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Siegel Sez

September 16, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

Really, who cares?

I had a very interesting week last week. It started on Sat., Sept. 4, with a trip to Wichita, Kan., for a reunion of the property management systems company Lodgistix. I worked for Lodgistix in the late ‘80s. I have never been a big reunion person. I’ve never gone to a high school reunion, but this reunion was just the best. It was so much fun to see people who I worked with over 20 years ago. Thank you to George Zugmeir and Beth Coen for making this happen. I love Wichita. It was a great part of my past. But really, who cares?

From Wichita I went to San Diego, or actually to Del Mar to watch one of our horses run. Somebody needs to explain to our horse that running faster then the other horses is more enjoyable than running slower. No matter how fast they run, it is always a pleasure to spend time with them. I was lucky enough to stay at the beautiful Del Mar Hilton that is at the front door to the race track and creates a Kentucky Derby-like experience. It has a big screen TV in the lobby showing horse racing and everybody walks around with a Daily Racing form getting ready for the day’s races. Yes, it was a fun few days, but in the grand scheme of things, who cares?

From San Diego I went to San Francisco for our ninth annual CIO Summit. We had our biggest crowd ever and San Francisco was a great city to hold the event. If I started mentioning all the things that happened at this year’s summit I wouldn’t be able to stop, but the feedback this year has been nothing short of sensational. It was a bit different from previous summits. Some parts were very well received and some caused people to scratch their heads and ask what we were thinking. But all in all, the event was a success. Hopefully you also receive Hospitality Upgrade in print or digitally (www.hospitalityupgrade.com/digitaledition), as our upcoming fall issue will have a great review of this year’s CIO Summit with some very candid pictures of these CIOs letting down their guard.  Make sure you get the magazine just to see the cover; the photographer was actually dancing in the middle of the road avoiding cars on a California street to get a great picture. I can’t wait to see it. But really, who cares?

This is what I really care about.

Earlier this summer, after getting a LinkedIn message from Phil Labelle, the corporate vice-president of IT for Hyatt Hotels, I reached out to him and asked if he would write an article for Hospitality Upgrade magazine. Trust me, this is not a normal article for us, but maybe after 18 years of publishing the article that will make us the most proud. Phil absolutely enjoyed sharing his story. I am going to implore you to read his article. If you are reading Hotel Online, then you are involved with the hotel industry in some way. If you are in the industry you will thank me for encouraging you to read it. The beginning is about his start in technology and how he landed in the greatest industry in the world. This article makes me proud to have been involved in the hospitality industry for over 30 years; it is truly about the people. I will add my comments at the conclusion of Phil’s article.  Read it and then come back to Jon Inge’s technology review of the last two weeks. You will care.

Click here for the article, Reflections by Phil LaBelle. - http://www.hotel-online.com/News/PR2010_3rd/Sep10_Reflections.html  

I had the pleasure of doing panels with Phil at HITEC and had some great interaction with him during other industry events including a memorable limousine ride in Las Vegas. He was simply a good guy and a pleasure to have known. He will be missed. Thanks for the memories Phil.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Key factors when picking an HMS (at least in Italy): online booking engine and outstanding support
- HTNG and GSA launch expansion of HTNG standards into gaming arena
What do hoteliers look for in an HMS?  If Italy is any guideline, the top two factors are on online booking engine for their Website and a complete, qualified and professional support network.  The survey of 200 Italian hoteliers and decision makers was conducted by the University of Venice’s Ca`Foscari Formazione e Ricerche SRL, and asked for input on the most sought after features in HMS software and which features the respondents were most willing to pay for.

The seven most important HMS features were:
1. Online booking engine integration (58 percent)
2. Revenue management integration in the PMS (51 percent)
3. Management control and sales (46 percent)
4. Detailed reporting system (39.5 percent)
5. IDS integration and management (34.5 percent)
6. Integrated mailing system (33 percent)
7. GDS integration and management (27.5 percent)

And the aspects hoteliers are willing to pay extra for were:
1. Qualified, top-notch assistance (75 percent)
2. Reliability (70 percent)
3. Possibility of product customization (52 percent)
4. Completeness (37 percent)
5. Consultancy for optimal use (11 percent)
6. Brand (5 percent)

If nothing else, this implies that there are still opportunities for an unknown start-up developer to do well if it provides excellent service on top of good functionality.  The two have to go together, and a well-known brand name is clearly not enough.
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) is expanding back into the gaming arena in a joint effort with the Gaming Standards Association (GSA); the two organizations are launching a coordinated standards development effort to integrate customer information across a variety of hotel and gaming systems.  The objective is to provide an integrated view of each customer across the entire operation, expanding HTNG’s Single Guest Itinerary specification to include Player Tracking, Show Ticketing and other gaming activities systems and adding historical spending activity.  HTNG will also coordinate with OpenTravel Alliance for consistency across data elements where OpenTravel Alliance standards exist, such as customer profile definition.


