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Siegel Sez

February 04, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Have you ever had one of those days? Where the stars all aligned or something? Yesterday was one of those days for me.   The small group in our office was positive, and then everybody we talked to on the phone throughout the day was positive.  I mean it was kind of creepy, were we all drinking the same Kool-Aid?  Who knows what today will bring, but I live for days like yesterday.  As I started to reflect on the recent business conversations I have been having, I started thinking that more and more people are in true recovery mode and starting to look forward and think positive. We are working on our first issue of the year of our magazine Hospitality Upgrade and it might be one of our biggest in years with unbelievable support from the advertisers including many from the old days coming back in. Our upcoming Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com/) will easily have our biggest crowd ever. Thank you to Venza Group (http://www.venzagroup.com), Microsoft (http://www.microsoft.com/industry/hospitality and HFTP (http://www.hftp.org/) for sponsoring this year’s event and our partner HP for coming up with a very creative and forward-thinking program. If you are a technology vendor and want to join us in Houston this year, e-mail mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com immediately or better yet call her at (678) 802-5304.

I had lunch with a group of CIOs earlier this week representing the luxury, first class and limited-service markets, and as much as they miss the boom times, they all acknowledged that occupancy is climbing with the average rate still having a way to go. I came out of the lunch with positive feedback. We all know there will be some stumbles ahead, but the attitude by so many today is that we will get over them. I just love that. Wow, what a week. Now if I could only get my personal life in sync with my professional life I would be home free!

I am off to Amsterdam next week for HFTP’s EHTEC conference, which according to the preregistration list has both quantity and quality attendees this year. I spoke at this conference two years ago and loved it, but how could anyone not enjoy Amsterdam?  I will also be at the HTNG Annual Conference (http://www.htng.org) in Orlando in early March and then the Infor and SoftBrands Hospitality User Forum  (http://www.infor.com/hospitalityforum2010/) in Scottsdale, Ariz., later in the month. There really is a lot happening. Need more proof? Everybody should take a moment and read through Jon Inge’s technology review. There is much going on in this industry. Yes, it is about time!

Now just to keep things in balance, last September before the football season started I was in Las Vegas.  I love to make one sizeable bet on one team to cheer throughout the season to win the Super Bowl and it always has to be a longshot. This year I narrowed it down to New Orleans or Atlanta. I was conflicted right up to the moment I walked up to the window to place the bet. I got to the window and for some reason when asked who I was betting, New Orleans was what my brain told me, but Atlanta was what came out of my mouth. All season long I watched the Saints in anguish. The Super Bowl is Sunday and I will watch knowing that I had picked the right team and not watch regretting that I made the wrong bet. Go New Orleans, let them become the Super Saints this year, it’s their time!

Here now is the real reason we are here, the aforementioned Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. I am going to keep thinking positive, it just feels good. (240)


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Keeping data secure takes steady focus, attention to detail
A timely article by Andy Greenberg in Forbes magazine (http://bit.ly/cgcfA6) highlights a sudden rise in thefts of hotel guest-profile data last year.  Mr. Greenberg’s article focuses on security research by Trustwave’s Nicholas Percoco that shows a spike in successful attacks on properties, which the latter describes as being “relatively unprotected sources of thousands or even millions of credit card account details.”  

Hotels and resorts were victims in 38 percent of the audits and data breaches investigated by Trustwave last year, having been "practically nonexistent" in 2008.  Most hotels didn’t even know that their guests’ data had been compromised; only 3 percent of the audits were commissioned by properties following successful attacks, the rest coming from frauds detected in the outside world that the hotels were unaware of.  Mr. Percoco reports that on average hackers had access to their victims' networks for 156 days before the intrusions were detected.

Financial services companies were the next most often attacked, accounting for 19 percent of breaches, but were far more likely to have commissioned a pre-breach audit; 13 percent of such firms had hired Trustwave to perform a penetration test on their network.  Food and beverage companies came in third and were almost as unaware as hotels, accounting for 13 percent of breaches and just 4.5 percent of audits.

Hackers can and will look for vulnerabilities at every point of a typical network; in over 80 percent of the reported hospitality breaches data had been stolen from POS workstations, not the main database servers or Web site.  The sad part is that precautions against these attacks aren’t that difficult to take, but they do take thoroughness and steady attention.  Some attacks exploited well-known 10-year-old software vulnerabilities for which patches had been issued long ago by the vendors but not applied by the properties, although they had fixed more recent and well-publicized weaknesses.

