June 4, 2021
Last week I went to the HFTP Club Summit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I had never been to this event before, but I went this year for the sole reason of the experience. For the 150 attendees and myself it was the first live event most of us had been to in 14 months. I wondered how attendees would react. How would the issue of vaccines be dealt with? Next week our own event, the Executive Vendor Summit, has 102 attendees gathering in Nashville, and it motivated me to go to the HFTP Club Summit. I was curious — would they wear masks? Would they be OK being close to each other or was social distancing going to be the norm? What about meals together? It turned out to be a worthwhile trip. When registering attendees were asked if they wanted to choose a wristband that read “hugs and handshakes,” “elbow hellos only” and the third wristband read, “don’t touch me!” Do you want to guess which wristband was the most popular and which was never chosen? I guess legally you can’t ask if an attendee is vaccinated, but if they were they were invited to put a sticker on their badge that said they were vaccinated. I wore mine! What I found most interesting when attendees came to the registration desk at 8 a.m. just about everyone was wearing a mask. When the program started at 9 a.m. it seemed like nobody was wearing a mask. If you are curious, out of the 150 attendees only two kept their mask on the whole time. It was an interesting event and I’m glad I was there. Please wish us luck with our event in Nashville next week.
Doug Rice once again does an eye-opening writeup in his Definitely Doug column. I have always been intrigued by biometrics and thought eventually the technology would have a strong presence in the hotel industry. Doug warns us that it isn’t as far off as we might have thought. We are thankful that Doug will be joining us in Nashville at EVS. If you aren’t currently subscribed to our three-times-a-year magazine, Hospitality Upgrade, please click here to subscribe. Doug will be writing a review in our next magazine issue on his experience with us in Nashville next week, and we can only hope it will be positive.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Doug’s column and the latest happenings in the tech world for the hotel industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. I guess I will need to brush up on my country music as we all head to the country music capital. It should be a great and very interesting week!
Definitely Doug: Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
In case you hadn’t notice, there is a subtle revolution going on in how people identify themselves. You may have experienced this at airport security checkpoints or boarding gates, where the Transportation Security Administration, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and others have been testing face readers. I admit it was a bit disconcerting when I walked up to the pre-check security checkpoint at O’Hare shortly before COVID, started to present my driver’s license and boarding pass, and was told “you can put those away and go right through” … especially since I had never pre-registered. I can only guess that they had matched the photo they had from my Global Entry membership, or maybe my passport, with a list of departing passengers for that day.
Of course, Face ID or a thumb print now unlocks many smart phones, and increasingly the apps on them as well. And as I covered in my last blog on the arrival and check-in process, facial recognition is starting to show up in hotel apps and check-in kiosks as well. How will it, or other biometrics, emerge in hotels?
The need to verify a customer’s identity varies a lot in the hotel industry. With many hotels in North America, identity checks are often quite loose: often a cursory glance at a driver’s license, or mobile check-in with mobile key and no ID check at all. In other countries, however, requirements can be quite strict: the hotel may have to make a copy of a passport or national ID card, validate it, compare the photo to the person presenting it, and report it or send a copy to authorities. Hotel owners with varying attitudes toward risk may also require more (or less) stringent checks. Even in major-brand U.S. hotels, I have more than once been told that the hotel must make a photocopy of every customer’s ID. That is over the top, and not in any brand standard, but after a long day of travel, it was either hand it over, or schlep to another hotel, so I caved.
If your hotels never really want or need to verify the identity of guests or staff, then you can stop reading now, because my topic this week is biometrics and identity verification. You will not find many vendors selling these products directly to the hotel industry, but they are starting to be embedded into many other common products, as well as mobile apps. If your properties could benefit from biometrics, whether for staff, guests, or both, this article may help you understand what the technologies do and how various implementations differ.
Recent Technology News, from Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online
– New Report “The Current State of Technology in Hotels and The Way Forward” Sees Complete Industry Migration Towards Cloud
Shiji Group has released its findings from a report, in collaboration with Travel Singularity, on “The Current State of Technology in Hotels and The Way Forward,” with in-depth findings such as within 2023, the majority of hotel tech infrastructures will be completely deployed to the cloud.
