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Siegel Sez

March 15, 2007

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Did you happen to read the article in the USA Today earlier this week regarding how car rental companies change their rates throughout the day? I thought it was pretty interesting since revenue management systems continue to be a major piece of technology in the travel industry, especially in hotels. Of course the popularity over the years can be traced to the airline industry. I am going to Tampa next week. I checked on Delta for flights and was glad to see that round trips from Atlanta were only $158. I am meeting friends there and wanted to coordinate arrival times with them and they told me they would get back to me in an hour or so. Was it fate that I read the USA Today article about car rentals changing rates while at lunch and when I returned less than an hour later to book my flights all the $158 fares were gone? Now the cheapest fares for the same flights were $418. From $158 to $418 in less than an hour in the middle of the day? The absolute worst thing about this is that I had no one to blame but myself since I know this can happen. I have had this happen so many times in my life you would think I would learn. Oh well, once a procrastinator always a procrastinator, right? Another example of “you snooze, you lose.” I snoozed once again.

And speaking of losing, at last week’s HTNG Members Conference (http://www.htng.org), a group was giving me grief about my going to California to see my hard luck race horse run. She ran once and then broke a bone in her ankle. The four-month recovery process took 15 months. When she came back she looked great and in her first race she ran well but to nobody’s surprise got tired in the stretch. But we were ready for a win this time. Her name is Cambria Breeze. She is beautiful, she is friendly and she is fun to be around. The one thing she is not is a horse that enjoys running around a race track. So my venture into owning a small piece of a race horse is over, Cambria Breeze will be living on a farm and enjoying life. I am thankful that I did get to see her run twice and in her last race it was such a rush to see her leading the whole race until the stretch when she stopped. I must thank Beth McClure from InfoGenesis for coming out and watching the race with me. Of course guaranteeing that Cambria Breeze was going to win was not the smartest thing I could do, but she laughed it off even with a much lighter wallet. It was a great experience for all.

Jon’s technology review will include a review of all the happenings at last week’s HTNG meeting. It was nice having an event here in Atlanta except the cocktail parties aren’t nearly as fun when one has to drive home versus stumbling up to the hotel room. The HTNG annual meeting, as important as it is for those who have embraced the initiative, also has much value from the social aspect. There are great people in the industry who love to share what their companies are doing. I know this has helped us with our Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com) and CIO Summit (http://www.theciosummit.com).  In fact our upcoming Executive Vendor Summit has grown again with a record crowd confirmed to attend this year. I can’t wait. But let us not be fooled, nothing comes close to bringing the technology industry together like HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) which is being held in Orlando this year. Maybe I should book my tickets now. Not a chance.

Our spring issue of Hospitality Upgrade is in the mail and we are very proud of this issue. For those of you who have been around the industry for the last 15 years, check out page 21. I wonder how many others will recognize the people in some of the pictures. It was fun putting them together. If by chance you do not receive Hospitality Upgrade then go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com to subscribe. It is a free publication for those in the industry.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last couple of weeks. 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



- Major Milestone for HTNG: First Certified Interface Products Released
A significant milestone was reached at Hotel Technology Next Generation’s (HTNG’s) annual Members’ Meeting and Conference last week with the announcement of the first five HTNG-certified interface products.  Several more are in the pipeline and are expected to be announced shortly.  Given the amount of detailed, cooperative work required by hoteliers and normally competing vendors to produce detailed interface specifications, this is a major achievement for the initiative less than five years after it was launched. 

HTNG interface products differ from the traditional specific product-A-to-product-B interface links in that each is certified to perform, flexibly, in the role appropriate to one end of the link.  For example, an HTNG-certified POS system is intended to link to any HTNG-certified PMS system for credit checking and charge posting without any custom development, allowing hotels to assemble their own combination of systems–and to change that combination–as desired. 

Three products were certified under the single guest itinerary section of the HTNG Property Web Services Workgroup 2007a specification, namely:

  • OpenCourse Solutions’ OpenCourse Activity Suite 3.0
  • PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SpaSoft 3.0 with SMS|Diplomat 2.3
  • TAC GmbH’s Reservation Assistant 3.9

This allows these systems to share spa, golf and other guest activity booking data and to post charges amongst themselves and with any PMS certified to the same specification.

Two other products were certified under the HTNG Property/Distribution Solution Workgroup 2007a specification, which covers the exchange of reservations, rates, availability and yield controls:

  • Easy (EZ) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd.’s EasyRMS Internet Product Suite ASP Version
  • PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host V16.0 with SMS|Diplomat v2.3 and DipHost v2.3



- TravelCLICK launches PromoSpots graphical advertising
- HSMAI honors Blue Square Studios and Pegasus Solutions with Adrian Awards
TravelCLICK has launched its PromoSpots graphical advertising for greater property visibility with Sabre Connected travel agents via the MySabre agent booking portal from Sabre Travel Network.  PromoSpots delivers graphical badge ads on the shopping and booking confirmation screens in response to travel agents’ specific search criteria.  http://www.travelclick.net
The Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International honored Blue Square Studios with two Adrian Awards for Web site development; a silver award for the Kahala Hotel and Resort Web site and a bronze for the Portola Plaza Hotel Web site and use of its Hospitality ToolkitTM Web presence management system. 

