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Siegel Sez

December 17, 2009

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Texas. Now think of a city in Texas. I bet you thought Dallas, right? Or Austin? Maybe San Antonio? What about the largest city in Texas? Why is it we always think of Dallas before Houston? Is it because they have a better football team? I started thinking when I last attended an industry event in Houston. HITEC has been in Dallas more than once, even held in Austin a couple of years ago, but I never attended a HITEC in Houston and I have been to every one since 1983. So why am I on this Houston kick?  On April 12, 2010, Hospitality Upgrade will be holding our sixth annual Executive Vendor Summit for the industry’s top technology companies in Houston. This event has grown every year, and though it might seem strange to those who have never attended since the attendees are presidents and CEOs of companies that provide technology to the industry and does not include any prospects to sell to, those who have attended always return. This industry is based on cooperation as much as competition so who you end up partnering with can be as important as those you sell to. The Executive Vendor Summit is by invitation only and there is no charge to attend. If you are a vendor of technology to the hospitality industry and are interested in attending, please e-mail Kate at kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. A special thank you to Jeff Parker, the CIO of Magnolia Hotels, for being our host this year. It is much appreciated.

I was in Florida this past week and was able to sneak a quick day trip over to Paradise Island where Bernard Gay, the CIO of Atlantis (http://www.atlantis.com/), gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of some of their initiatives. The technology aspect of what they are doing is pretty amazing, but the hotelier in me was more amazed at how much that property has changed since I was last there many years ago. Four stars, five stars and now maybe part of the complex is five and a half stars? I mean how many hotels with casinos have a casino at the swimming pool? Yes, it is a very exclusive swimming pool that very few guests can swim in, but still pretty amazing. Bernard also showed me their new camp for kids that is scheduled to open this month. I mean there is high tech and there is really high tech. When you walk into one of the buildings at the camp there are lizards that come chasing you and you are afraid of stepping on them. What is especially amazing is that there really weren’t any lizards but you are convinced that there were. The biggest problem this place is going to have for families that are visiting Atlantis with children will be getting their kids to leave. Some of the other technology they have in there will also amaze you, but I guess that is what excites kids today.  It was a great thrill for me seeing all of Atlantis though I wish I had time to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cove. It was simply a great day, I love visiting unique hotels.

On a more personal note I would like to thank the many of you who sent me a note after my last Siegel Sez. I really enjoyed the notes from those in Ireland thanking me for sharing what a great experience I had in Dublin. But more importantly I really wanted to thank those who were moved about my thoughts on the upcoming holidays and to think about those who are struggling or alone during these holidays. Sometimes I write things that I probably shouldn’t, but sometimes I seem to get it right. I would like to believe that this time I did get it right. Thank you again for all who wrote. I am glad that it encouraged you to think about others. You should also know that it made me feel very good. Thanks again for the wonderful comments.

As consultant extraordinaire Jon Inge writes in his opening to the tech news, this is our last Siegel Sez of the year. It is hard to believe that our next one comes out in 2010 which will be our 10th year of my ranting and Jon’s great job of bringing the latest technology happenings in our industry to your inbox. Thank you from all of us here at Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel-Online. Hopefully you have found great value or at least occasional entertainment over all these years. I wonder how many of you have been reading this over the whole 10 years. Are you one? I would love to know. We all wish you a great holiday season and I am betting that 2010 will be the start of great things that will hopefully make some of the happenings from economic battles of 2009 a distant memory. I really do believe this.

Here now is Jon Inge’s technology review, I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Don’t forget in January Jon will do his review of the year passed, and we all look forward to that.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- New Year’s Predictions from RevPAR Guru emphasize the importance of automation for maximizing opportunities
It’s close to year end, and the usual flood of Top Ten lists and predictions for the New Year is in full flow, some useful, some not.  However, I wanted to summarize one from Jean Francois Mourier and Bruno Perez, co-founders of RevPAR Guru.  Although naturally slanted towards their specialty, many of their Top Eight Predictions reflect a good balance between recognizing reality, spotting opportunities and using technology to get the most benefit from them, all themes close to my heart.

