Siegel Sez

March 03, 2011

Siegel Sez


by: Richard Siegel

There are a lot of trials and tribulations going on in the world today and I am not even going to mention the price of gas. But with all that is going on, we believe that the recovery continues to gain steam. I am writing this from San Diego at the HTNG Annual Conference and along with having the best crowd here in years, the enthusiasm for technology’s future is beaming quite brightly.  It is fun to be around so many technology types, and it gets me pumped up that HITEC is only three and half months away. The big announcement at HTNG was that Todd Thompson, the CIO at Starwood Hotels and Resorts and the current president of HTNG, is passing the baton to Jim Peterson from Marriott International.  It was a great way to start the conference.  Nick Price from Mandarin Oriental Hotels was the keynote speaker who talked about technology over the last 10 years and how he sees the next 10 years. No phones in the room? No televisions in the rooms? Those in the audience were shaking their heads, some in agreement and some in complete disagreement. It was a great opening session, and it got people thinking. 

Kate was Tweeting.  If you want to follow our tweets, go to www.twitter.com/HospUpgrade. Kate had fun tweeting during the CIO panel which was moderated by Jon Inge. He did a great job as always. Kate will be writing her annual review of the HTNG Annual Conference.  It really has been enjoyable talking with so many technology people and their enthusiasm is quite intoxicating.  Optimism is running rampant in the industry.

Of course, with any conference that allows time to network, we talk to many people. I had a very interesting conversation with Ken Barnes from White Lodging and Nelson Garrido from Noble Investment Group. Here are two professionals, knowledgeable and very good at leading their companies’ technology initiatives. But with that said, at times I wondered who I was talking to. They were like kids telling me how excited they were with the new iPad2 announcement and couldn’t wait to get theirs. I guess it was funny because they were both holding their iPads while talking to me. Why were they getting a new one? Then we got talking about how often we replace our phones and I was shocked with what they said. Am I the only person who simply says that if my phone works, why replace it? If my iPad does everything I need, why replace it? How often do you replace your phone? I keep mine until it breaks, what does that actually say about me?

Maybe these questions can be put on the new HFTP blog. It was just launched and I encourage you to visit and lend your comments, especially for a cool video with Frank Wolfe talking about his views on technology. After listening to it, I started thinking that maybe I should replace my phone more often. Check out the HFTP blog at www.blogs.hftp.org.  

From HTNG I am heading to Las Vegas for the unveiling of LINQ 360 in Las Vegas, which is a collaboration center for technology companies in the hospitality industry. I have been told that I will be meeting the mayor of Las Vegas and the governor of Nevada. I promised those who invited me that I will not ask the governor about his idea to close the brothels in Nevada.  Then again if it accidently slips out, so be it.

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


Rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Technology NEWSSTAND


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

 


TOP O’ THE NEWS


- New visual approaches to selling rooms
--------------------------
One of the fascinating things about mobile application development right now is seeing how companies continue to combine data from different sources into something immediately useful and interesting.

A couple of examples came up this week, both using information from Google.  One is a new extension of Google Maps itself.  Often used to find hotels near a specified address, it now allows users to enter their proposed arrival and departure dates and see pricing for each hotel in a dropdown box providing links to each of the various booking channels, including the hotel’s own Website.

The other takes a new approach to the old problem of knowing what the view will be from the hotel you’re thinking of booking, and preferably seeing which rooms have the best view.  The technology’s existed for a long time for hotels to actually take photos from each room and add them to their Websites, but that’s really tedious and labor intensive.  HMS start-up Hetras takes this to a different level by combining 360-degree exterior and roof-top photos of a property into a digital simulation that highlights the different rooms a traveler is considering (and some potential alternatives and upgrades) and the view from each.

Now a start-up called Room 77 is taking a different approach by taking the hotel’s latitude and longitude, floor plans, the height of each floor and the direction the room faces, then using Google Earth data to simulate the actual view from each room.  Few hotels have the ability to let users pick an individual room but Room 77 at least allows them to request a specific room based on what they see.  An iPhone® version can also be used at checkin to make quick decisions about the room being offered at the front desk.  Room map data comes directly from hotels, from staffers examining hotels themselves and – an approach I particularly like - from individual users contributing by sending in photos of the floor plans on the back of their room doors.

