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Siegel Sez

June 22, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I read an article this week in USA Today about customer satisfaction with airlines. The writer closed the article saying that customers show greater satisfaction with hotels than they do with airlines. Am I the only person that finds this comparison bizarre? Airlines have one job to do and that is to make the experience bearable. You are “stuck” on a plane for three hours. You are sitting next to somebody that you probably never would choose to sit next to and you keep your fingers crossed that there are no delays. You work, read or maybe watch a movie and look forward to getting off the plane. That is what airline travel is all about–just get me from point A to point B safely. Then you get to the hotel where you might be staying three nights, and you have the freedom to go wherever you want whenever you want. You can go to the lobby bar and choose who to socialize with or not. When in your room you can watch television or movies, work, surf the Web and if you need to get up and go to the bathroom you don’t have to bother anyone else. Honestly, except hotels and airlines being under the travel umbrella, what do they have in common? Maybe it is because of how much I have traveled, but there is nothing about a plane trip that I look forward to, but I still get excited checking into a hotel. I always wonder what adventure lies ahead. Comparing the two makes no sense to me.

It seems like just about everyone I know is off to Baltimore, Md., next week for HITEC 2012. It looks like it could be a record attendance this year and thankfully the temperatures will be reasonable. For those of us around the last time HITEC was in Baltimore, who can forget the record heat wave the city had that week. Baltimore at 106 degrees? Ouch! When you arrive and get your program or download it onto your smartphone, check out the educational sessions this year. The sessions look very strong. For those of you who will be there Monday, be sure to add our session at 2:15 p.m. to your schedule. Consultants Jon Inge and Jeremy Rock along with technology leaders Marcus Satterfield of Hilton Worldwide and Robin Koetje of The Hotel Group will be sharing, and possibly arguing, where money should and shouldn’t be spent relative to hotel technology. It will be a lively and very interactive session and we always invite audience participation. I love the exhibit hall and enjoy the educational sessions, but also love the social aspect of HITEC. If you have any doubts of the health of the industry, you should see all the parties we have been invited to during the week. We have a mission to try to go to all of these events and this year the list is extensive. Each year we wrap up the week’s nightly festivities at the MTech HITEC After Party, now the Newmarket/MTech, et al After Party. And then I wonder why the day after HITEC I feel I should check myself into some detox program. What a week this will be. 

HITEC makes me reflect. I attended my first HITEC in 1984 and this will be my 28th consecutive HITEC. All this proves is that I am getting old. Thankfully I had an idea 8 years after my first HITEC to create a newsletter for the hotel industry on technology happenings and our first issue came out in the fall of 1992. Three thousand copies were mailed and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be doing it 20 years later, now in print and digitally in 110 countries around the world. Yes, I still love doing it. When you are at HITEC please come by our booth (No. 2110) and simply tell us where you were 20 years ago; we don’t care if you were still in grade school. We are putting together a fun retrospective and would like as many people from the industry involved as possible. I promise, it will take less than a minute to participate and who knows, you might be the next YouTube sensation! We hope to see you there! Baltimore, here we come!

Here is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of all the technology happenings 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



- Vendors’ challenge in getting noticed in the run-up to HITEC
- The social scene is just as challenging
This traditionally lengthy pre-HITEC newsletter once more highlights the vendors’ big challenge; everyone wants to make a big announcement to attract attention and ensure visitors come to their booths, yet by the same token there are so many announcements that it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd. 

The other challenge is timing; do you make the announcement in the couple of weeks just before HITEC or save it for the show itself, when it might feel more dramatic but it’s arguably harder to get attendees’ attention?  Very few visitors make the time to go to the press release announcements during the day, relying instead on checking their email in the evenings when they’re frequently more than a little distracted by extracurricular activities...  Maybe this year vendors will carpet-bomb attendees’ phones with tweets instead – not a prospect I look forward to, but probably inevitable with this world’s massive emphasis on real-time communications.

