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Siegel Sez

November 03, 2011

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Who says you can’t revisit the past? Larry Hall, the CEO at PAR Springer-Miller, invited me to go see “RAIN” here in Atlanta last week.  If you are not familiar with “RAIN,” it is a Broadway production that is a tribute to the Beatles. Honestly, it was just like being at a Beatles concert and I loved it. What made the night even better was that George Harrison was actually Monika Nerger’s (CIO of Mandarin Oriental) husband who I met at our annual dinner during IH/M&RS in New York last year.  The show was great and after the show we got to go backstage after to “Meet the Beatles.” The night was like being transformed back to the 60s. Of course, by the time we left backstage the theatre was empty so we snuck onstage and Larry and I did our own rendition of “Hey Jude.” Maybe I can get Larry to do that again at the PAR Springer-Miller HUG Conference next week at Horseshoe Bay Resort. This is one of my favorite users’ group meetings and I am always honored to be invited. Of course, if we do end up singing “Hey Jude” this might be my last invitation. We shall see.

I am totally aware that business is business, but you can’t help actually becoming friends with people you’ve been doing business with for many years. I am sure many have experienced this. I received a call earlier this week from Luis Segredo who started MTech (http://www.m-tech.com). He called to say he had some big news. I cringed. Before he said a word I knew what the news was going to be. I have had these calls before doing what I have been doing for the last 19 years. He told me that MTech was being acquired. Then later on that day I had a call with Gregg Hopkins from Libra OnDemand (http://www.libraondemand.com) with the same news. Newmarket International (http://www.newmarketinc.com) has acquired both companies. Personal feelings aside, anytime this happens in our industry we all start scrutinizing these deals and start asking if it makes sense. Since I know all three companies extremely well, there is no doubt in my mind that this does make sense for both the buyer and the seller. I wonder if this is a trend, when mergers and acquisitions of this magnitude happen, usually a few more follow. Toward the end of year, great things are happening in the industry, and who knows what is next.  It made me smile knowing that once again the conversations about partnering, merging or acquiring started at the Hospitality Upgrade Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com) which is an event we hold every April. Honestly, you get 70 CEOs together for two and half days, should this surprise anybody? Someday I am going to list all the mergers and acquisitions that were born at our Summit. The list is not a short one. Congratulations to all three companies. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year. For both releases please visit http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/_news/news.asp.  

After I attend the PAR Springer-Miller HUG Conference, it is back to Atlanta for a few days. Then up to New York for the IH/M&RS where we are again doing our Technology Innovation Center. If you are going to be in New York for the show, please come by. They moved us to a very cool new location in the middle of all the activity. We’re looking forward to it. We always enjoy having the technology people hanging around the pavilion during the show. After New York I am home again for a bit and then will be off to London doing a panel at HOSPACE 2011, which is the new name for the 6th Annual BAHA Conference and IT Exposition. Yes, the panel is on Thanksgiving Day, a big holiday here in the States, but just another Thursday in London. Instead of hanging out in London for the weekend I think I figured out a way to inexpensively go to Barcelona for a long weekend. I have never been to Spain and think it might be an interesting trip and hopefully warm there. Anybody who has been before and has suggestions as to what to do and where to stay, please drop a note to me. Hopefully this will all work out.

It seems everybody has too much on their plate these days. I know mine is overflowing, but today I am putting my plate back in the closet and forgetting about it. This is Breeders Cup weekend in Louisville, Ky., where all my nutty horse friends and I get together with about a 100,000 others and try to outsmart each other. I hope to win, will probably lose, but without a doubt will have a great time.  This year I will be staying at the Galt House. I just love older, magnificent hotels with a great history. The Galt House is one of my favorites and it helps that most of the social events for the weekend will be held there. I really can’t wait.

Now for the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks. 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



- Uniquely identifying hotels for more efficient electronic transactions
- Cornell researches hospitality system integration, releases staff planning simulator
You’d think it would be easy to identify a hotel clearly.  After all, it’s a pretty substantial building that isn’t going anywhere, although it’s true that a large hotel occupying a full city block and with a main door on each side could theoretically have four addresses, all equally accurate.

In the electronic world, though, it gets more complicated.  With tens of thousands of hotel Internet sites in existence, some persisting long after the property has changed names or even been demolished, search engines can easily become confused and display incorrect or obsolete data.  Further, renaming or rebranding a hotel means notifying every electronic trading partner individually, a tedious and lengthy process during which revenue-generating transactions can fail, be routed to the wrong hotel, be lost in processing or require manual handling.

