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Siegel Sez

March 13, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Last week was a fun but very crazy week. Michelle who runs Hotel-Online was at HTNG moderating a session that originally I was supposed to do. Kris and Marita were also at HTNG in San Diego. I was in Berlin at ITB, and Geneva and Katherine were in the office. Hospitality Upgrade does very well in the realm of Twitter and tweets, but it isn’t something I have truly embraced. However, I think I might be changing my mind. Everybody at HTNG was sending pictures to Geneva and Katherine and I was not just sending pictures but also some quick video interviews I was doing at ITB. It was fun sharing what we were experiencing with thousands of people that quickly. Michelle’s session, Travel for the Ages, was a big hit. It was funny for me as I was sitting in my hotel room in Berlin at 11 p.m. local time when Michelle’s session began and I started receiving emails for the next 45 minutes from those in the audience sharing updates of how the session was going. The messages were all positive and I think I will keep the emailers nameless for now, with the exception of Bob Combie from Sunstone Hotels who waited until the end of the session to email a simple message: Michelle was awesome. Who would think I would become such a worrier! I am glad the session and the HTNG Annual Conference went well. For those of you who have never been to ITB, I would strongly recommend you put it on your business bucket list. You can have two bucket lists, right? ITB reminded me of the old days with massive crowds and often lines to get into exhibitor booths, especially at the end of the day when the alcohol comes out. European conferences differ a great deal from those in the States; just about every booth is serving something throughout the day. I met a great many people including some from companies that are less than a year old who have created next generation solutions. There is interesting and exciting technology coming down the pike. Also many of the big guys were there and I spent time with people like Peter Altabef the CEO at Micros Systems and Alex Alt the president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. It was fun since both of them along with more than 50 other CEOs will be at our Executive Vendor Summit in New Orleans in less than two weeks. It looks like our EVS No. 10 is going to be a big one.  Our little company is very excited that so many are taking time out of their busy schedules to attend this unique event. For now we let the anxiety build as we count down until the start of the event, but then again what is life without a little stress?

After Berlin I was lucky enough to do a three-day weekend in Manchester, England. I have been to London a few times, Birmingham twice, but nowhere else in England. I loved Manchester though the trip started out strangely. I’ve been a frequent traveler for many years, yet it is still unnerving when our EasyJet flight was about 20 feet from touching down and then suddenly the engines revved and we went back in the air! The pilot blamed the aborted landing on strong crosswinds, but who can be sure. I loved Northern England. It is a beautiful part of the country. Of course, I was a bit shocked that there were so many sheep there. Am I the only one that didn’t know this? I was quite proud of myself; I rented a car, drove on the wrong side of the road for three days and only once came close to an accident. Unfortunately, it was really close. Thankfully the person I cut off had great brakes. I can now take Manchester off my other bucket list. (To view a picture of my adventures in Northern England, please see the upper right corner of this page.)

Yes, there is a great deal going on in the industry with technology. I encourage you to read through Jon Inge’s technology review, after all that is the real reason we are here. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what!  Oh, and if you want to check out the tweets from last week please visit, www.twitter.com/HospUpgrade.


Technology NEWSSTAND

Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- Guest satisfaction varies by country – and by the amount of staff interaction
A reminder of the importance of guest satisfaction, and a caution of how different cultures have different expectations, comes from a recent study published by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research.  Based on two years of data for nearly 200,000 guests from eight nations, the study found cultural differences in four areas:
- While price and location are the top decision factors, residents of some countries give considerable weight to specific services;
- People in different countries do consider different factors in their determination of satisfaction;
- The effect of certain procedures on guests’ satisfaction differs by country; and
- Residents of some countries express lower levels of satisfaction in general than those in other countries.
In other words, it’s not enough to plan for a particular guest satisfaction initiative; its impact and the results you get may depend more than you think on the guests’ nationality.

The study confirmed that guest satisfaction has a direct impact on a hotel’s financial performance.  As little as a single point increase in a hotel’s 100-point Global Review Index™ (GRI) leads up to a 0.89 percent increase in price (ADR), a 0.54 percent increase in occupancy and a 1.42 percent increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR). 

One surprising area of cultural difference was in guests’ tolerance of delays during check-in.  “Everybody knows” that guests hate to wait in line, confirmed by the study’s report that when tolerance thresholds are exceeded guest satisfaction scores can drop by an astonishing 50 points.  However, that threshold can vary significantly by nationality; American travelers reported getting impatient after just a three-minute wait in line, and Canadians after just four minutes. The French, Germans and Italians are a little more patient at 15 minutes, followed by the stiff upper lip British at 17, but the champions of patience are apparently the Japanese, who reportedly are OK with waiting up to 30 minutes.  (At least at hotels; those who’ve experienced the crush on the Tokyo subway may disagree with this figure.)  All this is great input for vendors working to let guests bypass the front desk completely and go straight to their rooms, or at least to check themselves in online pre-arrival to minimize the time spent picking up their keys.

On the other hand, is maximum self service really the answer?  According to the J.D. Power 2013 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, the number of interactions guests have with hotel staff may itself have an impact on satisfaction.  Guests who interact with four or more staff types, excluding the check-in staff, gave an average of 856 points, 79 points higher than the industry average. Conversely, satisfaction dropped to 53 points below the industry average when guests have no interaction with staff beyond check-in.

Guest self-service apps are clearly here to stay, but perhaps people who need people really are happier.



