April 15, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

APRIL 2 – 15, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Enabling bad habits

I’ve written recently about the challenges of encouraging innovation in hospitality technology, as well as the obstacles presented by the industry’s traditional reluctance to replace obsolete systems. The two can often overlap, such as when a company comes up with an innovative solution to an obsolete-technology problem. However, this again raises the question of how far do we want to go in enabling hotels and vendors to continue handicapping themselves by refusing to upgrade?
This was highlighted for me today when I came across a UK-based vendor offering a PCI-compliant fax service (see below). It continues to amaze me just how many reservation bookings are still sent in plain text by fax, a practice that must give any PCI qualified security assessor (QSA) fits, but it’s still very significant. (Speaking of giving QSAs fits, I’ve also come across hotels where reservation agents enter guests’ credit card numbers into a PCI-compliant booking system, but then write them down on a piece of paper as back up for the front desk agents. But I digress.)
Full marks to the vendor for spotting an opportunity in the marketplace, but with the current strong debates around data security (personally-identifiable data as well as credit card numbers) and the ever-growing awareness of the need for encryption and secure transmissions, surely it’s only a matter of time before faxed transmissions are seen as totally unacceptable? A vendor nimble enough to take advantage of this short-term opportunity will already be looking at other areas where it can use innovation to make a difference, which I definitely applaud, but I really wish the industry had moved beyond the point where this particular application was useful.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Jeanne Blair named HFTP’s 2014 CHTP of the Year
  • Michael Caruso named VP of Global Sales at econnect, inc.
  • Rui Pereira joins SkyTouch Technology as Senior Sales Engineer
  • Jason Mier joins Sceptre Hospitality Resources  as Director of Client Experience Management

Jeanne Blair has been named HFTP’s 2014 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional of the Year, as the individual who scored the highest on the CHTP certification exam in the previous year. In a 20 year career providing IT services to the hospitality and ski tourism industry, Ms. Blair most recently served five years as a Systems Analyst at The Banff Center and, earlier, five years as IT Manager at the Lake Louise Ski Resort.
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Michael Caruso has been named Vice President of Global Sales at econnect, inc. in Las Vegas, NV. Mr. Caruso joins eConnect after serving 25 years with the Hospitality Solutions Group (HSG) of Agilysys and its predecessor companies IAD and Flagler, most recently as Casino/Resorts Sales Director.
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Rui Pereira has joined SkyTouch Technology as a Senior Sales Engineer. In a hospitality career spanning nearly 30 years, Mr. Pereira started in operations with several Boston-area hotels before moving to Fidelio as a Trainer and Project Manager. He later served as IT Manager for Glacier Park, Restaura and DBL Distributing and as Director of IT at the Loreto Bay Company during the development of its resort in Mexico. He ran his own hospitality IT consultancy for over four years, and for the last six years has served as General Manager at Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, AZ.
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Jason Mier has joined Sceptre Hospitality Resources  as its first Director of Client Experience Management. Previously, Mr. Mier served as Key Account Manager-Top Accounts at TravelClick; he has over 20 years of experience in customer service, revenue management, sales and operations within the hospitality sector.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Resorts World Bimini picks Agilysys’ LMS and Visual One Condo Accounting System

Resorts World Bimini has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS) and Visual One Condo Accounting System for its 480-unit Bahamas resort. A new 326-room luxury hotel, scheduled to open in June, also will use LMS. (rwbimini.com, www.agilysys.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • InterFax launches PCI DSS-compliant inbound fax service
  • Best Western integrates Google Wallet with Android version of “Best Western To Go” app
  • Travel Tripper’s RezTrip adds automated Specials & Packages pages and distinct Offer Landing Pages
  • Travel Tripper adds single-brand multiple-property searches to RezTrip
  • IHS GmbH acquires InnLink
  • Google licenses technology behind Room 77
  • Horseshoe Bay Resort implements NAVIS Narrowcast

