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Siegel Sez

December 06, 2007

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Who would think I would ever be writing a Siegel Sez from a suite that is bigger than most apartments I lived in. I am here at the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Macau where if it weren’t for all the signs in Chinese you would think you were in Las Vegas. What an unbelievable place this is. I haven’t made it over to the Wynn, but I did see the MGM MIRAGE property that is getting closer and closer to completion. I think Macau might be the Chinese version of Dubai where every new project tries to “one up” the previous one. Macau is quite the experience. Special thanks to Troy Hickox who is in charge of the room division here at the Venetian for the exceptional accommodations.

Of course I could write a book about this trip, and when it is over I might, but for now let me tell you if you ever plan on visiting Hong Kong, be prepared to be on the water a lot. I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong which is luxury with a capital “L”. Nick Price, the Mandarin Oriental CIO, has been an industry cheerleader for technology initiatives in the room and it was great to experience these initiatives first hand. It really does add to the travel experience. Special thanks go to Nick and Dorzin from Mandarin Oriental as well as Fraser Hickox, the CIO from the Peninsula Hotels, for a great boat ride to some remote island for dinner at a very unique seafood restaurant. Of course it is now three days later and I am still paying the price, but it was a great experience nonetheless. Fraser also took me the next morning to the Peninsula Hotels lab where they actually build rooms for the next hotel that they plan to build. In many ways the hotel rooms they are building incorporate much of what we have seen in the GuestRoom 2010 exhibits at HITEC and the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show. The lab room was very futuristic, but also very guest centric. I was honored that this was shared with me.

One of the nicest things about visiting a foreign country that you have never been to before and knowing people that live there is you get to see things most tourists never would. Nick and Dorzin created a walking tour that included the Peak which has a spectacular view of Hong Kong and then to a local’s area which is recognized as the most densely populated square mile in the world. I have also learned that no walking tour of Hong Kong can be complete without afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel. It was very snooty, but a lot of fun. It has only been four days of my two week vacation, but what a great experience so far. Today I am off to Puket in Thailand which everybody in Hong Kong has told me will be a great, great experience. I cannot wait. I finally have understood the value of vacations and how important they are. I will never go this long without one again.

Before I turn this over to Jon Inge for his industry technology recap, I would like to advise you that the second round of the new and improved Benchmark Study on Technology Spending will be collected from the industry over the next 45 days. You will see a release quoting industry leaders such as Jim Lamb, the CIO at Global Hyatt, Todd Thompson the CIO at Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Tom Peck the CIO at MGM MIRAGE, Mike Sutten the CIO at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Jane Durment the CIO from Marcus Corporation. The IT Benchmarking Study will touch everybody from major hotel companies to management companies to the gaming and cruise industries. If you are concerned where you fit in your technology spending as a business, I would strongly recommend you participate. Our industries are complex, but there are many common denominators that you should be aware of when investing or maintaining your technology. If you have any questions, please e-mail mailto:sally@hospitalityupgrade.com and we will explain in more detail what we are doing.

Here now is Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few 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

- Thanks to all those who deal with our frustration
With the travel challenges of the United States’ Thanksgiving behind us and those of Christmas coming up, and with a few computer problems I’ve needed to sort out on both my old(-ish) laptop and my wife’s new Vista-equipped desktop, the good folks who work in customer service positions have been much on my mind lately.

It seems like a pretty thankless job to those of us frustrated by the problems they have to deal with, and it must be hard to have to deal with regular blasts of righteous indignation – how dare the world not conform to our wishes!  Yet I’ve come across several people lately in both the travel and technology fields who actually seem to thrive on this particular situation, who seem truly fired up by the presentation of a challenge they can help resolve.  Not everyone shows it, of course, especially if there’s a language problem, but in my experience most support folk have it to some extent.  Maintaining a helpful attitude in the face of constant tension is a great skill, and one I personally don’t always acknowledge properly.  After all, the support person didn’t cause the problem, and working with them to resolve it with as much good humor as one can muster is usually much more effective than anger.

So a big thank you to all service and support people everywhere, for putting up with us and for doing your best to resolve our challenges.  This being the last newsletter of the year, my New Year’s resolution is always to give them the benefit of a smile, a patient explanation of what I need fixed, and an appreciation of their work even if it doesn’t always make things perfect for me.

Safe, smooth travels and an absence of technology problems to all!


