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Siegel Sez - November 17, 2017
The first ever HITEC Dubai was this week. I had never been to Dubai and was anxious to visit and experience the city and HITEC. I had booked my ticket well over a month ago out of JFK in New York since my schedule the week before was up in the air. Saturday, I flew from Atlanta to JFK. I landed at 2 p.m. and my flight to Dubai was at 6 p.m. After retrieving my bag from baggage claim I headed over to the Delta counter to check in for my flight to Dubai. I promise you that you never want to hear an agent start off the check-in process with her saying, “We have a little problem.” Then she quickly corrected herself and said, “I take that back. We have a big problem.” What? Did they give my seat to somebody else? Was the flight overbooked? Cancelled? The problem turned out to be me. My passport was set to expire in one week less than three months and the agent told me that I couldn’t leave the country with a passport that was expiring in less than three months. Seriously? Talk about a painful experience. I had a full schedule planned for HITEC Dubai and people were expecting me there. What a helpless feeling. I asked the agent if there was anyone who could help get me on the plane, and she said, “Absolutely not. It’s the law.” My mind was racing a million miles a minute and nothing was coming out of my mouth. She looked at me and asked if I needed a few minutes. As I realized what was happening I didn’t need a few minutes. I needed a bar! What a disaster. Eventually, my situation started to sink in. I found a seat and began contacting all the people I was planning to see in Dubai. I must say this could have been financially worse than how it turned out. Delta refunded my ticket and the Conrad in Dubai where I had already checked in on the Hilton app was also very understanding and didn’t charge me even though I was beyond the cancellation window. I thank them both for that. I eventually came to the realization that I was at JFK airport in New York and remembered that HX: The Hotel Experience was starting on Sunday. I immediately booked a room in the city (yes, I booked a Hilton property) and headed into Manhattan, where I shocked Anne and Kris from my team when I showed up in our booth at Javits. Of course, the story of why I was there circulated quickly and I did get many sympathetic comments. One that I loved more than any others was the belief that things like this happen for a reason. I might not realize the reason today, this week, this month or who knows when, but something good will come out of this. Hopefully they were right. Yes, a lesson learned for anybody who has an international trip lined up and a passport expiring in less than six months. I wish I had known it before this past Saturday.
The HX show in New York was great again this year. Those exhibiting from the technology space were very happy with the traffic on the trade show floor and the Tech Stage centered within the booths was packed both days. Congratulations to Alice for winning the third annual TECHPitch competition, and a big congratulations to Media Carrier for its Media Box that won the Editor’s Choice Award for new technology product and then quickly followed up with the Best in Show Award. There is definitely something special about HX that to many of us will always be known as the New York Show. I was glad I was there, but to be totally honest, I really wished I was in Dubai. Someday!
Here now is the real reason we are here, Ron Hardin’s look at the recent technology happenings. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.

Rich Siegel
Technology NEWSSTAND
Recent headlines from Hospitality Upgrade

Who doesn’t like a shiny new hotel? Hospitality Upgrade’s 2017 CIO Summit was held in September at Kimpton’s newly opened Hotel Born in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood. It still had that new hotel smell. I particularly like new hotels, as one of the focus areas of my consulting practice is in technology design and project management for new-build hotels. The last couple of years have seen a boom in new hotel construction that is just now starting to peak. According to the STR October 2017 U.S. Hotel Pipeline Update, the number of rooms under construction in October 2017 was slightly less than in October 2016, the first year-over-year decrease since October 2011. STR also projects a softening in the new hotel construction pipeline in the coming months. But it’s still a healthy pipeline of 584,052 rooms across 4,869 projects. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the number of headaches, complications and crises involved in 4,869 new hotel construction projects. No large construction progress goes without glitches, and hotels – particularly larger, full-service hotels – can be really complicated projects. Herewith, I will share some random thoughts on the subject from my experiences. Hopefully, you can learn from the mistakes I’ve seen (or made) and avoid them in your new-build projects. My first piece of advice: Engage the specialists early in the project – ALL the specialists, and all the stakeholders. There is an understandable reluctance to have the size of the project team balloon out of control, and “design-by-committee” has a well-earned bad reputation. But all large design projects are TEAM projects, and clearly there are some missing team members in the early stages of many of these projects. Based on the back-of-house design issues I’ve seen, the hotel operator is the party most often missing from the early design phase. And by the time they are brought into the project, it may be too late, or too expensive, for their input to be factored in. Offices and work areas are a telltale; if the office spaces on your new hotel plans don’t match up to the operator’s staffing plan, then the operator probably was not engaged early enough in the process. And please make the server room bigger. However big you think it needs to be, make it twice as big as that. While it may be true that hotels have fewer “servers” in their server rooms due to the migration of applications above property, they have ever-increasing amounts of network cabling and network infrastructure – racks, patch panels, etc., not to mention other stuff – that all has to fit into this one room. Please make it bigger. And finally, can we talk about digital signage? I’m a big fan. It is one of the things that make a new hotel look “new,” and can be an incredibly powerful communications platform if executed well. It can also be a high-impact design element, by putting engaging content onto the amazing variety of display products that are out there – super-wide aspect displays, display tiles, curved displays, two-sided displays, ultra-thin displays, you name it. It just takes a designer with vision. At the very least, please make sure your designer includes the digital signage elements in the interior design. Don’t let them be an afterthought. They are too big and too visible to not be properly integrated into the design. And details matter! What size displays will be used? Recessed, semi-recessed or surface-mounted? Enclosures or no? Touch-screen functionality or not? All of these details potentially impact wall framing and rough-in for power and data, and must be carefully coordinated. And don’t do what I did, on a new construction project long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far, away, and give the general contractor a complete set of detailed shop drawings and cut sheets – for the wrong digital signage system. Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are condemned to repeat them. Don’t let these and other design, coordination, project management issues impact your shiny new hotel.

