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Siegel Sez

May 03, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I admit it, sometimes I vent. I recently received a business email with bad news. After reading the email and then absorbing the message I said to myself, that shouldn’t have been sent via email. That message deserved a phone call. I responded to the email saying it reminds me of the dating world today. You go out with somebody a couple of times and then one party sends the other party an email that reads it isn’t working and it is time to move on. Doesn’t that deserve a phone call? Or have I become old fashioned? I guess a breakup email is a bit better than a text, but it still drives me crazy. I know when it comes to business and we all rely on email we should ask ourselves, does this message deserve a phone call?  I bet you will be pleasantly surprised how often it does and how glad you will be you made the call. I’m done venting.

It is now May and those in the technology world all start focusing on one thing, HITEC (http://www.hitec.org). The vendors focus on how their exhibits will stand out and be noticed and what announcements they are planning to make with products and customer successes. Attendees will start planning who they will visit and what sessions to attend. Then everybody will be trying to figure out what evening events to attend or who to have dinner with. I have been going to HITEC since 1984 and it never gets old. For those of us who have been around forever, it is fun to have a once a year reconnection. Since its beginning the biggest change in HITEC, besides how it has increased in size, is the type of people that come. In the old days it was all about technology but since technology touches everyone today, attendance is no longer dominated by technologists. When I meet financial, sales and marketing, operational types at HITEC I always ask what they are looking for. The answers are surprising. The bottom line is that they have a responsibility to understand the changes that are going on in the industry. I just love that. We are hoping for great weather this time in Baltimore. It is a fun city and being in the heavily populated Northeast should increase attendance this year. Additionally those coming from Europe will also be thankful. Hospitality Upgrade magazine will be in the registration bag of every attendee so if you are planning to exhibit at HITEC and would like to make sure people get your message then contact Kate immediately at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com. Or you could call her at (678) 802-5304. Yes, you can make a phone call.

I am off to the Newmarket International Fast FWD 2012 Customer Conference. I love the Newmarket Users Group and it should be very interesting with last year’s acquisitions of MTech and Libra OnDemand. From Orlando I go directly to the best place in the world to be the first Saturday in May. No matter what is going on in my life, the first weekend of May is always circled on the calendar. Yes, I am off to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. I haven’t picked a winner in seven years, so I think I am due. I am open to suggestions although I will probably wait for an inspiration to hit me. Unfortunately the correct inspiration usually happens after the race. We shall see. If you are reading this and are going to be at the Derby, please drop a note to me. You never know unless you ask, right?

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two 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



- Why the lack of adoption of fully integrated hospitality systems?  And why no U.S. vendors?
- Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine announces its 2012 Visionary Awards
There’s a lot to be said for minimizing the number of different systems that hotels have to deal with on property.  Whenever data has to be transferred between applications (despite the interface flexibility provided by Web-services approaches) there’s always some potential for inaccuracy, given that the two systems’ designers may have had slightly different intentions for data elements with the same name.  Further, staff needing to use multiple systems also have to deal with multiple user interfaces, each usually with a unique look and feel, and often have to research guest data in several systems to see the full picture.

An all-in-one integrated system that provides appropriate functionality across the board for a property’s needs – which is something each must evaluate for itself – has two major advantages.  The users will see it as a seamless, uniform tool for all of their needs, and will have confidence in the completeness of the data they see.  Further, management will have access, in real time, to accurate data from all parts of the operation in a single database, with all that this implies in terms of effective marketing and efficient management.

While several systems integrate multiple traditionally separate areas – typically GMS, sales and catering, room reservations and activity bookings, sometimes also POS – there are very few that cover the full range, including financial accounting, labor management and payroll, to provide complete, real-time business information.  Among these few are Cenium, which has been gaining steady acceptance in the U.S. market and internationally, and IDS NEXT, which recently published a white paper on the value of a hospitality ERP system.  Another is Prologic First’s suite, which I recently reviewed in India and which impressed me with its breadth of functionality.

