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Siegel Sez

June 26, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Anyone who was at or talked to one of the 5,200 attendees at this year’s HITEC probably heard one word over and over again—HOT! Austin, Texas, had a freaky heat wave last week, but that was probably the only negative comments heard. The crowds were very good, those exhibiting seemed quite happy with the number and more importantly the quality of attendee. What a week it was. Jon Inge did a great job in his technology newsstand recapping many of the announcements that were made last week. If there was unanimous opinion regarding HITEC it is that HFTP should always pick cities with very active downtowns and with multiple hotels within walking distance to the convention center. Mission accomplished this year, although with the heat a lot of comments were heard about how great Minneapolis was two years ago. Let’s go back!

Hospitality Upgrade is a small business. Geneva, Sharon, Kris, Laura and I were all at HITEC. Want to know why people kept bringing up the heat? Here is my thank you I promised to those who invited us and whose parties we attended over the duration of this show. Thank you TeleAdapt, Guest-Tek, IDeaS, Microsoft, MICROS, SoftBrands, PAR Springer-Miller, SynXis, Agilysys, Dell, AltiusPar, Newmarket, Pegasus, LodgeNet, IBAHN, Control 4/Lorica, Paetec, Elavon, Wayport and MTech (who did the only late night party this year). When you are going from party to party for three nights in 100-degree heat with some of the parties outdoors, you are drained by the end of the night. Then you wake up early the next day and start all over again. What a week it was.  Thank you to all, it kept us busy at night.

Since I am on the HITEC Advisory Board I have the opportunity to look at HITEC both from the exhibit and the educational sides. The sessions were well attended though to no surprise the Thursday morning sessions were lighter, but I can proudly say I was there. One of the things that always surprises me is how few vendors there are in the educational sessions. There is always much to be learned.  Sally Kelly and I did our session on the Hospitality Upgrade Benchmark Survey on Technology Spending to a full house.  I counted 11 CIOs in the room. Eleven! If I was a vendor I would have been interested how CIOs spend their money, but also wouldn’t mind sitting next to the CIO from Global Hyatt, Rosewood or Loews Hotels. Maybe it is just the way I think and because I spent eight years selling technology back in the ‘80s. I thought it was worth mentioning.

From all of us at Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online, thank you very much for all the feedback. It was amazing how many people came by the booth or stopped us somewhere to tell us they thought the summer issue of Hospitality Upgrade was our best ever. Of course I personally could have done without Rob Rodgers asking if that was my younger brother on the cover. But then again I joke with a lot of people, so when people turn the tables on me I actually enjoy it. Once again, what a great HITEC this year, I wonder if I am the only person who seriously crashes afterwards. But with this year’s Benchmark Survey being sent out and preparation for our upcoming CIO Summit in San Diego in full swing now, the crash has to be shortened. Bummer.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s post HITEC technology review. 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

- HITEC stimulates a sense of anticipation
- AH&LA Technology Use study shows good awareness of IT’s value among managers
Another year, another good HITEC, but one with more of an air of anticipation of what’s coming than of what’s new and here now.  Two different keynote speeches on trends in technology and how they’re affecting our social and business lives were equally entertaining and stimulating, but emphasized that integrating these trends into the products on the exhibition floor is still a work in progress.

Some indications could be seen, including Hotel Concepts’ integration with Facebook, M-Tech’s use of the iPod Touch as a versatile Wi-Fi-based communicator for housekeeping staff, and a general awareness of the need for all systems to integrate with each other.  This year’s hot technology seemed to be guestroom interactive services – IP phones, IP-TV, touch-screen Wi-Fi tablets for concierge-style services, etc. – but I had the sense that it will be next year before we see all these truly working together effectively.

The crossover of consumer technology into the guestroom was emphasized by the attendees choosing three such vendors among their five favorite technology solutions (Lodgenet Interactive, Wii and Sony), along with a fourth (Elfiq) which ensures enough guestroom bandwidth to use them.  The fifth choice, Micros’ OPERA PMS, is an interesting comparison to last year’s PMS favorite, Agilysys’ then-new Guest 360 PMS project.  In a time of looking forward to new developments, I’m not sure what it says when attendees vote for the biggest vendor’s most well-established product line. 

