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Siegel Sez

August 20, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

We are a few weeks away from the Hospitality Upgrade 8th Annual CIO Summit, and I am proud to say we have our biggest crowd ever with over 50 confirmed attendees. But, there were two conversations that absolutely amazed me. Before I get into the two conversations, there is something you should know about the Summit;  there is no charge to attend but attendees are responsible for their own travel expenses.  So one of the conversations I had from a CIO in the hotel industry as to why he couldn’t attend the Summit this year was that his company has a freeze on travel. A freeze on travel? Aren’t we in the travel industry that wants people to travel again? Here is an opportunity to attend something that was agreed clearly has exceptional value and they can’t travel? Is it me or is this just nuts?

To those who are attending the CIO Summit this year, thank you.  We have every major hotel company attending except one, every major gaming company, same with the cruise industry and vacation ownership companies along with a multitude of management companies.  Maybe it is the allure of Boston in September or maybe it is the fact that the CIO Summit is about attendees and not vendors, which is why we limit sponsorships. What I do know is we are all proud that such important people trust us with their valuable time and know that the learning and interaction with their peers is invaluable. Three more weeks, I can’t wait.

Speaking of travel, did you hear about the Warwick Hotel in Denver extending its Airfare Farematch Package? The hotel will tie the room rate to the price you paid to fly to Denver as long as it at least $79 dollars. I love people that try creative things, but why stop at matching an airfare? Aren’t there things we could tie the rate to? How about the weather? Try 84 degrees, $84 dollar room rate. Of course, a heat wave hitting places like New York or Boston as it did this week with the temperature reaching 100 degrees might work against them. Wait, New York or Boston at a $100? Isn’t that a bargain? Maybe hotels should tie rates to the stock market. Book a room at a rate the hotel can live with and if the market goes down 3 percentage points today then so does your rate. If it goes up, so does your rate. So what your rate went up, the stock market is doing well and wouldn’t that be a positive thing? Or how about some sort of big wheel that a guest spins after they check in similar to the Wheel of Fortune? The guest might win a free drink in the bar, 10 percent off dinner, free Internet or something creative like that.  Then to make it real exciting, when you spin the Wheel of Fortune you might end up on bankrupt. With my hotel version you spin and could end up on “double your room rate.” People like to gamble, don’t they? Of course, this could be a problem when they finish their trip and try to explain this to their boss if it was a business trip. Maybe I should stick to publishing and not running a hotel. But I do think that creative is good and trying new things even better.  If you have any other suggestions, send them my way and I will share them with the industry. E-mail me at mailto:rich@hospitalityupgrade.com

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks. It might be summer, but the industry doesn’t seem to stop, which in today’s world is a good thing. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. To all those who commented on my video interview with Jon that is on our home page at http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com, thank you very much. It was fun to do, but what I really loved was all the background people. Wait until you see the video we are going to do at the CIO Summit.  That will be fun.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- PhoCusWright survey identifies seven trends impacting corporate travel
- Check out my new Web site/blog
The restrictions of the economic downturn are an obvious influence on business travel this year, but the latest PhoCusWright survey of US Corporate Travel identifies seven other powerful trends.  These are:

1. The 3Ps of Corporate Travel: Balancing the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet (sustainability practices), considering travel’s social/environmental impact as well as its cost. 
2. Travel & Expense: Putting the “E” Cart before the “T” Horse, making sure expense reporting is tied into the travel booking process.
3. Business Travel Goes Retail: Supply chain management, or applying KPIs and risk-reward incentives to travel suppliers based on the wealth of data available online.
4. Traveler-centric vs. Trip-centric Buying: Taking a richer view of the traveler (profile, preferences, historical behavior, etc.) in the selling process, not just the destination.
5. Going Mobile: as everywhere, providing more relevant, just-in-time information to the traveler and integrating self-service, paperless travel, e-wallet payments and expense reporting.
6. Videoconferencing: Traveling without the trip, as telepresence systems finally make videoconferencing a viable alternative to travel.
7. SMEs Become Big Business: small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not been well served but represent huge business volume, and are looking for booking and expense reporting solutions scaled to their needs and budgets.
Somewhat late to the party in the time-honored tradition of the cobbler’s children always going barefoot, I’ve finally migrated my Web site (http://www.joninge.com) to WordPress.

