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Siegel Sez

May 01, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

When you have lived in as many places as I have, people always ask which was your favorite. For me that is easy, it was Chicago. I have always found that for some reason those in the Midwest were the nicest people you will ever meet. I bring this up because we have been looking for a location for our 14th CIO Summit and since we rotate the location, this year we pointed to the Midwest. One of the things that makes our event unique is that we pick cities that the industry doesn’t often use for conferences. Chicago is not one of those cities with HITEC having been there along with HTNG and of course the annual NRA (restaurant, not rifle) conference always held there. So of course if Chicago is out of the mix, where should we go? We picked the city that when I lived in Chicago I always referred to as “little Chicago.” Yes, we are going to Milwaukee and this should be fun. Now all we have to do is figure out what we can do in Milwaukee with the attendees for fun other than drink beer. Do they still do that in Milwaukee? If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Wow, I can’t believe it is May 1st. For those of us in the horse world, we live for the first Saturday in May, which is The Kentucky Derby. Unfortunately there is no Derby trip for me this year since I lost my “in” there for seats, but that will be ok. I get to experience it at Arlington Park outside of Chicago with my fellow industry horse enthusiast, so it should be fun. Now I have rarely had luck picking the winner, but if you follow horse racing the horse California Chrome is being touted as the next super horse. We shall see. I think I am going to go with Wicked Strong. If you read this, and then bet him and he wins, you can thank me. If he doesn’t then you can just ask yourself why do you listen to me? That is the fun part of horse racing, trying to pick winners and feeling smart when you do. Trust me; nobody would consider me smart in this case.

From the business side the activity for pre-HITEC announcements started this week. I was lucky to have a conversation with JR Sherman the president of Lanyon moments after the release went out that Lanyon had acquired Passkey. We will give you an in-depth look at Lanyon’s plans on our Hospitality Upgrade blog. Passkey President and CEO Greg Pesik will be transitioning out over the next couple of months. He has been a friend for ages who only missed one of our 10 Executive Vendor Summits. I hope he does resurface somewhere; he is truly one of the good guys who took that company to extraordinary successes. From what I have heard in my many industry conversations, this was announcement No. 1 pre-HITEC; I am confidently guessing there will be a few more. We shall see.

When you attend industry events one of the benefits is meeting others in your industry. Is it possible to do that without the actual conference? Last night Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online had a rebirth of our industry happy hour. Some of those who showed up were from Marriott, IHG and independent hotels. We had vendors like Rainmaker, Agilysys, Ingenico, SDD and others. We had consultants, PR people and meeting planners. It was a fun time. I’m glad we started doing these again, and you can see a few pictures from last night at the top of this page. Thanks to all who attended.  We will do one again in the fall.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. 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



- Benchmark Hospitality releases Top 10 Travel Trends for 2014
- HTNG releases 2014A Web Services specifications; five updated
Benchmark Hospitality International has released the Top 10 Travel Trends for 2014 as reported by its database of more than 20,000 professional travel agents.
Trend No. 1 – Strong growth:  Eight out of 10 travel agents are highly upbeat about industry growth through 2014 and beyond. More than half are projecting "strong growth."
Trend No. 2 – Leisure travel leads:  Nearly 75 percent of growth in travel is leisure related, with half coming from the luxury segment.  However, 25 percent of the agents felt that business and personal travel is further blurring.
Trend No. 3 – Direct bookings:  Agents worry about customers increasingly bypassing them and booking directly.
Trend No. 4 – Hit the beach, see the world:  Travel agents see strong expenditures in domestic beach-related travel and to Europe.
Trend No. 5 – Boomers lead spending:  Nearly 60 percent of travel agent bookings last year were from Baby Boomers, followed by seniors and Gen Xers at about 15 percent each, and Millennials at less than 9 percent.
Trend No. 6 – Online travel reviews:  These have a huge effect and more than 80 percent of agents feel we've only seen the beginning.  More than 50 percent of the agents use online reviews to help with customers’ booking decisions.
Trend No. 7 – Most important features:  Location is No. 1 for apparent reasons, but No. 2 is free Internet, deemed more important for travelers than the number of stars or diamonds.
Trend No. 8 – Hotel websites sell:  Travel agents use an attractive, appealing and user-friendly website with a direct booking option for 34 percent of their bookings; GDS accounts for 38 percent.  Agents use fax only 1 percent of the time.
Trend No. 9 – Mobile changed everything:  More than half the agents felt a paradigm shift with mobile’s 24/7 accessibility, pop-up travel deals, immediate rate checks and way-finding.  Mobile sites should be relevant, brief, readable and formatted for ease of use.
Trend No. 10 – Advice to the hotel industry:  FAM trips are back, so keep your rooms and water glasses clean, replace worn carpet and never forget the importance of customer service.  Agents understand the lure of "incidental revenue" but their customers hate being nickel and dimed.  Your websites are beautiful, but your vital information must be just one click away.  Always deliver value, and, again, travelers want Internet access to be FREE!
HTNG has released its 2014A Web Services specifications; five have been updated.
- Point of Sale Version 3.0:  now translates value between points and merchandise dollar value, lets guests use loyalty points and/or vouchers in lieu of or in conjunction with cash payments, enables loyalty balance inquiries from the POS (or other) systems and enables loyalty accounts to be associated with transactions for tracking.
- Product Distribution Rates Version 2.1, Product Distribution Seamless Shop/Book Version 3.0 and Product Distribution Statistics Version 2.0:  these three are now stand-alone specifications, with improved scenarios, use cases and sample messages.



