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Siegel Sez

August 28, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I started my career as a hotel front desk person. I got into technology in the 80s as a training and installation specialist. I have done a lot since, but that was the part of my career that I really enjoyed. I tell you this because I just returned from insight 08, the Agilysys Hospitality User Conference at the Red Rock Casino Resort in Las Vegas. I have attended many users groups and they truly are my favorite events. You meet and talk to the people who actually use the technology that we are always writing about. The Agilysys conference was quite interesting; the conference had over 700 people in attendance. Agilysys has been acquiring different companies for the last few years to create its total solution so it was fun talking to people from so many different aspects of hospitality. Jon Inge, who follows with our technology newsstand, did a great job moderating a panel of CIOs from some companies that use Agilysys products. It was really a great time. Thank you for inviting me.

Speaking of conferences, albeit a lot smaller, the Hospitality Upgrade CIO Summit next week in San Diego has more confirmed attendance this year then ever before. There are 52 CIOs from all over the world coming to this year’s event. Wow! Was it the lure of the Loews Coronado in California? Who knows, but now the pressure is on us to make it a worthwhile event. I just love putting pressure on our little group.  Sally Kelly from KPMG has put together a great program with a greater focus than ever on interactivity. I think this could be an event for the ages. We will have a review and lots of pictures in our upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade. If you are not receiving our magazine, please go to www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on the subscribe button. Our magazine is now received in 101 countries. Who would have thought 16 years ago when I created a 20-page newsletter on bright yellow paper we would get to a point where just about every major technology provider supports our magazine? Who says dreams cannot come true?

Speaking of dreams, I witnessed the greatest horse race ever. It wasn’t at a great big race track and it wasn’t for a gigantic purse, but who cares. Our horse Sea Gull Sez, who is named after this column, finally won a race. Who cares about the Kentucky Derby! He ran his heart out and held on by a head. What a moment. If you want to watch the replay, send an e-mail to mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com and I will send the link. Simply magical.

We had hoped to double the number of participants in this year’s Benchmark Study on IT Spending and it looks like we will surpass that this year. I am telling you, if you are a hotel, resort, cruise line or vacation ownership company you should e-mail Geneva right away. It takes some work, but the results you will receive will amaze you and make you rethink how and where you spend your money. Remember, there is no charge to participate which amazes a lot of people, but I have always been a believer in giving back. Of course, it helps that HFTP and KPMG have sponsored the survey for which we are very thankful. If you haven’t contacted Geneva yet about participating, please do it immediately. Her e-mail is mailto:geneva@hospitalityupgrade.com.

It’s the end of August, the end of summer and now we prepare for the flurry of fall events. If you are a vendor contemplating exhibiting at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show (http://www.ihmrs.com) in New York in November and want a spot in our Technology Pavilion please e-mail Sharon right away at mailto:sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com, or call her at (678) 802-5304.  The pavilion is less expensive than a booth and has become a gathering spot for all the technology people at the show. Plus you get to hang out with Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online. What could be better than that?

Here now is Jon Inge’s interesting 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


- Tech-savvy travelers cover all ages, spend 50 percent more on travel than non-techies
Contrary to current belief, travelers who make full use of the Internet, the latest phones and gadgets and rely on social network sites are just as likely to be over 40 as under 30, according to a survey taken in March by Ypartnership and PhoCusWright.  More predictable is that these tech-savvy travelers have higher education (30 percent with a four-year college degree, 20 percent with at least one year of graduate school) and higher income (30 percent of households with an annual income in excess of $100,000) than their less tech-savvy counterparts.  Given these advantages, it’s not surprising that they love to travel (75 percent would travel more if they had more money, 62 percent if they had more time), and on average spend over 50 percent more on travel annually than non-techies.