Fortunately, the growing spirit of cooperation within the hospitality technology industry is coming to the rescue.  Building on recent work done by HEDNA, three associations – HEDNA, HFTP and HTNG – are forming a joint governing body to implement a central register of unique global identifiers for hotels.  This should significantly improve the accuracy and efficiency of transactions between hotels and their trading partners, and allow any changes to be propagated to all interested parties at once.  The register is expected to be operated by one or more third-party companies under contract.  The effort also has the support of the OpenTravel Alliance, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) and HSMAI. 

Focusing first on identifiers for hotels and lodging establishments, the register may later be extended to cover event venues, distribution channels and processing partners.  Unique global identifiers will also likely be required for a major HTNG project on hospitality industry credit card security, to support the secure passing of credit card information from the original booking source to the correct hotel.
Moving on to cooperation within a single property, The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research has released a study analyzing hotel properties’ IT networks to try to understand why they don't do a better job of integrating IT systems for maximum efficiency.  The study, “Network Exploitation Capability: Mapping the Electronic Maturity of Hospitality Enterprises,” coins the term network exploitation capacity to qualify the approach a network takes for revenue optimization, demand generation and multichannel distribution management.  A comparative scale allows managers to measure where their property stands in its ability to take advantage of the potential of networked information technologies.

The Center also released its free Service Simulator tool that allows hoteliers to simulate the effect of changes to their properties’ service staff on efficiency and customer service.  Managers can specify their service standards or rules, staffing levels and estimated rate of customer arrival to see how queues form and determine whether guests will be turned away under some circumstances.



- Erynn Torrenga joins FCS as national accounts director North America
- Scott Housley appointed general manager for Philips Hotel TV
- Bob Gilbert receives the Miguel Aleman Valdes Excellency in Tourism Award
- Eleven Wireless forms Hospitality Industry Advisory Board
For more information on People on the Move for 11/03/11


- Boyne Resorts picks Springer-Miller for Michigan, Montana resorts
- YOTEL New York implements MICROS’ OPERA and myfidelio.net
- Ariane’s Polish distributor awarded best technology solution at Polish WorldHotel Trade Fair
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 11/03/11


- Appnostic announces SocialBooker booking app integrated with Facebook
- RCI enhances online searching and booking
- DogWonderful.com launches site for booking pet-friendly hotels
- TOP INTERNATIONAL completes migration of 100+ properties to Pegasus’ RezView NG
- Pegasus acquires Internet marketing services provider Open Hospitality
- Dolphin Dynamics announces new white-label Web publishing system
- Valet Interactive introduces VoiceTraker call tracking application
For more information on Reservations for 11/03/11


- Libra OnDemand acquired by Newmarket
- Valet Interactive launches High-Octane Plan Web marketing service
- Lodging Interactive wins two Magellan Awards and a W³ Silver Award
- Starwood launches its own online review function
- Pegasus acquires Open Hospitality
- Milestone releases version 2.0 of eBuzz Connect Group Dashboard
- VIZERGY updates Local Search service
- HeBS Digital receives seven W³ Silver Awards and three Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
- Estrel complex, Berlin to use TS&C dailypoint system and consultancy services
- east Hotel, Hamburg implementing TS&C dailypoint SMART (E)MAIL system
For more information on Marketing/Management for 11/03/11


- protel integrates with SiteMinder's pmsXchange
- Royal Plaza on Scotts, Singapore, implementing IDeaS
- Your Hotel Worldwide rolling out RateTiger-based Unlimited Distribution platform to 90+ hotels
- Brook Hotels implements RateTiger's RTSuite Channel manager for 12 locations
For more information on Revenue Management for 11/03/11


- Newmarket acquires MTech and Libra OnDemand
- PSAV named Best AV Presentation Provider in Southern California
- Cabarrus County CVB signs with Meetingmax for online housing booking
- Fredericksburg Inn & Suites picks Knowland Group’s Target Net
- Natchez Grand Hotel, Natchez Convention Center pick Knowland Group’s Target Net
- Knowland Group in top 100 of Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for second year
- Passkey completes acquisition of Velvet Software
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 11/03/11


- Galaxy Macau implements MICROS’ Simphony POS system across 50+ F&B outlets in three hotels
The 2,200-room Galaxy Macau has implemented MICROS Systems’ Simphony enterprise POS system across more than 50 food and beverage outlets managed by the resort’s three hotel operators – Galaxy Hotel, Hotel Okura Macau and Banyan Tree Macau.  Each company manages its own operations; Galaxy Macau has access to property-based and consolidated reporting.   http://www.galaxymacau.com, http://www.micros.com


