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Siegel Sez

March 28, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

What’s different? When I was at ITB in Berlin a few weeks ago a woman came up to me and said that she was told she had to meet me. Someone who I have known for years told her this. When asked how I was described she said she had been told that I was different. After we finished our conversation I started thinking, is being different a positive or a negative? Was I being criticized or complimented? Then I thought that was a silly way for me to be described, because aren’t we all different? It was funny how such a simple word could have such an impact, but I guess it was better than many other words that are used to describe me. Speaking of being different, this week IHG decided to be different and next year offer free Internet to all who are part of its loyalty program. Is this different?  I travel quite a bit and belong to every loyalty program available. Of course because of what I do for a living I have no loyalty to anybody. I like staying at all sorts of hotels, many different brands and especially independents. How impactful is this IHG announcement? I have stayed at my share of Holiday Inn Express Hotels and never paid for Internet. All the mid-market and limited-service hotels have pretty much offered free Internet for ages, so the impact would be for the high-end hotels like InterContinental Hotels and others, right?  Well, Omni Hotels and Fairmont Hotels have been offering free Internet to their loyalty program members almost forever and they are definitely upper-end hotels.  I am sure there are others that do the same. How different is this IHG announcement that will affect over 1,000 of its hotels? I guess we can all watch the reaction from Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood and others and we shall see.  Personally if I owned a hotel I would charge for Internet but make sure it works very well, that is really what guests want. The one other thing I would want is more consistency with pricing. If in-room Internet would never be more than $11.95 no matter where the hotel is then that would work for me. What upsets me is when I stay in a hotel and they are charging over $20 a day. Regardless of location, whether in the United States, Europe or anywhere, a branded hotel that has an exuberant charge has a very negative reaction on the whole chain.

Everyone from Hospitality Upgrade returned from last week’s Executive Vendor Summit. Sometimes I think the stars were just aligned perfectly because everything went unbelievably well. We had a great crowd and the very unique program went off without a hitch with much of the focus being on business, not industry or technology concerns. Honestly, when so many attendees come up to you and congratulate you it is the greatest feeling in the world. What was especially gratifying was so many first timers were there and couldn’t stop raving about the event. It made us proud and thankful that nobody decided to throw me off the airboats when we went to the Everglades to find alligators. We found plenty and learned something too. If you have any questions about alligators, let me know. I feel like I am an expert now. To all the attendees of this year’s Executive Vendor Summit, thank you very much for being part of this very unique event.

Lastly, hopefully you subscribe to Hospitality Upgrade magazine. Our spring issue is being received this week and the early feedback on consultant Jeremy Rock’s feature article, “How Secure Is Your Hotel,” has been very positive. Much has been written about the compromised locks in hotels, but Jeremy went way beyond that. If you don’t subscribe to Hospitality Upgrade, please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe to subscribe and go to http://Mag.hospitalityupgrade.com to see the digital edition. Everybody in the hotel industry must read his article. He took a subject that has been beaten to death and approached it very differently. And as we all know, different is good.

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



- Getting the message across: Too Much Information gets in the way
- HTNG and China Hospitality Technology Alliance announce cooperation
Discussions with a number of vendor CEOs at the Executive Vendor Summit last week (great conference, Rich!) brought up the frequent challenge of how to present just the right amount of information to a prospective client.  This was in the context both of proposals and of system demonstrations, and it’s equally challenging in both situations.

When generating a new proposal every vendor uses standard worksheets to calculate the price for the client’s specific configuration.  This is a complex process, needing to cover all the various software modules and interfaces as well as implementation effort and training time on property.  Support costs and (occasionally) transaction-based costs add to the challenge, especially when some are essential but are under the control of a third party. 

Nevertheless, it really helps put the vendor in a good light if the summary page is a clear and straightforward summary of what software is being offered, how much it takes to implement it, and what the monthly support costs will be.  Make it too simple and questions arise as to whether something’s been forgotten; make it too complex and it’s a struggle to work out whether everything listed is relevant, especially if all the options not required are listed with the same prominence as those requested.  I know that listing additional modules may prompt the client to think whether they might be useful, but I believe these belong on a separate page, not on the summary.

