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Siegel Sez

February 16, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I wonder if the whole industry is in a “don’t pinch me” mode. Jon Inge’s introduction to the technology review talks about all the positive things happening. Yes, the industry is doing very well. Along with occupancy and rates being up, the investment in technology for competitive advantages continues to swell. Our magazine, Hospitality Upgrade, is often looked at as a barometer of the health of the industry, and as we put the finishing touches on our upcoming issue, we can share that this is one of our strongest supported spring issues ever. Of course, great editorial content and some very cool new features helps. Also, as we look ahead to our Eighth Annual Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com) in April the bookings are way ahead of last year’s which was our biggest ever. For those making plans to attend, our friends at Microsoft might have a very creative surprise for everybody. We are keeping our fingers crossed that it works out. If you are a provider of technology and have any questions regarding the Executive Vendor Summit, please email Kate immediately at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com, or call her at (678) 802-5304. I can proudly say it is the most unique event in the industry, and thankfully, has grown every year.

Yes, there are a lot of positive things happening in the industry, but isn’t it about time? Of course, the biggest positive thing for those of us who live in Atlanta is that Southwest Airlines started flying out of Atlanta this week.  I admit that I am a big fan of Southwest Airlines. I lived in Dallas in the ‘80s and flew with them often. In 1992, I joined the SWA frequent flyer program which was called the Company Club. You got a stamp for every flight you flew with SWA. After 20 stamps you got a free flight. I got my 20th stamp on May 16, 1992, and of course, I never mailed in my booklet for my free ticket. I am looking at it now and wondering if it is a collector’s item. Should I try to sell it on eBay? We shall see. The best thing about Southwest Airlines, in my book, is that it allows you to book your flight very early and get great fares. But as sometimes happens, trips get changed or cancelled. If you spent $240 on your ticket and then you cancel your trip you’ll still have $240 to use for a future Southwest flight. If the same thing happens on another major airline, that $240 ticket is now worth about $90 because most airlines charge a $150 change fee. Yes, it is the little things like that which makes me a fan. Welcome to Atlanta, Southwest Airlines!

Now finally from today’s world of positive energy, here is the Currahee update.  He ran a great race on Feb. 4; he didn’t win but he did come in third, which for his first race ever was very good. There is a picture of Currahee and myself from the day before the race on the Hospitality Upgrade Facebook page. Check it out at www.facebook.com/Hospitalityupgrade.  Currahee is tentatively scheduled to run again on March 3 at Santa Anita, so keep your fingers crossed. I am guessing from his low opening odds that a lot of Hotel Online readers bet him, but I never promised a win, right? But if March 3 happens, you might want to loosen those purse strings just a bit. That is all I am going to say. My fingers are crossed.

Before I turn this over to Jon Inge for this week’s technology review, I strongly suggest you email Jon at mailto:jon@joninge.com. Tomorrow (Friday) is his birthday and even though he will never admit it, he loves the attention. Go ahead and make his day. 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



- New announcements highlight fresh energy in hospitality tech
- HFTP calls for innovative tech ideas for GUESTROOM 20X
Some years start off slowly, but the news this week is full of innovation and good progress reports.  Some of last year’s new systems are gaining good traction, and a number of innovative new ideas have been announced. 

For example:
- the eagerly awaited first installation of PAR Springer-Miller’s new ATRIO GMS was announced
- Softbrand’s new HMS now has over 20 systems installed or on order, both in the United States and internationally
- Gogo brings last-minute hotel bookings to passengers in flight through HotelTonight
- Nor1 has integrated its software with OPERA to provide individually targeted upgrade offers to guests who have just booked based on their profile and history data, truly getting into one-to-one marketing
- OpenWays is gaining ground with new orders for its phone-based room keys from the United States and France
- LodgeNet’s new mobile app lets guests use smartphones and tablets as TV remote controls, with a local channel guide for the hotel where they’re staying.  What a useful concept; not only does it make channel surfing so much easier, it means you no longer have to wonder how clean the existing TV remote.

Only six weeks in and already we’re seeing plenty of excitement and fresh ideas.  It’s going to be a good year!
Speaking of innovation, HFTP is putting out feelers for technology ideas for its GUESTROOM 20X exhibit at HITEC this June.  While not billed as a “room of the future” – I agree with Rich that it’s hard to show examples of working technology under that heading – GUESTROOM 20X is always a fascinating look at recent developments as they might be incorporated into a hotel room.  If you have or know of anything innovative that might fit, visit the GUESTROOM 20X site (www.hftp.org/Pages/Events/HITEC/GUESTROOM20X.aspx) or email mailto:guestroom20x@hftp.org. But hurry; submissions must be received by March 1.



- Jeff Edwards is back!  Joins Amadeus as EVP North America and global head of hotel group
- Ted Warring promoted to chief technology officer at MSI
- Jennifer Sullivan joins Percipia Networks as major account executive, North America

For more information on People on the Move for 02/16/12


- Gogo partners with HotelTonight to offer last-minute deals to in-flight passengers
- Trust’s yourVoyager CRS now available in Chinese
- Sabre Holdings launches Eco-Certified Hotel Program
- ezRez Software rebrands as Switchfly
- Online bookings significantly higher in United Kingdom than in other European markets – two surveys
- Orbitz updates its Hotels iPhone® app
- Bookt enhances InstaManager FLEX vacation rental manager software with multiple languages
- THE OUT NYC selects Travel Tripper’s RezTrip Web site booking engine
For more information on Reservations for 02/16/12


