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Siegel Sez

April 23, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I have been around the software business forever. As companies work diligently to create something new there is always excitement leading up to the launch of the new product. Of course, when the actual launch happens you hope that the hard work will pay off. For the first time in a long time, instead of our group here at Hospitality Upgrade monitoring an upcoming launch of one of our customers, we were the ones with the announcement. At last week’s Executive Vendor Summit, Geneva with the support of Sharon and Andrea prepared a demo of our new digital edition of Hospitality Upgrade. As with any demo you should always expect the unexpected and our surprise was that the flawlessly operating Internet connection in the meeting room decided not to be flawless. I had to laugh when Ron Tarro screamed out during the demo, “Welcome to the world of software.” Oh, do I have stories from when I was selling software in the ‘80s, but I couldn’t help but laugh when Ron made his comment. We eventually got the connection to operate almost consistently, the demo went very well and everyone in the room was impressed. Please take a moment and go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and check out the bouncing ball on the home page. Our printed magazine will continue to grow, but isn’t life about options? There will be a charge to support the online version but, at only $10 for two years this might be the bargain of all bargains. Please check out the demo and let me know your thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated.

Of all the things I have accomplished in my career, the Executive Vendor Summit will always be my favorite.  Honestly, who would imagine a conference where all the attendees are technology suppliers? There is no one to sell to and often you are eating and drinking with your fiercest competitors. It is just so unique, but the funny thing is, everybody goes. This industry is based on both competition and partnerships, and the relationships that come out of this conference are quite unbelievable. We also added a few industry consultants this year, which worked out perfectly. Kris Burnett will be writing a review that will include some very interesting pictures. If you are not currently receiving Hospitality Upgrade, please go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and subscribe. If you live in the continental United States the printed version is free to qualified subscribers. Remember, now you have choices as to how you receive our magazine. Special thanks to Ken Barnes from White Lodging and Vivek Shaiva from La Quinta. Both CIOs shared a very honest state of the industry with our attendees and the outlook is not as bleak as everybody seems to be making it out to be. Thanks to Sally Kelly for putting together a top-notch program. Even with the last minute adjustments it went very well. To the more than 50 attendees, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to attend. I promise you that The Final Roar will win his next time out, but it was so much fun showing the race during the conference. Thank you also to TechTeam Global (http://www.techteam.com) and HFTP (http://www.hftp.org) for sponsoring the Executive Vendor Summit. The sponsor support is very much appreciated!

I am putting together a panel for HITEC (http://www.hitec.org/) that will discuss what very frequent travelers are really looking for when they are on the road. I have a couple of panelists who spend over 150 nights a year in a hotel room. That’s nearly half of the year in hotel rooms! Ouch! If you or someone you know travels this much, please e-mail me. I would like to add one or two more travelers to the panel. There are many different events that happen during the year, but thankfully there is only one HITEC where everybody has to be. We look forward to seeing you there.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. Jon and I decided to bury our hatchet regarding the role of social media in business. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree, right? 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



- PhoCusWright's 2009 Technology Trends are thoughtful, relevant
Many Top Trends lists tend to be pretty generic, but PhoCusWright's 2009 Technology Trends makes some thoughtful observations.  I’m not sure I’d have ranked them in this order, but they’re certainly all relevant.

  1. Despite market woes, pockets of investment still exist – clear thinkers innovate for recovery.
  2. The entire trip experience will be informationized – not just the components that result in a booking but all aspects of the trip, at all stages.
  3. Software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing and open source spawn a new flock of innovators – all allow for rapid start-up, low entry cost and pay-as-you-go fees.
  4. Suppliers (finally!) provide personalized shopping/booking tools – information and shopping screens adapt to users' stated profiles, observed profiles and shopping style.
  5. Technologies will continue to converge – homes, phones and laptops can all access the same movies, TV and rich content from anywhere in the world.
  6. A flood of new mobile travel and location-based applications come to market – based on mobile devices’ interactive and location-aware capabilities and broadband access.
  7. Advertising technology transforms travel distribution – pure booking fee models will disappear in favor of blends of highly targeted ads, referral fees and fees for service.
  8. Still searching... for better search – Semantic search has been slow to take off but is becoming more important as improved and more relevant results prove its business value.
  9. Democratization of supply levels the playing field – the GDS monopoly is long gone as interconnectivity, Internet transparency, Web services, new search tools and SaaS models open the marketplace.
  10. Business intelligence and analytics move to the forefront – tight times call for maximum operating efficiency, understanding your competitors and knowing what your customers are saying.
    Full details at www.phocuswright.com/report/09techtrend.


