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Siegel Sez

January 10, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Look back? Look forward? Look in the mirror? Yes, this is our first Siegel Sez of the year. For those of you who have been reading us for the last eight years there is somewhat of a tradition that we do for our first of the year.  As we all know, technology is touching us more and more in our everyday life and businesses. This edition of Siegel Sez includes Jon Inge’s look back with his annual year in review to open the technology newsstand.  As much as I am tempted to share all my New Year’s resolutions with you I will defer to Jon and his very comprehensive review.  This is one time that as you read through Siegel Sez we will ask you to think of somebody who might also want to have a better understanding of the technology happenings in the industry and forward this e-mail.  Of course, if this is the first time you are receiving a Siegel Sez you might think, wow, he is serious. I will get you next time as I share my resolution this year as it pertains to marriage.

Before Jon takes over there are a couple of business issues that I need to pass along. Between our two Summits our upcoming Executive Vendor Summit which is April 2-4, 2008, will be our tenth conference and our first held in our hometown of Atlanta. This unique event which has grown consistently in its first three years will be held at the new W Hotel here in Atlanta. It is by invitation only and is limited to C- level executives from the vendor community. Please e-mail Sharon Lee for more info at mailto:sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. The coolest thing about this conference is that anybody who has attended once puts it on their list of events right away to return. This is an industry based not only on competition but partnerships and many have been created amongst past attendees.

Finally, after a somewhat tepid start, Hospitality Upgrade’s first-ever Benchmark Study on Technology Spending has not only hit stride, but is taking off. We have been pleasantly surprised by the number of participants, but maybe we shouldn’t be. Everybody seems to be struggling with how much technology we should have and more importantly are wanting to know if we are spending too much or not enough. To know where you fit amongst your peers is a great advantage especially when budgeting. For more info or questions on participating I encourage you to e-mail mailto:sally@hospitalityupgrade.com. There is still time to participate, but you need to let us know immediately.

Here now is Jon Inge’s technology newsstand along with his look back at the industry technology happenings of note from 2007. Remember, it is OK to forward this e-mail to others who might be interested. I will see you at the end with 2008’s first attempt at “you-know-what.”


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Year-end review
It’s been another year with an emphasis more on consolidation than on new products, but centrally hosted, Internet-accessed systems definitely found their footing as operators looked to maximize the productivity and security of their systems.  This approach became a mainstream choice for hotels of all sizes, with systems hosted either by the vendor or by a hotel management company.

Large-scale examples included:
- Carlson Hotels selecting Micros’ OPERA for over 400 Country Inns & Suites, hosted by MICROS
- Jumeirah opting for SoftBrands’ Epitome in regional multiproperty installations
- Hard Rock International self-hosting MICROS’ Simphony POS centrally for over 60 locations in North America and Europe
- United Kingdom-based Marston’s Inns selecting Guestline’s RezLynx for 58 sites, hosted by Guestline
- Golden Tulip opting for Amadeus PMS and POS, hosted by Amadeus in Munich

Smaller groups also taking this route included:
- Larkspur Hotels with SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS at multiple hotels in San Francisco
- Nantucket Island Resorts (NIR) implementing NORTHWIND’s Maestro system for five hotels
- Four SunSwept Resorts in Saint Lucia, also on NORTHWIND’s Maestro
- Emirates Hotels and Resorts choosing Germany’s protel hotelsoftware for six hotels
- Enclave Inns implementing innRoad’s innCenter for four properties on New York’s Long Island.
Both established vendors (SoftBrands) and start-ups (innRoad) offered centrally hosted PMSs for a fixed monthly per-room price covering the software license and 24/7 support. 

Business intelligence grew strongly as the need to filter out critical information from mountains of data grew ever more important.  Extended Stay Hotels, for example, implemented Aptech’s Execuvue at 681 properties.  Business intelligence modules capable of consolidating data from multiple vendors’ systems were released by InfoGenesis (Analytics), MSI (The Helm) and Aptech (Innvue); Datavision saw major growth in its customer base.

There was the usual round of vendor consolidations:
- MICROS acquired RedSky IT.
- Agilysys acquired POS vendor InfoGenesis.
- The Blackstone Group took Travelport subsidiary Orbitz public, then in December filed an IPO for Travelport itself just a year after acquiring it from Cendant.
- In June Pegasus acquired Travelport’s Wizcom subsidiary, its only rival GDS switch vendor.
- Pegasus also acquired channel distribution management vendor GuestClick.
- TravelCLICK acquired Web design and SEO vendor Blue Square Studios.
- Canadian POS venders Posera Software and Squirrel Systems announced a merger in February but called the deal off a month later.
- Resort Technology Partners’ (RTP’s) employee owners bought out Vail Resorts’ ownership interest.
- Hotel Technology Solutions (HTS) acquired converged network vendor Lorica Solutions, and adopted its name.
- Power-line network vendor Telkonet acquired HSIA vendor EthoStream.
- iBAHN acquired guestroom digital services vendor ETV Interactive.
- Travel search engine SideStep acquired social networking site TripUp, and was in turn acquired by rival Kayak.  Both SideStep and Kayak brands will continue.

