April 9, 2013

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

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

MARCH 27 – APRIL 9, 2013

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Can we simplify hotel systems’ interface pricing?

Of all the complexities of hotel system pricing, interfaces have always caused the most head-scratching. Why is this? As long as I’ve been in this industry (and trust me, that’s a l-o-n-g time) I’ve had to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining to hotel owners why it is that the cost of the interfaces often exceeds the cost of the base software, or why a simple one-way charge-posting interface that’s been installed in thousands of properties and hasn’t changed in twenty years still commands a $2,500 list price.
There’s a lot of rationale to dividing interfaces into two groups, the simple one-way charge-posting links and the much more complex interfaces such as central reservations connections. The latter continue to expand in functionality, from initially just sending room/rate availability and receiving bookings back to handling length-of-stay restrictions, receiving activity reservations as well as room bookings, and handling multiple channels. Credit card interfaces and connections to revenue management systems or complex sales & catering systems are also non-trivial pieces of software. In addition, Web services interfaces have proven far more useful and flexible than the old RS232 serial cable connections, and are certainly worth more than a call-accounting interface.
But vendor policies on pricing are all over the map. Many charge a flat fee, often in a two-tier structure that differentiates between the above two categories, though the levels of pricing vary considerably and often seem to have no relation to the actual value of the software. When AremisSoft came into the US market many years ago it proclaimed its intent to change the paradigm by charging for each interface according to the amount of revenue that flowed over it. There may be some theoretical justification for that but it’s hard to explain to a skeptical buyer and almost impossible to administer, and the concept died a deservedly early death.
Now the general idea is being revived by vendors that propose to charge for interfaces according to the size of the hotel, presumably on the basis that the bigger the hotel the more traffic flows over the interface and so the more valuable that link is to the property. What’s next, paying more for Internet service on the days we pay our bills on-line?
Fortunately some enlightened vendors offer their system on a more inclusive basis, e.g. bundling the buyer’s choice of five basic interfaces from the vendor’s library into the base price. And if the hotel replaces one call-accounting system with another, the vendor just swaps out the interface at no extra charge instead of imposing a new license fee on the grounds that it’s a different piece of software. It may well be, but it’s probably been amortized over a few hundred installations already. Further, given that the license only provides rights to use the software, not own it, the concept of charging a repeat “sales” price for the hotel to use a different piece of software with the same functionality seems a little hard to justify.
I realize that vendors need to generate a sufficient revenue stream one way or another to stay in business, develop and support their products, but does it need to seem so arbitrary? I guess I shouldn’t complain. If nothing else, it contributes to my job security as a consultant.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Philip Wolf joins board at TrustYou
  • Thomas Storey hired by LodgeNet as President of Hospitality
  • Ric Leutwyler joins Choice Hotels as President of SkyTouch systems division

Philip Wolf has joined the board at TrustYou. Mr. Wolf is the founder of PhoCusWright.
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Thomas Storey has been hired by LodgeNet Interactive Corp as President of Hospitality.  Mr. Storey was most recently Executive Vice President Business Strategy for Fairmont Raffles Hotels International and President of Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.  Mr. Storey has also served in senior management roles with Marriott, Carlson, Promus and Doubletree, among others.
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Ric Leutwyler has joined Choice Hotels as President of its newly-formed SkyTouch systems division. Mr. Leutwyler brings thirty years of hospitality experience to this new role, gained in roles that include COO of Pegasus Solutions and President of Utell, SVP at Best Western International, EVP and General Manager at Cendant and National Accounts Director at AT&T.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Choice launches SkyTouch Technology division to sell its cloud systems on the general hotel market
  • Radisson launches pilot program to evaluate digital check-ins
  • Prologic First announces several new customers for WISH suite
  • B4Checkin web booking engine gets certified two-way interface with Infor’s Medallion and Epitome

