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Siegel Sez

July 09, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Resilient, that is probably the best way for me to describe the last few weeks. The industry should be proud that attendance at HITEC was only off 28 percent; in other industries the norm is closer to 50 percent for shows similar to HITEC. Surprising was the reaction to Anaheim; everybody I talked to thought it was a great place to hold the conference, nice convention center and many hotels very close by, with all the evening parties being very close to each other. Plus, if you have been getting baked like we have been in Atlanta, you had to just love the weather, it reminded me of the HITEC in Minneapolis.  If you were wondering how these difficult economic times were affecting technology initiatives, let me say something here. I have had many conversations with CIOs as we plan for our upcoming CIO Summit (www.theciosummit.com) and with some exceptions, was amazed how the investment in technology has remained strong. Most believe the recovery is now going to come and nobody wants to be left behind when it happens. If you wondered if the investment from the vendor side has continued, then I strongly suggest you read through Jon Inge’s technology review which follows. Simply amazing what is going on in this industry, and it really makes me proud to be part of it.

I had a blast at HITEC. Our session, “What Travelers Want,” was very well received and well attended. In fact the education sessions throughout the event were well attended; that is always gratifying, since being part of the HITEC Advisory Board, I know there is much work that goes into these sessions. The one thing that always surprises me is why more vendors aren’t attending the sessions; they are often eye opening and they would be amazed at the quality of the people that they would be sitting next to.  Thanks to our friends at RealView TV; I had so much fun walking around the exhibit floor with a camera trailing me interviewing unsuspecting attendees. When it is edited and ready you need to hear Nick Price, the CIO from Mandarin Oriental, and his comments regarding how he travels the show floor. Once you hear his strategy at HITEC, and even if you are a small vendor, you will never hesitate to invest in a booth to be on the tradeshow floor. Also Jon Inge and I did a very off-the-cuff Siegel Sez video that was recorded in the Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel-Online booth, Jon is such a smart guy.

I must thank Cindy Estis Green for mentioning me twice as she accepted her award as an inductee into the HFTP Technology Hall of fame along with Tom Giannopoulos. Of course both her references were to my horse racing venture but it was still fun that she did that. Thanks also to Terry McGowan and Karen Stewart from Datanamics for letting me hitch a ride with them to Las Vegas after HITEC. That was a very unique experience for me.

Yes, this very well could have been one of the most special HITECs ever for me, only time will tell. Thank you all who came by to say hello and congratulate us on a great summer issue of Hospitality Upgrade, we were proud of both the quality of the issue, and as importantly, the support we receive from the vendor community.  Yes, this is one resilient industry.

Here now is the real reason we are here, the aforementioned Jon Inge’s unbelievable technology/HITEC review. 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



- HITEC Review
- Hospitality Technology Strategic Initiatives Council formed to coordinate tech improvement projects
There have been lots of mixed reviews of this year’s HITEC, but I thought it was one of the more positive shows.  Yes, traffic was down, as it usually is at the Disney-associated locations as visitors put in only a brief attendance before heading off to the theme parks with their families, though the economy and consequent travel restrictions made it worse than usual.  It did make it that much easier to talk with the vendors in their booths, of course.

What encouraged me, though, were the evidence of increased vendor cooperation in formal or informal partnerships, and the wider adoption of consumer devices and interface design.  As you’ll see from the many news items below, with current interface techniques allowing significantly more flexibility in linking different systems, more and more specialist vendors are staying focused on what they do well and partnering with peers in other areas to offer well-integrated sets of applications.  Fully integrated single-vendor systems still benefit from having a single support point and a common design understanding, but good partnerships are bringing best-of-breed solutions much closer.

Consumer-focused technology was everywhere, too.  The many guestroom video vendors were all showing access to YouTube, Hulu and other consumer sites in preference to previous years’ focus on first-run movies.  Lodgenet was even using a Mac Mini as a guestroom control box, with the expected benefits in user interface design.  Speaking of which, the appeal of touch screens was evident in the number of vendors showing iPhone-based applications for guest reservations and room control, for staff messaging and potentially for much more.  Microsoft set up a couple of Surface tables in the foyer, and MSI showed the way forward with a prototype of its PMS ported to a Surface.  The appeal, flexibility and intuitive nature of these interfaces guarantee that we’ll be seeing more of them soon.
Sensibly working to minimize the duplication of efforts to improve the state of hospitality technology, Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) and the OpenTravel Alliance have joined with other leading industry associations to form the Hospitality Technology Strategic Initiatives Council (HTSIC).  The Council, which is comprised of the senior executives of each association, will identify and prioritize industry initiatives and then decide on which organization is best suited to lead each.  The additional Council members are the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA), the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the Hospitality Information Technology Association (HITA), the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA).