Ron Hardin, CHTP
RonHardin.TECH Consulting

- Jill Cully Joins Cendyn as Vice President of Sales for the Americas
- Knowcross Appoints Karen O'Neill as President – Americas
- Petra Götting Appointed Vice President Sales and Marketing at Deutsche Hospitality
- JHM Hotels Transitions into Four New Hotel Companies
- Former Head of Mitel Americas Hospitality Sales Joins Percipia Hospitality Solutions as New Global VP of Sales
- PM Hotel Group Appoints Joseph D. Del Guidice VP of Operations and Justin Magazine VP of Business Development
- Robert Cheng Joins Rosewood Hotel Group as Vice President of Brand Marketing and Communications
- Summit Hotel Properties EVP and CFO Greg Dowell to Retire in 2018; Jonathan Stanner, Current EVP and Chief Investment Officer, to Succeed
For more information on People on the Move for 11/17/17
- Treasure Island Las Vegas partners with Agilysys and b4checkin to Further Protect Consumer Credit Card Data
- Premier Inn Overhauls Its Key Hospitality Systems with Amadeus
Treasure Island Las Vegas partners with Agilysys and b4checkin to Further Protect Consumer Credit Card Data
Treasure Island Las Vegas has partnered with Agilysys and b4checkin, a developer and provider of cloud-based hospitality software, to deploy b4easypost – one of the industry’s first and revolutionary online payment and posting software solutions which greatly enhances the security of consumers’ credit card information. b4easypost, developed by b4checkin, works by first providing an online platform for guests and meeting planners to make deposits and payments to a hotel, then automatically and securely posting those payments to the property’s management system. This eliminates the need for paper credit card authorization forms, which, aside from their inconvenience, are prone to human error and contrary to PCI compliance standards. Additionally, this end-to-end electronic solution significantly reduces credit card chargebacks to the hotel.
http://www.b4checkin.com, http://www.agilysys.com
Premier Inn Overhauls Its Key Hospitality Systems with Amadeus
The Premier Inn hotel chain, owned by Whitbread Group PLC, will roll out Amadeus’ combined central reservation system (CRS) and property management system (PMS) across its 765 properties. Together these native modular-based capabilities will offer Premier Inn a 360-degree view of its properties and its guests around the world. Whitbread Group has selected Amadeus’ hospitality platform as it can be seamlessly integrated into Premier Inn’s system. Premier Inn will be also able to use Amadeus’ capabilities as a foundation for its digital marketing transformation program.
- Klobuchar Urges Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to Investigate Potential Existence of Deceptive Conduct by Online Travel Agencies
Klobuchar Urges Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to Investigate Potential Existence of Deceptive Conduct by Online Travel Agencies
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the potential existence of deceptive conduct by online travel agencies. While the large online travel agencies serve an important role in promoting consumer choice and competition for hotel and airline bookings, their size and market influence may allow them to engage in practices that could be detrimental to consumer welfare. In a letter to Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim and FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, Klobuchar calls on the agencies to examine the extent to which these websites may be engaging in misleading or anticompetitive conduct, affecting the prices and levels of service available to American consumers.
- Rainmaker Ends Q3 2017 with High Growth Momentum
- Duetto’s New BlockBuster Application Helps Hotels and Casinos Book More Profitable Group Business
- IDeaS G3 RMS Gives New Revenue Opportunity to Resorts and Hotels with Component Room Optimization
For more information on Revenue Management for 11/17/17
- Intelity Adds Mobile F&B Delivery App to ICE Platform
- SONIFI Expands Partnership with RPS in Middle East to Deploy STAYCAST™ Powered by Chromecast
- Crave In-room Tablets Set New Standard for Hotel TV Control
- Hotel Jen Welcomes Its Newest Colleagues, Jeno and Jena, the First Relay Robots in an International Hotel in Asia
For more information on Guest Services for 11/17/17
- Marriott International Teams with Samsung and Legrand to Unveil Hospitality Industry’s IoT Hotel Room of the Future, Enabling the Company to Deepen Personalized Guest Experience
- Hilton Launches Incubator to Fast Track Guest Innovations
- Bartech Launches New Corporate Website to Showcase Latest Advances in Hotel Minibar Automation and Customization
- Routier Launches Innovative Guest and Staff Engagement Platform in the U.S.
For more information on Personalization/Guest Experience for 11/17/17
- Classic Resorts Nets a New Channel of Travelers by Launching Advocacy with Flip.to
- HEBS Digital Launches New Website for Loews Hotels, Bringing Its Signature Luxury Experience to Life with Stunning Design and Innovative Technology
