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Siegel Sez

November 29, 2012

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

One down and two to go. Thanksgiving is behind us and now to complete the holiday season we focus on Christmas or whichever holiday you celebrate followed by the New Year. I always find it interesting how everybody celebrates this time of year differently. As a hotelier for as long as I was, I always think of those who plan holiday trips. If your resort is located at one of the Caribbean islands or any warm weather resort you are gearing up for one of the busiest weeks of the year between Christmas and New Year's. Those of us who grew up in New York know that the best place to be in the whole world is New York City in December after the tree is lit. The holiday season in New York is unmatched, but then again I could be accused of being biased. I might also be accused of being an adrenaline junkie and nothing gets the blood flowing like being in New York City during this time of year. 

This year I celebrated Thanksgiving in a different way. I was invited to Zurich, Switzerland, and since I didn’t have any plans I went. I had been to Geneva and Lausanne years ago, but never to Zurich. I learned that for a relatively small country, Switzerland is quite diverse. Geneva and Lausanne were French. Zurich is German. Then there are parts of Switzerland that are Italian. Here in the states we all have different accents, but at least we speak the same language, definitely isn’t the case in Switzerland. I went to Lucerne which is a beautiful city not too far from Zurich. As I looked across beautiful Lake Lucerne and stared at the Swiss Alps it was like looking at a live postcard. What a great city and a beautiful country, and I realized how much I miss going to Europe; there is so much history there. One benefit of flying to Europe around Thanksgiving is there are so few people traveling to Europe or at least that was the case this year. Those of us who travel domestically in the United States know you rarely see an empty seat on flights anymore. My flight back from Zurich had less than 50 people on it, which was a pleasant change. I know everybody loves flying first class, but give me an early morning 10-hour flight and three seats across in coach and I am one happy camper. I wonder if that will ever happen again. It was a long way for a five-day trip, but I am glad I went. How nice it was to be somewhere and never have to hear the words Black Friday. Now, that was something to be thankful for!

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



- Keeping guest profile information current and accurate
- More on the use of color in effective user interfaces
The spate of news items about mobile and guestroom-based guest services applications set me thinking again about how to make it easier for hoteliers to keep up with guests’ profiles and preferences.  All of these systems allow a hotel to record what activities a guest looked at and/or booked and which service requests she made, but that’s only a single snapshot of data, accurate only for that moment.  On her next visit her profile and preferences may be different, whether through marriage, being on vacation instead of on business, or simply through wanting to try something else.  There’s no way for the hotel know whether the previous information is still accurate, and so it needs to tread warily when planning to “delight” her (do you hate that phrase as much as I do?) on her next visit.

This is only a subset of the general guest profile maintenance challenge, of course.  Every hotel chain I’ve ever stayed with probably has a profile for me in its database, and I’ll wager that every one is different, inaccurate and incomplete.  Even having me use my loyalty club ID when booking or staying doesn’t guarantee that I’ve taken the trouble to update my club profile with what interests me this month.  So how can hotels be sure they’re reacting to me in the most appropriate, relevant and welcome manner?

This isn’t a new idea (and I don’t recall where I first heard it) but perhaps there’s a way we can use our phones as the source for hotels to check current profile and preference data; after all, we carry them everywhere and use them constantly for every aspect of our lives.  I’m not suggesting that they be opened up to let hotels suck all the data off them, but it seems there could be a phone app that would let us define profile information we’re willing to share with others, and the terms on which we’re prepared to do so.  It might also rank our social apps according to frequency of use; I have both Pandora and Spotify on my phone, for example, but haven’t listened to Pandora for months.  Each hotel system could then interrogate the phone, ask for permission to update its profile on me and customize my visit accordingly.  One thing, though; it would have to be considerably clearer to set up and configure than Facebook’s privacy settings, and define clear limits on what the hotel can do with the data.

What do you think?  Drop me a line at mailto:jon@joninge.com with your comments.
If you’re interested in following up my comments from last time on the use of color to clarify data presentation, you might check out an article by Holly Finn in the Wall Street Journal from Saturday, November 17.  Titled, “The Rise of Iridescent Information,” it reports on a conference organized by Seattle-based visual analytics company Tableau.  Good stuff.



