It might be more regional than international, but it is a very big region. We have just returned from the 2011 International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show at the Javits Center in New York City. The weather gods were definitely smiling because it was uncharacteristically warm in New York this week. Honestly, is there anywhere better than New York City on warm fall days and comfortable nights? For those exhibiting, the show itself was very positive. When we walked around to all the exhibitors on the last day I was surprised how everyone was singing the praises of the quality of those who came by their booths. The Technology Pavilion participants all found their participation very worthwhile and that made us happy. Yes, the industry rebound continues, good things are happening and the New York show was further proof. Thanks to all who came to the Hospitality Upgrade dinner on Monday night. I will never say no again when somebody suggests going to a Moroccan restaurant for dinner. I guess we are never too old to change our likes and dislikes, right?
Speaking of never being too old, I recently reconnected with Rita Emmer who many from the reservations technology space will remember. Rita decided being a single woman who just turned 50 that her next venture in life should be that of being a foster mom. You have to love it, a woman who never had kids now has a newborn and even though she won’t readily admit it, it has her wondering if not having kids of her own might have been a mistake. There are times I wonder the same thing, but I always believed that in life we are dealt cards and those are the ones that we need to play. But how come we never get to reshuffle?
For those of you reading this in the United States, next week is Thanksgiving. Yes, the holiday season officially starts in one week. The nonstop tradeshow and conference season finally slows down and plans for 2012 kick in. I will be at HEDNA (http://www.hedna.org) in Las Vegas the first week of December and that will be it for me this year. I must thank the folks at PAR Springer-Miller for inviting me to their Users’ Group. I am invited to many, try to attend most, but theirs is the only one actually run by their users. I should thank Don Hay from Digital Alchemy for mentioning Hospitality Upgrade when speaking to the group and also PAR Springer-Miller CEO Larry Hall for trying to embarrass me when he spoke to the attendees. Thankfully there was no second rendition of “Hey Jude.” The Horseshoe Bay Resort might be in the middle of nowhere in Texas, but once you get there you are impressed. I know I was.
I can’t help but think back to the uncertainty facing the industry 11 months ago and today how so many are optimistic as to what lies ahead. What a wild ride this year has been. We have gotten unbelievably great feedback from our recent issue of Hospitality Upgrade and that motivates us to do an even better job next year. Then again, what is life without a few challenges, right? Thanks for all the feedback, it is greatly appreciated.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks. I will bite my tongue regarding his being an egomaniac or not, read his opening comments and you can make your own call in that regards. But he does do a great job addressing industry technology issues and for that we are all very appreciative. 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
- Are LinkedIn connections becoming debased? - Editors’ Choice Awards in New York go to Espoo’s PowerKiss (gotta love that name) and Verve’s Keycard Switch -------------------------- Is it just me, or has the world in general decided to use LinkedIn contacts in a different way and I just didn’t get the message?
I thought that LinkedIn was intended to be a way to find people who knew someone you wanted to contact, a way of making an introduction to them via someone they knew, already had a relationship with and trusted. You could search for someone in a particular position or with specific experience, and then check through your network of contacts to see who knew this person, or knew someone who did, and then work your way through the chain to make the final connection.
Just lately, though, it seems that the stream of people asking for a direct connection with me on LinkedIn just keeps growing. Some of them are complete strangers, but claim to be my friend; others are already linked to me through several other people, but want to upgrade that link to a direct connection. But why? If we both have a friend in common, why not ask that friend to make the introduction if they have something to ask me? What benefit do they gain from claiming a connection that doesn’t exist?
My ego may suggest that I’ve become a trophy, but as my friends will readily confirm, I’m not such a prize that gaining a direct connection to me grants instant fame, immortality and access to the highest echelons of the industry. More likely it may just be that, like Facebook, people are competing with each other for the largest number of friends/direct connects. They may want to show how connected they are, but going about it this way just debases the whole concept of a personal relationship. I’m happy to be contacted by pretty much anyone who has a question, but I’ll continue to restrict my direct connections on LinkedIn to those I’ve worked with or known long enough to ask a personal favor or to personally recommend them from experience.
