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Siegel Sez

October 10, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

When you are traveling for fun, what makes a trip great? If you are traveling alone, as I often do, it is the people who you meet along the way that make the difference. I have spent six nights in Sydney, Australia. Actually I am in Sydney right now which means you are reading something I wrote tomorrow and you are reading yesterday. The premise behind the trip was to attend industry consultant Ted Horner’s 60th birthday party.  The party was a blast, but afterwards I enjoyed the adventure of traveling around Sydney.  If we were to play word association and I said Sydney, you would say … I bet you said Opera House, right? I was lucky enough to be staying at the Park Hyatt in Sydney which is right across the water from the Opera House and is considered by most as the nicest hotel in Sydney. You won’t get much of an argument from me on that, and I met the nicest people here, too.  The Sydney adventure has been wonderful; it is strange seeing things we don’t normally see in the states. Not just the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge, but things like cockatoos flying around free as we might see robins flying around in the states.  I lived in Sydney 23 years ago and it has been fun revisiting my past. I have had multiple meetings with people I knew from the industry that I had never met or talked to, only emailed. Nothing beats a face to face meeting though I would prefer not to have to travel this far all the time to have these meetings.  The trip from Sydney to Atlanta is 20 hours trapped in a plane (yes, I am in coach), and is way too long a trip. I lost a Thursday on my trip over here, but I get to have a Thursday twice on my way home. Just not sure that makes any sense to my body.  I think I am going to come back, but next time it will be for more than six nights and to adventure to more than just Sydney.  Australia is a beautiful country with much to offer and so many nice people.
Next week I will be off to Dallas for the HFTP Annual Conference. This event is more focused on the financial folks that make up the HFTP membership, but it is one of my favorite events. I think back years ago when I started attending and even though I am a technology guy, they pretty much adopted me into this extended family. Then again it does make sense since technology touches every facet of hospitality.  The conference ends with the President’s Dinner and this year we join R.P. Rama from JHM Hotels as he passes the torch to the new Global President Jerry Trieber who is the regional director of accounting at Crestline Hotels and Resorts. It is always a great night and I am thankful that I can be there. 

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of all the technology happenings. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you know what. Good day, mate!


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- Forgetting what you stand for
Many new companies and products start with a real flash of insight, a brilliant new approach to an old problem or a new idea so compelling it begins a whole new market segment.  Maintaining that edge and leadership is another story, and gets harder and harder over time.  Competitors spring up providing imitations or even improvements on the original idea, and the pioneers are under constant pressure to prove that they’re still the innovative leaders they once were.  It’s almost impossible to maintain that; sooner or later the cracks begin to show.

Two examples spring to mind at the moment.  Apple® is one.  Steve Jobs was an exceptional visionary who saw new ways of doing things and insisted on sheer elegance in execution, both visually and functionally.  The iPod®, iPhone® and iPad® were all revolutionary and rightly admired – but now they’re no longer unique; Android™ devices have equaled or in some cases surpassed them.  I’m not a big Apple user, but I don’t think there’s an equivalent in the Apple world to Google Now and its scarily intuitive advice on what you need to know right now about your surroundings and on the traffic between you and your next appointment.  In the post-Jobs era there haven’t been any significant new products or ideas, and the company seems to have lost its way a little; the latest iOS 7 upgrade is flat, plain and boring, a clear step backwards visually and no advanced functionally.

Another example is LinkedIn.  Originally a great way to extend one’s network by finding out who you knew who could introduce you to someone you wanted to meet, it has steadily slid into a semi-professional version of Facebook.  There were always people who treated it that way and tried to collect the maximum number of direct connections to prove how valuable and well-connected they were, regardless of whether they actually knew the names they added to their networks.  LinkedIn originally offered three response choices: Accept, Deny or Send a Message.  I often used the latter to find out if and how I knew the other person; sometimes we did in fact have a connection, but at least it let me politely decline if I didn’t. 

