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Siegel Sez

December 04, 2008

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

December, here we go again. Is it not the strangest month of the year? Some love it, some hate it and if you are like me you are unable to get your arms around it. From the business perspective everybody focuses on end-of-year numbers trying to have the year turn out as well as possible. Of course, things that move into January get you off to a running start for next year, right? Since we are a private company I am allowed to say this. Yes, there are holiday parties to plan, bonuses to hope for and people also praying things will get better entering 2009.

Then there is the personal aspect of December. We start thinking of our family and friends we hope to catch up with for the holidays. We reflect on our lives. Those who believe in New Year’s resolutions start planning which they are going to shoot for this year. Many decide to lose weight, or stop smoking. I try to never do anything typical. Last year I only made one resolution, to get married. A year later I am no closer than I was a year ago but at least I thought about it all year. I think this year I am going to come up with something a bit more reasonable. Yes, December and all the end of year thoughts of what has gone right, what hasn’t and what we couldn’t control. We smile for the good things that happened to us and we feel the sadness of the things that happened that we wish hadn’t. We look forward to the Christmas decorations on houses and in the streets. We put up with the Christmas carols that seem to pop up a bit too often on the radio. December is an emotional roller coaster for many of us. As a reminder for the season don’t forget there are those in need and when the opportunities arise to help, don’t think about it just do it. There really is no better feeling in the world than knowing that you did something to make a life better even for someone you’ll never meet. Make it the season of giving.

I just returned from Phoenix where I was honored to have attended the Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) first-ever Consultants Roundtable. What a great idea bringing so many knowledgeable people from the industry together for a day to talk about the ups and downs of the industry, what the industry does right and wrong, and what the future looks like as it pertains to technology. Thanks to Tim Tiller, president of MSI, Rick Munson, CEO, and Laura Kirby-Meck, chief marketing officer, for putting on this event and inviting me to participate. It was something different and as you know, for some reason I like different.  It was an honor to be included.

Everyone is asking about our little horse with a very big heart. Backbackbackgone ran his heart out in his big stakes race two weeks ago. He had the lead the whole race but ran too fast in the beginning and got tired.  He was passed by four horses. We remain optimistic. I would say the odds of his making it to the Kentucky Derby when we bought him were 40,000 to 1. Then after he won his first three races the odds were down to 5,000 to 1 and now are probably 10,000 to 1. It is horse racing. It is OK to talk about odds, right? We have been having a blast wishing, hoping and dreaming with him and if there is one thing I am sure of it is that dreaming is free. It is good to have dreams.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Good luck to all with your December reflections. For those of you at attending the HEDNA conference in New Orleans next week, I hope to see you there.


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge
Systems News in Plain English from Jon Inge

- PhoCusWright summit highlights need for innovation
- HTNG releases 2008B Property Web Services specifications
Is the online booking arena becoming stale?  My reaction to the six highest scoring demonstrations at PhoCusWright’s Travel Innovation Summit was that we’re seeing more variations on established themes than true innovation.  Or maybe it’s just that the pace of technology development makes new approaches quickly feel established.  Either way, with online bookings falling dramatically (Web traffic at Expedia sites, Travelocity.com and Orbitz is down 25 percent, 16 percent and 23 percent, respectively, per the Chicago Tribune) we definitely need some new thinking to spark travelers’ interest. 

The six winners were:
- Home&Abroad’s Fogglight, a free utility to help online travel businesses integrate trip planning and booking tools into their sites.
- Interactive Mobile @dvertising’s  iM@ (I'm at), a geographically aware content management site offering destination-specific information on accommodations, transport and entertainment.
- TripIt, a site that builds travel itineraries from various booking confirmation e-mails and integrates travel information, weather, maps and city guides to an itinerary.  (Actually, I do think this site is innovative, being both elegantly simple to use and thoughtful in the information it provides back.)
- Triporati, a destination selection site working from travelers’ needs and affinities.
- Wandrian, a single site integrating global rail booking systems for travelers to search for and book global rail travel from a single platform.  (I must admit to a juvenile pleasure in being told I can book global rail travel “from a single platform”…)
- Yapta (Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant), a site that helps find flights, monitors their prices, alerts customers of price changes and helps get refunds if the price drops.
Continuing its work towards a more fully integrated technology environment, HTNG has released the 2008B version of its Property Web Services specifications.  These include updates to the Web services framework, the single guest itinerary for sharing guest itinerary information and transactions across PMS, CRM, POS and activity systems (golf, concierge, dining reservations, spa, etc.), the Open Data eXchange (ODX) which enables the Web services-based transfer of flat-file data between two systems, and the Back Office Integration specification (being revised further).  New specifications were issued for digital signage, to connect sales/catering systems to digital signage systems, and Guest Self Service, for self-service devices to order food and beverage through an interface with a point-of-sale system. 


