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Siegel Sez

November 01, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Did you read the lead story Monday on Hotel Online regarding Philadelphia hoteliers wanting to pull the free in-room copies of Philadelphia magazine because of its cover story about the number of murders in the city? Were they worried that those staying in their hotels would be scared? You want a real scary story?

This past weekend we had a company retreat at the Westin Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya Resort. I checked into my room around 5 p.m. and was changing into shorts and decided to sit on my balcony which had a beautiful view of the ocean. The balconies are private so I didn’t feel the urgent need to finish changing while sitting there. All of a sudden out of nowhere comes a very intoxicated woman who was my next door neighbor leaning out around the balcony dividers to say hello. This totally caught me off guard especially since I wasn’t dressed appropriately to be meeting surprise neighbors. I said hello and quickly retreated inside my room. My phone rings and as I am sharing this story with one of my group there is a knock on the door. I continued my call for a moment and then the knocking quickly became near violent in nature. I went to the door and looked through the peephole and it was my neighbor. I put my shorts on, stayed on the phone and answered the door. Then came the formal and very drunken introduction from my neighbor. I shook her outstretched hand and then she wouldn’t let go until I aggressively pulled it away. I told her nice to meet her but I was on the phone and had to go. Ok, she now knew I was traveling alone which was not the norm for a Bahamian resort this time of year. She was obviously a very “friendly” woman who enjoys drinking beyond her limit even if it was only 5 p.m. What would you have done?

I called the front desk and asked to change my room. I had visions of her knocking at my door at 3 a.m. or even worse trying to climb over the balcony divider and who knows what might happen since we were on the ninth floor? I thought the front desk person was going to cry she was laughing so hard as I told her why I needed to change my room. She made the change and thankfully I didn’t see my ex-neighbor for the duration of the weekend. I wonder if any surprises were in store for whoever checked into the room I vacated. Hey, maybe it worked out for them. People do really lose their inhibitions while on vacation, don’t they?

It was a fun weekend but we are now back to the real world which means Jon Inge’s technology review from the last two weeks. Jon’s opening comments regarding what travelers do while on the road were pretty interesting and funny. Thankfully there was nothing about balcony hopping. 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



- TripAdvisor’s annual travel trends survey reports some surprising figures
Social networking site TripAdvisor released the results of its annual travel trends survey of nearly 4,000 travelers, globally.  Some of the reported trends are both fascinating and surprising, and it would be interesting to see the breakdown of the respondents’ demographics to clarify some of the more unexpected ones.  For example:
- 43 percent of travelers said they are likely to go hiking, up from 24 percent one year ago, and 39 percent plan on adventure activities (such as parasailing and whitewater rafting), up from 29 percent last year.  Really?  Maybe the planes full of business folk I see count their treks through the concrete canyons of New York and Chicago as hikes.  These can certainly turn into adventures if you take a wrong turn.
- 24 percent won't leave home without disinfectant/cleaning supplies, shower shoes, their own pillow, their own sheets/pillowcase or their own towels, with travelers from the United States more than twice as germophobic as those from the United Kingdom.
- Maybe giving rise to the above figures, 28 percent of travelers said their worst experience in a hotel room was a dirty bathroom, and 75 percent of travelers think that a clean restroom is what makes an airport great.
- 20 percent reported that they’d taken items from a hotel, such as towels, bathrobes, decorative pieces, glassware or flatware, but only 4 percent of travelers said they’re likely to do something illegal that they wouldn't normally do at home.  So apparently 16 percent think it’s not illegal to steal from the hotel.
- 64 percent of travelers have bought or brought an additional piece of luggage to pack items they acquired on vacation for the return trip home.  You never know when you might want to pack a few extra towels, I guess.
- More seriously, 61 percent considered the threat of terrorism an important factor when choosing a vacation destination, up from 52 percent last year, and 25 percent (and 29 percent of Americans) consider the cost of fuel important when choosing where to go.  But despite that concern, 81 percent of travelers plan to drive this year for leisure trips, versus 71 percent a year ago.


