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Siegel Sez

October 15, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Have you ever worked for a small business? My business is small and because of that it never stops. We rarely think of what we have completed, we seem to always be focused on what hasn’t been done and more importantly what needs to be done. It never seems to end. But last weekend all that was totally out of my mind. I went to a wedding in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and had the time of my life. Of course, it helped that I was the only single guy there–talk about being popular when the music started. More importantly than the wedding was the feeling of escape. I flew into Wichita, Kansas, and drove to Tulsa because the airfare was $300 less. I have a history with Tulsa since my best friends from college grew up there and it was their daughter getting married. It was so nice that nobody wanted to talk hotels, technology, digital magazines, Web sites, conferences or what the future of hotels and technology looks like. Everybody just had a great time celebrating a new couple starting their life together. I hope they are happy forever. On Sunday after breakfast I decided on my ride back to Wichita that I would take my time. I took all back roads, stopped for coffee in a tiny off the road town and as I do pretty well, just talked to anybody who would listen to me. I honestly had the time of my life. Yes, we all get caught up in our responsibilities, the never-ending rat race of life and business, but do we ever find a way to just truly escape everything? I know I don’t, but for about four hours on Sunday in small town America I did. What a wonderful experience.

Doing our part to keep the hotel industry’s recovery in full swing I will be attending the PAR Springer-Miller Users Group in Hammock Beach, Fla., in a couple of weeks. They have a very good crowd this year, which is great to hear. Then I am scheduled to moderate a panel at the LodgeNet Customer Technology Symposium here in Atlanta and the following week it is off to New York for the International Hotel/Motel and Restaurant Show (www.ihmrs.com) where we sponsor the Technology Innovation Pavilion. If you are a vendor and would like to participate please e-mail Kate at kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 803-5304, I believe there is one spot left.  After New York, Geneva and I will be at the PhoCusWright Annual Conference in Orlando and then I go directly to the Global Gaming Show in Las Vegas.  This industry is notorious for clumping all the events in the same window of time. What is life without a few challenges, right? I am sure after all these events are done my experience in Oklahoma and Kansas will be a distant memory. I need to remember to allow some down time in life. I think we all need to do this. Who knows, maybe I will actually take a vacation this year. I took a vacation two years ago, which was my first in many, many years, and it was the best thing I had ever experienced. There is something to be said about recharging our batteries, right?  I hope to see many of you at these different events. If you are planning on attending, please let me know so I can say hello. Our whole group from Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be at IHMRS. For those of you who come to our dinner Monday night in New York, we might have a surprise for you this year, but that is all I am allowed to say. I am proud of my ability to keep secrets…for awhile anyway.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks including his opening “twitter bashing” remarks. 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



- How will Twitter become profitable?
- HTNG releases 2009B specifications
Twitter continues to intrigue me.  Yes, many of the postings there are boring and narcissistic, but it’s been adopted widely enough as a general communications tool that you have to take it seriously.  Various filtering tools and search engines let you focus on messages that are relevant to your own interests or business, and for generating immediate responses it has few peers.

Some hoteliers have taken to it well.  The Los Angeles Bonaventure made headlines as one of the first to offer a limited number of discounted rooms only on Twitter, and the Rancho Bernardo Inn’s John Gates is building a good following with his often whimsical offers as the GMGoneMad.  The ROI may be low so far, but because the investment itself is a minimal amount of time, any return at all is beneficial and the positive PR impact is significant.  And now a provider of short-term hotel bookings has opened a Twitter channel (see news item below).

But while many companies are making money off Twitter, how on earth will Twitter itself keep going?  As a free service it hasn’t turned more than a minuscule profit since it started, and the strict 140-character message format that’s the key to its success doesn’t lend itself to carrying advertising.  I asked this question at a HITEC seminar, and received the somewhat callous response that if Twitter itself fails, something else will pop up to take its place, so don’t worry.  I’m sure that attitude isn’t shared by those who have funded it so far, nor by those who reportedly just injected another $100 million into the company to keep it going while it comes up with a viable business model.  That will buy them time to think of ways to make it pay without killing its appeal, but they’ve had plenty of time already and this clearly can’t go on for ever.

