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Siegel Sez

August 30, 2007

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

A five-star resort or a Super 8 Motel, which would you choose? I am writing this week’s Siegel Sez from my room at the beautiful Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., a true five-star resort. I was honored to have been invited to the Starwood Hotels & Resorts 2007 North American Division IT Leadership Conference. While next week we have 47 CIOs from around the world coming to our Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit, this is a totally different crowd. This week I have talked to those who are responsible for technology at the property level and you get a different prospective on IT initiatives and challenges. The opportunity to have conversations like this has always helped as we put each issue of Hospitality Upgrade magazine together. There were over 250 technology people at the Phoenician including 40 of their preferred vendors which allowed the creation of an exhibit hall. The vendors who came were very happy and the attendees told me they thought the conference was great. It truly has been a great experience for everyone, especially me. It was an honor being the only media person here, but I love events like this. I strongly recommend that every other hotel company with IT people throughout their properties create similar meetings if they haven’t already. Every IT person I have met here said the experience has been unbelievably valuable. They have especially enjoyed meeting peers often for the very first time. Of course, ego wise it has been great for me personally since so many read Hospitality Upgrade and Siegel Sez via Hotel Online and have given great feedback.  I must thank Mark McBeth, the vice president, IT for North America for the invitation to this great event his team put together. For more details and some fun pictures, make sure you receive our upcoming Fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade. To subscribe go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com.  It is a free publication for anyone in the industry.

No matter how great five-star resorts are, I must admit I had a great time the weekend before at the Super 8 Motel in Winfield, Kan. Winfield is halfway between here and there and is smack dab in the middle of nowhere. But, I loved it. I was attending a wedding in Winfield and I must tell you that to me it was a visit to the days gone by. I had the feeling that I was in a Norman Rockwell painting all weekend. They had a main street in downtown Winfield with an actual Sears store. A Sears that wasn’t in a mall? When was the last time you saw that? The people were great and so unbelievably friendly. There is a lot to say about small-town America, a part of life that we often forget. After weekends like that I start thinking that is where I really belong. Sure, there would be many things about the big city that one would miss, but you sure cannot beat the quality of life. I think if I had kids, this is the environment where I would like to raise them. Next time you are planning trips why not try something off the beaten path. There are lots of out-of-the-way small towns that you might stumble across that could create a memory that will last a lifetime. That was what happened to me in Winfield.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks. I will see you once again 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

- BTM Institute report shows financial benefits of integrating technology into operations
It’s a truism that many hoteliers do not appreciate the value that technology brings to their operations.  It’s baffling how often little attention is paid to the systems that contain all their customer information and operating data, but we’ve all met hoteliers who keep obsolete systems in place for way too long, or who install “point” solutions to specific problems without considering their integration into the complete operation.

The benefits of implementing technology well, integrated as completely as possible throughout the operation, are highlighted by a new study from the BTM Institute.  The report analyzes five years of financial data for Global 2000 companies and concludes that companies with “converged business technology management”–i.e. those that see technology as an innate part of how they do business–have significantly better financial performance, superior revenue growth and higher net margins than others in their industries.

Such companies, including Harrah’s Entertainment, recorded 12 percent average annual revenue growth compared with 4 percent for their industry groups, and achieved 36 percent average annual earnings per share growth versus 7 percent for their industry.  They also grew at a faster pace and had greater returns than their peers, with 6 percent higher EBITD (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation) margins, 4 percent average higher return on equity, 8 percent average higher return on assets, and 14 percent higher return on investments.

The report states that by taking this approach, “an organization creates an environment for strategic exploration and business agility… [with] … a clear understanding of technology’s ability to accelerate both the development of strategic positioning and innovative business models.”

The three key lessons were stated as:
  1. Top corporate executives should realize the financial impact that a unified business technology organization can have.
  2. Being a converged business technology company does require a different level of management thinking. “You cannot separate IT from the business. [Business technology] has to be institutionalized.”
  3. You have to be able to measure how these business technology management capabilities are guiding organizational maturity and how that connects back to the financial results.


- Outrigger Enterprises Group chooses PROS’ Hotel Revenue Optimization System
- Preferred Hotel Group adds IDeaS to preferred vendor program
- IDeaS releases full two-way integration with Agilysys’ Visual One PMS
- Starwood designates EZ Yield.com as global channel management partner
- Four multiunit management companies conducting pilot installations of Rainmaker’s revolution LRO
For more on Revenue Management for 08/30/07


- Newmarket International releases new version of Daylight
Newmarket International has released a new version of its Daylight group sales and catering application, featuring integration with Cendyn’s eProposal and Passkey Hotel Direct.  The latter can now receive information directly from Daylight, eliminating the need to re-enter data manually, and allows for the sharing of data such as new bookings, changes to bookings and final production numbers.  The integration with eProposal allows a user to select booking information and save it to Cendyn’s system, from which an eProposal can be created, modified and sent to a potential customer within minutes.  http://www.cendyn.com, http://www.passkey.com, http://www.newmarketinc.com


