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Siegel Sez

January 10, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

For soccer fans it is the World Cup. For football fans it is Super Bowl. In baseball it is the World Series. But for those of us who spend a great deal of time following technology trends, it is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas which is where I am right now. People like to guess what is the next big technology, but at CES you get clues to what is coming beyond the next thing which makes the show so interesting and often entertaining. There is too much for me to write about this week with Jon Inge’s year in review following this intro, but I will share my CES experience in our upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade. If you don’t currently receive it, please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe and you will also see what is coming down the road. I warn you that when it comes to televisions don’t be surprised if remotes become a thing of the past, everything will be voice activated. Personally, my favorite moment at the show was seeing a very large presence in the exhibit hall by Polaroid. I didn’t even know Polaroid was in business anymore. The company shared a bit of its history and I started singing the old Polaroid Swinger commercial. Yes, I am dating myself, but who else out there remembers the commercial jingle, “Only nineteen dollars and ninety-five cents”? CES is a trip worth taking every year, but you need to be able to withstand crowds and very long waits for transportation to get to the convention center. Trust me, the wait is worth it. I already can’t wait until next year.

Of course, any event of this magnitude is always a lot more fun when a bunch of industry folks get together. We had a dinner at The Cosmopolitan Hotel with Kris Singleton the property’s CIO, Scot Campbell from Pinnacle Entertainment, Neil Schubert from Marriott International, Brian Garavuso from Diamond Resorts, Allison Morris from American Casino and Entertainment Properties, consultant Ted Horner from Australia, Jim Gist, chief sales and marketing officer for JBA Consulting Engineers and Tom Smith from the Westmoor Country Club who was there wearing his HFTP hat. If you want to see a picture of this motley crew, look to the right. Yes, definitely a fun way to start the CES experience.

For those of you who have technology offerings for the industry, I strongly recommend you contact Morgan Mathis at mailto:morgan@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. Our ninth annual Executive Vendor Summit will be held March 20-22 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and this unique gathering of presidents and C-level executives is an amazing experience. Yes, competitors are together, but so many industry partnerships have been created at the EVS as well as a few mergers and acquisitions. There is no charge to attend, but it is by invitation only so I strongly suggest you contact Morgan right away for information. This event has grown each year and is an experience that isn’t offered anywhere in the industry. We have a big surprise this year, so hopefully you will be there to experience it.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of all the technology happenings of 2012. Take a few minutes to read through his year in review and you too will have some ideas of where we have come and where we are going in 2013. 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


- 2012 In Review

Looking back at 2012, we saw some interesting new marketing approaches being tried and several new vendor entrants into the revenue management and guest services markets, which isn’t too surprising given the critical role of effective revenue management and outstanding guest service in attracting guests these days. Guests’ insatiable demand for Internet bandwidth is one of the biggest challenges hotels face, and it seems that tiered service and pricing is the only rational solution at present, much to the chagrin of those guests who expect unlimited bandwidth for free. Social networks continue to be of interest, but have yet to show any real impact on booking levels.

Certainly the most widely publicized story of the year – how often does hotel technology show up on national TV’s breakfast shows – was the demonstrated vulnerability of Onity’s mag stripe guestroom door locks to a hack developed by a curious techie and posted on the Internet. Onity didn’t help itself with an ineffective initial response of a cover plate over the vulnerable data access port and the suggestion that hotels should pay for a more substantial fix, but it was disheartening to see how hard some competitors tried to exploit the problem for their own gain. Every guestroom lock needs to have a way of being opened from the outside in case of emergency, which means that every system on the market is vulnerable to hacking to some degree. Onity’s design may have been more so than most, but it takes a very self-confident vendor to point fingers in this environment.

Finally, hospitality companies have once again demonstrated that they can innovate with the best of them, showing exceptionally well in this year’s InformationWeek 500. This annual listing recognizes business technology teams that have made a notable improvement to how their companies operate, and this year 11 hospitality companies were listed in the top 250, up from seven last year. Go team!
Be sure to click the link below to read the rest of this special edition of Top O' the News.

