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Siegel Sez

July 20, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

So often we forget to say thank you. I try to be one of those that remember, but I must admit when my recent audit was completed, I did forget to thank the IRS. I hope they forgive me. Geneva diligently worked on getting our new http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/ Web site finished in time for HITEC. So many came by at the show to share their comments and then when I mentioned it in our last Siegel Sez, we got lots more. It is still a work in progress, but today there has been a lot more progress then work still to be done. We do take some liberties with the things we do, but we never compromise our purpose of being a great source for those involved or interested in technology. Thank you all who have shared your comments, they really helped. If you haven’t done so yet, check it out even if it is just to read my favorite thing, the Industry Hotshot. How we get people to answer some of our questions just cracks me up. Nick Price, the guy in charge of technology at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, is our current hotshot. There is some pretty interesting stuff about him. If you want to share comments good or bad, e-mail Geneva at Geneva@hospitalityupgrade.com. Thank you.

Keeping with our thank-you theme, we must thank the Waverly Hotel here in Atlanta for offering to host our Hotel-Online/Hospitality Upgrade social event. If you haven’t been before and will be in Atlanta on August 17, please come by. It is all for fun and we gather folks from hotels, restaurants, travel related companies, vendors, consultants and a few crashers. It is fun bringing people in this industry together even if it is just for fun. If you want more info on the event, please e-mail Sharon at Sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com. We are going to have some very cool prizes to raffle off, it will be a great time.

My last thank you this week will be for Amelia Island Plantation (http://www.aipfl.com/) for simply being a great hotel and very easy to work with. Our fifth CIO Summit coming up in September (http://www.theciosummit.com/), which was created as a thank you for all the CIOs who have supported our efforts over the years, is on pace for record attendance this year. It has grown each year. Interesting that this year along with the growth from the hotel, gaming and timeshare industries has been the support from the cruise lines. Already Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Silversea Cruise Lines have confirmed attendance with a few more trying to adjust schedules. It is so much fun watching the interaction that goes on at this meeting with all these technology hotshots. Thank you also must go to InfoGenesis, NCR, CAPTON and HFTP for sponsoring this unique event along with BearingPoint for being a great partner. I cannot wait.

Sorry that we missed a week, but Jon Inge was doing something that we should all be doing this time of year, vacationing. Read his opening comments regarding technology and service from his recent travel experience. It should be taken to heart.  Six years of Siegel Sez via Hotel Online, thank you Jon for all your work and thank you to you, our readers, for putting up with my shenanigans. I will once again 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

Top 'O the News
- Summer travel and customer service
Ah, summer time and the joys of vacation travel.  After a great two-week trip to Europe visiting my family, the flight back to Seattle was a powerful reminder of how much we’ve all come to rely on computers, and of how easily an experience can go sour when management and staff just blame “a computer problem” and forget that they’re the ones who are actually responsible for providing customer service.

I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically a problem with the airline’s online checkin led me to call customer service.  After 20 minutes of “Instead of waiting on hold, why not check in on our Web site?” messages, the agent curtly said that she couldn’t help and I’d have to check in at the airport.  No explanation, no empathy, no help.  No customer service.

At the terminal, which was packed, the security line took over an hour due to under-staffing; only two people were checking documents, and only three security gates (out of eight) were manned.  PA announcements apologized and blamed the delays on “a computer failure”, but all terminals, displays and gates were working fine.  There just weren’t enough staff on duty.

When we did get through, the flight’s departure time was shown as delayed one hour on the screens, but no further screen or PA updates were issued even after that had passed, although there were plenty of both for other flights. The only indication that the flight was boarding at all (two hours late) was a sign lit over the gate itself; no gate announcement, no apparent interest in the passengers. 

Once we finally boarded, the captain apologized for the delay, which was “due to a computer failure”.  Even if that were true, the real problem was more of an attitude failure, and computers make a convenient – and mute - scapegoat.  Once we took off, the cabin crew did their usual excellent job, the frustrations of getting there fell away, and we had a good flight home.

Keeping customers happy doesn’t rely on computers.  It relies on management training staff to think and take whatever customer-focused action is helpful.  Simple steps and a friendly, honest and understanding approach can work wonders in soothing tense emotions.  Shrugging shoulders, blaming it on the computer and just walking away from responsibilities are unforgivable.



- Frankfurt Tourism Office selects MICROS to manage Web site bookings for 250 hotels
- Boar's Head Inn selects iHotelier CRS
- Sheraton updates Web site to encourage guests to post their feedback
- Cendant to sell Travelport unit to the Blackstone Group
- Expedia.com adds Fare Alert and Gas Station Locator tools to Web site
For more on Reservations for July 20, 2006


- Lanyon expands RFP Control Center corporate travel management application
- TIG Global signs three new Destination Marketing Organization clients
- SECURE-RES adds Webloyalty programs to its Internet marketing services
- Pegasus offers discounted ICE Portal rich media services through its Online Distribution Database
- TravelCLICK expands agreement with Travelport
- Hawaiian Hotels and Resorts installs Datavision at two properties
For more on Marketing/Management for July 20, 2006


