April 10, 2001

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Starwood buys Geac PMS division
  • Gomez reports on-line travel purchasers number 55 million – and growing

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has acquired the Hotel Systems Division of Geac Computers, Inc., for $1 million, and will fold the company into its newly-formed Starwood Technology and Revenue Systems (STARS) subsidiary.
It’s highly unusual for a hotel company to buy a PMS vendor; the more common approach if the hotelier wants to maintain complete control over this key system is to buy the PMS source code from the vendor and develop it themselves. But Starwood has been Geac’s largest PMS client for many years, and the move is widely seen as a way for it to ensure continued support for its own Geac/UX PMS installations while gaining support fee revenue from other users.
At this point it’s not clear whether Starwood intends to offer the Geac/UX system to other properties, nor indeed whether any would be interested in buying a system from a potential competitor and being reliant on it for support. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.geac.com)
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A recent study by Internet-quality firm Gomez.com estimates that there are currently 92.7 million U.S. adult active Internet users, of which a full 54.7 million are online travel buyers. Gomez expects an additional 2.9 million consumers to begin purchasing travel online within the next six months.
Separate Gomez research forecasts that by 2003 online travel buying will generate US $25.6 billion, a five-fold increase over 1999. The conclusions drawn include that while the leading sites (Expedia, Travelocity, Southwest Airlines) have been successful in attracting and satisfying consumers, 60% of the travel sites receive a less-than-satisfactory rating by consumers. There’s clearly an enormous untapped opportunity for online travel distributors, and a good, usable and well-designed site can make a big difference.
But one size will never fit all travelers; the State of Online Travel 2001 study identified four different consumer profile groups – “Sideliners”, “Browsers”, “Business Travelers”, and “Leisure Travelers” – each with distinct priorities and online behaviors, and online travel sites must recognize the needs of each group in order to encourage their loyalty and repeat business. (www.gomez.com)
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Douglas Boake, ex-Amazon, hired by OpenTable as SVP of Business Development

Douglas Boake as hired by OpenTable, Inc. as Senior Vice President of Business Development; he most recently served for two years as Vice President of Business and Corporate Development at Amazon.com.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Starwood buys Geac PMS division – see Top O’ The News above
  • Wyndham implements wireless check-in/check-out with Fidelio OPERAPalm handhelds
  • MICROS releases Exchange two-way interface to link CRS/PMS/Revenue Management
  • Springer-Miller integrates timeshare modules into Host PMS
  • GHS Global appoints LodgCon as exclusive distributor
  • Hogatex opens branch office in Helsinki, takes over hotel/ship operations of former partner ICL Invia
  • Ramesys announces generic sub-system interface unit for its CMS Web-based PMS, posts demo PMS version on Web site

Wyndham International is implementing wireless check-in/check out functionality over the next 18 months at those properties using MICROS-Fidelio’s Opera PMS, starting with its large resorts and conference hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean. This follows a pilot installation at the Wyndham Dallas Market Center. After swiping a guest’s credit card through the hand-held OPERAPalm units (manufactured by Symbol), these will wirelessly obtain credit card authorization, record the guests’ signature and program a guest room magnetic-stripe key card. At check out, wireless printers will produce a copy of the guest folio and a receipt.
MICROS Systems also announced its XML-based MICROS-Fidelio Exchange interface, which integrates its Central Reservations System (CRS) and Customer Information System with its Fidelio Version 6 PMS, its new OPERA PMS and with other vendors’ PMSs. Wyndham has piloted this interface in one hotel and will implement it at all its branded upscale and luxury properties. The new interface facilitates full two-way synchronization of reservations, including shares, multiple rooms, wait list, no shows, cancellations, allotments, rate definitions, package definitions, and guest profiles, as well as a central lookup for customer profiles, and supports centralized yield management through its OPUS 2 TopLine PROPHET Enterprise system. (www.micros.com, www.wyndham.com)
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Springer-Miller Systems has announced the addition of integrated timeshare modules to its SMS|Host application, the outcome of the development agreement it signed with Resort Condominiums International (RCI) last year. The new modules include Timeshare Club Membership and Timeshare Sales/Marketing, and complement the existing Timeshare Owner Fulfillment functionality. (www.springermiller.com)
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GHS Global Inc. has appointed LodgCon, Inc. its exclusive distributor in North America, strengthening its existing representation agreement. The agreement includes extensive co-marketing efforts to build the two brands internationally. (www.lodgcon.com, www.ghsglobal.net)
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Hogatex has opened its own branch office in Helsinki, tasked with direct support of the entire Scandinavian market – Finland, Norway and Sweden. The office will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hogatex Germany.
Hogatex Germany also took over the hotel and ship systems divisions of its sales partner ICL Invia, and will transfer the ICL staff to Hogatex Nordic OY. (www.hogatex.com)
**
Ramesys Hospitality has announced a generic interface control device to link its Web-based Chain Management Solution (CMS) with most third party hotel-based systems. This Ramesys Interface Controller (RIC Box) was developed jointly by the company’s US and UK development teams, and lets the CMS software interact with telephone call accounting, point of sale, in-room movies, PBX, energy management, electronic door locks, etc.
Ramesys also released a demonstration module of its CMS, available over the Internet at www.chain-management.com. Visitors will need to register to get a password. (www.us.ramesys.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Laterooms.com adds 444 French hotels, puts inventory over 65,000 properties
  • Volando offers Sabre-based on-line booking to Brazil through Stella Barros agency
  • Sabre uses Infotriever to let travelers download itinerary to PDA organizer calendars
  • Swissotels implementing CRM software worldwide with Serenata
  • Golden Tulip sets up nine European language-specific Web booking sites
  • HTS and Digital Marketing offer targeted marketing from hotel guest history data
  • Canadian REIT orders HTS Guest Logic for over 30 properties
  • SRS-Worldhotels breaks off discussions with IndeCorp
  • Intrawest’s Resort Reservations Network to set up vacation reservations site for Vancouver
  • All-Hotels uses AvantGo to download discount offers to users Palm/Pocket PC PDAs
  • Pegasus to provide travel agent commission processing for all TraveLeaders Group locations, sets up Singapore office
  • Expedia first to sell 1 million room-nights in under 3 months
  • Amadeus teams with BroadView to offer personalized booking services