As for location, Austin lived up to its reputation as one of the hottest music centers around, in every sense!  With temperatures flirting around 100 degrees it was a blessing that so many great restaurants and music venues were within easy walking distance of the convention center and hotels.  Frank, if you can just dial the temperature down a bit it would be great to return to HFTP’s home city for another HITEC soon.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) released its 2008 study of Current and Future Technology Use in the Hospitality Industry, based on 244 responses chiefly from managers (61 percent) and directors of hotel operations (11 percent) with more than 10 years experience in the hospitality industry (81 percent).  Among the major findings, the survey reported an overwhelming agreement that IT is important for increasing customer satisfaction (82.4 percent), increasing employee efficiency (79.9 percent) and generating revenue (71.3 percent).  Let’s hope that hotel owners are similarly aware and fund technology appropriately.

Guests’ top priority, by far, was Wi-Fi services (82 percent of respondents), followed by in-room entertainment systems (48 percent) and airline check-in kiosks (38 percent).  Eighty-six percent of responding hotels offered Wi-Fi services, and 20 percent of those not offering it plan to do so within the next five years.  These figures match AH&LA’s 2008 Lodging Survey, which reported 91 percent of hotels offering wireless Internet access, up 35 percent from just four years earlier.


- Fraser Hickox joins Lorica’s advisory board
Fraser Hickox has joined Lorica’s advisory board.  With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Hickox is general manager of research and technology for The Peninsula Hotel Group in Hong Kong, an active member and executive advisor of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), and was inducted into the HFTP Technology Hall of Fame at this year’s HITEC.


- TravelCLICK releases several Travel 2.0 online tools
- HotelSafeGuard links database of guest compensation reports with PMSs, CRSs
- TIG Global and ICE Portal partner to offer each other’s services
- Cendyn and Newmarket integrate eInsight and Delphi for Sunstone
- Aptech rolling out new version of Execuvue with role-based report delivery
- Dolce International contracts for Avalon’s BUZZ Report for reputation management
- Avalon designates EZYield as an authorized BUZZ Report reseller
- AmericInn contracts with ZDirect for electronic CRM platform
- Milestone Internet Marketing launches Galexi-hosted content management system
For more on Marketing/Management for 06/26/08


- Advantage Reserve launches private label voice reservation service and Web booking engine
- Utell launches mobile hotel booking service
- Hilton opens online Homewood Suites Selection to all HHonors members
- Trust launches version 12 of Voyager central reservation system
- InnLink announces gLINK Group Reservation Service
- Omni implementing Micros’ OPERA Reservation System (ORS), Customer Information System (OCIS) and Web Suite (OWS)
For more on Reservations for 06/26/08


- Rate Tiger announces RTStrategy for online benchmarking, rate calculation and forecasting
- WORLDHOTELS designates IDeaS its exclusive revenue management partner
- Colonial Williamsburg selects EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite for five hotels
- Great Wolf Resorts implements EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite across all resorts
- EZYield.com and Rubicon to offer each other’s systems
For more on Revenue Management for 06/26/08


- Newmarket and Cendyn integrate eInsight and Delphi for Sunstone
- Kimpton moving RFP response management to Nexus for 2009 rate season
- Marriott launches QuickGroup booking site for small group customers
- EliteMeetings.com upgrades Web site
- Fontainebleau Resorts picks Passkey for Miami Beach and Las Vegas properties
- Passkey launches Group Campaigns e-mail campaign system
- Starwood implements Newmarket’s MeetingBroker in all properties worldwide
- Newmarket announces Newmarket Connex for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Newmarket links Worktopia with MeetingBroker
- Nexus announces U.S. launch of HotelworX Sales Force Automation (SFA) system
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 06/26/08


- AltiusPAR releases version 3.0 of Web services-based Guest Experience Ecosystem
- Kerner New York offers IPTV network for the hospitality environment
- Colubris Networks enhances Intelligent Mobility Solution wireless LAN system
- NCR unveils new XpressPort check-in kiosk, Hyatt to install
- Red Lion contracts with Telkonet for HSIA for 30 properties
- Taj Hotels signs with Wayport for HSIA at three U.S. hotels
- Rosewood Mayakobá, Mexico, installs wireless mesh network from BelAir Networks
- Vertical Systems, Inc. (VSi) releases Rent-A-PC service
- VSi announces ShipMate self-service shipping station for hotel guests to ship packages
- China’s Tangula Luxury Trains to include ZVOX Audio virtual surround sound system
- SuiteLinq and Nighthawk Systems partner on set-top box middleware for hospitality environments
- Nighthawk releases Verimatrix VideoMark forensic watermarking, Guest-Tek first to use
- Kessler Collection signs five-year agreement with Roomlinx for interactive video
- Country Inn & Suites, Merrillville, Ind., contracts with Roomlinx for select guestrooms
- Lorica to include Control4 room-technology management as option
- Wit Hotel, Chicago, to install Lorica Room Center for all 298 rooms
- NxTV announces new converged platform for interactive IP-based in-room entertainment
- NxTV signs partnerships with BitBand, Verimatrix and Aruba Networks
For more on Guest Services for 06/26/08


