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Siegel Sez

December 17, 2010

Siegel Sez

by: Richard Siegel

In the ‘80s my career in the technology software industry involved traveling to hotels that had purchased a property management system so I could train the staff to use the system. Sometimes it was a hotel getting its very first computer system, but often it was a new hotel. I would arrive at the hotel three weeks before the opening and think, there was no way it was going to open on time. Yet, somehow they always did. Opening night there was usually some ceremony celebrating the opening and it included a party where local businesses were invited.  This past Wednesday I was invited to the opening of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. The festivities started at 5 p.m. and were unbelievable. There were tours of the property, the drinks were nonstop and there were tastings at the many unique restaurants inside this 3,000 room hotel. The hotel is unbelievable. I would say it takes the luxury standard in Las Vegas up a notch. Personally, I thought the highlight was being inside the casino when they opened the doors to the public at 8 p.m. The gigantic sign in front of the hotel was counting down all day and when it hit 10 seconds everyone joined in the count down. When the doors opened it seemed like thousands of people converged. Wow, what a sight that was. I guess there is some sort of tradition in Las Vegas to be the first in a new hotel casino. What an amazing event. After the opening festivities I attended Gloria Irwin’s GHIP event that was in a beautiful suite with a wrap around balcony that went on forever, with a simply magnificent view of Las Vegas from the 54th floor. What a great event and a uniquely fascinating day.

A more important reason why I am in Las Vegas this week is that Allison Morris of Caesars’ Entertainment asked if I would be the Master of Ceremonies for the Woman in Technology International (WITI) 5th annual Technology for Tots event, which also happens to be at the Cosmopolitan tonight.  The organization is Women in Technology and they are asking me? Allison’s request was easy for me to answer. Last year they had 300 attendees and provided Christmas toys to over 14,500 children. This year they are expecting over 450 attendees including Colleen Birch, the director of revenue management and distribution from the Cosmopolitan that I talked into coming as my date.  There is so much good that comes out of this it is an honor to participate.

This is our last Siegel Sez of the year and what an interesting year it has been. Jon Inge has some very poignant comments regarding 2010 so I will encourage you to read his opening. This completes the 10th year of Jon and I doing this technology review and for all the good Jon does, I thank you for allowing me to share some of my experiences with you.  At times I am sure I have stretched the boundaries with what I share, but someone once told me we are who we are. I get many comments from people throughout the year, some thanking me and some wondering what I have been drinking. This time of year, it is only eggnog. Because it is the holiday season instead of our typical you-know-what at the end we attached a link for something downright silly, but very creative. I hope you enjoy it. No matter what you celebrate, enjoy the season and we will see you next year with Jon’s always anticipated year in review. Thanks again and happy holidays to all.


Technology NEWSSTAND

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



- Thanks for the upbeat attitude
- HTNG releases three new specs, adds two new workgroups
- OpenTravel releases version 2010B of its interface specs
It’s a traditional time both for looking back and for making predictions about the coming year, but I’ll leave that for our next newsletter, the first of the New Year.  For now, I want to acknowledge the hard work and good humor that have made this year as rewarding as it has been.

We started with the optimism that “at least 2009’s behind us; things can only get better from here,” only to find that despite some signs of improvement we were still mired in a recession and had a lot of hard digging out to do.  It could easily have been a tough, miserable slog, but I’ve found in so many places that people have tackled the task at hand with a generally upbeat attitude, a sense of humor and a determinedly half-full view.

We’re not out of the woods by a long way, but things are definitely moving up.  I just want to say thank you to everyone I’ve encountered this year whose positive approach and optimism have helped make the work both productive and enjoyable.  Merry Christmas!
Making steady progress with system interoperability, Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has released three new specifications, adding features to kiosk interfaces (including upselling, share-with and multiple-name room checkin, duplicate and replacement key cutting and guest messages), extending the functionality of payment system interfaces (European Chip and PIN, partial authorization of prepaid cards) and enabling complex data queries between disparate systems [adding generic, query-based data transfers to the Open Data eXchange (ODX) spec].

HTNG has also chartered two new workgroups covering entertainment systems [aiming for a standards-based framework for content delivery from a variety of content providers (e.g. cable, satellite) with regards to hardware and encryption] and cellular phone coverage (better signal coverage for all cellular carriers within hotels, bridging cellular and Wi-Fi services to let phones roam seamlessly between them).
OpenTravel published version 2010B of its specification, which includes a new hotel message covering inventory challenges from out-of-sync caches and rising infrastructure/support costs associated with ever-increasing look-to-book rations.  OpenTravel also announced availability of its OpenTravel Schema Dictionaries, providing structured references of the entire suite of OpenTravel schema.


