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Siegel Sez

August 26, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Magic? Probably not, it is more likely all about dollars. I am sitting here on my balcony at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina at 5 a.m. I am attending the Starwood Six Sigma & IT Conference. I stayed at this Sheraton years ago and would have described it then as a “tired” hotel.  Whoever was in charge of the reinvention of this hotel should be congratulated; it is a property that seems like it is four years old, not 40 years old, and since it sits on the marina with million dollar yachts docked at the back door it seems more like a resort then a hotel three minutes from the airport. Perception is reality, right? 

The conference itself has been unique and absolutely motivating for the attendees. Heck, I am motivated and I don’t work for Starwood, but I now feel like I am ready to take on the world so don’t get in my way. There are over 40 exhibitors here and every last one said this was a fabulous event. During his opening remarks on the first day, VP of IT North America Mark McBeth went above and beyond encouraging the attendees to interact with the exhibitors and they took his advice to heart. The attendees learned a lot and vendors met a lot of prospects. It was simply great to experience and be a part of, I was so glad I was invited. Personally I had a great time talking to so many people who read Hospitality Upgrade and Siegel Sez. I’ve received great feedback. I also got a promise from Jennifer Hayward, a senior sales executive at MICROS, who if she comes through could be life changing and it has nothing to do with business. We shall see. Again, thanks to Mark McBeth and Starwood CIO Todd Thompson for inviting me to this year’s conference. This is a very unique conference for IT folks in the industry. I would encourage other hotel companies to do something similar. There is something magical when so many in the same position get time together to share experiences.

Speaking of sharing experiences, it is now less than two weeks until our ninth annual CIO Summit which will be in San Francisco. It is also two weeks until we launch the biggest initiative our little company has ever attempted. It is exciting and beyond stressful trying to have everything come together as deadlines approach. They say there is no cure for the common cold, but is there a cure for overwhelming pressure and stress?  As expected, and I say this with much thanks, this will be our biggest CIO Summit ever with attendees coming in from all over the world. Who would have thought this little one-day event nine years ago would grow to be a must attend for those responsible for their companies’ technologies in the hotel, hotel management, gaming, cruise and vacation ownership industries. We are very proud of how far it has come, but if I could just figure out a way not to stress so much beforehand I would be much happier. Those of you who plan meetings and events for a living, let me say this. You’re nuts! That is one job I could never do and am thankful Charlotte Somers has been doing our events for nine years now. I guess she must be a little nuts, especially having put up with my antics all these years. Now that is something that is definitely magical.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, when we were at HITEC in Orlando Jon and I sat down and did a wrap up Siegel Sez of this year’s show. After many rounds of edits, makeup and wardrobe changes, we have the finished video live on the video section of our Website. To check out the Siegel Sez video online go to http://www.hospitalityupgrade.com/HUtube-Videos/.  

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the last few weeks.  I should add here that Jon has written a fabulous article on the explosion of mobile applications for our upcoming fall issue of Hospitality Upgrade. If you are a vendor of technology and would like to share your message with over 32,000 readers in 106 countries you should quickly contact Kate O’Neil at (678)802-5304 or e-mail her at kate@hospitalityupgrade.com. We are proud of what we have done with our magazine and since we received so much positive feedback from our summer issue, we are putting extra pressure on ourselves to exceed expectations for this upcoming issue. Who knows, maybe we all work better under pressure. 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



- Cornell study shows guest satisfaction directly linked to financial performance
- Paul Levesque defines five management mistakes that can cripple guest service
Continuing a theme…

Customer satisfaction, part 3:  A Cornell University study shows that guest satisfaction is directly and quantifiably related to financial performance.  The survey describes operational and performance indicators that can be tracked to improve satisfaction, and concludes that satisfying guests does yield measurable financial returns in terms of repeat purchases, the likelihood of making recommendations and of spending more on ancillary items in subsequent hotel stays.

Four key performance indicators reported as affecting guests’ evaluations were an accurate reservation, checkin completed within five minutes, no problems during the stay and no billing errors.
Customer satisfaction, part 4: Customer-focus consultant Paul Levesque, writing at Entrepreneur.com earlier this month, listed five management mistakes that are guaranteed to cripple guest service.
#1: Making customer service a training issue – Training staff to behave in strict, by-the-book “service” ways always comes across to guests as artificial and insincere.  Better to give them opportunities to come up with their own ideas for delivering delight.
#2: Blaming poor service on employee “demotivation” – Looking inward for ways to motivate workers is self-interested, internal and breeds transparent cynicism.  Focus instead on the interests of customers and the community at large, and motivate employees by allowing them to deliver the level of service they know they’re capable of.
#3: Using customer feedback only to uncover what's wrong – Employees dread surveys and other data-gathering efforts that lead to witch hunts for scapegoats.  Instead, use customer feedback to uncover everything that's going right, examples of employees going the extra mile for guests, and celebrate them.
#4: Reserving top recognition for dramatic recoveries – Special recognition for recovery from a terrible guest service problem is fine as long as it’s not the only way staff feel appreciated, otherwise foul-ups become their only source of reward.  Be careful to also uncover and celebrate successful efforts to please guests where no mistakes were made.
#5: Competing on price – Price is a decision criterion only when all else is equal – and it never is.  Businesses actually compete on perceived value, on the total guest experience.  Aspects such as “helpfulness,” “friendliness” and “the personal touch” are a long-term competitive advantage to companies that charge slightly more for their basic services.