- MTech unveil REX Wi-Fi iPhone-based system for housekeeping room attendants
- AH&LA releases PCI Compliance primer booklet
- Halekulani Corp selects UniFocus’ Watson: R.M. for its Waikiki properties
For more on Back Office for 06/26/08


- Ritz-Carlton rolls-out DataWorks NeXT retail/merchandising inventory software
Ritz-Carlton has rolled out DataWorks NeXT retail/merchandising inventory software in 20 locations.  The most recent property to be brought online was The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Lahaina, Hawaii; additional locations will be added during the coming months.  http://www.ritzcarlton.comhttp://www.dataworksinc.com


- Telkonet launches advanced Networked Telkonet Smart Energy (NTSE) platform
Telkonet has launched its advanced Networked Telkonet Smart Energy (NTSE) platform, incorporating patented Recovery Time technology.  NTSE links energy management occupancy sensors and thermostats into a wireless network, sharing information between rooms, floors and even properties, and centralized for detailed reporting and analysis.  NTSE uses Zigbee IEE802.15.4 mesh technology and includes monitoring and analysis features.  NTSE adjusts and maintains a room's temperature according to occupancy, and reduces the run time for heating, ventilation and cooling equipment to decrease maintenance overheads and extend the equipment's working life.  http://www.telkonet.com


- Agilysys’ Guest 360° to be beta tested at Hutton Hotel, Nashville
- Magnolia Hotels chooses Hotel Concepts’ IDPMS product suite
- Hotel Concepts launches Facebook widget to take bookings from Facebook pages
- Hotel Concepts and Brilliant Hotel Software to merge, will keep both PMSs
- Hotel Concepts and Brilliant launch RezExchange distribution platform
- innRoad’s innCenter now in use by 70 properties worldwide
- innRoad releases enhancements to innCenter
- Cape Resorts selects NORTHWIND’s Maestro suite for seven properties
- InnLink and SoftHotel develop two-way PMX interface
For more on Property Management Systems for 06/26/08


- SAFLOK launches Messenger ZigBee online bi-directional wireless lock system
- Starwood selects Vingcard, Timelox as preferred lock vendors for aloft and element
- Starwood selects Elsafe as preferred guestroom safe vendor for aloft and element
- LXR selects VingCard and Elsafe as sole preferred providers of electronic locks and in-room safes
- VingCard introduces eco-friendly recycled plastic keycards
For more on Security for 06/26/08


- HSI and Tiare Technology developing interface to link intelliChaise with Profit Series POS
- Capton receives 2008 Hospitality Innovator award from Cornell’s Innovation Network
- MGM Grand at Foxwoods implements MICROS’ 9700 POS
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 06/26/08


And now for you-know-what…

Out on the golf course with his wife, a husband says, "Eighteen years ago I had a brief affair. It meant nothing. I hope you can forgive me."
His wife is hurt but says, "Dearest, those days are long gone. What we have now is far more valuable. I forgive you," and they embrace and kiss.
On the seventeenth tee, the husband is starting his back swing when the wife blurts out, "I'm sorry darling, I've been so conscience-stricken since you told me about your affair, but since we're being honest with each other, I have something to tell you also.  Twenty-two years ago I had a sex change operation.  I was a man before I met you. I hope you can forgive me."
The husband freezes at the top of his back swing, then throws a fit.  He slams his driver into the ground, kicks his ball into the woods, storms off the tee, pushes the golf cart over on its side, breaks the rest of his clubs one by one, and then starts on hers.
He screams and rants, "You liar! You cheat! You despicable deceiver! How could you?  I trusted you with all my heart and soul... and all these years you've been playing off the ladies' tees!"

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