- Accor announces worldwide implementation of digital approach to welcoming guests, speeding check-in/out
- GrandStay Hospitality names MSI’s CloudPM its preferred cloud GMS for new construction
- Casa Ybel Resort selects Agilysys’ Visual One
- Academy Hotel picks Skyware Hospitality Solutions’ PMS online booking engine
- L'Hotel Palermo, Buenos Aires implements B4Checkin’s online booking engine
- Singita implements PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host at 12 safari camps and lodges
- Infor announces CloudSuite Hospitality, running on Amazon Web Services
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 05/01/14


- Travel Tripper announces content integration features for RezTrip
- Travel Tripper releases geographic pricing capability for RezTrip
- La Cantera Hill Country Resort signs with Travel Outlook’s Premium Reservations Call Center
- The Embassy Row Hotel, Washington, D.C., signs with Travel Outlook’s Premium Reservations Call Center
For more information on Reservations for 05/01/14


- KAYAK offers TrustYou's reputation overview to hotel partners
- Cendyn launches Cendyn/ONE integrated marketing software and services platform
- Brand Karma receives I-COM’s Data Creativity Award for Emerging Marketing Regions
For more information on Marketing/Management for 05/01/14


- PowerYourRoom integrates PriceYourRoom with SiteMinder
- Petit Palace Hotels signs consulting contract with IDeaS
- 365nights integrates with eRevMax’s RateTiger
- Absolute Hotel Services Group selects eRevMax's RateTiger
- Duetto unveils GameChanger application for casino hotels
For more information on Revenue Management for 05/01/14


- FCS Computer Systems releases e-Housekeeping v2
FCS Computer Systems has released v2 of its e-Housekeeping applications.  Enhancements include a panic button to allow staff to trigger alerts via SMS, ad-hoc messaging, direct call, job dispatch and alarm sounds from their mobile devices in the event of an emergency situation.  http://www.fcscs.com  


- Rory Fagan joins Duetto as director of casino sales
Rory Fagan has joined Duetto as director of casino sales.  Mr. Fagan joins Duetto after six years leading sales efforts for SAS in the hospitality and gaming market.  Previously, he had held sales management positions with travel industry companies such as PROS, Hertz, United Airlines and Sabre Hospitality Solutions.


- Knowland Group announces new data verification feature
- Resorts World Sentosa adopts Passkey's GroupMAX
- Windsor Property Management picks Newmarket’s Delphi for properties in Vietnam
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/01/14


- Atlanta Airport Marriott installs Clear Sky’s BEVERAGE
The Atlanta Airport Marriott has installed Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory management software.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com


- Fairmont San Francisco's concierge using Google Glass
- Guest-tek pairs OneView media application with LG Electronics’ PrCentric IPTV platform
- FRHI Hotels & Resorts approves Cetis as supplier of guestroom telephones
- Eleven Wireless launches per-minute billing option for ElevenGC for the Mac
- FCS signs Valued Business Partnership with Equinox Arabia
- JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts launches CUR8 mobile app for guests to share videos
For more information on Guest Services for 05/01/14


- TMI Hospitality picks ReactorNet's EPRO spend management
TMI Hospitality has selected ReactorNet's EPRO spend management software to manage purchasing across its 200+ properties throughout the United States.  EPRO is a procure-to-pay platform allowing buyers to collaborate directly with suppliers to control spend management and maximize purchasing power.  http://www.tmihospitality.com, http://www.reactornet.com


- Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center installs RoamBoost
The Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center has installed RoamingAround’s RoamBoost Cellular Signal Enhancement.  As part of this distributive antenna system (DAS), RoamingAround installed 16 antennas to cover 80,000 square feet across the hotel's public areas and meeting space.  http://techcenter.hyatt.com, http://www.roamingaround.com


- Alion Beach Hotel installs VingCard Allure RFID door locks, VISIONLINE wireless network and Elsafe safes
The 100-guestroom Alion Beach Hotel, Cyprus, has installed VingCard’s Allure RFID door locks, VISIONLINE wireless network and Elsafe guestroom safes.  The Allure locks are controlled from a panel placed on the wall adjacent to the guestroom door.  An interactive touch panel in each guestroom lets guests post notifications such as “Do Not Disturb” and “Make Up Room,” visible to hotel staff on the control panel.  http://www.alion.com, http://www.vingcardelsafe.com


And now for you-know-what…

We had a power outage at our place this morning and my PC, laptop, TV, DVR, iPad and my new surround sound music system were all shut down.
Then I discovered that my iPhone® battery was dead, and to top it off it was snowing outside, so I couldn't even go play golf.
I went into the kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that this also needs power, so I sat down and talked with my wife for a few hours.
She seems like a nice person.

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