- VisionaryFX wins GOLD Adrian Award
- Milestone Internet Marketing launches Graviti social media optimization product
VisionaryFX has won a GOLD Adrian Award for Web marketing excellence in HSMAI’s 52nd annual Adrian Awards competition.  VisionaryFX, formerly the creative arm of MeetingMatrix International, received the award for an architectural visualization project for the New Orleans Marriott.  http://www.visionaryfx.com
Milestone Internet Marketing has launched Graviti, a social media optimization product targeted at the hospitality and travel segments.  Graviti packages include combinations of user-generated content, blogs, online videos, personal social networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), photo sharing (flickr, etc.), and social bookmarking (Digg, etc.).  Different articles, videos and the hotel’s Web site can be bookmarked using tags on different social bookmarking channels.  http://www.milestoneinternet.com


- Fontainebleau Miami Beach implements IDeaS V5i
- Rainmaker Group opens regional office in Singapore
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach has implemented IDeaS V5i On-Demand revenue management system, including the best available rate (BAR) and group pricing modules, and integrated with its SynXis reservation management system and OPERA property management system.  The historic resort was recently renovated and expanded to 1504 rooms.  http://www.fontainebleau.com, http:// www.ideas.com
The Rainmaker Group has opened a regional office in Singapore. http://www.letitrain.com


- OpenJaw Technologies announces version 2.0 of xEvent
OpenJaw Technologies has announced version 2.0 of its xEvent content and inventory management system for events and destination activities.  Enhancements allow travel companies to connect to multiple suppliers and control multiple rates and contracts through business rules.  xEvent also facilitates the dynamic packaging of event and destination activities to include flights, hotels and car rentals within a single price.  http://www.openjawtech.com


- Global Software Applications acquires Flight Time TV
- Hyatt Regency Woodfield picks SuiteLinq’s digital entertainment system
- InterContinental Wien (Vienna) implements GoConcierge
For more on Guest Services for 12/04/08


- Amadeus’ IT Group promotes David Jones to president and CEO, Luis Maroto to deputy CEO and Philippe Chérèque to EVP, commercial
- Trey Feiler joins Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as COO
- Vivek Bhalla hired by The Rainmaker Group as managing director of Asia Pacific
- iBAHN’s Joseph Rook awarded AH&LA certification of Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus

For more on People on the Move for 12/04/08


- InnLink and Innsoft announce enhanced two-way interface
InnLink and Innsoft announced an enhanced two-way interface between InnLink CRS and Innsoft’s Check-Inn for Windows PMS, covering delivery of reservations from the CRS, rate updates from the PMS and availability exchange between the systems.  Beta testing of the interface was completed with Brentwood Suites in Brentwood, Tenn.  http://www.innlink.com, http://www.innsoft.com


- Dolphin Dynamics adds three more direct booking suppliers
- Precise Hotel Collection signs with SynXis for eight properties
- SynXis to use HBSi’s Demand Gateway to enhance connectivity for over 8,500 hotels
- Carlson signs new agreement with Expedia to list all brands
- Great Addresses signs with Advantage Reserve for call center services for two hotels
- Travelocity Business extends reach via Radius’ network of corporate agencies
- Bharat Hotels orders Trust’s Voyager|CRS for 21 hotels
For more on Reservations for 12/04/08


- Seaport Hotel implements Grander Technology’s chlorine-reducing water treatment system
The Seaport Hotel has implemented Grander Technology’s chlorine-reducing water treatment system for its indoor pool, claiming to be the first U.S. hotel to do so.  The system improves indoor air quality, reducing skin and eye irritation and improving water taste and appearance, and is itself made from 100 percent high-grade, recyclable materials.  http://www.seaportboston.com, http://www.granderwater.com


- La Quinta Inns and Suites deploying Thing5 telecommunications across full portfolio
La Quinta Inns and Suites is deploying Thing5’s telecommunications platform across its full portfolio, both corporate owned and franchised.  Thing5 services are already deployed at over 400 hotels, and Thing5 provides WAN management for all 680 properties.  Services utilized vary from the complete platform (fixed-rate calling, hosted PBX, ACD and voicemail and Web-administration) to stand-alone services such as fixed rate calling.  http://www.lq.com, http://www.thing5.com


And now for you-know-what…

A blonde guy joke.....

A brunette man, a red-haired man and a blonde guy were doing construction work on scaffolding on the 20th floor of a building.

They were eating lunch and the brunette said, “Peanut butter and jelly? If I get peanut butter and jelly one more time for lunch, I'm going to jump off this building.”

The red-haired man opened his lunch box and exclaimed, “Turkey, again? If I get turkey one more time, I'm going to jump off, too.”

The blonde opened his lunch and said, “Bologna again? If I get a bologna sandwich one more time, I'm jumping too.”

The next day, the brunette opened his lunch box, saw peanut butter and jelly, and jumped to his death.

The redhead opened his lunch, saw a turkey sandwich, and jumped too.

The blonde guy opened his lunch, saw the bologna, and jumped to his death as well.

At the funeral, the brunette's wife was weeping. She said, “If I'd known how tired he was of peanut butter and jelly, I never would have given it to him again.”

The redhead's wife also wept and said, “I could have given him ham or salami. I didn't realize he hated turkey so much.”

Everyone turned and stared at the blonde's wife. “Don't look at me,” she said. “He makes his own lunch.”

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