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Siegel Sez

January 24, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Each morning I wake up, start the coffee and turn on my laptop. Yesterday the coffee was fine, the laptop booted perfectly, but I couldn’t get connected to the Internet. I use U-verse from AT&T and it has worked great for years, but it was definitely out. I called to report the outage and after prompted by the automated phone system I chose the option Internet outage. A recorded message told me that it might be at least 10 minutes before a representative would answer. As I waited for someone I thought it strange how many times it was suggested that for faster service go to www.attuverse.com/repair. Now they know I was waiting on the line for Internet problems and they are encouraging me to go to the Internet. Does that make any sense? It got me thinking of other things that don’t make a lot of sense. I travel quite a bit and because of my frequent travel I am allowed to board planes early. Flights always seem full. Airlines decided to increase revenue by charging people to check bags. If you need to check a bag you are charged $25. The airlines are very clear that if you want to carry on bags there is no charge but you can only bring one carry-on bag and one personal item. They are also very clear what sizes can be carried on, but if you follow their rules you can bring your bag with you. Just about every flight the last passengers to board the plane never have room for their bags. The flight attendants take their bags and check them and tell the passengers they can be picked up at baggage claim at their final destination. Wait a second, if I follow their rules and they can’t accommodate me, they should do something for me. Not just check my bag, but offer me some compensation. After all, try checking a bag over 50 pounds and watch them spring into action with extra charges for not following their rules. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander, right?

Maybe it was the cold front that hit this week, but we are getting a great deal of early bookings for this year’s Executive Vendor Summit in Florida (http://www.vendorsummit.com). If you have a technology solution for the hospitality industry and have never been to the summit you should attend. Those who have been come back every year which is why it keeps growing. This industry has many companies that often partner with each other, but what is most amazing about the event is how the attendees share issues they face, both positive and not so positive. How they help each other is nothing short of amazing. The event is by invitation only so if you would like more information about attending please contact Morgan Mathis at (678) 802-5304 or mailto:morgan@hospitalityupgrade.com immediately.

Now happily I must share something with you. Recently, I wrote about our little horse that ran her first race in December and broke out of the gate last and ran last through the race. This month on a rainy Wednesday in New York she ran in her second race. Once again she broke last, but after that nothing short of amazing happened. Instead of trying to explain what happened, go to our Facebook page and see what happened (http://www.facebook.com/HospitalityUpgrade). Be sure to turn up the volume when you watch it. I wasn’t the only one shocked, so was the announcer. An absolutely amazing moment was made.

And one more thing, one of our team is in a very heated contest to win a dream wedding. I know everybody is busy, but it would mean the world to her if you would put in a vote for Morgan Mathis and Justin Trotter at http://www.b985.com/wedding. It only takes a minute to vote. Thanks!

Here now is the real reason we are here, the very opinionated Jon Inge about why technology works and why it doesn’t along with his review of the recent happenings in the industry. 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


- Am I a technology jinx, or does everyone’s technology constantly malfunction at some level?
- HTNG recognizes three hotel companies with EMEA Technology Innovators Awards
I’m an optimist. Always have been, always will be. I’m always intrigued by the next new thing, the next promise that a new gadget or software app will make my life even easier and even more fun. By and large that optimism is well placed, as witness the many apps and utilities on my phone and laptop and the hundreds of things we can do that we used to just dream of.

But in the mad rush to get new stuff to market before the competition it seems to be generally accepted that things won’t be quite as fully developed or tested as they might be, leading to a constant level of minor issues that undermine the promises. The trick is to keep that misfiring to an acceptably low level, such that while our tools mostly help us, the apparently inevitable pain level is kept below the threshold that would push us to throw up our hands, uninstall the thing and look for something else.

Consider these issues: my Bluetooth® phone sometimes refuses to sync with my car’s hands-free unit and must be rebooted (the phone, not just the Bluetooth function) before the pairing actually connects. While rotating some portrait-format photos on my laptop vertically for easier viewing, Windows Photo Viewer refuses to save a few, claiming a problem with the pictures’ file properties (there isn’t; they’re identical to the rest). A link in the error message box promises to answer the question, “Why can’t I save this picture?” but only displays another so-called “Help” box stating that, “The topic is not available in this version of Windows.” Then why offer the promise of help? Which lazy or sadistically minded programmer wrote that, and which manager authorized it as acceptable for release?

Like many people, I have the TV in my den hooked up to my home network so I can look at the photos on my office PC in comfort. Sometimes when I add a new folder of photos I can see them on the TV immediately; more often, the folder doesn’t show up on the TV directory for several days, and even then it takes days or weeks before all the photos are viewable. I have no idea why. Then there’s the software for my new graphics tablet which promises that a tutorial will open upon completion of installation (it doesn’t, and isn’t listed in the file directory), the Adobe software updates that Secunia PSI reports are “in progress” but never actually happen (with no progress or error messages), the cell phone signal extender I bought for our poorly served house which makes no detectable difference, the Garmin® GPS that sometimes seems to get half a step behind reality so that it tells me to turn at the junction I just passed, and so on.