- Flo Lugli appointed EVP marketing at Wyndham Hotel Group
- Cvent’s Reggie Aggarwal is Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of  the Year, Greater Washington
- Kevin Looney appointed commercial director of APME at EZYield
- Felix Laboy named president and GM, Stephen Fitzgerald as COO for Sabre Hospitality Solutions
- Matt Mitchell joins iBAHN as vice president, global accounts
For more on People on the Move for 07/09/09


- MICROS integrating RateTiger’s RTShopper rate shopping data into OPERA
- TIG incorporates benchmarking data from RateTigers’s RTWeb into its services
- Trust, RateTiger implementing seamless connection between Voyager|CRS and RTConnect
- RateTiger completes connection to 400th third-party Web site
- Fairmont activates HBSi iDemand Gateway interface
- Travelocity selects Hotel Booking Solutions hotel connectivity system
- Brilliant interfaces PM PRO PMS with IDeaS V5i
- IDeaS introduces V5i Forecasting and Reporting tool
- IDeaS announces Academic Partner Program
- EzRMS contracts with EZYield for forward channel distribution
- InnPoints Worldwide completes interface with EZYield
- SoftBrands launches integrated platform to link its PMSs with EZYield
- Cendyn contracts with EZYield for onward distribution connectivity for eConnectivity
- EZYield.com acquires HotelProphets
- Rubicon announces availability of MarketVision Demand Position application
- Pegasus to offer Rubicon agency and demand reports in market intelligence reporting
- The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas selects Rainmaker’s revolution
- University of Nevada, Las Vegas installs Rainmaker’s revolution
For more on Revenue Management for 07/09/09


- Hotel Concepts interfaces IDPMS with Newmarket’s Delphi
- Marriott to offer fully managed AT&T Telepresence in its hotels
- Encore at Wynn Las Vegas adds Passkey online dashboards
- Passkey launches Live Dashboards for real-time event and group tracking
- SoftBrands integrates Passkey with Core CRS and Epitome PMS
- Nexus offers hotel groups direct access to travel buyers using DERTOUR’s Ratefinding.com
- Forte Village orders Nexus’ SFA application and GroupworX group lead system
- Starwood contracts with StarCite to connect meetings requests directly to its SFA system
- Starwood signs with Tata Communications Telepresence rooms worldwide
- Arcaneo incorporating Cendyn technology into Metron meetings management system
- Scala develops digital signage interface with Newmarket’s Delphi
- Cvent establishes marketing partnerships with Starwood and Hilton
- hotelSystemsPro announced iSalesPro for the iPhone
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 07/09/09


- FelCor Lodging Trust installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker in multiple properties
- ITC-Welcomgroup picks MICROS' 9700 HMS and OPERA Enterprise for over 100 hotels
FelCor Lodging Trust (FelCor) is installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker in several of its 85 hotels and resorts following successful trial implementations.  http://www.felcor.comhttp://www.captoninc.com
India’s ITC-Welcomgroup has selected MICROS Systems' MICROS 9700 Hospitality Management System (HMS) and OPERA Enterprise Solution for its more than 100 hotels, which operate under the ITC Luxury Collection, WelcomHotels/Sheraton, Fortune and WelcomHeritage brands.  The OPERA Central Reservation System (ORS) will be deployed in ITC-Welcomgroup’s Bangalore data center to manage call center operations and inventory/rate distribution, along with OPERA Customer Information System (OCIS) for enterprisewide customer relationship management.  The properties will use the OPERA Property Management System (PMS), MICROS 9700 HMS for point of sale and MICROS Guest Connection (GC) restaurant management system.  http://www.itcwelcomgroup.in, http://www.micros.com


- RedRock partners with PAS for software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering
RedRock Software is partnering with PAS to release a software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its Web-based enterprise inventory/purchasing system.  PAS’ pasHosting provides a premier SaaS infrastructure, including a data center, global Tier-1 IP backbone, 24/7 monitoring, administration and support.  Its pasUnity product provides a Web services interface that allows integration of RedRock Software to many external back office applications.  http://www.profact.comhttp://www.redrocksoftware.com


