Siegel Sez

February 16, 2011

Siegel Sez


by: Richard Siegel

Today’s opening might be deep; actually it might be dark. Who knows where it will end up as I keep typing. Who are you? Today I am asking myself, who am I? After this e-mail gets forwarded there will be 40,000 people around the world who might think I am a writer. This is our 19th year publishing Hospitality Upgrade magazine on technology for the hotel industry. My business card reads publisher; is that who I am? This year will be our seventh annual Executive Vendor Summit and our 10th annual CIO Summit; does that make me a promoter of sorts? Today is a day of reflection for me. For those of us who have had different jobs throughout our lives, do you remember your favorite? That is easy for me; it was many years ago that I got my first hotel job. I was a front desk clerk (yes, that was the term back in the ‘70s) at the Laurels Lake Resort outside Monticello, N.Y. The area referred to as the Catskill Mountains that the movie Dirty Dancing made famous. Actually, it was scary how well the movie depicted what it was like working in a resort hotel like that. I loved working the hotel front desk, which I did at different hotels at the start of my career. I never really looked at it as a job. Every guest checking in was a new audience for me and my performance was to make them laugh or at least smile. When I was working at a 652-room hotel in Manhattan, there were many performances every night. I loved it and to this day, I miss it. Is there anybody out there who would let me work the front desk for a day? I promise I won’t run off any of your guests, at least not purposely. I think it would be fun. Don’t we all dream of visiting our past? Two things have put me in a reflective mood. The other day I had dinner with a friend I have known for over 30 years. When he said, do you remember when we were young and stupid and our only worry in life was making enough money to pay the rent. I laughed, but it started me thinking. I am thankful that in 1981 I took my first job in technology for the hotel industry. It was fun, nobody understood the benefits of technology in their operation back then, but thankfully we have come a long way since. After nine years being involved in technology for hotels, didn’t that make me a technology guy? Now 19 years of publishing on technology along with the many other things, so what does this make me? I am truly reflecting today and I will tell you why in a moment.

I must thank Alan Young and the team from Infor Softbrands for inviting me to attend the Infor Meeting of the Minds. This is something every business should do. The company invited over 20 of the industry’s top technology consultants. The premise of the meeting was to discover who the consultants think Infor is, then share with the consultants who Infor is and what the company has planned going forward. I looked around the room and realized I fit in very well with this crowd. Sure, I was the only media guy which made me proud, but then I realized because of my unique background they didn’t look at me as a media guy. Is that who I am? Thanks, Alan and Tracy Flynn from Infor for inviting me; the company did a great job opening a lot of eyes. I know they opened mine.

Today is a strange day for me. I am no math major, but I am thinking that Feb. 17 should happen on a Thursday once every seven years, but for some reason I am thinking this is the third time in the last 10 years it has been on a Thursday. Is this because of leap years or is my mind once again playing tricks on me? Probably the latter. Regardless of how or why this happened today, let me say this. Jon Inge who has been writing the technology news with me for 11 years is celebrating his birthday today; wish him a happy birthday at jon@joninge.com. I am not a believer in astrology, but let me say this. Jon is one of my favorite people in the whole world, but could anybody be more opposite than me? I am sure he will be celebrating this day with his lovely wife Lindsay and friends. Today is also my birthday. I in turn will be reflecting on my life and saying, “What happened?” If you had met me 30 years ago you would have figured I would have been married at least once and had kids. I never did either. Considering how irresponsible I was back then, you would never have thought I would have started a business and 19 years later see it continue to prosper. Today is my day to reflect, but for some reason for the first time in many years I am going to say that my life is simply what it is. Don’t think about the things that you didn’t do, but be thankful for the things that bring joy; your friends, your family and in my case the wonderful people that I work with and the great people I have met through business that have become an important part of my life. Today, for the first time in years I am going to put a positive spin on this day that I always wish I could avoid. Honestly, who needs a therapist? I can just type out my issues and let 40,000 people think I am nuts. Thank you for putting up with me. I promise not to do this reflective thing again for seven years unless I have challenges with the calendar again.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Happy birthday, Jon.


Rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Technology NEWSSTAND


by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge

 


TOP O’ THE NEWS

- Mobile apps are great, but infrastructure comes first
--------------------------
Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona has focused a lot of attention on just how prevalent mobile communications, smartphones, tablets and portable apps have become, and the almost manic level of interest they hold for many people.  Examples from this week’s newsletter alone include Protel’s release of an iPad® version of its HMS, MGM porting its iPhone® hotel apps to Android and BlackBerry®, The Plaza’s use of iPads in every guestroom, new clients for Tiare’s Wireless Winelist and Fuel Interactive’s Mobile Booking Software, and so on.

Frequently left far behind in discussion of these appealing apps, though, is the need for an effective infrastructure to support them.  The best mobile app in the world is useless unless you have a signal, and it’s easy to become too reliant on a communications link that isn’t always there when you were planning on using it.

Two examples from opposite ends of the spectrum this last month:  One was a client looking for replacement systems in a spread-out campus.  They have plenty of great ideas on what improvements could be made, as well as a strong interest in their own all-encompassing concierge app.  All of this can be done – but I couldn’t get a cell phone signal in many areas of the site. 

At the other end of the scale, I had two visits to the new Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas – it’s been a busy month – and was delighted to find a full four-bar signal throughout the property, including in every meeting room.  When was the last time you saw that?  It wasn’t inexpensive, but they saw it as a priority and made sure that all four carriers had great coverage throughout the building.  That alone puts the Cosmo at the top of my list for future stays Las Vegas, even without considering the superb job they did with tasteful, original artwork throughout the building.