Classic Resorts Nets a New Channel of Travelers by Launching Advocacy with Flip.to
Classic Resorts has tapped Flip.to to open up an entirely new marketing channel for two of its vacation rental resorts in the islands of Hawaii – Kaanapali Alii and Lahaina Shores Beach Resort. Together, they paired up with the advocacy platform to top their goals in 2017, getting introduced to new audiences at a higher quality and lower cost. With Flip.to, Classic Resorts is inspiring travelers around the world with authentic stories shared by its travelers – building relationships, widening its scope to the highest quality audience, and diversifying its marketing strategy.
HEBS Digital Launches New Website for Loews Hotels, Bringing Its Signature Luxury Experience to Life with Stunning Design and Innovative Technology
HEBS Digital announced the launch of the new website for Loews Hotels, resulting in a completely reinvented and revitalized multidevice digital presence. HEBS Digital worked with the Loews Hotel team to create a website that would be both focused on driving conversions and conveying the experience guests would have at any of the 24 properties. The Loews Hotel website is backed by HEBS Digital’s award-winning smartCMS® Website Technology Platform. Designed specifically for the hospitality industry, the smartCMS® drives direct booking via more than 30 revenue-generating modules for need periods and occupancy demands by targeting feeder markets and market segments, loyalty members and past guest and in-market travelers via real-time control of content and promotions.
- Aptech’s PVNG Web-based Enterprise Accounting Goes Live at Two Hotel Companies
- Kempinski Strengthens Its Partnership with Knowcross in the Middle East
- Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Joins TravelClick’s Demand360® Program
For more information on Back Office for 11/17/17
- New White Paper Released by Cloud5 Reports Hoteliers Consistently Lose Revenue Without Measurable Benchmarks in Contact Center Performance
New White Paper Released by Cloud5 Reports Hoteliers Consistently Lose Revenue Without Measurable Benchmarks in Contact Center Performance
Cloud5 Communications released data from a survey of more than 8,300 hotels in the North American market, concluding that hotel operators have forgotten, or overlooked, the profit-generating power of a major direct channel – the contact center. The white paper demonstrates that when managed properly the contact center, or call reservation office (CRO), can be a thriving, high-value revenue center. In a time when revenues are challenged by the rise of online travel agents, the increasing complexity of social and mobile channels and a dramatically changing guest demographic, hoteliers should leverage the voice channel to take advantage of incremental revenue opportunities and implement the proper CRO operation and training processes to foster brand advocacy.
- Shinhwa Theme Park at Jeju Shinhwa World Selects InvoTech Systems to Manage Employees’ Uniform Inventory
Shinhwa Theme Park at Jeju Shinhwa World Selects InvoTech Systems to Manage Employees’ Uniform Inventory
World in Jeju, South Korea, implemented a uniform management and control process with InvoTech’s RFID Uniform System. InvoTech is a leading provider of software management and control systems for laundry, linens and uniform operations that increase profitability for hotels, resorts, theme parks, sports arenas and convention centers. InvoTech has implemented Uniform Systems worldwide that include Universal Studios, Sea World, LEGOLAND, 20 Century Fox Malaysia, Bollywood Dubai and Motiongate Dubai. The InvoTech System installed at Shinhwa Theme Park of Jeju Shinhwa World provides 100 percent accountability for approximately 25,000 uniform pieces.
- Packard Hospitality Management Chooses VENZA to Mitigate Vulnerabilities
Packard Hospitality Management Chooses VENZA to Mitigate Vulnerabilities
Packard Hospitality Management has partnered with VENZA to implement a proactive cyber-resilient strategy to mitigate data security vulnerabilities and keep hotel guests and their data safe. Packard Hospitality, whose portfolio includes such brands as Red Roof, Hilton, IHG and Marriott, began its partnership with VENZA by participating in a targeted phishing campaign during their annual user convention.
- HFTP’s 2017–2018 Global Executive Committee and Board of Directors Begin Term
- HFTP Announces Global Industry Research Project by Forrester Group
- Marco Trecroce Elected to HTNG's Board of Governors
For more information on Hospitality Education for 11/17/17
- 2017 HOSPA Inspirational Leader Professionals of the Year Awards
- HX: The Hotel Experience Celebrates Inventive Manufacturers with 2017 TECHPitch and Editor’s Choice Awards in New York City
- HX: The Hotel Experience to Transform to HX365 Under New Ownership
- Penn State Hotel & Restaurant Society to Honor Marriott CEO at April 12 Gala Reception
For more information on Hospitality Events for 11/17/17

