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Siegel Sez

August 25, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

We all deal with the everyday pressures of life; stress, anxiety, responsibilities, and the list goes on.  We hope that along with the occasional bad things that happen, good things will happen, too. Why is it the simplest things have the biggest impact with me? Because of what I have been doing for so long with my business I am fortunate that I can help people. Some need introductions, some need simple favors and occasionally some just need advice or a sounding board for an idea.  I honestly love when I can assist someone, it makes me feel great. I recently tried to do something for someone and was unable to make it happen due to circumstances beyond both of our controls. That is also life, right? About a week later I came home from work, parked the car in the garage and walked out to my mailbox. It was a typical mail delivery day with a couple of bills, lots of junk and then there was a little envelope with a handwritten address. I sat down and opened it. What was it that made such an impact? It was a card that the person who sent it knew I would absolutely enjoy. Inside that card was not a few lines saying thank you, but a few paragraphs that really meant something. Honestly, how often do you get handwritten thank you notes? I never do except when I give someone a gift for a wedding, graduation or whatever. Honestly, I kept looking at it, reread it and thought afterwards how great getting that card made me feel. Yes, she could have done the same thing via email, but it would not have had 10 percent of the impact that the card had on me.  I promise that Hallmark didn’t put me up to this, but when the situation happens to me in the future I am going to do the same thing. What a nice escape from the everyday responsibilities of life and how nice it will be to know that for one moment of somebody’s busy and responsibility filled day, I will make someone smile. I know it did me!

Our Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit No. 10 is coming up in 12 days. Instead of our typical golf tournament before the event we decided to do a deep sea fishing charter. It has become unbelievably popular, who would have guessed? There are a lot of people reading this who are pursuing careers in technology for the hospitality industry and hope to be the person in charge of a company’s technology. One aspiring CIO had a funny idea. He asked me how much it would take to get me to capsize the boat. Think of all the openings there would be in the industry if I pulled this off. I shared this story with one of the CIOs who simply said, “Rich, if you don’t get on the boat then neither am I.” We both laughed, but if the offer is increased hopefully those on the boat won’t think twice about my always having a life jacket on. ;-) We have our biggest attendance ever this year. Maybe it is the magic of the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, but I would love to believe it is more about all the hard work. Many first-time attendees are coming this year and when they all tell me they are coming because they heard great things about the event, that really motivates us to do an even better job with the conference this year.  It is great to know that hard work pays off. Yes, there is a lot of stress, anxiety and many responsibilities.  I hope if it all goes well and everybody enjoys our CIO Summit and that somebody will send me a handwritten card afterwards.

Thanks for all who asked about Kilted Tilt, nothing is for sure in the horse racing world and we are still hoping for her first race to happen. Who knows, it could happen Labor Day weekend.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review. I strongly encourage you to read his opening comments. I am thinking there are some nights when I go out that I might be better off leaving my phone at home. 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



- Phone-tracking services expand.  What price liberty?
How do you feel about being tracked wherever you go?  As with many privacy issues, I think most of us are in two minds about it.  On the one hand, as Apple and other smart phone vendors found out when it was revealed that the phones report their location at regular and frequent intervals, we generally hate the idea of someone knowing where we are at all times.  What business is it of theirs?  Especially if, as happened multiple times to friends of mine who checked Apple’s data for their phones, the locations are wrong? 

Four recent news items highlight this issue.  A survey of more than 4,700 international business travelers by International SOS reported that over 75 percent respondents, when visiting destinations they perceive to be high risk, are comfortable or very comfortable with being tracked via their phones, both to receive alerts and to have their location reported to their employers.  Then BCD Travel and American Express Global Business Travel both announced offerings that provide precisely this service (among several others – see the news items below), including automatic alerts when an executive unexpectedly leaves a safe zone.

Fair enough for risky locations, but how comfortable would they feel about it in their own home city?  And who defines where it’s permissible to visit without being tracked (or at all) and where not?  If we want to use location-based services, such as when following a map route or asking “find me a nearby coffee shop,” then obviously the service does need to know where the phone is.  But I think most of us are uneasy about it regularly storing our phone’s location for future reference. 

Until we want it to.  If we lose our phone, it’s handy to know where it was last tracked.  Or if we fall or have a car accident, we’d want help services to contact us immediately and to know where we are.  What we really want, therefore, is control over when that location data can be accessed, by whom and for what purpose, not to mention the ability to verify its accuracy.  Any takers on that happening any time soon?  Or correcting data being simple and painless, if it’s allowed at all? 

Lastly, Apple has advised app developers to stop tracking users and their behavior through the Unique Device Identifier (UDID) built into each iPhone® and iPad®, because the new version of its iOS operating system will no longer support it.  While this sounds like a welcome move toward greater user privacy, it’s been undermined by Apple suggesting that developers could instead create their own tracking identifiers.  Understanding who tracks what information about us is on the verge of becoming infinitely more complex, and probably impossible.

Whoever said that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance probably didn’t have in mind that our tools would be eternally vigilant about us.



