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Siegel Sez

March 25, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

Woe is me, another failed relationship. I was bummed because I really thought this was special.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was heading from the Atlanta airport to the office, and for those of you who are familiar with Atlanta our highway 400 on a Friday afternoon is not the place to be. At times it can be the world’s longest parking lot. Stuck in traffic I called my office to let them know I was probably not going to make it in before the day ended. Asking how the day went they gave me the business news. Then I was told there was some sad news. Sad news? You don’t say sad news in business; you say bad news, right?  Kate told me that she had received an e-mail from Mary Gerdts the president of POST Integrations that Steve Doherty had passed away. Steve Doherty? No way. I am sure most of you reading this didn’t know Steve, but he was truly one of the industry good guys. The kind of person if you did or didn’t do business with him, if you competed with or worked with him, you simply liked him. Everybody liked him. 

Personally I had known Steve for most of the 12 years he worked at POST.  We occasionally had dinner together, often had drinks together, but always caught up at industry events and talked. How can he be gone at 47 years old? I talked to Mary Gerdts for quite awhile earlier this week and I am telling you it was difficult for me to understand. She said, “Rich, don’t try to make sense of it.”  Steve chose to keep his illness quiet and only told those close to him. The worse thing is he thought it was beaten, but complications arose and couldn’t be beaten again. This is an interesting industry we are in, so many come into it and never want to leave and often it is because of the people you meet. Steve was a perfect example, just one of those people you liked seeing, spending time with and were glad you knew and had a great relationship with.  After I hung up with the office I went home and reflected. Here I was initially feeling sorry for myself because of my failed relationship and the news about Steve quickly put things into perspective. Rest in peace Steve. You will be missed. There is a memorial fund set up for Steve’s son. If you are interested contact me and I will send along the information.

We move forward. Hopefully there will be the next love of my life, there will be another issue of Hospitality Upgrade, we will be at TRAVDEX (http://www.travdex.com), and then HITEC (http://www.hitec.org) in June. I must thank all those that have commented on our spring issue of Hospitality Upgrade. It really did come out great. Also thanks to those who took the time to visit our new redesigned http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com Web site, there is still more to be done, but so far so good. Your comments are greatly appreciated.  Thanks to all who will be coming to our Executive Vendor Summit (http://www.vendorsummit.com), by far our biggest crowd ever for this very different type of event.

The one event that I am looking forward to more than anything is six weeks away – my annual trek to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby. I am telling you if you have never been, go. Spending a day with 160,000 of your closest friends is a blast. I cannot wait. I am thankful to be going again, we all have lots to be thankful for in the scheme of things, don’t you agree?

Here now is the real reason we are here, 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.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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


- HITEC Advisory Council lists its technology wish list
Given the number of surveys asking travelers what they want in the way of technology, it was an interesting exercise for HFTP to ask that very question of the HITEC Advisory Council, which sets the agenda for the annual HITEC educational sessions.  This panel of industry experts is comprised of both hoteliers and consultants, folks who travel a lot in the course of their businesses, can see where technology is developing and who know where it can be used to make a real difference. 

The top five items on their wish list were:
- HDTV content in every room: Flat-screen TVs are the new standard, yet only 10 percent of hotel rooms offer high-definition TV content.  Cost is a factor, certainly, but it’s still surprising that most hotels still haven’t moved even to flat screens.
- Clearer direction on in-room entertainment systems: Rapid changes in consumer technology place great pressure on hotels to keep up, but the pace is fast and the options many.  A clear, endorsed directive on the options, their impact, and the pros and cons for each, would go a long way toward helping hoteliers make a smart choice.
- Enough bandwidth for all guests: Is there any such thing?  “Wi-Fi available” means nothing if it’s too slow to be usable, but providing enough to keep up with demands for streaming video takes investment. 
- Smart management: Integrating intelligent mobile devices with hotel management systems can really improve efficiency in locating staff members and allowing efficient dispatches to meet guest requests.
- More virtualization: Running multiple applications and desktops on far fewer central servers brings major, proven benefits – lower capital, support and energy costs, reduced space requirements – but not all vendors permit it yet, chiefly due to licensing issues.

Other ideas that came up frequently:
• Free, ubiquitous Internet access.
• Multiple profiles per guest to support that person’s diverse travel purposes (ex. business vs. leisure travel).
• Internationally available entertainment options that allow foreign travelers to see their native-language show .
• One-click mobile reservations.

And above all, larger technology budgets.  The above trends are inescapable, but all require investment.  In this economy more than ever hotels must choose their priorities wisely, focusing on the areas that bring the best return in their own market segment.


- George Strauss appointed VP casino sales at UniFocus
- John Poon joins EasyRMS as regional director, Asia Pacific
George Strauss has been appointed vice president casino sales at UniFocus.  He brings over 27 years of experience in time and labor management in the casino sector, as well as in payroll and human resources applications.  Prior to UniFocus, Mr. Strauss served as national accounts and major accounts district manager for ADP’s Payroll/Human Resources and Time and Labor Management Division, and previously served as vice president of sales and CEO for Comp-u-Cash Systems.
John Poon has joined the Singapore office of EasyRMS as regional director for the Asia Pacific region.  Mr. Poon brings 20 years hospitality industry experience, gained in executive and regional management roles for vendors such as IDeaS, MICROS Systems, NEC Asia, MagiNet, Inter-touch and others.


