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Siegel Sez

January 23, 2015

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I love this time of year. Remember those last two weeks of December? To most of those I have been talking to it seems like that was ages ago. The first Monday in January happens and the floodgates seem to open. All the industry events kick in; everyone seems focused on plans for this year and almost everyone I talked to complains that there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hospitality Upgrade is involved in a project we are doing with HP and it has been an eye opener. I have talked with so many hotel companies about their plans regarding technology and some of the stuff is amazing. The conversations have gone from this year to having them share where they see technology going in our industry in the far future. IHG shared how they get great feedback from those who are members of their IHG Rewards program about what they would like to see happen and as a company they look far ahead as to what can happen. I just love these conversations. Of course this is the time of year for Hospitality Upgrade to be putting together our first issue of the year which means we also talked to our customers who are those that provide technology to the hotel industry. They all have confirmed what the hoteliers are telling me; the industry is booming in a way that hasn’t been experienced in many years. Hoteliers are doing great and are aggressively investing in new technology or upgrading existing technology. Vendors who supply that technology are coming off great years and thankfully for us continue to be part of Hospitality Upgrade, which of course puts pressure on us to continue to do a great job. We love the challenge. In March we are doing our 11th Executive Vendor Summit which is often labeled one of the industry’s unique events. CEOs from the vendor community get together for two and a half days and put their competitive lives on hold and share experiences and how they see the industry evolving. Yes, during the year they compete but because of the structure of the industry they often partner with each other. I love this event and so look forward to it. We will be in San Francisco this year so if you are a technology vendor and have questions about our Executive Vendor Summit please email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. It is by invitation only and we would love to have you join us. Check out more information online at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/vendorsummit.  

For those of us who have been in this industry for most of our adult lives the one thing that stands out above everything else is the people we meet. With some we become friends and some remain just business relationships. I love when they become both. Jon Inge opens his technology review sharing a bit of sad news about one of those that he had both relationships with. I guess as we get older this will happen more and more, but it does kind of inspire us to do what we can to enjoy life today. I encourage you to read Jon’s opening.

This is our 14th year doing Siegel Sez via Hotel Online. I love meeting people who have been reading it for years and I am thankful for the kind words they share, especially those in the far reaches of the world. Who would have guessed when we started this back in 2001 that people would find this technology review so valuable? We thank you for inspiring us. We aren’t always perfect but we do try to get a bit better each time. If not better than I can assure you that we will always be different. In my world being different is a good thing. And speaking of different, if you haven’t been to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com or http://www.hotel-online.com this month click on either of the links. We tried something different with the Flip.to banner ad and we thought it came out pretty well.  You never know unless you try, right?

Here now is Jon Inge’s technology review with his warm opening. 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



- Loss of a Leader
The industry lost an outstanding hotelier when James Simkins died of cancer last week.  If his name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because despite his influence he was never one to seek the limelight.  A strong champion of using hospitality technology as an essential component of management, he made a profound impression on everyone he met and worked with. 

Most recently COO of Benchmark’s Personal Luxury Resorts and Hotels division, James had a long and highly regarded career.  He served in several Westin hotels worldwide, eventually becoming managing director and vice president operations for Westin’s Asia region.  Later, he helped grow Seattle-based MTM Luxury Lodging into a successful boutique chain before its acquisition by Benchmark.

When I first met him while planning systems for the Westin Tokyo, his immediate grasp of the technology involved in every area, and of its potential for improved operations and guest service, was remarkable, and is still unique among GMs of my experience.  As one example, while at MTM he personally brought a disparate group of vendors into a cooperative team to integrate guestroom technology with the front office and energy management systems, well before HTNG had really found its feet.  His oft-stated belief was that technology must serve three audiences: the owners, the managers and the guests, contributing to excellent guest service, efficient management operations and cost-effective ownership.

James was remarkably well rounded.  In addition to his comfort level with technology he could go head-to-head with any owner in his thorough and detailed understanding of hotel operations and finance, and had outstanding people skills. Utterly tireless, energetic, generous and perpetually optimistic, in 25 years I never once heard him say a bad word about anybody (despite occasional provocations that would try the patience of a saint) and his staff would follow him anywhere.  It would be hard to find a better example of what GMs should strive for, of what hospitality leadership is all about.

After watching Wes Anderson’s wonderfully whimsical movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” a friend asked if the close-knit network that rallied to the aid of the beleaguered hero really existed in the hotel industry.  The way people immediately jumped in to help James and his family when he fell ill is a perfect example that yes, this is that kind of industry.  There’ll be a party to celebrate James’ life this Saturday.  It’s going to be packed. 



- Mark Wanner hired by Sceptre as COO
- Niklas Unger is new head of Steigenberger’s IT division
- Craig Brennan is now CEO at QuickMobile
- Kevin Costello joins board of directors at Rainmaker
For more information on People on the Move for 01/23/15


- RoomKeyPMS releases interface with Clairvoyix
- Kennebunkport Resort Collection picks ATRIO® and Duetto for eight properties
- Grayshott chooses ATRIO
- PAR Springer-Miller integrates ATRIO with Flip.to
- Maestro PMS announces website development services to help independent operators
- Agilysys gains Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft Partner Program
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 01/23/15


- Booking.com releases Booking Now app for custom, location-based search
- Pegasus Solutions’ distribution division rebranded as DHISCO
- Expedia releases Real Time Feedback and Sell Tonight tools
For more information on Reservations for 01/23/15