– Vizergy® Named Partner of the Year for Its Leading-Edge Digital Sales and Marketing Platform
Hard Rock International (HRI) presented Vizergy® Digital Marketing with their prestigious Partner of the Year award. Vizergy received this recognition for its excellence in overall performance, brand involvement and collaboration.
People on The Move
– React Mobile Names John Stachowiak Interim CEO
Board member John Stachowiak, a three-time CEO and four-time CFO, will fill Rob Monkman’s post while the search for a permanent React Mobile CEO is underway.
– Hospitality AV Veteran John Watts Helps Position Mills James for Rapid Growth
Mills James announces John Watts as Vice President of Hospitality to lead the company’s growing hospitality audiovisual services portfolio.
– Matthew Baio Appointed Vice President of Sales, Americas
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., the global leader in providing premier hospitality technology and support solutions, is pleased to announce that Matthew Baio has been appointed to the role of Vice President of Sales, Americas.
– HFTP Announces 2021 Paragon Award Recipients – Tanya Venegas and Sanjay Nadkarni
Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA and Sanjay Nadkarni, Ph.D. have been selected as the 2021 Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) Paragon Award recipients for their excellent direction of the HFTP Research Centers and their impactful tutelage over hospitality students and HFTP student members.
– SALTO Systems Names Ron Shaffer as Business Lead for Education
SALTO Systems, a leading manufacturer of electronic access control solutions, has named Ron Shaffer as the North America Vertical Business Leader-Education.
Guest Management Systems
– Harborside Hotel Selects StayNTouch Guest-Centric Cloud PMS to Enable a Connected Guest Journey
The Harborside Hotel, a high-end 194 room boutique hotel located near Washington, DC, chooses StayNTouch, a global leader in guest-centric hotel Property Management Systems (PMS), to enable a seamless and connected guest journey powered by StayNTouch’s fully cloud-native infrastructure.
– Benchmark Resorts & Hotels and Maestro PMS Continue Growing Together Over Two Decades
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” These words, spoken by American industrialist and business magnate Henry Ford, are the ideal representation of the two-decade relationship between Benchmark, a global hospitality company, and Maestro, the preferred browser based cloud and on-premises property-management system for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups.
– Hotel Am Triller Welcomes the Infor Cloud
Infor, an industry cloud company, announced that the Hotel Am Triller in Saarbrücken, Germany, will deploy Infor Hospitality Management Solution (HMS) in the AWS cloud. By moving its IT infrastructure to the cloud, the owner-managed hotel is reacting to the current digitalisation trend in the hospitality industry and helping secure its competitiveness long term.
Reservations & Distribution
– SiteMinder Creates the New Standard for Modern Hotel Chains and Groups to Manage Their Distribution
SiteMinder, one of the world’s largest open hotel commerce platforms, has launched SiteMinder Multi-Property to set the new distribution management standard for modern hotel chains and groups, by giving revenue teams critical distribution controls in place of the obsolete features and high costs that typically come with legacy systems.
– Shiji Group Builds Custom Integration for Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to Connect Multiple Technology Platforms and Broaden Global Distribution
Shiji Group has recently announced its strengthened relationship with longtime customer Wyndham Hotels & Resorts through the connecting of the hotel group’s multiple technology platforms across global markets via Shiji Distribution Solutions.
– SiteMinder Helps Fuel edyn’s European Expansion, Connects to the Hospitality Group’s Extended-Stay Platform
The edyn Group, one of Europe’s pioneering providers of lifestyle aparthotels and serviced apartments under the Locke and SACO brands, has partnered with SiteMinder, the world’s largest open hotel commerce platform, to help fuel its pan-European growth plans. A leader in extended-stay and transient living for more than 20 years, edyn is capitalizing on the grown number of travelers seeking flexible living spaces.
– RDP Integrates With PointCentral for Seamless, Contact-Free Access to Hospitality Properties
Following over 30 years of tailored service in the hospitality industry, this integration with PointCentral is RDP’s next evolution in its full suite Property Management Software solution.
Revenue Management & Analytics
– Plava Laguna Partners With IDeaS to Automate Revenue Management Processes
IDeaS, a SAS company, the world’s leading provider of hotel revenue management software and services, announced today that Plava Laguna, a multi-segment, leisure hotel company, selected IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) to automate processes and leverage the technology ahead of an anticipated busy summer season.