Twitter has become universal and useful as a free service, but unless its backers are philanthropic enough to run it as a public service, at some point it will have to morph into something else.  Maybe if we have to pay per message the flood of “what I had for breakfast” postings will evaporate.  Let’s hope so.
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has released its 2009B specifications, covering:
- links between PMSs and guestroom devices such as door locks, thermostats, televisions and telephones, for checkin/out signals and guest preference setting.
- delivery of hotel rich descriptive content to distribution channels and Web sites.
- improved security for credit card processing, helping PCI compliance through storing credit card data in one secure system, replacing it with a substitute number (proxy) that can be shared with other systems without compromising security.  As the proxy can be configured to look like a valid credit card number, much of the existing card-processing logic in the connected systems can remain unchanged.
- enhanced reservations connectivity processing so that the receiving system may pull rate and availability update messages on request, rather than being required to listen for them in real time.


- ResortSuite launches dashboards
- Wytestone Properties installs MSI’s WinPM at three sites
- Water’s Edge Resort and Spa picks NORTHWIND’s Maestro Enterprise Suite
- Grand Pacific Resorts upgrades to SPI’s Orange Systems full enterprise suite
- Barnbougle Dunes chooses Agilysys’ Visual One, GolfPro
- Treasure Island picks Agilysys’ LMS, SWS, GeM and DataMagine, expands InfoGenesis
- SPI Orange Systems announces development of Rules Engine
- Focus Hotels implementing protel PMS from Xn in all properties
- MSI releases version 2.2 of WinPM, focused on Best Western
- Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix installs TTI’s Scan2PMS
- Smoky Mountain Resorts implements Maestro for seven properties
For more on Property Management Systems for 10/15/09


- Inoqo launches Twitter-based hotel booking engine
- getaroom partners with Travelocity
- HotelREZ launches Trust-based CentralREZ CRS
- WestCord Hotels moves to SynXis’ RedX for 12 properties in the Netherlands
- JAL Hotels switches 58 hotels to SynXis’ RedX
- WIKIO contracts with Sprice.com for hotel search and rich content
For more on Reservations for 10/15/09


- Starwood Preferred Guest announces suite of Twitter, Facebook and iPhone applications
- Domina picks Utell’s MarketVision – Agency Position reporting
- Milestone Internet Marketing expands social media/Web 2.0 services for mobile phones
- Good Hospitality implements Alloso Technologies’ Portfolio One reporting/BI tool
- Vistera Systems now an authorized affiliate of the Avalon BUZZ Report
- TripAdvisor adds management dashboards to property owner pages
- Milestone Internet Marketing wins two Web site awards
- TRAVELCLICK wins 20 WMA International 2009 WebAwards
- SynXis picks VFM Leonardo’s VScape, VBrochure
- White Lodging Services selects VFM Leonardo's VBrochure
- Travelport GDS extends relationship with VFM Leonardo to cover Worldspan
- SIM Partners’ FilterStream widget streams filtered TripAdvisor reviews to hotel’s Web site
For more on Marketing/Management for 10/15/09


- Evolution launches Demand Manager, other hospitality e-commerce products
- IDeaS named latest winner of the Best of SaaS Showplace (BoSS) Award
- Apical Resource Group partners with inspire for revenue/distribution management service
- Trust International announces Complete Rate set of rate maintenance tools
For more on Revenue Management for 10/15/09


- Robert Bayless hired by Genares as chief technology officer
- Todd Davis promoted to chief technology officer at Choice Hotels International
- Kathy Bannasch joins hotel SystemsPro as vice president of sales and marketing
- John Chaffin, Kelly Miller, Adam Smalarz join INNCOM sales team
For more on People on the Move for 10/15/09


