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Siegel Sez

June 02, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I am writing this week’s Siegel Sez before receiving Jon Inge’s technology review for this week. He always shares a comment or two before the news and I cannot wait to read his thoughts this week especially. As you might have heard, the two Jo(h)ns, John Burns and Jon Inge, were elected to the HFTP Technology Hall of Fame. Both are very worthy of this honor and have done much to expand the understanding and advancement of technology in our industry. I couldn’t help but smile when getting this announcement. John Burns was one of the original subscribers to my very early attempt at publishing a newsletter about technology back in 1992. I got to know Jon Inge when he was the guy in charge of technology for Westin Hotels and Resorts. Both have been writing for Hospitality Upgrade for many years sharing their knowledge with the industry and making everybody’s life easier. Jon Inge has foolishly asked me to introduce him at the induction ceremony at HITEC’s opening session on Tuesday morning, June 20. Doesn’t he know I love to embarrass people? Congratulations to both.

Based on the pre-registration numbers for HITEC and hotel room availability (you better book quickly) it looks like HITEC will be unbelievably well attended this year. I must warn you that my next comment will not be unbiased since I am a member of the HITEC advisory board responsible for putting together the educational program. There will be strong sessions and some not so strong, there will be people that love them and others who hate them which come with the territory. HITEC is the only industry event that has been very successful attracting both high-tech and low-tech types who want to learn what is going on in their segment of the industry. Along with the educational sessions and a sold-out exhibit hall, there are networking opportunities that never cease to amaze me. Everybody who is anybody is at HITEC and I love that. Just a little more than two weeks to go, and I cannot wait. Make sure you include plans to visit the Guestroom 2010 area of the exhibits. There is some very cool technology being shown though I must admit the bed made of nails might be my favorite. It makes sense since the hotel industry has been promoting their beds for years now. If you are exhibiting at HITEC and want us to help you promote your announcements before the show, please e-mail mailto:sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com. She is putting together some creative ways to help you get the word out.

I spoke at the North American Wi-Fi Symposium presented by StayOnline last week in Miami. What fun. I was given lots of latitude so of course I talked about everything from hockey, Cambria Breeze (my favorite race horse) to wireless and lots of other things in between. It was a great conference, well attended and had a facilitator, Craig Mathias from the Farpoint Group, who was fabulous. Craig will also be doing a session at HITEC and if your schedule allows it, you should attend. It is kind of scary how all the changes in the wireless world might affect the hotel industry. I was honored to be invited and given the opportunity to speak. It was a unique, fun and valuable conference.

Technology NEWSSTAND

Systems News in Plain English
from Jon Inge

- Online bookings continue to rise, but travel agents still generate higher-revenue business
Online bookings continue to rise steadily, according to TravelCLICK’s eMonitor results for the first quarter of 2006. Worldwide electronic hotel revenue booked through the global distribution systems (GDS) and key Internet sites combined was up 12.9 percent over the same period last year. Room nights were up 7.6 percent, and ADR increased by 4.9 percent; the average length of stay was unchanged at 2.14 nights.

Interestingly, travel agents continued to provide significantly higher revenue business for hotels, with an average rate 37.1 percent higher than that for room nights booked via the Internet. Travel agent bookings account for 84.9 percent of total room nights booked electronically through the GDSs.

The rising tide of hospitality business is lifting all boats, though. The travel agent bookings showed a 5.0 percent increase in ADR and a 13.9 percent increase in revenue versus the first quarter of 2005, while online consumer-booked room nights saw a 2.7 percent rise in ADR and 5.8 percent in revenue.
I’m sure Rich won’t let me get away without mentioning my upcoming induction into HFTP’s Technology Hall of Fame, so let me just say that I am moved and deeply honored to receive this recognition. I’m even more delighted that this year’s other inductee is John Burns, who encouraged me to take the plunge into consultancy 10 years ago, and has been a constant supporter, guide and friend ever since.

- John Burns and Jon Inge to be inducted into the HFTP Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Kim Tisdale and Laura Brouk hired by SynXis as Vice President of Service Delivery and Vice President of Business Development, respectively
- Jim Mitchell promoted to EVP Information Technology at La Quinta
- Debbie Leander launches Turning Stone Software for design and development services
For more on People on the Move for June 2, 2006

- Softwear Group announced INNterprise multi-property management system
The Softwear Group announced its INNterprise multi-property management application, an extension of its INNcompass PMS. Described as a hybrid centralized/distributed system, it can be configured as either a centralized or distributed system, aligned more or less in either direction depending on the exact needs of any particular hotel company. http://www.softweargroup.com/

- Hampshire Hospitality & Leisure selects TravelCLICK's iHotelier for 48 properties
- House of Blues Hotel in Chicago switches to iHotelier
- UK’s Thomson announces formation of Thomson Labs, to showcase new technologies
Hampshire Hospitality & Leisure has selected TravelCLICK's iHotelier central reservation system to power the distribution strategy (including Web site reservations and GDS connectivity) for its 48 properties throughout Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles.

