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Siegel Sez

February 06, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

So the Super Bowl was a dud.  What a surprise. Doesn’t Denver have a history of being blown out in the big game? There was so much hype surrounding playing the game outdoors in a northern city, and as it turned out the weather was perfect for football. Of course, 12 hours after the game the snow started in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. I wonder what the result would have been if the game was played in a snowstorm. Was I the only one laughing when a week before the game the news reported that there were plenty of hotel rooms for the Super Bowl and discounting was rampant? Come on, it is the largest metropolitan area in the country, most stayed away because of the game and there was never going to be enough people coming to fill the thousands of rooms in the area.  I have to believe this was a great test for revenue managers. I don’t envy them. Anyway, the game is history and now it is back to the real world or at least our being surprised how different the hotel industry is in Sochi, Russia as the Winter Olympics get rolling.

Speaking of winter and snow, it looks like parts of the U.S. are going to get hit with storms again this week. I hope you got to see my interview with Bryson Koehler, the EVP/CIO at The Weather Channel. If you missed it, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCftkaCUsO0&feature=youtu.be. I absolutely understand business is business, but at times it can drive me nuts. There was a part of the interview that was edited where I shared that I installed Uverse in my home because it offered both horse racing channels that I love to watch. Now AT&T has dropped one of the channels (TVG) and I have to switch to a service that offers them. What a pain. The Weather Channel is pretty big in the hotel industry because travelers use it as they are planning destinations or their trips home. Yes, business is business but it still drives me crazy.  If you have any thoughts, please drop a note. Maybe we will do more interviews. It was an interesting day at The Weather Channel studios.

If you are a technology provider and have never been to the Hospitality Upgrade Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com), this is the year you must attend! It is our 10th event, it is in New Orleans and it seems like everybody is coming from near and far. The pressure to put on a great event is at times overwhelming, but then again, what is life without challenges, right? If you have any questions about the summit, please email mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call 678-802-5303 immediately. Let the countdown begin!

Jon Inge was in rare form with his opening to the technology review this week. I give him credit: He lives in Seattle, watched the Super Bowl and didn’t make one mention of it this week. I know I couldn’t have avoided doing that! But his review is the real reason we are here. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.


Technology NEWSSTAND

Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- What’s in a name?  A great deal.
A couple of recent conversations have centered around system names – and no, I’m not going to revive the “Inn” range of names we had fun with last year (Inn-Decision, et al).  This may seem like a minor point, but I think it has more importance than it’s usually given, especially for new products looking to make an impression.

When developing a new product, most vendors use something like “NewCo” or “NextSys” as a project code name to get things moving, but clearly something more striking needs to be found before going to market.  It doesn’t have to be a real word, but it does need to be memorable, easy to pronounce and able to conjure up some image in the reader’s mind.  This is especially true if you’re looking for funding; the folks with the money typically aren’t familiar with our industry, and it really helps them grasp the concept if they don’t have to struggle with understanding its name.

This applies to the company name as well as the product, of course.  The names MICROS, Infor and Agilysys don’t mean anything as such, but they’re easy to say and conjure up technological associations that help make them memorable.  Founders’ names or vivid imagery can also be good, such as Springer-Miller, NORTHWIND or Squirrel; they have nothing to do with the product, but they’re clear and vivid.  Good system names such as ResortSuite, Maestro, OPERA, Host and Galaxy expand on this with the implication of helping hoteliers conduct all the myriad aspects of hospitality.

When inspiration is hard to come by it’s tempting to resort to acronyms, but these carry a double disadvantage.  One is that they’re easy to confuse with one another; quick, tell me the difference between HIS, HSI and IHS.  Anyone?  How about HMS and HRM?  Several of us who’ve been in this industry for a while do know what these are, but when you’re introducing a new product why make it harder on yourself by being anonymous? 