Either way, I do encourage you to work your way through the news, as this is shaping up to be quite an eventful HITEC.  Apart from the expected heavy emphasis on mobile and cloud-based software, there’s been an unusually high level of mergers and takeovers in the run-up to the show – just in the last two weeks Infor acquired Easy RMS, Newmarket picked up MeetingMatrix and Honeywell took over INNCOM – and I expect there to be a few more significant changes before it’s over.  It’s going to be an active week.
Speaking of extracurricular activities, the generosity of vendors wanting to entertain attendees seems to have hit new heights this year, judging from the flood of invitations still filling my inbox.  Two thoughts, though; it would make life a whole lot easier if vendors could join forces to combine their efforts in fewer venues, as it’s become physically impossible to catch all the vendors I’d really like to chat with in the evenings.  And secondly – a minor beef – as the invitations to receptions roll in via email and ask you to RSVP, why do so many immediately ask for your name and email address?  Didn’t they have to know that to send it to you?  Seems like technology companies could be more clued in.  Kudos to Newmarket for being the sole exception so far.



- The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Warren Markwart and Kemmons Wilson receive HFTP’s 2012 Hospitality Technology Award of Merit
- Pegasus shuffles top leadership: David Millili promoted to CEO, Steve Lapekas to CIO, Chris Wichers to chief sales officer
- Christopher Snyder hired by Flip.to as regional sales director, Asia Pacific
- Kenneth McGovern joins FCS Computer Systems as national sales director
- Debi Moses is new director of sales for North America at ReviewPro
- Ben Guanzon hired by Coast Hotels & Resorts as executive director, information technology
- Phillip Spencer appointed interim president and CEO of LodgeNet
- Oswald Lares joins InvoTech Systems as director of sales
- Pierre Richer promoted to CEO at NEC Display Solutions of America
- Geoffrey Krieg named vice president of product management at Merchant Link
For more information on People on the Move for 06/22/12


- NORTHWIND extends Analytics data analysis to multiproperty implementations of Maestro
- Prologic First introduces suite of 20 integrated hospitality applications to North American market
- Hotelogix appoints Stark Service Solutions its primary United States channel partner
- Delta Hotels and Resorts piloting MICROS OPERA 9 Room Reservation Services module
- Trump Hotel Collection picks MICROS OPERA Enterprise Solution, 9700 POS for Doral Golf Resort & Spa
- Chetan Patel deploys MSI’s NiteVision PMS at four properties in North Dakota
- Resort Collection of Panama City Beach, Fla., integrates Clubessential, PAR Springer-Miller SMS|Host
- Hotel Concepts – Brilliant enhances cloud-based iTesso system
- Choice Hospitality Solutions adds package plan management to its GMS
- Resort Data Processing releases interface with NAVIS reservation sales systems
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/22/12


- TravelClick partners with Groupize for online group hotel bookings
- Sabre partners with China’s TravelSky
- Le Crystal Hotel & Spa implements B4Checkin
- Global Hotel Exchange offers free reservation services for hotels on 45-country hotel booking website
- Hilton signs new multiyear distribution agreement with Travelocity
- Travel Tripper releases certified RezTrip 2.0 interface with NORTHWIND’s Maestro
- Travel Tripper migrates its Web services to Amazon’s cloud environment
For more information on Reservations for 06/22/12


- Aptech releases mobile version of Execuvue cloud-based business intelligence system
- Texas Western Hospitality implements Aptech’s Execuvue for 53 properties.
- Cendyn wins four Outstanding Achievement Awards in 2012 Interactive Media Awards
- Lodging Interactive updates its Web site Content Management System
- English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues implements ZDirect’s ZMail
- Black Bear Casino Resort selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope survey tools
- ProfitSword passes 1,000-hotel milestone for its business intelligence applications
- Nor1 receives U.S. patent for PRiME automatic merchandising methods and systems
For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/22/12


- Swiss BelHotel International selects RateGain for 80+ properties
- Infor acquires Easy RMS
- Alila Jakarta implements EzRMS’ Core Module
- The Lensbury implements EzRMS’ Core Module
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/22/12


