Before I get into HITEC, the industry’s biggest week of the year, I need to share a little story about the past week. As many of you know, my escape from the real world is the horse world. First and foremost, I am a fan of horse racing. I was at a horse event in Ocala, Fla., back in March of this year and all the really smart horse people I met were talking about American Pharoah. They simply said that the horse was a freak. The horse is fast and can run all day. As it turns out, he won the Kentucky Derby, then two weeks later the Preakness and then the anticipation for a potential Triple Crown kicked into high gear this past weekend. I was invited to the Belmont Stakes and decided to do something that I hadn’t done since I was a kid and created a sign in hopes of experiencing a Triple Crown, something that hasn’t happened in 37 years. Amazingly, American Pharoah did win the Triple Crown and my sign was a big hit. A picture of the sign, with me in it, ended up on the CBS Sunday Morning Show, on a New York sports cable station and in multiple newspapers around the world. But the biggest thrill was when Ahmed Zayat the owner of American Pharoah wanted to take a picture with the sign after the race. Now that was a thrill. (Check out the photo above.) What a great day for racing. For those of you who have been to sporting events, trust me on this. There will never be a louder crowd cheering than the 90,000 people in attendance all screaming as American Pharoah ran down the stretch. It was just an unbelievable experience. I hope we don’t have to wait another 37 years – if we do I could possibly miss it!
When your whole life seems to be around technology for the hospitality industry, there is nothing better than the annual gathering of everybody who is anybody for five days. HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) is next week in Austin, Texas. Pre-registration is at an all-time high. Parties for attendees seem to be nonstop – if you want a list of all of the parties, stop by our booth No. 425. There will be the most exhibits in the history of HITEC and the educational sessions are of the highest quality. What a week ahead. Speaking of the educational sessions being offered, I have been entrusted to do one of the Super Sessions which this year will be about the impact marketing has on the IT world. We have three CIO/CMO duos onboard for the session from Destination Hotels and Resorts, Omni Hotels and Resorts and one of the world’s largest Vacation Ownership companies, Diamond Resorts International. Their sharing of what works today, what doesn’t and what is in store down the road for themselves and the industry has the making of a great session. I hope I don’t screw it up! As tradition dictates, we will have a few surprises up our sleeves for our unsuspecting panelists. If you can make it, the session is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday immediately after the exhibit hall closes. We hope you join us there and during the show at the Hospitality Upgrade/Hotel Online booth No. 425.
Before I turn it over to Jon, I have to share one thing. He says this week’s opening was the easiest one he’s ever had to write, but from my perspective, it was the hardest one to read. As Amitava (Chats) Chatterjee from Deloitte says in his well-written feature article in the summer issue of Hospitality Upgrade (http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/_magazine/MagazineArticles/Change-The-One-Constant.asp), the only constant in life is change. Bummer. Anyway, here is the aforementioned Jon Inge with his HITEC preview and “interesting” opening. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. I also hope to see you next week at HITEC in booth No. 425. It is always fun to reconnect or just say hi for the first time face to face with those at the show. OK, Jon, it is all yours!
by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Thanks for everything -------------------------- This is one of the easiest columns I’ve written – because I haven’t had to think of a topic! – but also one of the hardest, because it's my last. As of today, I’m retiring from the hospitality industry. I’ll still be around for a few more months as I complete my existing assignments, but I won’t be taking on any new clients, and won’t be writing any more newsletters or articles.
It's been 20 years since Rich interviewed me for Hospitality Upgrade (or “Hospitality and Automation Update” as it was called back then) and this seems like an appropriate time to bow out of the industry that's been my life for the last 39 years. Ten years with pioneer PMS vendors Micor (not MICROS!) and NCR, 10 years with pre-Starwood Westin at its corporate headquarters in Seattle and 19 years as a consultant have made for a great run, taking me to 42 states in the USA and to 38 countries worldwide.
I feel very blessed to have been part of this industry for so long, but it’s time to devote more time to my other passion, photography, and to traveling more with my recently retired wife, Lindsay. Some of you already know of my love for taking photos of the patterns and textures of the Earth from the window seats of commercial flights, and of my annual calendar. I hope you’ll continue to follow my work on http://www.joningephoto.com, which I promise to keep updated more often than I’ve been able to in the past!
The hardest thing will be missing all the many friends I’ve made here among vendors, hoteliers and fellow consultants. I have learned so much from you all, and enjoyed so many spirited discussions by phone, email and at conferences!
