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Siegel Sez

May 29, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Sometimes something just works. And when it does, it becomes nearly impossible to try and do it better, so maybe we should try something different. Last year at the HITEC closing session, Scot Campbell from MGM MIRAGE’s CityCenter and I came up with a skit at the start of the session that we both received lots of accolades for. If you have never seen it, we have a YouTube-quality video on http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com, just click on Cool New Stuff and the HITEC 2007 Closing Session with Scot Campbell link. I was in Las Vegas this week and had breakfast with Scot.  We both tried to come up with something for this year’s closing session, but no matter what we come up with, you should be there. Getting all these executives from companies like the Mobil Travel Guide, AAA, Expedia and TripAdvisor who have such an impact on how hotels are rated and perceived by the millions searching the Web before booking trips was a real coup for HFTP. Of course this panel also makes it easy for us to have fun with them, so don’t miss it. Who knows, maybe we will change the rating system for the hotel industry worldwide. Or, at least get them to get with the times when it comes to technology.

Also at HITEC you get free consulting if you come to the Ask the Experts session. This year we put three well respected consultants in all different aspects of technology. John Burns will talk about distribution, Jon Inge will talk about property technology and Jeremy Rock will share the ups and downs and rights and wrongs when it comes to infrastructure. I will also be presenting a session with Sally Kelly of KPMG along with quite a few CIOs who will talk about why they participated in the Benchmark IT Survey and what they got out of it. There were challenges getting companies to share this sensitive info for the survey and if you want to watch another short funny YouTube-quality video, go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on the Benchmark Survey on the home page and then watch the video. Special thanks to Carol Beggs and Boy Riel from Sonesta Hotels and Resorts for letting us commandeer their corporate offices for half a day. I thought it was pretty funny stuff and I can see why YouTube is so popular.

If anybody was watching ESPN this past Sunday night and saw the top 10 plays of the day, let me know at mailto:Rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.  One of the horses I have with my partners was the number seven play of the day, what a thrill that was. We named him after a saying that Chris Berman, one of the original sportscasters on ESPN, used when calling a homerun during baseball games. Backbackbackgone is our horse’s name. He ran in a big stakes race this past Sunday and during the stretch as we screamed with excitement as he was pulling away from the rest of the field the track announcer also had fun with the moment. As Backbackbackgone was running toward the finish line the announcer screamed, “He could go all the way,” which is another Chris Berman saying when calling football games. I guess ESPN couldn’t resist and there it was on SportsCenter’s Plays of the Day. How cool that was!

We have one more Siegel Sez before HITEC which will come out in two weeks. In the interim, if you are attending or exhibiting at HITEC and want us to help promote what you are doing, then e-mail Geneva at mailto:geneva@hospitalityupgrade.com. For the first time HITEC is in Austin, Texas. I hope it goes as well as our other recent first-time city (Minneapolis) a few years ago. With all the activities downtown including the convention center and hotels, that usually makes for a great experience.

Here now is the real reason we are here, 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



- Baby boomers and Gen X/Y more alike than different in business travel attitudes
Much has been written about the differences between the generations, but a recent Radisson online survey of 400 business travelers reveals many more similarities than differences when rating life on the road.  For example, about half of all baby boomer and Gen X/Y respondents think a comfortable bed is the most important hotel feature when traveling on business, and more than one third of both groups reported that the fastest way to get them stressed is by providing a slow or nonexistent hotel Internet connection.

Both groups have similar preferences for in-room amenities, voting the in-room spa as their top dream amenity (baby boomers 56 percent, Gen X/Y 58 percent) and a hot shower as the best way to unwind at the hotel (baby boomers 38 percent, Gen X/Y 33 percent).  Neither generation is into self-denial, either; when asked to choose which amenity they felt they most deserved from iPod/MP3 player dock, comfortable bed, free Internet, free breakfast and in-room printer (particularly for boarding passes), one third of each group chose “all of the above.”

