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Siegel Sez

February 02, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I love creative people. I really love creative companies. Moving to the top of my list is La Quinta Inns and Suites. When I tell you to click here, please do it while reading this intro and then come back and finish reading. It will all make sense, trust me.

Imagine you are attending the annual meeting for all the general managers from all La Quinta properties.  Part of the conference is an update of the company’s current technology initiatives. Vivek Shaiva, CIO, is on the stage sharing these strategies so I can only imagine the crowd sitting on the edge of their seats. While doing his presentation he takes a sip of water and collapses on the stage. Two guys come running out to try to revive him, and not being able to do that they drag him off the stage. The ballroom goes dark and then this is what they see (click here).  Hopefully you just watched the video. When Vivek returns to the stage he is actually wearing the same outfit from the close of the video. What a creative way to share what they are doing and getting everyone excited to be part of it. I’ve stayed in my fair share of La Quintas and the next time I do, when I open the door, walk into the room and look at the TV, I can pretty much assure you I will smile.

Speaking of walking into a guestroom, HFTP is diligently working on Guestroom 20X for HITEC this year (http://www.hitec.org). When people refer to this as the room of the future I always laugh. How can you create a room of the future today? But what HFTP has done very well is create a room that truly has the next wave of innovation from the most creative bed to in-room technology that will absolutely wow you. If you are a vendor who thinks you have something for the room that is the next wave or if you know of a product that you think might belong in Guestroom 20X then please contact Sara Bailiff at HFTP. Her email is mailto:sara.bailiff@hftp.org. I am thankful to be part of the team that puts this room together; it is amazing to see what might be coming down the road.

Speaking of roads, it has been a long road for Currahee, our 3-year-old colt who has had his share of issues growing up. But today he is as happy as can be and most importantly 100 percent healthy and ready to run. Thoroughbreds are happiest when they are running and Currahee will be having his long awaited debut this Saturday at Santa Anita race track outside Los Angeles. If you are in southern California this Saturday and want to come watch him run, drop a note to me. We always have a fun crowd when one of our horses is running and it is truly a different way to experience horse racing. Currahee has been working out great, if he can bring his morning workouts to the afternoon competing against eight other horses then who knows where this will go. To see a picture of Curahee, click here. Let the dreaming begin!

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review. Jon spoke at ALIS and had an opportunity to also sit in on some other sessions. His comments are insightful. 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



- ALIS acknowledges critical value of technology, so why is it underfunded?
- OpenTravel publishes 2011B schema
As you’ve read elsewhere, this year’s ALIS conference was a happily high-energy event, with a palpable sense of confidence in the recovery of business – in this case, the business of buying and selling hotels.  It’s by no means a technology conference, but a couple of break-out sessions brought out how critical technology is to hotel operations, and how little that fact is appreciated by owners.

One was a presentation of the recent AH&LA/STR-sponsored Distribution Channel Analysis survey, given by Cindy Estis Green and Mark Lomanno, both of whom absolutely know what they’re talking about in this area.  Their key findings were that marketing doesn’t generate new business overall, it just shifts it from one hotel to another and one channel to another, and that each new entrant into the distribution game (e.g., Google, and possibly Apple) will inevitably add new intermediary costs to the room inventory it offers.  Hotels’ distribution costs are therefore likely to increase to generate the same level of traffic.  The only way to stay ahead is to know your guests’ profiles and preferences in enough detail to make specifically appealing offers to them on their preferred channels, and to be very thorough in including all channel costs in deciding how to price and where to place each offer.  And the only way to be successful at that is through good technology, to collect and analyze the data and to act swiftly on its findings.