The survey covered the preferences and habits of 2,559 self-styled active users of the latest computer, entertainment or consumer technology who took at least one overnight trip at a hotel or resort over the last year.  This group includes heavy users of gadgets:  two-thirds use their phones to take digital photos (65 percent) or text message (63 percent), one third to access the Internet and 29 percent to play video games.  Away from their phones, two-thirds shop online sites such as eBay (67 percent), 37 percent own the latest video game console and nearly a quarter have a GPS in their cars.

The tech-savvy focus on using the Internet for travel information was similarly spread evenly across all age ranges; 71 percent of this group go to the Internet to search for travel information, over half (58 percent) rate “the ability to check the best fares/rates" as the most important feature in a travel Web site, 41 percent have taken a virtual tour of a destination and 38 percent have built a trip itinerary online.

As for peer reviews, nearly 40 percent said they’re influenced by personal comments on social networking or travel advisory Web sites, but interestingly, they go to social sites such as MySpace.com (56 percent) and Facebook (30 percent) more often than to travel review sites such as TripAdvisor (14 percent).  A remarkable 33 percent say they’ve posted a travel review online.

As a challenge to marketers targeting this attractive group, they often ignore advertising messages and claim that traditional media outlets exert little influence.  Over half (56 percent) read newspapers online, and nearly 20 percent never read a hard-copy newspaper.  More details from “The NEXTgen Traveler” can be found at http://www.ypartnership.com or http://www.phocuswright.com.


- Lawrence Hall hired as president of PAR Springer-Miller Systems
- David Sjolander joins TravelCLICK as VP of strategy and business development
- Andy Mantis joins TravelCLICK as SVP of product marketing and management
- Paula Christy promoted to TravelCLICK’s VP corporate client sales/Americas
- Michael Yagemann appointed chairman of iBAHN’s board
- Juliet Hodge joins TTI Technologies International as hotel relations manager
- Mike Edmeyer hired as vice president of sales at ReServe Interactive
- Alan Young elected chairperson of OTA’s board of directors
- Jo Masters promoted to senior vice president and general manager, hospitality at SoftBrands
- Ingvar Herland promoted to general manager, research and technology at Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
- P.T. Wong promoted to general manager, project coordination and technical services at Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
- Roomlinx promotes Matt Harris to VP of operations, Colin Tang to HSIA support manager, Wes Song to M&E support manager, Rene Harrison to NOC support coordinator.
- Roomlinx hires Char Gross as senior sales executive, Dmitriy Devayev as managing developer, Jon Disterhoft as internal support specialist.
For more on People on the Move for 08/28/08


- Deville Hotels picks MICROS OPERA Suite for 10 hotels in Brazil
- Scandic selects MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise Solution for 130+ hotels
- MSI achieves Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft Partner Program
For more on Property Management Systems for 08/28/08


- Shilo Inns signs with Genares for reservations services
- China's Ctrip.com signs partnership with Google China
- Triphub.com closes its doors
- Drury Hotels renews distribution contract with Pegasus Solutions
- CheapOair partners with Hotels.com
- Starwood signs with SPI for condo hotel software integrated with Galaxy LightSpeed
- SPI clients to sell and service travel insurance from CSA Travel Protection
- Greece’s Youtravel.com now distributing resort content and inventory through China’s DerbySoft
For more on Reservations for 08/28/08


- 70,000+ wood hotel key cards to be used in Denver hotels during the Democratic National Convention
- ASSA ABLOY Hospitality selected as associate member of ASFONA
- Swann Communications announces wireless digital ADW-300 Security Camera
For more on Security for 08/28/08


- Dallas CVB extends partnership with UniFocus to include SERVICEScope
- New Castle Hotels & Resorts launches UniFocus’ GUESTScope in all independent properties
- Outrigger Hotels & Resorts names Avalon as its preferred solution for reputation monitoring
- Accor North America signs with VFM Interactive for rich media management for Motel 6
- GenaRes selects VFM Interactive for distribution and production of hotel rich visual content
- MICROS Systems acquires e-commerce services provider Fry, Inc.
- Shell Vacations Hospitality picks Market Metrix’ real-time satisfaction survey system
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/28/08


