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Siegel Sez

July 14, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

More bad news. What? You are reading something from the online world that starts with bad news? Every morning when I turn on my laptop the first thing that pops up is a home page. Yahoo, MSN, AOL, it doesn’t matter, the first story that is thrown in my face is a story of some heinous crime, some disaster somewhere in the world, you name it and I have seen it. Then there are the nonstop comments regarding the bad news of the day via Facebook and Twitter. It gets a bit overwhelming, doesn’t it? I recently had dinner with a friend and was telling her about my HITEC experiences. I told her about one of the educational sessions I did and to have a little fun at the end of the session I asked all those on the panel one final question. If they could have dinner with anybody (excluding family and friends), who would it be? The answers ranged from Jesus Christ to Lady Gaga. Yes, the Lady Gaga answer inspired much laughter. When I told her the story she asked me who I would have chosen. I started thinking who would I choose? I actually struggled with the answer. Today I have my answer, it would be Christian Lopez.  There are approximately 40,000 people all over the world reading this; I wonder how many of you know who Christian Lopez is. Now if I had said I wanted to have dinner with Casey Anthony, how many would wonder who she was?

Who is Christian Lopez? For those of you who follow sports, this week Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees got his 3000th hit, something only 28 players have accomplished in the history of Major League Baseball. Jeter’s 3000th hit was a home run at Yankee Stadium and Christian Lopez was the fan who caught the ball. I’m not sure this is a perfect comparison, but when Barry Bonds hit a homerun to break the homerun record, the fan who caught the ball sold it for $750,000. Those watching the replay of Jeter’s homerun were all thinking the same thing, that guy who caught the ball is in for a financial windfall. Do you know what Christian wanted? All he wanted was to meet Derek Jeter and give him the ball. Huh? Christian Lopez is a 23-year-old cell phone salesman with school loans still to pay off. What was he thinking? He obviously thinks differently than most of us. The New York Yankees did give him nice gifts including autographed jerseys and a suite to use for the rest of the season. I have been wondering what has been going through his mind since he made his decision. Does he lie in bed at night thinking he is the world’s biggest idiot? Or does he lie there smiling thinking he did the right thing simply because that is who he is. I have often been accused of thinking differently than most and I can’t really argue with that statement, but I have nothing on Christian Lopez. Those of us who think differently need to stick together. So, if anybody knows how I can get hold of Christian please let me know, I would like to buy him dinner. Lady Gaga can wait.

Here now is the real reason we are here, video star Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. If you missed his video because you were one of the millions who took a vacation, the Siegel Sez video from HITEC is at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/HUtube-Videos/. While at www.hospitalityupgrade.com you should also check out our new industry hotshot on the home page. Why these hotel CIOs let us have so much fun with them is beyond me, but I am thankful they do. 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



- Variety is essential to progress
- Please can we start calling them guest management systems, not PMSs?
It’s hard to be creative – just try thinking of something you haven’t thought of before – but in our current hyper-filtered world I believe it’s more important than ever to incorporate some form of random input from outside our habitual sources, to inspire us and to bring us unexpected ideas.  We need variety to thrive and to grow; advances can’t be made if we continue to do things the way we always have or just copy from each other, and we can’t expand our personal horizons if we limit our news and entertainment input only to people who think like us. 

This was brought home to me a couple of times at HITEC.  One was while reviewing several new-generation guest management systems and seeing how the vendors had taken different approaches to the opportunity to start from scratch with brand new code.  Some had deliberately tapped development ideas outside of previous norms and come up with some original ideas, fresh visuals and new ways to guide users through the desired work flow.  Others seemed to have preferred to stay with their traditional user interface approach but to rewrite the underlying code more efficiently for cloud-based architectures, to make the system easier to develop and support in the future.  I can’t help but wonder how successful the latter will be, unless they can show decisive savings in cost and speed of development for the hotels.

The other was a comment made during the System Selection education session about asking vendors to commit, in their contracts, to add to their system within six months any new feature their competitors come out with that would be beneficial to the hotel.  I can see the attraction of this to a property that wants to hedge its bets on a system purchase, and certainly some of the older pay-per-view video contracts, for example, locked properties into obsolete technology for far too long.  However, I think it’s unrealistic; most vendors’ development road maps are set too many months in advance to make this feasible.  In any event, the net result can only be to make all systems more alike, and each needs to have some distinguishing points of difference that give it an edge for a particular type of customer.

As a friend said to me a long time ago, “If you and I think the same on everything, then one of us is redundant.”
Speaking of guest management systems, Rich has commented before on my attempts to move us away from their traditional name of property management systems.  PMS is both inaccurate – these systems don’t manage properties, they manage guest stays – and, as I said last year, too often it’s an awkwardly inappropriate acronym.  GMS rolls off the tongue just as easily, and its meaning is crystal clear.  Can we try to make it a habit to call them GMSs from now on?  Please?