This means that you can now sign up for an RSS feed for automatic notification whenever I post the latest tech news, a blog entry or a new article.  It also means that you can leave comments on any of my posts, so don’t leave me in the dark!  Argue with me, suggest alternative thoughts or topics I should write about, but say something.

The search function is the same as before, allowing you to search through all my old articles and newsletters and providing the context for each result.  So far I’ve migrated the last two years of TechNews and the last eight years of Hospitality Upgrade articles to the new site, which should give you plenty to start with.  The rest will be there in a few weeks, probably in mid-September when I return from vacation.

To all of you who’ve been asking for an RSS feed for so long, thanks for your patience!


- Travelocity Global acquires India's Travelguru
- AboutAnywhere.com launches free listing online booking Web site
- Hilton launches U.K. and German mobile services using Mobile Travel Technologies
- Expedia reports 10 hotel booking trends
For more on Reservations for 08/20/09


- Cap Juluca resort selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope
- Travel search/booking site Voyij.com signs with VFM Leonardo for rich-media content
- VFM Leonardo adds Gekko.com to its VNetwork
- VIZERGY listed in Jacksonville Business Journal’s top 50 private companies
- Tristar Hotel Group offers selection of online tools and services
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/20/09


- Forestdale Hotels installs RateTiger in 13 properties
- Tristar Hotel Group offers RM3 subscription-based revenue management service
Forestdale Hotels has installed RateTiger’s online channel management products across 13 of its 18 properties to maintain rate parity across the Internet.  http://www.forestdale.comhttp://www.ratetiger.com
Hotel owner and manager Tristar Hotel Group is offering a subscription-based revenue management service, RM3, to hoteliers.  http://www.hmonline.com


- American Express Business Travel unveils virtual meetings eXpert telepresence service
- Knowland Group ranked No. 2 in travel and 222 overall on Inc. magazine’s Fast 500
- InterContinental signs enterprisewide agreement with Newmarket for MeetingBroker, Delphi.Net
- Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors merging
- Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Galt House Hotel and Talbott Hotel sign with Passkey
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 08/20/09


- innRoad introduces enhanced interface with InnLink for GDS/OTA access
- Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Ore., installs Maestro PMS, Table Reservations and Analytics
- Ariane’s VIKI mobile checkin/checkout project to receive government financing
- SPI adds Orange Documents to its vacation ownership software
- ACS’ North Phoenix Hope Lodge to be 29th Hope Lodge to implement SoftBrands' Epitome
For more on Property Management Systems for 08/20/09


- Resorts World at Sentosa selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec
- Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas implements ReServe Anywhere
Resorts World at Sentosa on Singapore’s Sentosa island has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec systems.  More than 250 InfoGenesis POS terminals will be used across the resort, which is scheduled to open in early 2010 and includes Universal Studios Singapore (the first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia), Marine Life Park (the world’s largest oceanarium), six hotels totaling more than 1,800 rooms, a casino, meeting facilities, a water theme park and several entertainment, retail and food and beverage offerings.  http://www.rwsentosa.com, http://www.agilysys.com
Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has implemented ReServe Interactive's ReServe Anywhere Web-based system across four on-property restaurants to manage dining reservations.  http://www.treasureisland.comhttp://www.reserveinteractive.com


- Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, N.C., implements PDC’s RFID wristband system
- Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City installs seven Microsoft Surface units in Xhibition Bar
- Four Points Columbus Ohio Airport picks Broadband Hospitality for TV, Internet service
- Roomlinx installs Interactive TV at seven hotels in eight weeks
- Sheraton University City Hotel extends SuiteLinq interactive service to hotel lobby
For more on Guest Services for 08/20/09


