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Siegel Sez

August 03, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I always try to be upfront with people, but sometimes my imagination gets the best of me. Last Wednesday I flew from Atlanta to Las Vegas and miraculously was upgraded to first class. I am sure I was the only person in this 24-seat first class that was not flying out for the World Series of Poker which started last week. Since my seatmate and others assumed I was going for the tournament, I decided I would play along. I always thought I was a dreamer, but these guys take the cake. Some of their stories really scared me. They play poker with friends, in local taverns and online. They borrow to come up with the entry fees and dream of millions. I shared with them my strategy for poker success which in itself was pretty funny since I barely knew what the flop, the river and the turn were. I think instead of television focusing on the successful players they should tell some stories of the many broken dreams of this tournament. There were some very amazing stories being shared on this flight.

Las Vegas is a place that never ceases to amaze me. On my trip all I seemed to do was eat and drink. I had breakfast with Tom Peck the new CIO at MGM/Mirage. I had lunch with Steve Murphy who is in charge of the technology for Wynn Resorts’ next property, Encore. I had dinner with Ron Dressin, his wife and Kim Devine from Red Rock Software. But my favorite was having dinner with Marshall Andrew the CIO at Station Casinos. Marshall took me to T-Bones, the unbelievable steakhouse at Station Casino’s newest property Red Rock Hotel and Casino. This place is beyond spectacular and is amazingly a long way from anything else in Las Vegas with its location at the base of Mount Charleston. Next time you are in Las Vegas you need to check it out. I am lucky enough to visit many new hotels throughout the year, but Red Rock was probably the most unique I have ever seen. It truly is redefining Las Vegas when a place like this can be so far from the Strip. But there is one thing that Red Rock has in common with every other hotel/casino I visit when in Las Vegas. They all seem to eventually help me lighten my pockets. I must have been influenced by the dreamers I met on the flight out to Las Vegas.

For those of you who live in Atlanta or will be in Atlanta in two weeks, don’t forget our social event on Thursday, Aug. 17 at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel (http://www.renaissancewaverly.com). The early response has pretty much guaranteed this will be our biggest turnout ever. There is some serious networking that goes on in a very fun environment. This is simply what this entire event is about. If you are thinking of attending, please e-mail Sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com so there will be enough food, the Waverly is excited to be hosting this event. If you have been putting off a business trip to Atlanta, I suggest you plan one for August 17. There are some great people you will want to meet.

Speaking of great people, Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summit at Amelia Island Plantation will have close to 50 CIOs from around the world attending this year’s very unique meeting, which is our largest crowd ever. The CIO Summit is invitation only, if you have any questions please e-mail me at rich@hospitalityupgrade.com.

O.K., here is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. 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

- What’s in YOUR vacation bag?

For some people, getting away from it all on vacation means a complete rest from technology, but they’re in declining numbers.  Most vacationers take more and more technology with them, either to enhance their experience or to maintain some communications links with friends, family – or the office.  A recent Voice of the Traveler survey by the Travel Industry Association and Synovate asked 1,500 U.S. adults what they take and why.

Not surprisingly, cell phones (86 percent) and digital cameras (67 percent) topped the list, but fully one-quarter (24 percent) also take their laptops.  It’s not just so they can continue working; 18 percent use the Internet to stay connected with family and friends while traveling, and 16 percent use it to find places to visit or things to do.  Consequently, 15 percent choose accommodations based on availability of a high-speed Internet connection or Wi-Fi access.

Of course, some travelers do like to stay in touch with the office while they’re away; 10 percent owned up to that, if only to make sure there are no crises brewing.  Sadly, another 9 percent felt they have no choice but to stay connected, and a scary 6 percent said they actually like to work at their job while on vacation.

Interestingly, CD players outnumbered iPods or MP3 players, 21 percent to 11 percent. It would be interesting to know the age range of the survey respondents to see who’s carrying which.  The report suggests that these percentages are likely to reverse themselves as travel-related/destination-specific podcasts and downloadable music and video become more popular.

One thing’s for sure; vacation properties need to provide plenty of power outlets.

More information is available at http://www.tia.org.



