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Siegel Sez

May 17, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

There is one question that I get asked more than anything else. Often I am asked who is in or out, but gossip aside, the question I am asked most often is what is hot. What are the big issues facing the industry? What are people talking about? When it comes to technology for the hotel industry it is pretty easy, or is it?  Sure the advances being made in mobile technology comes right to the forefront, as does the issues surrounding cloud computing, but you can’t talk hotel technology and not bring up the struggles with bandwidth. But what else? After reading our feature article by John Burns for the upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade, I would include the ever-changing world of distribution as well. If you don’t receive Hospitality Upgrade I encourage you to sign up at www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe. We offer subscriptions in both print and digital including tablet versions. John is the leading consultant in the world of distribution and his article is an excellent source to enlightening what has been, what is today and more importantly what is to come in the future. Back to my original question, what is hot in the industry today? You’ll have to wait on my answer: I’ve been entrusted to create a session at HITEC discussing what the hot issues in the hotel industry are. Is it the ongoing changes inside the guestroom? Is it more creative ways to make money? What about ways to save money? If you have thoughts or want to add your two cents, please drop a note to mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. As we finalize this session it would be great to get thoughts regarding not only what is hot today, but what will be in the near future. Along with your thoughts, please take a moment to vote on this topic on our industry survey on the http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com home page. It is very popular and helps us in our editorial world.

Yes, HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) is only five weeks away. You can say what you want about Baltimore, but it is ideally located for a large portion of the country. It is a short trip by car or train for those from New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Those traveling across the Atlantic are happy it is on the East Coast. Plus, it is a great city. I spent four years with this business in Maryland and it was a great experience. There will be a lot of reflecting for me this year. This is our 20th year of publishing. If you have been reading Hospitality Upgrade for the whole time or just started recently then add visiting booth No. 2110 to your HITEC to-do list. We are creating a retrospective video and we would like many people to add their memories. It should be fun and if we do this right, it will be very different. Please stop by. It is always fun to meet our readers.

Typically at this point I would tell you here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. So I will. Then I tell you that I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. The most recent you-know-what was a bit surprising. An equal amount of readers sent feedback stating it was not appropriate, with others saying it was by far the funniest in a long time. I guess this is where you say you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. So this week we will try something new. Remember the video “United Breaks Guitars” where somebody created a video that went viral with over 11 million views about United Airlines and what he went through after his guitar was broken in transit? I have a brother who went through an unbelievable experience when his house was pretty much destroyed by fire and he created a video about his dealing with insurance companies. It is creative, funny and based on comments shared not all that uncommon when making a claim. This week we will take a break from our typical you-know-what to share his video.  Here now is the real reason we are here.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- Managing expectations; dropping the ball on service cripples the marketing message
- HTNG releases 2012A Web Services specifications
Managing expectations continues to be one of the hardest things we do.  Sometimes in this entitlement-prone society guest expectations are simply unreasonable (“I expect unlimited Internet bandwidth, free!”), in which case all we can do is respond as rationally as we can and trust that the wider audience will understand what’s possible and what’s simply impractical to provide.

Sometimes, though, marketing gets ahead of reality, and we have to constantly navigate the fine line between attracting guests with great photography and appealing amenity offers and promising more than we’re prepared to deliver.  Guest feedback sites help keep this in check, of course, quickly pointing out transgressions (e.g., on TripAdvisor, Expedia and others) or posting guests’ own photos to show more typical views (Oyster.com).  To maintain trust hoteliers must constantly monitor this feedback and respond appropriately, both online to the public and internally to correct service deficiencies.  To do otherwise is to risk undermining all the marketing and training effort spent on building up a brand and image in the first place.

This is why it’s especially discouraging to find that the mobile site of a particular chain’s technology-focused flag crashes every time a guest tries to book a hotel with it, and that it’s done so for nearly a year without being updated, judging by the comments posted online by frustrated users.  No, I’m not going to name it; the brand in question is already aware of the situation, and maybe this will encourage others to make sure reality matches the brand’s marketing message a little more closely.

Promising something and then failing to deliver on that promise is worse than not offering it at all.
HTNG has released its 2012A Web Services specifications.  Three new specifications cover:
   - Customer profile: Core services and schema to enable a richer and more structured customer profile, plus Web services to facilitate customer profile interactions.
   - Folio detail exchange: A message set for passing transactional-level guest folio data to systems that support analytics, loyalty, invoice dematerialization, VAT tax rebate, centralized direct billing, corporate expense reporting and other applications.
   - Hosted payment capture: Covers the secure, remotely hosted capture of credit card data by a booking website, CRS or other system through transferring control temporarily to the hosted secure site, maintaining the look and feel of the hotel’s website, potentially enabling the hotel system to move outside the scope of PCI requirements. 

Three other specifications have been updated:
   - Product distribution: Many enhancements, corrections and documentation improvements, plus the ability for rate plans to be flagged as yieldable or not, and quotable in multiple currencies.  
   - Digital signage: Adds multilingual capabilities. 
   - Guest self service: Allows the handling of multiple availability requests within a single message, plus other minor enhancements.