However, LinkedIn has gradually reduced the response options, first to a flat Accept/Ignore choice and now to just Accept/Review Profile, presumably on the assumption that I will want to add people to my network regardless of whether I actually know them, just because they asked.  Endorsements are a similar sad story; originally a worthwhile way to expand on a person’s talents, LinkedIn has reduced them to a mindless “click to endorse” button that means nothing, judging by the number of people who endorse me for skills they can’t know I possess.  As a result, LinkedIn has devalued the whole reason it was started, namely the creation of a reliable way to be introduced to a potential client or employer.

It’s incredibly hard to maintain one’s original point of distinction and creative lead, but companies should at least try to avoid deliberately undermining it.  Making changes just because the market expects something new and there aren’t any new ideas to launch is the start of a slide into irrelevance.



- EzRMS listed as a Champion in Info-Tech’s Revenue Management Systems Vendor Landscape
- JustBook.com implements RezGain
- protel integrates with eRevMax’s Connect
- Beach Vacations implements eRevMax's RateTiger for seven properties
For more information on Revenue Management for 10/10/13


- Accor implements Salesforce.com-based ANAIS sales force automation app
- PSAV reselling Cvent’s CrowdCompass mobile app development platform
- Caesars Entertainment deploys Passkey's GroupMAX at all eight Las Vegas hotels
- Meritus Hotels & Resorts adopts Passkey's GroupMAX
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 10/10/13


- Puma Hotels completes groupwide upgrade of Xn Hotel Systems’ EPoS
- Lemon Tree Bangalore opens using Prologic First’s Touché POS
- Prologic First releases Android-based version of Touché Mobile POS
For more information on F&B/Point of Sale for 10/10/13


- Fairmont Scottsdale Princess deploys Newmarket’s REX
- Andaz Maui at Wailea installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System
- Malsi Resort Dehradun, India, implements Prologic First’s WebPROL'IFIC
For more information on Back Office for 10/10/13


- Scott Edgington hired by Duetto as chief revenue officer
- Christian Palomino, Stan Repetta join HTNG's Board of Governors
- Six new representatives join HTNG’s Vendor Advisory Council
- Bill Rose promoted to CIO at Pegasus Solutions
- Christina Hooker joins innRoad as director of sales, Florida
For more information on People on the Move for 10/10/13


- Charlestowne Hotels implements WebRezPro at two properties
Charlestowne Hotels has implemented WebRezPro’s cloud guest management system at the 52-room HarbourView Inn and 50-room French Quarter Inn in Charleston, S.C.  The systems include interfaces to the hotels’ credit card gateways and GDS providers.  http://www.charlestownehotels.com, http://www.webrezpro.com


- Hospitality Integrated Technology signs with Trust International for five properties
- TAUZIA Hotel Management contracts with Trust International for 13 HARRIS Hotels
- Greater Madison CVB chooses Regatta booking engine
- Visit Tucson chooses Regatta booking engine
- TourSales.com launches 2,500 popular and special interest tours into hospitality market
- UniTravel launches new version of its booking platform
For more information on Reservations for 10/10/13


- AZIMUT Hotels signs with ReviewPro for 21 properties
- IBEROSTAR renews partnership with ReviewPro
- Genares integrates Flip.to into its CRS
- Vantage implements new interface between ZDirect and SynXis
- Lodging Interactive receives three 2013 W3 Silver Awards
- Lodging Interactive receives Gold Magellan Award
- MICROS Systems receives five 2013 WebAwards
- Equus Hotel, Marina Tower Waikiki, sign with GCommerce Solutions
- Agilysys releases Insight Mobile Manager dashboard
For more information on Marketing/Management for 10/10/13


- Starwood linking SynergyMMS maintenance software with its StarGuest Response+
- Guest-tek research reports 82 percent of U.K.'s leading hotels receive guest complaints on technology
- Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel installing Quadriga's Sensiq guest communications platform
- LOCATEL launches Mobility range of mobile applications
- INTEREL and LOCATEL partner to offer guestroom services app using augmented reality interface
- Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa adds Eleven's iMac guest computing service
For more information on Guest Services for 10/10/13



And now for you-know-what…

A doctor was addressing a large audience at a conference. He said, "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago."

He continued, "Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, "Wedding cake."

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