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Siegel Sez

March 06, 2015

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I had a phone call this week with Kelly Chamberlin of Chamberlin Public Relations in San Francisco. During the course of our conversation we discussed how people have stopped talking on the phone and only live on email. I would like to consider myself one of the holdouts; I love talking to people.  If you ever want to talk to me, you can call (678) 802-5301. You really do get to know someone much better by spending a few minutes on the phone.  Kelly has enlisted many hotel executives in the San Francisco Bay area to attend our upcoming Travel and Technology Conference at the San Francisco Hilton on March 17 (http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/tnt), and we thank her. I encourage you to check out the link and join us; we believe it will be a valuable experience and a bit unique. If you want to understand the world of Big Data, see how hotels and restaurants are using technology to address the needs and increase the business they are doing with travelers, and also see some very unique startups with some amazing technologies, then please join us. It is fun, but challenging creating something new and different and hopefully we have done a great job. As much as phone calls can be enjoyable, nothing beats face-to-face interaction and meeting new industry folks along with seeing old friends. 

Yes, face-to-face interaction is something we could all use more and nothing beats meeting someone in person at an event.  Last week I started out at the Agilysys Inspire User Conference & Executive Summit held at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif. It was a great crowd, with many of new faces and some very creative sessions. How can you go wrong with a motivational speaker as the keynote who happens to also be a magician? That was interesting and fun. I thank them for inviting me.  From California I went to San Antonio for HTNG’s North American Conference. Another very well attended event that was heavy on technology presentations, which I love. HTNG allowed me to lead the CIO panel to close the show and hopefully they are not having any regrets. Thankfully most of the feedback we received was positive. Yes a week of two great events, I was fortunate to meet many people for the first time and we were able to reconnect with many who have become friends. It is an amazing industry and nothing beats face-to-face meetings.

Of course everyone in the industry knows the biggest face-to-face meeting of the year happens in June at HITEC (http://www.hitec.org). If HITEC is on your radar to exhibit or attend, I suggest you start making plans immediately. The prime hotel rooms are going fast and the exhibit floor is now sold out with others wanting to exhibit going on a waiting list. Based on the attendance at the events I have been to this might be a record year for HITEC. Now all we have to do is start hoping that June in Austin, Texas, is comfortable weatherwise. The first time it was, the second time it was scorching. Mother Nature seems to have a sense of humor at times.  I can only imagine the people reading this in Boston are rolling their eyes right now.  Anyway, let the countdown to HITEC begin.

One last face-to-face suggestion for those who are in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area. I have a little horse with a big heart named Little Love, and he might be running at Laurel Racecourse on Sunday, March 15. We won’t know for sure until March 12. If you have ever wanted to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the world of horses, let me know. With a little luck, OK, actually a lot of luck, we might get a picture in the winner’s circle. Email me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com if you would like to come by. Or of course, you can call me!

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 and also hope to see you in San Francisco!


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- HTNG’s annual conference gets even better
- HTNG TechOvation awards won by INTEREL, Revinate and IDeaS
Last weeks’ annual Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) North American Conference raised the bar again on what makes for a successful gathering.  Already one of the more appealing conferences in a crowded season, a couple of format changes this year increased its attraction and drew record attendance.

Formally making the interface workgroup sessions part of the conference and adding technical discussion forums during the two days before the more traditional education sessions allowed for much closer interaction between the techies and the more strategically minded attendees, to everyone’s benefit.  This conference has long been known for the quality and wide range of its education sessions, and this year led off with Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity, KAYAK and now Wayblazer, discussing how the semantic analysis and sheer power of IBM’s Watson engine has the potential to transform travel search.

Other sessions ranged from building up service levels, through discussing whether CRSs have a future, the impact of mobile payment, the challenges of a chainwide Wi-Fi upgrade and cogent advice on open-source technologies that allow hotels to compete affordably with the OTAs by offering fast, scalable systems, to a CIO discussion panel and a presentation on robotics in hospitality, including a demonstration of the room service robot currently in beta test at two of Starwood’s Aloft hotels.

The finalists of HTNG’s new TechOvation Awards were INTEREL, Revinate and IDeaS.  The awards, replacing the previous years’ Innovation Awards, recognize both the products’ fresh thinking and their likely impact on the industry.  The prior years’ approach of static displays of product information was replaced with a “shark tank”-like scenario where each vendor had five minutes to pitch its product.  An initial slate of 18 candidates was narrowed to three finalists by a panel of 10 judges (eight of whom were hotel company CIOs), and the winners were selected by a vote of the conference attendees.  

The overall winner was INTEREL for its connectBsmart technology, an intriguing online, beacon-as-infrastructure approach to two-way communications with guests.  The first runner-up was Revinate’s inGuest, a comprehensive approach to communicating with guests pre, during and post stay, designed to extend hotel services to guests 24/7, drive more touch points with staff and increase revenue.  The second runner-up was IDeaS’ Function Space Revenue Management software. 

