⚠ We would appreciate if you would disable your ad blocker when visiting our site! ⚠

Siegel Sez

May 23, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Highs and lows. Ups and downs. Whatever you want to call it, that was my experience last week. I started my week at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas at the Newmarket Users’ Group which is now called NICC. I hadn’t been to Caesars Palace in many years and I forgot how nice that hotel is though I will admit I did like Caesars/Harrah’s a lot more when they didn’t have the resort fee. I would rather pay $16 for Internet access than $28, which includes things that I will not use. But Caesars/Harrah’s were the last holdout in Las Vegas adding a resort fee to their rate, so I guess when in Rome, do as the Romans. Yes, that was a bad Caesars pun. I was honored to be invited to a consultant’s roundtable the day before NICC actually started. I learn so much about where companies are today, where they hope to be tomorrow and how they approach industry challenges. I had my first exposure to Delphi in 1985 before the company had a single installation; today Newmarket has more than 35,000 installations. On Thursday I moderated a session with three consultants, Jamie Job, Bill Gamble and Mark Haley. We jumped all over the place with issues that the industry is facing, with some conflicting opinions being shared among the panelists and the audience. I love when that happens; it gets people thinking differently. NICC was a great event and I thank Gregg Hopkins for inviting me. I just love users’ groups. I get a chance to meet so many of the people who actually use the technology we write about.

From Las Vegas I went to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association Conference. Unfortunately I never made it to NRA. Is there anything worse than being on a business trip and waking up in some strange hotel room sick as a dog? That is what happened to me in Chicago. I tried to change my flights but I picked a day with severe thunderstorms in Atlanta so flights were unbelievably delayed or canceled. The agent told me I could go to the airport and try to go standby. That’s just what I wanted to do feeling as poorly as I did–hang out at an airport all day sneezing, coughing and aching. I kept my 7 p.m. flight, got to the airport about 5 p.m. and the flight left about 9:30 p.m. What a bad day. I know many who travel get sick because of the germs floating around the inside of the plane. For those of you who were on my flight from Chicago Midway to Atlanta on Sunday night I apologize, but I just had to get home.

If you live and breathe technology this is your favorite time of the year. I talk to industry folks all the time and every conversation either starts or ends with HITEC. The industry is doing well, technology investments are as high as they have ever been and there is so much new that will be presented at HITEC. The education program this year is one of the best. I encourage everyone to pick the sessions they want to attend; this includes the vendors, too. After all, don’t the vendors want to meet hoteliers? I can tell you from having done many sessions over the years, that is where they are. I hope Minneapolis is as great as it was the first time HITEC was held there. I remember how shocked the industry was that HFTP chose Minneapolis and how all the attendees fell in love with the city. Here is hoping that lightning strikes twice.

Before I close I would like to thank HTNG for sending out the digital edition of our spring issue to its members. We are proud of Hospitality Upgrade and the great feedback and support we receive from the industry. When you get your HITEC issue I will advise you to have your smartphone or tablet handy. The digital edition is very popular but you will be surprised by how you can now experience the printed edition. Two letters, AR. That is all I am saying.

Here now is the real reason we are here; the opinionated Jon Inge with this 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



- When buying or selling hotel systems, doing your homework really pays dividends
My last column (on the perceived lack of enthusiasm among many hospitality systems sales people) provoked a fair amount of response, as might have been expected.  Comments ranged from a few “I hope you don’t mean me” messages to several that confirmed that what I was asking for is just plain, basic Sales 101.  My favorite was the bring-it-on attitude of “Send me your next RFP and let me show what I can do!”  Perfect.

Ongoing conversations with a couple of the responders did highlight some other challenges, however.  One was the claim that many sales managers believe their system isn’t really that different from its competitors, and it’s hard to be enthused when “they all do basically the same things.”  I see enough different system presentations to reject that argument categorically.  Sure, they all handle reservations, check-in and checkout, but every single one has a different take on how to approach that and how to present its information to the users, and every one includes some other feature set beyond these absolute basics that sets it apart. 

Keeping up with how your system compares to its peers is never easy, but there’s always something unique to each, something that makes a specific case for superiority in one aspect or another.  It’s every vendor’s responsibility to ensure that its sales managers know how to position its system against the others.  The sales manager still has to bring the energy and make the case – if you can’t be enthusiastic about the product you’re selling, perhaps a career change may be in order – but the market research behind it is a company duty. 

The other challenge to sales enthusiasm lies in the way that hotels often approach the sales process themselves.  While any one of several GMSs can functionally satisfy the needs of a limited-service property, for example, they’re not commodities to be acquired at the lowest possible price with little thought and with little input from the staff who will use them.  Each system brings its own approach and some features beyond the basics, and not thinking about how these might be used to improve operations does the whole investment a major disservice. 

