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Siegel Sez

June 21, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Right before I sit down to write my “casual and somewhat offbeat” opening to Siegel Sez, I always read Jon Inge’s technology review of the last couple of weeks. You have to love how one of the industry’s smartest technology guys opens his column about the great advances in technology and how wonderful they are, but sometimes you just want to do it the old way. I think everyone who eats, drinks, sleeps and breathes technology can think the same way occasionally. However, adapting to change is very important. Hotel-Online.com experienced a big change recently and to the many who have taken the time to congratulate us, we are grateful. Yes, we finally redesigned http://www.hotel-online.com and the feedback is appreciated. If you didn’t just click on the link, please do it right now, then send a note to mailto:michelle@hotel-online.com and share your thoughts. It is a never ending project, but since we talk about change so often, it is important that we experience it firsthand. We think it came out great, but go ahead and lend us your two cents. You can also email me your comments at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.

For the last two weeks it seems I have had one conversation after another with operators, vendors and anybody else attending HITEC. Last year in Baltimore was a great event and those who attended raved about it. This year in Minneapolis the numbers exceed those of Baltimore; there are more attendees and exhibitors. What I found interesting is how many are planning to finalize deals at the show. I wonder if contracts will be signed there or just handshakes and paperwork to follow? I bring this up because I had a horse friend who lives in California and begged me to go to a horse event in Ocala, Fla. to do something for him. It is a five-hour ride from Atlanta, but he was so desperate and a great friend so I said I would. After all, what are friends for if not to help in times of need, right? I did him his favor and as hopefully everybody knows, I just love the horse world. The people, the excitement, but most importantly, the horses. While at Ocala, I bumped into Linda Rice, a top New York trainer, on Monday afternoon and by 4 p.m. Tuesday I was in love. No, I am not in love with Linda, but with a 2-year-old filly. I called my horse friends, gave them the pitch, got them all onboard and pretty much as stories are told, I am signing a bill of sale on a napkin. Just like the stories that are often heard at HITEC. The filly’s dad is Malibu Moon who is also the dad of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Orb. Now starts the dream of great things to come. If anybody has a suggestion as to what we should name her, send me a note at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com, or come by booth No. 1415 at HITEC. Maybe if we use your name, we will have you sign a release on a napkin. Take a look at this beautiful filly, I told her to swish her tail and believe it or not, she did. Check out the picture to the right.

Again, thank you for all the feedback on the new http://www.hotel-online.com/. Please keep sending your comments. Here now is the real reason we are here, the aforementioned, old fashioned Jon Inge and his technology review. Please add booth No. 1415 to your HITEC list. We are being creative this year and when you come by we will find out if a picture is really worth a thousand words! 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


- How user customizable is your hotel management software?
How’s your HITEC planning coming along? The ever-useful mobile app should be out by the time you read this, but I always print out a copy of the floor plan ahead of time and mark it with the booths I want to visit. Low tech, I know, but I find it quicker than searching an online diagram and it lets me multitask more easily. I just wish they hadn’t reduced its readability this year with that dark purple shading.

One thing I’m interested in at HITEC is how far the trend to self service has extended within hotel management software. We’ve become used to apps that let guests book a room, order room service and update their profiles, but I’m looking at ways individual hotel users of the systems can customize them for their own needs.

As a simple example, it’s a long-standing truism that a PMS might offer several hundred standard reports but somehow every hotel wants something just a little bit different. Extensive filters and sort options help, but a flexible, intuitive ad hoc report writer is a real advantage. Even among the standard reports, it’s a great help if a user can identify the half dozen or so she uses all the time and pull them out into a “favorites” sub-menu to avoid having to run down several menus, sub-menus and fly-out options, every time, to get to the ones she wants.

And while we’re at it, could vendors provide a quick summary of each report so the hotels can see which one is best suited for any specific need? Especially in a library of hundreds, several reports can have very similar titles and it’s often not clear what each is intended to be used for, or where it gets its data, for that matter; confusion often arises when comparing apparently similar reports that are actually tracking slightly different data sets.