By far their biggest complaint about unnecessary amenities was expensive minibars (baby boomers 69 percent, Gen X/Y 62 percent), and with equal agreement – though a lot less vehement – on the next least necessary, aromatherapy (baby boomers 12 percent, Gen X/Y 13 percent).

Oddly enough the top guilty pleasure for both groups was watching TV all night (baby boomers 23 percent, Gen X/Y 20 percent).  The generations did differ in their second-worst bad habits, though.  Baby boomers overall picked eating junk food (27 percent), which may explain their thoughts about minibar prices, but surprisingly for what’s been dubbed the “slacker” generation, Gen X/Y respondents were more concerned that people will believe they don’t do enough business (23 percent) while traveling. 

And as final proof that generation gaps are often over-emphasized, half of baby boomers and over a third of Gen X/Y looked up to one of their parents as the business person they try most to emulate. 


- Sol Melia lists full 350-hotel inventory on Expedia and hotels.com
- Loews Hotels extends Pegasus’ Commission Processing contract to all 18 hotels
- InnPoints Worldwide migrates all 1,700 hotel clients to MyCRS central reservation system
- Search engine Bezurk.com re-named Wego.com, adds new features
- Amadeus launches Middle East regional hub in Dubai
For more on Reservations for 05/29/08


- Troon Golf using UniFocus STAFFScope to launch a employee engagement initiative
- Kimpton launches hiring Web site to provide job candidates with a social media perspective
Troon Golf is using UniFocus STAFFScope to launch a companywide employee engagement initiative at all its 190 golf facilities.  Troon will use STAFFScope’s Web-based survey to define a baseline on staff concerns, creativity and suggestions before rolling out the initiative chainwide.  http://www.troongolf.comhttp://www.unifocus.com
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has launched a hiring Web site titled, “KIMPTON!” (I Am Kimpton) to provide job candidates with a social media perspective on Kimpton as an employer and to connect Kimpton employees with one another. The site features employee-generated video stories, employee profiles, interview tips, listings for hotel jobs and restaurant jobs and more, in a format designed for the Web generation.  http://www.imkimpton.com


- Elsafe announces Xtra On-Wall Safe for hotels with limited guestroom space
- NFC Forum names VingCard Signature RFID/NFC, Best NFC Service of the Year 2008
Elsafe has announced its Xtra On-Wall Safe for hotels with limited guestroom space, for mounting on walls or in closets.  The Xtra On-Wall Safe features anti-tamper labyrinths for protection against manipulation, a hydraulic door closer, external battery change and a solid one-piece construction.  http://www.elsafe.com
The NFC Forum has named VingCard’s Signature RFID/NFC, Best NFC Service of the Year 2008 in the commercial track category.  Near field communication (NFC) is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables two-way interactions between electronic devices.  VingCard developed the application for the NFC-enabled phone to operate with Signature RFID electronic locks as part of a joint collaboration with NXP (founded by Philips), VODAFONE and THE HUMAN CHAIN. 
Travelers must register as NFC members on the participating hotel chain’s Web site.  Upon booking, the system sends a short message system (SMS) text to the traveler’s NFC cell phone with the hotel room information, an encrypted room key and the hotel’s GPS coordinates.  Upon arrival, the guest can then by-pass the front desk, go directly to the assigned guestroom and use the cell phone to open the door for the duration of the stay.  Checkout can be accomplished either through the NFC-enabled TV in the guestroom or through the reception NFC-enabled kiosk.  http://www.nfc-forum.orghttp://www.vingcard.com


- Emerald Vacation Group picks SPI software for two vacation ownership projects
- Ireland’s Kilronan Castle picks Visual One for PMS, POS, sales and catering and spa
- England’s Feversham Arms Hotel picks Visual One for PMS, POS and spa
- AltiusPAR moves to new offices in Dallas
- InnQuest Software Canada to distribute OwnerRelations Technology vacation ownership software
- ResortSuite SPA Version 4.9.30 validated under Visa (CISP) Payment Application Best Practices (PABP)
- Red Roof Inns orders SoftBrands’ full systems/services suite for nearly 350 properties
For more on Property Management Systems for 05/29/08


