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Siegel Sez

August 09, 2007

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Ahhh, summer, don’t you just love it? Living in Atlanta the whole idea of school starting next week still amazes me. I grew up in New York and the first day of school always fell on the Wednesday after Labor Day. I still think the travel industry is behind this. In the South school lets out the end of May and starts back in early August. In the North, school lets out the end of June and starts back in early September. It sure makes for a long summer vacation season, don’t you agree? One real positive about summer, at least for those in Atlanta or who will be in Atlanta, is that we are hosting our social cocktail party on August 22. It really is one of our favorite things. Many people from the hospitality industry come, they bring friends and lots of people meet each other. There is no real purpose except to have fun. We have a few surprises in store. Anyone can come, but you must let Sharon know. Please e-mail her at mailto:Sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com. My friend Ivey from Aramark finally convinced us to hold our gathering inside the Perimeter, so we will be at the somewhat trendy Roy’s Atlanta in Buckhead. Who cares how trendy it is? I am still going casual. It is summer after all.

Just four more weeks until our Sixth Annual CIO Summit and the thought of being in Denver sounds better and better every day as Atlanta temperatures near triple digits with high humidity as well. We have over 50 CIOs confirmed at this point, which is the highest total ever with more still confirming. Make sure you subscribe to our Hospitality Upgrade magazine. The fall issue is always very popular with a review of this annual event along with an article that talks about future technologies and where those in charge of technology for hotels, gaming, cruise lines and vacation ownerships will be spending their money. There are so many new faces this year, I cannot wait. Or maybe it is just the thought of cooler weather.

Speaking of cooler weather, I am heading to the airport for a trip to San Diego in a few minutes. My fellow partners in our horse ownership are having the once a year get together. This has been so much fun, lots of winners, much dreaming and right now no limits. Who knows, we all might be in Kentucky on the first Saturday in May next year. Dreaming is allowed, right? I must thank Mark Wayman, the Godfather in Las Vegas, for “pushing” me into this and Sean Gerson from Gerson Racing for knowing how to pick the right horses to buy. There is one more surprise coming in October, but I am going to keep you in suspense.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at “you-know-what.” Thank you to our friends at Travelocity for providing this week’s humor. I hope everyone is having a great summer and staying cool.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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

- Online booking still gaining on other channels, per TravelCLICK
With hotel business continuing to expand, more reservations of all types are being made, but online booking is still gaining market share from other channels, according to TravelCLICK’s 2007 first quarter eTRAK results. 

The Internet contributed 41.2 percent of all central reservation system (CRS) reservations for major hotel brands, a 21.9 percent increase over the same period in 2006.  The GDSs remain a significant but slow-growing factor with 35.7 percent of the total, while voice bookings, accounting for the remaining 23.1 percent, declined 4.8 percent over the same period.  Brand Web sites continued to gain share compared to third-party merchant and opaque Web sites, providing 82.3 percent of the brands’ centrally booked Internet reservations.

The report concludes that:
- Electronic bookings show no signs of slowing down, making an electronic distribution strategy a crucial part of any hotel’s business plan.
- Hotel Web sites have become the center of the industry’s sales and marketing efforts.
- The voice channel is benefiting from Web synergies, since although call volume continues to decrease, conversion rates are increasing due to more educated customers.


- Alan Young named president of Kuikene.com
- Keith Povah hired as director of sales at Rate Tiger
Alan Young has been named president of Kuikene.com, the recently formed parent company of online marketing and media divisions A Couple of Chicks e-Marketing and Online Revealed.  Mr. Young has 24 years of hospitality industry experience, most recently as vice president, supply partners with Hotel Booking Solutions Inc.  He had earlier served as VP development with HIS, VP hotel systems and integration at Newtrade Technologies and business development manager for Micros-Fidelio’s partner in the Caribbean.  He began his career in management roles with General Mills Restaurants, The Four Seasons Hotels Group and Australia’s Weller Hotels.
Keith Povah has been hired as director of sales at Rate Tiger, based in its new European headquarters in London.  He brings over 30 years of hospitality experience, most recently with KP Service Solutions and JAC Travel where he was director and head of sales respectively.  Mr. Povah had previously managed his own hotels, as well as holding key positions with ACCOR, Le Meridien and the Best Western Lodge Hotel.


- Kor picks SynXis RedX for distribution management and PMS-revenue management interface
- Hilton and InterContinental receive first bookings via DerbySoft reservation switch
- Voyages Hotels & Resorts picks TravelCLICK for central reservations and Internet distribution
For more on Reservations for 08/09/07


- Hyatt extends online marketing contract with VRX Studios for additional three years
- Ocean Properties picks ICE Portal (ICE) to produce, manage, host and deliver rich content
Global Hyatt has extended its online marketing contract with VRX Studios for an additional three years until July 2010.  The contract covers 211 Hyatt hotels and all future properties. VRX will produce and manage 360-degree virtual tours, still images and interactive maps as well as distribute Hyatt's portfolio of VRX images to third-party travel sites.  http://www.hyatt.com, http://www.vrxstudios.com
Ocean Properties has selected ICE Portal (ICE) to produce, manage, host and deliver rich content for the chain’s hotels and resorts, including 360-degree hi-resolution virtual tours and photos.  Ocean Properties operates over 100 hotels in the United States and Canada, primarily under the AmeriSuites, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott and Sheraton brands.  http://www.oplhotels.comhttp://www.ICEportal.com