- Hyatt launches range of online meeting management tools
- Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) selects Passkey
- Valorem Group signs with StarCite’s Destination Solutions
- Acclaim Meetings partners with StarCite to launch AcclaimCite portal
- Elite Meetings International launches SpeedRFP online RFP management tool
- GetThere announces Collaboration Suite tools to minimize travel/meeting costs
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 10/15/09


- Swire Hotels' The Upper House installs iPod touch in each guestroom
- Radisson designates EthoStream as a preferred vendor for wireless HSIA
- Firmdale Hotels installs KoolConnect in new Crosby Street Hotel
- Hotel 1000 implements 100MB Internet connection
- Nokia acquires trip itinerary consolidator Dopplr
- Casa Dorada Resort & Spa installs Roomlinx
- runtriz integrates Hotel Evolution phone application with MTech’s HotSOS
For more on Guest Services for 10/15/09


- River Hospitality Management installing Aptech’s Profitvue
River Hospitality Management is installing Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue Enterprise Back Office Accounting Solution in its Concordia Hotel in Washington, D.C., and Kirkley Hotel and Conference Center in Lynchburg, Va.  The companies will utilize Profitvue Version 13 for daily back office financial procedures and to provide flow-through analysis of operational data to track variances between revenue and gross operating profit (GOP).  http://www.aptech-inc.com


- Trump Miami installs 150 Polycom SpectraLink 8000 Series wireless phones
The Trump International Beach Resort in Miami has equipped its staff with 150 Polycom SpectraLink 8000 Series wireless telephones to improve communications propertywide, deployed by Hotel Internet Services (HIS) and operating on the property’s Ruckus Wireless Wi-Fi infrastructure.  The handsets provide voice-over wireless LAN calls and push-to-talk voice communications across 24 separate workgroups, and are integrated with MTech’s HotSOS guest response application.  http://www.trumpmiami.com, http://www.polycom.com


- Grand Millennium Sukhumvit, Bangkok, installs VingCard Signature RFID locks
- Onity integrates CT30 offline locks into Lenel Systems’ OnGuard security software
The Grand Millennium Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand has installed VingCard’s Signature RFID door locks with NFC cell phone compatibility.  http://www.millenniumhotels.com, http://www.vingcard.com
Onity has integrated its CT30 offline locks into Lenel Systems International’s OnGuard security software platform, allowing them to be programmed, managed, encoded and monitored from within the OnGuard environment, simplifying the control of both interior and exterior door locks.  Both Onity and Lenel are part of UTC Fire & Security.  The CT30 lock includes both magnetic stripe technology and a PIN code keypad.  http://www.lenel.com, http://www.onity.com


And now for you-know-what…

How many online forum members does it take to change a light bulb?

One to change the light bulb and to post that the light bulb has been

14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light
bulb could have been changed differently.

Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.

27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.

53 to flame the spell checkers.

41 to correct spelling/grammar flames.

Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb"...another six to
condemn those six as anal-retentive.

Two industry professionals to inform the group that the proper term is "lamp".

15 know-it-alls who claim they were in the industry, and that "light bulb"
is perfectly correct.

156 to e-mail the participant's ISPs complaining that they are in violation
of their "acceptable use policy".

109 to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this
discussion to a light bulb group

203 to demand that cross posting to hardware forum, off-topic forum, and
light bulb group about changing light bulbs should be stopped.

111 to defend the posting to this group saying that we all use light bulbs
and therefore the posts are relevant to this group.

306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy
the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this
technique, and what brands are faulty.

27 to post URL's where one can see examples of different light bulbs.

14 to post that the URL's were posted incorrectly and then post the
corrected URL's.

Three to post about links they found from the URL's that are relevant to this
group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group.

33 to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all
headers and signatures, and add "Me too".

12 to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot
handle the light bulb controversy.

19 to quote the "Me toos" to say "Me three".

Four to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.

44 to ask what is a "FAQ".

Four to say, "Didn't we go through this already a short time ago?"

143 to say, "Do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about
light bulbs."

One forum lurker to respond to the original post six months from now and start
it all over again...

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