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Siegel Sez

April 17, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

What an interesting two weeks since our last Siegel Sez. Last week I was in Dallas for the Newmarket International Customer Conference (NICC) at the Omni Hotel. Yes, the hotel that those of you in Dallas know because of the creative way it lights up at night. NICC was great. It was well attended with some very good sessions. I especially liked the way that Gregg Hopkins, vice president of marketing, interviewed people casually on stage. User conferences are all about sharing stories and it was a very creative idea to bring users on stage to share their stories. It was different and I like different. The highlight for me was the keynote session by Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst and strategist with Atmosphere Research Group. If you want to know the why, how and expectations from travelers, he is the guy you want to hear. Of course, one of the biggest things about user conferences is the interaction and the social events. One evening everyone was invited up to the top of Reunion Tower. Yes, those rotating restaurants 30 stories up never get old. It was a great event and a fun time. After Dallas I headed to Las Vegas for Agilysys Inspire 2014 at the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa. Agilysys is a big company with many products and it also had many partner companies exhibiting during the event. It is always fun to meet with them as well.  I liked the way they did the opening day sessions. First the executives of Agilysys gave a state of the company and shared new products that are coming. It makes sense to show the new products off to the users and those using their other products were interested.  For the second general session Agilysys gets an “A” for creativity: The keynote speaker for the conference was not a speaker at all, but a pair of jugglers who incorporated the Agilysys message. The jugglers, Passing Zone, was a nice way to kick off the conference. The message came out loud and clear, but it was fun and entertaining also. The venue for this event was also great. If you have never been to the Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa then you need to check it out. I don’t know of any better place to hold a cocktail party then at the indoor/outdoor Cherry Nightclub. I was glad I was there and thankful to be invited. I just love talking to those who use the technology that we write about.

It is just about two months to HITEC and at both events everyone was talking about the coming conference very positively. In fact I was told that many of the hotels are either filled or are filling up so if you are planning on going, make your plans quickly. It looks like it is going to be a very well attended event this year. If you are a vendor who will be there and especially if you are not going to be there, Hospitality Upgrade is the only industry magazine that is in the registration bags and will be an important part to get noticed at the show and a sure thing to be a takeaway after the show. If you have questions or want to be included in this issue, please contact Marita at (678) 802-5304 or email her at mailto:marita@hospitalityupgrade.com. I enjoy attending different events throughout the year, but nothing beats HITEC. There are many announcements that are held until HITEC and this year some might even be a bit shocking, but that is what makes the event so special.  We are just eight weeks away and the whole world of technology for the hospitality industry will be in Los Angeles. I can’t wait.
Here now is the real reason we are here, the complaining Jon Inge with his technology review. 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



- Enabling bad habits
I’ve written recently about the challenges of encouraging innovation in hospitality technology, as well as the obstacles presented by the industry’s traditional reluctance to replace obsolete systems.  The two can often overlap, such as when a company comes up with an innovative solution to an obsolete technology problem.  However, this again raises the question of how far do we want to go in enabling hotels and vendors to continue handicapping themselves by refusing to upgrade?

This was highlighted for me today when I came across a U.K.-based vendor offering a PCI-compliant fax service (see below).  It continues to amaze me just how many reservation bookings are still sent in plain text by fax, a practice that must give any PCI qualified security assessor (QSA) fits, but it’s still very significant.  (Speaking of giving QSAs fits, I’ve also come across hotels where reservation agents enter guests’ credit card numbers into a PCI-compliant booking system, but then write them down on a piece of paper as backup for the front desk agents.  But I digress.)

Full marks to the vendor for spotting an opportunity in the marketplace, but with the current strong debates around data security (personally identifiable data as well as credit card numbers) and the ever-growing awareness of the need for encryption and secure transmissions, surely it’s only a matter of time before faxed transmissions are seen as totally unacceptable?  A vendor nimble enough to take advantage of this short-term opportunity will already be looking at other areas where it can use innovation to make a difference, which I definitely applaud, but I really wish the industry had moved beyond the point where this particular application was useful.



- Jeanne Blair named HFTP’s 2014 CHTP of the Year
- Michael Caruso named VP of global sales at econnect, inc.
- Rui Pereira joins SkyTouch Technology as senior sales engineer
- Jason Mier joins Sceptre Hospitality Resources as director of client experience management
For more on People on the Move for 04/17/14


- Resorts World Bimini picks Agilysys’ LMS and Visual One Condo Accounting System
Resorts World Bimini has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS) and Visual One Condo Accounting System for its 480-unit Bahamas resort.  A new 326-room luxury hotel, scheduled to open in June, also will use LMS.  http://rwbimini.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- InterFax launches PCI DSS-compliant inbound fax service
- Best Western integrates Google Wallet with Android version of Best Western To Go app
- Travel Tripper’s RezTrip adds automated Specials & Packages pages and distinct offer landing pages
- Travel Tripper adds single-brand multiple property searches to RezTrip
- IHS GmbH acquires InnLink
- Google licenses technology behind Room 77
- Horseshoe Bay Resort implements NAVIS Narrowcast
For more information on Reservations for 04/17/14


