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Siegel Sez

August 13, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

It was only three days, but easily a world away. I took my trip up North last week, and what a nice escape from the brutal summer we are having in Atlanta. Honestly, can it get any hotter and muggier? Three days in Saratoga, Lake George in New York, then Rutland, Ludlow and finally Weston in Vermont. Before you ask, the one-star Happy Trails Motel that I feared staying in was fine. Isn’t it funny how a friendly staff and a clean room make the experience positive no matter how basic the property is? It was only three days away, but I am telling you if you get a chance to escape from the real world for a bit like I did then do it. All the “stuff” that you left behind will still be there when you get back. I felt like my weekend in Vermont was like living in one of those “Wish You Were Here” postcards you used to send to friends and family while on vacation. Yes, there was no complaining about the high of 78 degrees and the morning temperatures in the 50s. I am telling you if someday I end up living in Weston, Vt., I will not be surprised. The beauty, the small town living and most importantly, the unbelievably friendly people. Vermont, here I come!

But since I am back to the “stuff” I left behind I started thinking of all the fall events that are ahead. Has everybody noticed how many events are being held in October? I am glad we decided nine years ago to always have our CIO Summit the Wednesday through Friday after Labor Day. What a great way to start the back to work season. We are so thankful for the support we have gotten from those leading their company’s technology initiatives; we are far beyond our biggest crowd ever which is both very exciting and quite nerve wracking. If you have any questions regarding our CIO Summit, please send a note to me at mailtrich@hospitalityupgrade.com. San Francisco in September will definitely have great weather, but I am still moving to Vermont. We at Hospitality Upgrade will be going nonstop right up until the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show (www.ihmrs.com) in New York where we will once again be doing the Technology Innovation Center. If you are a vendor of technology and want an inexpensive way to be visible and show your stuff at the New York Show then drop a note to kate@hospitalityupgrade.com or call her at (678) 802-5304. The Pavilion always fills up and is a popular place for technology types to hang out while attending the show.

Today is Friday the 13th. I am not sure if this is a lucky or unlucky day, but thankfully it is Friday and the week is behind us. What a week it was. They say the only constant in life is change and the changes are coming. But then again it is just more “stuff” to deal with. Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. There is quite a lot happening considering it is the summer season. 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



- Business travel stages a comeback, though not in all regions
- Emphasizes continued need to focus on efficiency, revenue management and, for companies, expense tracking
Call it good timing, but as the travel industry focused on the annual National Business Travel Association conference, it received encouraging news from American Express’ North America Business Travel Monitor, which reported a significant return for business travel in the first half of the year. 

Good news for the airlines (if not for travelers): international and domestic airfare rates are at their highest since pre-recession levels.  Despite that, international business class ticket purchases in particular are up substantially compared to the same period last year, and international trip volumes have seen double-digit spikes.  Overall airfares have increased substantially versus the first half of 2009, climbing steadily towards pre-recession levels as of June 2010.

Hotel rates, however, decreased slightly overall compared to the first half of 2009, although individual rate changes varied dramatically from region to region.  Gradual upticks over the first half of the year with further increases in demand indicate that hotel price declines will likely cease and even begin to rise in the 2011 negotiating season.

As ever, this points out once again that the hotels best placed to take advantage of the demand patterns specific to their locations will be those that make the best, most informed use of revenue management systems to guide their rate and availability decisions.  Equally, those companies that have a good handle on their travel expenses will be best positioned to send their key people to the right places to close new business. 

As evidence of this demand, a veritable stream of travel expense-tracking announcements came out of the conference (see below), but just as meaningful as their quantity is the common thread they share: integrating data from multiple sources to present a consolidated picture of overall costs.  As always, the key to successful decision-making is complete, accurate and timely data collection, coupled with intelligent analysis; it’s good to see real progress in the technology that permits and supports that. 


- Nancy Carle hired by TTI Technologies as regional sales manager
- Darrin Deck joins Amadeus as vice president, sales and account management, North America
Nancy Carle has been hired by TTI Technologies as regional sales manager.  With over 19 years of sales and management experience, Ms. Carle was most recently a partner with Apical Resource Group; she had earlier held senior-level sales management positions with SoftBrands and MICROS Systems. 
Darrin Deck has joined Amadeus as vice president, sales and account management, for its North America operations.  Mr. Deck brings more than 25 years of travel and technology experience, including eight years with TRX where he served in several positions culminating in vice president of product operations.


- Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas picks Agilysys’ Visual One, DataMagine
- Mexico Grand Hotels selects PAR Springer-Miller for two properties in Cabo San Lucas
- PAR Springer-Miller completes two-way interface between SMS|Host and EZYield.com
- NORTHWIND qualifies as a certified partner in the Microsoft Partner Network
- Callista integrates hospitality management system with SiteMinder distribution engine
- Micasa Aparthotel implements InnQuest’s roomMaster 2000 via NFS Hospitality
For more on Hospitality Management Systems for 08/13/10


- TripIt offers automatic pickup of travel itinerary confirmations from users’ e-mail accounts
- Carlson Wagonlit to resell Rearden Commerce Platform travel management service
- Rearden integrating booked transaction data from Commerce Platform with IBM’s Global Expense Reporting
- Trust releases channel management interface between yourVoyager and GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager
- Genares links its CRS with REVPAR GURU's in-hotel revenue management
- TRAVELCLICK’s StayHIP voted a Top Travel App for 2010 by Travel + Leisure
For more on Reservations for 08/13/10


- TRX TRAVELTRAX reporting application now includes ancillary fees
- Concur’s Travel & Expense clients able to import folio data automatically from Marriott hotels
- Concur integrates services from Amtrak, FlightTrack by Mobiata, GateGuru, MetrO by Kinevia, OAG, Open Table and Taxi Magic
- Ariett Xpense for iPhone lets users enter expenses and attach snapshots of receipts
- DATABASICS integrates Expense Reporting with Cornerstone’s iBank data management
- ExpenseWatch.com helps companies integrate online travel bookings and expense management
- ExpenseWatch.com releases collection of template reports and dashboards for custom reporting module
- ExpenseWatch.com to integrate with TripIt
- CyberShift offers outsourced services for expense management
- Google to allow owners’ responses to reviews left on Google Places
- Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces deploys Enterprise Edition of TRAVELCLICK’s Hotelligence360
- Libra OnDemand to use Informatica Cloud Services for hospitality-specific data integration
- Knotice enhances Concentri direct digital marketing platform
- Sol Meliá contracts with VFM Leonardo
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/13/10


- IHG approves Defero3 as a communications supplier of hosted voice solutions
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has designated Defero3 as an approved communications supplier of hosted voice solutions, offering preferred pricing and services to IHG franchised properties in the United States and Canada.   http://www.ichotelsgroup.com, http://www.Defero3.com  


- Regal Hotels International picks EasyRMS for six Hong Kong properties
- Callista integrates its hospitality management system with SiteMinder’s distribution engine
- Springer-Miller completes a two-way interface between SMS|Host and EZYield.com’s RezDelivery
- Trust releases yourVoyager channel management interface with GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager
- Genares links its CRS and REVPAR GURU's in-hotel revenue management
For more on Revenue Management for 08/13/10


- IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) integrates StarCite eRFPs, synchronizes content updates
- Xanterra implements UniFocus’ MEETINGScope at eight Ohio State Park Lodges
- Egencia Meetings & Incentives to incorporate Cvent’s meetings management and venue site selection
- Serenata integrating PMS production and RFP data from Lanyon into Serenata NetHotel Sales
For more on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning for 08/13/10


- MSI adds Merchant Link to Place Point POS, WinPM hospitality management system
MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has added Merchant Link’s high-speed payments gateway and reporting to MSI's Place Point point-of-sale system and WinPM hospitality management system.  http://www.merchantlink.com, http://www.msisolutions.com  


- XCom Global launches Corporate aXcess Program to save overseas travelers roaming charges
- Sheraton introduces new Bing-based portal for guests using Link@Sheraton lobby lounges
- SuperShuttle announces iPhone app to help travelers book, manage airport shuttle rides
- United Kingdom’s Filmbank introduces online per-room movie payment system for hoteliers and B&B owners
- Kimberly Hotel implements Intelity ICE Touch system in all guestrooms
- Acentic introduces Acentic Horizon high-speed Internet access (HSIA) service for hotels
- Wyndham Worldwide names Samsung as its sole endorsed television brand
For more on Guest Services for 08/13/10


- MSI adds Merchant Link payments gateway and reporting to WinPM and Place Point POS
- Hyatt adopts Microsoft’s Online Services for e-mail, instant messaging and other collaboration tools
MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has added Merchant Link’s high-speed payments gateway and reporting to MSI's WinPM hospitality management system and Place Point point-of-sale system.  http://www.merchantlink.com, http://www.msisolutions.com  
Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has adopted Microsoft’s cloud-based Online Services for e-mail, instant messaging and other collaboration tools, purchasing its Business Productivity Online Suite for approximately 17,000 individuals in traditional roles at Hyatt's corporate office and Hyatt properties and a further 40,000 licenses for deskless staff in its U.S., Canada and Caribbean locations who don’t have full-time access to a PC.  http://www.hyatt.com, http://www.microsoft.com  


And now for you-know-what…

I dialed a phone number recently and got the following recording:

"I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call. I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the beep. If I do not return your call, you are one of the changes."

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