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Over the past six months, this column has focused mostly on hospitality technologies and issues that were triggered by COVID-19. Innovation has flourished during that time, from both established industry technology providers and from startups. At last count I had identified nearly 300 startups in the space since the beginning of the year, some of them with very interesting technologies.

As outlined in our previous article, cleanliness is dominating the headlines within the hotel industry, with a number of press releases on new initiatives from all the major chains. The landscape has transformed quickly, to help keep up with the standards this article will summarise the basic principles of cleaning and sanitisation of guest rooms and how that can be achieved quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

Decreasing Stress
Posted: 09/14/2020

Stress does not come without your invitation. It is self-induced by our perspectives of what is occurring in our lives. We all have stress, and the less of it, the more happiness you experience. Life is about living day to day.

When you are going to search “blog topic ideas”, it will not give you the interesting ones. The web is occupied with companies that have bigger budgets than you and can churn out the content every day. And if you are going to put your time into creating and promoting a blog post, and hope to get results, you need to figure out what you are best suited when it comes to the blog topics. So here is what the most recommend:

Writing this column every two weeks typically takes me on a journey of discovery. I learn about innovations, find new technologies, and look at a wide diversity of products. Inevitably this involves a lot of web research to identify both core technologies and applications, and the different vendors offering solutions.

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#HITECnola Part 3: Special HITEC 2016 Report brought to you by DANNI Enterprises

by Jennifer Jones
Hospitality Upgrade reached out to the team at DANNI Enterprises to provide a summary of experiences from HITEC 2016.  Each team member scouted HITEC through the lens of his or her specific area of expertise.
Click here to read Part 1.

Jennifer Jones, Areas of expertise: payment security, cloud PMS and eCommerce

#HITECnola Part 3
It’s funny how I make a plan before going to HITEC, and low and behold I get caught up in intriguing conversations with vendors or get pulled aside to work closely with other vendors to work on resolution to certain client’s existing issues. Sometimes trying to troubleshoot issues is tough over emails and phone calls and I find HITEC a place to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into some issues when you have some of the senior resources available face to face.  I appreciate the time they give me, as it’s important as a consultant to make sure we maintain a working relationship with vendors through the good times and the tough times.  I want to make sure my client has a positive experience just as much as I want the product or service they are using to be as well.

Many of the projects I’m currently working on are surrounding EMV implementations or introducing tokenization and P2Pe into ecosystems. I spent time talking with some of the main players in the gateway/processing arenas. After discussion with Elavon, MerchantLink and Shift4 who I’m familiar with implementing, I wanted to also get educated on Freedom Pay, which came recommended by colleagues in the industry. While all three have solid products and each has their own unique benefits, one thing I took away was a goal to help clear up some of the confusion around who is certified with what application or timelines on when they plan to be. Adding processors into mix, there’s a whole other layer of certifications that need to be recognized. Perhaps this could be an opportunity to switch to another processor who is certified, or even look at a direct acquiring solution like Fusebox and Elavon which could offer cost savings and a one-stop shop solution. I plan to document all of the vendors in this matrix of EMV certification, as well as uniqueness they offer, like Freedom Pay’s newly release Pay at the Table option or MerchantLink’s PMS tablet check-in options, both utilizing EMV.

At a consultant’s happy hour hosted by Springer-Miller, now a part of Constellation Software, I was very pleased to hear that Springer Miller’s HOST property management system currently running on FoxPro will be transitioned to a SQL platform. It’s a definite undertaking that the team will face to do this, but this is great news to the current set of customers who currently have been waiting to see what will happen with the database architecture. Senior members of the team advised that this should take the next year and a half to complete and a target release should be sometime in 2018. 

A fresh new face of branding for Newmarket this year, under the Amadeus umbrella now, provided for some great conversations around the successes we’ve seen with Delphi FDC as well as the Rex/HotSOS products. I’ve seen Delphi FDC in several live environments now and have been pleased to see how far the product has come in the last four years. Several more integrations have been introduced since then. And, as a former user myself, it’s a system with a familiar UI and easy to teach yourself on. I also spent time with Zingle and Benbria Loop, popular guest messaging applications that have integrations to HotSOS which help streamline guest requests, really bringing the options on how we correspond with our guests to the next level.

An exciting new application that really can change the way our sales and catering teams communicate with meeting planners and guests around the design and layouts of events was introduced to me by Social Tables. Imagine sitting down with a discerning bride who is considering your resort as a venue for her wedding and you can actually paint a picture for her on what her magical day would look like. In 3D you can transform templates of your floor layouts into a design that renders the table layouts as well as other furnishings in the space in real-time that will allow you to seal the deal and impress your clients. And your bride can even log in to work on seating assignments in the application – which a few of us know is a very time consuming task!

The #HITECnola Blue Ribbon Winner
To round out my week, I had the pleasure of meeting with Aron Ezra who has created an amazing Web-based application called OfferCraft which changes the way we interact with guests and potential guests using techniques such as gamification and dynamic rewards.  When I think of a tool that was introduced to at this year’s HITEC that has almost instant ROI, OfferCraft wins the blue ribbon. This 2-minute clip really sums up nicely what OfferCraft is https://youtube/OzBEVf8b2qg. Maybe it’s because I own a cat, but either way, it makes me smile. And after meeting Aron I can definitely understand why the Las Vegas Business Press named him one of the Top 10 Rising Business Leaders in the City.

Now it’s time to settle in back in the sunshine at home in Denver, Colo., and recuperate from another successful HITEC.  Looking forward to grabbing my passport and head up to Toronto next year for HITEC 2017!

This special report is part of a 6-part HITEC 2016 summary focusing on specific technology areas from this year’s event. The previously released part 1 and 2 are available on the TechTalk Blog. And segments 4-6 are available at the links below.
Part 1 
Part 2 
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
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About The Author
Jennifer Jones
J2 Hospitality Solutions

Jennifer Jones is president at J2 Hospitality Solutions, a technology consulting firm. She is an active member in the HFTP Rocky Mountain chapter, and she has spent her entire career in the hospitality technology space on both vendor and property sides of the spectrum. Jones is a 1997 graduate of Penn State University's School of Hospitality Management.

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