- Star Ratings Australia to offer ReviewPro Global Review Index to Australian hotels
- ProfitSword enters into joint venture with Sage 300 reseller Acumen Information Systems
- Millennium & Copthorne picks Revinate for global portfolio
- AKA Serviced Residences implements Datavision
- Tivoli Lodge, Vail, Colo., deploys nSight
- nSight announces nGenius Community partner program
- TravelClick purchases TVtrip
- Accor deploying Nor1's eStandby at upscale and luxury hotels
- Sceptre integrates Flip.to into WindsurferCRS
For more information on Marketing/Management for 01/23/15


- L.E. Hotels implements Revcaster for 150 sites
- Sercotel picks SiteMinder's Channel Manager for 154 properties
- U.K.’s The Hotel Collection chooses SiteMinder for 21 hotels
- Swiss-Belhotel International picks STAAH for channel management, booking engine for 125 properties
- Vantage Hospitality makes Duetto available to 1,200+ hotels
- Kennebunkport Resort Collection chooses Duetto, ATRIO® for eight properties
- Duetto integrating Revcaster’s comp-set data into revenue optimization software
- Auckland Airport deploying IDeaS for more than 7,500 car park spaces
- IDeaS software now generating pricing decisions for more than one million rooms
- adonis.com joins RateGain’s RezGain channel manager
- Monte Carlo Inns picks eRevMax’s RateTiger for price intelligence data at eight properties
For more information on Revenue Management for 01/23/15


- PSAV acquires American Audio Visual Center
- Groupize announces 12 new customers in December
- Cvent acquires Elite Meetings International
- Xiamen C&D Tourism and Hotels picks Newmarket’s Delphi 2015 and N2GO
- Newmarket named a "Best Company to Work For" by Business NH Magazine
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 01/23/15


- Merchant Link adds Verifone device support to TransactionLink middleware
- Agilysys announces general availability of latest Analytics version for InfoGenesis
Merchant Link announced the addition of Verifone device support to its TransactionLink middleware, enabling EMV and contactless payment on integrated POS (iPOS) systems.  Transactions are hardware-encrypted at swipe by Verifone SRED validated devices; the data is then tokenized using format-preserving tokens, allowing merchants to continue to perform cardholder analytics on purchase data.  http://Verifone.com, http://www.merchantlink.com
Agilysys announced general availability of the latest version of its Agilysys Analytics business intelligence software for its InfoGenesis POS systems.  Already available to SaaS POS customers, Analytics now provides on-premise InfoGenesis users with enhanced data analysis.  Available as a subscription service, Agilysys Analytics is accessed from a Web browser, consolidating InfoGenesis data from across the enterprise into a single cloud service.  http://www.agilysys.com  


- Remington Hotels selects SpaSoft for two spas in Key West
Remington Hotels has selected PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SpaSoft system for two spas in Key West, Fla.: Top Spa, located at La Concha Key West, and The Spa at Pier House.  http://www.laconchakeywest.com, http://www.partech.com


- Hotel WiFi Test report ranks cities, countries and world regions by Wi-Fi quality
- Hilton New York JFK Airport adds live Doppler weather radar to FlyteBoard
- Hilton Americas-Houston signs with Bulk TV & Internet
- Marriott gives Enseo preferred vendor status for guestroom entertainment services
- Virgin Hotels launches companion app, Lucy
- Rotana adds online check-in facilities, other tablet-delivered services
- Bittel launches UNOMedia 5 guestroom alarm/clock/radio/telephone with multiple charging ports
For more information on Guest Services for 01/23/15


- JW Marriott Hotel Santo Domingo installs InvoTech's RFID Uniform and Linen Systems
- Penn State implements UniFocus’ Labor Management System at The Nittany Lion Inn and The Penn Stater
- Destination Properties selects WAKEUP CALL’s risk management software for Gold Miners Inn
For more information on Back Office for 01/23/15


- Hotel Nikko San Francisco implements Clear Sky Software’s food and beverage inventory control
The 532-room Hotel Nikko San Francisco has implemented Clear Sky Software’s food and beverage inventory control system, as well as Clear Sky's KIOSK for increased tracking of food and beverage product movements and interfaces to Sysco, US Foods and other suppliers.  http://www.hotelnikkosf.com, http://www.clearskysoftware.com


- Zaplox partners with SimonsVoss
Zaplox has partnered with Germany’s SimonsVoss lock provider, and its mobile keys are now offered as part of the SimonsVoss range, opening up new markets for Zaplox in Europe and Asia to customers such as arenas, museums, banks, public service buildings and schools.  http://www.simons-voss.com, http://www.zaplox.com


- Westin Buckhead Atlanta implements INNCOM
The 358-room Westin Buckhead Atlanta has implemented INNCOM’s Energy Management System as part of Starwood’s 30/20 by 20 environmental initiatives.  The property installed e4 Smart Digital Thermostats, INNcontrol 3 Central Room Management software and a full property management system interface.  Room controls connect to INNcontrol 3 via a deep mesh network that monitors guestroom condition and status in real time.  Starwood’s 30/20 by 20 program aims to reduce energy use by 30 percent and cut water consumption 20 percent by 2020 at every property.   http://www.westinbuckheadatlanta.com  


And now for you-know-what...

Reaching the end of a job interview, the human resources officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, "And what starting salary are you looking for?"

The engineer replies, "In the region of $175,000 a year, depending on the benefits package and living expenses."

The interviewer inquires, "Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks of vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50 percent of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Tesla to start?"

The engineer sits up straight and says, "Wow! Are you kidding?"

The interviewer replies, "Yeah, but you started it.”

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