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Siegel Sez

May 28, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I don’t want to steal his thunder, but when I read Jon’s opening regarding the Graves 601 Hotel I asked myself if it made any sense, and would it work? Then I thought how creative it was. Yes, there are things we do that we know work, but then there are things we think we should try and sometimes they don’t work. I said this at our first Executive Vendor Summit when I was thanked all day for putting something so unique together, and I say it again today. There are only two types of people in the world: those who try new things, and often when you try new things you fail, and there are those who never fail because they never try. I will take the former every time, wouldn’t you?

Speaking of trying new things, HFTP decided last year to reinvent itself with HITEC. This year has expanded exhibit hours, the first general session is on Monday afternoon followed by the Welcome Reception on Monday night, plus they are having the closing session late Thursday afternoon ending at 5 p.m. HITEC might be worried that they are hitting The Perfect Storm this year with the extended hours. Every five years HITEC is out west and this has affected attendance in the past. In addition the economy will affect how many people will be there this year. Thankfully in my conversations with the technology leaders in our industry over the last month, not one has said they will not be there.  Let’s face it, if technology is your thing in our industry you can be assured of one thing–all the movers and shakers will always be at HITEC. As much as it is important to do business during the four days of the event, it is also a great place to reacquaint yourself with many people whom you have interacted with over the years. I can’t wait, especially for the many parties that are held at HITEC. I had to laugh when I got my invite to the MTech event this year. MTech has owned the HITEC “after party” crowd every year. Believe it or not, this year’s event is in a bowling alley (300 of Anaheim). Everyone is invited to the party from 9 to midnight with bowling, billiards and music.  All you need to get in is your HITEC badge. Don’t forget what I said earlier about trying new things. Here is a great example. 

I found it interesting that this year’s inductees into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame were Tom Giannopoulos and Cindy Estis Green. Their offices are about 10 miles from each other. Were all the voters this year from Maryland? I had the opportunity to talk to both last week and they were both absolutely honored to be selected. We finally have another woman in the Hall of Fame, which was a long time coming. Congratulations to both inductees.

I have had my business for 17 years. As with any business you have highs, lows and the inevitable happens.  Our Associate Publisher Sharon Lee joined us five years ago being newly single and having just moved to Atlanta and right down the road from our office.  Today she is married, her son Gabriel recently turned 2 years old and she now lives a long way from our office. Priorities change and she has decided to be in a situation with less travel for getting to work and attending events for Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online. She will be sorely missed; she was a great addition to our team. We all wish her well.  Now with that said, anybody ever dreamt of being an associate publisher? E-mail me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com. You never know unless you try, right?

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the past couple of weeks. Yes, you can sense that everybody is gearing up for HITEC. 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



- Do people tend to abandon “blind” sites when rates drop?
I’ve been wondering, in these uncertain times and as rates fall, whether “blind” booking sites and auction sites might be losing favor as people look for more certainty in their travel plans (or life in general).  Even eBay is transforming itself steadily from an auction site into more of a fixed-price, low-cost marketplace.  After all, if you can see good price deals on an open basis, why go “blind” or start bidding?

It seems to me that business could go either way.  Travelers still looking for the lowest possible deal regardless of the property where they end up (because they want to spend the minimum possible) would tend to maintain auction-site traffic.  Those wanting to feel in control of at least something in their lives would be more inclined to book a specific property, especially as its rates are likely to have been cut recently and it’s easier to find something that feels like a bargain.

Then along comes the Graves 601 hotel in Minneapolis, combining the two approaches by offering a “name your price” option for online bookers (see below).  This promotion allows you to state the price you’d like to pay for the specific dates you enter; the hotel decides whether to accept it and lets you know.  Sort of like Priceline, but you know where you’re staying and you know the standard rates, so you have at least a guideline as to what might work.  And just like the “blind” sites, the hotel still maintains its published rates at a higher level than it’s actually selling rooms for.

Either way, good luck to them.  Hotels need to try every possibility they can to attract customers, and kudos to Graves 601 for trying something new.


- Tom Giannopoulos and Cindy Estis Green to be inducted into HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Kjell Olsson named HFTP’s 2009 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional of the Year
- Lisa Funk is new global secretary of HFTP
- Bill Marriott, Jr., Fred Malek and Trip Schneck recognized by Cornell University
- William Hagey named regional director of sales for Northstar Technologies
- Charles Mobbs appointed chairman of IndiCater
- Tim Russell appointed managing director of Amadeus UK & Ireland
- Phil Hayward joins National Recreation & Parks Association as chief communications officer
For more on People on the Move for 05/29/09


- Agilysys releases version 4.1.4 of InfoGenesis POS
- Restaurant Data Concepts certifies POSitouch software with Shift4
- OpenTable announces new version of Electronic Reservation Book
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 05/29/09


