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Siegel Sez

July 12, 2007

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

There isn’t a business traveler I know who would check a laptop at the airport.  And then there is me.  I was flying from Atlanta to LAX early July 4th and then was meeting my horse racing friends to see our horse Whatever Whenever run in a stakes race at 4:30 p.m. at Hollywood Park which is about 10 minutes from LAX. I landed at 10 a.m. and since I didn’t want to trek my suitcase and laptop with me to a race track I had checked them both directly to Las Vegas where I had to be that evening after my day at the track. As it turns out the Delta agent did not check it directly to Las Vegas as she told me she would and instead my two bags (I had put my laptop in a gym bag as checked luggage) sat at LAX for 8 hours. Try to imagine arriving in Las Vegas at 9 p.m., going to the hotel, checking in and then unpacking. I opened the gym bag, took out my laptop and opened the case to find out my laptop was missing. It had been stolen! 

I immediately called Delta who after hearing my story asked if TSA had inspected my bag. I said no. But then I looked through the papers in my laptop case and at the bottom of my loose papers was a notice from TSA that my bag was opened and checked by TSA. Delta immediately told me that it wasn’t their problem anymore since there was a TSA notice.  I now had to call TSA. What a crock. They are the ones that let it sit at LAX when they told me it would be put on a nonstop flight to Las Vegas. The woman from TSA was nice and told me she would have to fax a form to me to file a claim. A claim? What are they going to give me for a three-year-old laptop?  Please don’t ask me when my last backup was, it is too embarrassing. What a disaster this is going to be and I am sure there will be more to this story as I chase both Delta and TSA to try to figure out who stole my laptop. 

Even though there are over 20,000 people reading this e-mail, if you have ever sent me an e-mail could you send me one again at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. Even though it will take me all weekend to get through them, it will still be a bit easier than trying to reconstruct my business life from scratch. Just don’t tell me how stupid I was for checking a laptop: this I already know.

This is our first Siegel Sez since HITEC. Jon Inge’s opening comments in his technology review pretty much nailed it. It was truly a throwback to the old days, the second biggest crowd ever, the exhibit hall was packed and the educational sessions were very well attended. Doing the educational sessions in the morning and then again in the afternoon after the exhibit hall closed created great crowds in the exhibit hall. The vendors loved the changes for the most part except there were no happy hours in the booths this year. My only complaint is Orlando it way too spread out for HITEC and I missed too many night events because they were too far away. But Orlando drew a big crowd so I guess it is a trade off.

I must thank Tom Giannopoulos from MICROS Systems, Inc., Tina Stehle  from Agilysys, Sandra Andrews from Microsoft, Sean O’Neill from Newmarket International, Michael Schubach from Pinehurst, David Sjolander from Carlson Hospitality, Terry Price from the Grove Park Inn and Gustaaf Schrills from  the InterContinental Hotels Group for participating on the panel that Scot Campbell (MGM Mirage CityCenter) and I moderated to close HITEC this year. Scot and I prepared a skit that had to be one of the funniest things I have ever done even though I was the straight man this time. Thanks to the panelists understanding it was all for fun. I kept glancing over to make sure they were laughing, too. The session after the skit was very well received; the panel did a great job. If you want to watch a somewhat “You Tube-like” recording of the entire session, go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on the Cool New Stuff tab. Thanks also to Mark Goodman of CNI, but we cannot tell you why. Another reason to watch the video.

Finally, in the daily e-mail yesterday from Hotel Online we here at Hospitality Upgrade announced the launch of the Hospitality Industry IT Benchmarking Survey.  This is a “for the industry, by the industry” initiative that has the support of the brands, the management companies and the gaming and cruise industry. If you missed it, the full release is on http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com. If you have not been contacted and would like to participate, please e-mail Sally Kelly at mailto:sally@hospitalityupgrade.com.

Here now is Jon Inge’s very thorough post-HITEC technology review. There is so much happening in the industry which probably explains why the Benchmarking IT Survey has been so widely accepted by those in charge of IT budgets.  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

- HITEC review: great show, poor location
- Winners of the HITEC Favorite Solutions Awards
- HTNG celebrates fifth anniversary