- Richard Corso promoted to CEO at InnLink
- Kristin Intress joins WorldHotels as CEO
- Robert Arnold selected as one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing
- Bob McCarthy joins board of HandHeld Hospitality
For more information on People on the Move for 03/13/14


- MGM deploying Cenium in third property
- NH Hotel Group implementing Indra’s TMS across all 400 hotels
- Ivory Grand Hotel Apartment, Dubai deploys Prologic First’s complete WISH hospitality suite
- Hallmark Hotels implements protel’s MPE, ePOS from Xn Hotel Systems across eight hotels
- NORTHWIND enhances Diamond Plus Service, Management Strategies and Web Connection Services
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 03/13/14


- Tourico Holidays enhances data-caching technology to achieve 97 percent sync rate with top hotel brands
- Monte Carlo Sharm El Sheikh resort selects Busy Rooms' dynamic packaging for rooms and flights
- Trust International certified by TripAdvisor as TripConnect Premium Partner
- Lucerne Hotel in New York City contracts for Pegasus Connect+
- Sorell Hotels Group assigns all 17 hotels to Pegasus Connect+, RVNG
For more information on Reservations for 03/13/14


- Shift4 certifies DOLLARS ON THE NET to Moneris Solutions for EMV transaction processing
- Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi installs Prologic First’s WebPROL'IFIC
- Ramada Abu Dhabi installs Prologic First’s PayTRAX & Fixed Assets Management
- Newmarket announces availability of German language for REX
- Accor posting internship, entry-level job opportunities on HOSCO’s online recruitment network
- Worldhotels offers Optii Solutions’ housekeeping software to all members at discounted prices
For more information on Back Office for 03/13/14


- Carrier Enterprise releases FS-TA1 Founten temperature and alarm sensor
Carrier Enterprise has released its FS-TA1 Founten temperature and alarm sensor, an accessory that adds wireless remote sensing and alarm notification to its Founten FS-STAT-32AC and FS-STAT-32ACH models.  The device can be used as either an external temperature probe for monitoring and control, or as an alarm notification generator.  The external temperature probe can operate at a distance of up to 500 ft. from a thermostat, and can also detect temperatures within enclosed refrigerator, freezer and walk-in units.  http://www.carrierenterprise.com  


- Guest-tek acquires TelNet
- COMO Hotels and Resorts’ new Metropolitan to open with RoamingAround’s RoamBoost
- PhoneSuite introduces Series2 V.IP telephone system
For more information on Communications/Infrastructure for 03/13/14


- dana hotel and spa implements Flip.to
- Irish Hotels Federation to show TrustYou’s hotel TrustScores on IrelandHotels.com website
- Check In Canada to rank hotels based on TrustYou’s TrustScore
- FindMyCarrots partners with TrustYou to provide semantic analysis for hotel queries in India
- Saybrook Point Inn & Spa hires GCommerce for new website presence and digital strategy
- AM:PM Hotels celebrates third anniversary, announces development of database for hotel closures
- CVBs of Tucson, Scottsdale and Flagstaff implement nSight
For more information on Marketing/Management for 03/13/14


- Derag Livinghotels signs with SiteMinder for distribution management at 14 properties
- Jumbo Tours Spain signs with SiteMinder
- Silver Legacy Resort Casino picks The Rainmaker Group's GuestREV
- World Independent Hotel Promotion (WIHP) partners with eRevMax
- Inn on Biltmore Estate implements IDeaS’ RMS
- IDeaS wins Best in Class Technology Award in Revenue Management at Hospitality Technology Europe Conference 
For more information on Revenue Management for 03/13/14


- HTNG Most Innovative Hospitality Technology Awards go to InnSpire, Interel and iRiS
- MICROS adds iRiS’ guest service apps to hosted MICROS Commerce Platform
- Hotel Hotel in Canberra is first Australian property to install Intelity ICE
- Kempinski’s Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is first Middle East hotel to deploy 802.11ac wireless network
- Red Lion Hotels’ Anaheim property installs RTT Mobile Interpretation's ELSA for multilingual guest communications
- Hotel WiFi Test publishes first report ranking the Top 100 Hotels and the Top 10 Hotel Chains by Wi-Fi service
For more information on Guest Services for 03/13/14


- Beijing International Hotel selects Newmarket’s Delphi
- Genares releases SalesConnect CRM tool for its BT Advantage program
- Hyatt deploys Social Tables to all North American hotels
- Social Tables launches Social Tables On-Site, allowing editable function space diagrams on hotel websites
- Social Tables adds support for the metric system
- South by Southwest (SXSW) contracts with Meetingmax Systems
- Sonesta Collection picks EMI’s SpeedRFP for its brand and 51 properties
- ACTIVE Network Business Solutions merges into Lanyon
- Lansdowne Resort installs Noventri Reader Boards, Door Cards and Flight Board
- Noventri certifies Digital Readerboards and Digital Door Cards for The Knowland Group's Target Net system
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 03/13/14


And now for you-know-what...

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at Government House Sydney. One is from Sydney, another is from Melbourne and the third is from Adelaide.

All three go with an official to examine the fence. The Sydney contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900; $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 for me.”

The Melbourne contractor also does some measuring and figuring, and then says, “I can do this job for $700. That's $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 for me.”

The Adelaide contractor doesn't measure or figure, but leans over to the government official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn't even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Adelaide contractor whispers back, “$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Melbourne to fix the fence.”

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