- Jonathan Seigle joins Technologent as director of casinos and resorts/director of sales, Nevada
- Matthew Sandvold joins KoolConnect as executive vice president – customer solutions
Jonathan Seigle has joined infrastructure vendor Technologent as director of casinos and resorts/director of sales, Nevada.  He was most recently vice president independent hotels, casinos and resorts at MICROS Systems, and had earlier held senior sales positions with Cisco, Seatadvisor, TouchStone Software, Technology’s Edge and Ingram Micro.
Matthew Sandvold has joined KoolConnect as executive vice president – customer solutions, following a 13-year career at Lodgenet that culminated in responsibilities as senior director professional solutions.


- protel adds Web booking engine
- Infor’s HMS receives Equip’Innov Award for innovation at Equip’ Hotel
- Infor’s HMS listed as Champion, Trend Setter and Best Overall Value in Vendor Landscape reports from Info-Tech
- hetras announces new mapping technology to simplify data migration
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 11/30/12


- Far East Hospitality picks Trust International for distribution and commission payment services
- FastBooking extends Direct Link program to Kayak and Wego
- Apptricity partners with GetThere to integrate expense management with travel booking
For more information on Reservations for 11/30/12


- HeBS Digital receives five Davey Awards from IAVA
- TravelClick received 63 awards in 2012 for website design
- NAVIS acquires LMG Data Mining
- Lodging Interactive launches HotelWebShows custom HD videos
- PhoCusWright study of TripAdvisor users emphasizes importance and influence of reviews
For more information on Marketing/Management for 11/30/12


- IDS NEXT launches RezNext distribution company
IDS NEXT has launched its RezNext division, a real-time B2B distribution company to link a hotel's reservation system and online booking channels.  Services offered through a single control panel will include rate, channel and revenue management (including competitor rate reporting), reputation management (including loyalty and feedback management), Website design, Web and Facebook booking engines, mobile platform, central reservation system and a two-way guest management system (GMS) interface.  http://www.idsfortune.com  


- Conrad Hotels & Resorts announces Conrad Concierge personal-service application, developed by Intelity
- Fairmont Pacific Rim installs Intelity's ICE Touch on iPads® in all 377 rooms
- Otrum launches Otrum Touch applications for smart devices and smart TVs
- Otrum launches Enterprise Smart application to integrate Otrum Enterprise directly into smart TV hardware
- Hoteligence launches cloud-based guest services and entertainment product in Middle East
- Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel implements Runtriz’ mobile app for guest services
For more information on Guest Services for 11/30/12


- Apptricity partners with GetThere to integrate expense management with travel booking
Apptricity has partnered with GetThere to offer advanced business travel booking and expense management, allowing Apptricity customers to book hotels, air travel and car rentals, manage pre-trip authorizations and automatically create expense reports from travel booking data.  Customers can also create travel itineraries or add trip details to an integrated calendar, accessible online or through mobile devices.  Apptricity Expense Management ensures that booked purchases conform to corporate policies and provides managers with a consolidated view of employee travel booking and expense activity.  http://www.apptricity.com, http://www.getthere.com


- RedPrairie merging with JDA Software
RedPrairie is merging with JDA Software, combining JDA’s experience in supply chain planning, merchandising and pricing with RedPrairie’s focus on warehousing, workforce management, store operations and e-commerce.  JDA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Hamish Brewer is expected to lead the combined company as CEO; RedPrairie’s CEO, Michael Mayoras, will remain on the board of the combined company.  http://www.redprairie.com, http://www.jda.com


- Swisscom appoints SMARTEQ as partner for Russian market
Swisscom Hospitality Services has appointed SMARTEQ as its exclusive channel partner for the Russian market.  SMARTEQ will sell, install and support Swisscom's ConnectedHotel TV, high-speed Internet access, voice-over IP, smart room controls and other guest technologies.  http://www.smarteq.ru, http://www.swisscom.com/hospitality


And now for you-know-what…

I am passing this on to you because it definitely works and we could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following the simple advice I heard on TV the other day, you too can find inner peace.
The psychiatrist proclaimed, "The way to achieve inner peace is to finish all the things you have started and never finished."
So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and hadn't finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Zinfandel, a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream, a bottle of Kahlua, a package of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of the cheesecake, some Doritos, a box of chocolates and the rest of the chocolate chip cookie dough ice-cream.
You have no idea how freaking good I feel right now. Please pass this on to those whom you think might be in need of inner peace.

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