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HITIS Advisory Committee Meeting
Wednesday, July 14, 1999
American Hotel & Motel Association
Washington, DC

Bob Elliott (Chairman), American Hotel & Motel Association
Joe Paiva (Vice Chairman), CynterCon
Michael Gehrisch, American Hotel & Motel Association
Bill Geoghegan, SynXis
Doug Viehland, American Hotel Foundation
David Sjolander, Carlson Hospitality Worldwide
Jeffrey Kurn, ACTE Committee Representative
Dick Moore, Cornell University
Mike Tinkey, National Golf Course Owners Association
Ann Warnecke, HEDNA
Jeff Eckard, Bass Hotels & Resorts
Rob Grimes, Cyntergy
Larry Himelfarb, National Restaurant Association
Rick Munson, Multi-Systems, Inc.
Michael Hogan, NIST
George Willingmyre, GTW Associates

In attendance:
Annette Lam, American Hotel & Motel Association
Gloria Zimmer, CynterCon
John Helsel, CynterCon

Pearl Brewer, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (HITA Board)
Dr. Ruediger Buck-Emden, SAP AG
Larry Chervenak, CKC Associates
Roger Cline, Arthur Andersen & Co.
Gary Cooke, Microsoft Corporation
Robert Fields, Loews Hotels
Bob Gilbert, HSMAI
Nancy Holtzman, ACTE
David Hopper, Education Institute of AH&MA
Bernard Jammet, Micros/Fidelio
Linda Kent, The Sabre Group
Stuart Mann, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
John Panagulias, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Charlie Quinn, IBM Travel & Transportation Industry
Norma Rohrback, NBTA
Norman Sherlock, NBTA
Mark Townsell, Hotel Information Systems
Frank Wolfe, HFTP

  1. Call to Order

    1. Welcome and Introductions

      The meeting convened at 9:10 a.m. and introductions of members and attendees were made. The agenda for the day was noted in the front of the meeting packet and was reviewed.

    2. Anti-Trust Statement

      Mr. Bob Elliott, Chairman, noted that the Anti-Trust Statement was included in the packet distributed to committee members and invited each person to spend a moment to review it.

    3. Review of April 14, 1999 Minutes

      Mr. Elliott asked for comments or changes to the Advisory Committee meeting minutes of April 14, 1999. In the absence of suggested changes, Mr. Jeffrey Kurn motioned to approve the minutes and the minutes were approved.

    4. Advisory Committee Roster / Review of Agenda

      Mr. Elliott noted that the roster for the Advisory Committee was included in the meeting packet and asked each member to update and initial individual's contact information.

      Mr. Elliott reviewed the agenda. Agenda items B and C under "II. Development of Phase II" will be in reverse order. Also Mr. Elliott announced that Mr. Michael Gehrisch, Executive Vice President of AH&MA, will be the new promotional director of HITIS.

  2. Report

    1. Review of the Status of the HITIS Project

      Mr. Elliott gave a presentation on the history and status of the HITIS project. He reviewed the HITIS mission statement, the HITIS team, past schedules and etc.

    2. Marketing / Corporate Sponsors

      Mr. Gehrisch stated that this is the first advisory committee meeting he attended and noted that the HITIS project is supported by all the sponsors at the table. At the AH&MA Officers Advisory Committee (OAC) a few weeks ago, the OAC members were delighted to hear the excellent progress of the HITIS project and were committed to provide full organizational support. They were also appreciative of the financial support from the sponsors.

    3. Approval of Phase One Standards

      Mr. Paiva commented that a total of three suites of standards were developed today. In accordance with rules and ANSI quorum, and from the perspective of the technical committees, the approval of the standards was close to unanimous and the comments received were resolved in a very positive way.

      There were not a lot of comments submitted. The comments received were of two types. The first type of comments refers to the complexity of the standards and the concern was that the standards were too complicated to understand and/or to code. The second type of comments concentrates on the need for the inclusion of behavioral diagrams, such as state diagrams and sequence diagrams. A third comment was received regarding the Hotel Electronic Data Network Association (HEDNA) hotel descriptive data referenced in the Central Reservations Systems (CRS) standard. Since the HEDNA standards referenced in the CRS standard were not developed completely, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements were not met satisfactorily in the CRS standard. There needs to be an effort to work with HEDNA to finish the standards.

