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Siegel Sez

June 02, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Do you know what a cicada is? After three days in Nashville I know everything about these insects. There seems to have been millions of them hovering around this past weekend. The sounds they make made me feel like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  I Googled cicadas and found out that they don’t land on humans. This fact only made me laugh. Kate O’Neil from our office had the luxury of four of them landing on her head. It must be the new breed of cicadas. This swarm which I would guess was in the millions is supposed to last four to six weeks.  I can assure you that Nashville will not be on my list of places to be during this time.

Kate was in Nashville for a Jimmy Buffett concert and I made her stay until Tuesday. Jan Freitag, the vice president, global development for STR (www.strglobal.com) who spoke at our Executive Vendor Summit, invited us for a visit to the STR offices. We met with CEO Mark Lomanno, President Amanda Hite and many others from the STR team. The highlight for me personally was spending time with Randy Smith who is the chairman and co-founder of Smith Travel Research. When I started my business 19 years ago I called him to introduce myself and tell him what I was doing. Even though he didn’t know me from Adam, he spent over an hour on the phone sharing his thoughts. It was one of those very motivational phone calls a guy with an idea he is trying to implement remembers forever.  I was so glad to finally meet him. Of course, it is hard to believe that I have gone this long without having met him, but I guess there is some truth that good things come to those who wait. What a great company with great people and it was a great way to end a great weekend, cicadas notwithstanding.

The reason Kate and I spent the day in Nashville was because STR has partnered with us on our HUTechShare (www.hutechshare.com) initiative, which is coming along unbelievably well. HUTechShare is a closed community where those charged with selecting technology for their companies can share what they are installing with their peers. We currently have commitments from over 40 of the major hotel and management companies to participate with many of them already in the process of inputting data. We have gotten so much positive feedback as the business continues to grow. And almost more importantly, we received a few thank yous for creating HUTechShare along the way. If you have not been contacted yet and would like to participate, please email me at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com or call (678) 802-5301. We will be showing HUTechShare at HITEC so if you will be attending then let me know and we will schedule a time to show it to you. I’m telling you, business or not, it is so motivating to have people say how much this is needed and thanking us for creating it. We are quite excited.

Yes, it is June and just about every conversation I have revolves around HITEC (www.hitec.org). The industry is moving forward and the new products are coming. If anybody had any doubts then look at the number of attendees expected, the number of booths sold, and the real measure, the number of parties we are invited to attend. Early morning meetings to late night drinks, I can’t wait. Thankfully HITEC only happens once a year; I don’t think my body could take too many weeks like that. The countdown has started. Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. I encourage you to read his opening comments. He is truly one smart guy. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Technology NEWSSTAND

Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- New technology may not be inexpensive, but keep it in perspective and stay aware of the upside
HITEC will be here in just three weeks, and many people will be headed there to check out new or replacement systems, as always.  Recent comments by Mitesh Shah, CEO at Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group, suggest that many of them may experience sticker shock at the cost of replacement technology, given how long it usually is between their system purchases.  The benefits of more advanced systems tend to come with more advanced prices.

No one wants to pay more than they have to for anything, least of all while many properties are still working their way out of the hole of the last couple of years, but a couple of things are worth keeping in perspective.  One is that everything wears out and must be replaced if you’re going to stay in business.  Furniture, carpets, bed linen, kitchen equipment, airport shuttle buses – all of them have to be kept current and in good working order, and by comparison, the cost of an upgraded computer system or more bandwidth for guestroom Internet access can look downright reasonable. 

The other is that while all these items need to be kept in good order, none of them have the potential to generate upside like a more modern computer system.  Sure, occupancy will gradually taper off if the property’s not kept up or if Internet connection speeds become intolerably slow, but a new management system can track and analyze guest profile and stay information in enough detail to actually bring in new business through highly targeted marketing campaigns based in accurate data.  Maintaining a property’s décor and infrastructure will prevent occupancy erosion, but only new technology can generate new business.

By all means compare system prices and negotiate for the best deal that’s fair to both hotel and vendor, but don’t be afraid to invest in the right mix of technology that will help your particular operation maximize its business; you absolutely need it.  

It’s bizarre that technology purchases are so frequently made dependent on calculations showing a theoretical but acceptable ROI.  No one asks for an ROI for new bed linen.


