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Siegel Sez

June 05, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Is it becoming a woman’s world? For 13 years now, Hospitality Upgrade has been doing our CIO Summit each September, and the majority of attendees have been guys. I think the times are changing.  I remember when Monika Nerger became the CIO at Mandarin Oriental Hotels. Less than a year ago Alu Rodriguez was introduced as the new CIO at NH Hotels. Mandarin is based in Hong Kong and NH Hotels is based in Madrid. Was this just an international thing? I guess not when Gabrielle Wolfson became the CIO at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and then Laura Hall became the CIO at Carnival Cruise Lines. Two weeks ago Starwood Hotels announced Martha Poulter as its new CIO and now this week word is out that Omni Hotels and Resorts’ new CIO is Kris Singleton, previously with The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.  Is this a trend or mere coincidence? No matter what, it will make our CIO Summit in Milwaukee (http://www.theciosummit.com) a bit more diverse this year and to me that is a good thing. 

It seems like every conversation I have had in the past two weeks ends with, “I will see you at HITEC.” What makes HITEC so popular is not just that attendees travel from all over the world to be there, but those that attend represent all different segments of the industry. I was asked to put together a session on Thursday morning and decided why not include all segments? The session should be titled marketing vs. technology, but that might give it away. Most in the industry would agree that many of the technology initiatives today are being driven by the marketing folks and the question is does this create conflict as the technology types are responsible for the implementation and success? We enlisted three different segments to share their views with us. A small company that has a hotel with more than a thousand rooms in a downtown location, a limited-service chain with 350 properties, and a hotel company with very high-end hotels and resorts that has a strong emphasis on group business and vacations. I must thank Al J Schneider Company, the owner and operator of the 1,300 room Galt House in Louisville, Red Roof Inns and Destination Hotels and Resorts for agreeing to be on this diverse panel. Based on my discussions with them, this session will be quite an eye opener; I hope if you are at HITEC you will join us Thursday at 9 a.m., and as is par for the course with us there will be a few surprises!

Just a little over two weeks until HITEC, but this weekend HITEC will be the furthest thing from my mind. I am very much hoping to see history made as I join about 140,000 of my closest friends to hopefully see California Chrome win the Triple Crown at Belmont Park in New York on Saturday. No matter where you are, if you are near a television at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday, turn it on. I have been to many sporting events in my life, but if California Chrome has a chance to win at the top of the stretch, the crowd will be screaming like no other sporting crowd has ever screamed.  Thirty-six years is long enough, we want to see him win! Go Chrome!

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. Yes there is a great deal of activity in the industry and this sets up well for HITEC. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.  Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be in booth No. 1640 at HITEC.  If you are there, please come by and say hello!


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge



- Hospitality has some great tech tools, but they need to guide us, not rule us
HITEC’s on its way, and will no doubt be filled with another fascinating selection of the latest and greatest technology to help us run hotels in the most effective way.  A great deal of hard work and creative genius will be on display in the form of new products that pull data together in interesting new ways and guide users toward the most efficient way to approach their tasks.

The key word there is “guide.”  It wasn’t that long ago that systems required us to enter information in a specific order to make a reservation or check someone in, an order often chosen by corporate standards that favored complete data collection over speed of taking a booking.  Complete data is always great, of course, but real people don’t give it to you in the same order even if asked, and flexibility of input is critical.

Then we went through a phase where it was important to define the best workflow steps; first get the contact information, then the dates/rate of the booking, then payment, and so on.  Again, though, while it’s important to make sure all the steps are covered, it’s too unrealistic to force people to always do them in the same sequence.  Several newer systems are more helpful in providing a checklist of the essential steps at the side of the screen with the completed ones highlighted, allowing the staff the flexibility to work with the guest’s own unique approach and still keep track of what needs to be done.

Revenue management systems have become indispensable to keep track of all the myriad micro-market segments used by our guests and to suggest appropriate rates to maximize the revenue from each.  But this mechanical sophistication still needs to be tempered by human experience, by knowledge of outside conditions the system doesn’t track, by the circumstances of a particular guest or group.  Good selling requires a relationship, an understanding of a client’s needs, and flexibility to accommodate them.  Housekeeping systems used to provide a rigid list of rooms to be cleaned each day; now they’re often dynamic, re-arranging priorities on the fly to meet guests’ and managers’ changing needs.  Other examples abound.

More than anything, the best and most useful systems provide the right degree of information, context and flexibility to let hotel staff use their skill and experience to maximum effect.  If you’re looking for new systems at HITEC, completeness of functionality for your specific needs is essential, but also make sure you’re buying an assistant, not a straitjacket.