- Mid-America Apartment Communities completes installation of Rainmaker’s revolution LRO
- Expo Hotels & Resorts orders EzRMS’ Internet Suite for two Barcelona properties
Mid-America Apartment Communities has completed installation of The Rainmaker Group’s revolution LRO revenue optimization system throughout all of its nearly 140 properties, running on an application service provider (ASP) basis hosted at Rainmaker’s SunGard facility.  http://www.maac.nethttp://www.letitrain.com
Expo Hotels & Resorts has ordered EzRMS’ Internet Suite for two of its three Barcelona properties, the Expo Torre Catalunya and Expo Hotel Barcelona.  The group operates ten hotels throughout Spain.  http://www.expogrupo.comhttp://www.easyrms.com


- ReServe Interactive develops two-way interface with ClubSoft
- Newmarket releases Connex application to link Delphi to Salesforce.com
- Metro Toronto Convention Centre goes live with IMAP’s 3D Interactive Floor Plan & Mapping
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 08/09/07


- Hilton Waikaloa implements ReServe 's Dining Reservation and Table Management software
- Carlson Restaurants implements MICROS's mymicros.net solution for T.G.I. Friday's
- Retail Solutions Providers Association’s 2007 Awards of Excellence go to MICROS Systems, CRS and Posera
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 08/09/07


- SpaSoft now certified to interface with DataWorks’ NeXT inventory management system
PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SpaSoft now has a certified interface to DataWorks’ NeXT inventory management system, using XML messaging via SMS|Diplomat.  Inventory items created in DataWorks flow in real time into the SpaSoft System via SMS|Diplomat, and all SpaSoft POS transactions are reported automatically to DataWorks.  http://www.springermiller.comhttp://www.dataworksinc.com


- Marriott extends free Wi-Fi for guests in lobbies and other public areas across five brands
-  Dometic and Minibar Systems call off joint venture to distribute Dometic’s AutoClassic
Marriott has extended free guestroom high-speed and Wi-Fi Internet access at its Courtyard, Residence Inn, Fairfield Inn, TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites brands to now include free Wi-Fi for guests in lobbies and other public areas.  http://www.marriott.com
Dometic and Minibar Systems have ended their joint venture to distribute Dometic’s AutoClassic fully automated refreshment center, leaving Dometic as the sole distributor of the AutoClassic worldwide.  http://www.minibar.com


- Teledex iPhones certified compliant with Avaya IP telephony systems
- MGM MIRAGE picks NEC Unified Solutions for new IP telecommunications at Luxor and Excalibur
Teledex announced that its iPhone LD4200 SIP display phones and ND2200 nondisplay SIP phones are compliant with Avaya IP telephony systems using Avaya Communication Manager 4.0 IP telephony software and Avaya SIP Enablement Services 3.1.2.  http://www.teledex.com
MGM MIRAGE has selected NEC Unified Solutions to provide new IP telecommunications for the Luxor Hotel & Casino and Excalibur Hotel & Casino properties, covering nearly 8,500 hotel rooms.  The two properties plan to upgrade their existing NEC TDM systems to the UNIVERGE NEAX 2400 IPX, a customized hybrid TDM/IP platform, adding expanded voicemail capacity, enhanced wake-up call features, fully integrated attendant consoles to support reservations and an integrated contact center solution with automatic call distribution (ACD).  http://www.mgmmirage.comhttp://www.necunified.com


- Best Western Listel Whistler Hotel selects SoftBrands’ Medallion
- World Web Technologies releases online video tutorials for WebRezPro PMS
- Hecla Oasis Resort implementing Northwind’s Maestro Enterprise Suite
For more on Property Management Systems for 08/09/07


And now for you-know-what…

Blooper Hotel Reviews:

"I didn't feel like I was at a hotel/resort because the hotel doesn't impose itself on the environment, but the environment and the hotel are of one."

"Very nice exorcise facility."

"I took my three year old on a much deserved vacation."
"The rooms are clean and being able to cook myself is great."

"There was a good beach for the morning runs."
"The only drawback was the restaurant serving speed."
"However, we did have an excellent waiter for dinner."
"The artwork throughout kept us in ah."
"Nice place, clean rooms, puppets not allowed."
"We would stay there once more and that would make our final decision if we would stay there again."

"We were there for our 25th anniversary and the only other thing bad was long lines for the buffet."

"The family-oriented bathrooms were great."
"We like that's it's close to everything around it."

"Difficult to get luggage into room as many doors need to be opened."

"Rooms are very nice, but don't request a smoking room (they smell like smoke)."

"To put things in perspective, my 14-year-old perhaps best summarized the resort by saying, ‘You know, all I need to do is see Jesus and I would know we are in heaven!’"
"The pool and spa was such a nice rest after a day at the beach."
"I went to the bathroom and it was a closet."

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