Despite Cenium’s current base in Las Vegas, however, all three of these systems were developed overseas (Cenium in Iceland and Norway, IDS Next and Prologic First in India) and all have found significant success internationally.  Why are North American hotels reluctant to adopt this approach? And who will be the first U.S. vendor to offer a competitive product? 
The winners of Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine’s 2012 Visionary Awards (selected by HT editorial staff) are:
A. Infrastructure/back-office technology:
- Hilton Worldwide, for its revamped StayConnected program providing sufficient wireless high-speed Internet access bandwidth globally across the Hilton brand.
- La Quinta Inns & Suites, for its multiyear project to get all on-property systems and telecom services in the cloud.
B. Customer-facing/in-room technology:
- The Flamingo Las Vegas, for its development (with Four Winds Interactive) of dual-purpose digital signage that provides interactive mapping for players and guests and also serves as a loyalty kiosk for players.
- Gaylord Entertainment, for its use of iPads® for real-time guest services (concierge information, check-in/checkout, general guest information) and for convention services to make changes to contracts.



- Mick Talbot joins EasyRMS as director of sales for United Kingdom and Ireland
- Doug Carr recognized by HSMAI as one of its Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing
Mick Talbot has joined Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd. (EasyRMS) as director of sales for the United Kingdom and Ireland market.  Mr. Talbot brings 35 years of experience from the airline and hospitality industries in both revenue management and sales positions, including director of revenue management for InterContinental Hotels Group, senior director pricing for Travelport by GTA, and most recently sales director for EZYield.com. 
Doug Carr, executive director of distribution at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, has been recognized by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) as one of its Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.  Mr. Carr was nominated specifically for executing Passkey's GroupMAX as a centralized strategy to automate the group housing experience for guests and meeting planners across the Fairmont brand's global portfolio.


- MSI releases two-way interface between NiteVision GMS and SynXis’ CRS
- Mama Shelter Marseille Chooses Xn Hotel Systems
Multi-Systems, Inc., (MSI) has released a two-way interface between its NiteVision GMS and SynXis’ Central Reservation System.  The first implementation is for Vantage Hospitality Group, which includes Americas Best Value Inn and Lexington Collection; this is MSI’s 15th two-way CRS interface to an MSI Guest Management System.  http://www.VantageHospitality.com, http://www.msisolutions.com
The 127-room Mama Shelter Marseille, the chain’s second property, has opened with its primary management systems hosted by Xn Hotel Systems from its new U.K. data center.  These include protel’s Multi Property Edition GMS, Xn dotPOS for food and beverage management, ACOM accounting system and Xn Business Intelligence.  http://www.mamashelter.com, http://www.xnhotels.com


- La Quinta lets travelers hold a room for up to four hours using only a mobile phone number
- Advantage Reserve certified by MICROS for two-way interface with OPERA PMS
- Over 300 Preferred Hotel members implement Sabre’s Mobile Guest Connect booking engine since 2011 launch
- hotel SystemsPro enhances hotel WebSpace Internet marketing software
- Travel Tripper launches Email Retargeting of abandoned bookings
- Amadeus and Expedia extend global content and technology agreement to cover North America
For more information on Reservations for 05/03/12


- Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa selects VIZERGY for Internet marketing services
- Milestone Internet Marketing receives four awards in Internet Advertising Competition
The 142-room Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, has selected VIZERGY for Internet marketing services, including a new custom website design, a mobile website, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other marketing services.  http://www.cabovillasbeachresort.com, http://www.vizergy.com
Milestone Internet Marketing received four awards in this year’s Internet Advertising Competition (IAC):
– Outstanding website design and marketing: Residence Inn Savannah Downtown and Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach
– Outstanding website social media campaign: Hotel 1000 Facebook Scavenger Hunt 
– Outstanding website design and marketing: The Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel
http://www.iacaward.org, http://www.milestoneinternet.com


- Rocco Forte Hotels picks SiteMinder for online distribution for its 13 hotels
- Choice names RateGain as qualified vendor for U.S. properties
- Availpro adds Amadeus’ LinkHotel to its range of GDS connections
- eRevMax International opens new development center in Bengaluru
- Southwind Hotels and Resorts announces demand management services
- Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel implements EzRMS
For more information on Revenue Management for 05/03/12


- ARAMARK selects The Knowland Group's Target Net
ARAMARK Conference Centers has selected The Knowland Group's Target Net as its new sales and catering tool for more than 20 properties.  ARAMARK currently manages 60 properties in North America and Europe, plus 48 conference centers in Japan.  http://www.aramarkconferencecenters.com, http://www.knowlandgroup.com


