Siegel Sez

October 29, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Last night I experienced my first night ever in a Ritz-Carlton at its Buckhead property here in Atlanta. I was attending the LodgeNet Customer Technology Symposium where I was invited to participate on a panel discussing new innovations and opportunities integrating network technology.  Who would have thought a coffee pot in a room could cause so much excitement.  I will tell you this, I am now a big fan of the Ritz-Carlton Hotels. I can see why luxury hotels have such a loyal following. Any hotel can be a positive experience, luxury or not, when everything goes right; what separates hotels is how they handle something that wasn’t exactly perfect.  The LodgeNet conference was very well attended and the company really made sure that its customers had a great time.  There was a dinner at the Georgia Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world, which was a great experience for all.  The only thing that I found a bit uncomfortable was that fish was served for dinner.  It was a great experience and I thank LodgeNet for inviting me.  The Georgia Aquarium has been open for two years and I finally visited it thanks to a conference in town. I have lived in Atlanta for 12 years now, and who knows, maybe I will put other Atlanta attractions like the CNN Tour or visiting the World of Coke on my to-do list. Why is it we never visit the things that are close by, but will go out of our way to plan trips to see things in other places? 

These truly are interesting times. The recession is over and the recovery seems to be gaining a bit of steam. The mainstream media seems to have more positive news than negative stuff regarding the economy.  Unemployment is still high, but then I read in USA Today that there are many companies planning on serious hiring in the first quarter of 2010. I mention this because as we focus on location for our Executive Vendor Summit in April many of the locations we are talking to don’t have space for us. I might be the only person who is trying to book a conference that is happy to get that news. Yes, the future is looking good. In fact, there seem to be new opportunities everywhere.  Our magazine, Hospitality Upgrade, is partnering with PhoCusWright as it launches TRAVDEX in May 2010.  This is an event that brings together those who buy and sell technology in the travel industry. A bit different than a normal conference, but these are different times so being creative is the road we all must travel if we want to be successful.  If travel technology is your thing then visit or contact them at Speaking of travel technology, isn’t it amazing how much play Choice Hotels versus Expedia is getting? I strongly recommend you read Jon Inge’s opening to the technology review; he has a way of sharing his thoughts that often has me rethinking how we should all look at business.

I did want to thank all those who commented on my last Siegel Sez about my ride through small town Oklahoma and Kansas and my meeting people from small town America. I think everybody is working harder and longer nowadays, and we all need to take a step back to reflect on what is important to us. The work is there and needs to be done, but does anything beat a short break to recharge our batteries? I think not. Thanks again for all the comments that were shared, it was much appreciated.

Here now is the real reason we are here, the aforementioned Jon Inge and his technology 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



- Partnerships work; how closely are you working with your customers?
Ever since the Choice/Expedia blow-up I’ve been thinking more about how essential a partnership approach is today.  Whatever the facts of that dispute, it’s pretty clear that an important missing ingredient to the discussions was a sense of partnership.  Choice has room nights and wants to sell them; Expedia wants to help, for a commission.  What part of this are they missing?  Expedia may have more to lose than Choice, but face-offs don’t help either side.  Neither is making money while this drags on.

Partnerships work.  The results achieved by HTNG’s workgroups are one example, though by no means the only one, of what can be achieved when competitors see a way for everyone to benefit, trust each other and work together to achieve that.  Certainly my clients appreciate multivendor teams that cooperate well to implement an effective system, and are much more likely to buy from them in the future.

Lisa Barone emphasizes a different aspect of this, namely the value of developing a partnership relationship with your customers – see her blog at   Regular, meaningful interaction with customers to the extent that you can watch what they do may tell you that they actually don’t want all the bells and whistles you feel compelled to add to your product; often they just want to make existing functions work more simply.  If something doesn’t work well for them they’ll quickly develop workarounds in Excel, Outlook or Google Documents that are easy to understand and get the job done. 

This offers a whole different benefit to the refresher training I’m constantly urging clients to schedule with their vendors.  The hotel staff will always benefit by learning how to operate their systems more effectively, but the vendor has a golden opportunity to find out what’s truly important to them on a day-to-day basis.  You can’t always discover this by talking with them, but if you’re onsite you can watch them and take a look at the workarounds they find useful.  Trust and a willingness to listen to each other are the keys.