- protel introduces Web-based guest survey tool
- TRAVELCLICK wins 10 Interactive Media Awards (IMA) and an IAC Outstanding Web Interactive Application award
protel hotelsoftware introduced a Web-based guest survey tool, allowing hotels to create, conduct and analyze individual customer surveys quickly and easily.  E-mailed invitations include a link that takes guests to the survey Website; guests’ individual survey answers will be displayed in their guest profile, and can evaluated statistically by management.  http://www.protel-hotel-software.com  
TRAVELCLICK has won 10 Interactive Media Awards (IMA) and an Outstanding Web Interactive Application award from the Web Marketing Association’s Internet Advertising Competition (IAC).  The IMA honors outstanding Website design and development based on design, content, features, functionality, usability, standards compliance and cross-browser compatibility.  The Andara Phuket Resort Website won a Best in Class Award; nine other sites received Outstanding Achievement Awards.  The Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) gave TRAVELCLICK its Outstanding Web Interactive Application Award for its work with The Sloane Square Hotel in London. http://www.travelclick.net  


- Excel Hotel Group picks AnyRate Competitive Rate Intelligence for all properties
Excel Hotel Group has selected AnyRate Competitive Rate Intelligence for all of its properties, integrating its scheduled competitive rate reports and real-time Flash reports into its revenue management and pricing processes across the organization.  http://www.excelhotelgroup.com, http://www.any-rate.com  


- Cvent adds Environmentally Friendly filter to venue profiles to identify Green Key-certified locations
- Sabre, Cisco jointly developing telepresence virtual-meeting reservations program
Cvent has added an Environmentally Friendly filter to the venue profiles on its Cvent Supplier Network in partnership with Green Key Global, to help meeting planners plan green meetings and events by identifying Green Key-certified hotels and hotel meeting facilities in the United States and Canada.  Green Key ratings are based on an environmental audit of hotel operations and include random, on-site verification of audit results.  http://www.greenkeyglobal.com, http://www.cvent.com  
Sabre Travel Network and Cisco are jointly developing a telepresence virtual-meeting reservations program.  Corporations looking to reserve telepresence facilities will be able to view availability, rates and restrictions and book meetings; both vendors which offer public telepresence facilities and corporations with private telepresence rooms will be able to use the Sabre-Cisco platform to display open or restricted access to their facilities.  The electronic distribution platform will be open to all points of sale including Sabre’s GetThere, which already has a relationship with telepresence vendor Tata Communications.  The distribution platform is expected to be rolled out sometime in 2011, featuring a business rules engine, corporate profiles, rates and availability.  http://www.sabretravelnetwork.com, http://www.cisco.com  


- Red Lion implements UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance at all owned properties
Red Lion Hotels has implemented UniFocus’ Web-based Watson, R.M. Time & Attendance system throughout their owned  properties.  http://www.redlion.com, http://www.unifocus.com  


- New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge implements Adaco
The 665-room New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge has implemented Adaco for all its food and beverage procurement and inventory.  http://www.marriott.com, http://www.adaco.com  


- iBAHN now in over 300,000 hotel guestrooms
- Kohler’s American Club Resort releases mobile application with links to PGA Championship leader board
iBAHN announced that hotel guestrooms using its digital entertainment and Internet access services have passed the 300,000 level, and are present in 41 countries.  http://www.ibahn.com  
Kohler’s American Club Resort has released a mobile application, The American Club Resort Mobile Experience, developed in conjunction with Movitas.  Coinciding with the 92nd PGA Championship tournament held this year at Kohler's Whistling Straits, the application allows guests and visitors to link to the official mobile PGA leader board, receive opt-in alerts about daily events throughout the resort, look up maps and directions, and choose from various shopping and meal options.  http://www.destinationkohler.com, http://www.movitas.com  


- Dan Kornick promoted to SVP and CIO at Wyndham Hotel Group
- Sivaprasad Gangadharan hired by IDeaS as regional director sales for India and the Subcontinent
- Peter Carlsen appointed to head international business development at Guestline
For more information on People on the Move for 08/26/10


- Mövenpick’s Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Dubai, opens with protel Single Property Edition
- Protel releases Room Tweet enhancement for HMS
Mövenpick’s 294-room Hotel Jumeirah Beach, it’s fourth property in Dubai, recently opened, using the Single Property Edition (SPE) of protel`s hospitality management system, as well as its protel Banquet catering and event management module and sales and marketing module.  http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com, http://www.protel-hotel-software.com  

Protel has released a Room Tweet enhancement for its hospitality management system.  Hotels can define arrival and departure dates, number of guests and a room category; a single click broadcasts the sale offer via Twitter and posts a link to the hotel's protel Web Booking Engine, using current availabilities directly from the HMS.  http://www.protel-hotel-software.com  


- Customer Direct and Travel Tripper partner to launch new call center service
- Carnival launches Facebook application to select and share cruises with Facebook friends
- eMax Hotel Internet Marketing unveils mobile hotel Website booking platform
For more information on Reservations for 08/26/10


- Defero3 adds XETA Technologies to dealer network
Defero3 has added XETA Technologies to its dealer network.  http://www.XETA.com, http://www.defero3.com  


And now for you-know-what…

A teenager brought her new boyfriend home to meet her parents. They were shocked by his haircut, his numerous tattoos and his excessive piercings.
After he left, the girl's mom decided to ask her daughter about him and said, "Dear, he doesn't seem to be a very nice boy."
"Oh, please, Mom," the daughter replied. "If he wasn't nice, would he be doing 500 hours of community service?"

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