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Siegel Sez

November 04, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Rich Siegel

It has been one extreme to another these past two weeks. I attended the IHG 2010 Americas Investor & Leadership Conference at the beautiful Palazzo and Venetian Hotels in Las Vegas.  One day as I am sitting at a table for lunch, the guy next to me asks me what hotels I owned. Before I answered I thought to myself wow, I am trying to pay the mortgage on my house and he is asking what hotels I own? Then again it was a conference for those that owned IHG properties and that was a pretty normal question as I reflected. It was a great conference with great speakers and very motivational and forward looking, I really liked that. While at the conference I had the opportunity to sit down with Tom Conophy, the IHG CIO, and we talked about many things. The technology-related sessions at the conference included sessions on PCI compliance and how technology can be used to make a difference in how you do business. The sessions were well done and more importantly were standing room only. Yes, technology is touching more and more people in the industry today.  Tom also shared some of his visions for the future including everything from in-room entertainment to how to protect hotels from data breaches, to the next generation of arrival and departure options as well as IHG’s cloud computing plans.  It was a conference that I was honored to be invited to and more proof that the optimistic feelings toward the future continue to grow stronger.

I returned from Las Vegas for a few days and then headed back to Nevada, though this time to Reno and then to the Resort at Squaw Creek near Lake Tahoe for the PAR Springer-Miller Systems Host Users Group, which is referred to as HUG. This group is unique in our industry since it is the only users’ group that is run by the users not the vendor.  Once again this event was a great success. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself as I sat down to lunch and the guy next to me was Ben Smith, the front office manager at The Lodge & Conference Center at Geneva On-The-Lake in Ohio. Last week I am being asked what hotels I own and now I am talking to the front office manager who was attending his first HUG. His enthusiasm about what he was learning at the conference was just great to hear.  Having worked in the PMS industry for many years I always pushed our customers to send people to the user group conferences. The sessions are very valuable, but what you learn from your peers is just as important. The crowd this year was much larger than last year and there was an enormous number of first-time attendees. I have always thought if you are going to make an investment in technology, then follow it up with an investment in the people that use the technology. It is one of the better investments you will ever make.  Yes, at times I think I live a strange life hobnobbing with people that own hotels and the next week talking technology with those who use the systems in the hotel. I do have a lot to be thankful for.

I am now going to head back to Atlanta to help with our office move. Honestly, is there anything more painful then moving offices? We are only moving three miles from our current offices so that is good, but now I have to find a new favorite place to have lunch. Wonder what the guy who asked what hotels I owned would think as I pack and carry boxes out of the building all day? Yes, at times it is one extreme to another.

This weekend I am sneaking away from life for two days to see the best girl in the world. On Saturday at 6:15 p.m. Eastern Time at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Zenyatta the super filly will take on the best boys in the world one more time in the last race of her career before she pursues mom duties next year. She has run 19 times and has won 19 times. Unbelievable. If you have never seen a horse race in your life, watch this one on ESPN. You will get to see her do her signature dance as she prepares for the race. Win or lose, what a great experience this will be. I can’t wait.

Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s technology review of the past two weeks. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what. If you are going to be at the upcoming IH/M&RS in New York next week, look for us in the Technology Innovation Pavilion which Hospitality Upgrade sponsors. We have great participation this year and it does become the hangout for all the technology types. Just don’t ask how the move went.  Overlapping IH/M&RS this year is The Phocuswright conference at the beautiful Westin Kierland in Phoenix. They chose the theme Chaos Calling for this year’s event. We can relate. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can “Navigate the New” going into 2011.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Vendors on different migration paths to the cloud
It was an interesting time on the development front last week as I visited two vendors and heard updates from two others, all working on new cloud-based hospitality systems.  One is extending an existing remotely hosted product to offer a more complete system, another is launching a complete SOA-based suite by combining offerings from other vendors with its own network, and two others are migrating existing product ranges to new, cloud-based platforms.  There’s absolutely no doubt that the ease of implementation, support and integration of cloud-based SOA systems is the way forward.

It’s not easy, though.  Apart from the technical complexities of adopting a new architecture, the most difficult challenge for existing vendors with established, complex systems is to introduce a new product without losing any of the functionality their customers have become used to.  It can’t be done overnight, especially when the current systems have taken many years of steady development to reach their current state.

