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Siegel Sez

November 06, 2014

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

There is the right way and the wrong way to do things. This we know. Then there is the different way to do things which is what I prefer. Someone once said it is good to be different. I recently had the opportunity to lead a session on the state of the industry at the PAR Springer-Miller Users’ Group.  The panel included Chuck Marratt from Benchmark Hospitality, Joe Rembold from Delaware North Companies and consultant Lyle Worthington. The panel helped me take a look at a multitude of issues we are facing as an industry. There was participation from the audience, but one thing we all learned is that Chuck, Joe and Lyle are not Taylor Swift fans! Yes, I can’t just lead a session, it has to be different and what the audience experienced was different.  Thank you, PAR Springer-Miller, for inviting me.  I was very thankful that the event was held at the beautiful Chateau Elan Resort here in Georgia – 45 minutes and a world away from where I live. I need to go back there when there isn’t work involved.  We all should look for weekend getaways that we probably never thought of because we felt it was too close to home.  Speaking of different, right before PSMS HUG, I was at the HFTP Annual Conference in New Orleans. It was a great event for those focused on the financial happenings in the industry.  Yes, these are the “F” professionals in HFTP. They always close the event the last night with the President’s Ball and this year the theme was Alice in Wonderland.  Alice in Wonderland? It was a great event and to see some amazing costumes, check out the photo to the right. Forget Taylor Swift, I am now a Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum fan. Another great and well-attended Annual Conference and Hospitality Upgrade was glad to be there.
This week we are heading up to New York for the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show which I have been attending since I was in college. The show is smaller than it was in its heyday, but is still a high-quality event with many in the technology space participating. Hospitality Upgrade hosts the Technology Innovation Center and it is always a popular place for the technology types to hang out. If you are attending, please come by (booth No. 3155). Who knows, we might rope you into coming to dinner with us on Monday night. The final event this month is attending HOSPACE in London the week after IHMRS. This event has grown every year and attracts a great crowd from those in the financial, revenue management, technology parts of the industry along with many others.  HOSPA puts together a terrific event with great sessions, but one thing I have also learned from attending is those Brits know how to party. I am really looking forward to HOSPACE this year but not the long flight home afterward. It will be my first experience flying Virgin Atlantic. I am sure I will not be in a partying mood at that point so hopefully that flight back will be smooth. We shall see.
My last trip of the year will hopefully be the best one. I started my technology career working for Hotel Information Systems in the ‘80s traveling around doing installation and training for its property management system. It was an amazing experience since back at that time everyone was getting their very first computer system.  Some of those who I worked with back then got the inspiration to have a reunion. I have decided that the one positive thing about getting old is you get to connect with people from your very distant past.  Thirty years is pretty distant, isn’t it? So I am off to San Francisco the first weekend in December for our HIS reunion. It should be fun. If you are reading this and worked there or know somebody who did, please send a note to mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com and I will send you the information on the reunion. We shall see if it is possible to go home again.
Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of the technology happenings in the industry. 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



- Guest health initiatives: the high-tech vs. high-touch debate continues
- Accor announces $284 million four-year technology initiative
- HTNG releases 2014B Web Services specifications
The high-tech/high-touch debate never ends when launching a new guest service initiative.  I was just at a short and very informative conference in Las Vegas, and as it happened the hotel had just launched a very promising healthy-stay initiative.  It was fascinating to see, feel and smell the benefits of this.  Yes, it involved aromatherapy.

Promoting and improving guests’ health is an admirable approach to standing out these days – Westin has done particularly well with this for some years – and extending the concept to healthy meetings is an excellent thing.  How many conference sessions have you attended where the room was stuffy, attention lagged after lunch, and you overate because there was so much food available of generally appealing but not necessarily healthy varieties?  Chocolate chip cookies, anyone?  So, so good, but also so effective at putting you to sleep at the end of the afternoon.

Not here.  Lights washed the walls with different colors at different times of the day to stimulate our attention.  Aromatherapy devices periodically sent a stimulating scent throughout the room.  The air was purified to a far higher degree than most hotel rooms, and the food was amazingly good – tasty, healthy and beautifully presented.  The same attention to light, air purification and aromatherapy was paid to the guestrooms.