Oh, and a side note about the need to keep your contacts’ profiles accurate. LinkedIn’s suggestions of people you may know and want to reconnect with are often useful, but recently it twice suggested that I connect with someone who, sadly, passed away over a year ago. In the traumatic aftermath of losing a loved one, it’s completely understandable that friends and relatives would place a very low priority on removing their online profiles. Nevertheless, this does emphasize the dangers of relying on automated CRM systems to contact past guests without constantly checking and rechecking your database to make sure its profile information is both accurate and current. Sending the wrong “personal” message is worse than sending no message at all. ** The Editors' Choice Awards for Technology at the International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) and Boutique Design New York this year went to: - Mainstream Technology: Espoo’s PowerKiss wire-free cellphone charging system, which combines a Heart unit integrated into the guestroom furniture, and a Ring unit plugged into the phone. - Green Technology: Verve Living Systems for its Verve Keycard Switch, a guestroom master power switch which generates enough energy from the insertion of the guest’s keycard to power itself. **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Pam Vickers¸ Jennifer Trevino, Raemarie Roqué join Libra OnDemand as customer success managers - Ed Watkins honored with MSU’s inaugural Spartan Hospitality Business Champion award - Alan Fine joins Roomlinx as vice president of finance - David Millili named chief web officer at Pegasus - Brian Treadwell hired by ProfitSword as vice president customer relations management - Matthew Prosser joins Agilysys as head of strategic sales – EMEA --------------------------
- InnQuest certifies two-way interface between roomMaster 2000 and B4Checkin’s online booking engine - Cenium opens new office in Hong Kong -------------------------- InnQuest has certified a two-way interface between its roomMaster 2000 Guest Management System and B4Checkin’s online booking engine for the automatic exchange of real-time availability and confirmations. http://www.b4Checkin.com, http://www.innquest.com ** Cenium has opened a new office in Hong Kong to service existing customers in the area and its anticipated extensive growth in Asia. http://www.cenium.com **
- Amadeus passes 100,000 hotel milestone - Regent Hotels & Resorts moves to Sabre for distribution services - Room 77 upgrades room booking services - Greenbrier implements NAVIS’ Narrowcast Reservation Sales System - Maritime Hotel, NY picks Whiteboard’s Windsurfer CRS, T.U.B.E. Internet Booking Engine - Global Hotel Exchange to launch cost-free online travel agency, aligns with RateTiger - Hotels Online picks RTConnect for its LodgeGate Hotel Management System (GMS) --------------------------
- Preferred Hotel Group to use RateGain data as part of Quality Assurance program - Southeastern Hotel Management selects The Knowland Group's Target Net - The Knowland Group’s Target Net receives 2011 Magellan Award - Lodging Interactive integrates Guest Review System with Facebook - Milestone Internet Marketing received 30+ awards in 2011 - Regatta Travel Solutions launches Facebook booking engine for Destination Marketing Organizations - M&R Hotel Group implementing Aptech’s Execuvue BI application - VIZERGY receives three IAVA W3 Silver Awards - TravelShark acquires 80 new destination-specific websites --------------------------
- TravelClick acquires EZYield - Spa Resort Casino, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa implement Rainmaker’s TribalREV - Colonnade Hotel in Boston implements IDeaS - Swisstouches deploys IDeaS at its 318-room Xi'an hotel - SiteMinder releases next-generation distribution platform - RateGain releases channel management application in Chinese - Sabre to offer RateGain competitive price intelligence to its customers - RateGain integrates ChannelGain with Cultuzz's Cultbay - International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) using EasyRMS in revenue management lectures --------------------------
- Oklahoma City CVB chooses Meetingmax Systems - VisitTulsa deploying Passkey's GroupMAX ME - Convention Housing Partners adopts Passkey's GroupMAX ME - Presidian Hotels & Resorts selects The Knowland Group's Target Net - Sabre and Polycom to develop global reservation system for HD video conference and telepresence rooms --------------------------
