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Siegel Sez

September 12, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

You can lead or you can follow. A long time ago I was told those were your choices in life. I am not sure it was meant that your choice was positive or negative, but it made me think. Everybody has instances in life where they have to lead. In his opening remarks this week, Jon Inge shared what nearly 60 technology leaders experienced at the opening session of last week’s Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit: What it means to be a good leader. Honestly, there was no better way to kick off the event. Oh wait, yes there was. We didn’t plan a golf outing this year, or an outdoor event like deep sea fishing or white water rafting. This year our first day activity was a scavenger hunt through the Nation’s Capital. I could try to explain what happened, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Check out the photo on the right to see how happy the winning team was. It was an amazing event. If you would like to see many more embarrassing pictures from our CIO Summit, make sure you receive the fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade. Click here (http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/subscribe) to subscribe to the print or digital version. I’m not sure if it was all hard work, I have to believe there was some luck involved that everything went so well from the venue, the program, the social interaction and even the weather. At the end of this year’s event, Vice President of Global Technology and Services of IHG Gustaaf Schrills said, “Rich, you will never ever have a better event than this.” Great, now I can already start stressing for next year. Here is hoping we can do just as well. Thanks to all who took three days out of their busy schedules. Be sure to check out the review of the summit in our upcoming fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade. It is our most popular issue of the year and the one place where you can hear from industry leaders as to what is ahead in the world of technology for our industry.

Yes, we are diligently working on our fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade, and if you are a provider of technology solutions to the hotel industry, then you should contact Kate O’Neil as soon as possible. There are many opportunities available to you to help spread the word about your offerings. Wait, did I just say Kate O’Neil?  Yes, the same Kate O’Neil who after four years working with us a year out of college told me last November that she felt she needed to be somewhere else (I was also 28 years old once and could relate).  I won’t embarrass her here, but it is tempting to use that cliché that the grass isn’t always greener, but I won’t. Oooops, I think I just did. Kate has been a big part of the growth of our business and her return is a true blessing. If you know Kate, remember Kate or you are a stranger that just wants to give her a hard time, then please drop her a note at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com. She got a lot of feedback when I wrote about her leaving; I hope she gets even more feedback congratulating her on her return.  But asking her why or what she was thinking is not allowed!

When the issue is done, then the seemingly nonstop conference season kicks into high gear. At Hospitality Upgrade we will be at multiple events. I will be speaking at the very unique TNT (Travel and Technology) Conference in Seattle, then attending the HFTP Annual Conference in Dallas, then off to beautiful Vail, Colo., for the PAR Springer-Miller Host Users Group (HUG) and then finishing the flurry at the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show. We sponsor the Technology Pavilion at IHMRS. The pavilion is an inexpensive way to show off your products at IHMRS. You don’t need to invest in a full booth and most importantly you get to share an area with Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online. If you have any questions or are interested in participating, then please email Kate at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com. Just don’t make her regret coming back!

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s very thorough review of the technology happenings. 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