- NH Hotels first Spanish chain to release iPhone app
- NORTHWIND releases smartphone microsite for Maestro PMS’s ResWave online booking engine
- Starwood releases its first application for BlackBerry
- Accor to list hotel inventory on HotelsCombined.com
- Aqua adopts Sabre’s Guest Connect Website booking engine
- Skyware releases two-way interface with InnLink CRS
- Ireland's Blue Book developing mobile application with O'Rourke’s SmartStay App
- Trust’s yourVoyager CRS now available in Japanese; Solare is first client
- Priceline’s Agoda.com offers online registration for hotels
For more information on Reservations for 09/16/10


- Premier International expands Libra OnDemand-powered loyalty program
- Benchmark Hospitality rolling out d2o’s PMI to all properties
- Stonebridge hires VIZERGY to manage Internet marketing and redesign two Websites
- Frommer’s embeds VFM Leonardo multimedia viewers into online hotel section
For more information on Marketing/Management for 09/16/10


- H10 Hotels implementing EZYield.com across all 36 hotels
- Hotel Internet Help (HIH) integrates hotel booking engine with EZYield.com
- Enjoy Casino & Resort chain implements Easy (Ez) RMS at all resorts
- Rainmaker announces TribalRev revenue management service
- Nobis Hotel contracts with TRAVELCLICK for complete suite
- Château Cartier implements FastBooking’s online booking, distribution/channel management
For more information on Revenue Management for 09/16/10


- Newmarket acquires Hospitality Information Services
- South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority contracts with Meetingmax Systems for online booking
Newmarket International has acquired Hospitality Information Services, a provider of market research information for the hospitality industry.  HIS will continue to operate and service existing customers out of its headquarters in Walnut Creek, Calif.  http://www.hisnet.com, http://www.newmarketinc.com  
The South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority (CVA), which serves Indiana's stretch of the south shore of Lake Michigan, has contracted with Meetingmax Systems for online booking of multiproperty housing reservations for conference and event attendees, including teams traveling to the region's numerous sports tournaments.  http://www.southshorecva.com, http://www.meetingmaxsystems.com  


- Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba selects SpaSoft for its second Zara Spa
The 306-room Mövenpick Resort & Spa Tala Bay Aqaba, Jordan, has selected PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SpaSoft spa and activity management system for its second Zara Spa.  Tala Bay Aqaba is a new residential community on the southern shores of the Red Sea.  http://www.moevenpick-hotels.com, http://www.springermiller.com  


- Redbury @ Hollywood and Vine opens with runtriz
- iBAHN formally launches iMEDIA IP-based information and entertainment platform
The 57-suite Redbury @ Hollywood and Vine has opened with runtriz’ guest-request management system, running on a guest's own smartphone, iPod touch® or iPad™.  The hotel staff use iPads to greet guests and explaining the My Redbury by runtriz application; select suites will be equipped with an iPad for guests to use during their stay.  http://www.theredbury.com, http://www.runtriz.com  
iBAHN announced the formal launch of its iMEDIA IP-based information and entertainment platform for hotels, which has been in global trials since late last year.  iMEDIA provides guests the ability to access any Internet content on the flat-screen television, including such services as Hulu and YouTube, and can be customized to ensure consistent branding throughout the hotel and to promote guest services, menus and room-specific offers.  http://www.ibahn.com  


- Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, picks Eatec
The Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system.  http://www.edmonton.com/shaw-conference-centre/, http://www.agilysys.com/hospitality  


- citizenM Glasgow opens with single IP-convergent network infrastructure from Swisscom
The new citizenM Glasgow has opened with a single IP-convergent network infrastructure from Swisscom, which underpins:
- guestroom RFID cards
- mood pads that control the guestroom TV/entertainment system, window shades, room ambiance and temperature
- any virtualized management system hosted remotely from the property, including its hospitality management system and wireless phone system (PBX) 

Swisscom built the hotel's IP infrastructure including all network interfaces between its own IPTV and HSIA services and the additional, third-party guest applications.  http://www.citizenmglasgow.com, http://www.swisscom.com/Hospitality/  


- CityCenter Las Vegas implements Saflok’s RFID lock system in 5,900 rooms
CityCenter in Las Vegas has implemented Saflok’s RFID lock system in 5,900 rooms, including the ARIA Resort & Casino, Vdara Hotel and Spa and Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas.  The locks are integrated with each room’s Control4 in-room controller via a Zigbee mesh wireless network to set the room on welcome theme ambience upon a guest’s first entry, activating the lights, opening the drapes and displaying personalization controls on the TV for guests to configure.
http://www.citycenter.com, http://www.kaba.com/lodging-products  


- Steve Doherty honored with HFTP’s 2010 Paragon Award
- Peter Engel promoted to CTO at Marcus Hotels and Resorts
- Aitor Agueda joins OpenWays as vice president research and development
- Erynn Dalton-Torrenga joins Intelity Solutions as vice president field sales
- Sarah Strehle hired by Intelity as hospitality sales manager
- Brad Lattin joins Intelity as inside sales manager
- Jaycel West hired as technology operations manager at Intelity
- John Figueroa joins Libra OnDemand as customer success manager
- Darrin Whipple named an account executive at Libra OnDemand
- Steve Cashman has been appointed as vice president, Americas at iBAHN
For more information on People on the Move for 09/16/10


- Skyware releases two-way interface with InnLink CRS
- Agilysys releases version 8.2.6 of Visual One suite
- Caliente Resorts contracts with SPI Software for vacation ownership software
- Ariane announces its hotel self-service kiosk transactions exceed $5 billion worldwide
For more information about Hospitality Management Systems for 09/16/10



Instead of our traditional you-know-what to conclude Siegel Sez, how about a feel good moment? How many can you remember? Turn up the volume and what the heck, dance right along if you want to. Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYL3j27sSH8.  

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