April 21, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning



Guest Services

Back Office




  • PhoCusWright’s 2009 Technology Trends are thoughtful, relevant

Many “Top Trends” lists tend to be pretty generic, but PhoCusWright’s 2009 Technology Trends makes some thoughtful observations. I’m not sure I’d have ranked them in this order, but they’re certainly all relevant.
1. Despite Market Woes, Pockets of Investment Still Exist – Clear thinkers innovate for recovery.
2. The Entire Trip Experience Will Be “Informationized” – Not just the components that result in a booking but all aspects of the trip, at all stages.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS), Cloud Computing and Open Source Spawn a New Flock of Innovators – All allow for rapid start-up, low entry cost and pay-as-you-go fees.
4. Suppliers (Finally!) Provide Personalized Shopping/Booking Tools – information and shopping screens adapt to users’ stated profiles, observed profiles and shopping style.
5. Technologies Will Continue to Converge – Homes, phones and laptops can all access the same movies, TV and rich content from anywhere in the world.
6. A Flood of New Mobile Travel and Location-Based Applications Come to Market – Based on mobile devices’ interactive and location-aware capabilities and broadband access.
7. Advertising Technology Transforms Travel Distribution – Pure booking fee models will disappear in favor of blends of highly targeted ads, referral fees and fees for service.
8. Still Searching…for Better Search – Semantic (context-based) search has been slow to take off but is becoming more important as more relevant results prove its business value.
9. Democratization of Supply Levels the Playing Field – The GDS monopoly is long gone as interconnectivity, Internet transparency, Web services, new search tools and SaaS models open the marketplace.
10. Business Intelligence and Analytics Move to the Forefront – Tight times call for maximum operating efficiency, understanding your competitors and knowing what your customers are saying.

Full details at www.phocuswright.com/report/09techtrend.

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  • Erik Munoz is new vice president of sales for SoftBrands Hospitality, Asia Pacific

Erik Munoz is SoftBrands Hospitality’s new vice president of sales for Asia Pacific. Mr. Munoz has more than 15 years experience in hospitality technology, most recently as director of business partner programs for HotelProphets in Australia. From 2003 to 2007 he was international sales and marketing manager for CMS Hospitality in Australia, and earlier served as regional sales and channel manager for SoftBrands in the Asia Pacific Region and in various positions with Hotel Information Systems, which was acquired by SoftBrands in 2006.

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  • Best Western Atrea, Lackland, TX opens with MSI WinPM and PlacePoint POS
  • MSI now offers Merchant Link credit card gateway and security applications for all its PMSs
  • SoftBrands to resell Intellispa as part of Emerald product line
  • Siegel Group Nevada picks MICROS’ OPERA Lite PMS and myfidelio for Gold Spike Hotel & Casino, and the Resort on Mount Charleston

West Hospitality Limited has selected MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) integrated property management and point of sale technology for its Best Western Atrea Hotel and Suites in Lackland, TX. The hotel is using MSI’s WinPM Property Management System and integrated PlacePoint Point of Sale (POS), the latter for both retail food/beverage and self-service functionality.
MSI Solutions has contracted with Merchant Link for credit card gateway and security products and services as add-on interfaces to its property management systems, including WinPM, NovaPlus, and EnterprisePM.
(www.bestwestern.com, www.merchantlink.com, www.msisolutions.com)
SoftBrands has contracted with Intelligenz Solutions to sell its Intellispa spa, fitness, and activities management software worldwide as part of its Emerald product line. Intellispa V3 is HTNG-certified for single guest itinerary functionality. (www.Intelligenzsolutions.com, www.softbrands.com/hospitality)
The Siegel Group Nevada has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA Lite PMS and myfidelio web booking engine for two newly acquired properties, the Gold Spike Hotel & Casino and Resort on Mount Charleston. The latter property will use OPERA Sales and Catering and MICROS 9700. (www.siegelcompanies.com, www.micros.com)

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  • Trust adds Wego and Make My Trip as Trust|Connect IDS partners
  • OTA contracts with PilotFish for automated testing validation services for FastRez
  • HBSi adds Trust International to iDemand Gateway platform
  • Distinguished International picks Advantage Reserve for call center services for 7 properties
  • Condé Nast Johansens offers customized version of SynXis’ Guest Connect booking engine
  • hotelicopter launches metasearch site with interface to Facebook Connect