      In resolving the comments, a more hefty front-end will be developed for the standards that will include behavioral diagrams such as state diagrams and sequence diagrams. Mr. Dick Moore asked Mr. Paiva to briefly explain to everyone what sequence diagrams are.

      Mr. Paiva stated that a sequence diagram outlines the sequences of messages sent between objects in an event. Because objects are sequentially programmed in a system, sequence diagrams can aide programmers to code and implement systems. Mr. Moore agreed and added sequence diagrams can provide the necessary degree of clarity to implement the standards. Currently the standards are like bones and they need to be in the form of a skeleton.

      Mr. Bill Geoghegan gave an example of the benefits of using sequence diagrams. When a reservation is made, the responding system generally follows a simple sequence of steps, such as from step A to B to C to D. However some sequences do not follow a straightforward A-B-C-D sequence due to exception events. It is the occurrence of these events that require the inclusion of sequence diagrams to better implement the standards. Mr. Rick Munson commented that realistically about 85% of the sequences are implemented in systems.

      Mr. David Sjolander asked if different functionality requires different sequences. Mr. Elliott responded that Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools like Rational Software tools could provide support in tracing different functions to the appropriate sequences.

      Mr. Paiva stated that the technical chairs and technical committees drive the standards and the standards are done. The AH&MA and the technical committees are actively planning on adding improvements to the standards based on the comments received. Mr. Elliott commented that individual comments were received and the Advisory Committee has the last appeal mechanism. Any additional comments or confrontation should take place at the Advisory Committee.

      Ms. Ann Warnecke asked for clarification of the statement made earlier about the HEDNA standards being incomplete. Mr. Geoghegan responded that the HEDNA standards are incomplete in areas where codes need to be consistent in the industry. A code list has not been accomplished within the industry. In golf, the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) did a good job to develop and maintain code lists for golf courses. In the HEDNA standards, a code list for accommodations for physically challenged guests has not been developed. The Codes were not complete. Ms. Warnecke asked if this has been communicated to HEDNA. Mr. Geoghegan replied that a discussion of this topic took place in Phoenix with Ms. Michelle Woodley. During the development of the Phase I standards, Mr. Robert Cole was tasked with the responsibility to coordinate with HEDNA and it should be the responsibility of HEDNA to develop the code list.

      At this time, Mr. Elliott asked if the advisory committee would approve or not approve the standards. Mr. Rob Grimes motioned to move to accept the standards. Mr. Sjolander seconded the motion.

      Mr. Elliot then invited Mr. Geoghegan to lead a discussion on eXtensible Markup Language (XML) and noted that there are other organizations of various industries who are moving forward with XML-based standards.

      Mr. Geoghegan started with a brief overview of the history of the HITIS initiative. Mr. Stan Julien of Microsoft gathered a group of Windows programmers in Phoenix to put together a set of standards for Windows applications and hence the group called Windows Hospitality Interface Specifications (WHIS) was formed. Windows applications generally reside in the COM environment. Early in the process, there was a concern that the standards should not be limited to just Windows applications. Therefore Microsoft opened up the effort and attempted to make the standards as platform neutral as it can be using an object-oriented model and this led to the birth of the HITIS initiative in 1996.

      In the past, the standards were device-centric. The devices involved could be phone switches, lock systems, and etc. A separate interface is then needed for each device. This is the reason why the standards should be organized by functions to reduce the numbers of individual interfaces. The WHIS documents were provided for HITIS technical committees to develop platform neutral standards and the Unified Modeling Language (UML) was chosen to document the standards precisely to ensure platform neutrality.

      One difficulty in writing platform neutral standards is that the standards need to include platform specific items. One example is that there is a need to include DCOM specific operations, which are not necessary for CORBA implementation.