And yet… Despite the best intentions of the approach, it all felt a little distracting, as if we were participants in a laboratory experiment.  The lights cast a color wash over our notepads and computers; the aromatherapy definitely perked up the senses, but the machine itself was noisy enough to be an interruption.  The air filtration was fine, and we were still very much alert at the end of the afternoon, taking part in the wrap -up discussions with enthusiasm.  The guestroom equipment was fine (the effects were more subtle and welcome) but the room itself wasn’t welcoming.  Too much chrome and hard-edged, angular furniture, more like a cold, high-tech lab than a soothing, welcoming haven. 

Nonetheless, it’s an excellent initiative.  A little fine tuning in the meeting rooms, folks, a little softer approach to the guestroom décor and this should be a slam dunk winner.  Just don’t mess with the food; it was perfect.
Accor has announced a major investment in technology, with a budget of €225 million (approx. $284M) between 2014 and 2018 split 55 percent/45 percent between capital and operating expenditure.  Sixty percent of the amount invested will be aimed at improving middle and back office solutions, with 40 percent used to expand market share and optimize distribution unit costs.

Its digital strategy covers four customer-focused programs (a mobile app, centralized guest feedback, a “Seamless Journey" approach and a range of business apps); two programs for employees and partners; new IT infrastructure and BI/analytics; and improvements to its reservation system, accorhotels.com multibrand booking portal and loyalty program.
HTNG has released its 2014B Web Services specifications.  Updates include:
- Customer Profile Version 3.1:  Addition of CustomerValue attribute for the customer.
- Event Notification Version 2.0: reworked to align with W3C’s WS-Eventing standard while maintaining HTNG extensions.
- Intelligent Guest Room Version 3.0: added command, status and event messages so that devices can be controlled, queried or publish changes to their status.
- Point of Sale Version 3.1: corrected namespaces in sample messages.
- Product Distribution Availability Version 4.1: now consistently uses the POS node and InvTypeCode attribute in addition to reworked Update and Get Best Available Rate scenarios.
- Product Distribution Groups Version 2.1: now consistently uses the POS node, adds the MarketCode and SourceOfBusiness attributes, and reworked the use of RoomTypePickupStatus attribute.
- Product Distribution Rates Version 2.2: now consistently uses the POS node.
- Product Distribution Reservations Version 3.1: adds the CustomerValue attribute, takes into account the NameType attribute of the customer profile and addresses a few typographical errors.
- Product Distribution Seamless Shop/Book Version 3.1: takes into account the NameType attribute of the customer profile as used in other specifications.



- HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts offers Revcaster competitive price data to its 1,000+ member hotels
- eRevMax launches LIVE distribution and analytic suite
- Wotif Group implements eRevMax’s XML connectivity to hotel customers in Asia Pacific
- Adagio Aparthotels renews contract with FASTBOOKING for its e-commerce and Rate Checker
For more information on Revenue Management for 11/6/14


- Neil Currie joins Guest-tek as global director of marketing
- Matthieu Mordret appointed account manager for Infor Hospitality, France
- Denise Viener hired by PAS as director of consulting services
- Harri Makela joins Guest-tek as executive vice president – business development, APAC
- Patrick Andres hired by Duetto as regional vice-president Asia-Pacific
- Amanda See joins Duetto as vice president of sales, Asia Pacific
- Alex Barros is Duetto’s new vice president of sales for EMEA
- David Obstler hired by TravelClick as chief financial officer
For more information on People on the Move for 11/06/14


- Harbor Winds Hotel deploys first Agilysys rGuest system
- Palm Garden Hotel selects Agilysys’ Visual One
- NORTHWIND’s Maestro now certified for chip-and-PIN processing for North American hotels
- Hotelogix offers cloud-based GMS on Freemium plan
- Hotel Abri, Toll House Hotel deploy CheckMate
- Hotel Nikko San Francisco deploys StayNTouch’s Rover FrontOffice and Zest Web
- Rotana launches Neorcha tablet-based guest service application at all 43 hotels
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 11/06/14


- Tripvillas signs with Busy Rooms
- Vertical Booking USA releases Version 3.0 of its CRS
- Regent Equity Partners acquires Pegasus Reservations Services
- HRS lists 50,000+ hotel properties with Sabre
- Aerowisata Hotels & Resorts signs with Trust
For more information on Reservations for 11/6/14