- Resorts World at Sentosa selects Agilysys’ Eatec and InfoGenesis
Resorts World at Sentosa on Singapore’s Sentosa island has selected Agilysys’ Eatec and InfoGenesis POS systems.  The resort is scheduled to open in early 2010 and includes Universal Studios Singapore (the first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia), Marine Life Park (the world’s largest oceanarium), six hotels totaling more than 1,800 rooms, a casino, meeting facilities, a water theme park and several entertainment, retail and food and beverage offerings.  http://www.rwsentosa.comhttp://www.agilysys.com


- Hilton Asheville, N.C., installs roof-mounted solar water heating system
- Two Cooper Hotels properties installing solar thermal systems
The newly opened 165-room Hilton Asheville has installed a roof-mounted solar water heating system, one of the largest installations in the Western North Carolina region.  Water throughout the hotel, including the pool, will be solar heated, eliminating twenty-five tons of carbon dioxide per year (the equivalent of planting 7,377 trees), saving about $10,000 a year in fossil fuel costs, and providing over 2,300 gallons of hot water a day.  http://www1.hilton.com
Two of Memphis-based Cooper Hotels’ properties, the Hilton Knoxville Airport and the Doubletree Hotel Oak Ridge, are installing solar thermal systems to provide almost 2,000 gallons of hot water per day per property.  The systems are designed, installed and maintained by FLS Energy of Asheville, N.C.  http://www.flsenergy.comhttp://www.cooperhotels.com


- Onity takes orders from 28 properties in one month after launch of ADVANCE RFID locks
- Heritage Rotorua installs Kaba RFID electronic locks
Onity announced that it has taken orders from 28 properties in 12 countries just one month after the official launch of its ADVANCE RFID (radio frequency identification) contact-less electronic locking system.  Installation has already begun at over half of those properties, starting with the Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort in Mexico's Riviera Maya region.  http://www.onity.com
The Heritage Rotorua has installed a Kaba RFID electronic locking system.  http://www.heritagehotels.co.nz, http://www.kaba.co.nz


- Victor Vesnaver is new SVP sales and marketing at PAR Springer-Miller
- OpenTravel announces board of directors for 2009-2010
- Helen Wallace joins TravelCLICK as CFO
- Vickie Singer joins PhoCusWright
- Chuck Sullivan is new SVP global online services at Hilton
- Mike Durazo promoted to director of online client solutions at Best Western
For more on People on the Move for 08/20/09


- Destination Hotels & Resorts implementing EthoStream networks at two sites
Destination Hotels & Resorts has awarded contracts to EthoStream for a converged IP network at its newly opened Terranea Resort on California's Palos Verdes Peninsula, integrating wireless and wired high-speed Internet access (HSIA) with back office connectivity and remote customer support, and for wireless networking at the Resort at Squaw Creek near Lake Tahoe, Calif.  With EthoStream's Web-based management interface, Destination Hotels & Resorts can now manage 14 of its properties remotely from a single location, including the ability to compare HSIA usage among properties and monitor Internet connectivity and guest support activity.  http://www.destinationhotels.comhttp://www.ethostream.com


And now for you-know-what…

Wanda’s dishwasher quit working so she called in a repairman. Since she had to go to work the next day, she told the repairman, “I’ll leave the key under the mat. Please fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I’ll mail you a check. Oh, and don’t worry about my dog Spike, he won’t bother you. But whatever you do, do not, under any circumstances, talk to my parrot. I MUST STRESS TO YOU: DO NOT TALK TO MY PARROT!”

When the repairman arrived at Wanda’s apartment the following day, he discovered the biggest, meanest looking dog he had ever seen. But, as Wanda had said, the dog just rested there on the carpet watching the repairman go about his work.

The parrot, however, drove him nuts the whole time with his incessant yelling, cursing and name calling. Finally the repairman couldn’t contain himself any longer and yelled, “Shut up, you stupid, ugly bird!”

To which the parrot replied, “Get him, Spike!”

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