- Telkonet partners with Lutron for fully integrated guestroom control
- Toscana Country Club implements MTech’s PMWorks
- Hyatt Regency New Brunswick brings 421-kw SunPower solar power system online
- Lexington Downtown Hotel & Conference Center installs exterior LED lighting
For more on Engineering for 07/09/09


- Security Innovations unveils real-time graphical and map view for Access-Plus
- Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort implements first ADVANCE RFID system by Onity
- SAFLOK Messenger LENS lock offers advanced event message filtering, management
For more on Security for 07/09/09


- Hotel Concepts interfaces IDPMS with Newmarket Delphi
- Palomar Hotel Philadelphia implementing SoftBrands' Epitome PMS and business intelligence
- SoftBrands automates PMS links with EZYield
- SoftBrands integrates Shift4's Dollars On The Net with Epitome PMS
- SoftBrands integrates Passkey with both Core CRS and Epitome PMS
- SoftBrands developing Epitome PMS interface with Elavon’s Givex electronic gift cards
- SoftBrands introduces e-learning for Epitome PMS
- SoftBrands forms customer advisory council
- ITC-Welcomgroup picks MICROS' OPERA Enterprise and 9700 HMS for over 100 hotels
- Hotel Chateau Chamonix implements MICROS's Operetta PMS, myfidelio.net and mylink
- West Inn & Suites implements MICROS’ OPERA Xpress PMS, will install OPERA BI
- MICROS releases MyStayManager downloadable application for guests’ PDAs
- MICROS releases Resort Dashboard for OPERA Activities Scheduler
- MICROS releases SMS Texting via SkyWire Media for guest and staff communications
- Over 1,000 Best Western properties using Image Technology Systems’ Visual Matrix PMS
- Cheeca Lodge & Spa selects Agilysys’ Visual One, InfoGenesis, GeM and DataMagine
- Agilysys releases two-way Visual One PMS interface with Trust’s Voyager|CRS
- MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) ports PMS, CRM functionality to Microsoft Surface
- MSI releases mobile management applications for iPhone and iPod Touch
- MSI integrates WinPM system with IDeaS’ Revenue Optimization
- MSI becomes reseller of Libra OnDemand, interfaces it to The Helm BI platform
- ResortSuite launches RS Ambassador integration tool
- Club Access 2 leisure picks SPI Orange Systems' enterprise system
For more on Property Management Systems for 07/09/09


- Pan Pacific, Parkroyal Hotels launch MICROS-based Panther single-database CRS
- Marriott signs five-year contract with Pegasus for travel agent commission services
- Hotel Concepts–Brilliant announces iTesso modular CRS, PMS, CRM, Direct-Connect systems
- Oyster Hotel Reviews launches independent evaluation site
- SoftBrands announced version 3.0 of Core central reservations system
- SoftBrands integrates Passkey with Core CRS and Epitome PMS
- InnLink Central Reservation Services implements new Windsurfer CRS
- InnLink launches new InnVite brand for 3/4/5 star properties
- Sabre brings SynXis, E-site Marketing, Sabre Travel Network Hotels, Bidstork into Sabre Hospitality Solutions
- InnPoints Worldwide completes interface with EZYield.com
- Hospitality Management Holdings picks Trust’s Voyager|CRS and Discovery|CRM
- Wyndham Hotel Group creates 10 branded mobile Web sites
- Priceline.com launches enhanced hotel reservation services
For more on Reservations for 07/09/09


- InterContinental to use VFM Leonardo VScape Digital Asset Management System
- Pegasus integrating VFM Leonardo’s VScape with ODD
- South Fork Lodge selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope
- Datavision Technologies releases new version of Business Intelligence Suite
- Denihan launches My Affinia customer service program using Cendyn’s eConcierge
- TravelCLICK announces Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) strategy and services
- Orient-Express North America launches ZDirect’s eCRM for four North American properties
- ZDirect awarded patent for dynamic content communication technology
- Milestone Internet Marketing launches eBuzz Connect social media management system
- hotelSystemsPro announces hotelWebSpace online marketing tool
For more on Marketing/Management for 07/09/09


