⚠ We would appreciate if you would disable your ad blocker when visiting our site! ⚠

Siegel Sez

August 17, 2006

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

School started this week here in Atlanta. Having grown up in New York this is a concept I have never comprehended. Isn’t Labor Day the official end of summer and school starts immediately after? That was the way I grew up. I believe that the travel industry is behind this, it was their way of having the family vacation season start in mid-May and then last until Labor Day. Smart move. Speaking of travel I was one of the lucky ones with a flight booked last Thursday morning which was the first day of the TSA changes for carryon items. I am bummed. One of the things I enjoyed most about air travel was watching those last minute arrivals on to the plane with way too many carryons trying to find room in the overhead bins. There is plenty of space now. I commend the hotel industry for jumping in and offering those things that no longer can be carried on (toothpaste, etc.) but my advice to travelers is just add another half hour to the travel experience and check your bag, which is something I have not done in years. It is a different world today, get used to it.

My travel last week was to Amelia Island Plantation (http://www.aipfl.com) to check out the location of our CIO Summit (http://www.theciosummit.com). The resort had been described to me as the hotel industry’s best kept secret which is a perfect description. I just wish the golf course was easier. I did unfortunately meet one couple who might think twice as to what part of the beach they sunbathe on. Hitting a golf ball straight has never been one of my strong points. Looks like this year’s summit will be our biggest and hopefully our best ever. I cannot wait.

Our CIO Summit starts the fall conference/tradeshow season and I can never remember it being so spread out. HFTP (http://www.hftp.org) is holding their annual conference in Vancouver, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The week before, HTNG (http://www.htng.org) is holding their first annual European Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, another great city halfway around the world from Vancouver. For a listing of all the fall conferences/shows/meetings, go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com and check out the upcoming events calendar. The tradeshow/conference season unofficially ends at the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York (http://www.ihmrs.com). I have been attending this show since I was in college and it is my favorite event of the year. Hospitality Upgrade will once again be doing the Technology Pavilion at the show. It is a great way to exhibit for a fraction of the cost of a booth.  It has grown in popularity every year and has always sold out. For more information on the Tech Pavilion please e-mail mailto:Sharon@hospitalityupgrade.com.

For those of you in Atlanta attending tonight’s industry social event at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel (http://www.renaissancewaverly.com), please bring an extra $10. AirTran Airways, the second largest carrier in Atlanta, has graciously given us two business class tickets to anywhere they fly and we decided to make it a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. Ten bucks for a chance at two business class tickets and you are supporting a great cause? Thank you, AirTran.

I had a great conversation with Steve Van Tassel, the new head honcho at SoftBrands who shared with me the future plans after their recent acquisition of Hotel Information Systems. Jon Inge covered this very well in his intro to this week’s review so I will defer comments on this transaction to him for now. I encourage you to read this week’s review which is the real reason we are here. 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


- More thoughts on SoftBrands’ acquisition of HIS
After the surprise of the initial announcement, and both parties are to be commended for keeping this deal out of the usually all-seeing rumor mill, SoftBrands’ acquisition of HIS makes a great deal of sense.  HIS’ leadership has done a tremendous job in turning around a once-dominant company that had lost its way; they gave it a sense of direction and confidence, and kept it afloat while excellent new products were developed, but they lacked the resources to take full advantage of them.  SoftBrands has also had its challenges in the past few years, and while strong internationally, had never achieved the North American presence it desired. 

So now SoftBrands gets its U.S. presence and modern-technology .Net-based systems well-adapted to the U.S. market.  HIS gets a stronger international presence (especially European) and access to SoftBrands’ Bangalore development team.  HIS’ core and epitome.Net systems will be the main products, targeted at group clients, with SoftBrands’ Medallion PMS focused on smaller and independent properties.  SoftBrands’ Portfolio PMS will continue to be available to existing customers in Europe. 

The HIS name will be phased out, which is sad in a sense but is appropriate.  The new company combines the installed bases (and support revenue) from many of the most successful brands of the past; HIS, LANmark, CLS, Encore, Lodging Touch and more, but is really a new entity with enough resources to be a viable international competitor to Micros-Fidelio.  M-F has been our dominant vendor for many years; to its credit it has not been complacent but has continued to enhance and refine its Opera software to a high degree.  Nonetheless, the emergence of a serious, well-funded competitor can only be good for everyone.


