Tech Talk

Recent posts

Well, I had a topic all lined up for this week’s column. I had completed most of the research and sat down on Monday to start writing. But with all that is going on in the world, I decided to put that on the shelf for a cycle or two. No one is going to take the time to read anything right now that doesn’t talk about the novel Coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease. So, I started afresh and will diverge from my usual approach.

Last week, the World Health Organization announced that COVID-19—the viral disease that has swept the globe and killed more than 8,200 people—is officially a pandemic. And on Saturday, the Trump administration extended the ban on foreign nationals from certain European countries to include those traveling from the United Kingdom and Ireland. Industry conferences and meetings have been cancelled or postponed, and many companies are electing not to require employees to travel.

Leading Through Chaos
Posted: 03/18/2020

At this time there is no more important tool in your tool kit then your ability to lead people through the storm. Most leaders have their heads in revising budgets, dealing with layoffs, cutting costs and surviving all of which are real realities that need attention. So do your people!

It was 12 years ago that the hotel industry first experienced a large breach of payment card data. Hotels and technology vendors have made very significant efforts since then, yet it is hard to identify a major hotel group that has NOT suffered at least one incident, and many breaches have been quite recent. Despite all the efforts, the Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report says that the accommodation industry is still the most common victim for Point-of-Sale (POS) intrusions (and based on their terminology, this includes breaches of Property Management Systems as well as POS systems). As much as hotels have improved security, hackers have improved their own methods to keep pace.

It's that time of year when powder hounds and snow bunnies alike head out to the mountains, rip some turns or cruise down a groomer. And no matter if you’re a solo adventurer or a group enthusiast, there's some impressive technologies that the ski industry has launched that have gamified the entire experience and feed the hungry social media fanatics. For decades many have stated this industry has been behind on the technology curve, however some of these applications could definitely be transferred into the hotel industry with some creative alterations.

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.


#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
To receive Hotel-Online and the Siegel Sez newsletter, please sign up for free at
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.

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment

 Security code