- Venetian contracts with AnyRate Software for competitive rate intelligence data
- EZ Yield partners with IDeaS to update channels with revenue-managed pricing
- EZ Yield.com reports more new clients in the first six months of 2006 than in all of 2005
- NH Hoteles implements EzRMS at nine properties in Amsterdam
For more on Revenue Management for July 20, 2006


- ReServe Interactive releases nine interfaces for its event/dining reservations system
ReServe Interactive has released nine new interfaces for its event/dining reservations system including:
- POS system interface with Aloha or MICROS for table status monitoring.
- Paging system interface with JTECH and NTN pagers given to waiting guests.
- Caller ID interface with CallerID.com's “Whozz Calling?” to match incoming calls to ReServe customer database records.
- Web booking interface via ReServeIT for guests to make real-time dining reservations or inquire about events over the Internet.
- Microsoft Outlook interface to synchronize appointments, to-do lists and contact information.
- F&B management system interface with vendors such as FoodTrak and Computrition.
- Room diagramming interface with MeetingMatrix for event layout diagrams.
- Accounting interface with QuickBooks for automatic invoice creation and payment recording based on ReServe activities.
- E-mail scheduler to create and send graphically enhanced e-mails for improved customer correspondence, marketing messages or reminders.


- Intellistrand launches GuestDesk Web site for accommodation and golf course bookings
Intellistrand has launched its GuestDesk booking Web site to offer accommodation and golf course bookings in the Myrtle Beach market online in a single screen format.  GuestDesk operates on either an allocation or real-time basis depending on the interfaces available from the property management or central booking system used by each particular company.  Additional tee-times are available through an interface to the T-links system, a central inventory network of Myrtle Beach golf courses.  http://www.intellistrand.com


- Kahala Hotel & Resort implements GoConcierge
- Carey International integrates with GT3 for GDS and Internet booking of its chauffeured transportation
- Thinix releases Version 2.73 of TS-890i WebConsole and HDTV-LINK guestroom workstations
- Marriott appoints TeleAdapt an approved vendor in EMEA
- Choice selects EthoStream for high-speed Internet access at Econo Lodge locations
- Kimpton implementing Eleven Wireless’ dual OS business center computers
- MGM Grand, InterContinental Chicago and Denihan Hospitality Group all implementing MTech’s HotSOS
For more on Guest Services for July 20, 2006


- Benchmark rolls out UltiPro Web-based HR, benefits and payroll application
- Agilysys adds e-mail Archive module to its DataMagine document management application
Benchmark Hospitality International is rolling out Ultimate Software’s UltiPro Workforce Management Web-based HR, benefits and payroll application.  http://www.benchmarkhospitality.com, http://www.ultimatesoftware.com
Agilysys is adding an e-mail archive module to its DataMagine document management application.  The new module captures incoming, outgoing and internal company e-mails for storage in a separate location and for a specified timeframe, and allows end users to search and retrieve e-mail records for internal or regulatory audits.  http://www.agilysys.com


- Loews Hotels installing WinTrack PM system in 18 properties
Loews Hotels is installing Mintek Mobile Data Solutions’ WinTrack PM system in 18 of its properties in the United States and Canada, starting with the Loews Don CeSar Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla.  The rollout will include Mintek’s Web-based Maintenance Portal to allow remote monitoring of each hotel’s PM progress, including outstanding work orders, completed and uncompleted rounds, and how long certain tasks took to accomplish.  http://www.loewshotels.com, http://www.mintek.com


- Knowcross announces version 2.26 of TRITON IP Telephony Mobility module
Knowcross Solutions announced version 2.26 of its TRITON IP Telephony Mobility module, which now integrates with Alcatel’s Communication Platform Omni PCX Release 6.2 on Windows XP.  Knowcross' clients can now choose among DECT phones, IP phones, pagers, mobiles and PDAs for job allocation, job dispatch, job update and other messaging functionalities provided by Triton.  http://www.knowcross.com


- Onity opens new office in Shanghai
Onity (formerly TESA Entry Systems) has opened a new office in Shanghai, including a product demonstration gallery and a technical services facility.  The new office will also house Onity’s expanded sales and service teams covering the Northern (Beijing), Eastern (Shanghai) and Western (Chongquing & Chengdu) regions of China.  http://www.onity.com


- The Lodge at Woodloch selects ResortSuite
- WebRezPro PMS names Shift4 preferred electronic payment processing vendor
- Rica Hotels implementing protel’s centrally hosted MPE at 52 hotels
For more on Property Management for July 20, 2006


- CARINO Collection upgrades its SalesConnect Space Management software
- Shangri-La implementing full range of Newmarket products in 30 properties
- Newmarket integrates, enhances products into Delphi Sales Advantage suite
- Newmarket releases enhancements for MeetingBroker
- Adam's Mark Hotels selects Passkey as online group reservation system
- Portola Plaza Hotel at Monterey Bay implements Passkey
For more on Sales and Catering for July 20, 2006


And now for you-know-what…

Fifty-one years ago, Herman was drafted by the Army.  On his first day in basic training, the Army issued him a comb.  That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all of his hair.
On his second day, the Army issued Herman a toothbrush.  That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth.
On the third day, the Army issued him a jock strap.  The Army has been looking for Herman for 51 years.

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