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Siegel Sez

May 31, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Monday was Memorial Day in the United States, a holiday where we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  There were some incredibly moving posts on Facebook. Sometimes there are days that being on Facebook is worth it (I am not sure it is worth $106 billion though). Monday was also the day that our horse Currahee tried to break his streak. It didn’t happen. He has run five times and has come in third three times and now fifth twice. He must like odd numbers – doesn’t he realize that one is an odd number? Yes, Memorial Day is the unofficial (or is it now the official?) start of summer. Based on my recent experiences booking rooms it looks like a great summer ahead for the hotel industry. Isn’t New York City in June supposed to be slow? Then again, it is Belmont Stakes weekend.

Speaking of travel, it looks like many people have booked their flights to Baltimore this year. HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) has a record number of exhibitors and pre-registration numbers are sky high. The very popular Guestroom 20X returns this year and, also surprising, is that HFTP has entrusted me to do a session on Monday. I will hold off until our next Siegel Sez to tell you exactly what we are doing, but I will say we have quite a few surprises lined up so make sure you put it on your calendar. HITEC is a week later than usual this year and I wonder if that has helped with the high numbers. Personally I think it has had little effect; the industry is healthy, there is much to see and experience along with some pretty major technology announcements coming at the show. A little over three weeks to go and I can’t wait. Congratulations to Doug Rice, the head of HTNG, for being elected to HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. I had the opportunity to talk to Doug after he received the news and I hope he enjoys the next three weeks as much as I did nine years ago. It is a great honor and Doug is very deserving. Please read Jon Inge’s introduction to his technology news regarding the best way to have a positive HITEC experience. This is the time to start planning.  Don’t forget to visit Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online in booth No. 2110 and say hello. We live for face-to-face meetings. 

Yes, Memorial Day might be the start of summer, but for those of us who live and breathe technology for the industry, summer starts right after the closing session at HITEC. One closing note regarding HITEC: this week I received an invitation from a vendor to see a product in a suite at a local hotel. The company is not exhibiting at HITEC.  I told them I wouldn’t go and I will tell you that you shouldn’t go. Honestly, if you are going to show your products somewhere other than on the tradeshow floor, make it for follow-up demonstrations and take a booth in the exhibit hall. Some people absolutely amaze me.

As we look toward the fall, I think we lucked out that we picked Lake Tahoe for our CIO Summit. We had very positive comments on the location and a record number of CIOs tell us early that they will be there. The CIO Summit is probably the most unique event of the year for those who lead their company’s technology because it is all about the CIOs with very limited vendor participation. Each year I am amazed at the number of first-time attendees, which is why the event has continued to grow.  The CIO Summit is by invitation only. If you have any questions, please send an email or ask us at HITEC. Tahoe in the summer; yes, sometimes life can be good.

On another note, there is big news in the hotel industry; Marriott International is purchasing Gaylord Hotels. For the full story, go to http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2012_2nd/May12_GaylordMarriott.html.  
Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last couple of 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



- Advice to first-time HITEC attendees: start planning!
It’s amazing how fast the year’s gone, and HITEC is now less than four weeks away.  A major part of its appeal is the opportunity to see so many vendors and systems in one place, not to mention catching up with friends and acquaintances in the industry, and of course no one who’s been before needs any encouragement to return. 

However, the very scope and complexity that make it such a worthwhile event are often intimidating for first-time attendees.  The key is to do as much planning ahead of time as possible; it won’t guarantee that you’ll fit everything in, but if you don’t plan you will certainly miss many valuable opportunities.

Three separate areas need planning: education sessions, floor exhibits and the evening receptions.  No, that last one’s not flippant; there are very many evening activities and they can be great places to catch up with people you missed during the day.  However, because the events are spread all around the local area it really helps to plan out where they are on a street map; mark it up with the date and time of each one you want to get to, and plan a route before you start.

For education sessions and vendor exhibits, start at HFTP’s HITEC website (http://www.hftp.org/hitec).  The exhibition floor isn’t open during the education sessions, so at least you can identify which of them you want to catch without distraction.  The exception is the Tech Tour on Wednesday morning, a valuable one-hour guided tour of selected vendors before the hall opens that helps provide a good grounding in specific areas of technology.

There are two critical things regarding visiting the exhibition floor.  One is that you will never see all the booths, and so again you need to plan.  Know which vendors are your top priority (there are guides on the HFTP website), learn where they are on the floor plan and work out how to get to those first.  The second is that if you want to have meaningful discussions with any senior person at a vendor booth you simply must make a prior appointment; they are so much in demand that they are perpetually in meetings and have no time for a casual introduction.  All vendors take appointments; call them up now and make sure you’re on their lists.  Oh, and take a tablet if you have one; the interactive app for HITEC gets better every year and makes it really easy to locate vendors, but trying to use it on a smartphone is a real exercise in eye strain. 

Finally, although preplanning is so important, do allow for serendipity, time to discover things of interest in booths from vendors you’ve never heard of.  No, you won’t cover the whole show, but with a good plan you can achieve a great deal on your agenda and still come across new ideas that can prove both fascinating and useful.  See you there!