- Boyne Resorts selects Squirrel Professional for four Michigan and Montana resorts - OpenTable launches redesigned version of its mobile website based on HTML5 -------------------------- Boyne Resorts has selected Squirrel Systems’ Professional POS system for its four Michigan and Montana resorts, Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor - A Renaissance Golf Resort and Big Sky Resort. Squirrel Professional will be installed in 36 outlets from fine and casual dining restaurants to bars and quick-service cafés. http://www.boyneresorts.com, http://www.squirrelsystems.com ** OpenTable has launched a redesigned version of its mobile website based on HTML5. The new site allows users to find restaurant reservations using geolocation, and to refine their search by neighborhood, cuisine, price points and reviews from verified OpenTable diners. The revamped site is available for Android™, iPhone®, Windows Phone and BlackBerry® platforms. OpenTable has also introduced an app for Android Honeycomb tablets, and upgraded its apps for the iPhone, iPad® and Windows Phone. http://www.opentable.com **
- RTP acquired by The Active Network - PAR Springer-Miller certifies SpaSoft v188.8.131.52 for connection with Elavon's Fusebox -------------------------- RTP has been acquired by The Active Network. It will continue to be based in Avon and Denver, Colo., and the current senior management will remain in place. http://www.rtp.com, http://www.active.com ** PAR Springer-Miller Systems has certified SpaSoft Version 184.108.40.206 for connection with Elavon's Fusebox hosted payment gateway, allowing connection to a variety of payment processors without the need for multiple direct-processor certifications. Fusebox certification also provides advanced tokenization to mitigate some of the costs and complexities related to PCI compliance. http://www.elavon.com, http://www.springermiller.com **
- SAI’s SynergyMMS maintenance software to use Ascom's voice-over Wi-Fi messaging at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach - Peninsula installing KABA RFID locks throughout all nine properties - Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills rolls out Intelity ICE on iPads in all 285 rooms and suites - London’s Eccleston Square Hotel named In-Room Technology Innovation of the Year for use of Intelity ICE - Dorchester Collection’s Hotel Bel-Air reopens with Intelity ICE in all 103 rooms - Hôtel Americano in New York installs iPads with Runtriz’ Hotel Evolution platform - Crave Interactive launches GuestService+ application for in-room tablets, smartphones - Courtyard unveils v4.0 of GoBoard digital display with Four Winds Interactive - Hotel Wilshire installs guestLINK connectivity panels in 580 rooms - The Luxe City Center in L.A. installs guestLINK connectivity panels in all 164 rooms - Preferred Hotel Group names SuiteLinq exclusive North American partner and preferred European partner --------------------------
- San Ysidro Ranch selects Aptech’s Targetvue budgeting and forecasting application - Two hotel companies in California and Ohio to implement Aptech’s Profitvue accounting system - Omni Dallas Hotel installs InvoTech’s GIMS UHF-RFID uniform inventory software - Sycuan Casino near San Diego implements InvoTech’s RFID inventory tracking system --------------------------
- Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa networks guestroom energy management with INNCOM’s Deep Mesh Network - Atlanta Marriott Marquis installs INNCOM Guestroom Occupancy Sensors in all 1,569 guestrooms - Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan installs Telkonet's EcoSmart energy management platform --------------------------
- RIM, Assa Abloy to develop NFC-enabled key technology for BlackBerry phones - Starwood installs VingCard RFID door locks at two properties in Greece - Peninsula installing KABA RFID locks throughout all nine properties - YOTEL New York installs KABA ILCO 790 RFID electronic door locks for all 669 rooms - Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge installs KABA’s Saflok Quantum RFID door locks - OpenWays announces smartphone app version of phone-based door key --------------------------
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