Since Jon Inge and I have been doing a bit of traveling together I encourage you to read his opening concerning the events that we have been attending. I will add to his feedback regarding TNT and the Executive Vendor Summit that every single attendee simply said that we nailed it, and both events were great. That rarely happens to anyone and for anybody who puts on events or attends an event I hope you get to experience that also. What a rush! I encourage you to make sure you receive Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally, you will see some pictures that are unbelievable, especially the sunset that Jon mentioned along with a full recap of both events. Please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe.
I am with Jon at the Oracle Industry Connect this week. Of course I have enjoyed connecting with those I know, but I must admit it is also enjoyable meeting people from other industries like life sciences, healthcare, financial services, insurance and education. Sometimes I forget that there are industries other than hospitality. I have enjoyed meeting these people from other industries, but it is amazing how they all want to really know what the hotel industry is all about. When your business is about where people eat, drink and sleep I guess it does sound a bit more intriguing than the banking industry. It has been an enjoyable two days and no matter how often we interact with others in the industry, nothing beats face to face. There was a great crowd from the hospitality space with a lot of the higher ups from the industry attending. It was nice seeing so many making time to come to this event. I thank Oracle for inviting me and after the events Hospitality Upgrade put on last week I am very thankful I just get to attend, not having to speak nonstop. Thank you, Jon, for making this week’s Siegel Sez easier as I sit in my hotel room in Washington, D.C., at 5:30 in the morning trying to be creative after a night of eating and drinking at the Smithsonian Castle.
Of course as great as it has been with these positive experiences at industry events, the way the week started before all the events is something I only dream of. It is funny when I meet somebody and before they ask me anything work related the conversation starts out with a simple question, how is the horse? Yes, our little horse with a big heart ran at Laurel Park on Sunday, March 15, before I headed out to San Francisco for TNT and the Executive Vendor Summit. It was only his third race ever and he was making progress. We bought him as a baby and yes, it was love at first sight for me. His name is Little Love and if you want so see his race, click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYwff6opbks. That was a great way to start a very busy week.
As Jon mentions, this is event season. It’s the traditional squeeze-them-all-in during March and April. The event season ends in June when the whole industry heads to Austin, Texas, for HITEC and from what I hear HITEC attendees will take over the whole city. If you haven’t booked yet I encourage you to do so, the city will be jammed with a bunch of crazed hoteliers. I can’t wait!
Here now is the real reason we are here, fellow traveler Jon Inge’s review of the technology happenings with his very thought-provoking opening. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.
by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Conference season is upon us -------------------------- We’re right in the middle of conference season again. Every year they seem to run back-to-back for a couple of months, and it’s hard to decide which ones to attend. They do take up a lot of time, especially with travel, but the educational sessions continue to be informative and thought-provoking and the networking is invaluable, so here we are.
I was at Rich’s Executive Vendor Summit last week, and am at Oracle Hospitality’s Industry Connect event this week. Both are very worthwhile for different reasons, but they do have a common thread. As always, the Vendor Summit had an excellent variety of sessions, with the added highlight this year of the Travel ‘N Technology (TNT) conference the day before, an event that included eight new-technology vendors pitching their products to a shark tank. The roundtable discussion introduced at last year’s CIO Summit was repeated here, with very informed, free-flowing discussion among all attendees on a variety of topics they’d chosen themselves. These sessions are really helpful and open, and should be a part of any technology conference; there’s just no substitute for back-and-forth feedback between people with real-world experience and advice.
The estimable Charlotte, unflappable organizer of Rich’s conferences, once again did a sterling job, and continued to raise her own bar for the social events. I’ve no idea how she did it, but the private tour of Alcatraz she arranged for us was truly an exceptional experience. It’s a beautiful location, but its history and the atmosphere of the cell building itself are very sobering. And Charlotte arranging a fabulous sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge while we were on the island… priceless.
This week’s Oracle Conference replaces previous years’ MICROS User Group events, and brought many of us up to date with Oracle’s progress in absorbing our industry’s biggest vendor. Merging cultures on this scale is never easy or quick, and despite the undeniable depth of Oracle’s resources, it’s apparent that there’s still a way to go until they fully grasp the challenges of this vertical and gear up to meet them. All good luck to them; MICROS – sorry, Oracle Hospitality – products continue to be key to very many hoteliers, and a great deal is riding on the success of this adventure.