- Last-minute travelers forming significant part of the market
- Merritt Hospitality installs Aptech’s Execuvue and Targetvue
- West Paces Hotel Group picks TIG Global for Internet marketing
- Lanyon to implement multilingual capabilities for PropertyVault RFP and content database
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/03/06


- Certain Software announces significant milestones for the first half of 2006
- Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau signs with Passkey
Meeting management software vendor Certain Software announced significant milestones for the first half of 2006, including:
- Its Register123 system has now processed over three million registrations
- Revenues have doubled year-to-year
- New executive team members have been added, including Kimberly Enright as marketing director and Diane Stoner as director of government services
- New customers were signed in five market segments: corporate, independent meeting planners, event producers, associations/non-profits/universities and government.
The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau has contracted with Passkey for online group reservations.  http://www.anaheimoc.org, http://www.passkey.com


- James E. Jones joins iBAHN as VP of client services for North American hotels group
James E. Jones has joined iBAHN as vice president of client services for its North American hotels group.  Mr. Jones has more than 20 years of experience in hospitality; he is co-founder of Global Destination Services, and was earlier president for the Americas Division of Seatem Group, a travel/ticketing company.  He also served with Marriott International as vice president and general manager for Marquis Events International, its special event management and marketing division, and as vice president sales and marketing for Hyatt’s Regency Productions special event management group.


- SoftBrands buys HIS
- Langdale Hotel, Country Club and Timeshare Resort orders Visual One’s Front Office suite
SoftBrands has acquired HIS, in a major demonstration of how seriously it intends to re-establish itself in the U.S. hospitality technology market and strengthen its international presence.  Details were few at press time, but it is understood that HIS operations will continue to be based in Lake Forest, Calif., headed by Steve Van Tassel, SoftBrand’s senior vice president and general manager, hospitality.  Brian Kretzmer, HIS’ current CEO/president, and James Dolan, CFO/COO, are expected to leave the company.
The Langdale Hotel and Country Club and Timeshare Resort, in Englands Lake District, has ordered Visual One’s Front Office suite.  Modules to be installed include PMS, sales & catering, spa management, activity scheduler, point of sale and Web booking systems. The 35-acre estate includes a hotel, lodge, apartments, two restaurants, a pub and leisure facilities.  http://www.langdale.co.uk, http://www.v1s.com


- Group Travel Planet joins HBSI Demand Partner Network to access Harrah’s inventory
- Sage Hospitality Resources adds remaining independent properties to SynXis
- Lodging Interactive introduces Internet Booking Engine for a fixed monthly fee
- Only 10 percent of travel searches result in immediate booking
- Aqua Hotels and Resorts picks iHotelier CRS for six of its eight condotel properties in Hawaii
For more on Reservations for 08/03/06


- Nuvo Technologies releases RFID-based BarVision free-pour liquor management system
Nuvo Technologies has released its RFID-based BarVision 1.0 for Palm OSR software, a wireless, free-pour liquor management system.  Using patent-pending RFID pour spouts, BarVision automatically records the brand, portion size, time, cost, price category and location of every pour.  A Palm PDA can be located in each bar area to provide immediate feedback to both bartenders and managers about each drink pour, helping bartenders learn and maintain pouring accuracy and a proper pouring style.  A management PDA provides real-time reports to identify and resolve problems immediately, including a graphic that shows the current liquor level of any bottle.  http://www.barvision.com


- InterContinental names Safemark Systems as preferred supplier of guest room safes
- Kimpton Hotels standardizes on Hospitality Safe Corp’s Challenger safes
InterContinental Hotels Group has named Safemark Systems its preferred supplier of guest room safes.  http://www.safemark.com
Kimpton Hotels has standardized on Hospitality Safe Corp’s Challenger safes for guestroom use in its 46 hotels.  http://www.kimptonhotels.com, http://www.hospitalitysafe.com


And now for you-know-what…
Last week was my birthday and I didn't feel very well when I woke up that morning. I went downstairs for breakfast hoping my wife would be pleasant and say, "Happy birthday!", and possibly have a present for me. As it turned out, she barely said good morning, let alone "Happy birthday."  I thought... well, that's marriage for you, but the kids will remember. My kids came into breakfast and didn't say a word. So, when I left for the office, I was feeling pretty low and somewhat despondent.
As I walked into my office, my secretary Jane said, "Good morning, boss. Happy birthday!" It felt a little better that at least someone had remembered. I worked until one o'clock and then Jane knocked on my door and said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day outside, and it's your birthday, let's go out to lunch, just you and me."  I said, "Thanks, Jane, that's the best thing I've heard all day.  Let's go!"
We went to lunch. But we didn't go where we normally would go.  We dined instead at a little place with a private table. We had two martinis each and I enjoyed the meal tremendously.
On the way back to the office, Jane said, "You know, it's such a beautiful day... we don't need to go back to the office, do we?"
I responded, "I guess not. What do you have in mind?"   She said, "Let's go to my apartment."
After arriving at her apartment Jane turned to me and said, "Boss, if you don't mind, I'm going to step into the bedroom for a moment. I'll be right back."  "Ok," I nervously replied.
She went into the bedroom and, after a couple of minutes, she came out carrying a huge birthday cake... followed by my wife, kids, and dozens of my friends and co-workers, all singing, "Happy Birthday".
And I just sat there...
On the couch...
In my birthday suit.

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