- Knowland Group extends Readers hotel reader board service to Sydney
- InterContinental selects Lanyon
The Knowland Group has extended its Readers hotel reader board service to Sydney, Australia.  http://www.KnowlandGroup.com  
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has selected Lanyon to publish its hotel content and rates and to deploy a customized white-label version of its RFPpublisher lead management software, aiming to reduce its RFP response time, improve its ability to monitor RFP status, allow cross-selling of RFPs to additional properties and provide an online negotiations platform.  IHG’s properties will be able to use Lanyon’s Market Leads unsolicited bids service, and Lanyon’s content management software will manage the distribution of hotel data across third-party selling platforms such as GDS and online travel agencies.  http://www.lanyon.com  


- SuiteLinq introduces six-module, single-platform range of digital services
- Ciena Hotel & Suites, Cotulla, Texas, to implement OpenWays’ Mobile Key
- Ascott’s Citadines Apart’hotels in Cannes and Lyon to implement OpenWays’ Mobile Key
- LodgeNet’s Mobile App lets guests use smartphones, tablets as TV remote controls, with local channel guide
For more information on Guest Services for 02/16/12


- Odawa Casino Resort upgrades InvoTech Systems GIMS Uniform System from bar code to UHF-RFID
- Noble Investment Group and Noble-Interstate Management Group pick email service from Luxmail International
The Odawa Casino Resort has upgraded its InvoTech Systems GIMS Uniform System software from bar code to UHF-RFID technology.  GIMS interfaces with a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System for 24-hour automated uniform distribution to approximately 600 staff.  Owned and operated by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the resort, in Petoskey, Mich., features 1,300 slot machines, 29 table games, a six-table poker room, several restaurants, gift stores, a nightclub and a 137-room hotel.  http://www.odawacasino.com, http://www.invotech.com
Noble Investment Group and Noble-Interstate Management Group have chosen hosted enterprise-class email service from Luxmail International, Luxury Communication International’s North America subsidiary, for selected properties. http://www.nobleinvestment.com, http://www.lux-com.com


- Resorts World Casino in New York picks Yellow Dog
Malaysia-based Genting’s Resorts World Casino in New York has selected Yellow Dog Software back office inventory software to manage the retail operations for its gift shop.  Resort World Casino is Genting’s first U.S. casino.  http://www.rwnewyork.com, http://www.yellowdogsoftware.com


- Grand Hyatt San Francisco installs VingCard’s Orion energy management, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes
The 659-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco has selected VingCard’s Orion energy management system, Signature RFID locks, VISIONLINE wireless online access management system and Elsafe Infinity II electronic safes as part of its renovation.  The Orion system includes wireless digital thermostats, occupancy sensors, door position interfaces, remote server software and a dashboard reporting interface showing the status of each room’s occupancy, locks, safes, lighting and total energy consumption.  Front desk staff can remotely view a safe’s locking status, allowing them to verify with departing guests whether they have forgotten to empty the safe.  The property has issued its 75 most frequent guests with RFID-enabled loyalty keycards that they can reuse on each visit, allowing them to bypass the front desk at check-in.  http://grandsanfrancisco.hyatt.com, http://www.vingcardelsafe.com


- Hotel Diva in San Francisco implements PAR Springer-Miller’s first ATRIO™ system
- SoftBrands announces international interest in HMS, releases iPad® version.
- NORTHWIND offers management strategy services for Maestro users, expands online marketing and social media services
- Choice Hotels deploys 5,000th instance of choiceADVANTAGE GMS
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 02/16/12


- Nor1 integrates PRiME software and eStandby Upgrade application with MICROS’ OPERA
- Expedia licenses Kenshoo Enterprise for global search engine marketing
- Pipeline introduces SocialCEO Facebook management
- VIZERGY using BrightEdge technology for new SEO Advantage Plus marketing services
- Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle announce turnkey service for Google+ Business Pages
- NORTHWIND offers management strategy services for Maestro users, updates online marketing and social media services
- Cornell launches new hospitality marketing course in collaboration with Sabre
- Brilliant integrates Flip.to social marketing platform into RezExchange channel management and distribution
- Starwood survey reports that 73 percent of travelers would rather have loyalty program benefits than take a spouse with them on a trip
For more information on Marketing/Management for 02/16/12


- EasyRMS partners with Availpro to distribute rate recommendations via all channels
- IDeaS named Allied Vendor of the Year by Minnesota Lodging Association
- Rainmaker to resell RateGain’s PriceGain-Hotels competitive data

For more information on Revenue Management for 02/16/12


- Z Hotels implements dotPOS from Xn Hotel Systems
Z Hotels, an 85-room conversion of 12 Georgian townhouses in central London, has implemented the dotPOS Electronic Point of Sale system from Xn Hotel Systems.  http://www.thezhotels.com, http://www.xnhotels.com


- Wyndham Mt. Laurel Hotel installs 756 kW photovoltaic solar carport system from SolarMax Technology
- Shore Hotel in Santa Monica implements INNCOM’s thermostats and Integrated Room Automation System
- Grand Hyatt San Francisco installs VingCard’s Orion energy management, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes
For more information on Engineering for 02/16/12


And now for you-know-what…

Two men are driving along a highway outside the city limits when they get pulled over by a State Trooper. The cop walks up and taps on the window with his nightstick. The driver rolls down the window and WHACK, the cop smacks him in the head with the stick.

The driver asks, "What the heck was that for?"

The cop answers, "You're in my town son. When we pull you over, you better have your license ready when we get to your car."

The driver says, "I'm sorry, Officer, I'm not from around here."

The cop runs a check on the guy's license, and he's clean. He gives the guy his license back, walks around to the passenger side, and taps on the window. The passenger rolls down the window and WHACK, the cop smacks him on the head with the nightstick.

The passenger asks, "What'd you do that for?"

The cop says, "Just making your wish come true."
The passenger asks, "Making what wish come true?"

The cop says, "I know that two miles down the road you're going to say to your buddy, 'I wish that son-of-a-gun would've tried that crap with me!'"

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