UK-based InterFax has launched a new PCI DSS-compliant inbound fax service, complementing its earlier PCI-compliant outbound service, to help properties with PCI compliance on fax-based bookings. (www.interfax.net)
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Best Western International is integrating Google Wallet with the Android version of its “Best Western To Go” application and mobile website, allowing customers to complete their reservation through a “Buy with Google” button. (www.bestwestern.com)
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Travel Tripper’s RezTrip central reservation system can now generate an automated Specials & Packages page and distinct Offer Landing Pages for Group and Transient rate plans. When a new rate plan representing a special offer is created in the CRS, it can be selected to be displayed on the “Specials & Packages” page of the booking engine, customized to show the offer name and description and optionally show images, terms and conditions, booking validity dates, stay validity dates and days of week and any minimum and maximum lead-time or length-of-stay restrictions.
Travel Tripper has added single-brand multiple-property searches to its RezTrip central reservation system. Hotel companies with multiple properties in the same geographic market can create multiple “areas” in RezTrip with a many-to-many mapping between hotels and these custom areas. For example, a hotel group website can allow guests to search for hotels in New York City, Manhattan, Times Square and Lower East Side with the hotels available in multiple area searches.
(www.traveltripper.com)
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Frankfurt-based IHS GmbH has acquired CRS provider InnLink, adding it to a portfolio that also includes Trust International, Worldhotels and Nexus World Services. (innlink.com, ihs-worldwide.com)
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Google has licensed the technology behind Room 77 to use in its own hotel search applications. Room 77’s co-founder and chief technology officer Calvin Yang has joined Google’s hotel search team. (www.room77.com)
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Horseshoe Bay Resort has implemented NAVIS Narrowcast for reservation call center sales and marketing data analysis services. The 349-room resort in the Texas Hill Country started operations with NAVIS in December 2013.  (www.hsbresort.com, www.thenavisway.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Clarabridge acquires Market Metrix
  • HeBS Digital receives three Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) awards
  • nSight aggregating OTA landscape into simpler view for hotels
  • TrustYou partners with JackRabbit Systems
  • Appy Hotel signs reseller partnership with Technology 4 Hotels for Australia and New Zealand

Clarabridge has acquired Market Metrix, and will use its results-oriented feedback management platform to complement its own analytics and measurement- focused CEM offerings. (corp.marketmetrix.com, www.clarabridge.com)
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HeBS Digital has received three Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) awards:
– Best Hotel and Lodging Interactive Marketing Application, for a “prominent multi-property resort company”
– Outstanding Website for Pacifica Hotels and Thompson Chicago.
(www.hebsdigital.com)
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nSight has announced that it will aggregate the fragmented online travel agency (OTA) landscape into an easy-to-use view for hotels, making competitor benchmarking simple and rate decision making easier.  Heritage Hotels and Resorts is among the first management companies to use the new option. (www.hhandr.com, www.nsightfortravel.com)
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TrustYou has partnered with JackRabbit Systems to provide travelers’ reviews and sentiment analysis for hotels on JackRabbits’ custom travel booking search and direct referral engines for City, County, State, Provincial and National Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) in North America and the Caribbean. (www.jackrabbitsystems.com, www.trustyou.com)
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Appy Hotel has signed a reseller partnership with Technology 4 Hotels for the Australia and New Zealand markets.  Appy Hotel provides an online tool allowing hotels to set up and manage their own mobile application for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices via a cloud-based Content Management System (CMS).  (www.appyhotel.com, www.Technology4Hotels.com.au)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Hospitality Management Holdings adopts eRevMax’s  RateTiger Suite
  • Dorsett Hospitality International picks SiteMinder as preferred channel management application for 20 hotels

Dubai’s Hospitality Management Holdings has signed with eRevMax for its RateTiger Suite for rate and inventory management. (www.hmh-dubai.com, www.erevmax.com)
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Dorsett Hospitality International has selected SiteMinder as its preferred channel management application for its 20 hotels in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia and the UK, which operate under the Dorsett Hotels & Resorts, d.Collection and Silka Hotels brands. Dorsett has 11 more properties opening within the next two years. (www.dorsett.com, www.siteminder.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Survey reports that more conference properties offer free WiFi in meeting rooms
  • Passkey launches PasskeyANYWHERE free online portal for meeting planners

A new survey from PHG Research shows that more conference properties are offering free WiFi in meeting rooms as well as in public areas and guestrooms. The survey reported that 70.8 percent of the hotels covered now provide WiFI for free in meeting and public spaces, while 60.9 percent provide it in guest rooms. Overall, 87.5 percent of respondents make WiFi available in all public spaces of their properties, while 70.8 percent make WiFi available in all guest rooms. The survey covered 26 dedicated conference facilities in the United States and Canada, so defined because at least two-thirds of their total business comes from meeting and conference groups. (www.pompanhospitality.com)
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Passkey has launched PasskeyANYWHERE, a free online portal for meeting planners that provides a central location for meeting planners to access all of their events and a new portal that lets any planner offer a dedicated hotel booking website for any of their events. Tools such as event dashboards, email alerts, planner hotel reviews, preferred hotel and venue search and certified event histories (event certificates) are also available. (www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Embassy Suites Hotel at Chevy Chase Pavilion implements Springer-Miller’s cloud-based ATRIO POS
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The Embassy Suites Hotel at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, a Destination Hotels & Resorts property in metro Washington D.C., has implemented PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ new cloud-based ATRIO POS. (www.embassysuitesdcmetro.com, www.atrio.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • at-visions ONEvision Hotel IPTV now available as managed service from telephone companies
  • Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Resort & Spa, PA, implements Guest-tek’s OneView Media platform
  • Hilton names SONIFI, Bulk TV & Internet as preferred free-to-guest service suppliers to US hotels
  • Hibox releases Smartroom.tv Internet-based online hotel TV service
  • protel releases Voyager mobile guest service app

