April 22, 2015

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

MARCH 26 – APRIL 6, 2015


  • Keeping current with technology: obsolescence is risk
  • Alibaba announces plans for cloud-based hotel platform

Why don’t hotels update their systems more often? Probably for the same reason that I’m still using a six-year-old laptop: the all-too-human ability to rationalize inertia. After all, it costs money and causes disruption to replace older technology (even if that’s only a PC running on Windows XP, which I still find in hotels even though it’s an automatic PCI Fail) (and no, my laptop isn’t running XP) whereas the benefits of replacing it – lower risk of failure, PCI certification, the opportunity to do more things more efficiently – are financially unquantifiable. We can easily convince ourselves that the old systems are stable and do what we need for now, workarounds notwithstanding.
The same’s true for vendors’ need to keep up with technology developments, though obviously they have even more invested in their current technology stack than do hotels. Max Rayner’s presentations this spring at the HTNG Conference in San Antonio and at Rich’s Vendor Summit in San Francisco made a compelling argument for the use of newer technologies that offer greater flexibility, more dynamic interactions with third party systems and much greater performance at affordable prices. Max believes that an approach like this is essential if hotel systems are to be able to compete successfully with the CRM and marketing technology used by the OTAs, and that without it we have little chance of providing the instant-response, customized offers to search inquiries that will attract our guests. But switching to newer technologies is just as traumatic for a vendor as it is for a hotel.
You may not be able to make a financial case for keeping up to date, but you can certainly make a business case for doing so. Staying with older systems means that you tend to lose sight of better ways of doing things, because it seems so natural to do them the old way. But obsolescence is risk. Hotels and vendors adopting the latest technology have an immediate advantage in speed of development and flexible integration with other systems and other data sources. Older systems have trouble coping with the highly fluid dynamic relationships that characterize current trends in customer support and marketing. They’re also harder to support; the older programmers needed to support them will retire one day, and the best and brightest new software developers aren’t interested in working on old technologies. The same applies to the best and brightest hotel staff; they want to use the best technology they can to leverage their talents, and won’t stay at properties that slow them down with old approaches.
Consultant Bob Lewis claims that the idea that humans only use 90 percent of our brains is false. He believes we use 100 percent: 10 percent for thinking and 90 percent for rationalizing. In this case the rationalization is that there’s always something else that’s more urgent than the conversion – right up until the time when there isn’t. And doing it as a fire drill when you have no alternative is always far more expensive and disruptive than planning for it.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go shopping for a new laptop.
Given the rise of China’s hotel industry and technology companies, it was only a matter of time before Chinese hotel systems brought new ideas to the global market, and Alibaba Group has announced that its alitrip.com application will be targeted at the “hotel of the future.” Launched last October Alitrip “aims to use network and Big Data technology to enhance customer service and improve innkeepers’ ability to attract travelers and retain them as loyal guests.” One specific product mentioned is “Post Post Pay”, which allows guests vetted by Sesame, Alibaba’s credit agency, to reserve rooms through Alitrip without paying a deposit and to use express check-out, their folio being settled directly from their Alipay account. Alibaba also plans to use its Aliyun cloud-computing unit as part of Alitrip, creating a cloud-based platform for hotels incorporating online services such as check-in, catering, sales, reservations and membership programs.

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  • Mike Blake is new CEO at HTNG
  • Frank C. Peugh Jr. is HFTP’s 2015 CHTP of the Year
  • Eric Peters, Winnie Cheng, Eric Korff join Flip.to’s design team
  • Gary Etherington hired by FCS as National Sales Director for US

Mike Blake has been hired as CEO of HTNG, replacing Doug Rice who will retire at the end of July. Mr. Blake served on HTNG’s Board of Directors from 2010 through early 2015, and as Treasurer from 2012 through early 2015. His career includes roles as CIO at Hyatt and at Commune Hotels & Resorts, and earlier in senior financial positions at First Data Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Sears and United Airlines.
Frank C. Peugh Jr. is HFTP’s 2015 CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) of the Year, having scored the highest in CHTP certification exams within a given year. With over 30 years in the technology industry, Mr. Peugh served in positions such as data center operator, Novell administrator, network engineer, disaster recovery manager, systems manager and many more before joining Wyndham Hotels and the hospitality industry in 2002. He is currently Property Systems Technology Manager for Interstate Hotels and Resorts.
Eric Peters has joined Flip.to as Director of Engineering. Most recently a software development team leader with The Walt Disney Company, his background also includes startup experience for MyList as Senior Software Engineer. He had earlier worked on large-scale cloud computing design at Rackspace and was the lead developer of a large scale ERP project for NASA while at Raytheon.
Winnie Cheng has joined Flip.to’s design team, bringing the UI layout skills she developed at High 5 Games and Zynga.
Eric Korff has been hired by Flip.to. He was most recently a Training Ambassador with staySky Hotels and Resorts, and earlier had served as a Client Relationship Manager at TravelClick.
Gary Etherington has been hired by FCS Computer Systems as National Sales Director for the United States. Mr. Etherington previously held senior positions in sales management and national accounts with several companies including NEC, XO Communications and CenturyLink.