- Randy Craven named 2012 CHTP of the Year
- Riko van Santen joins Kempinski Hotels as VP digital strategy and distribution
- Jay Livingood hired by Yellow Dog Software as president
- Kevin Bennett joins Blueprint RF as CFO
- Kurt Slinglend joins Amway Hotel Corp as CIO
- Dan Lulich promoted to CTO at Eleven Wireless
- Kristin Lysne joins Otrum as director of strategic initiatives
- Karl Henrik Lilleheier is Otrum’s new CFO
- Trond Henriksen hired by Otrum as SVP sales and distribution
- Steven Weeks appointed CEO at FCS Computer Systems
- Larry Steinberg hired by Agilysys as SVP of technology
For more information on People on the Move for 05/17/12


- G1 Group picks MICROS’ RES, Materials Control, Enterprise Management and XBR Loss Prevention for 40 outlets
- IDS NEXT launches Envy Dine tablet application for restaurants
- Smorgie.com announces concierge restaurant recommendation system
- Foursquare partners with OpenTable
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 05/17/12


- at-visions partners with AV system integrator Omnix in the Middle East
- Three Dorchester Group hotels implement Control4 guest controls
- Hotel Regatta in Hanko, Finland implements Quadriga’s Sensiq Edition
- Pan Pacific’s Nirwana Bali Resort implements MTech’s HotSOS and REX
- InterContinental Singapore implements MTech’s HotSOS
- Four Seasons Baku installs custom Stanford mirror TVs by Electric Mirror
For more information on Guest Services for 05/17/12


- Denihan chooses Telkonet’s EcoSmart energy management for five hotels
- IDS NEXT partners with occupancy-based energy management vendor Energex
Denihan Hospitality Group has chosen Telkonet’s cloud-based EcoSmart energy management platform for five of its hotels in New York City: The Benjamin, Affinia Gardens, Affinia Dumont, Affinia Shelburne and Affinia 50.  http://www.denihan.com, http://www.telkonet.com/products/ecosmart/
IDS NEXT has partnered with occupancy-based energy management vendor Energex.  The energy management systems directly interface with existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, regulating the energy consumption at the property; hoteliers can access data and analyses of energy consumption through IDS NEXT’s FortuneNEXT Property Management System.  http://www.energexinc.com, http://www.idsnext.com


- Skywire Media licenses Ameranth Web/wireless data synchronization patents
Mobile messaging services developer Skywire Media has entered into a license agreement with Ameranth for its Web/wireless data synchronization patents.  The two companies are partnering to exploit their combined expertise in key hospitality/gaming market segments.  http://www.ameranth.com, http://www.skywiremedia.com


- G1 Group selects MICROS OPERA
- NORTHWIND announces Maestro iPad® Xpress Check-In app
Scotland’s G1 Group has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA for all five hotels, and MICROS RES, Materials Control, Enterprise Management and XBR Loss Prevention for all 40 retail and food and beverage outlets.  G1 will implement centralized configuration and management of the products.  http://www.g1group.co.uk, http://www.micros.com
NORTHWIND has announced its Maestro iPad® Xpress Check-In app, to be officially launched at HITEC 2012.   Xpress Check-In lets properties use iPads and other tablet devices for mobile check-in and checkout services, integrated with their Maestro Property Management Suite.  Functions include:
- Wireless check-in and checkout.
- Personalized upsell and room-change capability with real-time availability access.
- Guest registration signature capture.
- Remote group conference check-in and room blocking.
- Remote encoding of mag stripe and RFID room keys from the iPad (mag stripe keys will be produced on the nearest keycard generator; RFID keys will be generated from the iPad itself).
- Credit card payment capture with PCI-compliant processing.
- Guest message delivery from the iPad, or emailed instantly to the guest’s address.


- Louvre Hotels extends CRS agreement with Pegasus for three years
- Pegasus completes connection with China’s TravelSky Technology
- Choice Hotels releases iPad® app
- Roomkey.com drops beta designation, adds new tools and Facebook page
- Pelican System rebrands as Pelican Hotel Solutions, moves headquarters to Los Angeles
- InnLink expands into India through partnership with MAI E-Travel Services
For more information on Reservations for 05/17/12


- Cendyn receives four Communicator Awards from IAVA
- TRX releases version 2.0 of Hotel Name Normalization software
- Xn Hotel Systems announces QlikView-powered Xn Business Intelligence
- Availpro integrates Kelkoo and Trivago price comparison sites into Direct Click Manager
- Digital Alchemy certified by U.S. Government’s General Services Administration
- Lodging Interactive receives three Interactive Media Awards
- MICROS rebrands TIG Global as MICROS eCommerce
- Highpointe Hotel Corp. upgrading to latest version of Aptech Execuvue
For more information on Marketing/Management for 05/17/12


- Omni pilots Rainmaker’s GroupREV group forecasting and pricing software
- Hotel Brunelleschi and Grand Hotel Minerva in Florence implement IDeaS
- EasyRMS launches Ez PLUS consulting services
For more information on Revenue Management for 05/17/12


- Orient-Express Hotels deploying MICROS OPERA Sales and Catering in 37 hotels
- Westin announces Project Hive small meeting room concept for hotel business centers
- Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach implements Passkey’s GroupMAX
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/17/12


- Recludo announces time-controlled, fingerprint-access door locks
Recludo announced a new range of time-controlled, fingerprint-access door locks, which control access without apps, text messages, key cards or any connection to a central computer.  On arrival at the hotel, the guest can bypass the front desk and go directly to the room where his/her authorized fingerprint is stored in the door’s lock for the duration of the stay and then erased.  http://www.recludo.com  


And now for you-know-what…

Where are those good hands?


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