All of this highlights an urgent need for hotels to make sure that their systems are fully up to date with security patches, and that their operations are PCI compliant.  Neither of these steps will or can guarantee that the data won’t be compromised by a determined criminal, but failure to take them leaves any property open to charges of negligence in handling its customers’ information.  The costs of notifying all potentially affected customers, not to mention the risk to its reputation, are high enough already even if a property is fully up to date with all known precautions.


- Mark Peacock hired as CIO at Pegasus
- Aaron Shepherd promoted from CIO to Pegasus Fellow
- Steve Lapekas joins Pegasus as executive vice president of corporate business development
- Ric Leutwyler promoted to COO at Pegasus
- Connie Rheams hired as senior vice president of strategic sales at Pegasus
- Mike Montemurro joins Pegasus as vice president of CRS product management
- Joe Hyman named one of HSMAI’s Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing
- Tina Gangel promoted to sales associate at ReServe Interactive
- Ash O. Bell hired by The Rainmaker Group as vice president of multifamily sales
- Scott Pickert joins sales team at OnTrack Performance Tools
- Jeff Brazinsky named director of performance management at PAS
- Jim Vinson promoted to vice president of North America sales at Onity
For more on People on the Move for 02/04/10


- Playa Grande Resort, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, deploys SPI’s Orange PMS
- Canyon Plaza Resort implements MSI’s WinPM
- Headland Hotel, Newquay, England picks Xn Hotel Systems’ protel PMS and dotPOS Point of Sale
- Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI), Florida, selects ResortSuite’s PMS and SPA modules
- Ocean House chooses ResortSuite’s PMS, SPA, CATERING, F&B, WEB, RETAIL and CLUB modules
- Caesars Palace launching iPhone® app to allow checkin through text messaging
- Amadeus develops PMS interface to TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS Passport and ID Scanning system
For more on Property Management Systems for 02/04/10


- Pegasus reports December 2009 GDS and ADS net bookings higher than 2007 and 2008
- Atlantica extends contract with Pegasus Solutions for private-label voice services
- InfoWorld names Pegasus ’ RezView NG one of top 100 IT projects of 2009
- Sol Meliá launches mobile services based on Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT) technology
- Wyndham to list its 7,000+ hotel inventory with GTA
- Priceline launches version 2.0 of iPhone® hotel negotiator app, including Hotel Radar function
- Kennedy Training Network launches private reservations webinar training series
- Best Western unveils iPhone application
- RIHGA Royal signs with Private Label Company (PLC), implements Trust’s yourVoyager portal
- Travelocity announces Deals Toolkit to help consumers find deals based on preferences and flexibility
- Netbiscuits implements mobile portal for hotel.info
- Blue Lagoon Cruises picks TRAVELCLICK services for four cruise ships in Fiji islands
- Genares achieves PCI-DSS certification for GenaRater CRS
For more on Reservations for 02/04/10


- Lanyon announces Engagement & Project Sourcing system for mid to long-term corporate stays
- Luxe Worldwide Hotels selects VFM Leonardo to deliver images for 200+ member hotels
- Small Luxury Hotels of the World chooses VFM Leonardo to manage and distribute photos for 500+ hotels
- Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts adopts VFM Leonardo's for 90+ properties
- Fairmont announces interactive Web site to include guest and staff user-generated content
- Lodging Interactive rolls out Link2Brand marketing tool
- Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos implements SAS’ Enterprise Miner software
- Milestone Internet Marketing wins three silver awards in HSMAI’s 2009 Adrian Awards
- TRAVELCLICK receives seven awards in the HSMAI’s Adrian Awards
For more on Marketing/Management for 02/04/10


- Tradyso adopts RateTiger for bidirectional access for its 1,000 CRS hotels
- TRAVELCLICK launches Hotelligence360 multichannel reservation, rate and marketing intelligence application
- REVPAR GURU identifies four revenue management strategies crucial to hotels’ recovery in 2010
For more on Revenue Management for 02/04/10