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  • BLVD Hotels picks SkyTouch for three properties
  • Maestro PMS announces subscription pricing, Analytics BI enhancements
  • Westcorp selects Ariane’s self-service kiosks for two properties
  • Proxce has wins Innovator Spotlight Award from The Next Big Thing Travel & Hospitality Technology
  • Infor releases version 3.7.1 of HMS
  • Chickasaw Nation picks Agilysys’ LMS and InfoGenesis for WinStar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, OK

BLVD Hotels has selected SkyTouch Technology’s Hotel OS platform for its three California properties: BLVD Hotel & Suites in Hollywood, BLVD Hotel & Spa in Studio City (both members of Preferred Hotel Group) and BLVD Hotel in Costa Mesa, CA (www.blvdhotels.com, www.skytouchtechnology.com)
Maestro PMS has announced flexible pricing options including a monthly subscription model for both on-premise Maestro PMS and cloud-based Maestro Web. Maestro also announced enhancements to its Analytics Business Intelligence module with new data views. (www.maestropms.com)
Westcorp has selected Ariane Systems’ self-service kiosks for two Alberta-based properties, the Bonnyville Neighborhood Inn and the Bonnyhood Neighbourhood Inn Express. (www.westcorp.net, www.ariane.com)
Proxce has won the Innovator Spotlight Award from The Next Big Thing Travel & Hospitality Technology for its proprietary Proximity Identity Manager (PIM) technology, which uses BLE/iBeacons and geo-fencing to provide automated mobile check-in and keyless entry services.   PIM notifies guests of their assigned room number as soon as they arrive at the lobby, in real time. They can accept the room or request a change from their smartphones, and either collect room keys from guest services or go to their rooms directly. The platform works with minimal integration to property management systems. (www.nbtworld.com, www.proxce.com)
Infor has released version 3.7.1 of its Hospitality Management Solution (HMS). Enhancements include:
– Expanded Mobile Options, including an iOS app for Housekeeping and mobile guestroom key encoding through integration with Ingenico Mobile Solutions’ iSMP Companion.
– New Leasing Module for the serviced apartments market, to create leases for long-stay or short-stay guests, flexible invoicing options and rate plans.
– Enhanced Accounts Receivable, including improved workflows, centralized profiles with separately attached property accounts and more flexible invoicing to help meeting planners, corporate travel managers and other direct bill account contacts.
– Owner Room Rotation Capabilities for condominium hotels, based on lowest point value to provide equal opportunity for rentals. This new feature integrates with Owner Relations’ condominium software to manage owner accounting.
– Advanced Room Planning and Reporting for greater ease of use and advanced drill-down for forecasting, including the ability to combine occupancy history and forecasting into one report.
The Chickasaw Nation has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System and InfoGenesis POS system for the WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, Okla.; the same systems are also used at its 20 other casino hotel properties throughout the state. The property has nearly 1,400 guest rooms, 17 dining options, a 3,500-seat event center and more than 500,000 square feet of gaming space. (www.winstarworldcasino.com, www.agilysys.com)

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  • Wyndham migrating to Sabre’s SynXis CRS

Wyndham Hotel Group is migrating its central reservations systems to Sabre’s SynXis. Beginning in late 2015, the process of migrating more than 7,600 hotel properties will take place over an 18- to 24-month period. (www.wyndhamworldwide.com, www.sabre.com)