- Clarabridge acquires Market Metrix
- HeBS Digital receives three Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) awards
- nSight aggregating OTA landscape into simpler view for hotels
- TrustYou partners with JackRabbit Systems
- Appy Hotel signs reseller partnership with Technology 4 Hotels for Australia and New Zealand
For more information on Marketing/Management for 04/17/14


- Hospitality Management Holdings adopts eRevMax’s  RateTiger Suite
- Dorsett Hospitality International picks SiteMinder as preferred channel management application for 20 hotels
Dubai’s Hospitality Management Holdings has signed with eRevMax for its RateTiger Suite for rate and inventory management.  http://www.hmh-dubai.com, http://www.erevmax.com
Dorsett Hospitality International has selected SiteMinder as its preferred channel management application for its 20 hotels in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, which operate under the Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, d.Collection and Silka Hotels brands.  Dorsett has 11 more properties opening within the next two years.  http://www.dorsett.com, http://www.siteminder.com


- Embassy Suites Hotel at Chevy Chase Pavilion implements PAR Springer-Miller’s cloud-based ATRIO® POS
The Embassy Suites Hotel at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, a Destination Hotels & Resorts property in metro Washington, D.C., has implemented PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ new cloud-based ATRIO® POS.  http://www.embassysuitesdcmetro.com, http://www.atrio.com


- at-visions ONEvision™ Hotel IPTV now available as managed service from telephone companies
- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Resort & Spa, Pa., implements Guest-tek’s OneView™ Media platform
- Hilton names SONIFI, Bulk TV & Internet as preferred free-to-guest service suppliers to U.S. hotels
- Hibox releases Smartroom.tv Internet-based online hotel TV service
- protel releases Voyager mobile guest service app
For more information on Guest Services for 04/17/14


- MICROS incorporates Merchant Link’s TransactionShield® P2PE in RES, OPERA and Simphony 2 products
- Shift4 announces VT4™ secure mobile device payment service
- Trump International Golf Links implements Data Plus financial systems
- Frost & Sullivan’s NASSCOM Product Excellence Matrix (PEM) report awards Knowcross’ TRITON HK exemplar status
For more information on Back Office for 04/17/14


- Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong invests more than HK$1.5mil in upgrading Internet infrastructure
- Meru Networks releases two new 802.11ac dual-radio, dual-stream (2X2) access points
The Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong has invested more than HK$1.5mil to upgrade its Internet infrastructure, bumping up the Internet speed to 200Mbps and installing a high-performance router that can support up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled electronic devices simultaneously in all its 454 rooms and suites.  http://www.cosmohotel.com.hk/  
Meru Networks has released two new 802.11ac dual-radio, dual-stream (2X2) access points: the AP122 wall plate unit and AP822 general purpose unit.  Both support data rates of up to 867 Mbps.  The AP822 is available immediately; the AP122 will be available in the second half of 2014.  http://www.merunetworks.com  


- Survey reports that more conference properties offer free Wi-Fi in meeting rooms
- Passkey launches PasskeyANYWHERE free online portal for meeting planners
A new survey from PHG Research shows that more conference properties are offering free Wi-Fi in meeting rooms as well as in public areas and guestrooms.  The survey reported that 70.8 percent of the hotels covered now provide Wi-Fi for free in meeting and public spaces, while 60.9 percent provide it in guestrooms.  Overall, 87.5 percent of respondents make Wi-Fi available in all public spaces of their properties, while 70.8 percent make Wi-Fi available in all guestrooms.  The survey covered 26 dedicated conference facilities in the United States and Canada, so defined because at least two-thirds of their total business comes from meeting and conference groups.  http://www.pompanhospitality.com  
Passkey has launched PasskeyANYWHERE, a free online portal for meeting planners that provides a central location for meeting planners to access all of their events and a new portal that lets any planner offer a dedicated hotel booking website for any of their events.  Tools such as event dashboards, email alerts, planner hotel reviews, preferred hotel and venue search and certified event histories (event certificates) are also available.  http://www.passkey.com  


And now for you-know-what...

Young Ernie and his family were invited to have Easter Sunday lunch at his grandmother's house.

Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served.  When Ernie received his plate he started eating straight away.

“Ernie, wait until we say grace,” said his father.

“But I don't have to,” the 5-year-old replied.

“Of course you do, Ernest,” his mother insisted rather forcefully. “We always say a prayer before eating at our house.”

“That's at our house,” Ernie said. “This is Grandma's house, and she knows how to cook.”

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