- Mike Kistner receives International Stevie Award as Executive of the Year – Hospitality and Leisure
- Frode Haugen joins OTRUM as president and CEO
- Erika McKitterick hired by TravelShark as director of business development
- HTNG announces members of Vendor Advisory Council
- Philip Wooller appointed area director Middle East and Africa for STR Global
For more information on People on the Move for 08/25/11


- Skyware releases interface with SiteMinder’s pmsXchange
- FCS certifies Universal Billing and Interfacing System (UBIS) for HTNG’s Guest and Room Status Messaging
Skyware Hospitality Solutions has released an interface with SiteMinder’s pmsXchange to allow users to post CRS updates to both rates and availability.  SiteMinder will also deliver all reservations from the online booking sites directly into Skyware.  http://siteminder.onconfluence.com, http://www.skywaresystems.com
FCS has certified its Universal Billing and Interfacing System (UBIS) v 3.20 under HTNG’s specifications for Guest and Room Status Messaging (2010B v1.1) and Property Web Services/Single Guest Itinerary (2009B v2.2.1).  Guest/Room Status Messaging covers actions triggered by checkin/checkout and guest information updates, including room changes, message lamp controls, phone barring, do not disturb, room status, minibar charges, call charges and folio billing.  Single Guest Itinerary coordinates room bookings with spa, golf and other activity reservations.  http://www.fcscs.com  


- Ypartnership/Harrison Group survey: Travelers willing to pay full price for “right” travel service
- Conducive Technology integrates FlightStats delayed/disrupted travel data into COMPEAT travel agent system
- Limos.com unveils Limos.com for Business, plus iPhone, Android™ phone apps
- InnLink certified by Pegasus for ADS Best Practices
- Pegasus receives International Stevie Award for Best New Product/Service of the Year, for Pegasus View
- Sabre receives People’s Choice Award/ travel management for Sabre Hotel RFP tool
- InterContinental sees nearly 1,000 percent increase in room night bookings from mobile devices
For more information on Reservations for 08/25/11


- TRX announces TRAVELINX itinerary management
- ExpenseAnywhere adds OCR software to automatic receipt imaging service
- Survey shows most international travelers comfortable with mobile phone location monitoring in high-risk areas
- BCD Travel announces Travel Risk Management, for companies to track, communicate with travelers
- American Express launches Mobile Communications Management visual traveler tracking, two-way messaging
- VFM Leonardo announces 50 percent traffic growth on VNetwork from February to June
- Delta Hotels and Resorts contracts TIG Global for new Web presence
For more information on Marketing/Management for 08/25/11


- Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin picks IDeaS
Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin has selected IDeaS as its revenue management partner.  http://www.fitzwilliamhotel.com, http://www.ideas.com  


- Swank Audio Visuals releases SwankDraw, iPad-based room layout application
- Cvent adds globalization features to Strategic Meetings Management
- InterContinental sets up new AT&T telepresence rooms at offices in Atlanta and London
- Peppermill Resort Spa Casino, Reno, Nev., renews contract with The Knowland Group
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel Nashville Airport contracts for The Knowland Group’s Target Net platform
- Orbitz launches Orbitz for Business Meetings booking channel powered by StarCite
- HotelPlanner.com adds login capabilities to iPhone application
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 08/25/11


- Agilysys releases InfoGenesis version 4.3.0
- ReServe launches ReServe Q online restaurant reservation software
- Radiant releases CounterPoint version 8.4.4
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 08/25/11


- Blueprint RF releases dashboard performance metrics for high-speed Internet networks
- What would you take home from a hotel room?
- FCS certifies Universal Billing and Interfacing System for HTNG Guest/Room Status Messaging, Single Guest Itinerary
- InterContinental names Bulk TV as approved provider of FTG television services in USA
- Starwood signs new multiyear agreement with LodgeNet for Envision interactive TV platform
- Hotel Monteleone upgrades Wi-Fi system with inbound bandwidth scalable to 2GB
- Westin Stonebriar, Frisco, Texas, upgrades high-speed Internet access through PSAV
- Dream Downtown New York first to implement Time Warner Video for Hospitality on iBAHN’s ETVi platform
- Dorchester Hotel Group contracts with iBAHN and Control4 Corp for guestroom controls in three properties
- JW Marriott Marquis Miami equips all guestrooms with TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD connectivity panel
- Umstead Hotel and Spa implements Umstead Connect guest service powered by Runtriz
- The L Resort Krabi, Thailand, implements Intelity ICE Touch on iPad, first ICE install in Asia
- Gothia Towers, Gothenburg, Sweden, installs OTRUM’s latest Enterprise platform
For more information on Guest Services for 08/25/11


- Fallsview Casino Resort selects InvoTech Systems’ GIMS Uniform System
- TRX enhances TRUEXPENSE expense system
- PCI Security Standards Council publishes Tokenization Guidelines Information Supplement
For more information on Back Office for 08/25/11


- Nooksack Northwood Casino selects Yellow Dog Software’s inventory system
The Nooksack Northwood Casino has selected Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory system to manage the retail and food and beverage operations at its gift shop and bar.  The property went live with the complete inventory solution in March 2011.  http://www.northwood-casino.com, http://www.yellowdogsoftware.com


- Blueprint RF releases dashboard for critical performance metrics for high-speed Internet networks
Blueprint RF has released a dashboard showing critical performance metrics for high-speed Internet network activities.  Data shown includes system bandwidth use, user sessions, customer call center reports, network health, Internet traffic types and energy consumption; drilldown is available in each information pane.  Hotels can use the dashboard to identify key dates and times that require the most bandwidth, loads affecting each of multiple circuits, call ticket analysis, Internet types and circuit consumption volumes (peer to peer, video conferencing, HTTP, VPN, etc.), real-time network health and operational uptime for all major components, and energy use and consumption.  http://www.blueprintrf.com  


And now for you-know-what…

On their honeymoon, the new husband told his bride, "I have a confession to make that I should have made before, but I was concerned that it might affect our relationship."

"What is it?" his new bride asked lovingly.

"I'm a golf fanatic," he said. "I think about golf constantly. I'll be out on the golf course every weekend, every holiday and every chance I get. If it comes to a choice between your wishes and golf, golf will always win."

His new bride pondered this for a moment and said, "I thank you for your honesty. Now in the same spirit of honesty, I should tell you that I've concealed something about my own past that you should know. The truth is, I'm a hooker."

"No problem," said her husband. "Just widen your stance a little and overlap your grip, and that should clear it right up."

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