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Siegel Sez

August 07, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I must have touched a hot button.  Over the eight years we have been doing Siegel Sez I believe the only time I received more responses was when I shared my woodpecker problem. Thanks to all who commented on my car accident/cell phone scolding incident in our last technology review. I can proudly say I answered every e-mail and I did that while sitting in my suite at the Loews Coronado--what a hotel! Since we are holding our CIO Summit (http://www.theciosummit.com) there in a few weeks I figured I would get treated pretty well. But when was the last time you checked into a hotel and the first thing you see upon entering your room was a baby grand piano? That was a first for me. I might be spoiled forever.

Speaking of the CIO Summit, if your company didn’t receive an invitation (this is an invitation-only event) then please contact me immediately. This is a unique industry event; it is all about attendees and for two days meeting peers with very limited sponsorship opportunities. This year we have attendees from just about every major hotel, gaming, cruise lines, vacation ownerships and many of the niche hotel and larger management companies. Who would have thought that a simple lunch with Tom O’Toole, who was the CIO at Hyatt Hotels back in 2001, would lead to an event like this. I can’t wait. If you have any questions please e-mail me immediately at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.

Speaking of things we do that help the industry, we are in the second year of our Benchmark Study on IT Spending. Thanks to HFTP and KPMG there is no charge to participate and the results were very well received by those who participated last year with most everybody again updating their numbers for this year. Of course the more participation, the more valuable the results become. Thankfully we are getting many new companies this year. If you have any questions, please e-mail mailto:jules@hospitalityupgrade.com as soon as possible. The HITEC session led by Sally Kelly of KPMG on IT spending included a panel with survey participants White Lodging, Omni Hotels and Carlson Hotels, and was packed. We know the interest is there. Who wouldn’t want to know if your spending on IT-related projects and services compared to your peers is totally out of line? I know I would. Again, please contact us as soon as possible as deadlines are approaching.

How could I mention HITEC and not mention the closing session with representatives from TripAdvisor, Expedia, AAA and Mobil that talked about how consumers can have such an impact on the hotel business and how and why hotels are rated the way they are. I moderated this session with Scot Campbell who is part of the team in charge of the technology going into the over $6 billion (yes, billion) MGM MIRAGE CityCenter project in Las Vegas scheduled to open the end of 2009. You put Scot in front of a crowd and you never know what to expect with him, and the closing session at HITEC this year was no exception. We have the entire closing session on our Web site so if you would like to see it go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on the Cool New Stuff section tab. It’s in the video clip portion. The first 10 minutes is Scot as only Scot can be. Some pretty funny stuff.  http://hospitalityupgrade.com/_cool_new_stuff/hitec2008_video.asp

Finally before we get to Jon Inge’s technology review, do you remember last year with my horse racing venture and our two-year-old filly Set Play? She took us all the way to the Breeders Cup. Will lightning strike twice? She ran for the first time in six months two weeks ago at Del Mar and ran great and finished second. On August 24, she will be running in the Rancho Bernardo Stakes on the biggest day of racing in Southern California, Pacific Classic Day. Anybody who is going to be in or around Del Mar on August 24, let me know….hopefully we can sneak you into the winner’s circle with us. There is nothing wrong with thinking optimistically, is there? Ok, here now is Jon Inge’s review of the technology happening including the big sale in the industry. 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


- SAS acquires IDeaS: will this change the way the average hotelier looks at yield management?
- HTNG announces first Asia-Pacific members’ conference
The major business news of the week is that SAS Institute, one of the earliest proponents of business intelligence tools and still one of the leading players, has acquired IDeaS, one of the two best-known hospitality yield management vendors.

The merger makes sense at several levels.  SAS has been re-focusing its efforts on hospitality business intelligence, CRM and yield management recently, and this provides them with a very well-respected platform.  IDeaS has been looking for ways to spread its influence beyond its traditional market segment, and SAS certainly gives it access to wider markets as well as significant financial backing.

The question remains as to whether this will change the way yield management is used in the hospitality sector.  With the industry beginning to slow down interest in maximizing pricing efficiency it should be very strong, but it still seems that only a small segment of the market understands the value yield management systems can bring.  Perhaps a simpler approach with fewer parameters for hotel GMs to monitor or understand, possibly with regular hands-on advice from a central team of expert guides, might encourage more to try the systems.  It’ll be an interesting challenge for a company of SAS’ size and traditional market outlook to address the smaller operator in a cost-effective manner.
HTNG announced its first members’ meeting and conference in the Asia-Pacific region, to be held on September 22 and 23 at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel. 