The other session was a discussion on what asset managers have learned from the challenges of the last few years.  The panel included representatives from a hotel chain, a management company, two owners and an asset management consultant, and their universal response was the same: “We didn’t use technology as well as we ought to have done.”  Yet when asked why their capital expenditure plans never included funds for management technology (though they do for regular repainting of the door trim in the front desk area, according to a capital expenditure survey), the responses were, “No one ever tells me when I need to spend money on it,” and “We know we have to spend funds from time to time to bring it back up to scratch, but beyond that…” 

The sad part of this is the general perception that despite giving face value to the need to do a better job with it, technology is apparently still too often seen as a burden that will only be addressed when it’s fallen so far behind as to be embarrassing.  There’s a real case to be made for a technology capital expenditure reserve as well as an FFE one, to provide funds for regular updates to stay competitive.  Any property or chain occasionally “bringing it back up to scratch” will always be outperformed by competitors who recognize its essential contribution to effective management in a complex and fast-changing world, and thus invest in it regularly.
The OpenTravel Alliance (OpenTravel) has published the 2011B version of its messaging standards.  Hotel-specific changes focus on a subset of the 2010 ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) legislation requiring electronic hotel reservations to identify and describe accessible features, book accessible guestrooms, ensure that they are then removed from inventory and guarantee a specific accessible guestroom.  The 2011B version also contains updates to hotel, airline, tours/activities and golf messages, along with new messages for railways and ground transportation companies.



- Jonathan Reynolds joins Libra OnDemand as professional services director
- Eric Oppegaard is new marketing and communications manager at Libra OnDemand
- Ian Brown hired by Guarded Systems as chief executive officer
- Jason Price one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing for 2011
For more information on People on the Move for 02/02/12


- HomStay Suites, Williston, N.D., installs Ariane interactive kiosks
- Three Western Inns properties migrate from MSI’s NovaPLUS to WinPM
- Hawkwell House Hotel implements protel’s PMS from Xn Hotel Systems
- Worldgate Timeshare in Kissimmee, Fla., picks SPI Software’s Orange
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 02/02/12


- B4Checkin announces six new customers
- NAVIS announces four new clients for reservation sales system
- Sceptre migrating 600-plus hotels to Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer CRS
B4Checkin has announced six new customers for its online booking engine and feedback application:
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, Aruba
- Coconut Court Beach Hotel, Barbados
- Avila Hotel, Curacao
- The Flamboyant Hotel, Grenada
- Club Orient Resort, St. Maarten
- The Carlton Savannah, Trinidad 
NAVIS announced four new clients for its reservation sales system:
- Pinehurst Resort, N.C.
- The Biggest Loser Resort, Calif. and Utah
- Resort Collection of Panama City Beach, Fla.
- Vail Resorts, Colo.
Sceptre Hospitality Resources is migrating its 600-plus hotels to Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer CRS program early this year.  Services to be provided by Whiteboard will include GDS connectivity, Internet booking engine, iPhone®/iPad® apps and a Facebook-specific booking engine.   http://sceptrehospitality.com, http://www.whiteboardlabs.com


- Wilshire Grand Hotel implementing Lodging Interactive’s Guest Review System
- TripAdvisor launches Management Dashboard
- Red Lion Hotels picks TravelClick for Web and mobile booking platforms
- REBEL Travel expands PropertyVIEW suite to include direct interfaces to search sites
- buuteeq integrating AdReady's platform to deliver online advertising and demand generation services
For more information on Marketing/Management for 02/02/12


- One King West Hotel & Residence implements EzRMS
- FastBooking announces Updater Premium channel management tool
- Vincci Hoteles implementing EZYield's Fuzionlink across all 35 properties
Toronto’s One King West Hotel & Residence has implemented Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions’ EzRMS.  Modules selected include the EzRMS Core Module and Ez-COMPETE, with an upload to PAR Springer-Miller’s GMS and an interface to EZ Yield channel distribution.  http://www.onekingwest.com, http://www.EasyRMS.com
FastBooking announced its Updater Premium channel management tool.  New features include more powerful reporting tools, a centrally managed inventory with initial allotments adjusted according to incoming bookings to ensure even distribution across all channels, and automatic, real-time booking feed into the hotels’ GMSs.  An available option can automatically load bookings collected from the hotel’s Internet distribution sites into the GMS.  http://www.fastbooking.net  
Spain’s Vincci Hoteles is implementing EZYield's Fuzionlink across its entire hotel group of 35 luxury properties in the Iberian Peninsula and Canary Islands, as well as locations in the United States and North Africa, following a six-week pilot installation at its Vincci Via 66 property in Spain.  http://www.vinccihoteles.com/eng, http://www.ezyield.com