      Mr. Ron Kleinman of Sun Microsystems constituted the Java HITIS Implementation Solutions (JHIS) group and started doing mapping from UML to CORBA and RMI. It is discovered during this mapping effort that the implementation requirements broke the object-oriented model.

      In an object-oriented model, a function is performed by operations. Operations of an object would tell the controller of another object to perform specific functions. This concept is called encapsulation. This technique works well in a Local Area Network (LAN). It may be slow, but the network used is local. However in a bigger network, such as a Wide Area Network (WAN), the network speed can be up to 256 KB, creating a bottleneck to complete the intended transactions.

      Mr. Sjolander asked if Mr. Geoghegan is referring to distributed objects. Mr. Geoghegan responded affirmatively and added that the transactions were done over the wire instead of locally. Also when implementing the Availability Query and Booking Request (AQ&BR) functionally organized object (FOO) between Sabre and Synxis, the object-oriented model also broke due to the enormous amount of network traffic.

      In 1998, Mr. Roy Pierson of Microsoft introduced the idea of using XML to develop messaging standards in HITIS. There has been acceptance with object-orientation, but also resistance because of implementation difficulties. There also has been some confusion between UML and XML. UML is a documentation tool requiring certain syntax while XML is a type of messaging format. There has also been confusion between HTML and XML. They basically work in the same way except that tags in HTML tells the browser how to display the information while tags in XML tells the parser what the data is. Parsers extract data elements and sent them to the receiving systems. Since only data is passing when using XML, it is 100% platform neutral. Mr. Jeff Eckard commented that parsers will be needed for all systems if we choose to use standards in XML. Mr. Bill Geoghegan agreed and added that parsers are very easy to write and their intended function is to accept the XML tags.

      Mr. Moore commented that the Data Type Definition (DTD) would take the meaning of the tags on both sides. Mr. Geoghegan did not agree and stated that as long as the tags are around the data elements, the document is considered well-formed. A DTD is like a dictionary of a list of data types that are well-formed and only the elements used in the DTD can be valid. Data must be well-formed to become valid, however; data do not need to be valid to be well-formed. When a system receives data that are not valid, it can choose to reject them.

      Mr. Elliott added that one of the major benefits of using XML is that it separates form and content and it is a good tool for standards developing groups. Mr. Geoghegan agreed and added that XML packages data to be passed between systems. Other standards, such as the Cascade Style Sheets (CSS) and eXtensible Style Language (XSL) can be used to display the information, but are not part of the HITIS standards. Mr. Geoghegan concluded his brief XML primer by stating that the mapping from objects or classes to XML is a relatively easy task.

      Mr. Munson noted that there needs to be a confirmation issued from the receiving system after a reservation has been sent. For example, if a system receives a GNR, the receiving system needs to confirm the receipt of the GNR. Mr. Geoghegan answered that sequence diagrams can address this scenario since this is a security and sequence issue. Mr. Munson added that to implement the standards correctly, one could use TCP/IP in a COM environment. And in internal systems, ICPQ messages can be used and XML messaging can be implemented between processes. The question is that whether there are tight requirements associated with the usage of the standards. Mr. Geoghegan responded no and stated that it is not the intention of HITIS to force people to use one particular implementation method between two systems.

      Mr. Sjolander commented that having flexible standards to be implemented in different ways are good for legacy systems to adopt the HITIS standards. Mr. Geoghegan agreed and stated that it is easier to create a transition from legacy systems to an XML transport mechanism. From the JHIS group perspective, an XML based standard will better facilitate the message transport from Java to Java. It is true that XML is an emerging standard and it is bound to change; however the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) will not make XML 2.0 incompatible with XML 1.0.

      Mr. Geoghegan also added several comments regarding the use of XML. In HITIS, tag names can self-tag themselves. Tag names can be of great length and can also be in the form of enumerated types. There is a possibility that a lot of data can be sent within a narrow bandwidth. Also one should exercise caution in choosing XML software and parser that are not proprietary and in compliant with the W3C standard. Everything defined in XML is represented in a string. There is no data type. Therefore data types, such as currency, number, and date would have to be defined in strings and HITIS will be defining the data types.