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  • Clairvoyix upgrades its Hospitality Solution automated post-stay surveys
  • Flip.to  integrates Advocacy Platform with  Availpro’s Smart Booking Engine
  • Kaptivating enhances Konnector platform
  • Hotel Covell in LA chooses GuestCentric for digital marketing
  • HeBS Digital receives six IAC Awards
  • FCS releases Vega guest-intelligence system
  • TravelClick receives ten Horizon Interactive Awards, two IAC Awards and Webby Awards Official Honoree status
  • FindMyCarrots updates semantic search Website engine

Clairvoyix has upgraded its Hospitality Solution automated post-stay emails to include an optional link to a Web-based survey populated with the guest’s name, address and other information specific to their recent stay. Completed survey information is transferred to the marketing database to allow users to check information such as a guest’s willingness to refer the property to a friend, or how they rated the spa, dining, or golfing experience. The upgrade features responsive design to ensure that the survey is rendered properly on the guest’s mobile device. (www.clairvoyix.com)
Flip.to has integrated its Advocacy Platform with France-based Availpro’s Smart Booking Engine. (site.availpro.com, www.flip.to)
Kaptivating has enhanced its Kaptivating Konnector platform, expanding integration with new channels, adding group travel features and greater social media management functionality. The Konnector platform monitors, analyzes and engages on Twitter and other social media platforms to identify customers who demonstrate an intent to purchase and provide a relevant offer based on their interests. Kaptivating plans to introduce increased social media integration with platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram this June. (www.kaptivating.com)
The five-room Hotel Covell in Los Angeles has chosen GuestCentric for digital marketing strategies, including a website, booking engine, channel management and social marketing tools. (www.hotelcovell.com, www.guestcentric.com)
HeBS Digital has received six Internet Advertising Competition (IAC Awards):
Best of Industry Awards
– Best Hotel & Lodging Application: Triumph Hotels Limited Time Offer Interactive Application
– Best Hotel & Lodging Online Ad: The New York Palace Luxury Online Media Ad
– Best B2B Video: smartCMS
Outstanding Website:
– Red Lion Hotels
– The Colonnade Hotel
– Nickelodeon Suites Resort
FCS Computer Systems has released FCS Vega, a BI/CRM tool that integrates guest-related data from its FCS Rainbow Solution guest service management tool with a hotel’s third party system data to analyze guest behavior in several scenarios, including searching behaviors to their actual stay and feedback afterwards. FCS Vegas divides typical guest-related behavior into five distinct “Spirit” categories (Search, Book, Stay, Spend and Feedback) in three “Pillars” of Marketing, Sales and Operations.  Working with FCS i-Guest, the Marketing pillar analyzes guest search, booking and feedback behaviors to help hoteliers build an effective brand campaign. The Sales pillar works with data from FCS Unicorn and other third party revenue systems to provide analytics on sales performance in several areas, including property-wide amenity sales and convention/event sales. The Operations pillar relies on FCS e-Solution for data on the guests’ experience during their stay.  Available in Standard and Enterprise versions, Vega offers four pre-defined dashboards and the ability to create customized dashboards by dragging and dropping. (www.fcscs.com)
TravelClick has received ten Horizon Interactive Awards for website design, two IAC Awards for online campaigns and recognition by the Webby Awards as an Official Honoree. (www.travelclick.com)
FindMyCarrots (FmC) has updated its semantic search Website engine to focus on Intelligent Search and Machine Learning advancements that can be used by OTAs and Booking Engine providers to engage visitors more intuitively and increase conversion rates. FmC has reviewed close to a million web pages and created a catalog of more than 15,000 places of interest in India and 30,000 in the U.S., including information from blogs, reviews, articles and more. (www.findmycarrots.com)

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  • Sallés Hotels signs with SiteMinder for 8 properties
  • eRevMax integrates with roomlia mobile booking app
  • Elite Hospitality Group picks eRevMax’s LIVE Integrated Management Dashboard for seven properties
  • Accor acquires FASTBOOKING
  • RezNext to distribute custom version of MaximRMS e.FLEX in India, Middle East, North Africa and SE Asia
  • My Place Hotels of America selects Revcaster
  • Duetto integrates with Trust International’s CRS
  • Hotel ICON in Hong Kong implements Duetto
  • IDeaS integrates TravelClick’s Demand360 customers’ subscription data
  • Wyndham to roll out Infor EzLite revenue management to over 4,500 hotels in U.S. and Canada