For more on Top O' the News for 07/12/07


- Rosen Hotels & Resorts picks Visual One for four more properties
- innRoad to use Comtrol interfaces for innCenter on-demand PMS
- Larkspur implements SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS at multiple hotels in San Francisco
- SoftBrands releases two-way interface to SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System
- SoftBrands to use TabletKiosk’s portable workstations for mobile access to Epitome PMS
- SoftBrands offers monthly per-room pricing model for Medallion PMS
- Phoenix Inn Suites is pilot customer for Centrada’s new NOVEXSYS remotely hosted PMS
- Hotel Concepts releases Expedia QuickConnect interface for IDPMS property management system
- Carlson picks centrally hosted Micros’ OPERA for over 400 Country Inns & Suites properties
For more on Property Management Systems for 07/12/07


- TRUST certifies TRUST Voyager, TRUST Connect to HTNG specifications
- Pegasus introduces RezView NG next-generation central reservation system
- Constellation signs with Pegasus for Unirez connectivity, channel management for 35 hotels
- Expedia launches QuickConnect reservation system interface
- Hotel Concepts releases Expedia QuickConnect interface for IDPMS property management system
- InnLink Central Reservation Services releases interface to Expedia QuickConnect
- InnLink releases interface with ZDirect's ZMail
- InnLink partners with Perot Systems to offer Travel Agency Commission Settlement service
- Trump Entertainment picks TravelCLICK for three Atlantic City properties
- Travenues announces iXiGO travel search engine for India
- Loews picks MICROS’ OPERA Reservation System (ORS) and Web Suite (OWS) for 18 sites
- ResortQuest Hawaii chooses SynXis for distribution/call center services for 26 properties
- LodgeWorks selects SynXis’ RedX for its Sierra Suites Hotel brand
- SynXis announces technology partner program for joint development, service and support
- SynXis releases two-way RedX interface to SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS
- SynXis opens first Asia Pacific office in Singapore, appoints HMCC as sales agent in China
- Amadeus now has over 75,000 hotels in inventory

For more on Reservations for 07/12/07


- Screen Pilot Group launches GoTrip.mobi mobile marketing/CRM platform
- InnLink Central Reservation Services releases interface with ZDirect's ZMail
- The Knowland Group passes 500-plus client milestone in second year of operation
- Travel Information Management Services (TIMS) and AnyRate Software form joint venture
- Lodging Interactive launches Chatter Guard service for managing hotels’ online reputation
- TravelCLICK acquires Blue Square Studios
- TravelCLICK releases SearchVIEW online market intelligence tool
- The Biltmore in Asheville, N.C. installs Datavision Dashboard
- Trump Organization picks Cendyn as exclusive interactive marketing agency
- Aptech launches .NET-based Innvue application for multisystem data consolidation
For more on Marketing/Management for 07/12/07


- IDeaS certifies IDeaS V5i Version 3.1 to HTNG specifications
- Rate Tiger opens EMEA headquarters in London
- Trump implements The Rainmaker Group’s revolution suite in three Atlantic City resorts
- Rainmaker integrates revolution LRO with Realty DataTrust’s VaultWare online leasing tool
- Radisson Edwardian to implement EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite in thirteen properties
- PGA National Resort and Spa implements EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite
For more on Revenue Management for 07/12/07


- Passkey launches Smart Alerts event alert system
- White Lodging to implement Delphi MPE across 110 hotels
- Hyatt picks Newmarket’s Daylight ASP
- Newmarket releases version 9.5 of Delphi
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 07/12/07


- Nirvana Technology announces dCRS dynamic central reservation system
Nirvana Technology announced its dCRS (dynamic central reservation system), which provides hotels with seamless distribution and dynamic packaging for on- and off-property spa services, golf tee times, leisure activities and other services, integrated with Google Maps.  On a satellite view, colored flags identify off-property service providers and their distance from the hotel, with click-through to view availability and giving guests the ability to book directly.  dCRS can be deployed to manage room and activity booking or may be seamlessly integrated with an existing CRS system to provide integrated activity booking capabilities.  Rate management options let hotels modify rates or regulate distribution channels based on guest type, time of day, day of week, date range, lead time or availability thresholds.  http://www.nirvana-technology.com


- Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay implements GoConcierge
- Hotel 1000 deploys Guest-Tek’s OneView Media High Definition (HD) platform
- Guest-Tek contracts with Magnolia Pictures for movie content, including pre-release viewings
- Guest-Tek to deliver DISH Network satellite TV programming to hotels
- Crown Macau Hotel installs NxTV’s HD IPVOD and IPTV guest room entertainment
- iBAHN acquiring ETV Interactive to offer complete guestroom package
- iBAHN adds PriorityOne dynamic prioritization and quality of service management
- LodgeNet launches HSIA Preventative Maintenance Programs through StayOnline
- TeleAdapt announces availability of MediaHub guestroom connectivity panel
- Sheraton picks Eleven Wireless as preferred technology provider for Link @ Sheraton lounges
- INNCOM adds control of LUX High-Definition displays to GDA-700 control unit
- Digital Alchemy releases Claire, new Web-based customer relationship management tool
- Elfiq launches firmware to balance VPN sessions on different links
- Walkwire integrates PrintMe with its Automated Business Center and Lobby PCs
- Walkwire and Workspace Integration Technologies partner to offer kiosk alternative
- GoConcierge enhancements include OPERA interface, inventory tracking digital signatures
- Diversified updates Guestware with mobile checklist for housekeeping managers
- Metromedia Software releases three new modules for HotelEXPERT
- Vertical Systems announces BusinessClub design/build/manage concept
- Capella Hotels & Resorts picks Gold Key Solutions’ Concierge Assistant for all properties
- W Los Angeles - Westwood orders Tiare’s intelliChaise Personal Ordering System
- Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) designates NewspaperDirect as an approved supplier
- Carlson Wagonlit selects Leonardo image content for online bookings for over 60,000 hotels
For more on Guest Services for 07/12/07


- Thomas Peck of MGM MIRAGE and Todd Thompson of Starwood join HTNG board
- Bob Mackett joins Squirrel’s executive team, focuses on strategy, sales and marketing
- Frank Tillmanns hired as Newmarket’s business development manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland
- Lawrence Dustin promoted to vice chairman and Gregory Hodges to president at iBAHN
- Robert Selwah joins Springer-Miller as director of development
- Sophie Grigg promoted to vice president of advanced technology at Springer-Miller
- Robert Bennett, Jules Sieburgh, Bryan Steele and Jeremy Rock join Lorica’s board of advisors
- Arthur Rhein, Agilysys’ chairman, president and CEO, is VARBusiness 500 Executive of the Year
- Elizabeth Parker, Mark Schurtz join SECURE-RES as regional sales managers
- Wendy Rose appointed CFO and VP of operations of VRX Worldwide and VRX Studios
For more on People on the Move for 07/12/07


- HSI releases version 7.08 of Profit Series POS
- Hard Rock picks MICROS’ centralized Simphony POS for 60+ company-owned locations
- Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel chooses Capton’s RFID-based Beverage Tracker
- The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel selects InfoGenesis
- CBORD Group is Microsoft Gold Certified Partner for second year
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 07/12/07


- Mintek enhances WinTrack PM with mobile version, kiosk entry and new hardware
- INNCOM adds green button to e4 thermostat for guests to activate energy-saving mode
Mintek Mobile Data Solutions has introduced several enhancements to WinTrack PM, including a version for the Windows Mobile platform with handheld device support and bar coding to help PM, rounds, inspections and work order processes.  Other improvements include a Web-based work order kiosk (with a browser-based ASP application enabling anyone outside of the engineering department to submit work orders), and hardware support for Motorola’s (formerly Symbol’s) MC series of terminals with color screens, increased RAM and more powerful processors.    http://www.mintek.com
INNCOM has enhanced its e4 smart digital thermostat with a green button which guests can press to activate an energy-saving program predetermined by the hotel.  http://www.inncom.com


- PhoneSuite announces PhoneSuite 495 for larger properties
PhoneSuite announced the availability of its PhoneSuite 495, an enhancement of its existing PhoneSuite 64 and the PhoneSuite 112 models for larger hotels up to 475 rooms.  http://www.PhoneSuite.com


- Onity’s ADVANCE locking system receives 2007 ADEX Platinum Award from Design Journal magazine
- Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai to install VingCard’s Signature online centralized electronic locks
Onity’s ADVANCE locking solution has received a Platinum Award in the 2007 ADEX Award competition sponsored by Design Journal magazine. The award, given annually in recognition of excellence in product design, recognized the ADVANCE lock for its modular design and unique ergonomic features.  http://www.onity.com
Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai has ordered VingCard’s Signature online centralized electronic locks for use throughout the property, which is scheduled to open in November 2008.  The 1,539-room Royal Towers will be linked via The Palm Monorail and a three lane underwater tunnel to The Palm Jumeirah and mainland Dubai.  http://www.vingcard.com


And now for you-know-what…

In 1987, a man was on holiday in Kenya. On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so the man approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it.

As carefully and as gently as he could, he worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments.

The man remained frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled.

Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned and walked away.

The man never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, the man was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over by where the man and his son were standing.

The large bull elephant stared at him, lifted its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1987, the man couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant.

The man summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of the man's legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

It probably wasn't the same elephant.

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