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Siegel Sez

January 23, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I love this time of year. It is the time when I talk to everybody in both the vendor and operator communities all over the world (thank you Skype). What was the one thing everybody wanted to talk about? Actually there were two things, but the first by far was Tuesday’s inauguration.  I think I will reserve my thoughts right now except to say that it was historic. Make sure you read Jon Inge’s opening comments in his technology review; he truly nailed it when it came to most people’s thoughts. Is there a renewed optimism? I think so, maybe that is the kick-start we need.

The second thing that everyone wanted to talk about was the economy. Everybody seems to have an opinion, with many of the opinions usually someone’s gut feeling. I was thinking of a conversation I had with a realtor friend of mine recently. She asked a simple question. If you bought a house for $300k and with the real estate markets on a positive roll and within a relatively short period of time your house was worth $450k, then that was good, right? Eventually you needed to sell your house but this was during a downward spiral in the market. You ended up selling your house for $375k. Then the question is did you make $75k or lose $75K? The hospitality industry, even with the financial turmoil that happened the last quarter of 2008, had a great year in 2008. Will 2009 be off from the previous year? Yes, it will. But will it come back? Yes.  Just like the house that was valued at $450k will also be back. How long it takes really is the big question, but with renewed optimism today, hopefully the journey back will not take as long as feared. We shall see. That was this non-economist’s “gut feeling” with much help from those in the industry.

Sally Kelly of KPMG and I had a very enlightening call with many of the presidents of companies that provide technology solutions for the hospitality industry. This call was an annual event to plan our program for the upcoming Executive Vendor Summit in San Antonio, Texas (http://www.vendorsummit.com). It was great to know that the presidents on the call did not have a doomsday attitude regarding the future. In fact many said they expect very good things with their businesses this year which was also nice to hear. If you are a technology vendor and you want to attend this unique conference please e-mail Sharon at mailto:sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. Hospitality Upgrade created this conference without fees as a thank you to the industry and those who support us. Many of the top industry consultants will be joining us this year which will also add to the event.

One day to go! On Saturday at 4:07 p.m. Eastern Time our horse Backbackbackgone is taking on the big boys in the Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. Juli Barter is leading a contingent of HFTP South Florida members to a day at the races. Companies based in South Florida that will be attending include Datavision Technologies, SDD, MTech, ZDirect, along with many individuals who are Hotel Online subscribers. This is going to be a fun day win or lose, but we are dreaming big. I can’t wait. Wish us luck.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks with his non-hotel and quite political opening comments which I encourage you to read. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. 


Technology NEWSSTAND

by: Jon Inge


- Hope and optimism renewed
This isn’t about hotels this time.
As I watched President Obama’s inauguration I was re-filled with the hope and optimism that pulled me to the United States 30 years ago.  As I mentioned at HITEC a couple of years ago, I think it’s hard for native-born Americans, justifiably proud of their country as they might and should be, to truly understand the power that the American example has to inspire people all across the world.  The spirit of participation, of encouragement, of willingness to support people wanting to start a new business instead of dragging them down for daring to be different, are unique in my experience.  These traits have always been inherent in the people, but lately it’s seemed that the leadership of both parties has been distracted by childish, partisan differences, without realizing the corrosive effect that has had on our ideals. 
This week’s inauguration re-affirmed those ideals in the most appropriate way possible.  A brief, professional, inclusive ceremony, and a speech mixing realism about our challenges with the reassurance that we, together, can meet them and face them down under inclusive and balanced leadership, have restored my faith in what this country stands for and can achieve.
Yes, we’re still in a downturn, problems won’t be resolved quickly and we will always be faced with the misguided efforts of the envious.  But for the first time in many, many years – not just the last eight – I feel we have adult leadership again, and a renewed faith in our ability to make a difference and inspire the world. 