User screens are often customizable, which is often a great help; re-arranging data column display orders and widths into a format that reflects what you want to work with is a real boon. Customizing screen display colors may seem like a trivial exercise in self-indulgence, but it’s not if you’re in that 8 percent of the male population who are color blind. You don’t want a front desk agent to miss a red warning flag or VIP alert just because he didn’t recognize it as a high-priority color.

More intriguing are the growing number of systems incorporating some form of rules-based actions. To some extent the truism that “you don’t understand, we do things differently here” is actually true. The more complex the operation, of course, the more likely it is that something important might be overlooked. It’s really helpful to be able to set up custom rules to trigger alerts; if X happens and Y doesn’t apply, send a text message to Z. Vendors have used this approach for years to activate enhancements for specific properties (“if property name = A, display menu option H”) but in this highly dynamic world it’s a major benefit for hotels to be able to develop their own triggers and alerts.

It’s all about helping the users get the maximum benefit out of the system, effortlessly, flexibly and in their own way.



- David Chestler joins SiteMinder as EVP for the Americas
- Gianna Rivera is new global director of distribution sales at Pegasus Solutions
- Jim Livingston joins Guest-tek as director of strategic accounts
- Jorge Orozco rejoins Guest-tek as manager of sales engineers
- Tom Heine hired by SPI as manager of customer service
- Les Ottolenghi is new SVP and CIO at Las Vegas Sands
- Yu Jin named VP technology and CIO at Delta Hotels and Resorts
For more information on People on the Move for 06/21/13


- NORTHWIND announces 10 new independent hotel clients in Q2
- Morgans Hotel Group selects MICROS OPERA for 13-hotel portfolio
- Outrigger to standardize enterprise on MICROS’ OPERA
- Prologic First releases MyCloud, combining GMS with guest services and e-distribution
- Scandic Hotels implementing Ariane Systems’ digital checkout at all hotels
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/21/13


- BWI Airport Marriott picks Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory management
- Adaco announces multiple new orders for Adaco.Net
The BWI Airport Marriott has selected Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory management software. Modules provided include purchasing, receiving, transfers/issues, returns and physical inventory, as well as an expanded event management module. http://www.marriott.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com
Adaco announced new orders for Adaco.Net. Existing clients including Starwood, Marriott, Loews and Jumeirah added new properties; new clients included Viceroy Snowmass, Marriott, Santiago and The Ritz Carlton, Santiago. http://www.adaco.com  


- Sheraton New York Times Square deploys Saflok Quantum RFID locks over INNCOM network
The 1,400-room Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel has deployed Kaba ILCO’s Saflok Quantum RFID electronic locks as part of the INNCOM network, providing online locking features and enhanced energy savings without the need for an additional communications backbone. http://www.SheratonNewYork.com, http://www.inncom.com, http://www.kaba.com


- HTNG announces new workgroup for seamless transition of mobile devices to hotel Wi-Fi networks
- ElevenOS now used by seven network service providers certified for Marriott's GPNS
- Thunder Valley Casino Resort deploys Percipia’s Parallax Software and Precision Voice Mail
For more information on Communications/Infrastructure for 06/21/13


- Megasys Hospitality Systems partners with InnLink CRS for electronic distribution
- Delta Hotels and Resorts launches new website from MICROS Systems’ eCommerce
- MSI announces CloudCRS central reservation system, powered by Sceptre’s Windsurfer
- NAVIS reports seven new resort operators signed in Q4 of 2013 fiscal year
- Amman Airport Hotel selects Pegasus Solutions’ Connect+ Premium
- Atahotels transfers 19 properties to Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium
- Montcalm London, Montcalm at the Brewery London City choose Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium
- Fantasyland Hotel, Edmonton implements custom Web booking engine from B4Checkin
- IQware releases new API to link its PMS to online booking channel options
For more information on Reservations for 06/21/13


- Althoff Hotel Collection selects eRevMax's RateTiger Suite for six properties
- Supranational Hotels names RateTiger its preferred hotel online channel management partner
- The Rainmaker Group named one of Atlanta’s Top 40 Fastest-Growing Companies
- Dusit International picks RateGain’s PriceGain and RezGain for all properties
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/21/13