Revenue management continued to gain importance with the added need to manage distribution channels.  Multiple implementations were reported by EzRMS, EzYield, IDeaS, Amadeus and HBSI.  Rate comparison/reporting tools also gained ground.

On the systems integration front the HTNG initiative went from strength to strength, with seven vendor interfaces now certified and being put into service.  A sixth workgroup was added to focus on issues related to payment systems and data security.  Three new board members, all CIOs, added further credibility to the approach: Jeff Edwards (Wyndham Worldwide), Tom Peck (MGM MIRAGE) and Todd Thompson (Starwood). 

Capton’s beverage pour-control system made steady progress as one of the first practical examples of a useful RFID-based product; another was Great Wolf Resort’s use of RFID guest bracelets to simplify POS charging at its water park properties.  However, RFID’s usefulness in inventory and purchasing management is still being evaluated, and the hotel industry is wisely letting mainstream vendors work out the best approach first.

Guest service continued to ratchet up as travelers’ minimum expectations grew.  More hotels turned to concierge software, often from GoldKey and GoConcierge.  Homewood Suites’ Suite Selection let guests view hotel floor plans and book a specific room from its Web site.  Growing frustration with flight delays led to Orbitz’ launch of its hotel notification service for delayed travelers, and to several properties implementing Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard displays of real-time arrival and departure information. 

On the Internet front free Internet access became still more widespread; now only 18 percent of hotels (mostly upscale and luxury properties) charge for Internet access, down four points in two years.  With the growth in travelers’ bandwidth needs for video downloads and Internet calling, and with IP-TV beginning to appear in U.S. hotels, there was an increasing emphasis on bandwidth management, served by products such as NetEqualizer and Elfiq.  In a more wholesale approach some properties and vendors began to upgrade their complete HSIA networks; Swisscom, for example, upgraded all 240 of its sites in Italy.

Where are things going this year?  The pressure on both guestroom and hotel Internet bandwidth can only grow stronger, certainly, as more guests become used to the pleasures of streaming video and Internet telephony, and as hotels offer more detailed booking information and choices on their Web sites.  WiMax may finally start to impact wide-area networks, though it will probably still take a year or two to become mainstream, and even then may well need to be integrated with current Wi-Fi standards for full coverage inside buildings.  And good BI systems will become ever more essential to help managers pick out the exceptions needing action from the wealth of data collected. 


- Kimpton contracts with VFM Interactive for rich media
- Cendyn receives nine 2007 HSMAI Adrian Awards for Web marketing
- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts designates VRX Studios as preferred rich-media provider
- citizenM picks Nexus World Services automated sales management systems
- Noble Investment Group installs Aptech’s Execuvue and Targetvue for 40 properties
- Hawks Cay Resort contracts with OPEN Interactive for new Web sites
- TravelCLICK enhances its Worldspan Accents advertising services
For more on Marketing/Management for 01/10/08


- Carlson completes rollout of JDA Software to 615 North American hotels
- IDeaS releases version 3.0 of its IDeaS Client Portal support site
Carlson Hotels Worldwide has completed its rollout of JDA Software’s Demand Forecasting Solution to its 615 North American hotels.  http://www.carlson.com, http://www.jda.com
IDeaS has released version 3.0 of its IDeaS Client Portal, which provides IDeaS customers with 24/7 access to service cases, application news and technical support.  New features include an updated community home page with a support summary and opinion polling, an online resource center, the ability to share changes to company contact details directly with IDeaS, a community forum to connect and network with other IDeaS clients, and an enhanced support center filtering.  http://www.ideas.com


- Movenpick includes MICROS as preferred IT vendor for 80 sites
- OTRUM, First Technology enhance digital signage products
Movenpick Hotels & Resorts has included MICROS-Fidelio as a preferred IT vendor for its 80 hotels and resorts in 25 countries, covering MICROS’ OPERA PMS and Sales and Catering systems.  http://www.moevenpick.com, http://www.micros.com
OTRUM has enhanced its Conference Presenter digital signage product in conjunction with First Technology, which offers its own First View digital signage solutions in restaurants and hotels within Finland and internationally.  http://www.otrum.com


- Hilton upgrades MICROS POS to 9700 HMS at 75 locations in United Kingdom and Ireland
- Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront implements Capton Beverage Tracker
- uWink and Volanté partner to offer self-order, self-pay at-the-table digital entertainment
- CBORD now a Certified PCI Data Security Standard Level 3 Service Provider
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 01/10/08


- Bob Mackett formally appointed president of Squirrel Systems
Bob Mackett has been formally appointed president of Squirrel Systems.  A long-time member of parent company Marin Investments’ team, Mr. Mackett has taken a leadership role on the Squirrel executive team since July 2007.