For more information on Top O' the News for 1/10/13


- Expedia acquires meta-search company trivago
Expedia has acquired over 60 percent of trivago, a meta-search company headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany. Founded seven years ago, trivago covers more than 600,000 hotels across 140+ booking sites in more than 30 countries. The deal is anticipated to close during the first half of 2013. The trivago co-founders and management team will continue to operate independently based out of trivago's headquarters in Dusseldorf, Germany. http://www.trivago.com, http://www.expedia.com


- GCommerce Solutions receives three HSMAI Adrian Awards
- Best Western International extends relationship with VFM Leonardo
- ReviewPro unveils configurable guest survey tool
- USA TODAY Travel Media Group launches HotelMe authenticated hotel review site
- Grand Pacific Resorts upgrades SPI Software’s Orange Version 7 Sales and Marketing system
For more information on Marketing/Management for 1/10/13


- Lanyon acquired by Vista Equity Partners
- Newmarket releases HRM Winter ’13
- Owensboro Daviess County CVB implements Passkey's GroupMAX
- Crown Melbourne installs Passkey's GroupMAX
For more information on Sales & Marketing, Meeting Planning for 1/10/13


- Prologic First adds Thai language support to Web ProL'IFIC Inventory and Financial system
- Santa Ana Star Casino in Albuquerque implements InvoTech Uniform System
Prologic First has enhanced the multilingual capabilities of its Web ProL'IFIC Inventory and Financial application to include the Thai language. http://www.prologicfirst.com  
The Santa Ana Star Casino in Albuquerque, N.M., has implemented the InvoTech Uniform System to manage its inventory of 9,000 uniforms. http://www.santaanastar.com, http://www.invotech.com


- Mark Holzberg joins Swisscom Hospitality Services as vice president, the Americas and global managed services
- Roman Aluisy is new director of business development at Lodging Interactive
- Bob Post joins The Knowland Group’s board of directors
- Joe Flynn promoted to vice president sales, North America at Newmarket
- Raymond Schruijer promoted to vice president corporate accounts at Newmarket
- Gregg Hopkins is new vice president of marketing at Newmarket
- Nikolai Balba appointed to vice president and CTO for Force.com at Newmarket
For more information on People on the Move for 1/10/13


- ONYX Hospitality Group picks RateGain rate intelligence for 33 properties
- RateGain releases new version of RG Bridge
- Rainmaker Group acquires Grasp LLC
- Orient-Express Hotels implementing IDeaS’ Pricing System
For more information on Revenue Management for 1/10/13


- LodgeNet files for bankruptcy, reorganizes under Colony Capital
- LodgeNet to work with DIRECTV to market LodgeNet services to hospitality and healthcare companies
- Intelity partners with Hotelinnovativ for ICE sales, support in Switzerland, other European countries
- Thistle Hotels launches free, unlimited Wi-Fi at its 10 London Hotels
- iRiS announces Lobby interactive digital concierge tablet
- Accor installs DOCOMO interTouch Internet services to 26 hotels in Morocco
- Sofitel is deploying Zyken’s NightCove sleep and wellness systems
- Control4 now delivering Operating System v2.3
- Melia’s Paradisus Resorts brand launches mobile application
- GoConcierge.net acquires Gold Key Solutions
- Concorde Hotels & Resorts picks Quadriga integrated guest services for 25 properties
For more information on Guest Services for 1/10/13


And now for you-know-what…

Last Wednesday a passenger in a taxi leaned over to ask the driver a question and gently tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.

The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb and stopped just inches from a large display window.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab. Then the shaking driver said, "Are you OK? I'm so sorry, but you scared the daylights out of me."

The badly shaken passenger apologized to the driver and said, "I didn't realize that tapping you on the shoulder would startle you so badly."

The driver replied, "No, no, I'm the one who is sorry, it's entirely my fault. Today is my very first day driving a cab. I've been driving a hearse for 25 years."

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