UK-based Laterooms.com has added 444 French hotels to its database of discounted hotel rooms in an agreement with France Hotel Reservations, an online booking system dedicated to hotel bookings in that country. The new properties increase Laterooms’ inventory to over 5000 hotel partners. (www.laterooms.com)
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Florida-based Volando is using a booking engine developed with Sabre to leverage its late-2000 purchase of Sao Paulo-based travel service Stella Barros, in offering a “clicks-and-bricks” presence to Latin American travelers. Volando claims that its booking engine is the first to simultaneously search for the lowest airfares and travel dates while also displaying alternate available dates in a single screen. (www.volando.com, www.stellabarros.com.br)
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Sabre Holdings Corp is using software from Infotriever to let travelers download travel itinerary details from its Virtually There Web site into their organizer calendars, covering Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, Palm OS and Act 2000. Virtually There also provides real-time information on flights, gate assignments and weather, plus destination information such as restaurants, sporting events and sightseeing recommendations. Both the link and the itinerary are currently available in seven languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian and Dutch. (www.infotriever.com, www.virtuallythere.com)
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Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts is implementing Customer Relationship Management software from Serenata on a world-wide basis across its Intranet, linked directly to the hotels’ existing Micros-Fidelio PMSs. The initiative provides real-time Internet booking, central sales management and customer preference management to all users. Munich-based Serenata IntraWare is the preferred supplier for the software, in conjunction with a separate company specializing in data warehousing, cleansing and mining. (www.swissotel.com)
**
Golden Tulip Worldwide (GTW) is establishing nine language-specific European reservation web sites (German, Swiss, Austrian, Italian, French, UK, Denmark, Belgium and the Dutch) in partnership with BOOKINGS, a Dutch on-line hotel reservations vendor which will manage and implement the new sites. The existing Dutch and Belgian sites combined, which BOOKINGS has managed since February 2000, currently receive 20-25,000 visitors/month. (www.goldentulip.com, www.bookings.org)
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Hospitality Technology Solutions (HTS) has partnered with Web-based campaign management vendor Digital Marketing to offer VIPLogic, a customer relationship management program. The product is based on HTS’ Guest Logic guest history analysis tool, allowing hotels to identify their most valuable customers and their preferences/behavior, and to use that information to solicit them for repeat business via Digital Marketing’s targeted, personalized direct mail messaging.
Canadian REIT Canadian Hotel Income Properties (CHIP) has ordered Hospitality Technology Solutions (HTS) Guest Logic for most of its 36 hotels, to be installed over the next 12 months starting with the Radisson Hotel Québec Centre, Québec City and the Crowne Plaza Ottawa. (www.dmarketing.com, www.chipreit.com, www.hoteltechsolutions.com)
**
Chicago-based IndeCorp Corporation, parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Summit Hotels & Resorts and Sterling Hotels & Resorts, confirmed that SRS-Worldhotels, the Frankfurt-based hotel representation company, has discontinued discussions with IndeCorp on a possible combination of the two organizations. (www.lhw.com)
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Intrawest Corp division Resort Reservations Network, which already operates a central reservations destination vacation company, has formed a partnership with Communicate.com Inc. to operate a vacation planning and online reservation service for Vancouver, B.C. at Vancouver.com. Resort Reservations Network will develop the new site on a revenue-sharing basis with Communicate.com; the site will offer real-time availability and pricing for accommodations, activities, attractions, events, car rentals, ground transportation, cruise packages and discounted airfares. (www.vancouver.com)
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UK-based All-Hotels Ltd. will use AvantGo to provide its HotDeals reservations opportunities to users of Palm OS and Pocket PC devices. All-Hotels currently offers discounted rooms from over 60,000 hotels in 9,600 locations world-wide. (www.all-hotels.com, www.avantgo.co.uk)
**
Pegasus Solutions, Inc. announced that it will now provide travel agent commission processing services to all TraveLeaders Group locations, currently numbering over 55 offices around the USA. Pegasus has been providing the service for several TraveLeaders sites since 1992.
Pegasus also announced the expansion of its Commission Processing service offerings in the Asia Pacific region, and has established a staff in Singapore.
(www.traveleaders.com, www.pegs.com)
**
Expedia announced that it has become the first online travel agency to sell more over one million room nights in less than three months. For comparison, it took Expedia three years to sell its first million room nights after its launch in October 1996. In part, it credits its new Expert Searching and Pricing (ESP) technology, introduced in January, which lets travelers build their own customized air and hotel packages at discounted prices. (www.expedia.com)
**
Amadeus Global Travel Distribution has teamed with personalization specialist BroadVision Inc. to announce BroadVision-Amadeus Travel Commerce, which lets clients offer online travel services with features such as dynamic user profiles, personalized travel alerts, services, information and promotional offers. Access via WAP-enabled wireless devices is also supported. Using the software, an airline could not only sell airline tickets but also offer information on, and possibly even sell, theater tickets, for example. (www.global.amadeus.net, www.broadvision.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Le Parker Meridien New York goes live with IDeaS e-yield system