      Mr. Geoghegan also discussed the OTA initiative. He attended the OTA Advisory meeting in May of 1999 and reported that it was well attended with over 200 attendees, composed of interest groups from the travel industry, such as the airlines and the hotel groups. In particular, the hotel group already had the intention to accept the HITIS standards as de facto standards in the hotel industry. Case studies of other efforts in standard development for other industries, such as healthcare and finance, can be found in the section 6 and 7 in the meeting packet.

      From the last infrastructure sub-committee meeting held on July 7, 1999, there were recommendations made for Phase II Standard format and they are as follows:

      Retain the UML dynamic modeling notation augmented by XML Document Type Definitions (DTD's), incorporating the following components:

      UML representation XML representation
      Business prose + Use Case Diagrams DTD's for XML messages
      Class diagrams (static data) and their relationships Tags for Data Elements
      Sequence Diagrams Appendix - XML DATA extensions

      Mr. Munson also added that there is a need to improve the definition of data types.

      In terms of certification and compliance, Mr. Geoghegan stated that DTD's have built-in compliance devices. A parser that can validate the data based on the DTD is a good way to enforce compliance and allow effective testing to take place. Mr. Sjolander asked if Mr. Geoghegan was suggesting the idea of having a neutral test lab. Mr. Geoghegan stated that the test could be conducted by a neutral party and it does not necessarily require the creation of a neutral test lab. Mr. Munson further added that a website could be used for validation.

      Mr. Michael Logan commented there are some temporary issues that everyone should be aware of in adopting XML. In the beginning of the year, all kinds of XML parsers exist and they are all different. Picking a validating parser, even in the summer of 1999 could be a dicey situation. Mr. Geoghegan responded that parsers exist in a variety of languages and there is no consistency among parsers. But there will soon be someone to come up with standards for validating parsers.

      Mr. Mike Tinkey expressed a concern regarding the naming conventions of data types among the different industries in the travel community and this issue has been raised at the OTA meeting in May. There needs to be an effort to involve everyone to work together.

      Mr. Geoghegan emphasized that the W3C only gives recommendations to standards and currently has issued a recommendation 1.0 for XML. At the Infrastructure sub-committee meeting, the decisions made were limited to the W3C recommendations. Mr. Moore had a compound question. The first part of the question was if we are turning the clock back and define XML standards for the past two years. The second part of the question concerns the UML-based standards that we already have.

      Mr. Geoghegan responded that a document written in XML is not understandable and human readable, unlike the UML documents. Therefore it makes sense that we utilize UML for the requirements planning portion of the development of the standards. Mr. Paiva added that object-oriented programming has been in practice since the 1960's and the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) has undergone four iterations in the last couple of years. Most software companies in the real world are still doing object-oriented programming and it is strongly recommended that we do not throw away the Object-Oriented standards that we have and adopt a complete XML-based standards with a three-to-four months introduction on XML.

      Mr. Hogan commented on the fact that UML requires a learning curve to understand and there are always some discrepancy and ambiguity associated with the language. If testing tools are used to verify the accuracy of the UML standards, then it is highly probable that the good testing tools will become the standard. Similarly, if the standards are written in XML, passing a test will eventually become the standards.

      Mr. Geoghegan stated that UML based standards can go into XML with relative ease. A UML model can create DTD's. And if changes occur in the DTD, the DTD can be regenerated from the UML model. A recommendation from the Infrastructure Sub-committee was included in Section 8 in the meeting packet. Mr. Moore motioned to adopt UML and XML in the development of HITIS standards and Mr. Munson seconded the motion. Mr. Geoghegan added that the addition of XML would mitigate and resolve the comments received from the balloting process.