at-visions has announced that its ONEvision Hotel IPTV service is now also available as a managed service from telephone companies. at-visions now combines existing native IP streams with its industry-specific ONEvision platform through the telco companies instead of configuring the package at each property. All individual content (e.g. hotel compendium, promotions, room service, etc.) is managed via web-based CMS by the property itself. (www.at-visions.com)
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The 238-room Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Resort & Spa, PA, has implemented Guest-tek’s OneView Media platform to provide guests with HD Free to Guest programming, Video on Demand, a customized user experience and its myAway Mobile Connect platform allowing guests to pair their mobile devices with the in-room Samsung LED TV. The resort features an 82,000 square foot Casino floor, 14 restaurants, shopping, a harness racetrack and a spa. (mohegansunpocono.com, www.guest-tek.com)
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Hilton Hotels Worldwide (HWI) has named SONIFI Solutions as one of two preferred service partners for content services such as DIRECTV Free-To-Guest (FTG) programming and On Demand Content to properties across the United States. SONIFI has been a Hilton provider for nearly 15 years.
Hilton Worldwide has selected Bulk TV & Internet as a free-to-guest content supplier across the company’s hotels in the U.S.
(www.hilton.com, www.directv.com, www.sonifi.com, www.bulktv.com)
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Finland’s Hibox has released Smartroom.tv, an Internet-based online hotel TV service using smart TV’s. The hotelier can make changes to information, content and settings remotely using a web-based administration tool, including a user interface branded with the hotel’s own graphical elements. Hotels can also promote their own and third party products and services directly on the TV screen to increase the average guest spending per stay. (www.smartroom.tv)
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protel has released its Voyager mobile guest service app to simplify the exchange of information, provide some additional services for guests, support the hotel’s upselling strategies and report on offers that are particularly well-received by guests. The app offers a digital guest services directory, an online shop for room service items or other specials, reservation booking, surveys and more. (www.protel.net)
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BACK OFFICE

  • MICROS incorporates Merchant Link’s TransactionShield P2PE in RES, OPERA and Simphony 2 products
  • Shift4 Corp announces VT4 secure mobile device payment service
  • Trump International Golf Links implements Data Plus financial systems
  • Frost & Sullivan’s NASSCOM Product Excellence Matrix (PEM) report awards TRITON HK exemplar status

MICROS announced that Merchant Link’s TransactionShield Point-to-Point encryption [P2PE] is now available on its RES, OPERA and Simphony 2 applications in the US and Canada. Depending on the implementation, the point of interaction (POI) may be an integrated, encrypting magnetic stripe reader in the workstation or an external reader that encrypts both keyed and swiped card data. Decryption does not occur until card data reaches Merchant Link’s hosted payment gateway, and card-data is therefore never present in the MICROS solution. (www.micros.com, www.merchantlink.com)
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Shift4 Corp has announced its VT4 secure mobile device payment service, accessible through a mobile app or a Web browser. VT4 provides online and offline processing capabilities, allowing users to complete credit, debit, cash and gift card transactions across all business outlets. Using TrueTokenization and P2PE, VT4 ensures sensitive cardholder data never enters the mobile device, and offers complete administrator control over the devices to remotely add or disable a user’s access or modify their permissions. (www.shift4.com/VT4 )
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Trump International Golf Links and its 218-room lodge at Doonbeg, Ireland, have implemented Data Plus financial systems. Modules include DPFinance (Payables, General Ledger, Accounts Receivables, Bank Reconciliation), DPAnalytics and interfaces for Payroll Expense and to Micros’ Opera. (www.doonbeglodge.com, www.dphs.com)
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Frost & Sullivan’s NASSCOM Product Excellence Matrix (PEM) report has awarded TRITON HK exemplar status as an enterprise mobility product, achieving both strategic excellence and strong execution prowess. (www.knowcross.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong invests over HK$1.5mil in upgrading internet infrastructure
  • Meru Networks releases two new 802.11ac dual-radio, dual-stream (2X2) access points

The Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong has invested more than HK$1.5mil on upgrading its internet infrastructure, bumping up the internet speed to 200Mbps and installing a high performance router that can support up to ten WiFi enabled electronic devices simultaneously in all its 454 rooms and suites. (www.cosmohotel.com.hk/)
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Meru Networks has released two new 802.11ac dual-radio, dual-stream (2X2) access points, the AP122 wall plate unit and AP822 general purpose unit. Both support data rates of up to 867 Mbps. The AP822 is available immediately; the AP122 will be available in the second half of 2014. (www.merunetworks.com)
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