- Keith Harrison receives HEDNA’s 2010 Award of Excellence
- Christian Urbat joins Carlson as senior vice president, technical services/Carlson Hotels, Americas
- Bob Kippola hired by Milestone Internet Marketing as director of business development
For more information on People on the Move for 12/17/10


- Trust’s yourVoyager CRS now available in German
- Whiteboard Labs launches iPhone® app for WindsurferCRS
- Guestdesk updates Internet booking engine
- Malmaison signs three-year contract renewal with Pegasus, adds Hotel du Vin’s 14 properties
- American Express launches universal aXcess option for corporate travel services
For more information on Reservations for 12/17/10


- d2o receives triple nomination in Norwegian Computer Society’s Rosing Information Technology Awards
- Medallia announces Medallia Text Analytics application
- Maksoud Plaza Hotel expands agreement with Utell to include eBuzz Connect social media management
- Fisher Island Club implements UniFocus’ GUESTScope
- Tropicana contracts with UniFocus for new Guest Satisfaction Survey system in 10 properties
For more information on Marketing/Management for 12/17/10


- Rainmaker nominated for TechAmerica Georgia’s Spirit of Endeavor award
- IDeaS names OptiRev Solutions as distribution partner in Scandinavia
- Availpro.com adds Agoda.com to Availpro Smart Channel Manager distribution channels
- Guestline’s Roomlynx channel management system passes 400-hotel client mark
For more information on Revenue Management for 12/17/10


- MPI renews alliance with Cvent as preferred technology partner
- Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa picks PSAV for AV equipment, rigging, power distribution and HSIA
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has renewed its alliance with Cvent as its preferred technology partner, providing online event management and attendee registration, event marketing, e-mail newsletters and Web surveys for most MPI Chapters around the world.  http://www.mpiweb.org, http://www.cvent.com
The 650-room Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale has selected PSAV Presentation Services for audiovisual equipment, rigging, power distribution and HSIA services for its 40,000 square feet of indoor function space. 
http://www.marriottharborbeach.com, http://www.psav.com  


- Revel Systems adds Network Intercept’s Secure-Me payment software to its iPad®-based POS system
- HotSchedules releases Version 4 of online employee scheduling and labor management software
Revel Systems has added Network Intercept’s Secure-Me software for secure restaurant POS payments and identity theft protection to its iPad-based POS system.  The Secure-Me solution uses verification and encrypts all data and payment information from end to end.   http://www.revelsystems.com, http://www.networkintercept.com 
HotSchedules has released Version 4 of its online employee scheduling and labor management software for the restaurant industry.  Version 4 adds a new user interface with new functionality, with user-specified permissions to various levels of notes in the Digital Logbook, HotSchedules’ tool for collecting and managing critical documentation, and allows managers to assign tasks to individuals from the Digital Logbook and track them to completion.  My Plate, HotSchedules’ new employee homepage, aggregates all content relevant to an employee in one place, including schedules, messages, polls, an avatar feature and other customizable widgets.  My Plate will also pull weather forecasts from AccuWeather to help users understand how the weather may impact the customer count for that day through insights into how weather has affected business in the past.  http://www.hotschedules.com  


- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel picks Guest-Tek for high-speed Internet access
- Intelity integrates Room Controls into ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) hotel application
- Wingate by Wyndham Hotel – Frisco picks XETA for high-speed Internet access, PBX and cabling
- Accor extends global TV supply partnership with Philips for three years
For more information on Guest Services for 12/17/10


- Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort implements Yellow Dog’s inventory system
The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort has implemented Yellow Dog Software’s inventory system to manage all of its retail operations, including three golf pro shops, a spa, health club, tennis pro shop, toy store and others.  Yellow Dog manages retail inventory in 11 retail locations across the property, and is integrated with three point-of-sale systems to provide a single propertywide inventory management program.  http://www.sandestin.com, http://www.yellowdogsoftware.com  


- ASSA ABLOY receives IHMRS Editor's Choice Award/Green Technology for Orion energy management system
- Vingcard Elsafe previews Integrated Room Control Dashboard for Orion
- IQware releases IQqms Quality Management System
For more information on Engineering for 12/17/10


- Hilton signs with Accenture for application development and support services for HMSs and Websites
- Egypt’s Travco Group goes with MICROS for complete enterprise software for 135 hotels
- Agilysys receives Gaming & Leisure’s Platinum Technology Impact Award for LMS+
- Guestline achieves Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft’s Partner Program
- TTI Technologies interfaces Scan2PMS with AutoClerk
- SS&C Technologies acquires TimeShareWare
For more information on Hospitality Management Systems for 12/17/10


And now for you-know-what...

Happy holidays from the Hotel-Online, HUTechShare and Hospitality Upgrade teams!

Click here for some holiday fun!


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