      Mr. Tinkey suggested that we work with the OTA Interoperability committee. Mr. Geoghegan stated that the membership deadline for an observer seat on the board is July 30. It would be a good idea to have a representative from HITIS to be on the board. Mr. Gehrisch agreed that we should continue to be involved with OTA and obtain an observer position on the OTA board. Mr. Grimes commented that the OTA effort might be similar to the Integrated Technology Consortium (ITC) effort. AH&MA should have their legal counsel look into the issues. Mr. Geoghegan pointed out that the OTA board is primarily composed of supply vendors, very much like HEDNA. Ms. Warnecke clarified and stated that there are non-suppliers on the HEDNA board. Mr. Gehrisch concluded that more fact-finding needs to be performed. Mr. Grimes seconded the motion and volunteered to research the similarities and differences between ITC and OTA.

      Mr. Sjolander asked if there is a need to provide education on XML to vendors and suppliers. Mr. Moore commented that the Remote Devices and Posting Devices standards are still open for retrofitting with the inclusion of diagrams and other pertinent and necessary information.

      Mr. George Willingmyre commented that the purpose of having copyrights for standards is to control revenue. We do not want others to change your documentation and that is why patents and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) exist. Essential patents ensure patent owners to license their material on a reasonable term. Copyrights give users the right to get the standards without paying an extraordinary amount. Mr. Elliott stated that everyone signed an intellectual property release form before participating in the development of the standards. The Input/Output Sub-committee has established the Request for Technologies (RFT) process. By the HITIS Process Guidelines (HPG), the AH&MA is the owner of the standards. Mr. Grimes added that it is important to protect what we allow people to use. Mr. Geoghegan stated that the OTA and HITIS are concurrent efforts. OTA only involves a small portion of HITIS and it does not involve the Posting Devices and Remote Devices standards.

      A fifteen minute break was taken and the meeting reconvened at 11:40 a.m.

      Returning from the break, Mr. Elliott stated that Hotel Concepts in the Netherlands took the standards off the HITIS website and completed a beta test. The HITIS standards were rolled out to four other properties in the Netherlands.

      Mr. John Helsel introduced himself and gave a report on the Booking Activities/Golf Tee-Time Reservations Standards, which is the first of HITIS Phase II standards and represents an extended portion of the Central Reservations Systems standard. Booking activities will consist of restaurant reservations, tennis and spa reservations, and etc.

      It is discovered in the Booking Activities/Golf Tee Time Reservations project that the HPG is in need of revision. We need to consolidate RFT's to develop the base document since there is no submission from the WHIS group. We held two Joint Requirements Planning (JRP) meetings in April and May. We had formulated requirements and business use cases. Currently, there are 60 to 70 requirements extracted and they are included in Section 10 of the meeting packet. Of the requirements to date, a list of golf course descriptive data has been developed, containing wide-area search for golf courses with available tee times and search criteria such as architect, club type, location, carts required, and etc. Once the requirements are consolidated and refined, they can be identified into the form of sequence diagrams and state transition diagrams.

      Mr. Helsel demonstrated the application of use case diagrams through an example of performing queries and searches for tee times. A scenario can be booking a tee time. A booking source has the authority to book directly with the golf course. For example, a tour operator is given a block of tee times, and needs only to notify the golf course that a reservation has been made. A booking source must make a request for availability, then upon being given the availability, must make a request to book a reservation.

      The CRS standards were also reviewed and the development of a XML methodology was discussed. We need to move beta testing in HPG near the beginning so that beta testing can be conducted in parallel with the technical committee meetings.

      Mr. Helsel also gave an example of the mapping from UML to XML by using the HITIS object HotelReference, which has two attributes: HotelCode (of string type) and ChainCode (of string type). This may be represented using the XML syntax as follows:


      A simple DTD for the above XML syntax may be as below:

      <!ELEMENT HotelReference (HotelCode,ChainCode)>
      <!ELEMENT HotelCode (#PCDATA)>
      <!ELEMENT ChainCode (#PCDATA)>

      Summarizing the status of the Booking Activities/Golf Tee Time Reservations standard, Mr. Helsel stated that a base document is being developed. A selection of integrated requirements, modeling and versioning product needs to be made. The conversion from the UML model to XML notation for testing needs to take place. Overall there are very active participants in the JRP meetings. The standard is counting on the support from the Advisory Committee and project management. The project is on schedule for completion in November. Mr. Elliott cautioned that this is an optimistic schedule.

