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Siegel Sez

February 05, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

If you want to hear more bad news about the economy, turn on the news tonight when you get home. It is pretty much nonstop now, right? You are not going to get it here. In fact you might get the opposite.  I have spent this past month talking to those in charge of technology for many of the major hotel companies and yes, it is totally different than it was at this time last year. The same goes with the vendors that provide technology to these companies. I hate that overused phrase that we hear in so many conversations today, but the truth is, it is what it is. Who came up with that line anyway? I publish Hospitality Upgrade, the trade magazine that covers what is going on in technology for the hospitality industry and then some. If the end of the world is upon us, why are we doing so well? We rely on advertising to pay our bills and the support we are getting during this “down economy” might be considered nothing short of miraculous.

Then I started thinking it might have less to do with the value of the advertising as it is about our dealing with people with vision. If you want to be part of the resurrection of the U.S. economy why not lead instead of wait? I hired a new person last month, her name is Andrea Falls, and she will be helping in many aspects of our business. Why hire somebody when revenue is less than it was last year? Hey, if you are going to talk the talk, then you also need to walk the walk. Are you a hotelier contemplating layoffs because of less business? Can it wait or does it need be done today? Do you have a users’ group meeting coming up where your staff could benefit from learning about the technology they use? Do you have a travel freeze within your company? Do you realize the value of users groups? Send them. Is there an industry event or conference where you would like to be represented? Go.

If the hotel industry doesn’t lead the way with travel how can we expect other companies to do so?  As I have said before, I am not an economist. But I do know that if we sit scared on our money then the economy stays bad. If we get money moving around the economy starts to recover. Are you doing your part? As we all know, there are people who lead and there are those who follow.  I might not be the smartest guy in the world, but I know that the biggest risk we take in life is not taking a risk.  I hope nobody ever accuses me of that.

Thanks to all who came to Gulfstream Park to see Backbackbackgone. There were nearly 30 people there; unfortunately I didn’t connect with everybody.  Most did get to come into the paddock area with me where the horses were getting saddled and ready to run. We were joined by Davey Jones of The Monkees fame, who immediately started picking on me. It was fun. Special thanks to Bob Coyne and Hayes Thomas for helping in the organization of our day at the races. I only wish Backbackbackgone could talk. He had a physical problem that caused him to struggle during the race so our jockey stopped riding him. He has had a minor procedure done since the race and is now fine. He will be running again at the end of March. I have a great picture from the race with the whole group that we will include in our upcoming issue of Hospitality Upgrade.  If you don’t receive our magazine please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and click on subscribe. It is turning out to be a great issue with some great suggestions on the use of technology, especially during these somewhat turbulent times.  If you are a technology vendor or consultant that wants to attend our upcoming Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com/) please e-mail Sharon at mailto:sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com immediately. The invites are already out.

Thanks once again for putting up with my ranting and raving. Here now is the real reason we are here – Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Or maybe it will be something different this time that should make you feel good. Check it out.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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


- Why are implementations so hard?
I wrote about the many opportunities that implementations present last fall, but the topic resurfaced two weeks ago when two different clients asked me for help with them.  They’d selected different vendors but were both experiencing the same challenges: miscommunication, contracted enhancements delivered with important errors, and an apparent lack of urgency in fixing the situation on the part of the vendors.

It’s a tense time for everyone, and it’s inevitable that the hotel’s euphoria at having made a decision and the vendor’s at making the sale will both lead to unrealistic expectations.  Everyone lives in a state of belief up to that point – the hotel, that the new system will solve its problems, and the vendor, that it can deliver what it promised.  But hotel operations are complex, and there’s never enough time to explore everything in enough detail to be certain. 

In reality, the hotel team realizes that the system doesn’t work quite the way they thought, they aren’t familiar enough with it to be sure of the right configuration decisions, and often they discover they hadn’t been clear enough in defining enhancements or actually want it to operate in a slightly different way.  The vendor in turn finds out it hadn’t fully understood the nature of the hotel’s operation, the enhancement development is more complex than it estimated, and it therefore has less time for quality testing before the contracted go-live date. 

All of this is normal, which makes it all the more critical that both sides approach the situation with openness, a commitment to proper communication and an understanding of the hotel’s absolute need to go live on a specific date.  Even though some of the problems are of the hotel’s making, the hotel is the one with the immovable deadline, and by the time it comes to light, the hotel’s usually committed to such an extent that it’s just not possible for it to back out.  It’s therefore the vendor’s responsibility to stay on top of the situation, keep the original sales person in the loop to advise on background, provide clear and accurate tracking of problem corrections with an appropriate degree of urgency, work in partnership with the hotel to come up with any necessary short-term work-arounds, and at all times show the hotel that it understands its priorities and is committed to its success. 

Stuff happens on every project, but hotels can deal with a lot of stuff if they know about it and can plan around it.  A pro-active, partnership-based approach makes all the difference.


