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Posted: 10/23/2020

"Friendship often ends in love, and love in friendship never ends. "

We’re hardly out of the woods with COVID-19, and that means many properties will have to make do with a customer base mostly derived from local leisure, staycations and workcations from drive-to markets. With fewer overall guests, outside of cost savings efforts we must simultaneously look at maximizing the revenue per available guest (RevPAG), and there’s no better way to go about this than by sharpening your use of the PMS.

This is the last issue of Siegel Sez before this year’s CYBER HITEC event. HITEC is an event I have not missed in 30 years, and historically it has always been a great place to find innovation.

Toxicity Kills
Posted: 10/07/2020

It doesn’t matter if it is toxins in your physical environment or toxins in your mental environment. This stuff kills! 

It’s said that when someone’s mindset shifts, everything around them can change at the same time, and in our current setting, the importance of being in the right headspace, both personally and as an organization, can’t be discussed enough.

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Hotel Wi-Fi and Property Networks – A HITEC 2017 Review

by Natalie Doyle Oldfield
HITEC Toronto showcased many new technologies and services for the hospitality industry. Great companies exhibited and discussed their products and offerings with hoteliers. 

My name is Natalie Doyle Oldfield, I work with such companies to strengthen and protect the trust they have with their customers. Clients often ask me “how does a company strengthen and protect customer trust?” It is common for me respond with, “Start with listening and asking questions to get a deep understanding of your customer’s perspective.” This takes time and commitment. So I asked Alex Ajdelsztajin, director of property internet, Americas of Marriott International his perspective of HITEC. Below is his response. 
HITEC is a big show – the largest Hospitality Technology Show to be exact, so I should give you more background as to what my role is in the industry and what was my focus when walking the floor before I am able to give you my unbiased views and impressions of this year’s event:
My name is Alex Ajdelsztajn and I lead Marriott International’s Property Internet Program for the Americas Region. In my role, I am responsible for defining a strategic approach to deliver a platform in which not only our guestscan work and play, but our associates can rely on to deliver exceptional services to our guests. You can think of it from a few different angles: Internet for the guests in all guestrooms, public spaces and meeting areas of the hotel, back-of-the-house network connectivity for all associate computers and property-wide wireless to enable our associates’ mobile devices. I also serve as Chair of the Scalable Cellular Service group at HTNG, working with a strong team of technology professionals to identify, document and empower hospitality stakeholders with the best options to deliver ubiquitous cellular connectivity for hotels worldwide.
Now that we got that out of the way, let me tell you about the show:
This year’s HITEC in Toronto was extremely interesting. It seems like it was a year of self-reflecting and rediscovery for many of the companies in attendance. The focus shifted from launching groundbreaking products or technologies to partners looking at expanding the reach and breadth of their existing services, providing a more holistic view of the guest experience rather than discussing size and color of the box in the ceiling or behind the desk.
Look at hotel Wi-Fi and property networks as an example: Between integrators, OEMs or carriers, there were well over 50 companies in attendance. They all participate in some way of what can be a great or lackluster delivery of internet to hotel guests. How can these companies differentiate themselves in such a competitive landscape? I believe some of them did, and I want to split my thoughts into three main areas:
Backhaul: A circuit is a circuit right? WRONG! Purchasing bandwidth can be an incredibly time-consuming experience, having to deal with lead times, infrastructure availability, construction needs, hardware compatibility and overall product flexibility. The most interesting business propositions I noticed this year were not only those that included options to deal with some of these pain-points, but also created additional value. Circuits with redundant 4G LTE backup options that would manage an automatic fail-over are high up on the list, right along with overarching portal capabilities to monitor and assign bandwidth in near real time (with dynamic pricing). Other interesting options included Network Function Virtualization (NFV) to reduce logistics and equipment delivery times, as well as carrier-agnostic SIP services to ride voice and data together at a reduce cost rate.
Property Infrastructure: Long are the days where Cat6 structured cabling was the only option for hotel networks. Welcome fiber and coax to the hospitality world! GPON and DOCSIS are making waves in providing flexible options for properties with very large complex networks, hotels with limited renovation budgets or complex building structures. The use of such technologies heavily reduces cooling needs, designated equipment space, conduit space or the need to rip and replace your legacy cable runs. Expect these technologies to arrive at one of your hotels very soon (if not there yet).
Intelligence: Providers have responded to hotel owners, franchisees and managers, who are thirsty for more ways to understand network performance, user behavior or proactively identifying guests needs. There’s a rise on the number of connected devices, module hardware options and enhanced dashboarding capabilities to enable additional network services or displaying a multitude of data points. Props to those working on next gen unlicensed spectrum sharing for cellular offloading, overarching geolocation visuals for identifying trends in the guest journey or short range connectivity options to enable communication to in-room IoT devices such as thermostats and door locks.
The most exciting thing for me was to see partners interested in becoming an active part of hotel technology roadmap designs. The writing is on the wall: partners who are just focused in providing hospitality triple-play will quickly realize the growing importance of property networks with the increased convergence needs that will surface over the next two to five years.
About The Author
Natalie Doyle Oldfield
Success Through Trust Inc.

Natalie Doyle Oldfield is the president of Success Through Trust Inc. She is also a team member of DANNI Enterprises. Her areas of expertise include customer experience, building customer trust and loyalty.

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