Clearly this has more application for resort properties than commercial city center sites (though it’s nice to know how high up in a Seattle hotel you have to be to get a view of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, for example), and of course the simulated view is only as up-to-date as the Google Earth photos it’s derived from.  Nevertheless, it’s a great help in visualizing the experience in advance, in managing guests’ expectations and especially in justifying different rates for different rooms of the same type but different views.  Revenue management by individual room?  Why not?
**



PEOPLE ON THE MOVE



- Stan Van Roij hired by EasyRMS as managing director
- Jean-Eric Martin joins Safemark Systems as vice president sales for Europe and North Africa
- Larry Birnbaum is Guest-tek’s new vice president of national accounts
- Yauric Mercier hired by Travel Tripper to head sales in Europe and Middle East
--------------------------
For more information on People on the Move for 03/03/11

COMMUNICATIONS



- Dynamique Hôtels Management becomes first customer for Amadeus Hotel Platform
- MSI celebrates 20-year anniversary
--------------------------
Dynamique Hôtels Management (DHM) has become the first customer for Amadeus’ new centralized Hotel Platform, which combines central reservation, global distribution and property management systems into a single, fully integrated platform.  The six-week migration process, which is scheduled to be complete in March 2011, will replace DHM's current central reservation system (CRS), call center, booking engine and property management system with a single database.  DHM owns and operates a network of more than 150 hotels in France, Germany and Belgium, including French budget chain Balladins.  http://www.balladins.com, http://www.amadeus.com/hotelit
**
Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) is celebrating its 20-year anniversary.  Founded in 1991, and having recently acquired HMS vendor REMco, MSI now has 210 employees and an installed customer base of 5,800 properties throughout North America.  http://www.msisolutions.com  
**

MARKETING/MANAGEMENT



- Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club implements Cendyn’s eConcierge
- SKY Hospitality picks Aptech Execuvue
--------------------------
The 271-room Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, located on the campus of Duke University, has implemented Cendyn’s eConcierge Web-based marketing system to send guests confirmations of their room bookings and encourage them to book dining, golf and other property activities well before they check in.  The system then e-mails itineraries to guests pre-arrival.   http://www.washingtondukeinn.com, http://www.cendyn.com 
**
SKY Hospitality has selected Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system, and will implement it (along with Aptech’s Profitvue accounting system) in nine Microtel Hotels by the end of the first quarter 2011.  http://www.skyhospitality.com, http://www.aptech-inc.com 
**

RESERVATIONS



- Google Maps shows rates for specified stay dates, includes links to booking channel sites
- Room 77 shows travelers simulated view from each room in a hotel
- RIM release BlackBerry Travel app, integrates itineraries, profiles, flight status updates into BlackBerry Calendar
--------------------------
For more information on Reservations for 03/03/11

REVENUE MANAGEMENT



- NH Hoteles adopting RateTiger’s RTConnect for all 400 properties
- eRevMax adds allocation management and AutoRTSE functionality to RateTiger
- Scandic Hotels extends use of V5i and V5i Forecasting to all properties
--------------------------
For more information on Revenue Management for 03/03/11

SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING



- Newmarket wins 2011 MarketTools Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) Award
- Passkey's GroupMAX integrates OneClick Mobile for simple customized, rich content mobile site for events
--------------------------
Newmarket International has won 2011 MarketTools Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) Awards in the areas of Worldwide Customer Support, Platinum Customer Support, Americas Customer Support and Americas Project Management.  This is the fifth consecutive year Newmarket has received a MarketTools ACE Award; the award, given after extensive third-party evaluation, certifies outstanding achievement in customer satisfaction.  http://www.markettools.com, http://www.newmarketinc.com 
**
Passkey's GroupMAX group reservations system now integrates OneClick Mobile's application to help hotels, destinations and meeting planners create a customized, rich content mobile site for their events in just one click. The mobile event site, available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms, provides attendees with access to information such as the event agenda, destination and hotel information, as well as links to the event's hotel booking page and social network.  EventSphere, a full-service housing and meetings fulfillment company, will be the pilot customer. http://www.eventsphere.com, http://www.oneclickmobile.com, http://www.passkey.com  
**