- Skyware Hospitality Solutions appoints Sensible-Rez as United Kingdom-based support agent
- Preferred names MICROS Systems exclusive recommended PMS partner
- OSA Resort Club picks Orange Enterprise Vacation Ownership Suite
For more information on Property Management Systems for 03/25/10


- Rembrandt Hotel & Towers, Bangkok, implements EZYield.com
- Revpar Guru launches iPhone app
The 407-room Rembrandt Hotel & Towers in Bangkok, Thailand, has implemented EZYield.com following an extensive renovation last year.  http://www.rembrandtbkk.com, http://www.ezyield.com  
Revpar Guru has launched an iPhone application allowing hoteliers and revenue managers to calculate their property's vital stats [revenue per available room (RevPAR), average daily rate (ADR), occupancy percentage, daily and annual revenue] from their phones.  http://www.revparguru.com  


- StarCite partners with EveryScape
StarCite has partnered with EveryScape to allow hotels to add WebScapes – fully navigable and interactive 3-D replicas of their destinations – to their listings in StarCite's Global Online Marketplace.  http://www.everyscape.com, http://www.starcite.com  


- Priverus announces cloud-based spa booking and management system
Priverus has announced a new spa booking and management system, using cloud computing architecture to offer Internet-based access to appointment scheduling, reporting, training and updates.  The multiproperty system includes spa scheduling system, consolidated financial reporting, sales activity tracking, guest itinerary and portfolio management, revenue management, automated up-selling and cross-selling, group and package booking, and multicurrency POS.  Priverus’ executives include Joel Friedman, one of the founders of the SpaSoft application.  http://www.priverus.com  


- TAC announces version 4.0 of Reservation Assistant
- InterContinental Times Square to open this summer with SuiteLinq video services in all 607 guestrooms
- O'Rourke Hospitality Marketing launches Smartstay customizable iPhone app
For more information on Guest Services for 03/25/10


- Hospitality Softnet selects SyberWorks to design its e-Learning Campus
- UniFocus announces worldwide availability of Training Management System
Hospitality Softnet has selected learning management system vendor SyberWorks to design its e-Learning Campus, targeted for release later this year and initially focusing on hotel sales training topics.  http://www.syberworks.com, http://www.hospitalitysoftnet.com  
UniFocus has announced worldwide availability of its Training Management System (TMS) which includes portal-based online training delivery, certification and management, as well as supervisors’ dashboards.  TMS may also be customized to deliver content in multiple languages.  UniFocus offers online training courses for Watson, R.M. Labor Management and Time & Attendance systems, as well as its GUESTScope survey tools.  http://www.unifocus.com  


- Windsor Property Management Company, Vietnam, implements Procure.NET
The Windsor Property Management Company in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is implementing Procure.NET, supplied by Xn Hotel Systems Pte Ltd, to manage its group procurement and stock control operations on a centralized basis.  Windsor manages several hotels, including The Windsor Plaza and Sherwood Residence, as well as several restaurants in the District 1 area.  Part of the implementation involved translating the application into the Vietnamese language.  http://www.wmcvietnam.com, http://www.xnhotels.com  


- Best Western Hôtel de la Paix, Reims, implements VingCard’s Classic RFID upgrade kit
- Hilton Americas-Houston implements 3VR Security’s surveillance systems
The 169-room Best Western Hôtel de la Paix in Reims, France, has implemented VingCard’s Classic RFID contactless electronic upgrade kit on its existing Classic locks, replacing the bezel card reader to accept RFID keycards.  http://www.hotel-lapaix.fr, http://www.vingcard.com  
The Hilton Americas-Houston has implemented 3VR Security’s surveillance systems, helping it find relevant surveillance footage very quickly.  The technology can be used for multiple purposes including repeat-guest facial recognition, license plate recognition and advanced motion analytics; the hotel is also using it to help guests locate lost possessions using its color, directional and object search capabilities.


- GuestCentric makes booking engine available in Joomla! content management system
- InnLink announces BridgeLink marketing, technology and reservation services for properties in transition
- InnPoints releases direct connection with Expedia
- Trust launches Trust|Mobile booking application
- Park Plaza Hotels signs two-year commission processing renewal with Pegasus
- Mövenpick implements new Internet booking engine based on Sabre’s Guest Connect
For more information on Reservations for 03/25/10


- TripAdvisor launches mobile Web site
- Leonardo Hotels orders TRAVELCLICK’s Hotelligence360 BI application for 60 hotels
TripAdvisor has launched its mobile Web site, providing access to over 30 million reviews and opinions on hotels, restaurants, attractions and more, and allowing travelers to post reviews and opinions while traveling.  The site is already available in 17 countries and 11 languages.  http://www.tripadvisor.com  
Leonardo Hotels has ordered TRAVELCLICK’s new Hotelligence360 business intelligence application for its 60 hotels in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Israel, the first major European chain customer for the new application.  http://www.leonardo-hotels.com, http://www.travelclick.net 


And now for you-know-what…

Did you hear about the Sunday school teacher who was helping one of her students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help and she could see why.

Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.

She almost cried when the little boy said, “Teacher, I think they're on the wrong feet.” She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet.

He then announced, “These aren't my boots.” She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, “Why didn't you say so” like she wanted to. Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet.

No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, “They're my brother's boots. My mom made me wear 'em.”

Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But, she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again. Helping him into his coat, she asked, “Now, where are your mittens?”

He said, “I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.”

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