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Siegel Sez

December 19, 2013

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Thank you, 2013. Oh, the things we have learned! Every two weeks Jon does a fabulous job highlighting the latest technology happenings in the industry. We thank Jon for the many years we have been doing this together, and Hotel Online continues to grow. Technology is important; it touches us so many times throughout the day. But when it comes to business, what is the most important thing? We just had our annual holiday dinner this week and afterward I always get into one of my deep reflecting moods. This is a small business that we believe accomplishes way more than a company our size should. But that happens for a multitude of reasons and by far the number one reason is the people. I was looking around the table at dinner and was pretty amazed as 2013 completes our 21st year. Geneva was the first person I could afford to hire and 19 years later we are still working together. Kris has been with us for eight years now. Kate, except for a short excursion away, has been with us five years. Michelle who runs Hotel Online has been with us for more than five years, and Worth who makes sure the site is up and running and keeps hiccups to a minimum has been working with us for at least 10 years. We also had our lawyer who almost never does anything for us (thankfully) at our dinner and she has been doing our legal stuff for about 10 years. As I looked around the table it just made me smile; I have to believe there is a reason why people stay with us so long and I am sure it is not me. But whatever the reason is, I know having great caring people around you makes life easier and gives you a better chance for success. I am unbelievably thankful that they are there. Yes, technology is important but do what you can to make those you work with everyday enjoy where they work and your chance for great things happening will grow. Every December when I look back and reflect I can’t believe how lucky I am to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I hope as you look around at those in your office you can also feel the same way.

I am getting older so maybe reflecting is a normal thing and not necessarily bad. We just signed off on our 10th annual Executive Vendor Summit (EVS), and honestly who would have ever guessed that an event that brings together only C-level executives from the hospitality industry’s technology providers would continue to grow as it has. This is a unique industry and who you partner with is as important as the products (please read Jon’s opening comments in the technology review). At the EVS we dissect the state of the industry, the challenges everyone faces and the outlook for the future along with quite a few networking opportunities. Yes, our 10th Executive Vendor Summit is a milestone for us. So where are we going?  One of those things that we were very proud of was that we were the first industry event to go to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. That year, in the spring of 2006, we had an amazing crowd. During our 2006 conference, we had the mayor and the president of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau stop by to personally thank us for being there. That was a great moment. So what better place to celebrate our 10th event? Mark the calendar: The Executive Vendor Summit will be in New Orleans on March 25-27, 2014. If you have any questions about our Executive Vendor Summit, please email Kate at mailtkate@hospitalityupgrade.com and she will share the details with you. There are quite a few attendees coming for the 10th time. We will have fun with that!

The end of the year inspires us to look back, but it also encourages us to look ahead for the upcoming year. Take a moment and look at today, where you are, how you got there and where you want to go both personally and professionally. If you are like me, your No. 1 goal is to be happy and it is the time to pursue happiness. I know I will be trying for that. Please have the happiest of holidays and we can’t wait to share great things with you in 2014.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of the most recent technology happenings. For the final time in 2013, I will once again 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



- Is the GMS a commodity?  I don’t think so!
I’ve been asked a couple of times recently whether GMSs (or PMSs, if you must) have become commoditized and uninteresting.  After all, the hot action these days is focused on CRM and revenue management, and one GMS is much like another, right?   

I beg to differ.

I wrote earlier this year on the topic of “How much GMS do you really need?” and concluded that it may not be as much as you used to – in itself.  But hotels absolutely do need one; there’s no other vehicle for consolidating all the touch points where a guest interacts with the operation.  The real issue isn’t whether one type of system or another is the most important to a hotel’s operation, it’s that they’re all important and they must all work together.  The current glamor may belong to CRM and RMSs and their ability to increase business and profitability, but the data those systems rely on doesn’t come out of thin air.

