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Siegel Sez

May 06, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

I never wear a hat. Actually that is not true. One day a year I do wear a hat and who would guess that hat would make such a statement. No, it is not a fashion statement. This past Saturday was the Kentucky Derby and if anything the hat made me very noticeable among 156,000 people. I was walking through the crowd and heard my name being screamed and it was Jonathan Seigle from MICROS Systems who was at his first Derby with his wife. Then a little after 4 p.m. when NBC started its national coverage of the Kentucky Derby they were interviewing the winner of a CNBC contest where a viewer won a $100,000 to bet on the Derby. He didn’t win a $100,000, he just won the opportunity to bet the money on one horse out of 20 running in the Kentucky Derby. I actually talked to him for awhile and strongly suggested who he should bet. Thankfully for him he didn’t listen to me and ended up betting on Super Saver, the winner of this year’s Derby and is now $900,000 richer. Yes, he is now my new best friend. I was watching NBC when they interviewed him before the race and all of a sudden my phone started buzzing nonstop. I was getting call after call and text after text with everybody telling me, “Rich, you are on TV.” How much fun that was! But what they didn’t know was that my TV career had already started at 8:30 that morning. I must say, no one should ever put a microphone in front of me at 8:30 a.m. After a very active and late night, you never know what will come out of my mouth. Here is my very short-lived TV career. You have to watch it all the way through, what the two hosts said at the end still makes me laugh.  The Kentucky Derby is one thing everybody should try to experience in their lives, it is so much fun and really is the most exciting two minutes in sports. Let me know what you think of the clip, but go easy on me… it was way too early to be doing that. Yes, it is all about the hat and horses, click here http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/HUtube-Videos/.

Yesterday was the first day of PhocusWright’s first ever TRAVDEX. I would say there is cautious optimism for this inaugural event. Kate, Cindy and I had dinner last night with Bob Gilbert, the head of HSMAI and Doug Rice, the executive vice president and CEO of HTNG. During the dinner Doug casually mentioned that it was his birthday, which is not a smart idea when you are with me having dinner at a very crowded outdoor patio of a restaurant. Yes, I did what I could to embarrass Doug. Another person who celebrated a birthday yesterday was Todd Thompson, the CIO of Starwood Hotels and Resorts who also happens to be the president and director of HTNG. Coincidence? Anyway, a fun night was had by all. I am looking forward to TRAVDEX today.  It should be an interesting second day.

Honestly, who thought a guy on the cover of a technology magazine without a shirt on would create such a stir? Our spring issue of Hospitality Upgrade did just that. Thankfully from the tons of feedback nobody was offended, but many did question our thinking. Heck, I spend half my life questioning what I am thinking. It was probably two to one in favor of the cover and as a publisher you have to love that everybody noticed it. Thanks to all for the great feedback and especially the comments on the quality of the editorial.  It caused a big spike in new subscribers and made me wonder if we are the only printed magazine in the world that keeps growing our print edition? Maybe the smartest thing we ever did was keeping the magazine at only three times a year. People read it, use it and hold onto it. Of course, you can also get Hospitality Upgrade digitally to your PC, but people still love sitting down reading books and magazines. We are glad they enjoy and find value in reading ours. We are currently working on our biggest issue of the year, our HITEC issue that will be the only magazine inserted in every HITEC attendee’s registration bag. If you are a technology vendor and want the world to know who you are and what you offer, please contact Kate immediately at mailto:kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call (678) 802-5304. We are very close to finishing the upcoming issue. Vendors are often surprised how many inexpensive options there are with Hospitality Upgrade. I will promise you the cover of this issue will be a lot more conservative, at least I think it will be.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last couple of weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. There will be no more TV for me for awhile.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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




- Hospitality Technology’s Hotel Visionary Awards reflect current trends
Reflecting the current industry focus in customer service, social connections, audit challenges and environmental practices, Visionary Awards were presented to Courtyard by Marriott, JHM Hotels and CityCenter. 

Courtyard was chosen for the GoBoard interactive digital signage it has installed in its lobbies (with partners Microsoft and Four Winds Interactive), featuring live news feeds from USA TODAY, airport and area information, way-finding, maps via Microsoft Virtual Earth, the opportunity for guests to leave their own local restaurant and other reviews, and more.  The combination of well-chosen information feeds and the involvement of guests in helping each other with personal recommendations has made the lobby far more of a social center.

JHM Hotels, owner-operator of 40 hotels under brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and Starwood, was selected for its implementation of an intelligent document management system that has enabled complete paperless invoicing and document storage.  This has allowed it to eliminate storage costs and manage labor more efficiently, while providing full visibility into its financials for compliance and audits.  With storage requirements rising exponentially, along with the need to keep massive amounts of data readily available to support financial and security audits and possible legal searches, the need for this approach is becoming as apparent to smaller operators such as JHM just as much as to major chains.

CityCenter was honored not only for its LEED certification and the extensive technological innovation throughout the complex, but for emphasizing the key role that partnerships played in the success of the project.  These partnerships covered multiple hotel brands (most notably owners MGM MIRAGE and luxury hotel brand Mandarin Oriental) as well as technology vendors such as Control 4.  Personally, given the number of architects, designers, construction companies, vendors and operators involved, as well as the unprecedented scale of the project and the impact of the unexpected financial crisis, I think the whole project management team deserves a standing ovation for bringing it to market at all.