Le Parker Meridien New York announced that it has selected IDeaS, Inc., as its revenue management partner and has gone live with IDeaS’ e-yield(TM) revenue management solution. (www.eyield.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Event411 files patent application for PemierPlanner features
  • Zurich Airport Conference Centre orders Hogatex Corporate Conference Planner
  • Marriott launches EventCom Technologies event services management

Web-based planning systems vendor Event411 has filed a patent application with the United States Patent & Trademark Office for features of its flagship product, PremierPlanner. The application covers the architecture of Event411’s core meeting-management applications, including attendee management, task management and expense tracking. (www.event411.com)
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Zurich airport has ordered Hogatex’ Corporate Conference Manager systems to manage the 34 function rooms at its conference center. The conference center has also commissioned an interface to its SAP receivables system, the telephone system, cash registers, door locking system, central address system and room labeling. (www.hogatex.com)
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Marriott International launched EventCom Technologies by Marriott, an event management and communications service for high-tech meetings. Services offered include satellite broadcasting, ISDN videoconferencing, Web streaming, collaborative Web conferencing and audioconferencing, plus site selection and related event management. (www.marriott.com/eventcom)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Columbia Sussex orders high-speed wireless Internet access (HSIA) from MobileStar for all 43 properties
  • Cahners In-Stat predicts HSIA slow-down, vendor attrition this year, major growth thereafter
  • Chicago-area Hiltons order print-on-demand newspapers from NewspaperDirect

Columbia Sussex Corp has contracted with MobileStar Network Corp for high-speed wireless Internet services at its 43 hotel properties. Activation will begin this fall. (www.mobilestar.com)
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A report from Cahners In-Stat Group (“Wet Bars, HBO, and High-Speed: The Hotel Broadband Market,” #MU0103SG) unsurprisingly predicts a drastic slowdown in the deployment of hotel HSIA and attrition among the vendors involved, due to severe restrictions in the capital market. Nevertheless, it sees the Multi-Hospitality Unit (MHU) broadband hardware and services market resuming significant growth after this consolidation, increasing from $59 million in 2000 to $679 million in 2005. (www.instat.com)
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Chicago-area properties The Hilton Chicago and The Palmer House Hilton have contracted with NewspaperDirect for print-on-demand newspaper summaries from over 50 cities in Europe, Canada, Asia and the U.S. The Hilton O’Hare International will also offer NewspaperDirect in the near future.
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BACK OFFICE

  • Carnival orders e-Learning from SmartForce for its Intranet education progam

Carnival Cruise Lines has signed a multi-year agreement with SmartForce to incorporate SmartForce e-Learning into its IT Education and Career Development program. Beginning in April, Carnival IT employees worldwide will access SmartForce e-Learning over Carnival’s Intranet for computer education; e-Learning will also be made available to non-IT employees to increase their skill and knowledge of Microsoft Office and other end-user products.
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Datanamics offers secure, flexible links from Hilton properties’ LANs to Corporate network

Datanamics announced that it is now offering interface services to Hilton properties that need connectivity from their hotel’s internal LAN to the Hilton Corporate LAN, a key ability for hotels’ PC workstations needing access to mission critical data. The interface service includes full Property Management System (PMS) connectivity for computers that are not on Hilton’s corporate network, full connectivity to data on other Hilton systems such as reservations, yield management, and others, anti-virus protection and two-way system security to prevent Corporate workstations from accessing unauthorized devices and data on the Hotel’s local network. (www.datanamicsinc.com)
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