HTNG’s conference has established itself as one of the must-attend events for anyone involved in hotel technology.  Kudos to Doug Rice and his team for continuing to improve it and keep it fresh!



- Fontainebleau Miami Beach deploys StayNTouch
- AutoClerk releases two-way interface with Travel Tripper's RezTrip
- Hotel Ciputra Jakarta selects Protel’s SPE from Xn Hotel Systems
- Edinburgh Collection switches back to protel from Xn Hotel Systems for its four properties
- Cenium launches Cenium 8
- Pacifica Hotels signs with RoomKeyPMS for 27 properties
- Oracle rebrands MICROS as Oracle Hospitality
For more information on Guest Management Systems for 03/06/15


- Busy Rooms adds revenue optimization tool to its CRS
- eRevMax integrates BookingForce’s booking engine into eRevMax LIVE Network
- Oracle MICROS releases two-way SiteMinder interface for MICROS-Fidelio Suite8
For more information on Revenue Management for 03/06/15


- Hilton Worldwide deploys MicroStrategy’s Analytics Platform
- ZDirect announces new Loyalty Management System
- SUNRISE Hotels & Cruises rolling out TrustYou across 11 resorts
- TrustYou’s Meta-Review API now implemented on more than 150 websites
- Vizergy has received three Adrian awards from HSMAI
- Cendyn/ONE receives two awards in Info-Tech Research evaluation of CRM suites
- Find My Carrots adds Canadian hotels and points of interest to its semantic search engine
- Infor's Dynamic Enterprise PM Named Champion in Info-Tech Research Group’s Vendor Landscape
For more information on Marketing/Management for 03/06/15


- GCommerce to recommend Groupize to all 1,400 hotel clients
- Starwood launches ProMeetings special-request management app for meeting planners
- Cendyn Arcaneo releases getregistered™ event registration software
For more information about Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 03/06/15


- Boston University releases free RevPASH app
- Compass Group North America implements InfoGenesis Flexmobile mobile POS, plus Agilysys rGuest Pay platform
The Boston University School of Hospitality Administration (SHA) has released its free RevPASH app to help calculate a restaurant´s revenue per available seat hour.  The app, in the form of a calculator, compares RevPASH over the course of hours, days, weeks and months.  http://www.bu.edu/revpash/  
Compass Group North America has become Agilysys’ first foodservice management customer to implement its InfoGenesis Flexmobile point-of-sale system combined with the rGuest Pay payment gateway.  The systems were introduced in the Café 2400 dining facility at the company's corporate headquarters in January and will be rolled out to other locations nationwide later this year.  InfoGenesis Flex runs on Dell Venue Pro tablets, and gives managers complete mobile access to all InfoGenesis tools.  rGuest Pay includes point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and a payment information proxy (PIP) that secures data arriving via e-commerce interfaces, tokenization and a range of fixed and mobile EMV-ready payment devices.  http://www.compass-usa.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- Hilton Kansas City Airport installs FlyteBoard
- Hotel Internet Services introduces BeyondTV integrated hospitality streaming-content service
The 347-room Hilton Kansas City Airport hotel has installed a Flyte Systems FlyteBoard real-time airline information display in its lobby as part of a recent renovation.  http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/missouri/hilton-kansas-city-airport-MCIAPHF/index.html, http://www.flytesystems.com  
Hotel Internet Services (HIS) has introduced its BeyondTV integrated hospitality streaming-content service.  Features include:
- electronic programming guide
- wireless streaming of content from personal devices to the room’s television
- access to hotel amenities including housekeeping, in-room dining, spa, valet, transportation, express checkout and other concierge services
- access to apps like Netflix, Pandora, TuneIn, Hulu Plus, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
- full Internet browser.
The system runs on hotels’ existing Wi-Fi infrastructure, requiring no configuration on guest mobile devices and providing each guest with a secure private room network.  http://www.hotelwifi.com  


- Guest-tek partners with VT Group
Guest-tek has partnered with VT Group, a systems integrator and provider of customized Gigabyte Passive Optical LAN (GPON) networks, to offer hotels a single source for IP services and optical technologies.  http://www.vt-group.com, http://www.guest-tek.com


And now for you-know-what...

At a local university, there were four sophomores taking chemistry and all of them had an A in the class so far. These four friends were so confident the weekend before finals that they decided to visit some friends out of town and have a big party. They had a great time, but after all the hearty partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn't make it back to school until early Monday morning.

Rather than taking the final then, they decided they would explain to their professor why they missed it after it was over. They said that they visited friends but on the way back they had a flat tire. As a result, they missed the final.

The professor agreed they could make up the final the next day. The guys were excited and relieved. They studied all night for the exam.

The next day the professor placed them in separate rooms and gave them a test booklet. They quickly answered the first problem worth 5 points.

Each one in separate rooms, they thought this was going to be easy... then they turned the page. On the second page was written...

For 95 points: Which tire went flat?

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