My school physics teacher once commented that on days when lab test results just don’t make sense he sometimes wonders if he should have allowed for the phase of the moon, or whether Mercury was retrograde. In the field of quantum physics it’s proven that the observer affects the event being observed, so I have to ask: does everyone else also surf along on this tide of perpetually malfunctioning technology, or is it just me?

I’m still an optimist – the next release will surely make things better! But sometimes I think I’d be better off writing this column with a goose quill on parchment.
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has recognized three hotel companies with its EMEA Technology Innovators Award for the creative and innovative application of existing technology within their hotels. The winners were Rotana Hotels and Resorts (for deploying a strong IT services foundation that delivers private services via a SaaS model in a private cloud and in countries with challenging telecommunications reliability), Hotel St. Gotthard Basel (for its identification of a channel blanket technology to centrally manage the pairing of Wi-Fi devices with access points; the technology is not new but was not known to have been deployed elsewhere in the hotel industry ) and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Dubai (for its innovative approach to providing on-demand, burstable bandwidth to guests, particularly for meetings, in Dubai’s heavily controlled and very expensive telecommunications market).



- Cynthia Roberts, Tracy Connors join Flip.to as business development managers
- Michael Cavanagh appointed CIO at Amway Hotel Corp
- Peter Klebanoff joins Monscierge as chief sales and marketing officer, VP sales/Americas
- Rob Torres is first member of Regatta Travel Solutions’ advisory board
- Brian Brooks named director of operations at RFID Hotel’s new center in Nashville
- Nigel Allport joins Digital Alchemy as VP sales for EMEA
- M3 Accounting Services announces customer advisory board
For more information on People on the Move for 01/24/13


- Hotel Concepts and Brilliant complete integration, change name to iTesso
- NORTHWIND announces seven new clients for Maestro
- Agilysys releases latest upgrade to Visual One™
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 01/24/13


- Travelport adds inventory from Huntington Travel to Rooms and More booking engine
Travelport has added inventory from Canadian hotel consolidator Huntington Travel to its Rooms and More hotel booking engine. In operation since 1973, The Huntington Travel Group offers global destinations through more than 60 airlines, adding 65,000 properties to Travelport Rooms and More. http://www.huntingtontravel.net  


- MGM Grand Ho Tram Beach deploys buuteeq’s Cloud DMS
- Lodging Interactive introduces central hospitality gift card website
- London Brand Management announces RoomComment real-time hotel feedback service
- Valencia Group selects Vizergy as online marketing partner
- IDS NEXT launches Guest Dynamix loyalty/feedback management application based on Salesforce
- Park Group chooses Blynk for mobile marketing and guest request management apps
For more information on Marketing/Management for 01/24/13


- Reno Nevada Peppermill Resort Spa Casino to implement Rainmaker’s GuestREV
- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi to implement Rainmaker’s GuestREV system as part of expansion project
The Reno Nevada Peppermill Resort Spa Casino will implement The Rainmaker Group’s GuestREV software in the first quarter of 2013.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Biloxi will implement The Rainmaker Group’s GuestREV profit optimization system as part of a 154-room hotel tower expansion project. The 12-story hotel tower addition is expected to be completed in late December 2013, and will take the property’s inventory to close to 500 rooms.
http://www.peppermillreno.com, http://www.hardrockbiloxi.com, http://www.LetItRain.com  


- Roosevelt Hotel, New York picks TTI Technologies for new business center
- Digital Alchemy releases XpressGuide conference communication tool
- Marriott launches Workspace on Demand online booking service
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 01/24/13


- Five technology companies combine to form Red Book Connect
Five technology companies have combined to form Red Book Connect, a cloud-based technology company offering many common management tasks such as hiring application processing, labor scheduling, recruiting and onboarding, and inventory management. The member companies – Red Book Solutions, MacromatiX, My Recruiting Center, HotSchedules, and SchooX – already serve the top 10 largest hotel chains, 75 percent of the top 20 quick-service restaurants and 80 percent of the top restaurant chain management companies, and are backed by global investment firm TPG. John Chidsey, former CEO and chairman of Burger King, will lead the company. http://www.redbookconnect.com  


- NCR integrating PayPal digital payment into mobile POS units for hospitality and retail
- Revel Systems claims to be first iPad® POS system to provide EMV compatibility in the United States
- Blynk launches range of tablet-based E-Menu apps
- MICROS ships one millionth point-of-sale terminal
- Ingenico adds Shift4’s gateway service to Point-to-Point Encryption devices
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 01/24/13


- Hyatt implementation of Roomlinx passes 20,000 room mark
- Sofitel installs Quadriga in 26 properties across EMEA
- The Restoration on King, Charleston, launches Runtriz-based mobile app
- Some Ibis hotels in London offering Monscierge
- Bartech achieves certified minibar integration with INNCOM’s INNcontrol 3
- Concord Hospitality Enterprises certified by Marriott to provide HSIA in North America
For more information on Guest Services for 01/24/13


And now for you-know-what…

FINISHED and COMPLETE: No English dictionary has been able to explain adequately the difference between the two words.

In a recent linguistic competition held in London, England, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese man from Bachelors Adventure, was the clear winner with a standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes.

Below is the question he was asked and his answer which garnered an invitation to dine with the Queen.

He was asked, “How do you explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand? Some people say there is no difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED.”

And he answered, "When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE. And when you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!"

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