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Siegel Sez

March 11, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

How full is your glass? Do you have a glass? More and more people today seem to be filling theirs and I like that.  Sometimes our glass gets knocked over and what choices do we have? None, we simply start filling it again. This seems to be the way my life goes. With my personal life my glass always seems to get knocked over, but I have gotten used to that. Professionally, my glass has on occasion been moved, but nothing has spilled. Of course, we all dream of needing a bigger glass, but that is something I will worry about down the road. I bring this up because after attending HTNG (http://www.htng.org) last week I heard more positive feedback than I have received in a long time. HTNG was a great event this year. Jon Inge in his review opening shares his thoughts regarding HTNG. I say that the power of any conference is the sessions they offer and those at HTNG were great. I am glad I brought Kate who is approaching a full year with Hospitality Upgrade, especially after the great session on Generation Y. I asked her if she was like the typical Gen Yer and she quickly said no. We shall see. I was also glad to see that attendance was so strong; this encourages me that HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) will also be great this year. This might be one year everybody is glad HITEC is in Orlando. Something about that city brings out great crowds. We also took some great pictures at HTNG that we will share with you in our next issue and also put on our Web site. Between now and HITEC we will be at the new PhoCusWright travel technology trade show  – TRAVDEX (http://www.travdex.com) here in Atlanta, which seems to be doing quite well for a first-time event.

Speaking of our Web site, about once every five years I will ask you for a favor. We quietly launched a new and improved http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com Web site. Would you quickly take a moment and check it out right now? Please share your feedback, good or bad. Also when you go there please click on the Who We Are link at the bottom of the page. I was a hold-out to the groups’ creative idea and was glad I was. OK, go to the link now, I will wait for you. Back already? Come on now, I promise you only once every five years and we really would appreciate your thoughts.  Speaking of thoughts why don’t you also answer the survey question? There is more to come on our site, but the progress to date has been wonderful and in truth has been a lot of fun to put together. Yes, there is power in positive thinking.

Speaking of positive thinking and filling glasses, we had predicted our Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com) in Houston this April was going to be our biggest crowd ever. And it is. We might have one of the very top people from one of Houston’s biggest employers that touches our industry speaking the first day. We are keeping our fingers crossed. Thanks to all who have already booked. We have a great golf course to play this year, which should be fun. As always we have a few surprises that nobody knows about until they get there and I think we might have outdone ourselves this year. Thanks again to all who are coming.

Yes, things for the industry are looking up. For those of you who subscribe to Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally, you will hopefully be very impressed with our spring issue. The issue will be in the mail in the next few days. As always, we tried some creative things and this issue our creativity poured over onto the cover. Read the Publisher’s Letter for my feelings on the cover. I’m betting that 99 percent of our readers will smile or laugh and 1 percent will roll their eyes in disbelief. Our spring issue was our biggest in years, which is a positive sign for the industry; it is great to see so much activity in the industry as we all catch up from the slowdown of 2009. Jon Inge did a great job on our spring issue feature article on guestroom technologies.

Speaking of Jon, here he is with this week’s technology review. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. Thanks again for your feedback. It is always encouraged and appreciated.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- HTNG annual conference maintains its high standard; three Most Innovative Hospitality Awards presented
The annual conference of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) in Orlando last week confirmed its status as one of the most useful and thought-provoking get-togethers on the calendar.  It was very encouraging to see how much progress has been made with the various hardware and software interoperability workgroups, both in terms of development and in adoption of the products by multiple vendors and hoteliers.  It’s a huge job to move this industry forward, but by maintaining its focus on priority tasks identified by hoteliers who commit to buying the resulting solutions, HTNG continues to serve as a great example of what can be achieved.

The networking opportunities were equally good, not just in the mix of senior hotel and vendor contacts, but also in the thoughtful building in to the schedule of very useful amounts of time to allow as much interaction as possible.  Add in seven speaking sessions on highly varied subjects from uniformly excellent speakers providing useful, pragmatic information and you have one of my annual must-attend functions.  It’s not just me, either; attendance was only slightly down from last year, which under the current economic circumstances means that it remains high on many other people’s lists too. Highly recommended; congratulations to Doug Rice and his team at HTNG for maintaining a consistently high standard.

The conference was also the venue for HTNG’s first Most Innovative Hospitality Award.  The winner was MTech’s REX Room Expeditor product, an iPod touch®-based housekeeping application that handles room status updates and advises attendants (in their native language) of the next room they need to clean based on hotel-defined criteria such as room rush, VIP status, room type, etc.  Two runner-up awards were made.  One went to Intelity for its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) product, which allows hotel guests to order multiple services via an in-room touch screen, laptop, lobby, TV, smart phone or other mobile device.  The other runner-up award went to a company whose policy prohibits publicly disclosing them, a restriction I find completely baffling.  Congratulations to all three vendors, anyway!