Sallés Hotels has signed with SiteMinder’s Channel Manager for two-way integration between its Protel property management system and more than 250 distribution channels. Sallés Hotels operates eight properties primarily located along Spain’s Mediterranean border. (www.salleshotels.com, www.siteminder.com)
eRevMax has completed 2-way integration with roomlia, a mobile booking app available on iOS and Android devices that offers two-way connections for instant hotel bookings up to seven days in advance.
Elite Hospitality Group in Bahrain has selected eRevMax’s LIVE Integrated Management Dashboard to centralize online distribution for its seven properties. The LIVE platform incorporates the RateTiger and Connect products, merging Competitor Intelligence & Business Analytics with XML channel connectivity.
(www.roomlia.com, www.erevmax.com)
Accor has acquired France-based FASTBOOKING, which supports nearly 4,000 hotels worldwide with website development, distribution channel management, digital marketing campaigns, revenue management optimization and competitive intelligence, primarily in Europe and Asia. FASTBOOKING will operate independently within Accor.  (www.accor.com, www.fastbooking.com)
Maxim Revenue Management Solutions has partnered with RezNext Global Solutions to distribute a custom-tailored version of the MaximRMS e.FLEX revenue management system in India, Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Named “ReV powered by Maxim”, the system is fully integrated with the full suite of RezNext products. (www.reznext.com, www.maximrms.com)
My Place Hotels of America has selected Revcaster competitive data intelligence for its properties in 7 states. (myplacehotels.com, www.letitrain.com)
Duetto has integrated its revenue strategy software with Trust International’s CRS.
The 262-room Hotel ICON, a teaching and research hotel owned by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has become the first property in Hong Kong to implement Duetto’s revenue strategy software.
(www.Trustinternational.com, www.hotel-icon.com, www.duettoresearch.com)
IDeaS Revenue Solutions is integrating TravelClick’s Demand360 customers’ subscription data into IDeaS’ Revenue Management System (RMS). This will allow IDeaS to enhance its decision support system based on aggregated competitive future pacing data. (www.travelclick.com, www.ideas.com)
Wyndham Hotel Group has announced plans to implement Infor’s EzLITE revenue management system across over 4,500 franchised hotels in the U.S. and Canada using Sabre’s SynXis property management system. Hotels will gain a direct connection to EzLITE, which will automatically analyze each hotel’s booking data on a daily basis, recognizing trends and patterns and providing each property owner with  recommendations on how and when to modify rates to optimize demand. Wyndham will also incorporate real-time competitor pricing data from TravelClick into EzLITE, and will integrate EMV and tokenization into the SynXis property management system for franchisees via Elavon’s Fusebox gateway and Simplify payment security software application. The full roll-out of EzLITE and the SynXis property management system to the 4,500 economy and midscale properties is expected to begin this summer, with a target completion date of late 2016. (www.wyndhamworldwide.com, TravelClick.com, www.infor.com)

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  • Ayres Hotels  rolling out PRM (Pipeline Response Manager) to 22 properties

Ayres Hotels is rolling out Groupize Solutions’ PRM (Pipeline Response Manager) for all 22 properties, in conjunction with the release a new website that replaces its RFP form with Groupize’s GBE (Group Booking Engine). Ayres Hotels operates 22 hotels in Southern California. (www.ayreshotels.com, www.groupizesolutions.com)

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  • Sheraton Commander implements Social Tables
  • Oracle introduces MICROS Workstation 6

The Sheraton Commander in Cambridge, Massachusetts has implemented Social Tables. (www.sheratoncommander.com, www.socialtables.com)
Oracle has introduced its MICROS Workstation 6, targeted at hospitality and select retail venues to work in concert with mobile, cloud and social media. For hospitality businesses, Workstation 6 is positioned as part of an integrated strategy built around content delivery, moving beyond POS transactions to offer guest recommendations, roll out special promotions and personalize the guest experience. The workstation can share digital content from a variety of sources with both staff members and guests, from displaying a training video for a new worker to helping a guest view a spa package or menu special being offered. Workstation 6 operates under Microsoft’s Windows Embedded 8.1 Industry Pro system, uses an Intel Atom processor and includes six USB ports for peripherals such as printers, scanners, and cash drawers. A modular, integrated, three-track magnetic card reader allows for 3DES or AES encryption upon swiping.