Choice Hotels International has launched SkyTouch Technology, a new division to develop and market its cloud-based systems. The initial product is SkyTouch Hotel OS, a property and rate management system based on Choice’s choiceADVANTAGE guest management system for reservations, guest stays and rate management. choiceADVANTAGE has become one of the most widely-used cloud-based property management systems in the world, with over 5,500 installations in Choice-branded properties worldwide. SkyTouch Hotel OS offers many of the same functions, as well as the ability to interface with other systems used by chain and independent hotels. SkyTouch will continue to develop and support choiceADVANTAGE for Choice franchisees, including its integration with ChoiceHotels.com, Choice central reservation systems, the Choice Privileges loyalty program and other Choice systems. (www.skytouchtechnology.com)
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Radisson has launched a national pilot program to improve the guest experience through technology. Initially implemented at four U.S. properties (La Crosse, Wis., Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle), the program is evaluating digital check-in processes, allowing guests to bypass the front desk, obtain their keys from a kiosk in the lobby and access their rooms quickly and conveniently. Guests can enter their credit card information online and check-in 24 hours in advance of their stay; they will then receive a confirmation email containing a bar code unique to their reservation. The program includes Check-In Choice Kiosks (designed by NCR and IJWS) to issue room keys, an iConcierge mobile app (designed by Runtriz) to help guests create itineraries, check flight information, create customer service requests, access local information and more, and free Internet access in hotel lobbies. Radisson already provides free service for its ClubCarlson reward program members. (www.radisson.com)
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Prologic First has announced several new customers for its WISH suite, including:
– The Metropolitan YMCA Singapore replaced its PMS with the WISH suite for its New Service Apartments.
– The Siloso Beach Resort Hotel, Singapore switched to WISH.NET and implemented QikPad for mobile check-ins.
– The Raintree Group in Philippines ordered WISH.NET for its new 5-star resort.
– Sonotel Hotel & Resorts, Dhanbad, ordered the WISH Standard PMS for its front desk and F&B operations.
– Sun Leisure Goa has implemented the WISH suite.
– The YWCA Delhi recently implemented the WISH suite at its Blue Triangle Family Hostel.
– The new Hotel Sasthapuri in Calicut has installed the WISH suite with Epabx interface and Accounts.
– Kids Park Abu Dhabi has upgraded from WISH to the WISH Suite.
– the Al Diar Oryx Hotel, Abu Dhabi replaced its PMS with WISH.NET and Touché. The complete Al Diar Group is now on the Prologic First hospitality software platform.
– the Tulip Inn Royal Suits Ajman replaced its PMS with WISH, the third property in the Royal Group to do so.
– the Al Hokair Group Saudi is upgrading all 10 hotels from the WISH standard suite to WISH.NET.
(www.prologicfirst.com)
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B4Checkin has announced that its web booking engine now has a certified two-way interface with Infor’s Medallion and Epitome guest management systems. The interface enables hotels to manage rates, inventory and availability directly from the PMS and receive guest bookings directly into the B4Checkin central reservations system, and accounts for specific options and preferences to be transferred automatically to the PMS. (www.b4checkin.com, www.infor.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • HRS to list 250,000 properties with GetThere
  • NCED Conference Center and Hotel implements OpenView booking engine
  • International Hotel Development of Amman, Jordan working to increase Pegasus’ presence in Middle East
  • FastBooking upgrades smartphone apps for Hotels-Paris.fr, Facebook.com
  • IHG adding 4,600-property portfolio to Ctrip.com via interface from DerbySoft

HRS has agreed to list its 250,000 properties with Sabre’s GetThere’s global corporate customers. (www.hrs.com, www.getthere.com)
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The 964-room NCED Conference Center and Hotel, Norman, OK has implemented Pegasus Solutions’ OpenView booking engine for online and mobile guest room sales. NCED, the National Center for Employee Development, is federally-owned, it has been available for non-government bookings for the last three years.
International Hotel Development (IHD) of Amman, Jordan has partnered with Pegasus Solutions to increase Pegasus’ market presence in the Middle East, and has already begun to sign up new hotel clients for it. IHD specializes in online booking services, hotel franchising and management, and hotel tourism and management.
(cc.nced.com, www.ihdworld.com, www.pegs.com)
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FastBooking has announced new smartphone applications for Hotels-Paris.fr, its booking portal focused on the French capital, as well as updated iPhone and Android apps for its Fastbooking.com site. These apps are enabled for Apple’s Passbook function, which stores all a traveler’s hotel booking details, boarding passes, event tickets, coupons, etc. The new Hotels-Paris.fr app is available in five languages and provides multi-criteria, real-time search of availability, multi-rate display, guest reviews and social network links. The new Fastbooking.com app features the same enhancements, plus the ability to save reservation details in the iPhone calendar and to manage bookings made through the app. (www.fastbooking.com)
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InterContinental Hotels Group is adding its 4,600 property portfolio to Ctrip.com, China’s largest online travel retailer, through an interface from DerbySoft.  This is DerbySoft’s first such distribution channel connection to Ctrip. (www.ihg.com, www.derbysoft.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • SALA Hospitality Group deploys ZDirect’s ZMail at two hotels in Thailand
  • Noble House Hotels & Resorts selects Aptech Profitvue, Execuvue and Targetvue for 17 properties
  • Flip.to wins “Best Entertainment Interactive Application” in WMA’s Internet Advertising Competition
  • TrustYou launches The Reputation Machine
  • Great Wolf Resorts picks Infor’s Epiphany Marketing