- Carlson Wagonlit Travel exploring some mid-office and back-office outsourcing with Amadeus
- UniFocus to release version 7.5 of its Watson, R.M.
- Agilysys now offering TimeManagement’s TMx labor management system
For more on Back Office for 03/11/10


- Avaya and 3D Networks to collaborate in markets around Australia and New Zealand
- Two Doubletree properties in Tanzania integrate communications and guest services from McLaren
Avaya and 3D Networks have announced an ongoing collaboration to offer customized and integrated business communications systems to markets around Australia and New Zealand.  3D Networks will adopt the Avaya product suite and its associated converged Nortel suite into its existing customer base; Avaya will use 3D’s capabilities for all integration projects, from analysis through to deployment and support of the network infrastructure in the region.  http://www.3dnetworks.com, http://www.avaya.com
The two Doubletree by Hilton properties in Tanzania, in Dar es Salaam and Nungwi, have integrated communications and guest services from McLaren Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.  http://www.hiltonworldwide.com, http://www.mclarenint.com, http://www.jazz-fusion.net


- Hotel da Rocha installs VingCard VISIONLINE, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II safes
- Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande installs VingCard VISION, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes
- Starwood pilots Smart Check-In program for Aloft Hotels in partnership with VingCard
For more on Security for 03/11/10


- Keith Konicki joins Frontstream SaleSynergy as vice president of business development
- Bob Coyne joins Skyware Hospitality Solutions as senior systems consultant
- Frank Elsenbast picked as LodgeNet Interactive’s senior vice president and chief financial officer
- Fabian Specht appointed by IDeaS as regional managing director, EAME
- Alfredo Moreno de la Santa joins EZYield.com’s global sales force
- Anthony Ku promoted to vice president Asia Pacific at Trust International
- Mike Blake, CIO of Hyatt, and Robert Webb, Hilton’s CIO, join HTNG board
- Maureen Kieffer hired as chief operations officer by MSI
- Jennifer Ranno joins iBAHN as vice president of sales for the Americas
For more on People on the Move for 03/11/10


- Sheraton Buganvilias timeshare resort implements SPI Orange management software
- Virgin is implementing protel PMS across Limited Edition portfolio
- Four more Mandarin Oriental Hotels install PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host
- Historic Hotel Bethlehem completes migration to Skyware Hospitality Web-based PMS
For more on Property Management Systems for 03/11/10


- Internet bookings for top 30 hotel brands increased by 6.6 percent in 2009; GDS, voice bookings continue decline
- Best Western Hotel President Berlin launches online booking widget
- HomeAway acquires BedandBreakfast.com
- Expedia updates TripAssist iPhone® app to track non-Expedia itineraries
- Travelport GDS achieves compliance with Safe Harbor privacy framework
- Genares releases direct link to booking engine for hotels’ Facebook fan pages
For more on Reservations for 03/11/10


- Libra OnDemand certified compliant with Safe Harbor privacy framework
- TRAVELCLICK launches Global Hotel Services (GHS) sales and marketing support
- SPI Software integrates Brand Tango timeshare/vacation club marketing system into Orange Software
- Revinate introduces social media monitoring application for hospitality industry
- TripTelevision incorporates PlanetEye’s mapping, technology and geo-tagged content
- Cavendish London Hotel in London selects ZDirect’s eCRM platform
- Lemon Tree installs Leisurepoint for its frequent guest program
- MMG Worldwide picks Movitas’ mobile communication, marketing and commerce platform
For more on Marketing/Management for 03/11/10


- Mövenpick to use EZYield.com throughout 69-property portfolio
- EZYield.com launches three-module enterprise reservation delivery platform
- Brooklands Hotel opens using Yeeld Solutions CRS powered by Synxis
- Marina Bay Sands, Singapore implements IDeaS V5i RMS and SAS’ Customer Intelligence software
- Potomac Hospitality Services implements EasyRMS at three DC-area hotels
- eRevMax launches mobile phone version of RateTiger channel management software
- InnQuest interfaces SiteMinder’s channel management with roomMaster 2000 PMS
For more on Revenue Management for 03/11/10


- Nexus launches version 7.0 of GroupworX
- Starwood launches first in-hotel Cisco TelePresence meeting suites
- Bluebuzzard introduces social media campaign manager for ProposalPath sales tool
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 03/11/10


- Sunstone Hotel Investors installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker at six more properties
- ReServe Interactive selects Element Payment Services as PCI DSS-compliant solutions partner
Sunstone Hotel Investors is installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker at six properties after pilot installations in its Renaissance Washington, D.C. and Marriott Boston Long Wharf hotels.  Sunstone’s 27-property portfolio includes Marriott, Hyatt, Fairmont and Hilton sites. 
http://www.sunstonehotels.com, http://www.captoninc.com
ReServe Interactive has selected Element Payment Services as its PCI DSS-compliant solutions partner.   http://www.elementps.com, http://www.reserveinteractive.com


- SpaFinder launches iPhone app
SpaFinder has launched a free iPhone app that uses the smartphone’s GPS features to help users find a nearby spa, access maps, directions and user reviews, check availability and make appointments.  Users can search SpaFinder’s database of more than 5,000 spas by price, deals and treatment types. 


- Doubletree by Hilton, Bristol South, Cadbury House and Ramada Encore London West install Quadriga’s Sensiq
- Travelscream releases iPhone app to allow hotels to promote ancillary services to guests
- Americana at Brand and The Grove offer Runtriz-based One Touch Concierge smartphone app
- Hilton Garden Inn rolling out PrinterOn’s PrintSpots mobile printing service brand-wide
- Inspira Hotels picks Swisscom as IPTV/interactive video services provider
For more on Guest Services for 03/11/10


And now for you-know-what…

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday.

“I'd like to be six again,” she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to an amusement park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the screaming Roller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie with popcorn, soda pop and her favorite candy. What a fabulous adventure they had.
Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted.
He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, “Well, dear, what was it like being six again?”

Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed and she said, “I meant my dress size, you goofball.”

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