The same applies even more to system presentations.  Most systems have so many features and configuration options that it’s literally impossible to show them all in a three-hour time slot, but many demonstrators do their level best to try.  It’s hard enough for the client to stay focused on just those few, key scenarios critical to its particular operations and not stray into minor issues; showing more details than necessary is just inviting trouble!  There’s definitely value in showing special features the hotel didn’t ask for but which the vendor believes could be really useful, but these must be kept until after the key scenarios have been presented, and they must also be quite clearly aimed at the specific hotel’s needs.  Showing neat features with no clear applicability is a waste of everyone’s time. 

Overall, I believe it’s best for the vendor first to run through the main basic operations every hotel needs (make a reservation, check in, post charges, check out, make a group block) to show how smoothly the system handles day-to-day operations, and then move on to the specific scenarios and relevant options.  Showing too many alternatives at every stage just leaves the impression that the system is overly complex and hard to use.

In both proposals and presentations, balance is the hardest thing to achieve, and the most effective thing to show.
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) and China Hospitality Technology Alliance (CHTA) announced their cooperation on the development of global standards and technology integration in both Chinese and Western hospitality markets.  Their aim is to improve the availability and integration of technologies that meet the needs of both Chinese and non-Chinese hotels, and also to help Western hotels cater more effectively to the rapidly growing outbound Chinese travel market.



- Clearwater River Casino & Hotel selects Agilysys’ Visual One, InfoGenesis and Eatec
- Alexander Hotels implements Guestline’s Web-based GMS for three properties in England
- Agilysys completes one-way integration between Visual One and Rainmaker
- hetras adds SiteMinder's Room Distribution Exchange platform for channel management
- Eaton Smart New Delhi Airport implementing Prologic First's WISH integrated suite
- Avari Group of Hotels picks Prologic First's WISH integrated suite for hotels in Pakistan and Dubai
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 03/28/13


- Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences picks Trust International for distribution services for 32 properties
- IDS NEXT releases two-way GDS interface with Pegasus
Falkensteiner Hotels & Residences has selected Trust International for distribution services for its 32 hotel properties in South Tyrol, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Serbia; five more properties will be added by year-end 2014.  Trust’s services include OTA and GDS interfaces as well as integration with Falkensteiner’s protel guest management system.  http://www.falkensteiner.com/en/hotels-residences, http://www.Trustinternational.com
IDS NEXT has released a two-way global distribution system (GDS) interface with Pegasus Solutions, enabling it to deliver real-time online hotel room booking to users in Southern Asia, the Middle East and much of Africa.  http://www.idsnext.com, http://www.pegs.com


- GrandStay Hospitality selects ZDirect and ZMail for 24 properties
- ZDirect integrates survey engine with ReviewPro’s online reputation management software
- Lodging Interactive appoints Technology 4 Hotels as distribution partner for Australia and New Zealand
- Ess Hotels implements Xn’s QlikView-based business intelligence software
- Pamil Visions PR launches Voyage PRide for Travel and Hospitality digital influence service
- Sheraton Vistana Resort implements VOC Systems’ spoken comment reporting
- Vizergy updates cloud-based Hotel Web Management Platform
- Traxo launches verified reviews platform for flights and hotels
For more information on Marketing/Management for 03/28/13


- Rainmaker completes one-way integration with Agilysys’ Visual One
- Rainmaker recognized in Technology Association of Georgia’s Top 40 Innovative Companies for ReelREV software
- Generator Hostels picks eRevMax’s RateTiger Shopper for eight properties
- Sarova Hotel Group migrating four properties to RateTiger enterprise connectivity
- Pegipegi.com, Tiket.com sign with RateGain's RezGain channel manager
- RateGain appoints eMarketkeys as partner in Middle East
- RateGain appoints Barefoot Consultancy as partner in Nairobi, Kenya
- hetras adds SiteMinder's Room Distribution Exchange platform for channel management
For more information on Revenue Management for 03/28/13


- Wyndham Jade introduces RoomLogic mobile platform to help associations maximize room blocks
- etouches and Meetingmax integrate systems for unified registration and housing
- Eventi Hotel implements PSAV’s Mobile Meeting Manager
- PSAV launches Interactive Video Wall
- Fairmont signs multiyear extension of contract for Passkey’s GroupMAX
- Chattanooga Convention & Visitors Bureau deploys Passkey's GroupMAX
- Westin rolling out Tangent small workspace concept to 40 more hotels
- Le Meridian Cochin implementing Prologic First’s WISH Banquets
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


- Washington Marriott at Metro Center, Washington, D.C., implements Clear Sky Software’s beverage inventory control
The Washington Marriott at Metro Center in Washington, D.C., has implemented Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory control software.  Modules provided include purchasing, receiving, transfers/issues, returns and physical inventory.  The property also installed Clear Sky’s KIOSK option to let users track issues/transfers/returns using a touch-screen/fixed station scanner/kiosk combination.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com