- Pelican Systems announces Flexi-Package application
- The Venetian introduces on-property airline baggage check and boarding pass generation
- TripHub adds trip blogs and event schedules to trip planning service
- Sabre launches TripTailor wholesaler application for customized trip packaging
- Number of U.K. travelers self-packaging their holidays rises 500 percent over 2005
- Sofitel to list inventory on all Expedia and hotels.com sites
- Lodging Interactive adds point-to-point directions to HotelMASHUPS mapping service
- Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor selects iHotelier CRS, TravelCLICK reports and advertising
- InterContinental launches Business Choice travel management portal for small- and medium-sized enterprises
For more on Reservations for 08/17/06


- Starwood’s aloft to place an interactive virtual property inside the online game Second Life
- Rosewood selects Digital Alchemy
- Preferred expands relationship with Leonardo for rich content management and distribution
- Kayak.com contracts with Leonardo for online image content management and distribution
- SideStep adds virtual tours, video and other rich media from VFM Interactive
- New Castle Hotels and Resorts chooses VFM PhotoMontages
For more on Marketing/Management for 08/17/06


- Pan Pacific installs IDeaS V5i at Singapore property
Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts has installed IDeaS’ ASP-based V5i for revenue optimization at its flagship Singapore property.  http://www.panpacific.comhttp://www.ideas.com


- Ken Voss appointed to executive vice president, sales and marketing at Certain Software
- Dave Tahan promoted to chief operating officer at KoolConnect
Ken Voss has been appointed to executive vice president, sales and marketing at Certain Software.  Mr. Voss brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing management experience, most recently as one of the founders of Spear Technologies.  He had earlier served as vice president, sales and marketing for TENERA, Inc., and had also held executive positions at Enlighten Software and SHL Systemhouse.
Dave Tahan has been promoted to chief operating officer at KoolConnect Technologies.  Previously executive vice president, Mr. Tahan joined KoolConnect following its April, 2005 acquisition of General Dynamics Interactive, which he had led.  He had earlier served as chief procurement officer and chairman of GTE’s Strategic Supplier Council; GTE was acquired by Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) and the Government Systems group was divested to General Dynamics. 


- Marriott testing mobile wireless checkin at the Marriott Town Center in Redmond, Wash.
Marriott International is testing mobile wireless checkin at the Marriott Town Center in Redmond, Wash.  Using software downloaded from Arrive.Marriott.com, travelers with Microsoft Windows mobile-powered Smartphones can connect to the hotel's property management system and check in while in transit to the hotel. They will also be able to change room types, receive welcome information and reconfirm their room rates, and will retrieve their room keys from an automated key dispenser in the lobby.  The software was developed in conjunction with Intel and Microsoft.  http://www.marriott.com


- StarCite and OnVantage merge
- Marriott expands At Your Service pre-arrival planning to meetings and events worldwide
StarCite and OnVantage have merged their on-demand corporate meetings and events management companies under the StarCite name.  Michael Boult, president and CEO of StarCite, will remain in that position with the new company.  Existing clients will be able to use either system through 2007, after which StarCite's Global Meeting Solution will be phased out in favor of OnVantage's products.  Both systems are Web-based.  http://www.starcite.comhttp://www.onvantage.com
Marriott International is expanding its At Your Service pre-arrival planning to meetings and events worldwide.  The service, which was launched last year, allows meeting planners to send attendees details of their stay five days prior to arrival (14 days for resorts), including a reservation confirmation, information on property-specific amenities, weather forecast, maps, directions, transportation from the airport and local area information. http://www.marriott.com


- Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Canada installs MICROS’ 9700 Hospitality Management System
Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, Canada, owned by Ripley Entertainment, has installed MICROS’ 9700 Hospitality Management System, with 27 MICROS workstations with integrated RFID readers.  The property implemented property-wide integrated RFID, which allows guests wearing waterproof RFID wrist bands to make payment at any MICROS POS workstation without having to carry cash or other forms of payment.  http://www.greatwolflodge.com, http://www.micros.com


- Chase Business Systems appoints TierOne as Premier Spa+ distributor in North America
Chase Business Systems has appointed TierOne Hospitality Solutions as the distributor for its Premier Spa+ system in the North American hospitality market.  http://www.premiersoftware.co.uk, http://www.tieronehospitality.com


- Chenega Federal Systems selects StayOnline for HSIA at 16 U.S. military bases
- TeleAdapt releases two new TA-6900 DeskPoint versions and upgrades firmware for VLANs
Chenega Federal Systems has selected StayOnline to provide high-speed Internet access (HSIA) at 16 U.S. military bases across the country, where it manages technology under a new U.S. military contract.  The installations are scheduled to be complete within six months and involve more than 250 buildings and over 3,000 guest and meeting rooms.  http://www.chenegafederal.com, http://www.stayonline.net
TeleAdapt has released two new versions of its TA-6900 DeskPoint (an RJ45 socketed version and an under-desk version) and an upgrade of firmware to include 802.1Q-compatible VLAN tagging.  http://www.teleadapt.com


And now for you-know-what…

A man appeared before St. Peter at the pearly gates.

"Have you ever done anything of particular merit," St. Peter asked.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the man said. "On a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a rough gang of high-testosterone bikers, who were threatening a young woman. I told them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. So, I approached the largest and most intimidating of the bikers and smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring and threw it on the ground. Then I yelled, ‘Now back off biker boy or you'll answer to me!’"

St. Peter was impressed. "When did this happen," he asked.

To which the man responded, "Just a few minutes ago."

want to read more articles like this?

want to read more articles like this?

Sign up to receive our twice-a-month Watercooler and Siegel Sez Newsletters and never miss another article or news story.