The other challenge with acronyms is that you have to expand them when you talk about them, especially when they’re first introduced to the marketplace, and when you do, the expanded phrase must, again, be easy to say, clear and memorable.  “HIS” became a widely known acronym in the industry because Hotel information Systems met those criteria (it was also a good system), but if the phrase is awkward to say, it’s going to be hard to stick in people’s minds, even if it has a good meaning.  Sorry, Newmarket, but Hospitality Relationship Management just has too many syllables and HRM sounds like a human resources application.  What happened to the memorable clarity of Delphi, Libra and HotSOS?

Recognition breaks down completely when the company names the product (or itself) after some image that’s meaningful only to its leaders.  One example that has stayed with me since the early 1990s is Lodging Touch International (not a bad name at all), which called its GMS “Libica” and its food and beverage POS “Cenacolo.”  To this day I have no idea what those names stood for, nor have they ever conjured up any memorable image in my mind.  And I have to feel that an opportunity was lost when Hotel Concepts and Brilliant Software (great name!) combined their operations under the name iTesso.  Their new system is very promising, but the name is an enigma. 

It’s like coming across a spelling mistake in a press release.  You can understand what the vendor’s saying but it’s a distraction, an interruption to your grasping the message.  And anything that trips up the brain and breaks the flow of the message is never good. 

There’s a reason marketing consultants earn their fees.  This stuff is really hard, and really important.



- Infor releases HMS version 3.6
- Frontdesk Anywhere now supports seven payment processors across 33 European countries
- Inn at Woburn migrates to hosted PMS, EPoS and Web booking systems from Xn Hotel Systems
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 02/06/14


- Trust International moves U.S. call center to larger location in Orlando
- Prologic First introduces its next-generation CRS
- Traxo introduces Traxo Factor hotel recommendation engine
- NAVIS expands RezForce Reservation Call Center
- Ayre Hoteles switches the rest of its hotels to Pegasus Connect+
For more information on Reservations for 02/06/14


- University Club of Chicago, New York Athletic Club implement B4Checkin’s member feedback system
- Infor integrates Epiphany with SmartFocus' cloud email marketing services
- MHG Hotels implements Aptech’s Execuvue Business Intelligence across 11 properties
- Sabre renews relationship with ReviewPro
- Acme Hotel Company implements Flip.to
For more information on Marketing/Management for 02/06/14


- RezNext acquires more than 400 customers in 113 cities in India in last quarter of 2013
- AB Hotels pilots integration between IDeaS’ RMS and Avvio's Convert5 online hotel booking engine
- IDeaS launches latest versions of cloud-based RMS, including IDeaS Mobile RMS
- Idiso (formerly Tradyso) selects SiteMinder’s RDX
- TravelClick to rename EZYield as TravelClick Channel Management
For more information on Revenue Management for 02/06/14


- Passkey launches revenue-maximizing mobile hotel booking website
- Cendyn acquires Arcaneo and Metron Web-based meeting planning software
- Cendyn launches getplanning mobile collaboration tool in Europe
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


- Merchant Link, Precidia Technologies collaborate to offer secure payment acceptance
Merchant Link and Precidia Technologies are collaborating to offer secure payment acceptance for integrated point-of-sale systems (IPOS).  TransactionLink – Precidia Edition removes cardholder data from IPOS systems and enables customer-facing devices to prompt the consumer, request funds, manage error conditions and deliver completed sale information back to the IPOS. Transactions are hardware encrypted at swipe to prevent malware from skimming cardholder data inflight, and tokenized using format-preserving tokens which allow merchants to continue to perform cardholder analytics on purchase data.  http://www.precidia.com, http://www.merchantlink.com


- Wedgewood Hotel implements new wireless Internet system from Liveport
- STC offers Box Seal gasket to improve sound isolation between guestrooms
- Hilton rolling out tiered Wi-Fi charging
- Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel implements DIRECTV’s Digital Residential Experience package
For more information on Guest Services for 02/06/14


