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Siegel Sez

June 17, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

Stereotypes: we all make stereotypes, right? This past week the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in Miami to win the 2011 NBA Championship.  All the post game media coverage focused on how the super Miami team lost. Yes, the good guys beat the bad guys or some similar storyline. Then a few days later in the NHL Championship the Boston Bruins beats the Vancouver Canucks in Vancouver to win the Stanley Cup. What was the reaction? The media coverage about the riots in Vancouver after the game has been extensive.  Now honestly, which city would you expect riots to happen after losing a championship game, Miami or Vancouver?  Cities, not just people, can be stereotyped, right? Finally in this week in sports, Ruler on Ice won the Belmont Stakes, which means three different horses won the three Triple Crown races and there is no Triple Crown winner again. It has now been 33 years since the last Triple Crown winner.  Remember this name, Curahee. Don’t even try to pronounce it; the five strange guys who own this horse (with one spouse) can’t even agree how to pronounce the name.  Curahee is expected to run his first race this summer at Del Mar racetrack outside San Diego. Please wish us luck. This is when the dreaming really starts, or reality sets in. Who knows, maybe we will be seeing the first race of next year’s Triple Crown winner. If you are going to dream, why not dream big?

Two weeks ago I was in New York City and it was one of those days all New Yorkers dream of in June: warm but not hot, low humidity and the city was at its best. Along with many of the industry’s top consultants I was honored to be invited to a preview of PAR Springer-Miller’s new Atrio system. I always find it interesting when businesses branch out.  Atrio is another industry solution embracing the cloud and PAR Springer-Miller is expanding to a different market where it currently doesn’t focus, the mid-market properties. I imagine there will be much activity at the PAR Springer-Miller booth at HITEC. I thank them for inviting me for a great night and day. 

I had to laugh at a recent #HITEC tweet (though to be honest, I haven’t personally embraced this whole tweeting thing yet) when someone announced this past week that temperatures in Austin were hovering around 106 degrees, but there was an expected cold front approaching for the week of HITEC with the highs “only” in the upper 90s. Wow, I better pack my jacket. Actually it was a pretty funny tweet. Austin is a great city for HITEC and the Texas heat is part of the package. What is the saying in sports, the best defense is a good offense? No complaining about the heat at HITEC is allowed this year, but I do wonder how long it will take for someone to say, “Remember when HITEC was in Minneapolis?”

If you are attending HITEC remember to come to my session on Wednesday at 4 p.m., with Jeremy Rock and panelists Mike Blake from Hyatt, Ken Barnes from White Lodging, Scot Campbell from MGM Hospitality and Vivek Shaiva from La Quinta. Much of the content for this session is coming from input received from the industry as we ask what keeps you up at night? Please stop by the Hospitality Upgrade/Hotel Online booth No. 722 on Tuesday to tell us what keeps you up at night. Many of the examples shared will be incorporated into the session. It should be fun and interesting. Lastly, while at our booth let us show you HUTechShare, which is a database of all technology being installed throughout the industry.

And finally, if you are not at HITEC make sure you read your daily email from Hotel Online next week; we will share a very different spin on the conference. Actually if you are at HITEC then it is more important that you read it every day. Yes, I admit, we do things a bit differently. Consider this my disclaimer for what is to come next week.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the past two weeks. Amazing how much is going on in the industry today. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.  Austin, here we come!


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Lausanne survey reports widespread dissatisfaction with guest management systems
- See you at HITEC
Here’s something to think about as you cruise the aisles of HITEC looking for new systems; a survey of mostly European hotels by the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne reports widespread dissatisfaction with their guest management systems, and especially with the way they’re installed, trained and supported.  The online survey covered 95 hotels, and the results were then reviewed and endorsed by a focus group of hotel managers and directors.

Principal complaints were that the systems are under-utilized due to lack of training, that their data is too isolated from that in other systems to be really useful for management, and that reporting, never really satisfactory, usually gets worse when new versions are implemented.  Sales demonstrations are generally well presented, but post-installation reality is frequently unsatisfactory with poor after-sales service.  Upgrades are often seen as disruptive and offering no obvious improvement in functionality.

Where does this come from?  The two most common reasons given were the relative lack of choice of vendors in Europe and that corporate office decisions are seen as coercing the properties into changing or updating their systems.  The former implies that the major vendors feel they don’t have to compete on the basis of support, and the latter that chains don’t do a good enough job in championing the benefits of a change and in supporting the hotels as they implement it.