- Ariane in joint venture with TAOS Technologies to deploy self-service kiosks
- Libra OnDemand launches Customer Portal for guest access, stay enhancement
- Incentient launches SmartTouch glass touch-screen concierge services panel
- Control4 Suite Systems announces Concierge Service digital application store
- Videotree announces Videospa IP waterproof bathroom IPTV with Amino STB, Anevia services
- Amadeus launches three mobile applications offering location and itinerary-based information
- Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin partner with Florida State University for iPhone guest-info application
- IBM to include Roomlinx in Hotel-in-a-Box (HIB) solution for IHG
- Roomlinx wins Technium Challenge business support package for European expansion 
- Ace Hotels in New York, Palm Springs implement custom Guest-Tek Video on Demand
- Radisson Hotel Saskatoon installs high-definition Guest-Tek system over Shaw coax cables
- Northstar Lodge Hyatt Residence Club installs Guest-Tek OneView Internet, IPTV, HD VOD
- Guest-Tek signs contract for access to MGM’s library of some 4,100 films
- Guest-Tek selects BelAir Networks’ Wi-Fi products for its HSIA
- Rosen implements free BelAir Wi-Fi at Quality Inn Plaza and Comfort Inn Lake Buena Vista
- Lutron, Exceptional Innovation partner to offer guestroom control from smart phones
- HSIA providers Single Digits and GTS merge
- NXTV announced NXTManage to help hotels market their services on guestroom TV
- NXTV announces service enhancements including personal video recording, Internet radio
- Thinix introduces WebConcierge content management interface for TVs, smart phones, etc.
- TeleAdapt high-definition MediaHub HD now shipping
- Gold Key Solutions releases Web-based Concierge Assistant on .NET
- INNCOM’s IRAS offers multivendor VoIP phone, TV interfaces for room control, etc.
- HotelLounger.com launches new social network for travelers
- Flyte Systems enhances FlyteTouch with local traffic, weather, other travel data
- theWit offers guestroom touch-screen services via DOCOMO interTouch, NEC IP phones
- LodgeNet announces expanded free-to-guest (FTG) hotel TV services
- Activision TV announces patented Interactive All In One in-room system
- InterContinental installs first Microsoft Surface in an IHG property
- Panasonic unveils two new TV product lines for hospitality
- ZVOX releases 550 HSD Connectivity Series surround sound system for guestrooms
- London’s Lanesborough makes Sony laptops available in all guestrooms at no charge
- Uniguest acquires digital signage company Dynamic Digital Designs (DDD)
- iBAHN expands Virtual Private Network (VPN) Certification Program globally
- Vertical Systems Inc. (VSi) introduces three new self-service kiosks
For more on Guest Services for 07/09/09


- Gaylord Opryland rolling out MTech’s REX Room Expeditor
- MICROS to offer Merchant Link TransactionVault to OPERA PMS users by year end
- Aprinda and priZem Hospitality Solutions partnering to offer online training
- Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group installs TimeManagement’s labor management system
- Mohonk Mountain House implements UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance
- UniFocus announces latest release of its Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance, includes electronic signature
For more on Back Office for 07/09/09


- Thing5 has over 2,000 hotels utilizing its SIP trunking and hosted PBX
- Seven Tides installing US $13.4 million converged network for all its Dubai developments
Thing5 now has over 2,000 hotels utilizing its SIP trunking and hosted PBX platform.  http://www.thing5.com
Independent United Arab Emirates holding company Seven Tides and associated companies are installing an AED 50 million (US $13.4 million) centralized fully converged network platform covering all of Seven Tides’ upcoming Dubai developments, the Royal Amwaj and Oceana on Palm Jumeirah, Ibn Battuta Gate and Moevenpick Deira.  Future developments will also be accommodated on the same platform, which links all front and back-of-house operations for IPTV, high-speed Internet access, wireless, CCTV and access controls for A/C, lighting, fire and safety.  Design and project management are being handled by IT consultants Entiretec; the network itself is to be provided by Cisco.  http://www.seventides.com, http://www.entiretec.com


And now for you-know-what…

A young monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript. So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, "We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son."

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years. Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot.

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him. He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.

"We missed the R! We missed the R! We missed the R!" the abbot cries.

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably. The young monk asks the old abbot, "What's wrong, father?"

With a choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word was celebrate."

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