- Destination Hotels & Resorts creates range of green practice approaches to group and meetings business
- Destination Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau selects Passkey
Destination Hotels & Resorts has created a range of green practice approaches to group and meetings business to reduce waste, conserve water, better manage energy output and more. Basic principles of waste reduction, water conservation and sustainable food and beverage practices will be supplemented with various more aggressive measures to suit levels of meeting planner interest.  Some of the key principles include:
* Recycling stations and bins available in all meeting rooms.
* White boards instead of flip charts.
* Post-consumer recycled content paper for flip charts.
* Leftover conference supplies such as pens and paper donated or reused.
* Condiments offered in service vessels instead of individual packages.
* Local and in-season regional ingredients from sustainable suppliers and partners in menus.
* Bottled water sourced from within 750 miles of the hotel’s location.
* Digital thermostats in meeting rooms.
* Organic food and beverage options as well as sustainable meat, fish, pork and chicken.
* Bio-based instead of plastic flatware and recyclable/biodegradable plates and cups.
* Alternative-fueled airport shuttles, free parking for hybrid vehicles and access to purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs or green tags).
Destination Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau (Destination Toledo) has selected Passkey's GroupMax hotel booking system to enhance the housing experience for its meeting planners and attendees, as well as to drive more customers and revenue to local hotels and businesses.  Each event will have a customized hotel Web site where attendees can book their hotels online, and planners will be able to track event performance in real time via Passkey's Live Dashboards.  Planners can also integrate an event's registration system directly to hotel reservations.  http://www.dotoledo.org/gtcvb/, http://www.passkey.com  


- Lecere unveils GUI for its FIRMS (Fully-Integrated Restaurant Management Software) system
Software startup Lecere has unveiled the GUI for its Lecere FIRMS (Fully-Integrated Restaurant Management Software) system, developed in collaboration with Portland's Spot Color Studio.  http://www.lecere.com  


- SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills implements Runtriz-based GoSLSHotel smartphone application
- TTI Technologies offers range of business center package options
- KoolConnect Technologies installs Intrigue interactive video system in four international hotels
- Intelity to launch version of Interactive Customer Experience (ICE) software for Apple iPad
- Intelity releases ICE Mobile version for Apple’s iPhone®
- MTech appoints Dubai-based InfoScape Technologies its distributor for MENA region
- iBAHN reports Internet use by both business and leisure guests increased over 50 percent in 2009
- Hyatt Regency Greenville implements guest service iPhone application using GBCblue’s GORION
- Aloft Abu Dhabi Hotel first in UAE to install TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD with stereo Bluetooth® wireless music streaming
- Bacara Resort & Spa expands use of GoConcierge to many departments
- Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn Hotels designate InnFlux as a preferred HSIA vendor
- Phi lWeb and ISM Communications acquire 65 percent stake in Acentic
For more on Guest Services for 02/04/10


- Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City installs 18-panel solar electricity system
The 56-suite Treasure Mountain Inn in Park City, Utah, has installed an 18-panel solar electricity system, adding another layer to its green initiatives.  The Inn's owners invested in a large infrastructure for the panels to allow the system to be expanded later at a much lower cost per panel.  The Inn is placing a strong emphasis on green initiatives and reducing power consumption.  In addition to aggressive recycling programs and other conservation efforts, it purchases 100 percent of its electricity as wind power and maintains carbon neutrality by offsetting its remaining carbon footprint with carbon offsets from Clean Air-Cool Planet.  http://www.treasuremountaininn.com  


- ABI Research sees hotel IP phone market expanding to over $2 billion by end of 2014
Industry analyst ABI Research forecasts that hotel systems based on IP telephone networks will increasingly enable a range of new customer services and expand worldwide sales of such systems from $869 million in 2008 to over $2 billion by the end of 2014. These systems are expected to penetrate mid-range hotels eventually, but initial adoption is seen as being driven mainly by top-tier properties charging $300 or more a night.  Service differentiators foreseen by ABI as being made possible by IP guest phones include tracking room service order deliveries and staff productivity, taking bookings for in-house restaurants, and poolside retail item purchasing from cordless phones.  http://www.abiresearch.com  


And now for you-know-what…

A 6-year-old goes to the hospital with her grandmother to visit her Grandpa. When they get to the hospital, she runs ahead of her Grandma and bursts into her Grandpa's room.

"Grandpa, Grandpa," she says excitedly. "As soon as Grandma comes into the room, make a noise like a frog!"

"What," asks her Grandpa.

To which she replies, "Make a noise like a frog - because Grandma said that as soon as you croak, we're all going to Disneyland!"

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