- hotel SystemsPro integrates Social Tables' event diagramming and planning tools into hotel SalesPro
hotel SystemsPro has integrated Social Tables' Web-based event diagramming and planning tools into its hotel SalesPro Sales and Catering system. When a user enters event information in hotel SalesPro and selects the room, seating arrangement and number of attendees, one click displays the correct function space in Social Tables. Social Tables populates the diagram with the specified arrangement of tables, chairs and other requirements; planners can change any element within the space to meet a client's needs. The Web-based system allows live online collaboration between meeting planners and event hosts. http://www.socialtables.com, http://www.hotelsystemspro.com


- Compass Group – USA picks MICROS’ Simphony Enterprise
- Shift4 announces plug-and-play point-to-point encryption (P2PE) for MICROS POS systems
Compass Group – USA has selected MICROS Systems’ Simphony Enterprise POS, Loyalty and Web Ordering for its multiple business divisions providing managed food and support services throughout the United States.

Shift4 Corp has announced plug-and-play point-to-point encryption (P2PE) capabilities for MICROS POS systems, leveraging its existing 4Go for MICROS software. Merchants using MICROS 3700, 9700 or Simphony along with Shift4's DOLLARS ON THE NET payment gateway can plug in and configure a compliant ID TECH encrypted swipe device to access the P2PE functions, keeping the MICROS POS out of PCI scope.
http://www.compass-usa.com, http://www.shift4.com, http://www.micros.com  


- At Your Service announces guest information app
- Sheraton Kauai Resort implements Ascension Software’s ORION Amenities
- Eleven releases ElevenGC family of guest computers
For more information on Guest Services for 06/21/13


- Capella Hotel Group selects ZDirect’s electronic CRM and eMail marketing services
- Shell Vacations uses eight-question survey from ASU and ZDirect to help price offers
- Concord Hospitality implements Aptech’s Execuvue BI across all 90 properties
- Westin St. John Resort & Villas implements VOC Systems’ ExpressWay guest feedback system
- Cove Haven Entertainment Resorts implements Flip.to at three properties
- Vizergy receives two Outstanding Achievement IMA awards
For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/21/13


- Agilysys acquires TimeManagement Corp
- Trump National Doral Miami installs InvoTech Systems’ Uniform System
Agilysys has acquired TimeManagement Corporation. TimeManagement’s TMx labor management system offers modules including performance-based scheduling, dynamic labor forecasting, embedded workflows for human resources, employee self-service and multiple time capture solutions, and integrates with numerous POS, PMS, inventory and payroll solutions including the Agilysys InfoGenesis POS and Eatec procurement system. http://www.timemgmt.com, http://www.agilysys.com
The 693-room Trump National Doral Miami has installed InvoTech Systems’ Uniform System. The resort plans to have a uniformed staff of 1,400 when it completes its full transformation in fall 2014. http://www.trumphotelcollection.com/miami, http://www.invotech.com


- Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel deploys Saflok Quantum RFID electronic locks
The 1,400-room Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel has deployed Kaba ILCO’s Saflok Quantum RFID electronic locks as part of the INNCOM network, providing online locking features and enhanced energy savings without the need for an additional communications backbone. http://www.SheratonNewYork.com, http://www.inncom.com, http://www.kaba.com


And now for you-know-what…


All packed for the cruise ship – all my nicest dresses, swimsuits, short sets. Really, really exciting. Our local Red Hat chapter, The Late Bloomers, decided on this all-girls trip. It will be my first one and I can't wait!



Entire day at sea, beautiful. Saw whales and dolphins. Met the captain today - seems like a very nice man.



At the pool today. Played some shuffleboard, hit golf balls off the deck. Captain invited me to join him at his table for dinner. Felt honored and had a wonderful time. He is very attractive and attentive.



Won $800.00 in the ship's casino. Captain asked me to have dinner with him in his own cabin. Had a scrumptious meal complete with caviar and champagne. He asked me to stay the night, but I declined. Told him I could not be unfaithful to my husband.



Pool again today. Got sunburned, and I went inside to drink at piano bar, stayed there for rest of day. Captain saw me, bought me several large drinks. Really is quite charming. Again asked me to visit his cabin for the night. Again I declined. He told me, if I did not let him have his way with me, he would sink the ship... I was shocked.



Today I saved 2,600 lives...


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