- MTech acquired by Newmarket
- Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain launches runtriz-based mobile guest services platform
- Holiday Inn Portland Airport installs FlyteBoard display
- Choice names Bulk TV a qualified vendor of free-to-guest TV services
- Bartech celebrates 20th anniversary
- Hoteles Charleston Colombia implements Intelity’s ICE Touch on iPad® at three properties
- OpenWays announces Mobile Key 4 ALL offering for independent properties
- DAPage Notifications integrates MTech's HotSOS with Kenwood digital two-way radio
- TravelShark rebrands eat.shop guides as “rather” guides
- La Quinta upgrades guestroom technology
- Sofitel installing Quadriga's Sensiq in multiple properties across Europe and Africa
- Gogobot launches iPhone® app
- Joie de Vivre Hotels chooses LodgeNet Envision as brand standard
For more information on Guest Services for 11/03/11


- Sundance Resort selects Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory
- Zaxby’s deploys MICROS Systems’ myinventory at 150 locations
Sundance Resort has selected Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory application to manage the retail operations for its Mountain Outfitters Store, General Store, and Deli.  The property went live with the complete inventory system in July 2011. http://www.yellowdogsoftware.com  
Zaxby’s has deployed MICROS Systems’ myinventory at 150 locations, integrated with its MICROS POS systems.  This tally includes all corporate and 60+ franchisee locations.  Zaxby's operates 535 casual restaurants across the Southern United States.  http://www.zaxbys.com, http://www.micros.com


- MTech upgrades HotSOS for scheduled preventive tasks in rooms vacant for preset period
MTech has upgraded its HotSOS application to provide for scheduled preventive tasks in rooms that have been vacant for a specified number of days, such as running faucets to protect against Legionellosis. 


- Cotell International announces Fuego range of hotel telephones
- BelAir Networks releases compact LTE+3G+Wi-Fi Metrocell with integrated wireless backhaul for outdoor deployment
Cotell International announced a new range of hotel telephones, the Fuego Series, which combines a modern style with durable construction.  The desk-mounted phones feature a metal stand for strength and rigidity, solid acrylic and PVC custom-designed faceplates, and a high-gloss scratch-resistant paint finish customizable to match the décor of the hotel room.  http://www.cotell-international.com  
BelAir Networks has announced the general availability of its compact LTE+3G+Wi-Fi Metrocell with integrated wireless backhaul for outdoor deployment, claimed to be the industry's first.  The BelAir2100 LTE/3G/Wi-Fi Metrocell supports multiple licensed bands, carrier Wi-Fi access and several integrated wireless and wireline backhaul options in a small base station.  http://www.belairnetworks.com  


- Holiday Inn Manchester-MediaCityUK installs VingCard Signature, Vision
- OpenWays launches Mobile Master Key
The new 218-room Holiday Inn Manchester-MediaCityUK has installed VingCard’s Signature locks and VISION software platform, interfaced with the hotel's property management and point-of-sale systems.  http://www.holidayinn.com, http://www.vingcardelsafe.com
OpenWays has launched Mobile Master Key, allowing housekeeping, engineering, maintenance and staff with security responsibilities to use a mobile phone as a master for properties with suitably equipped door locks.  Advantages include being able to neutralize a lost or stolen master key simply with the push of a button, without having to walk to each lock.  http://www.openways.com  


And now for you-know-what…

A priest was about to finish his tour of duty in the jungle where he has spent years teaching the natives to be civilized and kind to each other when he realizes that the one thing he never taught them was how to speak English.

So he takes the chief for a walk in the forest. He points to a tree and says to the chief, "This is a tree."

The chief looks at the tree and grunts, "Tree."

The priest is pleased with the response. They walk a little further and he points to a rock and says, "This is a rock."

Hearing this, the chief looks and grunts, "Rock."

The priest is really getting enthusiastic about the results when he hears a rustling in the bushes just ahead. As they peek over the top, he sees a couple of natives in the midst of heated passion.

The priest is really flustered and quickly responds, "Man riding a bike."

The chief looks at the couple briefly, pulls out his blowgun and kills them both.

The priest goes ballistic and yells at the chief that he has spent years teaching the tribe how to be civilized and be kind to each other, so how could he kill these people in cold blood that way?

The chief replies, "My bike."

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