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Siegel Sez

October 13, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Have you read any of the articles floating around the Internet right now about the editor from Wired magazine who wants to boycott hotels that charge for Internet access? I find it comical that in his article he also refers to the hotels that don’t charge for Internet. Not sure boycott is the correct word to use here since he clearly has a choice where to stay.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been laughing while reading it, but as he talks about his travel experiences and knows that certain hotels are going to charge for Internet access since it is clearly posted on the hotel websites and even when booking through third-party sites, why is he complaining? Then I thought, why stop there? I was in Denver this past weekend and stayed at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center (I love those weekend rates) and met Lisa D’Angelo from our HUTechShare initiative for breakfast. The Hyatt was beautiful, but I knew breakfast in their restaurant was going to be pricey. Should I have complained and told the manager that I could have had breakfast at Denny’s for half the price and threatened to boycott his restaurant?  Or when I travel and take a cab to my hotel I know the cab fare is going to be twice as much as if I had taken a bus or a shuttle. Should I start a boycott of taxis at the airports? I think his use of the word boycott was silly. He has choices and if he didn’t want to spend the money he should have stayed somewhere else or decided not to go on his trip. I wonder what kind of car he drives.

Speaking of cars, thankfully I will be able to drive to the next event that Hospitality Upgrade will be attending. The HFTP Annual Conference is here in Atlanta at the Omni Hotel. For those of us who spend way too much time in the technology world, this is a great event. Yes, there will be technology covered in the sessions and at the exhibits, but this conference has a much stronger slant with the financial people from HFTP. For those of you who think financial types are not fun, you should consider attending. It really is one of my favorite events of the year. The week closes on Friday night with the very fancy, formal President’s Evening where everybody wears tuxedos. OK, not quite everybody, but many do. Lisa Funk the director of finance for the Alexis Hotel in Seattle, Wash., starts her year as president of HFTP. It will be a fun night. I wonder if my tux still fits.

HFTP is here in Atlanta and then IH/M&RS (http://www.ihmrs.com) in New York makes for an exciting four weeks. Squeezed in will be one more road trip and a six-hour drive to Louisville for this year’s Breeder’s Cup. I know horse racing is not a mainstream sport, but when you are at events like this with 60,000 other fans, it is so much fun. We spend two days doing what we always hope to do with the many choices in our lives: we try to pick winners. 

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the past couple of weeks. I loved his opening comments about what travelers really want. 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



- Check whether your message still fits your current audience
- Feedback on bypassing the front desk
Sometimes it’s easy to slip into a rut without knowing it.  This is a small industry – hotels, vendors, consultants, many of us have been in it for a long time.  We know each other well, who we are, what we do, how we do it, and as the years slip by it’s easy to forget how many new faces have come into this space. 

The recent economic turmoil has brought in new players, many from other industries.  We may not know them, they may not know us, and it’s easy for us to forget that and keep churning out the same message that’s worked for years.  While we may take advantage of new tools and technology to reach them, we may not have updated our message to catch their attention and let them know, succinctly, what we do, how we can help and why we’re worth contacting. 

Old messages may still be true and accurate, but sometimes they need to be re-worked to address a new team of players who don’t have the industry background to fill in the sub-text about us themselves.
For those of you wondering what feedback I received to my comments about bypassing the front desk at check-in, almost everyone who responded said they enjoyed the human connection at the end of a long day.  The two people who said they prefer to go straight to their rooms reported that they do so only occasionally when they were tired and the line at check-in was frustratingly long, or because they’ve become so used to self-service at every other stage of the travel experience that it’s just become the standard approach. 

That wasn’t what I was asking, though.  I was curious about whether it was still important for the bypassers to feel they had some connection with the hotel, a reassurance that someone on property knew they were there and would look out for them if there was an emergency.  Only one person mentioned that, and then only in the context that they use their phones and frequent traveler status to maintain a connection with the hotel at all times, not just at check-in.  Well, OK, that personalization of contact and special offers is definitely a strong movement, but for the life/safety issues in case of emergency it implies a degree of faith in technology that I find hard to accept. 

So let’s turn the question around; do hotels keep track of their frequent traveler guests to that extent after check-in?  Including tracking them through the GPS location or Wi-Fi triangulation of their phones so they know whether or not they’re actually on property – and whereabouts – in case of a fire or other emergency?