- Knowland Group expands Readers reader board service to Hamburg and Dublin
The Knowland Group has expanded its Readers reader board service to Hamburg, Germany and Dublin, Ireland.  Readers consolidates group meeting activity nightly from researchers’ digital photographs of hotel reader boards for reporting to subscribers the next day.  http://www.knowlandgroup.com  


- ResortSuite partners with SelfOptima
ResortSuite has partnered with SelfOptima to integrate SelfOptima’s GEMS (Guest Experience Management System) with ResortSuite’s guest management system to provide an integrated online wellness environment for guests to stay connected with the resort after their stays.  GEMS provides information on resort therapies, personalized recommendations and activity plans through an interactive optimum health assessment, as well as goal setting, tracking and focused social networking functionality for guests to set up support groups to reach their wellness goals, and connections with health experts at the resort.  http://www.selfoptima.com, http://www.resortsuite.com


- TripAdvisor survey shows Wi-Fi as top amenity preference
- Quadriga adds Direct2Guest and PromoDirect options to Sensiq platform
- Quadriga appoints MSR IT Solution as Sensiq distributor in India
- Seaport Hotel & Seaport World Trade Center deploys Enterasys OneFabric Edge network
- JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton at LA Live implement LodgeNet Envision interactive HDTV platform
- Hotel Technologies named Innovations Honoree at CES for iHome HiDM5 Executive Workstation
- Locatel launches Eclipse MiRa portal for Philips MediaSuite TVs, allows revenue-driving interactive services
- OTRUM signs worldwide partnership agreement with TV manufacturer Loewe
- Embassy Suites Boston, Logan Airport installs FlyteBoard display
- Mandarin Oriental New York upgrades Wi-Fi infrastructure with Ruckus switches in each room
- OpenWays introduces MOBILE KEY DUAL with Pure NFC technology
For more information on Guest Services for 02/02/12


- Maybourne Hotel Group implements Kronos’ employee scheduling at headquarters and three London hotels
- Revel resort in Atlantic City picks InvoTech’s GIMS UHF RFID uniform tracking system
- FOUNDATION Logic Systems announces five new clients for its Uniform Manager technology
The Maybourne Hotel Group has implemented Kronos’ employee scheduling technology at its headquarters and three hotels in London: Claridge’s, The Berkeley and The Connaught.  The system will be used at these four sites by nearly 1,500 employees.  http://www.maybourne.com, http://www.kronos.com
The new Revel resort on the Atlantic City Boardwalk has selected InvoTech Systems’ GIMS Ultra-High Frequency RFID uniform tracking system for the thousands of garments to be worn by its 5,800 staff members.  The 1,500-room property is scheduled to open this spring.  http://revelresorts.com, http://www.invotech.com
FOUNDATION Logic Systems has announced five new clients for its Uniform Manager technology, which will be installed in all Ameristar Casinos, Horseshoe Hammond Casino and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (all using bar code technology) and the Star Casino Australia and Vail Resorts (using RFID technology).  http://www.foundlogic.com  


- Guarded Systems announces XcessPro Multi Services Controller all-in-one gateway/firewall/load balancer
Guarded Systems has announced its XcessPro Multi Services Controller (MSC), a single cloud-hosted unit that provides an Internet gateway, firewall, WAN load-balancing, traffic shaping and a guest management system interface.  http://www.guardedsystems.com  


- VingCard updates RFID locking technology for greater reading speed and distance
VingCard has updated its RFID locking technology with a newly optimized internal antenna that increases its reading speed by almost 50 percent and enables RFID locks to read keycards from more than twice as far.   http://www.vingcardelsafe.com  


And now for you-know-what...


And now for you-know-what…

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, surely I can't look that old? Well, you'll love this one.
I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his diploma, which bore his full name.
Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name that had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago. Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on way back then, I wondered. Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.
This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Morgan Park High School.
"Yes. Yes, I did. I'm a mustang," he said with pride.
"When did you graduate?" I asked.
He answered, "In 1959. Why do you ask?"
"You were in my class," I said.
He looked at me closely for a minute. Then, that ugly, old, bald, wrinkled, fat, gray, decrepit little troll asked, "What did you teach?"

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