- Milestone Internet Marketing wins three HSMAI Adrian Awards
- Lenox Hotel signs with gCommerce Solutions for electronic marketing services
- Best Western to use UniFocus’ Member Feedback System
- InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) to use Teradata technology as foundation for BI
- hotelSystemsPro moves to larger corporate offices in Atlanta
For more on Marketing/Management for 1/23/09


- Derby Hotels Collection goes with IDeaS V5i for nine properties
The Derby Hotels Collection is rolling out all available modules of IDeaS V5i On-Demand Revenue Management Solution to its nine properties in Barcelona, Madrid, London and Paris.  http://www.derbyhotels.com, http://www.ideas.com


- FCS’ iServices IP touch screen content engine designated a Nortel Select Product
FCS Computer Systems’ iServices IP touch screen content engine has been designated a Nortel Select Product, recognition that it complements the Nortel CS1000, Hospitality Messaging Server 400 and IP Phone 2007 offering for hotels.  The iServices application adds guest-focused services and information to the touch screen of a Nortel IP Phone 2007 in hotel guest rooms, including dynamic content such as information about hotel amenities, local attractions, weather, flight and stock market information, as well as the ability for guests to request service items for the room, set wake-up times and do-not-disturb status or book restaurant reservations.  http://www.fcscs.com


- Harbor Hill Resort picks SPI Orange Systems Resort Manager
- Brilliant implements two-way interface between PM PRO and RezExchange
- SoftBrands receives a China Most Competitive Hotel Technology Brand Enterprises Award 2009
- Lonrho Hotels standardizes on NORTHWIND’s Maestro PMS for four properties
For more on Property Management Systems for 01/23/09


- Amadeus integrating hotel inventory from Transhotel into its Amadeus Selling Platform
- Hotels.com integrating TripAdvisor hotel reviews on all 31 Web sites across EAME
- AboutAnywhere.com announces free online distribution network for hotels
- AMTELCO releases Ovation Agent single call-center user interface
For more on Reservations for 1/23/09


- Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas deploying Passkey, with two-way interface to LMS
- Cherokee Casino Resort in Oklahoma implements Newmarket’s systems at three properties
The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is deploying Passkey's online group management system.  The Riviera intends to use Passkey to shift a large portion of its group reservations online and to automate its room list process, and will be the first hotel on the Las Vegas strip to install a two-way interface between Passkey and its Agilysys LMS property management system.  http://www.rivierahotel.com, http://www.passkey.com
The Cherokee Casino Resort in Oklahoma has implemented several of Newmarket International’s sales and catering systems at its Cherokee Casino Resort, Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs and the Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs properties.  Cherokee Casino Resort uses Delphi, Newmarket Diagrams, eProposal and MeetingBroker; the other two properties have Delphi and Diagrams.  http://www.cherokeecasino.com, http://www.newmarketinc.com


- System Concepts, Inc. releases FOOD-TRAK Wine Module
System Concepts, Inc. has released its FOOD-TRAK Wine Module, to help clubs, hotels, restaurants and casinos manage and sell their bottled wine stock.  The wine module includes Attribute Editor that lets users categorize each bottle of wine by vintage, variety, winery, region, vineyard and other attributes.  http://www.foodtrak.com


- Bridget Oliva-Werba joins TTI Technologies International as VP sales and marketing
- Hugh Jones appointed president and CEO at Travelocity Global
Bridget Oliva-Werba has joined TTI Technologies International as VP sales and marketing.  Most recently Ms. Werba served as VP, national accounts for Roomlinx; she had earlier served with Hcareers and, for more than 13 years, with Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) as vice president of business development and marketing.
Hugh Jones has been appointed president and CEO at Travelocity Global, replacing Michelle Peluso who is leaving the company following the recent birth of her child.  Mr. Jones moves from the position of chief operating officer for the Sabre Travel Network and Sabre Airline Solutions businesses; he was previously senior vice president, North America for Sabre Travel Network.


And now for you-know-what…

A New Year’s Exercise Regimen

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side.

With a 5-pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax with your arms down to your sides. Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for a little bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-pound potato sacks. Then try 25-pound potato sacks, and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 50-pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level currently.)

After you feel comfortable at that level, go ahead and put a potato in each sack.

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