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Siegel Sez

May 20, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Recently I met someone who before they actually met me was told that I was a guy with a creative mind and was not afraid to take chances. I liked that. How many who lead their technology initiatives for their hotel companies can be described this way?  One who I know quite well was recognized this week. Congratulations to Nick Price the CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group for being elected into the HFTP International Technology Hall of Fame. In Jon’s review he shares the official announcement with you, but let me tell you that doesn’t really do Nick justice. His support of the industry across the board is amazing. He is one of the very few who has attended all eight of Hospitality Upgrade’s CIO Summits and quite often has traveled the furthest to attend. My personal favorite Nick Price story was when I bumped into him the day before HITEC 2006 in Minneapolis and all he did was complain about the location of the event. On the last day of the show when the HITEC advisory board was meeting to review the event, who do you think was the most vocal saying Minneapolis should be the permanent home of HITEC? Yes, I gave him grief, but don’t the great leaders admit when they are wrong?  Nick has never been afraid to reinvent the safe path that so many take when it comes to technology in hotels. As an industry we continuously move forward because of people like Nick Price. Again, congratulations to a very worthy inductee into the Technology Hall of Fame.

Thirty days to HITEC. There are great events that touch technology throughout the year, but then there is one that everybody attends and that is HITEC. HFTP has put together a great program this year from the opening session speaker Frank Abagnale of “Catch Me If You Can” fame, to Thursday’s closing session featuring Dennis Snow who spent over 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company redefining customer service. We are sure to learn a lot. I encourage you to visit http://www.hitec.org and look at the program as there are great sessions this year. I will be doing two, the first with Sally Kelly of KPMG that looks at the outsourcing trend and will include Mike Blake, the CIO at Hyatt Hotels, and Rob Webb, the CIO at Hilton Hotels. I am also co-moderating with technology consultant Derek Wood one of this year’s Super Sessions titled, The Green Hotel - Good For Business. Both should be lively sessions, I can’t wait. It is great how HITEC has morphed from technology-only folks to many mainstream operators now attending. Let’s face it, technology touches everybody today and HITEC is the one place that every technology provider will be. Do your homework before the event, map out your days there and visit those who have solutions that might be of interest. Even if you aren’t buying today, it is amazing what we all learn from visiting those that have different solutions to make our lives easier. With the economy continuing to improve and the hotel industry getting healthier, it works out great that HITEC is in Orlando this year. The top two HITEC attendance records were both set in Orlando, maybe there is real magic there. Even though Nick Price and I would like HITEC to go back to Minneapolis, I can live with the great crowd expected this year in Florida. Hospitality Upgrade and Hotel Online will be in booth No. 823. Mark that down on your map as you plan who you are going to visit. We hope to see you there.

Before I turn this over to the very opinionated Jon Inge who in his opening remarks is attempting to change the mainstay of hotel technology (which I actually agree with except for his naming ability), I wanted to thank everybody. We had thousands of readers visit our http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com Website and click on HUTube to see my very offbeat interview on NBC television featuring my latest fashion statement at this year’s Kentucky Derby.  It is still up there if you missed it, but for the many who asked…the hat is no more. But it was fun while it lasted. Thanks for all the comments, they were much appreciated. Here now is the aforementioned Jon Inge with the technology happenings 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



- Say good-bye to the PMS?
- HTNG releases new specifications
The more I look at property management systems, the more apparent it is how much they’ve moved beyond their original focus on guest reservations, room availability, checkin/checkout and folio charges, i.e., the basic aspects of guests’ stays while they’re at the property.  Since they now cover so much more of the guest experience, often including multiproperty reservations, sales and catering, spa/golf/activities management and so on, isn’t it time we called them something else?
The name has always been misleading.  To apartment or commercial property managers, as well as to the general public, a property management system does just that; it manages the property itself, its maintenance, equipment, furnishings, environmental controls and anything else to do with keeping the place in good condition and running efficiently.  Besides which, the acronym can be awkwardly inappropriate.

So what would be a better description?  I thought about guest stay manager, which implies a breadth more in line with current system abilities, but it also seems to exclude the CRM marketing and central reservations functions that precede the stay itself.  “Guest” also seems to exclude groups, and there may be some minor confusion with the GSM (global system for mobile communications) cell phones used by most of the world.

The best I could come up with is hospitality management system (or suite), HMS, which is more accurate but also a bit of a mouthful.  I don’t see a problem with keeping existing names and acronyms for the various functional sub-sets found within a modern system, such as S&C, POS, RMS and so on (and GSM, perhaps), whether they’re modules of the full suite or separate systems from different vendors.  But I do think it’s time we dropped PMS.

