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Siegel Sez

October 16, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Flip a coin? In the opening to his technology review, Jon Inge, one of the industry’s most respected consultants, suggests that when struggling to make a decision that maybe the answer is to flip a coin? Amazing. But it got me thinking about how many times we all have had to make a decision and possibly the best thing to do was to flip a coin. Of course, I also have been a strong believer that we should simply make a decision and hope for the best.  How many decisions do we have to make daily that could easily go either way?  Driving to work, the traffic light ahead turns yellow and we need to make a quick decision, speed up and beat the red or slow down preparing to stop?  That was one recent decision I wish I had back. I always thought one of the more major decisions in life is where to live. I have only owned one home in my life, but I remember the conflict deciding where to live. I remember being offered a job and then deciding whether to accept it or start this business.  I also reflected to when I was in the hotel industry and was offered two jobs at the exact same time. There were times I thought my head would explode trying to figure out which one to take. I could have flipped a coin, but then I would have no one to blame if the job didn’t work out except me. So instead I wrote job No. 1 on a piece of paper and job No. 2 on another. I took the two pieces of paper, folded them up and since I was at my parents’ house who had a wire fox terrier named Sparky, I threw the two pieces of paper at Sparky knowing he would sniff to see what it was. (I really did this.) He sniffed one of the folded pieces of paper on the floor and that was the job I accepted. Honest. I never looked back and never blamed Sparky. I thought that was way better than flipping a coin. Yes, looking for a job and having to decide is a tough one, but so is the other side of the fence when you need to fill a job which is something that we just went through at Hospitality Upgrade. Thankfully there was no coin flipping or dog sniffing needed, we found someone who we know will be great. Alison Outlaw is joining our team as our Media Relations Manager as we continue to expand the company. Honestly, how could we not hire somebody whose last name is Outlaw? There are more than 25,000 people reading this email so if you could help me shock her (she hasn’t started yet, but her email is working) then it would be much appreciated. Even if you don’t know us that well, take a moment and send a note to Alison@hospitalityupgrade.com and simply say something like congratulations, welcome aboard, good luck or what the heck were you thinking? I know she will get a kick out of it and if I was reading this right now I would take the 10 seconds to do it. I just love shocking people. I know she had choices and she does have a dog….now I am starting to wonder.

I’m off to the Lodging Conference in Arizona next week and then go immediately to New Orleans for HFTP’s Annual Conference which is one of my favorite events since I get to hang out with all the finance people who put the F in HFTP. You might stereotype finance people a bit, I know I did, but after many years at the HFTP Annual Conference I have learned that people are not always what they seem. It’s always a great crowd and a great event. Besides, how hard is it to convince people to go to New Orleans this time of year? Then our whole team will be going to Chateau Élan, a beautiful resort an hour north of Atlanta, for the PAR Springer-Miller HOST Users Group. I’ve been invited to do a session on The State of the Industry. Last year I did a similar session and it was a blast and so well received — I hope it goes as well this year. Then finally we are off to New York for the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show (www.ihmrs.com), which I have been going to since my college days. No, I am not going to tell you how long I have been going to IHMRS. If you are going to be at the event, please stop by our Technology Innovation Center. It is always a popular place for the technology types to meet. Who knows, we might convince you to go to our annual dinner on Monday night!
Finally, I have to admit, I work with some offbeat people every day. Our fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade is on its way to our subscribers and I am telling you it is one of our best ever. The girls in the office decided to very creatively tease that it was coming out. They shared the tease through our social media outlets. If you haven’t seen it, go to our Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/Hospitalityupgrade. We already have a few “likes.”

Here now is the real reason we are here, Mr. Coin Flipper Jon Inge’s review of all the technology happenings. 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



- Pragmatism required: the Excellent is the enemy of the Good
Technology is amazing stuff, and proliferates at an extraordinary rate.  Every day we seem to gain more options, and deciding which ones will generate the most benefit for any specific operation requires a very high degree of awareness both of what’s necessary right now, and of what directions might lead to more effectiveness in the longer term.

But this challenge is not limited to new developments.  Even when choosing between alternative, well-established existing applications we’re faced with the same fundamental problem of knowing when we have enough data to make a decision.  I’ve written before on choosing between two equally capable systems; if neither is perfect (and nothing ever is) and either one will work well, you’ll be far better off making a choice – flipping a coin if you have to, seriously – and getting on with the implementation, dealing with whatever unforeseen issues come up as quickly as possible.  

Unforeseen issues will always come up whichever choice you make, so don’t try to second-guess the decision; just get on with the project and start realizing the benefit of the new application.  If you’ve covered the fundamental requirements at the start of the exercise, constantly checking alternatives as you learn something new that might lead to a slight preference just adds noise, not useful data, and extends the project timeline unnecessarily and wastefully.  As Frederick Brooks wrote in “The Mythical Man-Month,” his 1975 analysis of IBM’s development of its System/360 computer family, how does a project become a year late and millions of dollars over budget?  One day at a time, one dollar at a time.