- Oxford Casino selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system and Stratton Warren inventory and procurement
- Restaurant Association of Maryland names MICROS’ mid-Atlantic office its 2012 Allied Member of the Year
Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine, has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system and Stratton Warren System inventory and procurement. The casino is scheduled to open in summer 2012.  http://www.oxfordcasino.com, http://www.agilysys.com
The Restaurant Association of Maryland has selected MICROS Systems’ mid-Atlantic district office as its 2012 Allied Member of the Year.  http://www.micros.com  


- Ritz-Carlton launches mobile app with GPS recognition of location, QR code access to local information
- Roomlinx introduces Interactive click-and-go Program Guide
- OPUS Vancouver completes multiphase technology renovation
- Vesta Hospitality implements FlyteBoard flight information displays at two properties
- Hotel Technologies releases Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio with Speakerphone
For more information on Guest Services for 05/03/12


- Shift4 announces Google Wallet interfaces for four Ingenico PIN pads
- AmericInn International names Merchant Link its preferred provider of payment and data security services
Shift4 Corporation announced Google Wallet interfaces for four Ingenico PIN pads (models iSC250, iSC350, iPP320 and iPP350) that also support swipe-ahead functionality, meaning a customer can swipe his card (or touch his phone) and then enter his PIN or signature before the merchant finishes ringing up the order.  When the order is completed the customer approves the amount, gets his receipt and can leave.  The new NFC functionality integrates with Shift4's existing TrueTokenization and 4Go DOLLARS ON THE NET features.  http://www.shift4.com
AmericInn International has selected Merchant Link as the preferred provider of payment and data security services for its more than 260 franchisees.  Locations using an integrated property management system for payments are now required to install the Merchant Link software, which includes its Payment Gateway, TransactionVault tokenization and TransactionShield point-to-point encryption technology.  http://www.AmericInn.com, http://www.merchantlink.com


- Clear Sky Software releases interface with MICROS 9700 POS
- Oxford Casino selects Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System and InfoGenesis POS
Clear Sky Software has released an interface between its FOOD & BEVERAGE inventory control system and MICROS’ 9700 POS system.  By importing sales data from MICROS and comparing it to food and beverage inventory, Clear Sky produces true costs reports offering views at the location, category, sub-category and product level.  http://www.micros.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com
Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine, has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System inventory and procurement and InfoGenesis POS system. The casino is scheduled to open in summer 2012.  http://www.oxfordcasino.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates selects Telkonet's cloud-based EcoSmart energy management
The 393-room Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, has selected Telkonet's cloud-based EcoSmart energy management platform, integrated with its work order management system to streamline response times for reported issues in guestrooms.  The system will be implemented by Varis Energy, Telkonet's Middle East-based partner.  http://www.kempinski.com/fr/dubai, http://www.telkonet.com


- Starwood selects Spectrio as preferred vendor for on-hold audio recordings
- Quadriga announces QNetworks unit to support hotels upgrading their networks
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has selected Spectrio as the preferred vendor to produce and provide on-hold audio recordings for its newest hotels worldwide, including the ability to play specific messages at specific times of the day.  http://www.starwoodhotels.com, http://www.spectrio.com
Quadriga announced QNetworks, a specialist business unit to help hotels with technology and operational challenges as they upgrade their networks for greater efficiency, competitive advantage and meet guest requirements.  QNetworks will act as the single point of contact for hotels across Europe or globally as required, and will provide services such as network monitoring and reporting, Internet provisioning, bandwidth optimization, Wi-Fi consultancy, TV network standards and convergence services.  http://www.quadriga.com  


- Les Hôtels JARO retrofits five properties with Kaba’s RFID locking systems
- VingCard Elsafe phases out brass metal plating and painting in favor of physical vapor deposition
- Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Marion, Ill., implementing OpenWays’ phone-based acoustic room keys
For more information on Security for 05/03/12


And now for you-know-what…

Two male friends are out playing golf one Saturday afternoon. After finishing one hole, they wait for the two women who are ahead of them at the next hole to finish. They wait a few minutes, and then a few more, but soon get irritated at the amount of time the women are taking to play the hole.

One of the men decides that enough is enough. He tells his friend, "I'm going to go up there and tell those two to hurry up."

He starts walking towards the women but after getting halfway there, he returns to his friend.

"What's wrong?" his friend asks.

"I can't go over there,” the first man replies. “One of those women is my wife and the other is my mistress."

His friend says, "That's OK, I'll go talk to them."

He starts walking towards the women but after getting halfway there, he too turns around and gets back in the cart.

"Small world," he says.

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