None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who’s been involved in the industry for long, but it’s still depressing.  It’s also a strong indictment of the vendors’ failure to provide adequate service and of corporate management’s inability to ensure buy-in from their properties.  Times are still difficult, and every property needs to operate as effectively as it can.  Any vendor with large numbers of frustrated customers is vulnerable to better-supported alternatives, and chains can’t afford to handicap their staffs with insufficiently interfaced and supported tools and lack of commitment towards common goals.

If you’re looking for a new guest management system, whether for one property or a chain, plan the whole selection and implementation process for success, including all the interfaces necessary to maximize its usefulness.  Make sure everyone knows why it’s necessary, what the benefits will be and where their training fits into the picture.  Good morale means good results.
You don’t need me to remind you that HITEC is next week, so I’ll see you in Austin.  Be prepared for 95-degree weather and thunderstorms…


- Oliver Schwartz, David Jacob, Ganesh Rajagopal named as IDeaS Cornell Revenue Management Scholarship winners
- Pegasus Solutions announces new revenue generation team
- Gavin Simonds appointed non-executive chairman at EasyRMS
- Lisa Francisco promoted to director of learning services at Hospitality Softnet
- Bernard Ellis promoted to industry executive, hospitality at IDeaS
- Jane Stampe hired by IDeaS as managing director, Americas
- Mark Lomanno named chief strategy officer (CSO) at Smith Travel Research
For more information on People on the Move for 06/18/11


- PAR Springer-Miller Systems announces ATRIO next-generation guest management system
- GrandLife Hotels, New York City selects Agilysys’ Guest 360 for two Manhattan properties
- RDP announces four modules for mobile devices
- Comfort Hotel Xpress, Oslo, goes live with OpenWays
- OpenWays announces next-generation Upgrade Module for existing locks
- Infor announces Infor Partner Network to support channel partners
- Alderwood Group purchases SPI Software’s Orange Software suite
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/18/11


- Travelsurf announces Your Choice @ Your Price (YC@YP) opaque distribution model
- Centerstone contracts with Whiteboard Labs for Windsurfer CRS, TUBE engine, voice and connectivity services
- Fiesta Americana Vacation Club signs with Regatta Travel Solutions to build new website
- hotel SystemsPro optimizes hotel WebSpace to provide Web pages for mobile devices
- Availpro develops mobile version of its booking engine for independent hotels
- Hilton renews global distribution agreement with Sabre
- Open Hospitality expands mobile device hotel booking application to include ancillary items
For more information on Reservations for 06/18/11


- Milestone Internet Marketing releases version 2.0 of eBuzz Connect
- Swiftrank changes name to TravelShark
- Trust International and TrustYou launch Review Collector online guest satisfaction survey
- Sabre offers ReviewPro reputation and social media monitoring tools to client hotels
- Sabre launches SocialConversion suite to help hotels maximize social media presence
- Cendyn has received five IMA Outstanding Achievement awards
- Cendyn celebrates 15-year anniversary
- Marriott releases My Marriott Hotel online game
- ProfitSword launches ProfitWizard ad hoc reporting tool
- ProfitSword’s client base doubles over the last three years
- VFM Leonardo launches Mobile Media Player for VBrochure
- VFM Leonardo announces Facebook app for VBrochure
- Aptech releases next-generation Execuvue BI application
For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/18/11


- EZYield rebrands products as Fuzion Hospitality Suite
- EZYield completes channel connection to Travel Tripper’s RezTrip
- EZYield signs distribution agreement with Pmweb
- EZYield upgrades infrastructure to run on a 40-gigabit InfiniBand network and use Amazon’s cloud
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/18/11


- PSAV wins Best Overall Staging award
- Passkey launches GroupMAX ME, targeted at major events
- JANUS releases mobile interface to enable tablet access to Concierge Board data, services
- Knowland Group offers EchoSign online electronic signature service
- Knowland Group enhances Target Net with Jigsaw and EchoSign
- Cendyn acquires RoundTableHQ
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 06/18/11


- Lodging Interactive launches Chatter Guard for Restaurants
Lodging Interactive has launched a version of its Chatter Guard social media monitoring service targeted for the restaurant industry.  Chatter Guard for Restaurants includes monitoring of major restaurant review sites as well as blogs, bulletin boards and social media sites, including Open Table, Urban Spoon, ZAGAT, Yelp!, TripAdvisor, Dine.com, Dishola.com, Fodor’s and Frommers.  Attribute scoring consists of food, service, atmosphere, noise level and value.