- Monk McQueens piloting Squirrel Systems’ fingerprint biometric technology
- Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar to install HSI’s Profit Series POS in over 175 sites
Vancouver restaurant Monk McQueens is piloting Squirrel Systems’ fingerprint biometric technology, part of Squirrel’s new Release 5.  The technology is deployed on Posiflex’s Fanless KS-6315 flat panel PC in conjunction with Digital Persona’s biometric engine.  http://www.monkmcqueens.comhttp://www.squirrelsystems.com
Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, a long-term Hospitality Solutions International (HSI) client, has signed a five-year buying agreement for HSI’s Profit Series Point-of-Sale, to be installed in at least 175 company-owned locations over a five-year period.  Franchise locations also have the option to leverage the negotiated pricing.  The Minneapolis-based chain currently comprises 449 restaurants in 38 states.  http://www.hsi-solutions.com


- NxTV ranked number 389 on the Inc. 500
- MTech integrating SDC Solutions’ IntelliDESK PBX console with HotSOS
- MTech appoints MagiNet to distribute HotSOS in Asia, Middle East and Africa
For more on Guest Services for 08/30/07


- Oumou Bah joins TTI Technologies International as hotel relations manager
Oumou Bah has joined self-service kiosk/business center vendor TTI Technologies International as hotel relations manager, to act as liaison between hotels and TTI, respond to hotelier and guest requests, provide ongoing training, and identify the need for additional guest-service solutions.  Prior to joining TTI, Bah worked at the Essex House hotel in New York for five years as a guest-service agent, accountant and auditor.


- Agilysys releases full two-way integration between Visual One PMS and IDeaS
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America installs SoftBrands’ Medallion PMS at three sites
- Hotel Concepts releases two-way OTA-based interface to SynXis’ RedX
For more on Property Management Systems for 08/30/07


- Fairmont extends contract with Pegasus for global commission services
- Hotel du Pont picks TravelCLICK
- Sabre and Amadeus request antitrust approval to develop secure, automated payment processing, clearing and reconciliation systems
- Travelocity adds keywords and search filters to user-generated reviews on its Web site
For more on Reservations for 08/30/07


- Tarsadia picks The Knowland Group’s INSIGHT and READERS services
- TIG Global receives two Summit Creative Awards
Tarsadia Hotel Group will offer The Knowland Group’s INSIGHT and READERS services to several of its properties in the southwest USA.  The READERS hotel reader board service offers a searchable online application, access to historical data, next day reports, telesales leads and ROI tools.  INSIGHT gives sales managers an overview of daily events, groups and meeting planners across all hotel brands.  http://www.tarsadia.comhttp://www.knowlandgroup.com
TIG Global has received two Summit Creative Awards for its work on the Nickelodeon Family Suites Web site and the LXR Luxury Resorts-American Express promotional landing page.  The annual competition acknowledges the artistic endeavors of small- and medium-sized companies worldwide, and this year attracted entrants from twenty-six countries.  http://www.nickhotel.com, http://www.luxuryresorts.com\amexpromo, http://www.summitawards.comhttp://www.tigglobal.com


- Market Metrix releases Version 2.0 of Employee Metrix employee feedback system
- HTNG forming new workgroup to focus on payment systems and data security
- Homewood Suites implements video iPod-based mobile training at all 204 sites in United States and Canada
For more on Back Office for 08/30/07


And now for you-know-what…

A husband and wife are lying quietly in bed reading when the wife looks over at him and asks, “What would you do if I died? Would you get married again?”

Husband: “Definitely not.”

Wife: “Why not? Don't you like being married?”

Husband: “Of course I do.”

Wife: “Then why wouldn't you remarry?”

Husband: “Okay, okay, I'd get married again.”

Wife: “You would?” (with a hurt look)

Husband: “Oh, honey.”

Wife: “Would you live in our house?”

Husband: “Sure. It's a great house.”

Wife: “Would you sleep with her in our bed?”

Husband: “Where else would we sleep?'”

Wife: “Would you let her drive my car?”

Husband: “Probably. It is almost new.”

Wife: “Would you replace my pictures with hers?”

Husband: “That would seem like the proper thing to do.”

Wife: “Would you give her my jewelry?”

Husband: “No. I'm sure she'd want her own.”

Wife: “Would you take her to play golf with you?”

Husband: “Yes. Those are always good times.”

Wife: “Would she use my clubs?”

Husband: “No. She's left-handed.”

Wife: (silence)

Husband: “Crap.”

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