- Intelity announces integration of ICE platform with Book4Time
Intelity announced an integration of its ICE platform with spa software vendor Book4Time, allowing guests to review a menu of spa services and schedule an appointment. 
http://www.book4time.com, http://www.intelitycorp.com


- InterContinental to provide free Internet access to all 71 million loyalty program members
- Unique Garden Hotel & Spa, Sao Paulo, installs Intelity's ICE Touch on iPads® in each room
- Intelity to open new sales offices in Chicago, New York, London and Singapore
- Inn at the Presidio introduces Foli iPad app for guests to read complimentary issues of magazines
- Guest-tek appoints Airwave as partner for OneView platform in EMEA
- Aloft Cupertino, Calif., features Apple TV® in all guestrooms
- iRiS launches iRiS Manager for central control of individual iRiS guest service applications
- HMS Group and UIEvolution announce Guest Evolution technology for cruise ships
- TeleAdapt unveils newest MediaHub TL connectivity panel
- Alpenhof Lodge, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., implements HotSOS
- Hyatt Regency Chicago adds significant technology enhancements to lobby as part of renovation
- Emaar Hospitality picks Prologic First’s @YourWISH for new Vita Hotels and Resorts brand
- Restel installing Quadriga’s Sensiq platform in nine hotels in Finland
- Novotel Hotels implementing Quadriga's LobbyFriend social network platform in five properties
- Quadriga completes integration of NXsystems business
- Crestron releases 5-inch TSW-550 touch-screen panel
- ibis family launches iPhone® Sleep Art alarm clock app
For more information on Guest Services for 03/28/13


- Sandals Resorts upgrading Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi network across 23 properties
- Swisscom Hospitality and NEC Unified Solutions partner in EMEA hospitality market
- Holiday Inn & Suites – Atlanta Airport North installs RoamingAround’s Roam Boost
- iBAHN has certified 1,000 corporate VPNs
- Enseo is first runner-up in HTNG’s 2012 Most Innovative Hospitality Technology Award
For more information on Communications/Infrastructure for 03/28/13


- Safeplace announces top-opening Tiara II digital safe and UltiMax wireless service unit
- OpenWays recognized as second runner-up in HTNG’s 2012 Most Innovative Hospitality Technology Award
Safeplace has announced its top-opening Tiara II digital safe and UltiMax wireless service unit.  The Tiara II includes a low-battery indicator, an automatic sleep mode after five incorrect codes are entered and a 500-event audit record, plus a pneumatic piston for smooth door movement and an optional internal power outlet. 
The PDA-like hand-held UltiMax service unit interacts with safes via infrared communication.
OpenWays was recognized as the second runner-up in HTNG’s 2012 Most Innovative Hospitality Technology Award for its Mobile Key Trio with Triple Play Reader, which includes OpenWays  CAC (crypto acoustic credential), pure NFC and RFID card reading capabilities.  http://www.OpenWays.com  


- Ho Tram Beach Resort, Vietnam, picks InvoTech’s RFID Uniform Tracking System
- Rosen College of Hospitality Management to use d2o’s Performance Management Intelligence to train students
- Dusit Devrana Hotel, New Delhi, opens with Prologic First's Web Prol'IFIC back office software
- Prologic First adds multiproperty consolidation and comparison reports to Web ProI'IFIC General Ledger
For more information on Back Office for 03/28/13


- Park Hyatt Washington D.C. completes installation of Evolve energy management, lighting and automation
- Umstead Hotel, Cary, N.C., installing Evolve energy management, lighting and automation
- Evolve signs Lumicentro as authorized dealer in Panama
For more information on Engineering for 03/28/13


- Todd Davis promoted to chief information officer at Choice
- Bryan Estep named VP international at buuteeq
- Cynthia Mason joins buuteeq as VP global human relations and talent
- Arnout Groen appointed general manager Europe at buuteeq
- Alex Zoghlin joins Hyatt Hotels Corp as global head of technology
For more information on People on the Move for 03/28/13


And now for you-know-what…

A man came home from playing golf one day.

His wife had left a note on the refrigerator that said, "It's not working, I can't take it anymore! I’ve gone to stay with my mother."

The man opened the fridge, the light came on and the beer was cold. What the heck is she talking about?

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