- Brad Dettmer promoted to chief technology officer at Group RCI
- Darlene Rondeau, Susan Tennant join VFM Interactive
- Ric Leutwyler hired as president of Pegasus’ representation services
For more on People on the Move for 08/07/08


- Jumeirah to list all properties with Expedia and hotels.com
- SynXis converts RedX to Oracle, migrates to new data center
- TripIt now available through Sabre Travel Network’s VirtuallyThere itinerary service
- OpenTravel Alliance announces nine project teams for second half of 2008
- BookDirectRooms.com inventory now on HotelsCombined.com
- WORLDHOTELS to interface Nexus and Trust Voyager for automated rate loading
For more on Reservations for 08/07/08


- Market Metrix releases streamlined version of Employee Metrix survey system
- Thayer Lodging Group using UniFocus’ SERVICEScope for employee surveys
- ICE Portal partners with TripTelevision to enhance online video products
- Amadeus partners with SAP for enhanced travel and expense management
- National Business Travel Association announces tools to help companies’ corporate social responsibility initiatives
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/07/08


- SAS acquires IDeaS
- SAS forms Profit Optimization Global Practice
- EZYield.com relocates corporate headquarters to Winter Springs, Fla.
- Rate Tiger integrates with EasyRMS for automatic yielded rate distributions
- STR’s STAR Reports now available to InnLink customers
- Design Hotels picks Rubicon for rate comparison data for its 170 hotels
For more on Revenue Management for 08/07/08


- StarCite unveils Group Rate Advisor business intelligence tool
- StarCite to integrate meetings management platform with Amadeus e-Travel Management
- The Knot.com now a channel partner on Newmarket’s MeetingBroker
- Sabre Travel Network announces Bidstork-based rate negotiation and auditing service
For more on Sales & Catering/Meeting Planning for 08/07/08


- MSI implements Nova Plus interface with Best Western’s guest loyalty program
- purplehotels picks Amadeus’ PMS for 15 U.K. hotels
- Celebrity Resorts orders SPI’s Orange Systems for 13 locations
- America’s Best Franchising designates MyHMS its preferred PMS
For more on Property Management Systems for 08/07/08


- CBORD Group attains Microsoft Gold Certified Partner status for third consecutive year
- MICROS Systems receives RSPA’s Gold Award for Outstanding Sponsor in Systems/Software
The CBORD Group announced it has attained Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft’s Partner Program for a third consecutive year, with competencies in data management solutions, independent software vendor (ISV)/software solutions, mobility solutions, networking infrastructure solutions and service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business processes.  Microsoft Gold Certified Partners receive benefits including higher levels of access, training and support.  http://www.cbord.com
MICROS Systems has received the Retail Solutions Providers Association’s Gold Award for Outstanding Sponsor in Systems/Software.  MICROS has received various awards from RSPA the past 18 years, including the Gold Medallion in 2004 and the Gold Award for Systems/Software Vendor in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002 and 2001.  http://www.gorspa.orghttp://www.micros.com


- Long Range Systems introduces Butler XP wireless push-for-service paging system
- Kokua Hospitality installing Flyte Systems arrival and departure displays at six properties
- PopUp Shipping releases self-service shipping centers
- Regal Hotels International signs with DOCOMO interTouch for HSIA at five hotels
For more on Guest Services for 08/07/08


- IHG to provide American Express with electronic hotel folio detail
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has signed a hotel folio agreement to provide American Express’ corporate card customers with reports that break down their lodging expenditures at the nearly 2,800 IHG properties in the United States.  With the similar folio agreements it has with other hotel chains, American Express now covers about 71 percent of its clients' global commercial card spend in the United States.  American Express collects folio data from nearly 12,000 hotel properties in North America and around the world.  http://www.ichotelsgroup.com, http://www.americanexpress.com


- Clear Sky Software releases inventory system for hospitality industry
Clear Sky Software has released its Clear Sky Food inventory system for the hospitality industry.  Features include visibility of food products in any outlet or location, easy transfer of inventory to/from locations, electronic requisitions, automatic re-orders, order creation and submission via print/e-mail/Web, bar code-based physical inventory and multiple reports.  http://www.clearskysoftware.com


- Hilton Cebu sees significant water savings from simple piping change
The Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa in the Philippines is using a simple piping system that reuses the water used to cool three ice machine compressors to recycle hundreds of thousands of liters of water each year into the hotel’s flushing tanks, rather than simply washing down the drain.  Meters attached to the piping system revealed that the project saved the property its initial set-up cost of US $1,000 in just 20 days of operation.  It has now been adopted as part of Hilton Hotels Group’s best practice for all its properties around the world.  http://www.hilton.com


And now for you-know-what…

The Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen and golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while in mountainous areas.  They advise people to wear noise-producing devices, such as little bells, on their clothing to alert, but not startle the bears unexpectedly.  They recommend carrying pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear.  It is also a good idea to watch for fresh signs of bear activity.  People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings:  Black bear droppings are smaller and contain berries and possibly squirrel fur.  Grizzly bear droppings have little bells in them and smell like pepper spray.

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