- Frank Wolfe inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Tim Kinsella joins Sundrop Mobile as executive vice president of sales
- Mike Montemurro promoted to SVP, product strategy and support at Pegasus Solutions
- Robert Aquilino hired by VingCard Elsafe as president, Americas
- Marion Hughes joins RateGain as VP business development, hospitality solutions for the Americas
For more information on People on the Move for 06/02/11


- Kosmopolito Hotels International to deploy TRAVELCLICK’s iStay booking engine across all 22 hotels
- Orient-Express Hotels signs with Pegasus for its RezView NG, NetBooker NG and voice services
Hong Kong-based Kosmopolito Hotels International (KHI) is expanding its use of TRAVELCLICK’s products by deploying the iStay Internet booking engine across all 22 hotels.  Several KHI properties have already been using iStay as well as Hotelligence360 and RateVIEW, TRAVELCLICK’s business intelligence products.  KHI owns and manages the Hotel Kosmopolito, Boutique Series by Kosmopolito, Dorsett Regency and Silka brands; seven of its 22 properties are under development.  http://www.kosmopolito.com, http://www.travelclick.com 
Orient-Express Hotels has signed a multiyear deal with Pegasus Solutions for its RezView NG central reservation system, NetBooker NG Internet booking engine and private-label voice services, allowing it to sell hotel rooms, trains and cruises through one booking itinerary.  Orient-Express owns and manages 41 properties in 24 countries.  http://www.orient-express.com, http://www.pegs.com 


- FRHI Holdings implements EZYield’s reservation delivery application across 100+ hotels
- RateTiger launches RTChannels channel data analysis service
- Best Western deploying Lixto’s Price Intelligence Suite for Travel to monitor rate parity compliance
- SiteMinder now has 25 guest management systems integrated to pmsXchange
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/02/11


- Cendyn launches eFaceTime video enhancement to eProposal
- QuickMobile launches MobileEvent Express Edition iPhone app
Cendyn has launched eFaceTime, an enhancement to its eProposal application that lets hotel salespeople link personalized videos of their properties, services, amenities and staff to eProposal presentations.  eFaceTime was developed in partnership with Vipe, a worldwide provider of video marketing software and advice.  http://www.vipepower.com, http://www.cendyn.com
QuickMobile has launched MobileEvent Express Edition, an iPhone app for meetings and events that lets the client put their own data into a pre-defined schema.  Features include a mobile events agenda, attendees list and messaging, and allow for post-event analytics.  http://www.QuickMobile.com  


- ReServe Interactive announces future availability of ReServe Q online restaurant reservation application
ReServe Interactive announced its ReServe Q online restaurant reservation application, available from the third quarter of this year and designed to allow restaurants to accept reservations and manage waitlists through their own websites.  ReServe Q can also be embedded into third-party sites, email promotions and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, and provides automatic free listings in online dining guides.   http://www.reserveinteractive.com  


- Jebel Ali International Hotels to install protel MPE at all five properties
- protel ports guest management system to Apple’s iPad, introduces protel Air SaaS application
- Ariane Systems appoints Hansab AB its distributor in the Baltic States
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/02/11


- W Hotels unveils iPhone application
- protel releases Voyager browser-based mobile app for hotel guests
- Yotel New York installs Yobot luggage-handling robot
- Intelity adds OpenWays room keys to ICE guest self-service application
For more information on Guest Services for 06/02/11


- UniFocus updates Watson, R.M.
- MICROS launches MICROS Payment Gateway, agreement with Planet Payment
- InvoTech announces upgraded UHF-RFID version of GIMS uniform and linen tracking system
For more information on Back Office for 06/02/11


And now for you-know-what…

A woman and a baby were in the doctor's examining room, waiting for the doctor to come in for the baby's first exam.

The doctor arrived and examined the baby, checked his weight, and being a little concerned,
asked if the baby was breast fed or bottle fed.

"Breast fed," the woman replied.

"Well, strip down to your waist," the doctor ordered.

The woman did. He checked her completely in a very professional and detailed examination. Motioning to her to get dressed, the doctor said, "No wonder this baby is underweight. You don't have any milk."

"I know," she said. "I'm his grandmother, but I'm glad I came."

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