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Siegel Sez

April 21, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Lessons learned.  Last week we had our seventh annual Executive Vendor Summit at the Wyndham Tampa Westshore in Florida.  The Wyndham would not be considered the most luxurious hotel we ever used for the conference, but the feedback has been wonderful. Kris will be writing a review of the Executive Vendor Summit that will also include some amazing pictures, so I won’t go into much detail here. If you are a subscriber to Hospitality Upgrade either in print or our digital edition, then thank you. If you are not, please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe to subscribe. So what was the lesson learned? I mentioned the hotel because we expected some feedback and comments about our choice. What surprised us was that overwhelmingly we received fabulous comments. I have never experienced a friendlier, more helpful staff or better food than we experienced at the Wyndham. Of course, it helped that their Executive Chef Kelly Marshall was named the Tampa Bay Top Chef of the Year 2011 and it showed. Wow.  The Wyndham is a Quorum Hotels & Resorts property and I have known Jean Hungerford the vice president of marketing and rooms operation, and Tony Farris, the chairman/CEO for over 25 years. Tony was kind enough to speak at our Gala Dinner and shared his vision of the industry and the world from an owner’s perspective. He was amazing and everybody said it was a true eye opener. The lesson learned was a simple one; this industry is all about people. No matter what you do for a living, enthusiasm, helpfulness and friendliness will always trump anything physical. People notice and people remember. Thanks to General Manager Pam Avery and the wonderful staff, people left the conference saying what a great event and that they will be back. We at Hospitality Upgrade with Sally Kelly of KPMG were proud of the program we put together; we especially want to thank Gustaaf Schrils, vice president of global technology for InterContinental Hotels Group, and Bernard Gay, senior vice president and CIO, Kerzner International Bahamas Ltd., for taking the time from their busy schedules to join us, along with Jan Freitag, vice president, global development, from STR (Smith Travel Research), who kicked off the conference. We ended the event with a session that I promise you nobody in this industry would ever include on their program, but that is what makes us different, we are not afraid to take some chances. Now if only I would follow Doc Roy’s advice about wellness a bit more, maybe I would look at life a bit differently. I think the over 70 attendees will. Thanks to all who attended, it was memorable in a very positive way.

If you are a technology vendor and will be exhibiting at HITEC then you should contact Kate in our office at (678) 802-5304 or email her at mailtkate@hospitalityupgrade.com. While at our Executive Vendor Summit we did two-minute videos with our partners at RealviewTV that we are posting on our Find a Vendor section (http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/_vendors/vendors.asp), which is the second most visited part of our Website. We hope to be able to do the same thing at HITEC and would love to include you. They were fun to do even though some insisted on embarrassing me during their two minutes. I guess after 19 years of publishing, I should be used to it. Actually I love it and it never gets old.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of all that is happening in the technology world for the last few weeks. 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



- The merits of flipping your own coin
An interesting and amusing column from Seth Godin (http://bit.ly/gjwV0l) on the merits of making decisions by tossing a coin highlighted why I don’t recommend specific hospitality management systems to my clients.  Why not?  After all, I visit the property, talk to many key people, gain a good sense of where they’re trying to move the operation and then come up with a list of possible vendors and systems for them to consider.  I facilitate the whole RFP process, system demonstrations and internal discussions, providing context when helpful.  But while I usually have an opinion when competing systems seem to be pretty equal, I don’t give it. 

Mr. Godin’s very valid point is that when you’ve done your research and have to decide between options that are too close to call, you should just flip a coin and move on with the winner.  At this stage it would be a waste of time and money to try to gather more data; you’re not going to get any more real information, just more noise, and you’ll just go steadily down the road to analysis-paralysis hell no matter how good your intentions.  It’s better by far to pick an option and start realizing the benefits of the change than to drift on in a state of uncertain inefficiency.  You’ll make it work either way if you just get off the dime (sorry) and take action.

But it’s important that the coin-flipping be done by the team which has done the research.  Even really close choices aren’t truly equal, and what’s really interesting is that it doesn’t matter which one the coin toss selects; what’s important is how you feel about that option at the instant the coin lands.  In my experience, at that moment you immediately become aware of which way you really want to go.   

That’s why it’s important for the system selection team to be the ones who flip the coin if they can’t decide any other way.  While I may think I’ve understood the operation and its challenges pretty well, there are a thousand minor factors I’ll never have time to pick up on but which the hotel team knows subliminally.  They’re the ones who have to use the new system, and they’ll have a better sense (even if it’s an unconscious one) of how well it will fit into their operational culture.  Feeling good about the system you select is half the battle to making it successful.

Heads or tails?  Your call.