- Choice’s iPhone® app passes one million consumer download mark
- Bookt announces InstaManager FLEX rental manager software with distribution through TripAdvisor’s FlipKey
Choice Hotels International announced that its iPhone app has reached its one millionth consumer download.  An Android™ version was released on Aug. 31.  These apps and the Choice mobile website include GPS technology and mapping functionality to help travelers find their nearest Choice properties, as well as access to Choice Privileges rewards accounts, hotel property details and hotel searching by city, airport, popular attraction and more.  http://www.choicehotels.com  
Bookt announced its InstaManager FLEX application, combining its vacation rental manager software with marketing distribution through TripAdvisor and TripAdvisor’s FlipKey subsidiary, a vacation rental service listing over 100,000 vacation homes.  http://www.flipkey.com, http://www.bookt.com


- buuteeq launches Facebook app
- Lodging Interactive announces Guest Review System
- Sheraton Suites Key West contracts with The Knowland Group for Target Net sales automation system
- Governor’s House Hotel and Convention Center implements The Knowland Group’s Target Net
- Dolce Hotels and Resorts implements Libra OnDemand across all 27 properties
- JackRabbit Systems integrates BookDirect search engine into DMOs’ Facebook pages
- TravelClick adds over 200 Hotelligence360 clients in Europe in July and August
- Regatta Travel Solutions joins Destination Marketing Association International as Alliance Partner
- TripAdvisor launches Widget Center
For more information on Marketing/Management for 10/13/11


- PSAV releases MapIt! Web, Mobile Web and iPad application for conference attendees
- Maritz chooses Cvent’s registration and sourcing platform
- Nexus launches TargetworX for hotel chains to manage RFPs among their properties
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 10/13/11


- Cendyn formally releases eFolio service
Cendyn announced the formal release of its eFolio service, which provides automated daily folio transmissions directly from a hotel’s guest management system to the data platforms of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and corporate travel and entertainment expense systems such as Concur.  This allows corporations to improve their business travel expense reporting and improve efficiencies in corporate financial management and expense forecasting.  eFolio has been piloted in several hundred hotels around the world.  http://www.cendyn.com  


- 3CX VoIP-based phone system integrates with Hotel Concepts’ IDPMS and Brilliant’s PMPRO
Hotel Concepts – Brilliant has integrated 3CX’s VoIP-based Phone System Hotel Module into Hotel Concepts’ IDPMS and Brilliant’s PMPRO guest management systems.  Multiproperty hotel groups can be linked together via wide-area network to further decrease telephony expenses.  http://www.3cx.com, http://www.itesso.com


- IDeaS appoints WiTak its partner in Taiwan
- China’s New Century Hotels & Resorts picks RateGain’s ChannelGain for 14 properties
- Foss Hotels signs with SiteMinder for nine hotels in Iceland
- Melco Crown Entertainment implementing Rainmaker’s revolution at two properties in Macau
- Global Gaming Business magazine names Rainmaker a 10th Annual Gaming & Technology (G&T) Award winner
- RateTiger nominated as finalist in United Kingdom’s Travolution Awards for Best Technology Provider
For more information on Revenue Management for 10/13/11


- LodgeNet joins Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem group developing UltraViolet platform
- KoolConnect installs through 2011 third quarter significantly exceed those of any previous full year
- Philips launches new 2012 TV product range
- Quadriga announces MyChoice pre-pay program to extend guest channel choices on Philips EasySuite and PrimeSuite ranges
- FCS designates PWV Group its business partner in Russia, CIS
For more information on Guest Services for 10/13/11


- SAVOR selects Agilysys’ Eatec
SAVOR, a food concessions and catering management company, has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system.  Initial implementations will include the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla., the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu, the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center in Long Beach, Calif., and the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center in Savannah, Ga.  http://www.smgworld.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- Wolfgang Emperger joins Infor Hospitality as sales regional vice president, Europe and Africa
- Ryan Andrew re-joins Infor SoftBrands as marketing manager
- James Edwards joins Infor SoftBrands as senior account manager
- Leslie William Rose named regional director for TTI Technologies in Las Vegas
- Laura Kirby-Meck joins Merchant Link as executive vice president of sales and marketing
For more information on People on the Move for 10/13/11


- Hotel Concepts – Brilliant integrates with 3CX’s VoIP-based phone system
- MGM Resorts International installs MICROS’ OPERA at Luxor, Excalibur and Mandalay Bay
- ALPENIGLU village implements protel Air
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 10/13/11


And now for you-know-what…

A man was walking in the street when he heard a voice. "Stop! Stand still! If you take one more step, a brick will fall down on your head and kill you," the voice said.

The man stopped and a big brick fell right in front of him. The man was astonished.

He went on, and after awhile he was going to cross the road. Once again the voice shouted, "Stop! Stand still! If you take one more step a car will run over you and you will die."

The man did as he was instructed, just as a car came careening around the corner, barely missing him. "Where are you?" the man asked. "Who are you?"

"I am your guardian angel," the voice answered.

"Really?" the man asked. "Where the heck were you when I got married?"

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