And now for you-know-what…
Two guys left the bar after a long night of drinking, jumped in their car and started it up. After a couple of minutes, an old man appeared in the passenger window and tapped lightly.
The passenger screamed, "Look at the window. There's an old ghost's face there!"
The driver sped up, but the old man's face stayed in the window.
The passenger rolled his window down part way and, scared out of his wits, asked, "W-w-w-w-what do you want?"
The old man softly replied, "You got any tobacco?"
The passenger handed the old man a cigarette and yelled, "Step on it!" to the driver, rolling up the window in terror.
A few minutes later they calmed down and started laughing again. The driver said, "I don't know what happened back there, but don't worry; the speedometer says we're doing 80 now."
All of a sudden there was a light tapping on the window and the old man reappeared. "There he is again!" the passenger yelled.
The driver said, "See what he wants so he will leave us alone."
The passenger rolled down the window and shakily said, "Y-y-y-y-yes?"
"Do you have a light?" the old man quietly asked.
And the passenger frantically threw a lighter out the window. He quickly turned to the driver and screamed, "Step on it!"
They were driving about 100 miles an hour, trying to forget what they had just seen and heard, when all of a sudden there came some more tapping on the window.
The passenger rolled down the window with his hands shaking and screamed in stark terror, "What do you want?!?"
And the old man replied, "Do you want some help getting out of the mud?”


Here are the latest hospitality news headlines from Hotel-Online! To get the complete stories and more, visit our website:


AHLA Praises House for Passing Tax Reform
“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation that will greatly benefit Americans and strengthen the economy,” said AHLA president and CEO Katherine Lugar.

Booking.com Resumes Illegal Hotel Reservations in Occupied Azerbaijani Lands?
Azerbaijan's occupied territories are closed for legal international money transfers, whereas hotels are booked in Azerbaijan's occupied lands via online payments on Booking.com, which takes profit from this, said Hajiyev, adding this is considered as illegal international money transfer and money laundering.
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Plans $550 Million Project Including 500-Room Hotel in Southern California
Construction at San Manuel could begin as early as next year with a completion date in 2020.

Dubai's Hospitality Sector to See Addition of 29,200 Keys
According to STR's data for October, there were 29,226 rooms in the pipeline across 95 hotels in Dubai, accounting for 30.3 per cent of the existing supply of 96,340 keys. Makkah has 18 projects in the pipeline which will add 23,791 rooms, taking its tally to 31,149 keys.
S & H Hotel Yarmouth Acquires The Cape Point Hotel in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts for $5.65 Million
New owners plan a renovation for the 116-room property.

Bird Dog Equity Partners Acquires Holiday Inn Express in Cedar Rapids for $4.45 Million
Renovation planned for the 83-room hotel originally built in 1997.

Milwaukee Convention Center Expansion Would Cost $225 Million; Officials Seek Finance Plan
Project Consultant said an expanded Wisconsin Center would need a new 1,000-room hotel next to the facility.

Owned and Managed by Milan Hotel Group, Fairfield Inn & Suites Opens in Asheville, North Carolina
The 80-room Fairfield Inn & Suites Asheville Tunnel Road is led by General Manager Joseph Volpe.

David Nadelman Appointed Area Vice President and General Manager of Hyatt Regency Orange County
In this role, Nadelman is responsible for managing all operations for the 653-room hotel, while also overseeing the operations of six additional Hyatt properties in the Southern California region.

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