The common thread between these two conferences? The need for partners and for good interfaces between systems. No system does everything a hotel needs on its own, and interfaces between systems will always be necessary. The Vendor Summit is an amazing incubator for developing relationships between vendors with complementary products, and it’s very rewarding to see the evolution of these links over the years. Oracle, too, despite the industry dominance of OPERA and the MICROS POS systems, appears to have recognized the vital importance of the partner vendors who round out its offerings, and is committed to improving its relationships with them as a high priority.
Partnerships are essential. No one wants to end up isolated on Alcatraz. **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Bryant "Trey" Robinson named SVP and general counsel at SkyWire - Jay Juan Garcia joins Fuel as director of sales and marketing - Jeff Weibel hired by Flip.to as chief marketing officer --------------------------
- Prologic First releases SynXis interface for WISH - RoomKeyPMS releases interface with SkyWire’s Spa & Activities - Bond Hotel and Extended Stay, Boise, Idaho, installs Hotelogix --------------------------
- Kennebunkport Resort Collection migrates eight hotels to SHR’s Windsurfer -------------------------- The Kennebunkport Resort Collection has migrated its eight hotels to SHR’s WindsurferCRS distribution platform and TopSail booking engine. http://www.kennebunkportresortcollection.com, http://shr.global **
- TravelClick announces "one-click" mobile Web bookings using Google Wallet - Lodging Interactive expands CoMMingle reputation management and social media marketing to restaurants -------------------------- TravelClick has announced "one-click" mobile Web bookings using Google Wallet for Google Hotel Ads customers, aiming to help hotels extend their digital footprints, improve their overall search results and convert a higher volume of qualified travel consumers. This use of Google Wallet is currently available to U.S. consumers only. http://www.TravelClick.com ** Lodging Interactive has expanded its CoMMingle reputation management and social media marketing software to restaurants. http://www.lodginginteractive.com **
- Rainmaker unveils GuestREV Mobile app, enhances GuestREV, GroupREV - Rainmaker acquires Revcaster - Mantra Group selects SiteMinder for 116 hotels - Choice signs with SiteMinder for international properties - Trust International introduces Trust|Channels channel management integrated with yourVoyager CRS --------------------------
- SkyWire releases two-way POS integration with DataWorks - Prologic First interfaces Web Prol'IFIC to Simphony - Agilysys announces v4.4.6 of InfoGenesis POS and InfoGenesis Flex --------------------------
- JW Marriott Macau, Ritz-Carlton Macau select Teledex guestroom phones - Four Sheraton hotels in Russia choose Teledex I Series guestroom phones - Ritz Paris selects at-visions for in-room television and information technology - FCS signs Netvision as business partner for Croatia - Park Hyatt New York implements INNCOM’s INNControl 3 - Dorsett Hotels & Resorts offers guests smartphone and free calls for their stay at four hotels - Holiday Inn Cleveland Airport and Holiday Inn Mount Prospect install FlyteBoard - Maestro PMS integrates SMS text communications in partnership with Swift SMS Gateway - Accor to release app for Apple Watch™ in April - Marriott to launch app for Apple Watch - Guestware implements two-way interface with iRiS’ Mobile Valet app --------------------------
- Marriott to accept Apple Pay™ this summer - LeisureLink launches LeisureLink FastPay single-use credit card payment option in partnership with WEX -------------------------- Marriott International announced plans to accept Apple Pay™ in a phased rollout this summer, starting with 11 Ritz-Carlton, EDITION, Renaissance Hotels and Marriott Hotels in New York, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. http://www.marriott.com ** LeisureLink has launched its LeisureLink FastPay program in partnership with WEX Inc. LeisureLink FastPay is a single-use, virtual credit card number that replaces the standard payment process for bookings. At the time of booking, a virtual credit card number is emailed to the supplier. Once a guest checks in, the supplier charges the single-use credit card and receives payment as quickly as any typical credit card transaction process. http://LeisureLink.com, http://www.wexinc.com **
A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, "This is the most clueless kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you."
The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, "Which do you want, son?" The boy takes the quarters and leaves.
"What did I tell you?" said the barber. "That kid never learns."
Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. "Hey, son," he says. "May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?"
The boy licks his cone and replies, "Because the day I take the dollar, the game is over.”
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