- Evelyne Oreskovich receives HEDNA’s 2007 Award of Excellence
- Brian Primeau joins NFS Hospitality as business director of operations, West Coast
Evelyne Sansaricq Oreskovich of Pegasus Solutions has received HEDNA’s 2007 Award of Excellence, which recognizes individuals who make remarkable contributions toward the advancement of hotel electronic distribution, mainly, but not exclusively, through their activities in HEDNA.  Ms. Oreskovich is one of the founding members of HEDNA, which began in 1991, and served on the board from 1989 through 1997.  Currently overseeing the strategic hotels accounts in Eastern North America at Pegasus Solutions, she began her hotel industry career in 1982 and has held positions at Nikko Hotels International and Leading Interactive Reservations. 
Brian Primeau has joined NFS Hospitality as business director of operations of its West coast office, located in Tempe, Ariz.  He brings over 30 years of hospitality industry experience, including senior positions with NSI, INSI, HSI and MSI.


- Lucien Barriere deploys its first multiproperty instance of MICROS OPERA
- Pechanga Resort & Casino installs MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise
- GrandStay Residential Suite Hotel in Apple Valley installs Epitome PMS and Karyon
- Centrada contracts with Comtrol to use Lodging Link interface library with NOVEXSYS PMS
- Brilliant Hotelsoftware certifies two-way interface with HOLIDEX Plus for Brilliant PMpro PMS
For more on Property Management Systems for 12/06/07


- GrandStay Residential Suite Hotelin Apple Valley picks Karyon and Epitome PMS
- Harrah's adds Caesar's Palace and Bally's properties to SynXis’ RedX
- Rusticae picks Yeeld Solutions’ Synxis-based CRS services for 220 member hotels
- Metro Hotels signs six hotels to use HotelProphets' EZ Yield
For more on Revenue Management for 12/06/07


- Onity announces CodePro PIN code-based electronic locking system
Onity announced its CodePro PIN code-based electronic locking system, targeted at the vacation ownership and property management sectors.  The system allows property managers and/or owners to provide rental clients remotely with access to specific properties for specific periods of time without the need for a key or keycard, eliminating the need for the guest to visit a front desk or rental office.  The seven-digit code is software generated, can be sent to users via text messaging or e-mail, and can be changed by users to their own personalized code.  Housekeepers and maintenance staff can also be given individual remote access codes with separate time restraints.  http://www.onity.com


- Budget Host switches to InnLink for 150 properties
- Okura Hotels & Resorts implements Trust|Voyager CRS for 24 properties
- TravTech Business Solutions to offer Trust|Voyager CRS/GDS services to hotels in India
- Travelport for Business being consolidated into Orbitz for Business
- Orbitz launches Orbitz for Business International in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom
- Blackstone files IPO to list Travelport on London Stock Exchange
- Travelocity installing text analytics software to mine 600,000 unstructured guest service comments
- Travelocity unveils mobile service for travelers using cell phones or other Web-enabled PDAs
- IHG lists its 3,800 hotels with Expedia
For more on Reservations for 12/06/07


- Standing Dog Interactive launches ReviewAnalyst site to track consumers’ hotel reviews
- Cruise Lines International Association, ICE Portal to release 2008 Cruise Manual e-Book
- Hotel.de AG signs with Leonardo Media for static image delivery for over 65,000 hotels
For more on Marketing/Management for 12/06/07


- Tohono O’odham orders Delphi MPE for two properties in Arizona
- Kessler Collection standardizes on Delphi for all properties
- Pechanga Resort & Casino installs MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise
- Shockfish’s new Spotme recognized at EIBTM as “most innovative technology”
- Harrogate International Centre picks NFS Hospitality’s Rendezvous
- Passkey launches RoomList Express automated room list utility
- Elite Meetings International launches new blog, forum tools on EliteMeetings.net
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 12/06/07


- ReServe Interactive says 20 percent of customers pick Web-based version of system.
ReServe Interactive reports that approximately twenty percent of new and existing customers have implemented the Web-based version of its product, ReServe Anywhere, since it was launched in June.  http://www.reserveinteractive.com


- Hotel Amarano Burbank installs Wayport’s Wi-Fi wireless Internet access
- Vertical System inc. (VSi) introduces three prepackaged business center offerings
- NxTV named tenth fastest growing company in Los Angeles County
For more on Guest Services for 12/06/07


- INNCOM ranked No. 33 in USA’s Technology Fast 50 Program for Connecticut
INNCOM international has been ranked No. 33 in Deloitte & Touche USA's Technology Fast 50 Program for Connecticut, the second consecutive year that INNCOM has been honored as a Connecticut Technology Fast 50 company. http://www.inncom.com


And now for you-know-what…

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad.'

With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you.

I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercings, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion... Dad, she's pregnant.

Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.
Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone. We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy. In the meantime, we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so Stacy can get better. She deserves it.

Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself. Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.

Your son, John

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a report card. Mine is in my top desk drawer. I love you. Please call me when it's safe to come home.

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