A focus on the critical goals, acceptance of the probable need for multiple phases in any project so something can get into productive use, and a strong sense of pragmatism to know when something is good enough are all essential.  Constantly postponing a decision while you collect more data on what might be the perfect solution can lead to no solution at all.



- Matthew J. Hart joins advisory board of KEYPR
- Matt Willacy, Jo Gardner, Nick Dodd, Jake Lucas join Guestline corporate sales team
- Maria Olson, Kristen Cavanagh, Devon Ussher, Kelly Whaley expand ZDirect’s client services department
For more information on People on the Move for 10/16/14


- Ve-Go Technologies adds OpenWays to RoomKey mobile guest tool
- NORTHWIND releases new e-learning tool for Maestro
- Travel24 selects hetras to support new hotel brand
- Conferma introduces TripPay™ mobile payment app for hospitality
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 10/16/14


- Best Western India contracts with Busy Rooms for reservation services
Best Western India Hotel Group has contracted with Busy Rooms for central reservation services including technology, distribution, optimization and support services.  The full membership package includes Busy Rooms’ own central reservation system with modules including rate shopping, reputation management, content management, Internet booking engine and channel management, and available services for contracting, potential analysis and revenue management.  Going forward Busy Rooms will handle all third-party contracting to online sales channels that the group has not had access to so far.  http://www.bestwesternindia.com, http://www.busy-rooms.com


- Milestone receives Silver Best New Product Stevie Award for Galexi CMS 6.0
- GCommerce adds nSight to digital marketing offerings
- NYLO Hotels implements Flip.to across all hotels
- Brittain Resorts installs Datavision’s Business Intelligence System Suite
- Lodging Interactive receives two W3 Silver Awards
- RoamingAround launches Mobile Photo Share service
- Centara Hotels & Resorts signs with ReviewPro for portfolio of 47 properties
For more information on Marketing/Management for 10/16/14


- Cleartrip adds RezNext real-time booking/distribution to its online travel portal
- Seneca Travel Affair now offering eRevMax’s RateTiger Suite
- IDeaS announces Function Space Revenue Management
For more information on Revenue Management for 10/16/14


- Newmarket releases new version of iPlan
- Shanghai Second Polytechnic University Queensland College to use Newmarket software
Newmarket International has released a new version of its iPlan service which provides venues with an online showcase for their meeting space.  Enhancements include a redesigned user interface, enhanced marketing capabilities, more detailed information about the meeting space such as room details, supported setup styles and maximum capacity by setup style, a new search functionality, a streamlined ability to create a room online to evaluate the feasibility of a meeting room for an event, and collaboration capabilities to share, discuss and adjust room setups with other parties.

Shanghai Second Polytechnic University Queensland College will feature Newmarket software in its group sales and catering courses for students in the hospitality industry.  Queensland College was established under a co-education agreement signed in 1999 between the Shanghai and Queensland governments. 
http://en.sspu.cn/structure/schoolsxx_28047_1.htm, http://www.newmarketinc.com


- Sleep Inn DFW Airport North installs FlyteBoard
- London Marriott Hotel Park Lane picks Guest-tek’s OneView Internet, IPTV and myAway
- Marriott Hotels installing Kube Systems’ wireless charging stations in 29 hotel lobbies this month
- Hub by Premier Inn, Covent Garden, London, offers app for reservations, guestroom control, including augmented reality local area guide on the walls of every room
For more information on Guest Services for 10/16/14


- TPG Hospitality selects UniFocus’ STAFFScope
TPG Hospitality has selected UniFocus’ STAFFScope survey for its portfolio of 59 hotels.  http://www.tpghospitality.com, http://www.UniFocus.com


- Extended Stay America picks Stem advanced energy storage systems and energy intelligence software for 68 sites
Extended Stay America has contracted with Stem for advanced energy storage systems and real-time energy intelligence software across 68 of its California locations.  By drawing on previously stored power during peak times of the day, Stem reduces Extended Stay America’s energy costs without impacting the hotels’ daily operations.  A pilot test has been running at an Extended Stay hotel in San Jose since 2013.  http://www.extendedstayamerica.com, http://www.stem.com


- Rosen Shingle Creek, Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza deploy Eleven Software’s tiered Internet services, via Millennium Technology Group
- Cetis announces global telephony partnership with Percipia
- PhoneSuite appoints Total Hospitality Solutions as Canadian distributor
For more information on Communications/infrastructure for 10/16/14


And now for you-know-what...

A man and a woman had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of those years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover.

In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife's bedside. She agreed that it was time that he knew what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted dolls and a stack of money totaling $95,000. He asked her about the contents.

"When we were to be married," the woman said, "my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep it to myself and crochet a doll."

The little old man was so moved he had to fight back tears. Only two precious dolls were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years. He almost burst with happiness.

"Honey," he said, "that explains the dolls, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?"

"Oh," she said, "that's the money I made from selling the dolls."

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