Infrastructure first, then apps to ride on it. 
**



PEOPLE ON THE MOVE



- Jim Kenney, David Dawson hired as senior sales executives at Infor SoftBrands
- David Chestler named president, hospitality solutions at RateGain
- Khaled Abed joins PAR Springer-Miller as regional sales manager for EMEA
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For more information on People on the Move for 02/17/11

HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS



- Protel introduces bookatonce iPad version of Web-based hospitality system
- Trump Hotel Collection standardizes on MICROS’ OPERA for seven properties
- Midwest Outdoor Resorts picks SPI Software’s timeshare software for two resorts and corporate office
- Anantara Vacation Club purchases SPI Software’s suite for Thailand resorts
- HMS Infotech appoints Carbo Trust Trade Consultancy as Caribbean business partner
- Fuel Interactive launches Guestdesk Mobile Booking Software for room/tee time bookings from mobile devices
- ONETECH Solution offering RateTiger's RTConnect to its HMS and CRS clients
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For more information on Hospitality Management Systems for 02/17/11

RESERVATIONS



- Carmel Mission Inn signs with Genares
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The 165-room Carmel Mission Inn, Carmel, Calif., has signed with Genares Worldwide Reservations Services.  http://www.carmelmissioninn.com, http://www.genares.com
**

MARKETING/MANAGEMENT



- King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort implementing ZMail
- Peabody picks Cendyn for online presence management for three properties
- HADA Group to release Hospitality Operational Business Intelligence (HOBI) application using DSPanel’s Performance Canvas
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For more information on Marketing/Management for 02/17/11

REVENUE MANAGEMENT



- RateGain applications validated for PCI DSS 1.2
- eRevMax acquires Web developer Lunar Logic Polska
- Open Hospitality adds RateTiger channel management to reservation processing via Facebook
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For more information on Revenue Management for 02/17/11

SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING



- GetThere launches Hotel Traveler Reviews for corporate travelers
--------------------------
GetThere has launched its Hotel Traveler Reviews to let corporate travelers share online hotel reviews.  Coupled with corporate hotel policy, the reviews help GetThere users choose hotels that best meet their personal needs while simultaneously complying with company cost savings initiatives.  Reviews may include information on service areas such as staff, room quality, bed comfort, cleanliness, value for money, activities, location, security, fitness facilities, meeting rooms, business center and dining.  http://www.getthere.com  
**

F&B/POINT OF SALE



- Flagstaff House Restaurant implements Tiare’s Wireless WineList
--------------------------
Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder, Colo., has implemented Tiare Technology’s Wireless WineList, an Apple iPad application to allow restaurant guests to review and order wines by region, varietal, price range or other categories.  The system includes tasting notes, vintage information and background on the winery, region and grape varietals, including photos, wine labels, maps, videos and other information.  The system carries information on the restaurants’ 2,500+ wines, as well as beer, cocktails and spirits; guests can e-mail themselves their wine selections as a memento.  http://www.flagstaffhouse.com, http://www.tiaretech.com
**

SPA/GOLF/LEISURE ACTIVITIES



- Fuel Interactive launches Guestdesk Mobile Booking Software for booking tee times and hotel rooms
--------------------------
Fuel Interactive has launched its Guestdesk Mobile Booking Software, which lets consumers book golf course tee times and hotel rooms over the Internet via any handheld mobile device.  The Breakers Resort in Florida pilot-tested the application in mid-January; nearly 20 properties in the Myrtle Beach area are scheduled to implement it by month end, including Caribbean Resort, Long Bay Resort, Ocean Reef Resort, Bay View Resort, Compass Cove, Island Vista, Dunes Village, North Beach Rentals, Litchfield Beach, Myrtlewood Villas, Pawleys Plantation, Atlantica Resort, Driftwood Lodge, Paradise Resort, Monterey Bay Suites and Palmetto Shores.  The system also provides reports on the channel used to make a booking and other site visit statistics.  http://www.fuelinteractive.com  
**

GUEST SERVICES



- JANUS adds boarding pass feature to Concierge Board touch screen display
- The Plaza deploys Intelity's ICE Touch on iPads in all guestrooms
- TripAdvisor acquires EveryTrail
- MGM releases Android versions of 12 hotel applications
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For more information on Guest Services for 02/17/11

COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE



- PhoneSuite passes 3,000 installed hotel phone systems milestone
- PAETEC acquires XETA Technologies
--------------------------
PhoneSuite announced that it has now sold over 3,000 hotel phone systems since 1998.  http://www.phonesuite.com  
**
Business data, voice and IP services provider PAETEC Holding Corp. has acquired XETA Technologies.  XETA will expand on its Avaya and Nortel accreditations through PAETEC’s existing platinum partnership with Avaya and will maintain its focus on vertical industries including the hospitality, education, healthcare and government sectors.  http://www.xeta.com  
**

SECURITY



- Aloft Harlem installs VingCard VISIONLINE RFID communication platform and Signature RFID door locks
- Porta Fira Hotel installs VingCard Signature locks and Elsafe Sentinel II safes
- Starwood signs three-year agreement with KABA Lodging
- Peabody Orlando completes installation of KABA’s Saflok Quantum Adese RFID locks in 1,641 rooms
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For more information on Security for 02/17/11

You-Know-What



And now for you-know-what…


A middle-aged couple had two beautiful daughters but always talked about having a son.
They decided to try one last time for the son they always wanted.

The wife got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby boy. The joyful father rushed to the nursery to see his new son. He was horrified at the ugliest child he had ever seen.

He told his wife, "There's no way I can be the father of this baby. Look at the two beautiful daughters I fathered. Have you been fooling around behind my back?"

The wife smiled sweetly and replied, "No, not this time."




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