- Oyster Bay Beach Resort to use SPI Orange Systems' reservations system
- NORTHWIND adds e-marketing campaign management and tracking tool
- NORTHWIND adds Interactive Web Chat, desktop sharing to Diamond Plus Service for Support
For more on Property Management Systems for 05/29/09


- Graves 601 Hotel lets travelers bid a price for their stay
- BedandBreakfast.com to list 1,600 bookable inns on Travelocity this fall
- RezExchange deploys two-way interface with BookYourHotel.org
- Scandic Hotels extends contract with Pegasus for global commission processing
- Expedia introduces Easy Manage commission-based option for hotels in EMEA
- Destination Hotels & Resorts launches informational mobile Web sites for over 30 properties
- Dolphin Dynamics’ new release enhances tour operating module for more ground products
- Raveable unveils beta Web site to identify, filter and consolidate opinions in text of guest reviews
- GTA signs distribution contracts with Louvre Hotels, InterContinental and Hilton
For more on Reservations for 05/29/09


- HeBS receives Best in Class Interactive Media Award (IMA) in Travel/Tourism category
- TravelCLICK wins Best Hotel and Lodging Interactive Application WebAward from WMA
- Trust to offer TIG Global Internet marketing services to hotels using its Web|Direct service
- Northwind adds eMarketing Campaign Management and Tracking to Maestro PMS
- E-site Marketing adds Travelscream's Travel Deals Network to content management tool
- X2O Media introduces Xpresenter vClips video kiosk
- Crescent Hotels & Resorts chooses ProfitSword business intelligence
For more on Marketing/Management for 05/29/09


- High Tech Hoteles signs with EZYield.com
High Tech Hoteles has signed with EZYield.com for revenue management of its Petit Palace and High Tech brands in Spain.  High Tech Hoteles is planning for 45 hotels; 14 recently opened or will open soon, with nine more scheduled to open in 2010.  http://www.hthoteles.com, http://www.ezyield.com


- InterContinental picks MeetingMatrix’s PlanView.NET and ActiveMatrix.NET
- MSI to offer MeetingMatrix’s application to its WinSam clients
- MagicBox releases interface to Newmarket's Delphi to extract digital signage data
- Bluebuzzard adds Hoover’s business insight and analysis to its ProposalPath software
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/29/09


- Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville implements SpaSoft
The Kessler Collection’s 104-room Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville has implemented PAR Springer Miller Systems’ SpaSoft spa management system in its Poseidon Spa.  http://www.bohemianhotelasheville.com, http://www.springermiller.com


- Grand Bohemian Hotel, Asheville, N.C., completes implementation of Roomlinx
- Roomlinx selected as U.S. finalist in a British contest to offer business incubator support
- Omni Hotels selects BelAir Networks for Wi-Fi deployments commencing in 2009
- Knowcross Solutions launches SKIGEE application for SMS text messaging management
- TileVision launches new 19-inch waterproof TV, fits same wall space as earlier 17-inch model
- INNCOM, Enseo partner to provide in-room control to guests via TV remote control
- Jumeirah Essex House integrates MTech HotSOS and KoolConnect Intrigue HD VOD system
- Elsafe releases Infinity II in-room safe
For more on Guest Services for 05/29/09


- 3CX releases Phone System Hotel, a SIP-based VoIP PBX
3CX released its Phone System Hotel, a SIP-based VoIP PBX which includes hospitality functions such as support for checkin/out, DND, room status and wake-up calls, and integrates with many leading hotel software/property management systems.  Existing guestroom analog phones can be retained via FXS gateways, allowing existing analog phone points and cable to be used.  http://www.3cx.com


- VingCard introduces ZigBee-based VISIONLINE radio-frequency (RF) online electronic locking system
- Le Germain Calgary orders VISIONLINE and Signature RFID door locks
- VingCard introduces contactless RFID upgrade for Classic magnetic stripe door locks
For more on Security for 05/29/09


And now for you-know-what…

I will never hear church bells ringing again without smiling.

Upon hearing that her elderly grandfather had just passed away, Jenny went straight to her grandparent's house to visit her 95-year-old grandmother and comfort her. 

When she asked how her grandfather had died, her grandmother replied, "He had a heart attack while we were making love on Sunday morning."

Horrified, Jenny told her grandmother that two people nearly 100 years old having relations would surely be asking for trouble.

"Oh no, my dear," replied her grandmather. "Many years ago, realizing our advanced age, we figured out the best time to do it was when the church bells would start to ring.  It was just the right timing.  Nice and slow and even.  Nothing too strenuous."

She paused to wipe away a tear, and continued, "He'd still be alive if the ice cream truck hadn't come along."

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