- Clarenco chooses protel Multi Property Edition from Xn Hotel Systems for six properties
- MSI releases CloudPM, next-generation cloud-based guest management system
- NCR launches NCR Express Key table-top key-generating minikiosk
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/31/12


- Hotel Okura Co. selects Sabre distribution services for 79 properties
- Appnostic announces SocialBooker Plus-U to give influential Facebook users booking commissions
- Roger Smith Hotel launches mobile site from Pegasus’ Open Hospitality, includes Facebook booking engine
For more information on Reservations for 05/31/12


- Kokua Hospitality selects VIZERGY
- HeBS Digital receives Best of Show award at WMA’s 2012 MobileWebAwards
- HeBS Digital releases CMS Premium updated website content management system
- VIZERGY receives two Summit Creative Awards in unusual categories
- Travelport adds Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade offers to itinerary emails and ViewTrip online itinerary tool
- Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club selects Digital Alchemy’s eRelationship module
For more information on Marketing/Management for 05/31/12


- ProfitSword introduces ProfitPace brand-agnostic, multiproperty pace reporting tool
- SiteMinder adds two-way connection with India’s MakeMyTrip
- Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, Panama, and Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto, deploy EzRMS
For more information on Revenue Management for 05/31/12


- Roomlinx introduces SmartEvent to deliver customized interactive event information to attendees’ TVs
- Accor unveils Carbon Optimizer tool to help manage events’ carbon footprints
- The Knowland Group passes 170,000-contact milestone in its event booking database
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/31/12


- Cornell Center for Hospitality Research releases Excel-based Restaurant Table Simulator
- Sands Bethlehem Event Center selects InfoGenesis
The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research has released its Excel-based Restaurant Table Simulator (RTS) to help restaurant managers analyze table usage.  Users enter their numbers into the spreadsheet to generate metrics such as table usage, customer wait and customers lost, given a particular set of inputs.  Restaurant managers can run what-if scenarios for different table mixes, testing different assumptions.  RTS also allows for situations where customers select their own tables, instead of being assigned to a table by a host or hostess.  http://www.chr.cornell.edu  
Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa., has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system for its newly opened 3,000-seat entertainment venue, integrated with the player tracking system used by Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to accept comp dollars from the casino.   http://www.sandseventcenter.com, http://www.agilysys.com 


- Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel adds Pay-Touch finger-print recognition to POS terminals
- Enseo announces UDCP CableCARD set-back box, claimed to be first for hospitality industry
- Omni Hotels & Resorts names iBAHN a preferred IPTV vendor
- Guestware selects Shiji Networks to represent it in China
- KniTec launches AdRev application to deliver on-screen advertising to guestroom TVs
For more information on Guest Services for 05/31/12


- Doug Rice inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Cristina Blaj appointed sales manager at RateTiger in London
- Cristina Hernandez promoted to regional sales manager at RateTiger in London
- Sunaina Jagtiani promoted to vice president customer support at RateTiger in London
- Touradj Farahani hired by Otrum as general manager for the Middle East
- David Warren joins Your Hotel Worldwide as regional sales director/U.K.
- Daniela Trimmel promoted to marketing and public relations manager at TAC
- Steve Davis is new president at Safemark Systems
- Dennis Hall promoted to manager, information technology at Aqua Hotels & Resorts
For more information on People on the Move for 05/31/12


- Fujitsu Frontech North America features InvoTech Systems’ GIMS UHF-RFID at its Solutions Center
- UniFocus in final testing of mobile applications for Watson, R.M. Time and Attendance
Fujitsu Frontech North America is featuring InvoTech Systems’ GIMS UHF-RFID system at the grand opening of the Fujitsu Solutions Center at its Foothill Ranch, Calif., headquarters, as an example of how Fujitsu’s RFID tags allow customers to scan both uniforms and linens wirelessly and update all databases remotely through a cloud-based architecture that requires no intermediate computing devices.  http://www.fujitsufrontechna.com, http://www.invotech.com
UniFocus announced the final testing phase of mobile applications for both managers and employees using its Watson, R.M. Time and Attendance system.  Managers will be able to see any staff scheduled, late employees, call-ins, who’s coming in soon, who’s late to clock out, who’s in but not scheduled, who’s in or approaching overtime, approaching breaks and more.  Employees will be able to view schedules, submit time off requests and swap, drop or accept shifts quickly.  Managers can also send messages to groups of employees requesting shift coverage if there are call-ins or other unexpected circumstances.  http://www.unifocus.com  


- Mintek enhances Transcendent hotel EAM maintenance management system
Mintek Mobile Data Solutions has announced several enhancements to its Transcendent hotel EAM maintenance management system, including:
- additional language translations: the hotel EAM CMMS now supports 15 different languages.
- an updated online help viewer with chapter directory, how-to examples and annotated screen shots to make referencing easier.
- improvements in the Windows mobile application response time, as a result of a complete redesign and optimization.
- more supported mobile devices, including Motorola’s ES400.
Other changes allow users to be notified when action has been taken on their work requests, provide improved work management reporting, a bar code generator and the auto-resizing of site photos for increased speed of loading.  http://www.mintek.com  


- Percipia aligns with Datanamics
Percipia Networks has aligned with Datanamics to leverage its hospitality telephony and technical service offerings.  This links Percipia’s established presence in next-generation guestroom technologies, messaging platforms, voice applications and IP telephony with Datanamics’ single-source networking and information technology services.  http://www.percipianetworks.com, http://www.DatanamicsInc.com

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