      Mr. Helsel stated that there is an upcoming meeting on beta test and strategic planning on July 29 at AH&MA headquarters. Some other upcoming events include the selection of technical committee meeting attendees and scheduling for technical committee meetings.

      Mr. Paiva proceeded to brief on the Food Beverage and Retail Management Systems (FB&RMS) standard and the Payment Processing and Accounting (PP&A) standard. The standards primarily focus on the back office. The upstream could be a financial management system. The downstream could be a retail POS or PMS. Some additional areas of focus could be labor scheduling in hotels and groundskeeping of golf courses. The same system should be applicable at any place for similar functions. It should not matter if it is a menu item sale in a restaurant or a merchandise sale in a gift shop.

      Mr. Paiva emphasized that we do not have to start from ground zero for the FB&RMS standard. We can integrate with the National Retail Association where they have developed the Efficient Food Response (EFR). The challenge is that currently people use non-XML interface for their payroll systems. Mr. Elliott commented that the development of the standard involves all stakeholders and we can probably get some input from the National Restaurant Association.

      The committee broke for lunch at 12:10pm.

      The meeting resumed at 12:50 p.m. Ms. Gloria Zimmer presented information on the development of the Business Case Sub-committee. She suggested the best way to communicate the current HITIS standards to a wide audience in the hospitality is to address everyone's need, like putting together a puzzle. In Phase II, a new process should be developed based on the old process. The process flow is described in Section 12 of the meeting packet. To retrofit the standards we have already established, it is necessary to develop a business requirements model and integrate it into the tools. All information should be stored in a repository.

      To develop a business requirements model, requirements and problem statements need to be captured. They can be accepted in whatever form you get them in, such as e-mails, telephone, personal interviews, technical committee discussions, and etc. These requirements should be stated in prose what clients need a system to do. The requirements provide a link between documents and model components, facilitate understanding of the business domain and communication with management and clients, and collect interface information in one place.

      Requirements can come in three categories as follows: Category I: Describes data, attributes and static relationships, Category II: Describes normal activities, and Category III: Describes "abnormal" conditions. An example of Category I is below:

      Requirement {I.2} Guests are distinguished by the following data:
      Name, Address, and Telephone number.

      An example of Category II is as follows:

      Requirement {II.1} When a reservation is made on behalf of the guest, it will expire in 30 days unless accompanied by a guarantee.

      An example of Category III is below:

      Requirement {III.18} When a reservation expires without cancellation, the guest will incur a penalty charge.

      Ms. Zimmer provided a template for documenting use case descriptions. A use case description should consist of the name and a summary of the use case, the actors involved, preconditions, descriptions, post conditions, exceptions and traceability.

      Business Class diagrams should be migrated to class sequence diagrams and traceability should be defined among the requirements documented. Requirements models should be synchronized within Phase I of HITIS between different the various technical committees. Mr. Moore asked if the diagrams are inclusive. Ms. Zimmer suggested a delicate line be drawn on having the diagrams capture 85% of the requirements.

      After the business requirements model is developed, a set of interface design procedures needs to be specified. These procedures need to incorporate the following components:

      • Traceability of requirements
      • Model problems and requirements, not programs
      • Design the models to represent the business environment
      • Synchronize models with requirements data
      • Synchronize the models with each other
      • Identify reuse opportunities from previous models

      A set of implementation procedures will naturally follow the design procedures and it consists of the following:

      • interface specification
      • Define implementation architectures and platform mappings (WHIS/JHIS/XML Mappings)
      • Define the interface protocol
      • Spin off the testing and validation effort
      • Write test report for both sides of the interface

      Ms. Zimmer then proposed the creation of a Business Use Case Sub-Committee Charge:

      "To develop business use cases and scenarios through an open consensus process for the enhancement of the Phase I standards"

      The formation of the Business Use Case Sub-Committee will hopefully reconvene the people who have originally started the standards development effort.