- Monika Nerger promoted to CIO at Mandarin Oriental
- Alan O’Riordan appointed managing director/U.K. and Europe at Xn Hotel Systems
- Bill Oliver hired by VingCard Elsafe as VP and general manager, North America
- Doug Rae joins Sertifi as director of sales for hospitality
For more information on People on the Move for 07/14/11


- World Resorts International licenses SPI Software’s Orange
- TripAdvisor acquires Where I've Been
- Alloso unveils hospitality business intelligence app for iPad®
- Red Roof chooses VFM Leonardo for rich media management
- Louvre Hotels signs with ReviewPro for online reputation and social media presence management
For more information on Marketing/Management for 07/14/11


- Preferred Hotel Group selects RateGain
- LINQ360 Innovation Center picks Rainmaker as official revenue management partner
- RateTiger's RTCorp nominated for Business Traveler Innovation Award
- Concorde Hotels & Resorts completes phase one of EzRMS rollout, with nine hotels online
For more information on Revenue Management for 07/14/11


- Virtual Visit unveils new version
- Design Hotels extends, expands contract with Nexus
Virtual Visit has unveiled a new version of its Web walk-through technology, which helps sales staff take meeting planner prospects through their properties via computer, while speaking on the phone.  Enhancements include a Live Lead feature to prequalify prospects and put them in touch with sales staff, a new Flash platform for better imagery, more detailed data tracking and reports, and contest options to drive prospects to the property.  http://www.virtualvisit.ca  
Design Hotels has extended its eight-year contract with Nexus to double the number of its member properties using Nexus for corporate and consortia contracting (RFPs) management and to include ShareworX, Nexus’ program and activity planner.  ShareworX helps hotels participate in non-standard leisure-oriented programs such as those offered by OTAs and other travel management companies.  Design Hotels represents and markets more than 200 independent hotels worldwide.  http://www.designhotels.com, http://www.nexusworldservices.com


- La Quinta to install KABA ILCO 760 locking systems in 140 properties
La Quinta Inns & Suites is installing KABA ILCO 760 locking systems in approximately 140 La Quinta hotels, starting this fall.  http://www.lq.com, http://www.kaba.com


- Motel 6 releases app for iPhone®, iPod touch®
- Pegasus identifies five trends in hospitality bookings
Motel 6 has released its app for the iPhone and iPod touch, allowing guests to find and book rooms at its over 1,100 properties in North America.  The app uses the device’s GPS to identify the closest location available, with details such as amenities, brand policies, property images and daily rates. Locations are also searchable using an airport code, city or state.  http://www.motel6.com  
Pegasus Solutions has identified five current trends in hospitality industry bookings:
1. Both reservations and rates are up, by 30 percent and 42.5 percent respectively in March vs. last year.
2. Business travel slowed in April, possibly due to the Mid East crisis and Japan’s tsunami, but recovered in May.
3. Leisure recovery has been slower but steadier, averaging about 10 percent year-over-year growth in 2011.
4. Growth is expected to continue through the summer in all segments, with ADR up by 3 percent to 4 percent even though length-of-stay looks to remain relatively short.
5. Lead times are increasing, showing increased consumer confidence and growing demand for meeting space.


- NCR acquiring Radiant Systems
NCR Corp is acquiring POS vendor Radiant Systems, planning to extend Radiant’s site-based and SaaS software through its own operations and through Radiant’s channel partner network.  This acquisition will return NCR to the hospitality and specialty retail markets it once dominated.  Andrew Heyman, currently Radiant Systems’ chief operating officer, will lead the new vertical.  http://www.radiantsystems.com, http://www.ncr.com


- TAC expands capabilities of Reservation Assistant Web shop
TAC has expanded the capabilities of its Reservation Assistant Web shop to allow visitors not only to buy personalized gift certificates and products but also to have them gift wrapped and delivered to recipients’ homes.  Online vouchers can also be printed immediately.  The TAC Web shop can also be used to book treatments or reserve restaurant tables online.  http://www.reservationassistant.com  


- GlobalVue launches hospitality and commercial television product lines
- Hilton to equip 1,000+ hotel fitness centers with tech-aware fitness equipment
- Hilton signs with BT Openzone for fully managed Wi-Fi and Internet services across United Kingdom and Ireland
- Great Wolf to let guests link RFID wristbands to Facebook for automatic photo sharing
- IDAPT releases four-way mobile electronics charging unit for hospitality industry
For more information on Guest Services for 07/14/11


- Hospitality Softnet launches theCampus online learning
- TAXEO receives HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award
Hospitality Softnet has launched theCampus, an online learning system.  Self-paced, interactive training courses are currently available for group sales, catering sales and front desk.  http://www.HospitalitySoftnet.com  
TAXEO is the first recipient of HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award, which recognizes a key travel innovator who is driving the industry in a new direction.  TAXEO helps international business travelers recover VAT on travel services in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, using a card-based system to submit rebate requests on their behalf and allowing businesses to recover VAT on smaller expenditures that might otherwise be overlooked.  The other nominees for the award were menumodo, ReviewPro, ForwardKeys and YouMove.  http://www.hedna.org, http://www.taxeo.com


And now for you-know-what…

At the university, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an A so far. These four friends were so confident, that the weekend before finals, they decided to visit some friends and have a big party.

They had a great time, but after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to campus until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided that after the final, they would explain to their professor why they missed it.

They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final.

The professor agreed to let them make up the final the next day. The four friends were excited and relieved. They studied that night for the exam.

The next day the professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They each quickly answered the first problem worth five points. Cool, they thought, with each one in a separate room, this was going to be easy.

Then they turned the page. On the second page was written, "For 95 points: Which tire? _________"

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