Siegel Sez

May 19, 2011

Siegel Sez


by: Richard Siegel

What a wild two weeks it has been. I started with a trip up to Boston to attend Newmarket’s Annual Conference at the Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge, Mass. It was a well attended, high-energy conference which I really enjoy. It was my first time staying at a Kimpton hotel and I will tell you, I can see why they are such a hot company. It is a great product. My favorite thing about users’ groups is I get to talk to people who actually use the technology that we always talk about. It is truly inspiring. Of course, this time I could have done without Lee Horgan using his camera phone to get a somewhat embarrassing picture of me, but then I thought what the heck, I am always embarrassing myself. I used the picture for the publisher’s letter in the upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade. If I were the two women from Gaylord Hotels, I would be very nervous right now. Actually, how much trouble can I get into, right? It was a great conference and I am thankful I was invited.

From Boston I traveled to Louisville to have my one weekend a year where I don’t care about business, my strange life or anything else. It is all about 164,000 people trying to stay sober (though many didn’t try very hard) and picking a winner. I wasn’t able to do either. But I had a fun weekend. Thanks to Ron Strecker the CFO at AJ Schneider Hotels who own the Galt House for getting a group of nine into one of its very cool restaurants. We will be back. Cheer Animal Kingdom in the Preakness on Saturday. It would be great to have a Triple Crown winner after more than 30 years.

If you are attending HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) this year, then we look forward to seeing you. Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be in booth No. 722, please put in on your schedule to stop by. If you are contemplating attending HITEC, then I suggest you make your plans quickly. It looks like this could be a record crowd and the hotel rooms near the convention center and the great restaurants and bars are booking up. If you have never been to Austin, it is a very cool city though those that attended the HITEC 2008 might not agree with the record heat Austin had that year. We can only hope that doesn’t happen again. I have convinced consultant Jeremy Rock to do a session with me that will include panelists Mike Blake from Hyatt Hotels, Scot Campbell from MGM Hospitality, Vivek Shaiva from La Quinta and Ken Barnes from White Lodging. It is a great cross section of companies and the panel will share the challenges they face today and where they see technology going beyond 2011. There are many decisions that the industry needs to be making as technology quickly evolves and the panel will share what keeps them up at night. The session is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wed., June 22.  I do have a few surprises up my sleeve that might make for a memorable session. Mark your calendar. We hope to see you there.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last couple of weeks. As historically happens, the announcements will be coming nonstop as we get closer to HITEC. This is a great event to launch new products from the provider community, and another reason why attending is so important. 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

- Clarity on both sides makes for an easier system selection process
- Starwood brands receive top ratings for digital competence
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One of the challenges of looking for new management systems has always been comparing the vendors’ proposals; it seems that no two ever cover the same set of functions, no matter how clear the property’s requirements definition.  Part of the challenge is coming up with a consistent definition for the vendors to bid against, because this is invariably an interactive process.  Most hotels have a good idea of what they’re looking for when they start the process, but inevitably discussions with different vendors and demonstrations of their various systems will highlight additional functions that could be very useful.  These are then added into the mix, though not necessarily retroactively to update the early bidders’ offers.  Comparing different vendors’ bids for the “same” project thus requires many emails and phone calls to bring the functionality of each bid up to equivalent levels.

Equally, though, the vendors themselves frequently complicate the process by including additional modules that the hotel didn’t ask for but which the vendor thinks could be useful.  Whether this is from a misunderstanding of the hotel’s real needs and/or budget or an enthusiastic salesperson trying to maximize the order, it’s another factor complicating bid comparisons and therefore the hotel’s decision process.

No two systems offer the same functionality and so there’ll always be a need for careful comparisons and scripted demonstrations of the property’s key operational scenarios.  Both sides can make the process clearer and more consistent, though, hotels by making sure they revisit earlier vendor bids in the light of functionality they added later and vendors by clearly identifying useful extensions of the requirements as options, with reasons why they believe they’re applicable to the particular property in question.

Of course, if everyone did this I’d be out of work, but it would certainly make the process easier for hotels to understand and give them more confidence in their selection decisions.
**
Six of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ nine brands were awarded top rankings in L2 Travel’s first Digital IQ Index: Travel.  The Index measures the digital competence of 89 brands across airlines, hotels and cruise companies across more than 350 data points in four criteria: site (35 percent, including booking, loyalty programs and interactivity); digital marketing (25 percent, covering search engine optimization, email marketing and display); social media (20 percent, specifically Facebook, Twitter and YouTube); and mobile (20 percent, defined by compatibility and applications).  The rankings are somewhat whimsically labeled genius, gifted, average, challenged or feeble. 
W Hotels Worldwide earned the top spot amongst all hotel brands, and the six Starwood brands evaluated (Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection) collectively ranked third overall in the survey, the highest hotel company.  http://www.starwoodhotels.com  
**



GUEST SERVICES



- Four Chicago hotels select Intelity ICE
- The Hilton Inn at Penn installs Intelity ICE on iPads in all 238 guestrooms
- Hotel Technologies announces HiD37 alarm clock radio with iPad dock
- Cairn Group implements TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD units in two Holiday Inn properties
- Hampton Inn & Suites Woodland-Sacramento Area installs FlyteBoard
- OTRUM to offer HD movies via Filmbank three months after cinema release
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For more information on Guest Services for 05/19/11

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE



- David Morley receives OpenTravel’s Tom Grubbs Award
- Steve Cover appointed vice president of software development at Rainmaker
- Susan Powell hired as corporate director of marketing at VIZERGY
- Brenda Key, Elizabeth Dabbs and Danielle Bennett join VIZERGY as client marketing service staff
- Angela Mitchell joins VIZERGY as Web designer
- Sarah Atkins hired by VIZERGY as copywriter
- Kees Koolen transitioning to chairman of Booking.com
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For more information on People on the Move for 05/19/11

GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS



- Ariane Systems selected to represent France at 2011 European Business Awards
- Joie de Vivre Hospitality selects MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution
- MICROS achieves Oracle Partner Network (OPN) specialized status
- Aloft Hotels expanding Smart Check In to five more properties
- momentohs announces interface with Benalla’s energy management/control system
- The Emirates Vacation Club in Dubai picks SPI Software
- Bentota Beach Hotel, Sri Lanka implements Zhara Hospitality Suite
- Hassler Roma implements protel’s management system
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For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/19/11

RESERVATIONS



- Swiftrank adds 15 properties to Middle Eastern destination sites
- Utell updates TravelCom online commission processing
- Omni launches Facebook reservations tool
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For more information on Reservations for 05/19/11

MARKETING/MANAGEMENT



- Hard Rock International expands use of ReviewAnalyst’s social media and customer review monitoring to Cafés
- Joie de Vivre picks MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise Solution, including BI, CIS and SFA
- Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites using online comment card system from Lodging Interactive
- Trump International Hotel Las Vegas deploys Cendyn’s SMS text marketing
- VIZERGY wins two Interactive Media Awards
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For more information on Marketing/Management for 05/19/11

REVENUE MANAGEMENT



- Cavendish London implements EzRMS
- Two Agua Caliente casinos implement Rainmaker’s TribalREV
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The 230-room Cavendish London has implemented Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) EzRMS.  http://www.thecavendish-london.co.uk, http://www.EasyRMS.com
**
Two tribal casinos in California owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are implementing The Rainmaker Group’s TribalREV revenue management approach, which combines Rainmaker’s revolution profit optimization software with Rainmaker’s professional services for implementation, pricing strategy, forecasting and revenue management analysis.  The two properties are the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage and its sister property, the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs.  The Agua Caliente site will also use Rainmaker’s interfaces to its MICROS property management and IGT gaming systems.  Implementation is expected in 3Q 2011.  http://www.hotwatercasino.com, http://www.letitrain.com
**

SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING



- Sertifi expanding electronic signature management app into the hospitality industry
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Sertifi is expanding its Web-based electronic signature application into the hospitality industry, targeting hotel management, sales and human resources staff.  The Sertifi platform replaces the paper process of obtaining signatures – sending, printing, signing and faxing – with electronic signatures.  Hotels working with Salesforce.com will be able to integrate Sertifi into their existing CRM application by leveraging Force.com, Salesforce Mobile and Visualforce functionality.  Website integration allows hotels to receive executed forms and contracts through in-session signing; Sertifi for Mobile extends interoperability with devices including the iPhone®, iPad®, BlackBerry®, Android™ and Windows Mobile phone.  http://www.sertifi.com  
**

F&B/POINT OF SALE



- MICROS integrates Tabbedout into its POS systems
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MICROS Systems announced integration of its POS systems with ATX Innovations’ Tabbedout app, which allows diners to review and pay their restaurant or bar tabs from an iPhone or Android smartphone.  Outlets will be able to deploy Tabbedout's software through their existing MICROS POS software with no additional hardware requirements.  MICROS and its authorized resellers will sell, install and maintain the Tabbedout application.  http://www.tabbedout.com, http://www.micros.com
**


BACK OFFICE



- Sertifi expands Web-based electronic signature application into hospitality industry
- Aptech releases Profitvue Version 14.5
--------------------------
Sertifi is expanding its Web-based electronic signature application into the hospitality industry, targeting hotel management, sales and human resources staff.  The Sertifi platform replaces the paper process of obtaining signatures – sending, printing, signing and faxing – with electronic signatures.  Hotels working with Salesforce.com will be able to integrate Sertifi into their existing CRM application by leveraging Force.com, Salesforce Mobile and Visualforce functionality.  Website integration allows hotels to receive executed forms and contracts through in-session signing; Sertifi for Mobile extends interoperability with devices including the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile phone.  http://www.sertifi.com  
**
Aptech Computer Systems has released Profitvue Version 14.5.  Multicompany functionality improvements include easier global check searches, multiproperty edit lists and new ACH (automate clearing house) functionality.  Upgraded accounts payable functions include electronically transfer of specified check runs to banks for vendor payments.  Other enhancements include new printing capabilities with one-button conversions to both Excel and PDF formats.  http://www.aptech-inc.com  
**


INVENTORY/PURCHASING



- Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort picks Yellow Dog
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The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, Santa Ynez, Ca., has selected  Yellow Dog Software’s inventory application to manage all retail and food and beverage operations, including two golf pro shops, fitness center, activities center, general store and all their food and beverage outlets.  The property went live with the system in March 2011, including a point-of-sale integration to Springer-Miller.  http://www.alisal.com, http://www.yellowdogsoftware.com
**

ENGINEERING



- Hilton Inn at Penn implements Evolve Guest Controls keycard-based energy management
--------------------------
Hilton Inn at Penn has completed implementation of Evolve Guest Controls keycard-based energy management system in all 244 guestrooms and suites.  The Evolve system controls all lighting in the room, the TV(s) and the HVAC.  Inserting the keycard into a wall-mounted reader activates the room comfort mode; removing the card powers down all lights and TV(s), and sets back the thermostat five degrees.  http://www.theinnatpenn.com, http://www.eguestcontrols.com  
**

You-Know-What



And now for you-know-what…


An older man, not in the best physical condition, approached his trainer in the gym. He said, "I really want to impress that beautiful girl over there. Which machine should I use?"

And the trainer said, "Use the ATM out front."




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