- Cynthia Carpenter appointed vice president marketing, Americas at iBAHN
- Diane Scott moves to IBM's AIS Travel and Transportation Practice as a senior managing consultant
- Tim Unwin hired by RateGain as EVP hospitality solutions
- Craig MacDonald joins IDeaS Revenue Solutions as sales and account manager, South Africa
- Marc Fries moves to hetras as a business analyst
- Meg Fasy joins PSAV as VP industry relations
- Sue Heilbronner promoted to CEO at Swiftrank
- Bryan Harwood joins Swiftrank as SVP strategy and innovation
- Steve Timmer named 2011 Sales and Marketing Star of the Year by Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association
For more information on People on the Move for 04/21/11


- PAR Springer-Miller moves to new offices in United Kingdom
- Hyatt completes installation of 35th MSI WinPM system
- MSI releases updated WBE
For more information on Hospitality Management Systems for 04/21/11


- Mobissimo launches Facebook dashboard to let users monitor airfare changes for multiple destinations. 
- Dubai World Trade Centre Apartments picks Xn’s globalRES for distribution channel management
- Availpro adds Orbitz Worldwide to network of distributors
- RateTiger to use Cultuzz Digital Media’s CultBay to post hotel availability on eBay
For more information on Reservations for 04/21/11


- Royal Orchid Central Grazia Navi Mumbai and Royal Orchid Resort Galaxy Goa implement IDeaS
- EZYield obtains PCI-DSS Level 1 Certification for complete end-to-end reservations processing
- Beijing Hotel implements Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions (EasyRMS)
- China National Convention Center Grand Hotel deploys EasyRMS
- Aston International implements SiteMinder's WBE on hotel Websites, adding SiteMinder's channel management
For more information on Revenue Management for 04/21/11


- PSAV and QuickMobile announce partnership to market/support mobile applications worldwide
- Preferred and Elite Meetings International launch PHG Meetings, using online RFP management system
- Trump Hotel Collection implementing Newmarket’s Delphi MPE across all seven properties
- onPeak unveils COMPASS Magnet booking tool, displays real-time hotel availability directly on event Websites
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 04/21/11


- Squirrel integrates Shift4's enterprise payment services into POS range
- ReServe Interactive launches Gateway Web services platform to integrate with third-party applications
- Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport picks VIPSeat Restaurant iPad application
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 04/21/11


- TAC develops mobile phone-based loyalty card app
TAC has developed a mobile phone-based loyalty card app for spas, hotels and fitness centers.  In addition to serving as a bar coded digital membership card, guests can use it to make reservations and answer surveys via their phones.  Reservation reminders are sent to the phone automatically via SMS, as are follow-up satisfaction surveys.  http://www.reservationassistant.com  


- Sabre renews contract with TRAVELCLICK® for targeted hotel advertising and promotions at point of sale
- hotel SystemsPro's apps now available in Spanish
- HeBS receives five IAC awards for excellence
- PhotoWeb releases Universal Multimedia Viewer system to identify mobile devices and automatically switch to preferred HD format
- Grand Hôtel Stockholm implementing ZMail
- Swiftrank adds first direct hotel client partnerships in China and India
- Richfield implements ProfitSage Financial Business Intelligence throughout portfolio of 500 hotels
- Expedia splitting off TripAdvisor into separate company
- Trust International integrates VFM Leonardo’s VScape with yourVoyager CRS
For more information on Marketing/Management for 04/21/11


- MTech integrates REX with Axxess Industries' houskeeping signal buttons
- Hotel Beaux Arts, Miami, implements Intelity's ICE Touch on iPad
- Toygaroo.com offers toy rental system to the hospitality industry
- Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro Hotel implements Flyte Systems' FlyteBoard for both O’Hare and Midway
- Penn's View Hotel completes installation of Roomlinx’ SmartRoom system
For more information on Guest Services for 04/21/11


- Galaxy Macau complex adopts Optii Keeper to manage housekeeping for 2,200+ rooms in three hotels
- Shift4 integrates DOLLARS ON THE NET gateway with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System
- Marriott adds St. Petersburg Courtyard to Infor FMS SunSystems enterprise and financial reporting network
- Infor announces new Infor Workspace user interface as new standard for all applications
For more information on Back Office for 04/21/11


- Defero3 appoints Percipia Networks as a distributing partner
Defero3 has appointed Percipia Networks as its newest distributing partner.  http://www.percipianetworks.com, http://www.Defero3.com  


- Royal Palm Plaza in Campinas, Brazil, completes installation of VingCard Signature RFID door locks
- China World Summit Wing Hotel completes installation of VingCard VISION system and Signature locks
- Holiday Inn Knoxville, Hotel Harrington in Washington, D.C., and Howard Johnson Admiral Inn on Tybee Island upgrade to KABA ILCO 790 RFID electronic locks
- KABA receives Hospitality Architecture + Design Magazine’s 2010 Readers’ Choice Award
For more information on Security for 04/21/11


And now for you-know-what…

The FAA has a device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes.  They point this thing at the windshield of the aircraft and shoot a dead chicken at about the speed the aircraft normally flies at it. 

If the windshield doesn't break, it's likely to survive a real collision with a bird during flight.
A company had recently built a new locomotive that could pull a train faster than any before it.  They were not sure that its windshield was strong enough so they borrowed the testing device from the FAA, reset it to approximately the maximum speed of the locomotive, loaded in the dead chicken, and fired.  The bird went through the windshield, broke the engineer's chair, and made a major dent in the back wall of the engine cab.
They were quite surprised with this result, so they asked the FAA to check the test to see if everything was done correctly. The FAA checked everything and suggested that they might want to repeat the test using a thawed chicken.

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