1. Less is sometimes… less – Business is still likely to be down for much of next year, staffing levels will continue to be below recent norms and yet hotels must look for incremental revenue.  Implication: managers will be pressured to improve their systems, to relieve the operational burden on their staff.
2. Auto, Automate, Automation – Despite traditional caution in investing in systems and software in this environment, automation in specific departments can increase RevPAR and ADR, and free up revenue management staff for proactive planning.  Automation is a winning strategy for 2010.
3. RevPAR Resurgence - As occupancy slowly picks back up the emphasis will be more on RevPAR than lose-lose price wars.  Hotels will do all they can to bolster RevPAR, from improving or updating their revenue management systems to offering new ancillary services. 
4. Building for a Recovery - Hotels will get back to making what investments they can in revenue-generating initiatives as CAPEX becomes slightly more available.  
5. Supply Pipeline - The pipeline of new room inventory is still intact but only producing a trickle of new rooms coming online.  2010 is unlikely to see a sudden influx of new hotels, allowing existing properties more leeway to take advantage of slow but real occupancy growth.
6. ADR Rising - Business travel is poised to make a comeback though probably not to 2007 levels.  Hotels’ decreasing reliance on deep discounting will lead to higher ADRs which, if combined with effective revenue management to optimize occupancy, will in turn lead to improved RevPAR. 
7. Information is King – For 2010 efficiency is an imperative, and especially so to leverage available information effectively to improve rate setting and establish a competitive edge.  Revenue management systems that use information on competitors’ rates for optimal rate adjustment will continue to gain favor. 
8. Bit by Bit - The smallest but well-timed variations in offered rates, particularly over multiple online channels, can make the difference between optimized occupancy/RevPAR and lost revenue.  Hotels will become increasingly aware of the benefits of real-time rate adjustment and will invest in automated systems to manage this. 

More than anything, innovative properties and chains will eke out a considerable competitive advantage over their lagging peers. There are always opportunities; in 2010, the key will be seizing them when they present themselves.


- Santa Claran Hotel Casino, Española, N.M. orders Agilysys’ Guest 360 PMS
- One&Only Resorts picks MICROS OPERA PMS as worldwide standard
- Sparkling Hill Resort and Wellness Hotel installs NORTHWIND’s Maestro PMS, online booking
- NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS announces 21 new clients
- SPM Resorts orders SPI’s Orange suite for 30 resorts
- Blue Mountain Resort implements Cenium’s HMS integrated application
For more on Property Management Systems for 12/17/09


- Tammy Peter receives HEDNA’s 2009 Award of Excellence
- Patti Goodrich named vice president of enterprise infrastructure at Choice
- Roy Womack appointed CIO at Worldwide Revenue Solutions
- Bill Mitchell joins hotel SystemsPro as senior director, customer service
- Katie Stewart has been hired by hotel SystemsPro as account manager
- Marilyn Crawford joins Roomlinx’ advisory board
- Joe Hirsch is PSAV Presentation Services new vice president of branch sales
For more on People on the Move for 12/17/09


- Cendyn wins 2009 Gold Adrian Award for development of Trump Web site
- Marriott signs TransPerfect for language support of its Web sites
- Solutionz Media partners with GuestCentric Systems to offer social media marketing application
- Generator Systems and SPI Software to interface their vacation ownership sales, management systems
- IQware releases IQsem Search Engine Marketing services module
- Aston Hotels signs with VFM Leonardo
For more on Marketing/Management for 12/17/09


- IQware releases IQlink online channel management module for IQware Global PMS
- Classic Vacations signs for HBSi’s Demand Gateway links to its hotel partners
- eRevMax receives PCI DSS certification for all products, including RateTiger
- Sol Meliá selects EZYield.com as preferred channel management system for all brands
For more on Revenue Management for 12/17/09


- Louvre Hotels signs with Lanyon
- Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors rebrand their merged organizations as onPeak
- MeetingTrader launches open clearinghouse for cancelled meeting contracts
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 12/17/09