HSMAI also honored Pegasus Solutions with a silver award for Web marketing excellence, for its Hotelbook.com 2006 integrated Web marketing campaign involving podcasts, blogs, e-newsletters and special promotions. 
http://www.kahalaresort.com, http://www.portolaplazahotel.com, http://www.bluesqstudios.com, http://www.hotelbook.comhttp://www.pegs.com


- Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi) partners with PAR Springer-Miller Systems
- Rainmaker Group relocates to new headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga.
Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi) and PAR Springer-Miller Systems have partnered to use HBSI’s Demand GatewayTM to link SMS|Host Hospitality Management System room inventory and reservations data with multiple distribution channels.  http://www.springermiller.comhttp://www.hotelbookingsolutions.com
The Rainmaker Group has relocated to newly built headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga., a move necessitated by a 30 percent staff increase.  http://www.letitrain.com


- Austria Hotels International selects TravelCLICK’s iHotelier CRS
- Yeeld Solutions launches private label booking engine and CRS service
- Coastal Hotel Group adds call center services to existing contract with SynXis
- Omni Hotels has expands and extends multiyear partnership with Expedia
For more on Reservations for 03/15/07


- Kim Stephenson joins EZ Yield.com as corporate director of operations
- Michael Hannan appointed to VRX Worldwide’s board of directors
Kim Stephenson has joined EZ Yield.com as corporate director of operations.  Ms. Stephenson brings 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry with her, most recently serving as director of Internet sales and central reservations for Rosen Hotels and Resorts.
Michael Hannan has been appointed to VRX Worldwide’s board of directors.  Mr. Hannan has recently served as executive vice president of Intrawest Corp and president of Abercrombie & Kent, Intrawest’s former travel subsidiary.  Mr. Hannan joined Intrawest as executive vice president, strategic and corporate development in 2002.  He had earlier held positions as CFO of the Canadian and Latin America division of UUNET, and as CEO of Amsterdam-based Versatel Internet Group.  Mr. Hannan began his career with Ernst and Young in 1988.


- Best Western endorses MICROS OPERA Enterprise Solution, certifies two-way CRS interface
- PAR Springer-Miller partners with Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated
Best Western International has endorsed MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution, including OPERA Xpress, and has certified OPERA’s two-way interface with Best Western's central reservation system.  http://www.bestwestern.comhttp://www.micros.com
PAR Springer-Miller Systems and Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi) have partnered to link SMS|Host Hospitality Management System room inventory and reservations data with multiple distribution channels using HBSI’s Demand GatewayTMhttp://www.springermiller.com, http://www.hotelbookingsolutions.com


- ReServe Interactive launches Web-based ReServe Anywhere
- Chicago Yacht Club selects ReServe Interactive’s event management software
- De Vere Collection to install full Newmarket applications suite for 58 properties
- Ritz-Carlton selects MeetingMatrix International as preferred room diagram software
- Survey reports lack of online meetings technology hampering cost control
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 03/15/07


- Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center orders InfoGenesis’ POS
- Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront implements Capton’s Beverage Tracker
- ReServe Interactive launches Web-based ReServe Anywhere
- Boyd Gaming selects MICROS’ 9700 HMS for four Coast Casinos locations in Las Vegas
- InterDyn Prodata and Decision Logic partner to link multi-unit restaurants with Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Microsoft Great Plains)
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 03/15/07


- VSi announces iPOP kiosk/workstation with both fee-based and free-to-guest services
- Westin Hotels to offer free digital music downloads from eMusic.com
Vertical Systems Inc. (VSi) announced its iPOP (Internet point of presence) free-standing kiosk/workstation that hosts both fee-based and free-to-guest services in the same unit.  Hotels can change the guest-service payment structure as required to match the season or the group business currently booked at the hotel.  iPOP also supports transactional advertising and is offered at a no-cost revenue-sharing basis.  http://www.ver-sys.com
Westin Hotels will offer free digital music from eMusic.com for guests to download to portable music players at no charge for six months.  The download library includes music composed specially for Westin, covering classical, jazz and other genres.  Westin Hotels will play these soundtracks in hotel lobbies and other areas, in addition to making them available for free downloads through online gift codes.  http://www.westin.com


- Wesley Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South and Danfords on the Sound all install Aptech’s Profitvue
- Hotel del Coronado installs UniFocus’ Watson, R.M.
- Coastal Hotel Group picks Unifocus’ Watson, R.M. suite for nine hotels and resorts
For more on Back Office for 03/15/07


- Best Western International designates Onity as an Endorsed Direct Order Supplier
Best Western International has designated Onity as an Endorsed Direct Order Supplier under a four-year contract, which covers Onity’s electronic locking, in-room safes and energy management systems.  http://www.bestwestern.comhttp://www.onity.com


And now for you-know-what…

A mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley Davidson, when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in the shop.

The surgeon was there waiting for the service manager to come take a look at his bike when the mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hey, Doc, can I ask you a question?"

The surgeon, a bit surprised, walked over to where the mechanic was working.  The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked, "So, Doc, look at this engine.  I open its heart, take valves out, repair any damage, then put them back in.  When I finish it works just like new.  So how come I get such a small salary, and you get the really big bucks, when you and I are doing basically the same work?"

The surgeon paused, smiled, leaned over and whispered in the mechanic's ear, "Try doing it with the motor running."

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