      Mr. Elliott thanked Ms. Zimmer for her presentation. He then commented that Rick Warner of Bass Hotels and Resorts have publicly announced Bass Hotels and Resorts' support on HITIS. He had invited Mr. Jeff Eckard, CEO and Chairman of Bass Hotels and Resorts, to give a presentation.

      Mr. Eckard explained what Bass Hotels and Resorts are doing with HITIS currently. They are refreshing their software and hardware of all properties and the entire effort will take place in three to four years and the effort includes taking out all old systems and the property management system. Their old system is difficult to talk to and they would like to adopt windows based systems. Bass Hotels and Resorts have selected products from Multi-Systems, Inc, Eltrax, and Fidelios products. One of the concerns Bass Hotels and Resorts had is that they are the first one to implement HITIS. A technical team was involved for quite some time to determine going with XML and four to five resources were dedicated to bring HITIS together. The most complex component of the project is to have the PMS successfully interfaces with the CRS.

      This week, six people from Bass are tasked to create DTD's out of the CRS specifications and the DTD's should be complete at the end of the week. Next week, Bass's team will be teamed up with Rick Munson's team (MSI) to develop a translator. In Phase I of the Bass project, a translator will be developed to link the PMS together with the CRS based on the HITIS specifications. In Phase II of this effort, the HITIS CRS specification will be rewritten and embedded with XML. Phase II will take eighteen to twenty-four months. Once Phase II is complete, the translator will be removed. The beta test date is scheduled to be in mid-October and it will take approximately six weeks to make their PMS be HITIS compliant.

      Mr. Eckard has some questions and concerns. The first concern is the cooperation and support among suppliers and vendors. MSI is the only supplier represented at this meeting and Eltrax and Fidelio are not present. The second question concerns the adoption of the standards and Bass being the first one. The third concern focuses on certification and compliance. Mr. Eckard was glad to hear that XML would help after the process changes. The next area of concern lies in the approval and acceptance of HITIS with other vertical industries. Other concerns include long term funding, existing implementation of object route versus XML route, changing technology, assurance and support, and the availability of both technical and non-technical resources to address HITIS.

      Mr. Munson commented that MSI has hung in HITIS from the start. Someone needs to be the first one to implement HITIS and he has full confidence in his team to get the interface from PMS to CRS to work. Mr. Eckard asked if anyone could think of any questions or missing pieces since there are a lot of efforts and Bass needs support from the Executive sponsors.

      Mr. Elliott stated that Bill Fisher, President and CEO of AH&MA, is giving 100% support behind the implementation effort. In response to Mr. Eckard's statement of the lack of involvement with the suppliers, Mr. Grimes stated that suppliers have participated on all levels. Mr. Elliott added that the HITIS project was vendor-driven before. Now it needs more hoteliers to participate.

      Mr. Fisher joined in the meeting and thanked everyone for being here. He was very pleased with everyone's continuous support. Before coming on board on October 9, 1996, Mr. Fisher believed that it is an absolutely appropriate project for an association such as the AH&MA to establish standards for the lodging industry. On March 1, 1996, Bob Elliott took over the project. At the AH&MA Officers Advisory Committee meeting two weeks ago, members were very impressed with the achievements accomplished from all of the sponsors. Effective July 26, Bob Elliott will be promoted to be Vice President of Engineering. He had done diligent work and had completed fifteen standards for Phase I. There are other important aspects of the project, such as maintenance and upgrades. As technology changes and the increase in competition in the market place, everyone should be involved. Mr. Fisher thanked everyone again and departed.

      In terms of the marketing effort for HITIS, Mr. Elliott refreshed the idea of a three tier approach. He had been in contact with the Multi-media department at the Center of Career Education at George Washington University to assist HITIS in creating a competition at the school on putting together a CD-ROM that includes testimonials and marketing information. The winner of the competition will receive a nominal fee to be donated to the University.

  3. New Business

    The next meeting is tentatively scheduled on November 8, 1999 at the Javits Center in New York. The meeting adjourned at 2:05 p.m.


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