The two vendors on the migration path are taking different approaches, each very valid for its product and market.  The one with offerings aimed at the more straightforward limited/select-service market has a new cloud application already under way, and has a solid plan to focus development there while continuing to release minor enhancements to its existing two lines.  This way they’ll be able to switch customers over to the new product as it catches up with and overtakes the current systems, and can offer a pretty seamless, staged transition to a more secure and affordable platform.

The other is MICROS.  How do you migrate one of the world’s most widely used systems to a new platform without major disruption?  Very carefully, and one step at a time.  The approach MICROS unveiled at its user group conference last week for moving from the current OPERA v5 to its next-generation OPERA 9 (skipping over 6, 7 and 8 to avoid confusion with Fidelio’s release numbers) is incremental.  They’re not building a new system from scratch on a parallel development path but taking individual components up onto the new platform one at a time in such a way that they continue to work with the existing database and application while forming the basis of the new one.  It’s undoubtedly going to take a long time – after all, how long did it take OPERA to become a viable alternative to Fidelio? – but this componentization approach is the essence of service-oriented architecture.  I believe it’s the right, and possibly the only feasible, approach for them, and I look forward to seeing the results.


- Darrin Pinkham named vice president information technology at Benchmark Hospitality
- Andrew Sanders joins OpenWays as vice president, business development
- Michael Miller named chief technology officer at EZYield.com
For more information on People on the Move for 11/04/10


- Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas picks Agilysys’ software suite
- Pearl Hotel New York implements Skyware HMS, TTI Technologies Scan2PMS
The 2,995-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, scheduled to open Dec. 15, has selected Agilysys’ software suite.  Components to be implemented are:
- Lodging Management System (LMS) hospitality management system (with ResNet for online room reservations and ShowGate for attraction ticketing services),
- Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement application for food and beverage as well as general property materials,
- InfoGenesis POS,
- Visual One Condo Accounting System, and
- DataMagine Document Management, for digital signature capture as well as indexing and archiving business-critical documents and reports.
http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, http://www.agilysys.com  
The Pearl Hotel New York has implemented Skyware Hospitality Solutions’ Web-based HMS, the sixth Empire Hotel Group property to do so.  The implementation also included TTI Technologies Scan2PMS integration to capture information such as guest photo, name and address at checkin.  http://www.pearlhotelnyc.com, http://www.ttitel.com, http://www.skywaresystems.com  


- Lodging Interactive introduces HotelWebPages.com customized landing page services
- Knowland Group ranked 26th on Deloitte's 2010 Technology Fast 500
Lodging Interactive has introduced its HotelWebPages.com service to help hotels establish customized landing pages aimed at local demand drivers such as events and conventions, local attractions, sporting tournaments and amateur travel teams and other SMERF markets.  HotelWebPages.com offers search engine optimized landing pages, checks availability reservations links and a Google map on every page, and search engine XML site map, submission, monthly hosting and monthly search engine ranking reports (SERP) for all pages.  http://www.HotelWebPages.com  
The Knowland Group has been ranked 26th on Deloitte's 2010 Technology Fast 500, a list identifying the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America based on fiscal revenue growth from 2005-2009.  Knowland ranked fifth out of 190 companies in the software industry, and first on the regional Greater Philadelphia Fast 50 list.  http://www.KnowlandGroup.com  


- Two Boyd Gaming properties and IP Biloxi casino resort upgrade to Rainmaker revolution v.16.3
- EZYield.com adds Passkey as a distribution channel
- Wyboston Lakes Conference and Training Centre picks EasyRMS
- Paradores de Turismo implements RateTiger’s RTSuite - ChannelManager PRO across 90+ hotels
- eRevMax launches RateTiger RTSuite Review online guest review consolidator
For more information on Revenue Management for 11/04/10


- EventSphere bases housing and meetings fulfillment services on Passkey's GroupMAX
- Dolce implementing Passkey's GroupMAX for all group operations
- EZYield.com adds Passkey as a distribution channel
For more information on Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


- Cosmopolitan Las Vegas picks InfoGenesis
The 2,995-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, scheduled to open Dec. 15, has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS, along with Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS), Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement application, Visual One Condo Accounting and DataMagine Document Management.   http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, http://www.agilysys.com  