- HSMAI survey reports planners seeing an increase in the technology used for meetings
- Hosmark signs for Nexus' integrated suite of sales management applications
- Hilton Hotels rolling out tech-oriented Hilton Meetings program in North America
- Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces implementing Cisco TelePresence in five properties
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 08/28/08


- AccuBar releases Version 4.0 of beverage management system
- Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London selects InfoGenesis POS
- Urban Tavern Restaurant to use Capton’s Beverage Tracker
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 08/28/08


- Apple promotes hospitality industry solutions
- Chief Manufacturing releases CM8 automated flat-panel TV tilt mount
- Holiday Inn Select Hotel & Suites Chicago O’Hare installs FlyteBoard and FlytePass
- Sheraton implements Microsoft’s Surface systems in five Sheraton hotels
- Arizona Biltmore installs Gold Key Solutions’ Concierge Assistant
- Resource Technology Management announces project management service to help owners and hoteliers convert to HDTV and flat-screen TVs
- Uniguest named one of the 50 fastest-growing, privately owned companies in Middle Tennessee
For more on Guest Services for 08/28/08


- Biltmore Farms Hotels installing solar water heating system on Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Park Town Square
- Milwaukee’s Metro Hotel installing Telkonet SmartEnergy
Biltmore Farms Hotels is installing a solar water heating system on its 165-room Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Park Town Square, due to open summer 2009.  The system will provide over 2,000 gallons of hot water a day, expected to save approximately $10,000 annually in fossil fuel costs at current rates.  http://www.biltmorefarms.com
The Metro Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Wis., is installing Telkonet’s in-room, occupancy-driven SmartEnergy (TSE) energy management solution throughout the property. http://www.hotelmetro.com, http://www.telkonet.com


- MobileAccess wins $15 million-plus in new wireless projects in the first half of 2008
- Marriott and AT&T to offer converged IP networks for voice and data transmission
MobileAccess announced that it has won over $15 million in new in-building wireless projects within the hospitality industry in the first half of 2008.  http://www.mobileaccess.com
Marriott International and AT&T announced an agreement to offer converged IP networks for voice and data transmission, supporting guest and employee needs for both wired and wireless services throughout the hotel.  The converged network was piloted at the recently opened Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.  The open-standards solution is based on Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) design principles.  AT&T provides managed Internet and managed router services, Wi-Fi connectivity, deployment and management.  Marriott expects guest satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business to increase at installed hotels through greater reliability of wired and wireless high-speed Internet access and automatic bandwidth adjusted for peak demand.  The converged network will also allow hotels to incorporate advanced interactive communications services such as video on demand, Internet TV and VoIP telephony more easily, quickly and more cost effectively.  Marriott is also working on a cost-effective solution for retrofitting existing hotels with a converged network as they are renovated.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.att.com


And now for you-know-what…

Bill feared his wife, Mildred, wasn't hearing as well as she used to and he thought she might need a hearing aid. Not quite sure how to approach her, he called the family doctor to discuss the problem.

The doctor told him there is a simple, informal test he could perform to give the doctor a better idea about the hearing loss. “Here's what you do,” said the doctor. “Stand about 40 feet away from her, and in a normal conversational speaking tone see if she hears you. If not, go to 30 feet, then 20 feet, and so on until you get a response.”

That evening, Mildred was in the kitchen cooking dinner, and Bill was in the basement. He moved to about 40 feet away, and decided to try it out. In a normal tone he asked, “Honey, what's for dinner?”

And there was no response.

So Bill moved closer to the basement stairs, about 30 feet away and repeated, “Honey, what's for dinner?”

And still no response.

Next, he moved into the dining room where she was about 20 feet away and asked, “Honey, what's for dinner?”

Again he got no response.

So, he walked up to the kitchen door, about 10 feet away and tried again, “Honey, what's for dinner?”

And no response again.

Then he walked right up behind Mildred and asked one more time, “Honey, what's for dinner?”

To which she replied, “Bill, for the fifth time, CHICKEN!”

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