Trust International has added Wego (formerly Bezurk.com) and Make My Trip as Trust|Connect Internet Distribution Services (IDS) partners for Asia, India, and the other markets they serve. Wego is a meta-search engine covering 100+ travel web sites in one search. MakeMyTrip is a pioneer in the Online Travel Industry in India. (www.wego.com, www.MakeMyTrip.com, www.trustinternational.com)
The OpenTravel Alliance has contracted with PilotFish Technology for automated testing validation services for its FastRez software. Companies purchasing FastRez will be able to validate their systems’ input and output by e-mailing sample transactions to PilotFish. PilotFish is also offering its integration tools, XCS eiPlatform and eiConsole, to help the rapid implementation of the FastRez standard. (www.pilotfishtechnology.com, www.opentravel.org)
HBSi has added Trust International to the participants in its iDemand Gateway platform, which connects hotels with tour operators and online travel agencies to centralize and automate the flow of transactions. (www.TrustInternational.com, www.hbsconnect.com)
Distinguished International Hotels, Residences and Resorts has contracted with Advantage Reserve for call center and revenue management services for its seven properties. Advantage Reserve will handle all reservation calls 24/7, interface directly with Distinguished’s booking engine and relay the reservations back to the member hotels in real-time. (www.distinguishedhotels.com, www.advantagereserve.com)
Condé Nast Johansens is offering a customized version of SynXis’ Guest Connect booking engine to hotels it recommends to increase bookings on their own websites as well as via Condé Nast Johansens’ website. Condé Nast Johansens’ travel guide recommends over 1,300 properties in more than 65 countries. (www.johansens.com, www.synxis.com)
Hotel search engine hotelicopter (nothing to do with the recent April Fools spoof about a flying hotel) has launched its metasearch site, which pulls data from 30 travel sites in real-time to aggregate room rates, availability, photos and video. The site also interfaces to Facebook Connect, allowing users to link their Facebook profile to a personal account on hotelicopter, which provides social media features to let travelers leverage their own social networks for hotel recommendations and travel deals. (www.hotelicopter.com)

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  • TripAdvisor launches Chinese domain
  • Waterfront Place Hotel to use UniFocus’ GuestScope, MeetingScope
  • Hilton partners with TravelSkoot to offer dining, shopping and entertainment options
  • ZDirect releases new filters to help hotels identify specific guest groups
  • ZDirect passes 1,700 hotel mark
  • Milestone Internet Marketing wins Best Hotel and Lodging Website Award
  • San Diego North CVB selects TIG Global for Internet marketing

TripAdvisor has launched a Chinese domain, Daodao.com, to provide localized travel research for Chinese travelers. It also recently launched domains to serve Portuguese-, Swedish- and Dutch-speaking travelers, operated from its London office. (www.daodao.com, www.tripadvisor.com.br, www.tripadvisor.se, nl.tripadvisor.com)
The 205-room Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown, West Virginia, is using UniFocus’ GuestScope and MeetingScope business intelligence tools. (www.waterfrontplacehotel.com, www.unifocus.com)
Hilton Hotels & Resorts has partnered with NBC Digital Networks’ TravelSkoot to offer travelers a guide to dining, shopping and entertainment options in up to 35 cities, using a video sampling of entertainment options sourced from Hilton hotel concierges and Peter Greenberg, most recently Travel Editor for NBC’s Today Show. Visitors can pull their selections into their own “skoot” using TravelSkoot’s map-making web site to create a personalized itinerary. Launch cities include New York, Washington D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and Honolulu. (www.hilton.com, www.travelskoot.com)
ZDirect has released new filters to help hotels identify specific groups of guests to contact, including:
– Guest Reservation Booking Windows, such as last-minute guests who booked a reservation 3 days before check in, or families who book vacations six months out.
– Cancellations, i.e. guests who cancelled a future reservation within a particular date range.
– Zip Code Radius, for inclusive (the “drive” market of guests who live within certain range of their property) or exclusive (guests who live 800 miles away who would not be able to get to the property for a last minute e-mail special) marketing campaigns. Marketing managers will also be able to input zip code ranges, for example “90210 – 90300″.
ZDirect is now used in over 1,700 hotels, a mark passed by signing Dayton House Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Milestone Internet Marketing won the Best Hotel and Lodging Website Award in the Web Marketing Association’s recent Internet Advertising Competition, for its work on www.nylohotels.com. Milestone also won 2 Outstanding Website awards for www.brookfieldsuiteshotel.com and www.innsofmonterey.com. (www.iacaward.org, www.milestoneinternet.com)
The San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) has selected TIG Global as its Internet marketing provider. TIG Global will provide search engine optimization, a custom website design and strategic marketing program. (www.sandiegonorth.com, www.tigglobal.com)