- Thoughts on leadership from the CIO Summit
- Hospitality technology vendors listed in the Inc. 5000
Random thoughts about leadership, prompted by last week’s outstanding CIO Summit in Washington, D.C., surely the best so far. 
- In the opening social event (a scavenger hunt throughout downtown D.C.) we were asked to pick team leaders by the time-honored method of all of us simultaneously pointing to the person we wanted as leader.  While this instantly elected the immediately apparent leaders, once the exercise started the true leaders very quickly emerged – those who could size up the situation, devise a good strategy, direct the team enthusiastically towards a productive route and encourage them constantly to look for – and produce – ways to win more points.  Talent will out.
- The opening session was Bryan Williams’ excellent overview of what it takes to be an outstanding CIO, including examples starting with his first job as a 17-year-old towel boy at a Caribbean resort who was noticed – and mentored every two weeks – by the resort GM.
- The outstanding session on the second day from Bill Oates – yes, that Bill Oates, former CIO of Sheraton and Starwood, and current CIO of the City of Boston – was the epitome of everything Bryan Williams had been speaking about.  Starting from an annual IT budget of $200,000 for the whole city and the deafening sound of typewriters throughout his office – in 2006 – to a fully networked city where residents reporting potholes on a mobile app are contacted by the crew that fixed them, and with an infrastructure that materially helped the police track down the Marathon bombers, Bill has led an amazing surge in data-driven empowerment for the citizens and for the city government.
- And finally, the Fairmont Hotel itself, where the conference was held, quite clearly has excellent leadership.  The property was immaculate, the food excellent, the rooms comfortable and the staff uniformly friendly and helpful.  You may not always be able to see good leadership, but you can surely see its results.
Several hospitality vendors are listed in the Inc. 5000 ranking of the fastest-growing privately held companies this year, some for consecutive years, which is clear evidence of continued strong interest in hotel technology.  It’s interesting that the three mentioned below are all in data-related areas: reservations, revenue management and guest feedback/labor management.  I take this as an encouraging sign that hotel management continues to see the power and value of having quantified information about what’s going on at their properties.



- Mark Sohl hired by Rainmaker as VP technology operations
- Greg Woodliff joins hotel SystemsPro as director of technical support
- Anuj (AJ) Jenveja, Orie Berezan, Gayle Ehrean join Duetto’s Customer Success Team
- Cynthia Roberts joins innRoad as director of sales, Western U.S.
- Karim Meghji appointed chief product officer and VP engineering at buuteeq
- Jeff Haslow recognized as CFO of the Year (Private Company) in Proformative’s CFO Dimensions Awards for Excellence
For more information on People on the Move for 09/12/13


- Opera House Hotel selects Skyware Systems’ enterprise GMS
- SkyTouch announces HTNG-based interface with Pegasus’ RVNG
The 60-room Opera House Hotel in New York has selected Skyware Systems’ enterprise GMS as its online booking engine.  The former Bronx Opera House opened last week, and is the fifth Empire Hotel Group property to use Skyware Systems’ cloud service.  http://www.operahousehotel.com, http://www.skywaresystems.com
SkyTouch Technology announced an HTNG-based interface with Pegasus Solutions’ RVNG central reservation system.  http://www.pegs.com, http://www.skytouchtechnology.com


- Sceptre Hospitality Resources listed in Inc. 5000
- Nara adds hotels to its restaurant Web search engine
Sceptre Hospitality Resources has been listed among Inc. magazine’s annual 5,000 fastest-growing privately held companies.  http://www.sceptrehospitality.com  
Nara has added hotel search capabilities to its restaurant Web search engine, and has partnered with the Expedia Affiliate Network to book hotels directly online and with TripAdvisor for ratings and reviews of 13,000 hotels.  Nara’s engine analyzes user behavior and uses artificial intelligence to make personalized recommendations.  Users can discover hotels in new cities that are similar to those they already like and learn why Nara made that recommendation.  Initially Nara will be limited to 50 cities across the United States and Canada and to the Nara.me Web platform, but plans to expand to offer nationwide coverage and a mobile app are well advanced.  http://www.nara.me  


- Aptech announces orders from nine hotel companies
- HeBS Digital awarded Outstanding Achievement in Website Development at IMA for MetaSearch Gateway
- M3 offers STR data directly within its hosted business intelligence and analytics platform
- UniFocus participates in TRUSTe® U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program
- UniFocus ranked in Inc. Top 5000
- Digital Alchemy interfaces customer service portal with Genares Worldwide’s gBooker
- NORTHWIND announces RevGen Suite of business intelligence, yield management and e-marketing tools
For more information on Marketing/Management for 09/12/13


