VENZAgroup.com

HOSPITALITY EVENTS & ASSOCIATION NEWS

Maestro to Showcase Its All-In-One Cloud or On-Premises PMS With Unified Guest Booking Journey at Independent Hotel Show London

Next week at the Independent Hotel Show in London, Maestro PMS will play host to global hoteliers looking to learn more about the company’s Web Browser based cloud and on-premises all-in-one property-management system for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups.
www.maestropms.com

HFTP Announces 2023 Paragon Award Recipient – Geneva Rinehart

Geneva Rinehart was selected as the 2023 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Paragon Award recipient for her significant contribution to the production of a key hospitality technology information resource for nearly three decades. She is also recognized for inhabiting the role as a central connector amongst industry players — vendors, hotel companies, and consultants.
www.hftp.org

IARE Partners with HSMAI to Expand Reach and Elevate Opportunities

The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) has announced the integration of the International Association of Reservation Executives (IARE) membership and program of work into HSMAI.
hsmai.org

HTNG, HSMAI to Co-locate HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific, HSMAI Revenue Optimization Conference at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore in 2024

The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s technology committee, HTNG, and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) announced that they will co-locate HTNG’s HTNG Connect: Asia-Pacific event and HSMAI’s Revenue Optimization Conference (ROC) May 8-10, 2024, at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
www.ahla.com

MARKET REPORTS

Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index by Knowland and Amadeus Shows Tampa, Las Vegas, and San Diego Leading U.S. Group Revenue Recovery in Q3

Knowland, a world leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, and Amadeus, a global leader in hospitality technology, present the metrics from the companies’ Hospitality Group and Business Performance Index. The third quarter of this year shows the top 25 U.S. markets have recovered 99.1 percent for group business compared to the same time in 2019.www.amadeus.com/hospitality    www.knowland.com

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Let's Get Digital

7 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in a Hotel Mobile App

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Let's Get Digital

With high rates of mobile device users and high expectations to digitally connect, what should your hotel app do? Besides providing a great digital guest experience, your hotel mobile app should be a reflection of your property and should give your guest the digital access they need to experience your property to the fullest.

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Return on Experience solutions delight guests, retain staff & grow margins

Agilysys’ Cloud platform, solely engineered for hospitality, delivers Return On Experience (ROE) across every hospitality touchpoint. That means more repeat stays, greater spend, stronger reviews, a more empowered staff and a healthier bottom line.

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