SALA Hospitality Group has deployed ZDirect’s ZMail electronic communication platform at the SALA Samui Resort and Spa and the SALA Phuket Resort and Spa. SALA Hospitality owns and operates seven luxury properties in Thailand under the SALA Resorts & Spas and SALA boutique brands. (www.salaresorts.com, www.zdirect.com)
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Noble House Hotels & Resorts has selected Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue Enterprise Back Office accounting, Execuvue Business Intelligence and Targetvue Planning / Forecasting systems for its 17 properties. Profitvue was deployed in 1Q ’13; Execuvue and Targetvue will be installed in 2Q. (www.NobleHouseHotels.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Flip.to has won an award for “Best Entertainment Interactive Application” in the Web Marketing Association’s 11th annual Internet Advertising Competition (IAC). (www.flip.to)
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TrustYou has launched The Reputation Machine, a combination of on-line review monitoring, surveys, content distribution and marketing that includes a hotel’s TrustScore, an independent ranking that is a compilation of all online comments and reviews. (www.trustyou.com)
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Great Wolf Resorts has selected Infor’s Epiphany Marketing for customer database analysis and improved targeted marketing, integrated to a third-party ESP and Great Wolf’s existing ERP system. (www.greatwolf.com, www.infor.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Malmaison, Hotel du Vin pick SiteMinder for 26 properties
  • eRevMax certifies two-way XML RateTiger interface with Hotwire.com

Malmaison and Hotel du Vin have selected SiteMinder for channel management services for their combined 26 properties in the UK, linked to their Micros Opera Central Reservation System and IDeaS Revenue Management System. (www.malmaison.com, www.hotelduvin.com, www.siteminder.com)
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eRevMax has added Hotwire.com to its Channel Eco-System following certification of a two-way XML interface with RateTiger and eRevMax Connect.  The link will let hotels process rate and inventory updates through RateTiger’s XML interface and receive reservations from Hotwire bookings. (www.hotwire.com, www.erevmax.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Hyatt Regency Baltimore installs five iMacs from Eleven Wireless
  • Passkey and Nor1 extend integration of GroupMAX and eStandby Upgrade

The Hyatt Regency Baltimore has installed five iMacs from Eleven Wireless, equipped with ElevenBC software. Four are located in the hotel’s suites, each with a printer; the fifth is in the Regency Club for free boarding pass printing. (baltimore.hyatt.com, www.elevenwireless.com)
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Passkey and Nor1 have extended the three-year-old integration of their GroupMAX and eStandby Upgrade products, now allowing hotels not only to use GroupMAX’s web booking engine to send offers to guests, but also to use its embedded email marketing suite to promote upsell offers to group guests. (www.nor1.com, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • China Panda implements Prologic First’s Touché POS across 21 outlets
  • Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne Hotel implement Clear Sky’s beverage control system
  • MICROS releases MICROS inMotion mobile business intelligence tool for restaurants
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The China Panda chain of restaurants has implemented Prologic First’s Touché POS with dual screen functionality across its 21 outlets. (www.prologicfirst.com)
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The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge, Charlotte, part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, has implemented Clear Sky Software’s food & beverage inventory control system, KIOSK for tracking F&B product movements, Micros POS system interface and interfaces to FreshPoint, Sysco and US Foods.
The Aloft Charlotte Ballantyne Hotel has also installed Clear Sky Software’s beverage inventory control system and Micros POS interface.
(www.theballantynehotel.com, www.aloftcharlotteballantyne.com, www.clearskysoftware.com)
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MICROS Systems has released its MICROS inMotion mobile business intelligence tool for restaurants, available through iTunes as a mobile companion to mymicros.net. MICROS inMotion provides mymicros.net customers with real-time, mobile access to performance statistics, labor details and customer service tools, supported by a graphical user design and key operations’ alerting mechanism. (www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Nine Zero Hotel, Boston installs 50+ iPads with Intelity ICE Touch in guest rooms, suites
  • M.C. Hotels Group offers Cardola VirtualHotel mobile concierge software to USA market
  • Sceptre unveils Roku-Ready 47-inch LED TV with MHL technology
  • Chargerback announces web-based hotel lost and found application
  • citizenM London Bankside add free Miniclip online games to guest room tablets