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  • EZYield.com tests link with Expedia’s QuickConnect interface

EZYield.com is testing a connection between its channel management system and Expedia’s 70+ travel booking sites worldwide via the Expedia QuickConnect interface. Properties using EZYield.com’s new RezDelivery platform will be able to use the link to propagate reservations directly into their hotel property management system or central reservations system. (www.ezyield.com)

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  • Hyatt, Marriot announce agreements with Cvent
  • Cvent enhances Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) toolset to track meeting spend
  • Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino implements Passkey

Both Hyatt and Marriot announced agreements with Cvent for online event management and venue sourcing (eRFP) functions.
Hyatt has secured prominent placement for its hotels worldwide on the Cvent Supplier Network online directory of hotels, conference centers and event venues, and will offer rewards points and exclusive promotions to meeting planners booking group business through the network.
Marriott has added Cvent’s Supplier Network to its list of lead generation tools for group business, and, with Cvent, has developed a process to ensure meeting and event planners receive timely responses to all meeting inquires.
Cvent announced enhancements to its Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) toolset to help organizations track and manage their meeting spend.
(www.hyatt.com, www.marriott.com, www.cvent.com)
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino is adopting Passkey’s online group reservations system for all its meetings and groups. Meeting and group guests will be able to make and manage their hotel reservations online, taking advantage of more room type options and learn about hotel offerings via event-specific websites. (www.planethollywoodresort.com, www.passkey.com)

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  • Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group selects ReServe

Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group has selected ReServe Interactive’s Catering & Event Management software for its five restaurant locations and off-premise catering company in Chicago. (www.harrycarays.com, www.reserveinteractive.com)

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  • SoftBrands to re-sell Intelligenz Solutions’ Intellispa

SoftBrands has contracted with Intelligenz Solutions to sell its Intellispa spa, fitness, and activities management software worldwide as part of its Emerald product line. Intellispa V3 is HTNG-certified for single guest itinerary functionality. (www.intelligenzsolutions.com, www.softbrands.com/hospitality) **

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  • Grand Hyatt Doha installs Knowcross’ TRITON guest service management system

The 249-room Grand Hyatt Doha, Hyatt’s first property in Qatar, has installed Knowcross Solutions TRITON guest service management system to help 250 staff members in the Front Office, Engineering, Housekeeping, Guest Services, Security, F&B and IT departments manage guest requests, complaints and back-of-house jobs. The hotel has equipped 52 of its staff members with Spectralink Netlink wireless handsets to receive job orders. (doha.grand.hyatt.com, www.knowcross.com)

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  • Oxford Hotels and Inns installing Clarity’s THS Phoenix system at all 42 hotels

Oxford Hotels and Inns is replacing its existing hotel management system with Clarity’s THS (“Total Hospitality Solution”) Phoenix application at all 42 hotels over the next four months. The installation will provide improved visibility of agent and corporate debtors in real-time, allowing the company to track potential cash-flow problems as early as possible, and will also help ensure full compliance with the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). (www.oxfordhotelsandinns.com, www.claritycommerce.com)

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  • Clifton South Beach Hotel installing solar panels and wind turbine

Miami Beach-based Cambean Hospitality is installing solar panels and a wind turbine on the roof of the Clifton South Beach Hotel, and purchasing carbon offsets and renewable energy credits (RECs) from Renewable Choice Energy to offset its fuel and electricity consumption. (www.cambean.com)

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  • Noble Hospitality installs PhoneSuite in three properties, plans to add more

Noble Hospitality has installed PhoneSuite systems in a Comfort Inn in Kansas, a Holiday Inn in Arkansas, and a Ramada Inn in Colorado, with plans to add the products to more of its 40 properties in the near future. (www.noblehospitality.com, www.phonesuite.com)

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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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