- Best Western Atrea, Lackland, Texas opens with MSI WinPM and PlacePoint POS
- MSI now offers Merchant Link credit card gateway and security applications for all its PMSs
- SoftBrands to resell Intellispa as part of Emerald product line
- Siegel Group Nevada picks MICROS’ OPERA Lite PMS and myfidelio for Gold Spike Hotel & Casino, and the Resort on Mount Charleston

For more on Property Management Systems for 04/23/09


- Trust adds Wego and Make My Trip as Trust|Connect IDS partners
- OTA contracts with PilotFish for automated testing validation services for FastRez
- HBSi adds Trust International to iDemand Gateway platform
- Distinguished International picks Advantage Reserve for call center services for seven properties
- Condé Nast Johansens offers customized version of SynXis’ Guest Connect booking engine
- hotelicopter launches metasearch site with interface to Facebook Connect
For more on Reservations for 04/23/09


- TripAdvisor launches Chinese domain
- Waterfront Place Hotel to use UniFocus’ GuestScope, MeetingScope
- Hilton partners with TravelSkoot to offer dining, shopping and entertainment options
- ZDirect releases new filters to help hotels identify specific guest groups
- ZDirect passes 1,700 hotel mark
- Milestone Internet Marketing wins Best Hotel and Lodging Website Award
- San Diego North CVB selects TIG Global for Internet marketing
For more on Marketing/Management for 04/23/09


- EZYield.com tests link with Expedia’s QuickConnect interface
EZYield.com is testing a connection between its channel management system and Expedia’s 70+ travel booking sites worldwide via the Expedia QuickConnect interface.  Properties using EZYield.com’s new RezDelivery platform will be able to use the link to propagate reservations directly into their hotel property management systems or central reservations systems.  http://www.ezyield.com


- Hyatt, Marriot announce agreements with Cvent
- Cvent enhances Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) toolset to track meeting spend
- Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino implements Passkey
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 04/23/09


- Harry Caray's Restaurant Group selects ReServe
Harry Caray's Restaurant Group has selected ReServe Interactive's Catering & Event Management software for its five restaurant locations and off-premise catering company in Chicago.  http://www.harrycarays.com, http://www.reserveinteractive.com


- SoftBrands to re-sell Intelligenz Solutions’ Intellispa
SoftBrands has contracted with Intelligenz Solutions to sell its Intellispa spa, fitness and activities management software worldwide as part of its Emerald product line.  Intellispa V3 is HTNG-certified for single guest itinerary functionality.  http://www.intelligenzsolutions.com, http://www.softbrands.com/hospitality


- Grand Hyatt Doha installs Knowcross’ TRITON guest service management system
The 249-room Grand Hyatt Doha, Hyatt’s first property in Qatar, has installed Knowcross Solutions TRITON guest service management system to help 250 staff members in the front office, engineering, housekeeping, guest services, security, food and beverage and IT departments manage guest requests, complaints and back-of-house jobs.  The hotel has equipped 52 of its staff members with Spectralink Netlink wireless handsets to receive job orders.  http://doha.grand.hyatt.com, http://www.knowcross.com


- Oxford Hotels and Inns installing Clarity’s THS Phoenix system at all 42 hotels
Oxford Hotels and Inns is replacing its existing hotel management system with Clarity’s THS (Total Hospitality Solution) Phoenix application at all 42 hotels over the next four months.  The installation will provide improved visibility of agent and corporate debtors in real time, allowing the company to track potential cash flow problems as early as possible, and will also help ensure full compliance with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). http://www.oxfordhotelsandinns.com, http://www.claritycommerce.com


- Clifton South Beach Hotel installing solar panels and wind turbine
Miami Beach-based Cambean Hospitality is installing solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof of the Clifton South Beach Hotel, and purchasing carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs) from Renewable Choice Energy to offset its fuel and electricity consumption.  http://www.cambean.com


- Noble Hospitality installs PhoneSuite in three properties, plans to add more
Noble Hospitality has installed PhoneSuite systems in a Comfort Inn in Kansas, a Holiday Inn in Arkansas, and a Ramada Inn in Colorado, with plans to add the products to more of its 40 properties in the near future.  http://www.noblehospitality.com, http://www.phonesuite.com


- Erik Munoz is new vice president of sales for SoftBrands Hospitality, Asia Pacific
Erik Munoz is SoftBrands Hospitality’s new vice president of sales for Asia Pacific.  Mr. Munoz has more than 15 years experience in hospitality technology, most recently as director of business partner programs for HotelProphets in Australia.  From 2003 to 2007 he was international sales and marketing manager for CMS Hospitality in Australia, and earlier served as regional sales and channel manager for SoftBrands in the Asia Pacific Region and in various positions with Hotel Information Systems, which was acquired by SoftBrands in 2006.    


And now for you know what…

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled a bucket with nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

"One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me," said one boy, with several dropping and rolling down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle outside the fence. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me."

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along. "Come here quick," said the boy. "You won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls."

The man said, "Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk."

When the boy insisted, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery with him.

Standing by the fence they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me."

The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can catch a glimpse of the Lord."

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

Before they could see anything, they heard, "One for you, one for me. That's all. Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done."

They say the old man made it back to town a full five minutes ahead of the kid on the bike.

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