F&B/POINT OF SALE



- Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar creates custom iPad® wine list using Incentient’s SmartCellar
--------------------------
Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar has created a custom wine list application for the iPad platform using Incentient’s SmartCellar product.  The interactive wine list allows Catch guests to search using a number of criteria, including year, place of origin and varietal. The SmartCellar system also displays photography of each wine label.  http://hotelcasadelmar.com, http://www.incentient.com
**

GUEST SERVICES



- Acentic releases Apple iOS and Android OS versions of its high-speed Internet and iTV services platform
- NH Parque Avenidas hotel deploys Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV on coaxial cable
- Hotel President Wilson, Switzerland implements Quadriga's Sensiq portal on Bang & Olufsen LCD screens
- JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown implements Intelity’s ICE in all 1,005 guestrooms
--------------------------
For more information on Guest Services for 03/03/11

BACK OFFICE



- UniFocus releases corporate-level interactive dashboard for Watson, R.M. Labor Management System
- SKY Hospitality and Widewaters Hotels both select Aptech’s Profitvue enterprise back office accounting application.
--------------------------
UniFocus announced the availability of a corporate-level interactive dashboard for its Watson, R.M. Labor Management System (LMS).  The dashboard provides actionable workforce information for better decision making, labor performance stats for a multiproperty portfolio, fast drill down to the detail and root-cause analysis of any problem, and much more.  http://www.unifocus.com  
**
SKY Hospitality and Widewaters Hotels have both selected Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue enterprise back office accounting application for multiple-branded properties.  SKY Hospitality will also implement Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system, and will have both Profitvue and Execuvue deployed in nine Microtel Hotels by the end of the first quarter 2011.  Already owning and developing 16 properties for Hilton, Marriott and Starwood, Widewaters recently launched its own management company.  http://www.skyhospitality.com, http://www.widewatershotels.com, http://www.aptech-inc.com
**

ENGINEERING



- hotel SystemsPro releases hotel ServicePro asset management system for iPad
--------------------------
hotel SystemsPro has announced a version of its hotel ServicePro Web-based asset management system for the Apple iPad and other mobile devices, providing mobile task tracking, report monitoring, maintenance alerts and many other functions.  http://www.hotelsystemspro.com  
**

COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE



- XETA Technologies launches new hospitality business unit, XETA Hospitality Solutions
--------------------------
XETA Technologies has launched its new hospitality business unit, XETA Hospitality Solutions (XHS).  Led by Managing Director Mark Holzberg, former CEO of Lorica Solutions (which XETA acquired in May 2010), this unit provides U.S. and international hotels and resorts XETA’s full range of network, broadband and communications products and managed services.  http://www.xeta.com/markets/Pages/Hospitality.aspx  
**

SECURITY



- Holiday Inn City of Knowledge, Panama City, installs VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks and Elsafe Xtra II in-room safes
- Kyriad Marseille Centre-Rabatou in Marseille, France, installs VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks
--------------------------
The 137-room Holiday Inn City of Knowledge at Panama City, Panama, has completed installation of its VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks and Elsafe Xtra II in-room safes. 

The 88-room Kyriad Marseille Centre-Rabatou in Marseille, France, has installed VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks. 
http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/panama-city/pcyhi/hoteldetail#, http://www.kyriad-marseille-centre-rabatau.fr/en/index.aspx, http://www.vingcard.com, http://www.elsafe.com
**



You-Know-What



And now for you-know-what…

A small tourist hotel was all abuzz about an afternoon wedding where the groom was 95 years old and the bride was 23. The groom looked pretty feeble and the feeling was that the wedding night might kill him, because his bride was a healthy, vivacious young woman.

But lo and behold, the next morning, the bride came down the main staircase slowly, step by step, hanging onto the banister for dear life. She finally managed to get to the counter of the little shop in the hotel.

The clerk looked really concerned and asked "Whatever happened to you, honey? You look like you've been wrestling an alligator."

The bride groaned, hung on to the counter and managed to speak, "He told me he'd been saving up for 75 years, and I thought he meant his money."




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