Guest Facing Technology
– Enseo Launches Live, Virtual Front Desk Agent – VERA
Enseo, a premier technology services provider offering solutions in hospitality, senior living, education and healthcare, announced the availability of its live, virtual front desk agent tool, VERA™ (Video Enabled Remote Agent). Through the safety of a touchless screen, VERA enables any property to service its customers through a contact-free, personal, front desk experience.
– ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions Approves ID&C for Hotel RFID Wristbands
ID&C, a leading supplier of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) credentials to the hospitality industry has been accredited as an Approved Vendor of RFID wristbands by hotel access solution company ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions.
Sales & Catering, Groups & Meetings
– Groups360 Launches Direct Booking Solution for Groups With Omni Hotels & Resorts
Groups360 announced the launch of GroupSync Engage, the hospitality industry’s first integrated direct booking solution for groups, at Omni Hotels & Resorts. Through GroupSync, anyone booking a meeting or event will be able to instantly book group rooms and meeting space online beginning with Omni’s four managed Dallas-based hotels and extending to almost all properties in North America by end of summer of 2021.
– Knowland Releases the Essential 2021 Sales Playbook for Hotels
Knowland, a leader in AI-powered group business data for hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, conference centers and other meeting venues, announced the release of a new guide entitled “The Essential 2021 Sales Playbook for Hotels, Steps to Rebuild Group Revenue and Avoid Being Left Behind.”
– Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland Announces Selection of Mills James as New Audiovisual Production Partner
In the convention and hospitality AV space, the employee-owned production company makes a concierge-level service commitment to its venue clients.
Communications and Infrastructure
– Circa Resort and Casino Standardizes on Aruba to Deliver Transcendent Guest Experiences
Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company announced that Circa Resort and Casino, the first new downtown Las Vegas hotel and entertainment venue in over 40 years, has selected an end-to-end Aruba ESP-based network to deliver unique, immersive and engaging experiences at the 35-story, 777-room sports-themed property, as well as to satellite locations throughout Nevada, Colorado, and other jurisdictions, while saving nearly half a million dollars.
– White Elephant Resorts Selects Cloud5 for Flexible and Reliable PBX Services
Cloud5 Communications, a leading provider of communications solutions for the world’s top hotel brands and management companies, announced the deployment of its PBX solution by White Elephant Resorts. White Elephant now utilizes Cloud5 PBX services in all seven of its Nantucket Island, MA and Palm Beach, FL destinations.
– Liveport Showcases Latest in All-in-One Hotel Connectivity Technology at NoVacancy 2021
Hotel network and IoT-based technology provider set to demonstrate how Australian hoteliers can affordably meet Post-COVID expectations for high-speed internet access and experience personalization.
Food & Beverage
– Halepuna Waikiki Hotel Selects Agilysys IG OnDemand for Contactless Food & Beverage Ordering & Payment Self-Service
Agilysys, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGYS), a leading global provider of next-generation hospitality software solutions and services, today announced that Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani has expanded its existing relationship with Agilysys with the addition of its modern cloud-native SaaS food and beverage ordering solution, IG OnDemand.
– ONOMA Hotel Selects ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions and EUROTEL GROUP for Enhanced Contactless Digital Key Security
ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions together with Certified Partner, EUROTEL Hospitality, have announced the successful deployment of Mobile Access with its contactless check-in and digital key abilities at ONOMA Hotel.
Hospitality Events and Association News
– HFTP E20X Dubai Competition Debuts in the Middle East With Eight Start-Up Competitors, Software Platform Company Hoick Announced Winner of the Judges’ Choice Award
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®) successfully featured eight start-up companies with innovative technology solutions at its Entrepreneur 20X (E20X) competition at HITEC® Dubai on June 1, 2021. This was the Dubai debut for E20X, which was first established in 2015 at HITEC North America.
Piqued Our Interest
And now for you-know-what.…
The light turned yellow, just in front of him.
He did the right thing and stopped at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
The tailgating woman behind him was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection.
As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.
The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.
He took her to the police station where she was searched, fingerprinted, photographed and placed in a holding cell.
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door.
She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, giving the guy in front of you the finger and cursing at him.
I noticed the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘World Peace’ license plate holder, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.”