- Kimpton names IDeaS its exclusive RMS provider
- Principal Hayley (PH) Hotels signs with SiteMinder for distribution services
- Citybase Apartments selects eRevMax’s RateTiger Corp
- H10 Hotels picks eRevMax’s RateTiger
- Revenue Science Corporation to use RateGain’s PriceGain rate intelligence data in its PRIMES RMS
- Rainmaker listed in Inc. 5000 for third consecutive year.
For more information on Revenue Management for 09/12/13


- Crestron combines DMPS and AirMedia™ into single presentation product
- SpeedRFP adds 38,000+ clients in past 12 months, exceeds 65,000-member mark, used in bookings exceeding $100 million
Crestron has combined its DMPS and AirMedia™ tools into a single presentation product.  The DMPS Series delivers bit-for-bit, no latency HD video switching and display, including HDCP-protected content, providing seamlessly connections for MacBook® or PC laptops, and integrates an amplifier, audio DSP, mic mixer, multimedia matrix switcher and control system in a single three-space rackmount system.  AirMedia provides wireless HD presentation and collaboration from iOS or Android™ mobile devices; up to 32 users can connect at the same time in the same room, and using Quad View up to four presenters' content can be displayed simultaneously.  http://www.crestron.com/dmps-airmedia  
SpeedRFP announced that it added more than 38,000 meeting planners and other buyers in the past 12 months, surpassing the 65,000-member mark and being involved in bookings exceeding $100 million in meeting revenues in the same period.  http://www.SpeedRFP.com  


- MICROS to integrate PayPal into POS platforms
MICROS Systems has announced its intention to integrate PayPal into its POS platforms.  http://www.micros.com  


- Indel B announces KD50 drawer minibar
- Quadriga establishes subsidiary in Dubai
- Action Hotels picks Quadriga’s Sensiq and IPTV for new 242-room Holiday Inn Muscat
- Bin Shamikh selects Quadriga for 392-room project in Doha
- Embassy Suites Baltimore Downtown installs Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard
- iRiS’ Guest Valet application now supports integration with PABX systems via SIP servers
For more information on Guest Services for 09/12/13


- Accor picks Swisscom Hospitality for high-speed Internet access at 194 U.K. hotels
Accor has selected Swisscom Hospitality to provide high-speed Internet access (HSIA) to power its free Wi-Fi at 194 hotels in the United Kingdom, which include the ibis, Novotel, Mercure and Pullman brands.  Swisscom's network management tools provide hotel IT managers with an active view of their hotel networks in real time, as well as monthly and quarterly reviews of key performance indicators such as service availability, bandwidth consumption, data uploads and downloads, both on a timeline and per hotel area.  http://www.accorhotels.com, http://www.swisscom.ch/en/business/hospitality.html  


And now for you-know-what…

In the spirit of most being back in school, here are a few funnies for this edition of you-know-what...

Teacher:   Maria, please go to the map and find North America.
Maria:       Here it is.
Teacher:   Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
Class:       Maria.
Teacher:   John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
John:        You told me to do it without using tables.
Teacher:   Glenn, how do you spell, crocodile?
Glenn:      K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L                                            
Teacher:   No, that's wrong.
Glenn:      Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it. 
Teacher:   Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
Donald:     H I J K L M N O.
Teacher:   What are you talking about?
Donald:     Yesterday you said it's H to O.
Teacher:   Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have 10 years ago.
Winnie:     Me!
Teacher:   Freddie, why do you always get so dirty?
Freddie:    Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.
Teacher:   Millie, give me a sentence starting with I.
Millie:       I is…
Teacher:   No, Millie..... Always say, I am.
Millie:       All right... I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.   
Teacher:   George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
Louie:       Because George still had the axe in his hand.    
Teacher:   Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
Simon:     No sir, I don't have to, my mom is a good cook.
Teacher:   Clyde, your composition, "My Dog," is exactly the same as your brother's. Did you copy his?
Clyde:       No, sir. It's the same dog.
Teacher:   Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
Harold:     A teacher.

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