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 “I’m Sorry that You Missed Your Flight Sir” and Other Things
You Don’t Want to Say on the Morning of March 11, 2007
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February 9, 2007 - Why would you?  Well, here is the story, in 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act which changed the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST) to begin on March 11, 2007.  This is three weeks earlier than in pervious years, and will end one week later in the fall on Nov. 4, 2007.  Canada has decided to follow the new U.S. schedule for DST while Mexico has not.  Over and above the traditional ritual of the changing of guestroom clock radios by room attendants, this new date for DST will have more subtle and far reaching impacts.  

Many applications/systems either contain internal reference tables that permit them to automatically adjust for DST or they depend on the operating system (OS) of the hardware they are resident upon to make the adjustment.  A good general description of the problem can be found at the URL listed below as well as links to key resources.

http://www.edgeblog.net/2007/daylight-saving-time-the-year-2007-problem/

Current workstations should be largely unaffected as automated OS updates have become the norm, but many servers and standalone systems have this feature deliberately disabled to ensure a stable platform.  There are also many legacy hardware platforms and applications that are in common use in our industry and they may not support automated updates or patches.

The potential ramifications of this change have gone seemingly unnoticed by both vendors and hoteliers alike.  While the effects of this should not be as serious as Y2K, for instance, it only takes a few mistimed wake-up calls and missed flights to enormously inconvenience guests and generate unfavorable press.  Other issues such as erroneous timestamps on POS charges, call accounting postings and voice mail messages, while minor, are nonetheless embarrassing in our image conscious industry.  Another constituency affected is the hotel staff, who as consumers of payroll and timekeeping applications will be similarly impacted.

This year, systems that are assumed to make the change automatically may or may not.  At a minimum, every lodging property in the United States and Canada will need to verify that key, time sensitive, systems have correctly made the change.  As the system that places automated wake-up calls is critical to guest service, this manual system verification must occur overnight after 3:00 a.m. on March 11, 2007.  Additionally, it is strongly recommended, whether systems are patched manually or automatically, that they be checked again the night of April 1, 2007 to ensure they have not automatically changed the time in error recognizing the previously followed schedule.  The same steps will need to be repeated this fall on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 2007.  Depending on how each system is remediated, this scenario will repeat itself in the coming years.

Hospitality Upgrade, in partnership with BearingPoint, intends to solicit information from industry vendors on the impacts of the DST change to their products and what steps are necessary to remediate them.  The information received will then be published for the benefit of all concerned.

Three things you can start doing today:

  1. Begin to educate your staff about the new date.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, inventory all of your systems for operating system versions, hardware and application versions.  This will be essential information in order to gather and apply the correct remediation process.
  3. Check to see if your guestroom clock radios automatically adjust for DST (some have a switch).  If yes, contact the manufacturer for more information.
While DST is no Y2K in terms of its potential to disrupt business, it will still have the ability to “bug” you, your guests and your staff unless you take a few moments to consider the ramifications of the new DST date before March 11, 2007.

If you do not receive a request and you would like to participate in this study please contact Sally Kelly at sally.kelly@bearingpoint.com.

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Contact:

Sally Kelly
BearingPoint
sally.kelly@bearingpoint.com

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