Every system generates data of interest to every other system.  Guests’ stay history and preference details are captured in GMS folios and are built into a wider database for marketing and recognition programs.  At the same time data captured from the reservations process, data from guests’ interactions with loyalty programs via their mobile devices, and data from all the other systems in the hospitality ecosphere need to be incorporated and consolidated into the whole.  Anything that might improve the quality of the guest’s stay needs to be made available in the right way to the staff member interacting with the guest, whether on a reservations call, at the front desk or at a spa or restaurant check-in desk.  That’s more often through a GMS workstation than anything else.  And yes, that GMS workstation can sometimes be a smartphone.

Consequently the GMS remains a critical part of the operation, and the choice of which one to use remains as important as ever.  The main functions may be common across all of them, but significant differences remain in how well they integrate with other systems and in how well they present key information to the hotel staff.  IT Consultant Bob Lewis wrote, “Every piece of software is an opinion”; it’s developed according to a designer’s idea of how things should be done.  To get the best out of the hotel staff’s knowledge and experience, it’s essential to make sure that the tools they use integrate well, give them the data they actually need and are matched to the way they work in their own particular operating environment, i.e., that the software designers’ opinion matches their own in how to run the business.  Given the variability of human experiences, that requires as rich a range of GMS design approaches as can be economically provided.
And speaking of variability, may whichever holiday you celebrate this season be joyful, happy and spent in the company of good friends and family.  See you next year.



- ReviewPro expands into restaurant space
- RCD Resorts selects Indra’s TMS POS module for its All Inclusive Collection in Mexico and Dominican Republic
ReviewPro is expanding its online reputation and social media analytics into the restaurant space, and has launched online customer satisfaction measurement and improvement software that allows individual restaurants and chains to aggregate, analyze and respond to online reviews on hundreds of review sites and social media platforms.  http://www.reviewpro.com  
RCD Resorts has selected Indra’s Travel Management Suite for Hotels POS module for its All Inclusive Collection in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, comprising the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana and Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.  The properties are owned and operated by RCD Resorts under licensing agreements from Hard Rock International.  The POS module is fully integrated with RCD’s existing PMS, back office and loyalty systems to allow guests who are members of the Hard Rock International loyalty program to use a hotel-issued card to charge services at the Rock shops and have points be immediately updated in the corporate loyalty system.  http://www.indracompany.com  


- Atlantic Street Capital acquires Uniguest
- Hilton Garden InnLake Buena Vista/Orlando, Homewood Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista/Orlando install RoamingAround’s RoamBoost
Atlantic Street Capital has acquired Uniguest, a provider of hospitality information delivery software.  Headquartered in Nashville, Uniguest provides business centers, electronic displays and other customer-facing technology within hotels, as well as in-room guest directories and other ancillary printing needs, and has an installed base of more than 12,000 devices across nearly 7,000 properties worldwide.  http://www.atlanticstreetcapital.com, http://uniguest.com
The Hilton Garden InnLake Buena Vista/Orlando and the Homewood Suites by Hilton Lake Buena Vista/Orlando have installed RoamingAround’s RoamBoost Distributed Antenna System (DAS).  http://hiltongardenbuenavista.orlando.com, http://homewoodsuitebuenavista.orlando.com, http://www.RoamingAround.com  


- OpenWays announced expansion into consumer market with OKIDOKEYS range
OpenWays announced its expansion into the consumer market with its OKIDOKEYS range, a line of smart devices dedicated to home automation.  OKIDOKEYS smart locks are offered as enhancements to existing US ANSI grade 1 and grade 2 residential locks, as well as for newly built homes. A European EN version of the product will also be available.  http://www.okidokeys.com  


- Patrick Scully joins hotel SystemsPro as director of product strategy
- Thierry Beau joins Locatel as director of strategy
- Bruce Humphrey hired by Safemark Systems as regional sales manager
- Matt Neff is new regional director of sales at nSight travel intelligence
- IDeaS announces winners of second round of 2013 IDeaS Cornell Revenue Management Scholarships
- Deanna Smith named SVP of business development at Genares
For more information on People on the Move for 12/19/13