- Station Casinos implements Passkey's GroupMAX at two properties
- hotel SystemsPro updates hotel SalesPro with group revenue optimization tools
- hotel SystemsPro launches hotel SalesPro Mobile hand-held sales platform
- COVA Hotel in San Francisco picks TTI Technologies to upgrade and install new business center
- Newmarket acquires MeetingMatrix
- Flyte Systems announces EventBoard, combines property event data with FlyteBoard  airline flight data, weather, etc.
- Crestron certifies Mitsubishi Electric’s LDT462V 46-inch display as a Crestron Connected device
- Lanyon announces Property Kick Start service to help properties accelerate business development efforts
- Maritz Research white papers on The Future of Meetings emphasize pervasiveness of technology
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 06/22/12


- TripCraft, PAR Springer-Miller release TripCraft SpaSoft Mobile spa application
TripCraft has announced TripCraft SpaSoft Mobile, a new mobile spa application in partnership with PAR Springer-Miller Systems that provides a branded and customizable user interface to the SpaSoft application.  The app allows staff to perform key service and operations tasks as they move with clients throughout the spa, such as check-in/checkout, scheduling and changes, reservations, treatment details, update client profiles and preferences, medical information and waivers, payments and more.  http://www.spasoft.com, http://www.tripcraft.com 


- Kempinski chooses Optii Solutions for Hotel Adlon, Berlin to manage housekeeping
- InvoTech announces mobile version of GIMS inventory software
- Peabody Orlando implementing d2o's PMI system for resource cost control
- Shift4 Corp completes EMV smart-card certification process with Global Payments Canada
- Best Western rolling out tech-based "I Care Clean" program to 2,100+ hotels in North America
For more information on Back Office for 06/22/12


- Clear Sky Software releases receiving-documents interface with Sysco
Clear Sky Software has released an interface between its food inventory control system and Sysco to streamline the receiving of Sysco products.  When a Sysco order arrives at the customer site, users can import Sysco-shipped order files directly into the Clear Sky FOOD receiving function.  Product pricing is updated to current amounts and product substitutions are added to the Clear Sky FOOD product master file, eliminating considerable data entry.  http://www.sysco.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com


- Rosen Hotels & Resorts selects Percipia for two properties, commits to four more
- FCS Computer Systems Unicorn interface/billing system certified compliant with Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0
Rosen Hotels & Resorts has selected Percipia Networks’ Parallax Software with customized applications as well as its Precision Voice Mail product for the 1334-room Rosen Centre and 800-room Rosen Plaza hotels.  The 1500-room Rosen Shingle Creek property already utilizes Percipia’s software; Rosen has committed to install Percipia at four more properties.  http://www.rosenhotels.com, http://www.percipianetworks.com
FCS Computer Systems (FCS) has announced that its FCS Unicorn interface and billing system is compliant with Avaya Aura Communication Manager 6.0 communication software.  FCS Unicorn is available in onsite multiproperty or cloud-based configurations.  http://www.avaya.com, http://www.fcscs.com


- Q'd Up Systems releases Bell Desk/Valet Automation System
- Swisscom launches second-generation ConnectedHotel TV service
- Swisscom to sell, support SuiteLinq platform in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific
- Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center completes installation of Roomlinx iTV system
- Enseo, Intelity announce ICEbox implementation of Intelity ICE directly on Enseo set-top boxes
- Ciena Hotels to install Intelity ICE in all new Ciena Hotels and Suites
- Hilton Garden Inn Rome Claridge upgrades Quadriga to Sensiq Edition
- NHK introducng NHK WORLD TV to North American market
- Crestron joins LINQ360 Innovation Center, Powered by Microsoft
- DigiValet launches new guest service integration application
- Honeywell acquires INNCOM
- TP Vision releases augmented-reality app, superimposes Philips TV images on hotel’s guestrooms
For more information on Guest Services for 06/22/12


- VingCard Elsafe launches new drawer safe, Zenith by Elsafe
- Sun Suites to install Kaba ILCO 790 RFID electronic locks in all 20 properties
- Loews Hotels & Resorts signs three-year exclusive agreement with Kaba for Saflok Quantum locking systems
For more information on Security for 06/22/12


And now for you-know-what…

According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington recently was faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom.

That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done.

She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror. There are teachers, and then there are educators.

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