- Oneida Nation selects MICROS’ 9700 for its Oneida Retail, Oneida Casino and Radisson Hotel
- Pascua Yaqui Tribe picks MICROS’ 9700 for its Sol Casinos enterprise POS operations
- SoftCafe releases version 9 of its MenuPro software
For more on F&B/Point of Sale for 12/17/09


- Intelity updates ICE guestroom application to run on Windows 7 and use touch-screen capabilities
- TeleAdapt announces ChargeHub universal charging station with 12 different device connectors
- Hilton Frankfurt installs Swisscom’s convergent IPTV and Internet system
- Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto is first Canadian property to implement LodgeNet HD free-to-guest service
- Vdara Condominium Hotel installs Axxess' electronic Do-Not-Disturb indicator and doorbell system
- Element Hotels to install ChargePoint electric car-charging stations at all properties by year end
For more on Guest Services for 12/17/09


- Ritz-Carlton announces Hotel Folio partnership with American Express
Ritz-Carlton has announced a Hotel Folio partnership with American Express that provides American Express corporate card customers with free reports that analyze and itemize their expenditures (e.g. parking, in-room services, meals) at 40 Ritz-Carlton properties in North America.  American Express’ Hotel Folio reports include:
• room charges, separated from applicable taxes
• multiple food and beverage categories, including hotel restaurant and room service charges
• business services such as faxing, computer services, photocopying
• parking and ground transportation.


- Panasonic announces two new WhisperGreen-Lite ventilation fan models
- Best Western Clock Tower Inn, Billings, Mont., installs Lodging Technology’s GEM Link Wireless Energy Management
Panasonic has announced two new WhisperGreen-Lite ventilation fan models available in January 2010. Designed for 4-inch ducts, the new FV-08VKML2 and FV-08VKSL2 models feature built-in variable speed controls that range from 0 – 80 CFM and a built-in delay timer that can be pre-set up to 60 minutes.  The FV-08VKML2 also features a SmartAction Motion Sensor which automatically returns to the pre-set lower speed when the occupant leaves the room.  http://www.panasonic.com/ventfans
The Best Western Clock Tower Inn, Billings, Mont., has installed Lodging Technology’s GEM Link Wireless Energy Management in all 127 guestrooms to reset room temperatures to an energy conserving level while the guest is out of the room. The ZigBee-based GEM Link consists of wireless passive infrared (PIR) occupancy sensors, wireless door switches and a transceiver control module connectable to any HVAC unit.  http://www.bestwesternmontana.comhttp://www.lodgingtechnology.com


- Houjie International Hotel, Dongguan, China completes installation of Classic by VingCard locks
- W Barcelona completes installation of Vingcard’s Signature mag-stripe locks
The 500-room Houjie International Hotel in Dongguan, China has completed the installation of its Classic by VingCard standalone electronic locking system.

The 473-room W Barcelona has completed its installation of Vingcard’s Signature mag-stripe locks.
http://www.regalpalacehotels.com/dongguan/international/english/index.asp, http://www.starwoodhotels.comhttp://www.vingcard.com


- Park Hotel Group switches to Sabre Hospitality Solutions
- Accor releases free iPhone rooms booking application for all its brands
- Amadeus and Fourth Dimension Software integrated some offerings, enter co-marketing agreement
- Conde Nast Traveller implements white-label version of Travel Intelligence’s Starfish booking engine
For more on Reservations for 12/17/09


And now for you-know-what…

As the crowded elevator descended, Mrs. Wilson became increasingly furious with her husband, who was obviously delighted to be squished next to a gorgeous blonde. As the elevator stopped at the main floor, the blonde suddenly whirled around, slapped Mr. Wilson, and said, “That will teach you to pinch me.”

Bewildered, Mr. Wilson was halfway to the parking lot with his wife when he choked out, “Honey, I… I… promise. I didn’t pinch that girl.”

His wife smiled and said consolingly, “Of course you didn’t, sweetheart. I did.”

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