Kimpton’s 190-room Nine Zero Hotel in Boston has installed over 50 iPads into its Skyline View guest rooms and four specialty suites, loaded with a custom version of Intelity’s ICE software. The customized version allows guests to see an electronic compendium, read articles from international newspapers, order from room service menus, access information about spa services and view local shopping and attractions. Guests can also play various music channels, read hotel employees’ perspective on local neighborhoods and purchase retail items. The ICE Touch software is integrated with the hotel’s Infor Epitome guest management system. (www.ninezero.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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M.C. Hotels Group is now offering its VirtualHotel mobile concierge software to the USA market under the company name Cardola Ltd. VirtualHotel was developed for M.C. Hotels’ own properties and is already in use in Europe, Asia and Africa. Typical services include in-room dining, in-room movies, a map of conference facilities and booking spa services, tours or golf tee times. Cardola can build a customized mobile app for a brand or individual apps for each property, for both Apple and Android devices. (www.cardola.com)
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TV manufacturer Sceptre as unveiled its Roku Ready 47-inch LED with MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) technology, which allows users to browse streaming entertainment by plugging the Roku Streaming Stick into the TV’s HDMI port. MHL technology allows mobile devices to connect to the HDTV with a single cable, transmitting 1080P high-definition video and surround sound audio while simultaneously charging the connected mobile device.  (www.sceptre.com )
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Chargerback has announced its web-based hotel lost and found application, which is already in use at Treasure Island, New York-New York and The Riviera, all in Las Vegas. Guests log their lost item into the system, which tries to match it by date found, room number or area, and description. Customers are notified via email as soon as their item has been found, and are charged for the shipping and handling fees. (www.chargerback.com)
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citizenM London Bankside has added online games to the free services offered to its guests, making two Miniclip games (IStunt 2 and Fragger) available on its guest room tablets. The citizenM room tablet was custom-designed by Swisscom Hospitality to increase guest engagement and interactivity. (www.citizenm.com, www.miniclip.com, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Noble House Hotels & Resorts selects Aptech’s Profitvue, Execuvue and Targetvue for 17 properties
  • Blake Hotel, Charlotte deploys Linen Technology Tracking’s RFID linentracker system

Noble House Hotels & Resorts has selected Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue Enterprise Back Office accounting, Execuvue Business Intelligence and Targetvue Planning / Forecasting systems for its 17 properties. Profitvue was deployed in 1Q ’13; Execuvue and Targetvue will be installed in 2Q. (www.NobleHouseHotels.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Amsterdam Hospitality’s Blake Hotel, Charlotte, NC has deployed Linen Technology Tracking’s linentracker turnkey system to track over 52,000 linen assets (sheets, towels and bathrobes) embedded with linentracker’s proprietary UHF RFID SMARTtags. (www.blakehotelnc.com, www.linentracker.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Yellow Dog Software announces several new clients

Yellow Dog Software has announced several new clients for its back office inventory solution for retail and/or food & beverage inventory management.   These include:
Resorts
– Atlantis, Bahamas
– Island Resort and Casino,- Michigan
– Houstonian, Texas
– Springmaid Beach Resort, South Carolina
– Pronghorn Resort, Oregon
– Charleston Harbor Resort, South Carolina
– Sonesta Hilton Head, South Carolina
– Biggest Loser Resort, Chicago
– Whiteface Lodge Resort, New York
– Crystal Springs Resort, New Jersey
Amusement Parks
– Knoebels, Pennsylvania
Casinos
– Borgata, New Jersey
– Wildhorse Resort and Casino, Oregon
(www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Oasis Inn, Kissimmee, FL installing wireless environment for ZENO Controls system

The Oasis Inn, Kissimmee, FL is installing a point-to-point, wireless environment that will be upgradeable to ZENO Controls’ mesh network, complete with Verve Living systems’ guestroom switches, sensors and thermostats as well as HVAC, lighting and load controls. (www.zenocontrols.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • DOCOMO interTouch receives Marriott’s 2013 GPNS certification for FREEDOM Internet  service

DOCOMO interTouch has received Marriott International’s 2013 Global Property Network Standard (GPNS) certification for its FREEDOM Internet high-speed wired and wireless Internet service. DCMI’s network was already in compliance with 2011 standards, and this recertification now brings DCMI current with Marriott’s 2013 standards. Currently 70 percent of Marriott properties in the Asia Pacific and MEA regions use DCMI’s FREEDOM Internet. (www.docomointertouch.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
    9301 236th Street SW
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