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Siegel Sez

March 17, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

How can we all follow what is going on in Japan and not be affected? I know some will watch in disbelief, but how many will say to themselves as they watch that since it isn’t happening to me the impact is less. I bet most of us do that. We instead focus on our responsibilities in life. We worry about kids, spouses, family members and friends. We deal with the pressures in our lives, financial and otherwise. If you are like me you worry about balance in life. Then I started thinking, how many in Japan who survived had those same pressures and then because of Mother Nature everything else suddenly became secondary? We wake up every morning and wonder what the new day has in store for us. As I sit here I am starting to wonder if the struggles we have in life are totally overblown. We must deal with them one day at a time and realize that we have much for which to be thankful. Yes, it is a tired cliché that is used to make us feel better, but the truth is no matter how tough we think things are, there are many people who have it worse. That doesn’t necessarily make things better, but it does put things into perspective. I know it is one of my goals, to finally get some balance in my life. I always feel I should be doing more to help those less fortunate so I encourage you to take a moment and give something to help those suffering through this devastation. Helping, even a little, makes you feel good; I know it does for me.

So my striving for balance means doing something I love. Those who have been following my stories in the horse world know that when my very strange friends talk me into it, I head to Ocala, Fla., where I am writing this today and am trying to find our next superstar in the horse racing world. Of course, as much as we dream of the Kentucky Derby when getting involved in thoroughbreds, we learned quickly that race is for those with very deep pockets. As I watched at the auction yesterday and some horses being sold for a half a million dollars I started thinking to myself, are these people crazy? It is a horse! But there is still room for the little guys and that is where our group falls. We bought a two-year-old filly that was born in Ireland who looked me in the eye and I looked back at her. I think we both realized that it was destiny. We belonged together and together we will be. The horse racing world is a fun one, I have met more people whose lives are surrounded by horses and their love of these animals never ceases to amaze me.  I was at dinner last night with Mark Wayman, who many in the gaming world know, and he was sharing a story about his other half wondering if investing in race horses made any economic sense. I looked at him and told him to tell her that it is simply a hobby and a dream. He agreed. Yes, diversions in our lives are important, after all, how are we ever going to have balance in our lives without them? Yes, this year will be all about my pursuit of balance, but I am also aware that often it is easier said than done.

Next month is our Seventh Annual Executive Vendor Summit in Tampa and we are all pleasantly surprised once again with not only the record number of attendees, but the quality of attendees with many traveling a long way, even crossing oceans to attend this year. We are very proud of this event. Who would ever guess a two-day conference for presidents and C-level executives could turn out to be so valuable? I know I have often been accused of thinking differently, but honestly if you don’t try new and different things then you will never know if a wacky idea was a good one. The worst thing in life is not failing; it is simply not trying. Yes, this year I am going to try a lot of things. First on the list is convincing our beautiful filly that running fast can be a lot of fun. Wish me luck!

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s update of all the technology happenings. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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


- Demand for local information grows, drives need for internal signal coverage
- Intelity ICE Touch on iPads wins HTNG’s 2010 Most Innovative Hospitality Award
- HTNG, AH&LA and HFTP issue basic data security guidelines for all hotels
Demand for useful travel apps continues to grow; a new poll by Travelport shows that business travelers are looking for guidance on local attractions just as much as leisure travelers.  The platform of choice is increasingly moving to the smartphone from the laptop, too, as the demand for want-it-here-and-now information grows.  Along with that, of course, is the demand for cell phone and/or Wi-Fi signal coverage throughout a property, wherever the guest happens to be when she needs to know something, and not just in the lobby or guestrooms.

The survey covered over 600 corporate travel buyers and others.  Findings included:
- Eighty percent of business travelers would like a mobile guide to restaurants and bars close to a hotel location.  General tools such as TripAdvisor and Yelp already provide that, of course, but the opportunity for hotel-specific apps is clear.
- Two-thirds of respondents want similar information on recreational activities near the property.
- Seventy percent think that technology such as Wi-Fi should be standard in guestrooms.
- Room environment apps (lighting, thermostat, drapes, etc.) have only limited appeal.  This isn’t surprising; for them to have widespread acceptance, a critical mass of guestrooms would need to have standardized controls and interfaces.  For now, at least, these controls are better handled on a touch screen or tablet in the guestroom itself. 
Speaking of standards and interfaces, Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) recently held another successful annual North American conference in sunny but chilly San Diego.  Attendance was well up, the networking was great, and the level of activity and buzz around the vendor tables was an excellent indicator of the current wave of optimism in the industry.  Along with its traditionally high quality of speakers, this is one of my must-attend conferences each year.