- Ursula Rhode promoted to chief operating officer at Genares
- Natasha Le Roux named director of sales, Americas/ASPAC for ZDirect
- Arne Riemers, Erik Dorr join iBAHN as regional directors of sales
- PJ Calihan hired by TTI Technologies as vice president of national sales
- Jacob Buckstead joins Intelity as vice president of hospitality sales
For more on People on the Move for 05/06/10


- Rodd Hotels & Resorts orders NORTHWIND’s Maestro for nine resorts
- YMCA of The Rockies picks NORTHWIND Maestro for two locations
- Skyware Hospitality releases interface with TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS data capture system
- Delta Hotels and Resorts selects MICROS’ centrally hosted OPERA Enterprise Solution for 45 properties
For more on Property Management Systems for 05/06/10


- Marriott signs distribution agreement with GTA by Travelport
- Open Hospitality releases interface with SoftBrands Epitome PMS
- Global Crew Logistics (GCL) launches new HotelTrak Web-based hotel reservations tool
- Tripware releases MoBook mobile travel booking app for business travelers
- InterContinental launches Priority Club Rewards iPhone app
For more on Reservations for 05/06/10


- WatchMouse announces GeoBrand automated tool to detect brand name misuse in PPC advertising
- Denihan Hospitality Group’s The Surrey contracts with Libra OnDemand
- Carton House in Ireland selects ZDirect
- Trust International integrates TrustYou-Analytics into yourVoyager CRS
For more on Marketing/Management for 05/06/10


- Marcus Hotels and Resorts orders EasyRMS for two properties
- Best Western France picks Interface Technologies’ ReservIT to optimize online distribution
- ChannelRUSH has added ReserveDirect to available distribution channels
- RateTiger launches partner program
- Marco Polo’s three hotel properties in Canton Road Hong Kong adopt IDeaS’ V5i
For more on Revenue Management for 05/06/10


- Telkonet unveils upgraded version of SS5200 SmartEnergy thermostat
Telkonet has unveiled an upgraded version of its SS5200 Telkonet SmartEnergy (TSE) energy management thermostat.  Enhancements include:
• Increased options involving deep setback modes
• Freeze and overheat protection trip point that overrides set point/mode
• Increased building management system (BMS) integration
• Field-selectable wireless transmitting power levels
• Modular radio board for easy upgrades
In addition to an expanded wireless communication range, the SS5200 also includes the option for a wired Ethernet port.   http://www.telkonet.com  


- Elite Meetings International rolls out SpeedRFP APEX-compliant online RFP system
- UniFocus announces version 3.0 of MEETINGScope
- PSAV Presentation Services and X2O Media awarded Excellence in Content Design Award at Digital Signage Expo
For moreon Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/06/10


- MICROS receives 2010 Harrah's Excellence in Innovation Award from UNLV
MICROS Systems has received the 2010 Harrah's Excellence in Innovation Award by the Harrah Hospitality Research Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas for its MICROS Simphony point-of-service enterprise system.  The award is given annually for an innovative breakthrough in the hospitality industry or for a continued commitment to pursuing innovative approaches to solving hospitality-related issues and problems. http://hotel.unlv.edu, http://www.micros.com  


- HotelChatter releases annual Best Hotel WiFi and Worst Hotel WiFi lists
- Hilton San Diego Bayfront adopts GBCblue’s ORION and mobile GOrion
- Over 10,600 guest rooms in Las Vegas now access real-time flight information on Flyte Systems TV channel
- Holiday Inn Gaithersburg, Towneplace Suites in Fort Lauderdale pick EscapeWire for HDTV free-to-guest programming
- Uniguest named Best in Business by Nashville Business Journal
- Hilton announces wireless printing from guests’ BlackBerries at 1,300 hotels via PrinterOn, HP ePrint
- Marina Bay Sands, Singapore orders Harris Corp’s Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) system
- Red Roof completing national rollout of free Wi-Fi to all 350 locations
For more on Guest Services for 05/06/10


And now for you-know-what...

An Irish priest loved to fly fish, it was an obsession of his. So far this year the weather had been so bad that he hadn't had a chance to get his beloved waders on and his favorite flies out of their box. Strangely though, every Sunday the weather had been good, but of course Sunday is the day he has to go to work.

The weather forecast was good again for the coming Sunday so he called a fellow priest claiming to have lost his voice and be in bed with the flu. He asked him to take over his sermon. The fly fishing priest drove 50 miles to a river near the coast so that no one would recognize him. An angel up in Heaven was keeping watch and saw what the priest was doing. He told God who agreed that he would do something about it.

With the first cast of his line a huge fish gulped down the fly. For over an hour the priest ran up and down the river bank fighting the massive fish. At the end when he finally landed the monster fish it turned out to be a world record salmon.

Confused, the angel asked God, "Why did you let him catch that huge fish? I thought you were going to teach him a lesson."

To which God replied, "I did. Who do you think he's going to tell?"

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