Siegel Sez

May 05, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I went to a funeral on Monday. It was a friend’s brother who I had known casually for over 20 years. We weren’t close, but we did the occasional poker game together and fantasy football leagues over the years. The saddest thing about this funeral is that everybody at the service knew he had taken his own life.  Those closest to him had to deal with emotional phases since his death. There was of course grief. Then there was questioning why they didn’t see this coming and why didn’t they do something about it. Then the strongest emotion was anger wanting to know how he could do this and leave his family behind. Then there was acceptance which truly starts the healing process.  I have known people who have gone through rough patches in their lives and have taken anti-depressants and they have worked wonders. But it has also been proven that those drugs can cause those taking them to make decisions that seem rational to them but were not rational at all. When the commercials for prescription drugs on television end with the disclaimer about potential side effects and include a warning of suicidal thoughts or actions it means a lot more to me today.  Monday was a sad day.

On a much lighter note I am off to the Newmarket Users’ Group which is promising to be a bit unique this year, going for a smaller but more focused crowd. It should be interesting. Then I am off to the one weekend of the year that no matter what is going on in my life or how busy I am with work, I will find a way to attend. Yes, once again off to the Kentucky Derby. I must thank my new best friend, John Shake the general manager at the Crown Plaza at Louisville Airport, a great GM and a better person. I have always believed in karma and this year my trip to Louisville came through at the last minute and near miraculously. Some days I feel unbelievably lucky. This was one of those days.

During the first week of May HITEC is all everybody is talking about in the world of technology. Everyone is making plans around attending, exhibiting or planning parties. Then there is the finalization of the educational sessions that are unbelievably strong and diverse this year. It is six weeks out, and the clock is ticking. If you are a vendor of technology and want to make sure your solution gets as much traffic as possible, then please contact Kate immediately at (678) 802-5304, or email her at Our HITEC issue will be the biggest and best ever, and since Hospitality Upgrade is the exclusive affiliated technology publication of HITEC, we will be the only magazine inserted into the registration bags of every HITEC attendee.  Between the printed and digital versions, Hospitality Upgrade magazine reaches over 36,000 readers in 110 countries so you get the best of both worlds.

After 11 years of Siegel Sez I know I have written some things that have people questioning why. Heck, I often question why. Just look at it as a break from our usual business life for a minute and a prelude to the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of 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



- Details make the difference to legibility
- HT magazine announces its annual Visionary Awards
My wife gave me a new fountain pen for my birthday (I just lost half of my audience, who have no idea what I’m talking about) and I’ve been re-discovering the pleasures of handwriting.  One thing I’ve noticed is how much difference the smallest details make to legibility.  I wouldn’t say that I’m striving for calligraphic perfection (stop laughing), but little things like closing the loops completely on round letters make a much more significant difference than I’d remembered.

Which leads me to thinking about user interface design and its impact on ease of use.  Several vendors have recently redesigned their screen layouts, some quite radically as you’ll see at HITEC.  Typically these have produced much more appealing screen designs and a better use of graphics and color, but I’ve also noticed that some old habits die hard. 

One is continuing to put conformity of size and layout in data fields and their headings ahead of readability.  The eye tends to follow vertical lines down a page when scanning it for information; accordingly, it makes a big difference to data recognition if field headings are right-justified against their data (which, except for numeric data, should be left-justified against their headers), and not left-justified far away out of peripheral vision. 

Equally, making all data fields the same size may look neat and tidy, but it’s harder to pick up the data in them.  For example, on a guest history screen the field for “Total number of visits” is often the same length as “Total revenue to date.”  You may be hoping that guests will stay with you 999,999 times in their lifetime, but a field length like this means that the more typical single-digit total will be far to the right of the header, and thus harder to pick up.  Aligning headers and appropriately sized data fields along a vertical axis also gives each screen a different overall visual pattern, which sticks in the mind (even subconsciously) and is a great help to users in identifying where they are in the system.

Take a look at a few typical screens and see what I mean; these are little things, but they have a disproportionate impact on readability.  Taking time to sweat the details, in screen design as well as in my handwriting, means that readers will grasp the information almost subconsciously without being distracted as their eyes flicker around putting it together.
Hospitality Technology magazine announced its annual Visionary Awards as follows:
- Infrastructure and Back-office Technology (1): Choice Hotels International, for its Web-based, propriety property management system.
- Infrastructure and Back-office Technology (2): Galt House Hotel, for transforming its revenue management, sales and CRM capabilities with systems from Passkey, Cendyn, EZYield, Easy RMS, Infor/Softbrands and Newmarket International.
- Customer-facing/In-room Technology (1): Morgans Hotel Group, for the in-room virtual concierge system at its Royalton property in New York City, using Intelity ICE software on Apple iPad tablets.
- Customer-facing/In-room Technology (2): Royal Caribbean, for its network of custom-developed Four Winds Interactive digital signage.