- InnQuest releases Expedia QuickConnect interface for roomMaster 2000
- South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa picks Agilysys’ LMS, DataMagine and Guest eMarketing
- Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort selects SPI’s Orange Systems
- Image Technology Systems implements two-way Visual Matrix interface with EzRMS
For more on Property Management Systems for 10/29/09


- TIG Global receives 10 WebAwards from the international Web Marketing Association
- TRAVELCLICK receives 18 Web site design awards in IAVA’s 2009 W3 competition
- Carlson adopts VFM Leonardo’s VScape for 1,050+ locations
- FAREPORTAL contracts with VFM Leonardo for and sites
- Amadeus picks VFM Leonardo’s VScape
- Blizzard Internet Marketing ranked in Website Magazine’s Top 50 SEO/Search Marketing Providers
- Libra OnDemand integrates Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into its CRM tools
For more on Marketing/Management for 10/29/09


- Aruba Marriott upgrades to DataWorks’ NeXT retail inventory system
- Pala Casino in California implements DataWorks’ NeXT system for retail and spa
- Sea Island Resort implements MTech’s Hotel Inventory & Purchasing (HIP) module
For more on Inventory/Purchasing for 10/29/09


- Kingkey Palace Hotel, Shenzhen, China implements VingCard’s Classic
- Doubletree Dallas/Richardson reopens with VingCard’s VISIONLINE and Signature RFID
- Kaba Ilco receives Florida Building Code approval for complete range of electronic hotel locks
For more on Security for 10/29/09


- Bob Bansfield joins MSI as vice president of corporate sales and marketing
- Noreen Henry, Lesley Harris, Yannis Karmis promoted at Travelocity
- Shirley Holman promoted to director of sales for Uniguest’s technology division
- Jeff Soares hired by TeleAdapt as U.S. business development manager
For more on People on the Move for 10/29/09


- Warwick International upgrades to Pegasus’ NetBooker NG booking engine for 27 sites
- launches interactive map functionality
Warwick International Hotels has upgraded to Pegasus Solutions’ NetBooker NG Internet booking engine for 27 of its 40+ hotels and resorts.,
Hotel search engine hotelicopter has launched interactive map functionality on its Web site, allowing visitors to find hotels in specific locations, near an exact address or in an area or neighborhood.  Travelers can highlight hotels they are considering and have only those properties appear on the map.  Hovering a mouse cursor over a map pin displays the hotel name, star and user rating and average rates.


- Landmark London deploying IDeaS V5i
- IDeaS launches Rate Optimization Service
- Metro Hospitality Group expands use of EZYield to all 14 properties
- Preferred picks SynXis
- EzRMS implements two-way interface with Image Technology Systems’ Visual Matrix PMS
For more on Revenue Management for 10/29/09


- Red Lion implements Newmarket’s MeetingBroker and standardizes on Delphi
Red Lion Hotels has implemented Newmarket International’s MeetingBroker as its lead distribution platform and standardized on Delphi for sales and catering management.   Newmarket will host Delphi in a multiproperty environment built for Red Lion.,


- Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort selects SCI’s FOOD-TRAK
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Michigan has selected System Concepts, Inc. (SCI) FOOD-TRAK for food and beverage management.  Soaring Eagle is operated by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and features 70 tables, 4,400 slots, a 514-room resort, 3,000 seat theater, conference center and spa.,


- Bittel’s UNO combines phone, alarm clock/radio and iPod/iPhone/MP3 player interface
- INNCOM partners with EI for flexible integration with other hotel systems
- Tangerine Global unveils Citrus Solution IPTV service with 120 digital TV channels
- Quadriga developing next generation technology platform, portal
- Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Downtown installs Flyte Systems’ FlytePass
For more on Guest Services for 10/29/09


- PAS releases pasUnit, next generation integration suite
PAS has released pasUnity, its next-generation integration suite, and has received HTNG certification for it.  pasUnity uses an HTNG-certified SOAP-based XML Web services interface to enable customers to build customized self-running interfaces for the integration of financial transactions across virtually any application.


And now for you-know-what…

Two golf friends were about to tee off, when one fellow noticed that his partner had but one golf ball. “Don't you have at least one other ball,” he asked.

“Nope, I only need one ball,” his friend said.

“Are you sure? What happens if you lose that one,” the first asked.

“This is a very special golf ball,” the other man explained. “You can't lose it, so I don't need another one.”

“What do you mean you can't lose it,” the first man asked. “What happens if you slice your shot and the ball goes in the lake?”

“That's okay, this special golf ball senses when it's under water and it puts out a stream of bubbles,” the other man replied. “I'll be able to retrieve it. You can't lose this ball.”

“Well what happens if you hit it into the long rough,” the first man asked.

“No problem,” the other man said. “You see, this ball can detect the long grass and it sends up puffs of fluorescent smoke. I'll be able to see it easily. You can't lose this ball.”

Exasperated, the first friend asked, “Okay. Let's say our game goes late, the sun goes down, and you hit your ball deep into the trees and it gets lost among the bushes and shrubs. What are you going to do then?”

“That's okay too,” he replied. “You see, this special ball can sense the darkness and it makes a beeping sound. I'll be able to get it back - no problem.”

Finally satisfied that his friend only needed the one amazing golf ball, the first man asked, “Hey, where did you get a golf ball like that anyway?”

“I found it,” he replied.

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