- Intelligenz achieves PA-DSS validation of Intelligenz Payments Solution
Intelligenz Solutions International has achieved PCI Security Standards Council PA-DSS validation of its Intelligenz Payments Solution, used in its IntelliSpa, IntelliRecreation, IntelliLeisure, IntelliFitness and IntelliFore applications.  http://www.intelligenzsolutions.com  


- GoConcierge releases native iPad and iPhone versions of its system
- VSi announces mPrint flexible guest printing service
- Marriott Grand Hotel Flora implements Swisscom’s integrated TV, Internet and data services
- Bartech announces new Flat Fridge model
- Westmont installs 250+ guestLINK PowerWave connectivity panels in Fairmont Palliser and Fairmont DC
- Brandstand announces new Cubie power outlet extension unit
- LodgeNet adds Flyte Systems flight information channel to Envision HD platform
-  LodgeNet VOD 2.0 offering provides earliest non-theater movie viewing for consumers
- runtriz offers hotels custom music from Prescriptive Music
- JANUS releases mobile interface for guests’ tablets to access services on JANUS Concierge Board
- InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong implements MTech’s HotSOS
- Lane Hospitality implementing hotel ServicePro across 19 properties
- Rezidor Hotel Group names TeleAdapt MediaHub HD as a preferred product for new Radisson Blu sites
- Bittel announces MediaPhone with TV connectivity panel, phone, alarm clock/radio and iPod/iPhone dock
- Travelodge Future of Sleep study suggests technology aids to better sleep by year 2030
- Eccleston Square Hotel to provide Intelity ICE Touch on iPad 2s in each room
- Intelity adds INNCOM Integrated Room Automation Systems to Intelity ICE Touch on iPads
- Roomlinx releases iTV Platform 3.0
- Delamar Hotel signs five-year agreement for Roomlinx iTV Platform 3.0
- iRiS unveils latest Personal Valet Application for iPads and smartphones
- Sofitel So Bangkok to offer complete Apple-based digital systems in all 238 rooms
- Next Hotel Rivoli Jardin, Helsinki, adopts Quadriga's Sensiq guest communications portal
- Hotel Monteleone implements ZDirect’s Mobile Passport for guest services via smartphones
- JW Marriott Hotel Ankara installs OTRUM Enterprise and Digital Signage
For more information on Guest Services for 06/18/11


- Aptech announces new Web-based Profitvue NG, enhances Targetvue, Execuvue, Proftvue 14.5
- VSi announces mAPPs mobile applications, starting with vInspect for housekeeping
- Sycuan Casino upgrading to InvoTech’s GIMS UHF RFID Uniform System
For more information on Back Office for 06/18/11


- Sol Casinos picks Stratton Warren for inventory/procurement at Casino Del Sol and Casino of the Sun
Sol Casinos, Tucson, Ariz., has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System for inventory and procurement functions at Casino Del Sol and Casino of the Sun.  The new Casino Del Sol Resort, Spa & Conference Center, scheduled to open in November, will also use the system.  The casinos are owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.  http://www.solcasinos.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- INNCOM announces new INNcontrol 3 communications and reporting system
- Lane Hospitality implementing hotel ServicePro across 19-property portfolio
- Crescent Hotels & Resorts beta testing hotel ServicePro at several properties
For more information on Engineering for 06/18/11


- Bittel announces VALU line of phones for economy and limited-service properties
- FCS’ WinExpress Version 2 integrated call billing/voicemail system certified compliant with Avaya IP Office Release 6.1
- Reef Resort on Grand Cayman Island picks Enterprise version of Metropolis Technologies’ ProfitWatch
- Percipia Networks launches Frequency, an IP PBX system for hospitality
For more information on Communications/Infrastructure for 06/18/11


- Peninsula replacing guestroom door locks in all properties with Saflok RFID units
- Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch and Comfort Inn Shady Grove in Gaithersburg, Md., upgrade to Saflok RFID locks
- KABA releases Saflok RT RFID lock with built-in OpenWays Mobile Key acoustic coupler
- Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok completes installation of VingCard VISIONLINE wireless RF-online locking system
For more information on Security for 06/18/11


And now for you-know-what…

Wife’s Diary:
Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much.

I asked him what was wrong; he said, "Nothing." I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly and kept driving.

I can't explain his behavior; I don't know why he didn't say, "I love you, too." When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent.  Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep; I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

Husband's Diary:
A four putt; who four putts?

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