- Movenpick includes MICROS as preferred IT vendor for 80 sites
- Grand Canyon Railway Hotel installs Comtrol interfaces for Proteus PMS
- Vantage Hospitality designates RSI’s RoomKey PMS as approved system
- Best Western Ville-Marie implements MSI’s WinPM, WinSam and Web Booking Engine
- MSI adds ACS card scanning products to all three of its PMSs
- Guestline provides RezLynx PMS to Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne’s CyberHotel Project
- Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club picks SoftBrands Epitome PMS, Condotelware, Emerald Golf and Emerald F&B
- Navy Lodge Program orders SoftBrands Epitome, Core, CRO and Karyon for 43 Lodges
- Golden Tulip chooses Amadeus’ centrally hosted multiproperty PMS
- Fairmont Hot Springs Resort implements NORTHWIND’s Maestro PMS
For more on Property Management for 01/10/08


- Dynamic packaging vendor GoQuo opens U.S. offices
- Kayak acquires SideStep
- Chinese search engine Qunar to place more emphasis on brand names than price
- Amadeus completes migration of 75,000 hotels onto its next-generation Linux-based GDS
- Preferred Hotel Group enhances iBook distribution system
For more on Reservations for 01/10/08


- Sony to offer TeleAdapt’s MediaHub connectivity panel as optional HDTV accessory
- Extended Stay Hotels renews HSIA agreement with Guest-Tek
- Hyatt Place implements Hyatt Plug Panel for guest media device connectivity to flat-panel TVs
- OTRUM appoints KING ICT as distribution partner in Eastern Europe
- InterContinental Los Angeles Century City implements Vocera and MTech’s HotSOS
For more on Guest Services for 01/10/08


- Agilysys integrates Planet Payment's Pay in Your Currency service
- Fairmont selects UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. labor management system for all properties
Agilysys has integrated Planet Payment's Pay in Your Currency service into its product range.  The first client for the integrated payment service is The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel, which now processes Visa, MasterCard and JCB credit card transactions through Agilysys’ LMS property management system, and allows guests and customers to pay their charges in their home currency.  http://www.agilysys.com, http://www.planetpayment.com
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has selected UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. labor management system for its properties.  http://www.fairmont.com, http://www.unifocus.com


- Strategic Hotels & Resorts and Sunstone Hotel Investors’ to operate BuyEfficient as joint venture
- MGM Grand Macau implements Agilysys’ Materials Management System
Strategic Hotels & Resorts has acquired a 50 percent interest in Sunstone Hotel Investors’ Internet-based BuyEfficient electronic purchasing platform for the procurement of food, operating supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment.  Strategic and Sunstone will operate BuyEfficient as a joint venture; it currently serves more than 600 participating hotels and senior living sites in the United States and Canada.  http://www.sunstonehotels.comhttp://www.strategichotels.com
The 600-room MGM Grand Macau in Macau, China has selected Agilysys’ Materials Management System (MMS) inventory and procurement solution.  http://www.mgmgrand.comhttp://www.agilysys.com


- InTown Suites to install Telkonet SmartEnergy energy management system in 125 locations
InTown Suites has contracted with Telkonet to install its SmartEnergy energy management system in 125 locations across the United States, targeting completion by mid-year. The system combines occupancy sensors intelligent programmable thermostats or PTAC controllers.  http://www.intownsuites.comhttp://www.telkonet.com


- Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino selects Onity’s ADVANCE electronic locks
The 411-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has selected Onity’s ADVANCE electronic locks as part of an ongoing renovation project.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.onity.com


And now for you-know-what…

A man was going up to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the garden shed, which he could see from the bedroom window. He opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked, “Is someone inside your house?”
The man replied, “No.”

Then the policeman said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available.

The man said, “Okay,” hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

“Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them.” Then he hung up the phone.

Within five minutes three police cars, an armed response unit and an ambulance showed up at the couple's residence and caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policemen said to the man, “I thought you said that you'd shot them!”

He said, “I thought you said there was nobody available!”

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