- Clarion Hotel Stockholm pilots use of NFC-enabled Samsung mobile phones as keys to VingCard locks
- Ariane appointed an OpenWays VAR, working on joint project with Choice Hotels Scandinavia
- Park International Hotel is implementing Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV
- HotSpot International appointed a TeleAdapt distributor for Mexico/Central America and Caribbean
- O’Rourke releases Android version of Smartstay mobile hotel app
- von Essen hotels installs Quadriga Sensiq portal in Hotel Verta, London
- GBCblue integrates ORION, GORION with SAI’s SynergyMMS Maintenance Management System
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island implements Runtriz’ guest services application
- Marriott Uniondale Hotel & Conference Center installs business center from TTI Technologies
- EFI updates PrintMe for printing from any Internet-enabled device including laptops and phones
For more information on Guest Services for 11/04/10


- Elysian Hotel selects UniFocus’ Watson, R.M.
- Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten picks UniFocus’ GUESTScope
Elysian Hotel has selected UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. Labor Management System and Budgeting Software package for its 188-room flagship property in Chicago.  

Oyster Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten has selected UniFocus’ GUESTScope system.
http://www.elysianhotels.com, http://www.oysterbaybeachresort.com, http://www.unifocus.com  


- Cosmopolitan Las Vegas picks Stratton Warren System
The 2,995-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, scheduled to open Dec. 15, has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement application, along with Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS), InfoGenesis POS, Visual One Condo Accounting and DataMagine Document Management.   http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, http://www.agilysys.com  


- Comfort Suites Gothenburg, Nebraska installs VingCard Orion energy management
- Schneider Electric launches Cassia Energy Management System
The 74-room Comfort Suites in Gothenburg, Nebraska has installed ASSA ABLOY’s VingCard Orion energy management system, VISIONLINE wireless RF-online system and Signature RFID door locks.  Orion’s thermostat detects guest presence to adjust temperature settings during an absence and upon the guest’s return, and provides hoteliers with preventative maintenance schedules and occupancy trends and reports.  http://www.comfortsuites.com, http://www.vingcard.com  
Schneider Electric has launched its Cassia Energy Management System (EMS) for hotels and other multi-unit facilities, using room automation and energy monitoring software to increase efficiencies in heating, cooling and lighting.  The system utilizes a customizable graphical software interface to provide real-time energy monitoring and reporting tailored to the needs of the facility; battery-powered thermostats, lighting controls and sensors in each room are linked via Zigbee wireless technology.  In addition to occupancy-sensing adjustments, signals can be sent to all light switches to turn off.  http://schneider-elec.com  


- Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel implements KABA ILCO 790 RFID contactless hotel locks
- Comfort Suites Gothenburg, Nebraska installs ASSA ABLOY’s Signature RFID door locks
The 825-room Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel in Quebec, Canada has implemented KABA’s ILCO 790 RFID contactless hotel locks on every room door as part of its recent renovation.  http://www.sheratoncentremontreal.com, http://www.kaba.com  
The 74-room Comfort Suites in Gothenburg, Nebraska has installed ASSA ABLOY’s Signature RFID door locks, VISIONLINE wireless RF-online system and VingCard Orion energy management system.  http://www.comfortsuites.com, http://www.vingcard.com  


And now for you-know-what…

While walking down the street one day, a corrupt politician was tragically hit by a car and died. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the politician.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from the higher-ups. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity," St. Peter explains.
"Really? I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the politician.
"I'm sorry, but we have our rules," says St. Peter.
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse, and standing in front of it are several of his old friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy to see him. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while alive, getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne. Also present is the devil, a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.
They are all having such a good time that before the politician realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven, where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit heaven," he says.
So for the next 24 hours, the politician is among a group of contented souls, moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They all have a wonderful time, and eventually St. Peter returns.
"Well, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven," St. Peter says to the politician. "Now choose your eternity."
The politician reflects for a minute, then answers, "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell."
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors of the elevator open onto a barren land, covered with waste and garbage. The politician sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.
"I don't understand," stammers the politician. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just garbage, and my friends look miserable. What happened?"
The devil smiles at him and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning... today, you voted."

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