- Lodging Interactive receives two International Davey Awards
- Palazzo Versace Gold Coast Australia implements Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade
- Rocco Forte Hotels implementing Nor1's eStandby Upgrade
- Grand Beach Hotel Group implements nSight’s BI Dashboard
- Gemstone Hotels & Resorts chooses ProfitSword’s ProfitSage BI for all 13 hotels
- Florida Hotel & Conference Center, KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort deploy Flip.to
- Flip.to announces Photo Advocacy application
- Lindner hotel group integrates TrustYou’s online survey data with GMS and Serenata CRM
- HotelUpgrade launches mobile app to help hotels offer more/better amenities for multiple night reservations
- CHECK24.de subscribes to Leonardo’s MediaConnect
For more information on Marketing/Management for 11/6/14


- Hainan COSCO Boao chooses Newmarket’s Delphi for its hotel operations
- Qliq Damansara Hotel selects Newmarket’s Delphi.fdc
- Newmarket announces availability of Delphi 2015
- citizenM launches SocietyM online meeting space booking with LetShare and hetras
- MeetingLists.com releases beta website for search and download of meeting profiles
- hotel SystemsPro has more than 11,000 certified users
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 11/6/14


- Hawkwell House Hotel is first U.K. hotel to install Xn Hotel Systems’ POS
- Prologic First! releases Android version of Touché mobile POS
The 77-room Hawkwell House Hotel, near Oxford, U.K., has become the first U.K. hotel to install Xn Hotel Systems’ POS system.  The hotel has used protel PMS (from Xn) since 2011.  http://www.hawkwellhouse.co.uk/, http://www.xnhotels.com
Prologic First! has released an Android version of its Touché mobile POS.  http://www.prologicfirst.com  


- Westin offering Lark Technologies’ wearable sleep sensors to guests
- Starwood introduces SPG Keyless smartphone-driven Bluetooth keyless entry system at Aloft, Element and W Hotels
- JW Marriott Austin selects Guest-tek
- Eleven Software releases ElevenGC Lite
- Newmarket releases HotSOS 2.2
- Acentic launches Radiant 4 next-generation HSIA service
- Ruby Hotel, Vienna installs SuitePad in-room tablets
- Kensington Close Hotel, London deploys MCOM’s HOTstream
- Munich Derag Livinghotel Am Viktualienmarkt installing Zaplox smartphone-operated guestroom door locks
- Hotel Schani Vienna implements Zaplox smartphone key app with Häfele locks and hetras PMS
For more information on Guest Services for 11/6/14


- ABreez by Mobile Simple receives second place in Equip'Hotel Paris’ Best Technology Innovations
- WAKEUP CALL announces SaaS-based risk management software for hotel industry
- American Liberty Hospitality implementing Aptech's Targetvue in 22 properties
- SLS Las Vegas resort installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System
- HOTELbeat launches SaaS-based service delivery and reporting platform
- Onyx Payments acquires Worldwide Payment Services
For more information on Back Office for 11/6/14


- IBM introduces analytics software and services to help travel companies mitigate IT security risks
- HTNG charters Door Lock Security Workgroup
IBM has introduced new analytics software and services to help travel and transportation companies mitigate IT security risks, assess their current security posture and resolve potential threats or incoming vulnerabilities.  The new offering will use IBM's QRadar Security Intelligence Platform to create a unified architecture integrating security information, anomaly detection, incident forensics and configuration, as well as event, log and vulnerability management.  IBM's Security AppScan software will enhance Web and mobile application security; security assessment services and industrial controls cybersecurity consulting services will improve security program management and strengthen regulatory compliance.  If a company is under attack, the plan includes access to an emergency response team, which designs and reviews current incident response plans and gives 24/7 access to IBM security experts.  http://www.ibm.com/travel  
HTNG has chartered a Door Lock Security Workgroup, focused on creating criteria and testing procedures to help hotels evaluate the relative security of a locking system or component, and to help vendors substantiate security claims. 


And now for you-know-what…

A very successful businessman had a meeting with his new son-in-law. I welcome you into the family,” said the man. “To show you how much we care for you, I am making you a 50-50 partner in my business. All you have to do is go to the factory every day and learn the operation.”

The son-in-law interrupted. “I hate factories. I can’t stand the noise.”

“I see,” replied the father-in-law. “Well, then you’ll work in the office and take charge of some of the operations.”

“I hate office work,” said the son-in-law. “I can’t stand being stuck behind a desk.”
“Wait a minute,” said the father-in-law. “I just made you half owner of a money-making industry, but you don’t like factories and won’t work in an office. What am I going to do with you?”

“Easy,” said the son-in-law. “Buy me out.”

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