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  • Carillon Spa chooses SpaSoft

The Carillon Spa in Miami Beach, Florida has chosen PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SpaSoft . (www.carillonhotel.com, www.partech.com)

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  • INNCOM used by three out of four award-winning designers of guest rooms and public spaces at HI Connect event
  • Radisson Blu rolling out Media Box digital library to Central Europe region
  • Intelity enhancing ICE to send guest request notifications to hotel staff using Apple Watch
  • Hotel WiFi Test launches Hotel WiFi Connect partner certification program
  • Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport North installs FlyteBoard

INNCOM by Honeywell technology was used by three out of four award-winning designers of guest rooms and public spaces at the HI Connect design event. designONE studio, VOA Associates and Chipman Design Architecture all featured INNCOM’s Integrated Room Automation Systems with Evora and Modeva switches for hotel lighting and comfort controls. designONE studio won the People’s Choice award for Most Creative Use of Technology, Chipman Design Architecture won the People’s Choice award for Most Inventive Vignette, and VOA Associates was “Most Likely to Make Guests Want to Move In.” (www.inncom.com)
Radisson Blu is rolling out Media Carrier GmbH’s Media Box, a digital library of newspapers and magazines, to most of its hotels in the Central Europe region this summer. The system was tested in the Radisson Blu Hotels at Hamburg Airport and in Hanover. (www.radissonblu.com, www.media-carrier.de)
Intelity is enhancing its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) guest services software to send notifications about guest activity and requests directly to hotel management and staff using the Apple Watch.  (www.intelitycorp.com)
Hotel WiFi Test has launched Hotel WiFi Connect, a free partner program for hotels and hotel chains to help them back up their claims for good Wi-Fi and so attract more guests. Participation in the program generates many tests that can lead to certification. A 30 day opt-out period gives hotels a chance to evaluate their Wi-Fi quality from guests’ perspectives without exposing their results to the public; hotels can also request a clean start after a major network upgrade. (www.hotelwifitest.com)
Hyatt Place Atlanta Airport North has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard real-time airline hotel flight information display. (atlantaairportnorth.place.hyatt.com, www.flytesystems.com)

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  • Foundation LogicSystems partners with RFID tag vendor HID Global
  • City Hotel in Ljubljana installs InvoTech Systems’ Linen System
  • Cherokee Nation Entertainment installs InvoTech at Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland
  • Magnolia Hotel Group implements Aptech’s Targetvue and Profitvue for 11 hotels
  • HOTELbeat adds multi-language translation module
  • Top Hotel magazine gives ABreez by Mobile Simple a Silver Top Hotel Star Award 2015

Foundation LogicSystems has signed a partnership contract with RFID tag vendor HID Global to offer comprehensive RFID applications to the hospitality industry and other garment and linen-driven businesses. (www.hidglobal.com, www.foundlogic.com)
The City Hotel in Ljubljana, Slovenia has installed InvoTech Systems’ Linen System.
Cherokee Nation Entertainment has installed InvoTech’s Multi-Property Uniform Management System at Cherokee Casino & Hotel Roland. This is the third Cherokee Nation gaming property and the 48th Indian gaming property to utilize the system.
(www.cityhotel.si, www.cherokeenationbusinesses.com, www.infotech.com)
Magnolia Hotel Group has implemented Aptech Computer Systems’ Targetvue Budget and Planning and Profitvue Enterprise Accounting systems for a portfolio of 11 hotels it recently took over. (www.magnoliahotels.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
HOTELbeat has added a translation module which allows hotel employees to instantly change the language being displayed, allowing hotel staff to communicate better. More than just text conversion, HOTELbeat includes customization for key hospitality-centric phrases and terminology. HOTELbeat’s core functional areas, such as Clean, Repair and Lost & Found, will remain consistent regardless of the user language selected. (www.hotelbeat.com)
Germany’s Top Hotel magazine has awarded ABreez by Mobile Simple a Silver Top Hotel Star Award 2015 in the IT category. (www.mobile-simple.com)

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  • HoistLocatel acquiring Swisscom Hospitality Services

Sweden-based HoistLocatel is acquiring Swisscom Hospitality Services. The resulting company, Hoist Group, will be headquartered in Stockholm and Paris, and aims to become the European leader for convergent IP solutions in these sectors with a strong North American presence. HoistLocatel provides software, hardware and leasing solutions to EMEA’s hospitality industry. Swisscom Hospitality Service currently serves over 2,000 sites and 260,000 guest rooms in the EMEA region and in North America. (www.swisscom.ch/en/business/hospitality.html, www.hoistgroup.com)

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