Thank you all, for everything. It’s been a wonderful ride! **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Kristin Miller appointed president, CEO and board member at Evolve Guest Controls -------------------------- Kristin Miller has been appointed president, chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Evolve Guest Controls, succeeding Len Horowitz, founder of Evolve. Mr. Horowitz will remain with the company in a new role focusing on strategic development and global customer relations, and will continue to serve on the board of directors as vice chairman. Ms. Miller brings more than 15 years of business experience, most recently with Siemens Industry as managing director for the energy and environmental solutions business segment. She has also operated her own business/marketing consulting company, and has worked for MAN Roland, Metal Management and Otis Elevator. **
GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
- RoomKeyPMS offers Orion Systems’ eSigner electronic signature software - RoomKeyPMS integrates with PriceMatch - Maestro PMS launches suite of mobile modules - ARIA Resort Las Vegas implements StayNTouch - Hotelogix integrates TripAdvisor’s Review Express into Cloud PMS - Kiva Dunes picks PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SMS|Host - GTRIIP launchess documentless check-in in the United States using iPhone’s® biometric features - SkyTouch announces enhancements for Hotel OS --------------------------
- Wynn Las Vegas switches to WindsurferCRS - Regatta releases “Rate Alert” - Expedia.com updates mobile apps - InnLink simplifies onboarding for new Expedia hotel clients - TripCraft announces white-label mobile app to help hotels offer last-minute rooms - Travel Tripper releases certified interface with eRevMax's RateTiger --------------------------
- IDeaS, SAS listed as “Champion” in Info-Tech Research Group's Vendor Landscape - IDeaS integrating Revinate’s Online Reputation Management data into Reputation Pricing system - The Mark Hotel installs eRevMax’s Connect - SiteMinder acquires Asia-based online reservation systems provider Globekey - Rainmaker to integrate TravelClick Demand360 competitive pacing data into its revenue management - Pestana Hotel Group to implement Duetto at nearly 90 hotels --------------------------
- Newmarket announces Athens edition of Delphi.fdc with focus on package management - International Association of Conference Centres identifies Top 10 Meeting Tech Trends - B Hotels & Resorts implements UniFocus MEETINGScope for four hotels - Starwood to offer Cvent’s CrowdCompass mobile app to meeting planners worldwide --------------------------
- Corus Hotel Group implements Guestline's EPoS - RMS Hospitality Solutions launches new ePOS in the USA -------------------------- Corus Hotel Group has implemented Guestline's EPoS system across its hotel and restaurant portfolio, following a pilot installation at its Berkshire hotel, Burnham Beeches. The EPoS is integrated with Corus’ Guestline Rezlynx property management system, and allows guests at its Corus Hyde Park property in London to charge meals at the group's stand-alone restaurants in the capital back to their hotel folio. http://www.corushotels.com, http://www.guestline.com ** RMS Hospitality Solutions is launching its new ePOS in the United States. The cloud-based system features digital menu boards, kitchen video screens, customer-facing displays for advertising and integrated security cameras. Mobile software for smartphones and tablets supports remote self-service ordering by guests; the system also comes with an integrated Web store for online ordering and Web reports for multivenue properties or franchise businesses. http://www.rmsnorthamerica.com **
- Marriott rolling out Netflix to all U.S. hotel rooms by end of 2016 - Four Seasons implements guest service mobile app at all 94 properties - Bulk TV & Internet adds more than 38,000 rooms in Q1 compared to 2014 quarterly average of 15,500 - Cetis releases Teledex M Series Standard hotel phones with USB charging ports on all models - CheckMate launches Conversations platform for guest/hotel communication over multiple mobile channels - ASSA ABLOY Hospitality launches Certified Partnership Program - iRiS Software Systems integrates ASSA ABLOY Hospitality’s Mobile Access into its Mobile Valet guest services app - Flyte Systems announces three new digital signage options - Royal Rose Hotel, Abu Dhabi, picks MCOM HOTstream Interactive TV, IPTV and high-speed Internet - Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, places HCN Navigator computer tablets in all guestrooms --------------------------
- UniFocus adds 51 new contracts/351 new properties in the past six months - Downtown Grand Las Vegas Hotel & Casino implements UniFocus' Total Workforce Performance Time & Attendance - InvoTech Systems launches RFID Pool Towel Tracking System --------------------------
- BirchStreet integrates CSI globalVCard electronic payment into its eProcurement platform -------------------------- BirchStreet has integrated CSI globalVCard electronic payment into its eProcurement platform. http://ww.csiglobalvcard.com, http://www.birchstreet.net **
- Zeno Controls InnPoint Guest Experience Interface adds support for Schneider Electric’s SmartStruxture ZigBee Room Controllers -------------------------- Zeno Controls has added support for Schneider Electric’s 8300/8600 SmartStruxture ZigBee Room Controllers into its InnPoint Guest Experience Interface, which monitors a variety of room sensors to provide adaptive guestroom lighting, heating/cooling and improved energy savings. Zeno now uses Schneider’s SmartStruxture controls engine to complement its InnPoint Guest Experience Interface to optimize the data to improve guest satisfaction. http://www.schneider-electric.com, http://www.zenocontrols.com **
- Thing5 classified as a GPNS Enhanced Provider by Marriott - Single Digits acquires Swisscom Hospitality Services North America from Hoist Group - Mitel acquires TigerTMS --------------------------
- Woodlands Resort & Conference Center upgrades to Kaba’s Mobile Access Solutions - VingCard Elsafe changes name to ASSA ABLOY Hospitality -------------------------- The 406-room Woodlands Resort & Conference Center, near Houston, Texas, has upgraded to Kaba’s Mobile Access Solutions to allow it to issue, revoke and update digital credentials on iOS mobile devices. Guests booking a room on the resort's website can download an app which receives a Bluetooth-enabled key wirelessly when their room is ready for check-in. To open the door the guest holds the phone up to the door's lock. The installation requires only five minutes per door to add an upgraded BLE board. The property also implemented Kaba Mobile Access at guest access points including elevators, concierge areas and external hotel entry doors. http://www.woodlandsresort.com, http://www.kabalodging.com ** VingCard Elsafe has changed its name to ASSA ABLOY Hospitality. http://www.assaabloyhospitality.com **
And now for you-know-what…
The leaders of the big beer companies meet for a drink. The president of Budweiser orders a Bud, Miller's president orders a Miller and the president of Coors orders a Coors. When it is Guinness' turn to order he gets a soda.
"Why didn't you order a Guinness?" everyone asks.
"Nah," Guinness replies, "If you guys aren't having a beer neither will I."
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