It’s like trying to buy a car for someone else.  Any mid-size, four-door sedan may do to get them around with decent reliability, but everyone has different preferences in how a car looks, handles, performs and generally fits their specific needs.  Forcing someone to accept something that frustrates them every time they use it is a sure-fire way to reduce their effectiveness significantly.  Buying the lowest-cost sedan also limits their capability; spending a little more on a small SUV might give them much more flexibility in getting their duties done.  Involve the users in the process; there’ll be a hundred things that are important to them that they’ll find hard to specify up front but will recognize when they see them.

For both sales managers and hotels, doing your homework will always pay off in spades.



- Bernard Ellis joins Infor as VP of industry strategy for hospitality
- James Fothergill hired by Intelity as EMEA sales director
- Cyndi Shepley is new SVP of sales at Eleven Wireless
- John Kiszla named VP demand account management at Pegasus Solutions
- Temple Weiss is Pegasus Solutions’ new CFO
- Eben Hewitt rejoins Choice Hotels as CTO
- HTNG’s new officers are President: Jeremy Ward (Kempinski Hotels), Vice President: Monika Nerger (Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group), Secretary: Mark Rupert Read (Firmdale Hotels) and Treasurer: Mike Blake (Commune Hotels & Resorts) 
For more information on People on the Move for 05/23/13


- Cenium releases integration with Intelity’s ICE
- MSI releases interface between WinPM and Aptech’s Execuvue BI system
- Solaire Manila Resort and Casino picks MICROS’ OPERA Property Management, Materials Control and Point-of-Sale
- NORTHWIND significantly updates ResWave online booking engine
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/23/13


- InnLink CRS enhances interface with Five Star PMS
InnLink CRS has announced an enhanced availability upgrade for its interface with Five Star Hotel System’s PMS.  The two-way interface maintains real-time rates, availability, inventory and packages to allow properties to open their entire inventory on the GDSs and OTAs.  http://www.innlink.com  


- Duetto announces Insight revenue management tool for small-scale properties
- Shaftesbury Hotels Collection selects RateTiger for 10 properties
- Solaire Resort & Casino picks Rainmaker’s GuestREV
For more information on Revenue Management for 05/23/13


- Hyatt Place Pensacola Airport installs Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard
- Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna is first property to install Quadriga's Personal Media Network
- Radisson Edmonton South is first hotel in Canada to install Quadriga’s LobbyFriend
- Bittel Americas announces UNO Media 4 unit
For more information on Guest Services for 05/23/13


- Adaco to unveil analytics functionality at HITEC
Adaco will unveil its analytics functionality for the Adaco.NET integrated purchasing and operational control system at HITEC.  The SaaS analytics module will give customers a three-dimensional view of their data, with preconfigured key performance indicator reports and dashboards.  Hoteliers can customize views and distribute information upon request; data views include compliance, inventory metrics, product comparisons and full-spend analysis by vendor.  Acquired in 2012 by Fourth, a London-based provider of labor, payroll, inventory and procurement systems, Adaco now serves as the operating base for Fourth USA.  http://www.adaco.com  


- Global Exchange Development Corp picks SPI Orange for sales and marketing
- Loews selects TravelClick’s digital marketing and search
- Lodging Interactive receives two Interactive Media Awards for Outstanding Achievement in website design
- Aptech completes interface between Execuvue BI system and MSI’s WinPM
- Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas implements VOC Systems’ Voice of the Customer
- HeBS Digital’s CMS Premium named a finalist in 2013 American Business Stevie Awards
- Gloria Hotel Dubai implements Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ WebExpress
For more information on Marketing/Management for 05/23/13


- MICROS releases mTablet mobile workstation and mStation stand
- Technology Training Associates picks Clear Sky as preferred partner for F&B inventory control
- Capton releases updated pour-control spout
- Agilysys releases InfoGenesis POS v4.4
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 05/23/13


And now for you-know-what…

An old man was eating in a truck stop when three bikers walked in.

The first walked up to the old man, pushed his cigarette into the old man's pie and then took a seat at the counter. The second walked up to the old man, spit into the old man's milk and then he took a seat at the counter. The third walked up to the old man, turned over the old man's plate, and then he took a seat at the counter.

Without a word of protest, the old man quietly left the diner.

Shortly thereafter, one of the bikers said to the waitress, "Humph, not much of a man, was he?"

The waitress replied, "Not much of a truck driver either. He just backed his truck over three motorcycles in the parking lot."

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.