What do you think?  If you have a preference, another suggestion or think there’s nothing wrong with staying with “PMS,” drop me a text or e-mail and let me know.
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has released new interface specifications for connecting hotel guest kiosks to property management systems, simplifying connectivity of payment systems and enabling a new model for more accurate and seamless hotel distribution. 
- Kiosks: Based on OpenTravel Alliance schemas and leveraging messages from an HTNG workgroup on payment systems, this first kiosk specification covers guest checkin, room key issue, folio review, checkout and payment processes. 
- Payment systems: A single interface specification that covers standard credit card activities: authorization, incremental authorization, authorization reversal, settlement, sale, void settlement and returns. 
- New product distribution model: An addition to the existing distribution specification includes a Seamless Shop and Book distribution model, which offers a more real-time status about room availability, rates and inventory to online shoppers by retrieving this information directly from the source instead of from cached data. 
HTNG is also currently assessing the possibility of several new workgroup efforts, including guestroom access via near-field communications, a shared global network, shared services for guestroom device provisioning and management, migration to above-property systems, automated VAT reclaiming, enhanced cell phone coverage, standardizing the sharing of guest-related information between databases, and enhanced point-of-sale interfaces


- Nick Price inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
- Simon J. Hulme honored as HFTP’s 2010 CHTP of the Year
- Christine Petersen promoted to president of TripAdvisor for Business
- Laurie Knapp joins PSAV Presentation Services as vice president of global sales
For more on People on the Move for 05/20/10


- NORTHWIND releases self-service kiosk for Maestro
- Hotel H2O implements Amadeus’ PMS
NORTHWIND has released a self-service kiosk for its Maestro PMS, featuring a touch screen where guests can enter their name or swipe a credit card to identify reservations, capture a signature, and check themselves in.  The system also codes room keys and provides guests with a folio receipt.  The kiosk was developed in partnership with Penn Center Systems, itself a partner of NCR and IJWS (It Just Works Software Corp.) providing sales, support and implementation services.  The first property to implement the kiosk software is the Harvard Faculty Club.   http://www.penncentersystems.com, http://www.ijws.com, http://www.maestropms.com 
Hotel H2O, adjacent to the Manila Ocean Park in Luneta, Manila, in the Philippines, has implemented Amadeus’ PMS through Courtesy Point Technologies, Inc.  http://www.hotelh2o.com, http://www.amadeus.com 


- Concur adds 210,000 hotels to inventory from hotel.info
- Concur Cliqbook Travel adds 260,000 properties from Hotel Reservation Service
- Travelport acquires Singapore-based Sprice metasearch engine
- Travelport partners with Worldmate to offer customers BlackBerry-based itinerary management
- Open Hospitality announces availability of online hotel booking engines for mobile devices
- Tourisme Montreal picks Interface Technologies’ ReservIT CRS
- Accor Hospitality, Carlson Hotels upgrade to Sabre’s DCX direct connect booking platform
- Kimpton selects Sabre’s SynXis CRS
- TRAVELCLICK launches StayHIP mobile booking application for boutique hotels
- Carlson Wagonlit Travel integrates tools to remind travelers when bookings don’t comply with company policies
- Kayak acquires Munich-based flight and hotel search site swoodoo
- Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas signs with Genares
- Whiteboard Labs launches Windsurfer CRS, The Ultimate Booking Experience (TUBE) booking engine
For more on Reservations for 05/20/10


- TripAdvisor combines Business Listings and Vacation Rentals services into TripAdvisor for Business
TripAdvisor has launched TripAdvisor for Business, a new division incorporating its flat-fee subscription Business Listings and Vacation Rentals services.  Business Listings covers hoteliers, innkeepers and bed and breakfast owners; Vacation Rentals helps property managers and individual home owners list their properties and showcase hotel alternatives.  http://www.tripadvisor.com  


- Treasure Island in Las Vegas selects Rainmaker’s revolution
- IDeaS integrates its V5i system with JackRabbit's BookDirect Lodging and Availability Search Engine
- Prairie Band Casino deploys IDeaS V5i
For more on Revenue Management for 5/20/10


- Nexus issues release 7.2 of HotelworX sales force automation system
- BridgeStreet first corporate housing provider to join Lanyon’s corporate extended stay program
- Newmarket integrates Elite Meetings International’s new SpeedRFP into product lines
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 05/20/10