And speaking of in-room concierge apps, HTNG’s hotelier members picked Intelity’s ICE Touch on iPads for the 2010 Most Innovative Hospitality Award.  ICE was a runner-up at last year’s conference. The app provides a wide range of concierge services, and is now making an appearance on tablets in guestrooms. 

First runner-up was Corning MobileAccess’ MobileAccessVE product, which lets hotels distribute cellular signals over existing LAN cabling while maintaining full Ethernet and wireless LAN capabilities.  Second runner-up was Ariane Systems’ Allegro Online-Mobile-Kiosk Check-in/out Solution, which allows guests to check in/out, settle their folios and manage their reservations from any Web-enabled device, including cell phone, PC, laptop, PDA, iPad or lobby kiosk.  Allegro automatically detects the device being used and sends notifications and instructions in the appropriate format.
And speaking of HTNG, it has been working with AH&LA and HFTP on basic guidelines for hotels on securing their data.  Properties still need to conform to PCI requirements, but these are not always easy for smaller properties to understand and follow.  Consequently, the three organizations have jointly issued a clear, straightforward document listing the three most important first steps every hotel must and can do as the basis of data security: eliminate all default passwords on all equipment, only allow remote-access connections if the caller has positively identified, and put a firewall on the Internet connection.  Hospitality is certainly among the top three prime targets for data fraud, if not the prime target; these precautions can help even the smallest property protect its guests’ data and improve that situation.


- Jack Alexander joins Rainmaker as vice chairman
- Andrew Rains joins Rainmaker as executive vice president of sales and marketing
- Jen Shepherd hired as director of products and solutions MSI|REMco in Phoenix, Ariz.
- Robert Swartzwelder joins MSI|Remco as director of operations, Dickinson, N.D.
- Rob Kosier hired by SkyWire Media as director of product development
- Alexis Dobbelaere named vice president strategic sales, EMEA at Pegasus Solutions
- Natalie Roberts promoted to director of hotel performance/customer satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro
For more information on People on the Move for 03/17/11


- Valley View Casino & Hotel selects Agilysys’ Visual One suite
- Rilano Group implementing SoftBrands’ centrally hosted Starlight for all five locations
- New York's Chelsea Star implements TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS
- Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne to use protel SPE in two-year hotel management diploma program
For more information on Hospitality Management Systems for 03/17/11


- FairBridge selects InnLink for distribution and booking services
- SiteMinder announces new release of pmsXchange
- Swiftrank moves to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud platform
- Pegasus launches MetaSearch Services to link metasearch engines to chain CRSs
- Regent Hotels & Resorts properties switching to Sabre’s SynXis
For more information on Reservations for 03/17/11


- Ameristar Casinos selects Teradata Data Mart Appliance for its seven casinos
- Hotel ZaZa implements ZDirect’s eCRM platform at Dallas and Houston properties
- eRevMax awarded Gold at European Seal of e-Excellence 2011
For more information on Marketing/Management for 03/17/11


- Accor launches two-way XML connection between its central reservation system and RateTiger’s RTConnect
- IDeaS partners with RMC Consultores in Chile
- Langham extends use of EZYield to new hotels in Asia, United Kingdom and North America
- High Tech Hoteles implementing EZYield’s RezDelivery interface at all 33 properties
For more information on Revenue Management for 03/17/11


- Hotel Napoléon Paris implements full broadband services and digital entertainment from iBAHN
- Crowne Plaza Verona Fiera selects Swisscom's ConnectedHotel guestroom TV and digital services platform
- Mondrian Soho to implementing Intelity’s ICE Touch on iPads in all 270 guestrooms
- GoConcierge.net celebrates first decade in business
- Roomlinx introduces SmartRoom concept
For more information on Guest Services for 03/17/11


- DCI announces new hosted unified communications (UC) offering for hospitality based on Mitel’s cloud-based technology
Design Communications Inc (DCI) has announced a new hosted unified communications (UC) offering for the hospitality market, based on Mitel’s Multi-Instance Communications Director (MICD) cloud-based technology.  The hosted service is expected to be available in May 2011.  http://www.mitel.com, http://www.dci-design.com


- NOW Hotel in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, implements VingCard’s Signature locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes
The 19-room NOW Hotel in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, has implemented VingCard’s Signature electronic door locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes.  http://www.nowhotel.com.co, http://www.vingcard.com, http://www.elsafe.com  


And now for you-know-what…

Why men are never depressed:

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Your last name stays put.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

You can wear no shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress – $5,000; tux rental – $100.

People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.

New shoes don't cut, blister or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You can play with toys all your life.

One wallet and one pair of shoes – one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can do your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

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