- Global Hotel Alliance selects MICROS for distribution and other technology services
- Travel Plaza Hotel in Market Harborough, England, installs Oasis’ Linux-based PMS
- Hastings Hotels orders Visual One for its six properties in Northern Ireland
For more on Property Management Systems for 11/01/06


- Lodging Interactive using different XML site map technologies for different search engines
- Webloyalty ranked twelfth in Deloitte's 2006 Technology Fast 500
- TravelCLICK signs exclusive agreement for VFM Interactive’s Viz-it content manager
- Blue Square Studios wins two "Standard of Excellence" awards in tenth annual WebAward Competition
For more on Marketing/Management for 11/01/06


- Major brands’ Internet bookings up 20 percent over 2005, surpass GDS volume
for first time
- Hutchison Priceline signs pan-regional agreement with Amadeus
- SynXis adds direct connection from HotelReservations.travel to RedX
- Berjaya Hotels & Resorts signs for Pelican’s CRS for 12 sites in Malaysia
- Hyatt signs with OpenJaw Technologies for multilingual xRez Internet booking engine
For more on Reservations for 11/01/06


- Hyatt Hotels, Elite Island Resorts sign with HBSI
Hyatt Hotels Corp has signed with Hotel Booking Solutions Inc. to link various sales distribution channels directly to Hyatt’s central reservation system, allowing designated tour operators and wholesaler partners real-time access to Hyatt inventory with Hyatt controlling rates and room availability.  The first three channels to launch with Hyatt will be Quickbook.com, Tourico and OneTravel.

Elite Island Resorts is deploying Hotel Booking Solutions Inc.’s demand management technologies and services at its collection of beachfront properties in Antigua, Tortola, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Palm Island (The Grenadines).
http://www.hyatt.com, http://www.eliteislandresorts.comhttp://www.hotelbookingsolutions.com


- Vintage Hotels implements InfoGenesis’ POS at three hotels
- Princess Cruises upgrading to MICROS’ 9700
- Don Pablo's completes POS upgrade to MICROS RES 4.0 at 96 locations
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 11/01/06


- iBAHN launches global command center
iBAHN has launched its global command center (GCC), offering greater proactive quality monitoring of hotel broadband services. The GCC can monitor over 100,000 pieces of equipment to detect faulty performance before it becomes noticeable to the guest, and protects properties on the iBAHN network against viruses, malicious attacks and spam.  http://www.ibahn.com


- Mintek Mobile Data Solutions listed in Software Magazine’s top 500 global software and services providers
Mintek Mobile Data Solutions is listed among Software Magazine’s top 500 global software and services providers, based on 2005 revenues.  http://www.mintek.com


- Near field communications (NFC) functionally added to VingCard’s Signature
RFID lock
VingCard has added near field communications (NFC) functionality to its Signature RFID lock, allowing guests with NFC-compliant cell phones to use them open their guestroom doors in addition to using RFID key cards.  Through a joint collaboration with NXP (formerly Philips semiconductors), hotels equipped with VingCard RFID locks will be able to offer remote checkin. Guests will receive a booking confirmation number, room number and an encrypted room key access code through SMS (short message system) prior to the arrival at the hotel, avoiding long lines at checkin by going straight to the room. Guests will be able to open the rooms with their NFC-compliant cell phones.  http://www.vingcard.com


- Hastings Hotels orders Visual One’s sales and catering and PMS systems for
six properties
- Sabre Travel Network adds Worktopia’s direct meeting space booking engine
- Golden Tulip launches online booking Web site, Meetings & Events
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 11/01/06


And now for you-know-what…

An elderly woman calls 911 on her cellular phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher, "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!" 

The dispatcher says, "Please stay calm. An officer is on the way."

A few minutes later, the officer calls in, "Disregard, she got in the back seat by mistake."

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