The 367-room House of Blues Hotel in Chicago has switched to TravelCLICK's iHotelier central reservation system (CRS) for its GDS connectivity and online booking engine. The House of Blues Hotel will also use TravelCLICK's market intelligence solutions, including Hotelligence and FuturePACE. http://www.hampshire-hotels.com/, http://www.houseofblueshotel.com/, http://www.travelclick.net/
UK travel company Thomson announced the formation of Thomson Labs, which will showcase new ideas to existing customers and give them the opportunity to help develop future travel technology. Three technologies that could impact travel in the near future were identified as biometric fingerprint scanning for retrieval of personal booking information at a travel kiosk, airport check-in desk or hotel, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) linked to bar code reading mobile phones for online retrieval of data keyed to a printed advertisement or reservation confirmation bar code, allowing RFID-triggered check-in, and voice search technology for hands-free search requests via mobile phone browsers.

- Softwear Group announces Chain-Link CRO/guest recognition system to bridge multifranchise PMSs
- Starwood contracts with Leonardo Media for online media-content distribution
- Leonardo completes Phase One of Content Integration Partnership with ICE Portal
- NORTHWIND announces Maestro Guest Experience Management (GEM) application
For more on Marketing/Management for June 2, 2006

- Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur, has selected Optims
The 516-room Hotel Istana Kuala Lumpur has selected Optims Hotel Revenue Management System, which will be interfaced with the hotel’s Fidelio v7 PMS. http://www.optims.com/

- MICROS to resell VeriFone's customer-activated electronic payment applications
MICROS Systems will resell VeriFone's customer-activated electronic payment applications, fully integrated with MICROS RES 4.0. Products included in the agreement are the new Vx 670 mobile payment system and QX720 outdoor payment system, the Omni 7000 family and the multimedia-enabled MX870. The integrated pay-at-the-table approach provides a more secure way to collect payments and supports the consumer shift to PIN debit. http://www.verifone.com/, http://www.micros.com/

- HFTP provides glimpse of technologies to be featured in GUESTROOM 2010 hotel room
- Choice selects EthoStream for high-speed Internet to 800+ Econo Lodge locations
HFTP has provided a “teaser” glimpse of the technologies to be featured in its GUESTROOM 2010 prototype hotel room at HITEC this June. Rather than list all the different devices, HFTP stated that “Guestroom 2010 and its adjacent pavilion will feature a bed without a mattress, a 3D TV without the accompanying glasses, a shower that cleans itself, a sound that helps you concentrate, light and art that match your mood, a valet that is always there, a faucet that recharges itself, an alarm clock that hides if you don't wake up, a highly unusual room design, and many other items.”
Choice Hotels has selected EthoStream to roll out high-speed Internet to its 800+ Econo Lodge franchise locations. EthoStream has added proprietary Choice technology into its EGS v4.0 gateway, which will be re-branded as the Econo Lodge Internet Gateway. EthoStream will provide support for the property guests as well as system management and monitoring. http://www.choicehotels.com/, http://www.ethostream.com/

- M3’s AccKnowledge hosted accounting application offers Flex Budgeting
M3’s AccKnowledge hosted accounting application now offers a Flex Budgeting module, designed to show management how much money is in select income and expense accounts in relation to the hotel’s budget. http://www.hotelaccounting.com/

- Percipia establishes strategic relationship with Hong Kong’s Symphonic InfoCom
Percipia has established a liaison office and strategic relationship with Hong Kong’s Symphonic InfoCom Ltd to grow market share for its hospitality IP systems in Hong Kong and China. Symphonic InfoCom will provide local installation and customer support. http://www.percipia.com/
And now for you-know-what!

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband.  Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.  "Careful," he said, "CAREFUL!  Put in some more butter!  Oh my GOD!  You're cooking too many at once.  TOO MANY!  Turn them!  TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter.  Oh my God! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?  They're going to stick!  CAREFUL ... careful!  I said be CAREFUL!  You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking!  Never!  Turn them!  Hurry up!  Are you CRAZY?  Have you LOST your mind?  Don't forget to salt them.  You know you always forget to salt them.  Use the salt.  USE THE SALT!  THE SALT!"
The wife stared at him.  "What in the world is wrong with you?  You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

The husband calmly replied, "I wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

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