- Bill Nicholson re-joins Pegasus Solutions as COO and president, reservation/distribution
- Meg Fasy hired by MPI as VP sales and marketplace performance
- Amadeus reorganizes commercial organization into three functional areas
- Amadeus' Eberhard Haag recognized by Computerworld as a Premier 100 IT Leader
- Derrick Brian joins Guest-Tek’s sales team
- Sabre’s Felix Laboy and Trevor Stuart-Hill named to HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds of 2008
For more on People on the Move for 02/05/09


- Carlson enables Direct Connect between its five brands and Amadeus’ distribution system
- Amadeus partners with Hotel Booking Agents’ Association
- De Historiske - Historic Hotels and Restaurants of Norway switches to SynXis’ RedX
- EZYield.com integrates with European reservations site Booking.com
For more on Reservations for 02/05/09


- GuestCentric enhances online booking and marketing service with multilingual support
- Open Hospitality announces Brand Monitor service
- TIG Global receives twelve Adrian Awards for excellence in Web marketing
- Marcus Hotels & Resorts picks Standing Dog for social media content management
- E-site Marketing recognized with seven Adrian Awards
For more on Marketing/Management for 02/05/09


- Omni completes two-way integration of new CRS with Rainmaker’s revolution
Omni Hotels has completed the full two-way integration of its new central reservation system (CRS) with The Rainmaker Group’s revolution Profit Optimization Suite.  http://www.omnihotels.comhttp://www.letitrain.com


- Primland Resort picks PAR Springer-Miller
- Trump Hotel Las Vegas implements Visual One, InfoGenesis and Stratton Warren System
The Primland Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has chosen PAR Springer-Miller Systems’s SMS|Host Hospitality Management System for all aspects of its resort.  Modules to be installed include SMS|Spa/Resort Scheduling, SMS|Touch Fine Dining, SMS|Retail POS and SMS|Golf Tee Times.  http://www.primland.com, http://www.springermiller.com
The 1,282-suite Trump Hotel Las Vegas has implemented a suite of Agilysys hospitality software applications, including the Visual One property management system (including the condo owner module), InfoGenesis POS system and the Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement system.  The Visual One Multi-Property Enterprise System is currently being rolled out to all Trump Hotel Collection locations.  The property also uses the Visual One Retail POS module, sales and catering module and spa module.  http://www.trumplasvegashotel.com, http://www.agilysys.com


- Lodging Interactive announces link2brand.com group booking tool
- InterContinental picks UniFocus’ MEETINGScope as brand standard for all 157 hotels
Lodging Interactive announced its link2brand.com group booking tool, which converts long and hard-to-remember brand.com URL's into short, clearer URL's which redirect back to the brand.com Web site.  This allows hotel sales staff to provide group clients with simple links for travelers to book into their special group room rates, such as http://HotelWeddingRooms.com/SmithWedding.  Links can be set to auto-expire beyond a certain date.  http://www.link2brand.com
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has selected UniFocus’ MEETINGScope as the brand standard for its 157 hotels worldwide.  The Web-based system gathers critical feedback in real time to help ensure meeting planner satisfaction during the entire event process, and includes rich-media online sales tools.  http://www.intercontinental.comhttp://www.unifocus.com


- Snoqualmie Casino selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec Solutions
- HSI Profit Series POS now uses Apple iPod touch as hand-held POS device
The Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Wash., has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec Solutions.  The casino features a 51,000-square-foot gaming floor, five restaurants, a nightclub, luxury bar, cigar lounge and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom.  http://www.agilysys.com
MICROS’ Hospitality Solutions International (HSI) division has announced that its Profit Series POS application can now use the Apple iPod touch as a hand-held POS device.  The iPod touch can run the Profit Series POS application for up to six hours on a single charge.  The display allows viewing of full Profit Series POS screens, while Apple's Multi-Touch touch-screen interface enables users to zoom in to touch the appropriate selections.  http://www.hsi-solutions.com


- TeleAdapt and Vantage Point offer avComplete integrated flat-screen mounting device
- Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel in Miami implements SuiteLinq digital services
- Flyte Systems integrates flight information software with EscapeWire’s digital signage and free-to-guest television services
- Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago installs three TTI self-service guest computers
For more on Guest Services for 02/05/09


- Snoqualmie Casino selects Agilysys’ Eatec Solutions and InfoGenesis POS
The Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, Wash., has selected Agilysys’ Eatec Solutions and InfoGenesis POS.  The casino features a 51,000-square-foot gaming floor, five restaurants, a nightclub, luxury bar, cigar lounge and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom.  http://www.agilysys.com


- HotSpot to resell Mushroom Networks broadband bonding technology in Mexico
Mushroom Networks has signed a partnership and master reseller agreement with HotSpot International to deliver broadband bonding to Mexico’s hotel and resort industry.  Mushroom’s technology combines up to six broadband Internet connections of any type including DSL, cable, T1/E1 into a single high-speed link, allowing customers to mix and match various broadband services from multiple providers to deliver built-in network redundancy.  If one or more of the bonded links fails or is degraded, the traffic transparently spreads across the remaining links in real time without interruption.   HotSpot International will use Mushroom’s broadband bonding service to provide hotel and resort customers with fast uplink connections for business-critical applications such as reliable IP voice and video communications, and will resell Mushroom Networks’ entire line of products including the Truffle large enterprise range, Porcini for small to medium businesses, and PortaBella wireless system that bonds multiple cellular data cards into a single shared connection.  http://www.hotspotinternational.com, http://www.mushroomnetworks.com


And now for you-know-what…

This week instead of trying to make you laugh, how about we simply go for a smile.

Click here. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBtFTF2ii7U>

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