- Ostrovok joins SiteMinder's RDX
- Grand City Hotels selects SiteMinder's Channel Manager
- Frontdesk Anywhere integrates guest management software with PriceMatch
- Tree of Life Resort & Spa implements eRevMax’s RateTiger
- Host Hotel Systems completes two-way HostPMS interface with eRevMax’s Connect
For more information on Revenue Management for 06/05/14


- Resorts World Sentosa implements InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System
- Élan Hotels picks Optii Keeper for Élan Soho Suites, Darwin
- pasUNITY announces Integration Hub Vendor Partner Program
- PAS releases Push Button Management Fee Calculation function for pasCLOUD
For more information on Back Office for 06/05/14


- Accor Hotels renews GDS agreement with Sabre
- Swiss-Belhotel International goes live with new online booking engine from Sabre
- Sabre announces Sabre Dev Studio developer portal
- Marks Hotel Glasgow implements Pegasus Connect+ Premium
- Opal Hotel joins Magnuson Worldwide’s CRS1
- Travel Tripper adds content integration capabilities to RezTrip’s booking engine
- Travel Tripper extends RezTrip CRS multiproperty shopping to search by offer codes across multiple hotels
- UniTravel adds car rental services to hotel booking platform for travel agents
For more information on Reservations for 06/05/14


- 22Miles launches hospitality digital signage and messaging system
- EventGrid launches private-label event management application for hospitality
- Cendyn Arcaneo introduces Strategic Meetings Management Software end-to-end suite
- GenieConnect introduces iBeacon-enabled audience response system for events
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 06/05/14


- Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort implements Clear Sky’s FOOD system
- MICROS releases MICROS mTablet E-Series and MICROS Engagement interface
The Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort has implemented Clear Sky Software’s FOOD inventory system, complementing the beverage module it installed last February.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com 
MICROS Systems has released its new MICROS mTablet E-Series and MICROS Engagement interface. 
The mTablet runs on Microsoft Windows 8.1 Embedded Industry Pro, allowing staff members to perform multiple activities from one device.  Available in eight-inch and 11-inch sizes, the latter is fully compatible with the MICROS mStation base.  Optional sleeves for either size provide secure payment functionality.
MICROS Engagement brings a highly animated and interactive element to the mTablet E-Series when running MICROS Simphony in a food and beverage establishment, offering a fluid, configurable and customizable touch UI with a modern look and feel.  Interactive live tiles can display content including specials of the day and upcoming events, connection to the loyalty program, external content feeds for guest entertainment and the ability to take orders.  http://www.micros.com  


- Mobile-Simple to release mobile hospitality minibar management at HITEC
- Samsung Electronics America releases LYNK REACH v3.0
- Red Lion approves Bulk TV & Internet as provider of high-definition programming
- Eleven OS enhanced to optimize guests' experience on mobile devices
- James Hotels launches James Pocket Assistant mobile guest services app
- Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong, Cosmo Hotel Hong Kong, Dorsett Mongkok place smart handy phone in every guestroom
For more information on Guest Services for 06/05/14


- Shore Hotel installs intelligent energy storage system from Green Charge Networks
Santa Monica's Shore Hotel has installed an intelligent energy storage system from Green Charge Networks, aiming to save an estimated 50 percent in demand charges annually.  GreenStation combines historical energy use patterns with real-time weather data to predict demand, storing and discharging energy accordingly.  Shore Hotel will also install an electric vehicle charging station, hoping to reduce demand charges from the electricity spikes associated with EV chargers.  http://www.shorehotel.com, http://www.greenchargenet.com 


- HTL Hotel, Stockholm opens with Bluetooth LE door locks from Zaplox linked to KABA mechanisms and hetras guest management system
The 274-room HTL Hotel in Stockholm has opened with Bluetooth LE-controlled guestroom door locks from Sweden’s Zaplox linked to the hotel’s hetras guest management system.   On the day of arrival, the key and the room number are pushed to an app on the guest's smartphone.  If a guest loses his smartphone, the battery dies or he just prefers not to use his phone, the hotel can issue RFID keycards for the underlying KABA lock mechanism.  http://htlhotels.com, http://www.hetras.com, http://www.kaba-ilco.com, http://www.zaplox.com 


- Barry Shuler inducted into HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Martha Poulter hired as EVP and CIO at Starwood
- Larry Letter has joined hotel SystemsPro as director of hotel performance
- Vinay Dhavala joins TSA Solutions as CTO
- Pegasus names Steve Guthrie VP architecture and design and James Charles VP CRS application development
For more information on People on the Move for 06/05/14


- Thompson Chicago implements StayNTouch Rover FrontOffice and Housekeeping mobile applications
- Host Hotel Systems completes two-way HostPMS interface with eRevMax’s Connect
- Frontdesk Anywhere integrates with PriceMatch
- Software Advice survey highlights systems needs and priorities of small-hotel owners and managers
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 06/05/14


- Cendyn/ONE receives three Gold, five Silver Communicator Awards from IAVA
- Royal Cliff Hotel Group renews contract with ReviewPro
- Shores Resort & Spa implements Flip.to
- Kempinski expands agreement with Leonardo
- Worldhotels renews contract with Leonardo
- Social Traffic launches reputation builder tool
- buuteeq launches Collections multiproperty marketing management site
- Hotel Imperial, Haiti, implements TripAdvisor’s TripConnect
- ZDirect enhances Semantic Analysis Engine
- HotelQuickly integrates TrustYou's Meta-Reviews
- Nor1 launches eReach to offer personalized contact throughout hotel reservation lifecycle
- HeBS Digital’s CMS Premium named a finalist in 2014 American Business Awards
- Lodging Interactive launches Social Voices by CoMMingle, offering 24/7 social listening/customer engagement
For more information on Marketing/Management for 06/05/14


And now for you-know-what…

Three leaders of the big beer companies meet for a drink. The president of Budweiser orders a Bud. Miller's president orders a Miller and the president of Coors orders a Coors. When it is the Guinness president's turn to order he orders a soda.

“Why didn't you order a Guinness?” everyone asks.

“Nah,” the Guinness president replies. “If you guys aren't having a beer neither will I.”

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