- PGA National Resort and Spa selects UniFocus’ workforce management software
- Canouan Resort in the Grenadines installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID System
- Grand Beach Hotel Surfside implements InvoTech's UHF-RFID Linen System
- LTS Hospitality Management and another unnamed client order Aptech’s Profitvue ASP Accounting system
- Optii Solutions launches Optii Keeper housekeeping app in North America
- Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park picks Infor’s Infinium FMS, Infinium HCM and PM Query & Analysis
- Novotel Melbourne On Collins implements Newmarket’s REX and HotSOS
- D Las Vegas Casino Hotel, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino now accept Bitcoin for payment
For more information on Back Office for 02/06/14


- Gale South Beach installs RoamingAround’s RoamBoost
- Hilton Hampton Inn Houston installs Guest-tek’s Voice iACT Solution cloud-based PBX
The Gale South Beach in Miami, Fla., has installed RoamingAround’s RoamBoost cellular signal enhancement as part of a major restoration.  Phase I, completed mid-August 2013, included eight nodes to cover the back-of-house offices, restaurant, bar, lobby, first-floor guestrooms and back lounge; Phase II was completed this month, and included eight more nodes to cover floors two, three and four.  http://www.meninhotels.com, http://www.RoamingAround.com
The Hilton Hampton Inn Houston has added Guest-tek’s Voice iACT Solution cloud-based PBX to its OneView platform.


- Starwood to pilot Bluetooth-based room key on guest’s smartphones
- OpenWays unveils Mobile Key DUAL, combining Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC) and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy
Starwood announced pilot tests of a Bluetooth-based room key housed in the guest’s smartphone at the Aloft Hotels in Manhattan and Silicon Valley before the end of March.  Guests will receive a message on a Starwood app containing a virtual key, which will unlock the door with a tap or twist of their phone; the app is compatible with the iPhone® 4s or newer models and Android™ phones running 4.3 or newer.  Starwood hopes to introduce the virtual key at all its W Hotels and Aloft hotels (123 properties currently) by the end of next year.  http://www.starwoodhotels.com  
OpenWays has unveiled its Mobile Key DUAL with Bluetooth Smart (BT 4.0 BLE).  The Mobile Key DUAL combines OpenWays' Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC) Technology and Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth Low Energy, leveraging the Bluetooth Smart technology from its new OKIDOKEYS residential line.  Apple's® iBeacon™ is also supported as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 BLE release.  http://www.openways.com  


- Sharon Duffy joins Nor1 as SVP global operations
- Matt Zaruba appointed chief information security officer for Carlson
- Benu Aggarwal recognized by HSMAI as one of Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing
- Jeff Bixler hired by Optii Solutions as VP North America
- Chris Clement joins The Rainmaker Group as director, hospitality sales
For more information on People on the Move for 02/06/14


And now for you-know-what...

Abe and Esther are flying to Australia for a two-week vacation to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Suddenly, over the public address system, the captain announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, I am afraid I have some very bad news. Our engines have ceased functioning and we will attempt an emergency landing. Luckily, I see an uncharted island below us and we should be able to land on the beach. However, the odds are that we may never be rescued and will have to live on the island for the rest of our lives."

Thanks to the skill of the flight crew, the plane lands safely on the island. An hour later Abe turns to his wife and asks, "Esther, did we pay our $5,000 PBS pledge check yet?"

"No, sweetheart," she responds.

Abe, still shaken from the crash landing, then asks, "Esther, did we pay our American Express card yet?"

"Oh, no! I'm sorry. I forgot to send the check," she says.

"One last thing, Esther. Did you remember to send checks for the Visa and MasterCard this month?" he asks.

"Oh, forgive me, Abie," begged Esther. "I didn't send that one, either."

Abe grabs her and gives her the biggest kiss in 40 years.

Esther pulls away and asks him, "What was that for?"

Abe answers, "Don't worry, honey. They'll find us!"

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