- HSI releases Profit Series POS version for Apple’s iPad
- River City Casino, St. Louis, Mo., implements MICROS’ centrally hosted Simphony POS system
Hospitality Solutions International (HSI) has released a version of its Profit Series Point of Sale (POS) system for use with Apple’s iPad as an alternative to traditional tablet devices for mobile POS systems.  The large 9.7-inch display allows viewing of full Profit Series POS screens; as with the iPod touch version, the iPad’s multitouch screen allows users to zoom in on parts of the screen.  http://web.hsi-solutions.com  
River City Casino, St. Louis, Mo., has implemented MICROS’ centrally hosted Simphony enterprise POS system, along with 60 MICROS Workstation 5 terminals for its food and beverage and retail operations.  The application is being centrally hosted and maintained in Pinnacle Entertainment’s Las Vegas datacenter.  http://www.rivercity.comhttp://www.micros.com


- Roosevelt Hotel implements Intelity’s ICE Mobile
- Broughton Hospitality signs with Roomlinx for Interactive TV system for three Chicago properties
The Roosevelt Hotel, NYC, has implemented Intelity’s ICE Mobile, the first hospitality establishment in the Northeast to do so.  The application lets the property offer its guests personalized assistance prior to and during their stay, including ordering room service and housekeeping requests, making dinner reservations or scheduling outside activities.  http://www.theroosevelthotel.com, http://www.intelityice.com
Broughton Hospitality has signed a five-year agreement with Roomlinx to provide its Interactive TV (iTV) system for three Chicago properties: The City Suites Hotel, The Majestic Hotel and The Willows Hotel.  Roomlinx iTV was installed in 10 rooms in each of these properties a year ago; all rooms will now receive the iTV product, LCD TVs and free-to-guest HD television programming.   http://www.broughtonhospitality.comhttp://www.roomlinx.com


- Aptech releases version 14 of Profitvue Enterprise Back Office Accounting system
Aptech Computer Systems has released version 14 of its Profitvue Enterprise Back Office Accounting system.  Among the more than 100 enhancements are improved financial statements (including 10-column variance reporting, side-by-side expense/cost per occupied room analysis and new formatting options), new functionality for multicompany processing (including cash requirements, check book and trial balance reports), ad-hoc general ledger and accounts payable exports for added data evaluation, and enhanced formatting options for all Profitvue reports.  http://www.aptech-inc.com  


- INNCOM unveils MODEVA range of guestroom control units
INNCOM International has unveiled MODEVA, its next generation of guestroom control units.  The name is based on it being MODular in design, and having guest-facing DEVices with an Artistic look and feel.  The MODEVA switch itself contains all of the hardware components (including logic operations, radio communications and user interface functionality) to operate as a low voltage controls interface within a thin assembly that rests outside of the wall box cavity, decoupling the system from the line power switching and dimming performed by the system’s load assemblies.  The user interfaces include touch capacitance glass and keypad options, and can include nightlights with arrays of LED’s, dimmer slide bars and switching capability for lighting, temperature, drapes and guest annunciation.  http://www.inncom.com  


- Bermuda’s Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess deploy Adaco
The Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess hotels in Bermuda have both deployed Adaco’s latest release.  http://www.fairmont.com, http://www.adaco.com


- XETA Technologies acquires Lorica
XETA Technologies has acquired Hotel Technology Solutions, Inc., dba Lorica Solutions.  Lorica provides managed converged IP networks and high-speed Internet access (HSIA) to more than 40,000 hotel rooms, with proactive monitoring and support.  XETA Technologies is best known for its hospitality call accounting systems, but also sells, installs and services advanced communication systems in the education and government verticals.  http://www.loricasolutions.com, http://www.xeta.com 


And now for you-know-what…

Proudly showing off his new inner city apartment to a couple of friends late one night, a drunk man led the way to his bedroom where there was a big brass gong hanging on the wall.
"What's that big brass gong for," one of the friends asked.

"Issss nod a gong. Issss a talking Australian clock," he drunkenly replied.

"A talking Australian clock? Seriously," his friend asked.
"Yup. Ummm-hmmm (hic)," the man replied.
"How's it work," the second friend asked, squinting at it and looking behind it.
"Just watch," he said. Then he picked up a hammer, gave the gong an ear-shattering bash and stepped back.

His three mates stood looking at one another for a moment in astounded silence. Suddenly, an Australian voice from the other side of the wall screamed, "Shut up, you stupid idiot - it's ten past three in the bloody morning!"

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