- Protel releases Mobile Hotelsoftware Protel for iPad® 2.0
- Springer-Miller announces multiplatform mobile apps, beginning with SMS|Host Anywhere
- Springer-Miller to distribute Glad to Have You’s Guest Management System to hotel and resort clients
- MSI integrating CloudPM with Best Western’s central reservation system
- SkyTouch integrates SiteMinder RDX into Hotel OS
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 12/19/13


- Leonardo Hotels renews technology agreement with Sabre, will engage Sabre in its brand expansion
- Singgasana Hotels and Resorts contracts with Trust International
Leonardo Hotels has renewed its technology agreement with Sabre Hospitality Solutions and its SynXis CRS, and plans to engage Sabre in its brand expansion.  Leonardo Hotels recently acquired 20 new hotels across Europe and the Middle East.  As the European division of the Fattal Hotels Group, Leonardo Hotels manages more than 80 hotels in Israel, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Hungary.  http://www.leonardo-hotels.com, http://www.sabrehospitality.com
Singgasana Hotels and Resorts has contracted with Trust International for hotel distribution services, including CRS, GDS, IDS (direct connect), IBE, Mobilebooker and a PMS interface.  Singgasana Hotels and Resorts operates hotels, residences, a golf course and an international convention center in Indonesia.  http://www.singgasanahotels.com, http://www.trustinternational.com


- Three DMOs sign with nSight travel intelligence
- TSA Solutions adds myDashboard to Front Desk Upselling software
- Sonesta picks TrustYou
For more information on Marketing/Management for 12/19/13


- Denihan Hospitality integrates Duetto's revenue strategy software with Sabre Hospitality's SynXis CRS
- IDeaS integrates IDeaS RMS with Sceptre’s WindsurferCRS
- Best Western Hotels Finland, Baltic States and Poland extends agreement with PowerYourRoom
- Getabed.co.uk integrates with eRevMax’s RateTiger
- Info-Tech Research Group names Rainmaker's GuestREV as 2013 Trend Setter Award recipient
For more information on Revenue Management for 12/19/13


- Amadeus buys Newmarket
- Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board contracts with ConferenceDirect and Passkey
- Crestron announces new family of configurable FlipTop connection units
- Crown Hotels select Newmarket’s Delphi
- Houston Marriott South at Hobby Airport installs Flyte Systems’ EventBoard
- Nexus World Services opens first Asia Pacific office, in Singapore
- YWS launches Meetings Maker direct booking system for hotel meeting rooms
- Knowland Group releases enhanced Estimated Room Night Revenue feature
- Strand Development Company completes installation of hotel SalesPro software in 36 of its 50 hotels
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 12/19/13


- FCS integrates Gateway software with three Toshiba Strata CIX® Unified Communication Systems
FCS Computer Systems has integrated its Gateway software with three Toshiba Singapore’s Strata CIX® Unified Communication Systems: the Strata CIX 100, CIX 670 and CIX 1200.  http://www.toshiba.com.sg, http://www.fcscs.com


And now for you-know-what…

Effective immediately, the following economizing measures are being implemented in the 12 Days of Christmas subsidiary:

1) The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never produced the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.

2) Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated.

3) The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French.

4) The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice mail system with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

5) The five golden rings have been put on hold by the board of directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-bills and high technology stocks, appear to be in order.

6) The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrade in the selection procedure by personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it gets will be a good one.

7) The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be retrained to learn some new strokes, thereby enhancing their outplacement.

8) As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching.

9) Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps.

10) Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus the expense of international air travel, prompted the compensation committee to suggest replacing this group with 10 out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this year.

11) and 12) Eleven pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. A substitution of a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no uniforms, will produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line.

Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over 12 days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys’ association seeking expansion to include the legal profession (i.e., 13 lawyers-a-suing), a decision is pending.

Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive. Should that happen, the board will request that management scrutinize the Snow White division to see if seven dwarfs are really necessary.

Happy holidays!

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