- Expedia signs three-year contract with VRX Studios
- Larkspur completes implementation of ProfitSage BI at 23 hotels and six restaurants
- Eton Collection implementing FastBooking’s Internet booking tools at seven hotels
- VIZERGY partners with priceline.com
For more on Marketing/Management for 05/29/08


- Leonardo Hotels switches to SynXis for GDS and IDS connectivity
- Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners – North America designates EZYield.com as an associate member
Leonardo Hotels has switched to SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System for GDS and IDS connectivity for its hotels in Berlin, Munich, Zurich and Frankfurt in 2007, and for its planned expansion to 30 hotels by the end of 2008.  Leonardo is also using RedX  Property Connect to interface with its existing Optima property management systems, managed by Silverbyte.  http://www.leonardo-hotels.comhttp://www.synxis.com
The Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners – North America (ASFONA) has designated EZYield.com as an associate member and appointed EZYield.com’s Co-founder and President Ed St. Onge as an honorary board member.  ASFONA works with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in the development of brand policies, standards, technology and other issues impacting its members businesses.  http://www.asfona.comhttp://www.ezyield.com


- EMCVenues announces its eVite for Sites lead generation product, guarantees at least 35 qualified site visits
- Broadmoor chooses Passkey as its preferred booking engine
EMCVenues has announced its eVite for Sites lead generation product with a 90-day guarantee of delivering at least 35 qualified site visits to a conference center, hotel or resort.  eVite for Sites uses EMCVenues U.S. and global planner database, which includes segments for corporate, association and government planners, to customize an individualized lead generation program for each client.  http://www.emcvenues.com
The Broadmoor has chosen Passkey as the preferred booking engine for its own group business and that of its Broadmoor Connection partner properties.  The Broadmoor includes 700 guestrooms and almost 100,000 square feet of meeting space. The Broadmoor Connection alliance includes the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Hilton DoubleTree World Arena and the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs Hotel.  http://www.broadmoor.comhttp://www.passkey.com


- Flight Time TV releases flight information monitoring system for hotel guest TV networks
- Flyte Systems to provide real-time flight information on Four Winds Interactive’s digital signage
- Belamar Hotel installs FlyteBoard flight information screen and FlytePass printing station
- RovAir Wireless offers wireless mobile broadband data cards on day pass basis
- MTech’s HotSOS awarded Microsoft Gold Partner Program certification
- Elfiq Networks launches new quality of service (QoS) technology
- Sheraton partners with Microsoft for products, services at Link @ Sheraton lobby lounges
- Loews signs multiyear deal with LodgeNet for HDTV and broadband Internet at 18 properties
- Brandstand introduces Brandstand Alarm Clock with iPod dock and daily alarm reset
- Trump Entertainment Resorts contracts with Wayport for high-speed Internet access at three properties in Atlantic City
For more on Guest Services for 05/29/08


And now for you-know-what…

A champion jockey is about to enter an important race on a new horse.  The horse's trainer meets him before the race and says, "All you have to remember with this horse is that every time you approach a jump, you have to shout, 'ALLLLEEE OOOP!' really loudly in the horse's ear.  Providing you do that, you'll be fine."

The jockey thinks the trainer is mad but promises to shout the command.  The race begins and they approach the first hurdle.  The jockey ignores the trainer's ridiculous advice and the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.

They carry on and approach the second hurdle.  The jockey, somewhat embarrassed, whispers 'Aleeee ooop' in the horse's ear.  The same thing happens, the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.

At the third hurdle, the jockey thinks he had better try it and yells, "ALLLEEE OOOP!" really loudly.  Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump with no problems.  This continues for the rest of the race, but due to the earlier problems the horse only finishes third.

The trainer is fuming and asks the jockey what went wrong.  The jockey replies, "Nothing is wrong with me, it's this horse. What is he, deaf or something?"

The trainer replies, "Deaf? He's not deaf, he's blind!"

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