- Brian Hightower named 2011 CHTP of the Year
- Stephen Henry hired as sales manager at System Concepts, Inc.
- Bill Hirsch joins BirchStreet Systems as vice president of sales – North America
For more information on People on the Move for 05/05/11


- Hospitality International names SKYWARE its preferred PMS, recommends to all 300 franchise properties
- Georgian Inn Beach Club selects SPI Orange timeshare software
- Best Western Premier Freeport Inn and Suites, Calgary, Alberta, installs MSI’s WinPM and Place Point
- PURO Hotel, Wroclaw, Poland, installs Ariane’s interactive checkin kiosks
- Ariane’s Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk technology certified PA-DSS compliant
For more information on Guest Management Services for 05/05/11


- Castle Resorts & Hotels implementing TRAVELCLICK's iHotelier CRS for 25 sites
- Travel Tripper updates RezTrip booking engine with interfaces to Agilysys' LMS and MICROS’ OPERA
Honolulu-based Castle Resorts & Hotels is implementing TRAVELCLICK's iHotelier central reservation system (CRS) for GDS connectivity and IDS distribution for its 25 hotels and resort condominiums in Hawaii, Saipan and New Zealand.  Castle already uses TRAVELCLICK's business intelligence and digital agency services.,
Travel Tripper has updated its RezTrip online booking engine with certified reservation delivery interfaces to Agilysys' LMS and MICROS-Fidelio's OPERA guest management systems.  


- RateTiger launches RTSuite Content to distribute and manage marketing content centrally
RateTiger has launched RTSuite Content, a new module to manage, upload and distribute marketing content (hotel descriptions, room type details, services, contact details and locality information) centrally across multiple booking channels.  


- EasyRMS appoints Fashion Information Technology its new technology partner in Asia Pacific
- Availpro celebrates 10-year anniversary and 10 millionth room sale transaction
Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) has appointed Fashion Information Technology Co. as its new technology partner in the Asia Pacific region.  Based in New Taipei City, Fashion has been providing hotel solutions to the Taiwanese market for over 24 years., 
Paris-based Availpro is celebrating its 10-year anniversary.  Since it began in 2001, more than 10 million room sales have passed through its booking distribution application.  


- StarCite announces new Web services-based Nexus platform
StarCite has announced its new Nexus platform, based on a Web services technology architecture intended to offer more flexibility and integration capabilities.  Enhancements include enhanced supplier search, streamlined supplier RFP selection from the search screen, more robust RFP models with additional planning elements and features, an updated user interface.  


- Hotel Chatter releases annual Best/Worst Wi-Fi report
- Philips transfers television business to joint venture set up with TPV Technology
- InterContinental Hong Kong implements MTech’s HotSOS
For more information on Guest Services for 05/05/11


- ASSA ABLOY introduces its Mobile Keys Platform for distribution of NFC keys to mobile phones
- Hyatt Regency Montreal completes installation of KABA Saflok RT networked door locking system
ASSA ABLOY introduced its Mobile Keys Platform for the distribution of NFC (near-field communication) keys to enabled mobile phones as an alternative to mechanical keys and physical access cards.  The access credentials are stored in a tamper-resistant memory space in the phone; they can be revoked if the phone is lost or stolen, and new keys can be issued to a temporary phone.  
The Hyatt Regency Montreal has completed installation of its KABA Saflok RT networked door locking system.  The Saflok Messenger wireless communication system allows Web-based monitoring of door locks and keys for the hotel’s 605 guestrooms as well as 200 back-of-house doors.,  


- GGC Software Holdings/Infor acquires Lawson Software
- Galt House Hotel selects Infor PM performance management software
GGC Software Holdings, an affiliate of Infor and Golden Gate Capital, has acquired Lawson Software.  Lawson’s product range is seen as a good fit with Infor’s current back-of-house software applications, especially in the areas of healthcare, public sector, manufacturing and human capital management.,,
The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky., has selected Infor PM (performance management) for its planning and budgeting, forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting and analysis.  The 1,290-room property also uses an Infor-SoftBrands guest management system.,


- Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group picks Eatec for 13 locations in Singapore
The Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system for its 13 locations in Singapore.,


- Peabody Orlando integrates HotSOS with Control Green guestroom energy management monitoring
The Peabody Orlando hotel has integrated MTech’s HotSOS and Control Green’s guestroom energy management monitoring services, the first to do so.  The property will use it to maintain and monitor energy consumption of unoccupied guestrooms, to identify when equipment is failing or batteries are low, and dispatch staff to address any issue before it becomes a guest complaint.  Control Green is also interfaced to MTech’s REX room expeditor to notify staff in real time when a stay-over room is unoccupied and can be cleaned.,,


And now for you-know-what…

One day a man was walking along the beach when he tripped over a lamp. He turned around and kicked the lamp out of anger. A few seconds later, a genie popped out of the lamp, but the genie was angry that the man had kicked his lamp.

Reluctantly, the genie said, "Even though you kicked me, I still have to give you three wishes. However because of what you did, I will also give twice what you wish for to the person you hate the most, your boss."

So the man agreed and made his first wish. "I want lots of money," he said.

Instantly 22 million dollars appeared in the man's bank account and 44 million appeared in his boss' account.
For his second wish, the man wished for a couple of sports cars. Instantly a Lamborghini, Ferrari and a Porsche appeared, but at the same time outside his boss' house appeared two of each car.

Finally the genie said, "This is your last wish, you should choose carefully."

And so the man replied, "I've always wanted to donate a kidney."

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