August 1, 2006

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • What’s in YOUR vacation bag?

For some people, getting away from it all on vacation means a complete rest from technology, but they’re in declining numbers. Most vacationers take more and more technology with them, either to enhance their experience or to maintain some communications links with friends, family – or the office. A recent Voice of the Traveler survey by the Travel Industry Association and Synovate asked 1,500 U.S. adults what they take and why.
Not surprisingly, cell phones (86%) and digital cameras (67%) topped the list, but fully one-quarter (24%) also take their laptops. It’s not just so they can continue working; 18% use the Internet to stay connected with family and friends while traveling, and 16% use it to find places to visit or things to do. Consequently, 15% choose accommodations based on availability of a high-speed Internet connection or Wi-Fi access.
Of course, some travelers do like to stay in touch with the office while they’re away; 10% owned up to that, if only to make sure there are no crises brewing. Sadly, another 9% felt they have no choice but to stay connected, and a scary 6% said they actually like to work at their job while on vacation.
Interestingly, CD players outnumbered iPods or MP3 players, 21% to 11%; it would be interesting to know the age range of the survey respondents to see who’s carrying which. The report suggests that these percentages are likely to reverse themselves as travel-related/ destination-specific podcasts and downloadable music and video become more popular.
One thing’s for sure; vacation properties need to provide plenty of power outlets.
More information at www.tia.org
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • James E. Jones joins iBAHN as VP of Client Services for North American hotels group

James E. Jones has joined iBAHN as Vice President of Client Services for its North American hotels group. Mr. Jones has more than 20 years of experience in hospitality; he is co-founder of Global Destination Services, and was earlier President for the Americas Division of Seatem Group, a travel/ ticketing company. He also served with Marriott International as Vice President and General Manager for Marquis Events International, its special event management and marketing division, and as Vice President Sales & Marketing for Hyatt’s Regency Productions special event management group.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • SoftBrands buys HIS
  • Langdale Hotel, Country Club and Timeshare Resort orders Visual One’s Front Office suite

SoftBrands has acquired HIS, in a major demonstration of how seriously it intends to re-establish itself in the US hospitality technology market and strengthen it’s international presence. Details were few at press time, but it is understood that HIS operations will continue to be based in Lake Forest, CA, headed by Steve Van Tassel, SoftBrand’s Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hospitality. Brian Kretzmer, HIS’ current CEO/President, and James Dolan, CFO/COO, are expected to leave the company.
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The Langdale Hotel and Country Club and Timeshare Resort, in Englands Lake District, has ordered Visual One’s Front Office suite. Modules to be installed include PMS, Sales & Catering, Spa Management, Activity Scheduler, Point of Sale and Web Booking systems. The 35-acre estate includes a hotel, lodge, apartments, two restaurants, a pub and leisure facilities. (www.langdale.co.uk, www.v1s.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Group Travel Planet joins HBSI Demand Partner Network to access Harrah’s inventory
  • Sage Hospitality Resources adds remaining independent properties to SynXis
  • Lodging Interactive introduces Internet Booking Engine for a fixed monthly fee
  • Only 10% of travel searches result in immediate booking
  • Aqua Hotels and Resorts picks iHotelier CRS for six of its eight condotel properties in Hawaii

Group Travel Planet has joined Hotel Booking Solution Incorporated’s (HBSI) Demand Partner Network to access real-time group rates and room inventory from Harrah’s Entertainment and its 34 domestic casino resorts. (www.grouptravelplanet.com, www.harrahs.com, www.hotelbookingsolutions.com)
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Sage Hospitality Resources has added its remaining independent properties to SynXis. Sage, an existing SynXis customer, operates a mixture of 39 branded and independent properties across the USA. (www.sagehospitality.com, www.synxis.com)
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Lodging Interactive has introduced a new Internet Booking Engine for hotels and resorts, offered at a fixed monthly fee without commission or transaction fees. (www.lodginginteractive.com)
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Far more looking than booking going on: a survey by comScore Media Metrix, Yahoo! Search Marketing and Media Contacts revealed that 7.5m UK consumers used web searches to help plan trips between December 2005 to February 2006, yet only 10% of the searches ended in an immediate booking. However, 85% said that they completed a travel purchase either online or offline within 90 days of their initial search.
Emphasizing the importance of visibility on search sites, 80% of consumers considered search more valuable for travel research than traditional offline resources, 39% visited a travel-related site they had not planned to visit, and 25% considered a new brand because of its placement at the top of search results.
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Aqua Hotels and Resorts has selected TravelCLICK’s iHotelier CRS for six of its eight condotel properties in Waikiki, Hawaii. (www.aquaresorts.com, www.travelclick.net)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Last-minute travelers forming significant part of the market
  • Merritt Hospitality installs Aptech’s Execuvue and Targetvue
  • West Paces Hotel Group picks TIG Global for Internet marketing
  • Lanyon to implement multilingual capabilities for PropertyVault RFP and content database

Making it harder to predict traffic but offering opportunities for revenue managers, last-minute travelers are a significant part of the market, according to a new travel study from Compete Inc. The study of over two million consumers found that although one third of internet travel researchers plan more travel this summer, they have not yet made their specific plans. Key findings included:
– Two thirds of consumers prefer researching travel options online, surpassing the importance of recommendations from friends and family.
– Among consumers with summer travel planning still to be purchased, nearly 75% said they will reserve most or all of their travel online.
– More than two thirds of bookings are coming from “procrastinating and undecided travelers”, who wait to book largely because of indecisions about where and when to travel.
A Travel Industry Association study also reported that 26% of leisure travelers plan all their vacations at the last minute. Emphasizing the importance of rapid post-stay follow-up, however, it found that 74% plan at least one more vacation within two weeks of taking the trip.
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HEI Hospitality’s Merritt Hospitality subsidiary has installed Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence and Targetvue Internet-based enterprise planning applications. Merritt has expanded from 18 to 31 properties in the last 24 months and plans significant growth. (www.merritthospitality.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Horst Schulze’s West Paces Hotel Group has selected TIG Global for Internet marketing of its Solís brand and its independently managed hotels. TIG Global will provide web presence management and marketing services that include website design, search engine optimization, pay-per-click marketing, strategic linking and online advertising, email marketing, revenue tracking and reporting, and client support. (www.westpaceshotels.com)
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Lanyon announced plans to implement multiple language capabilities for its PropertyVault RFP and hotel information content database, covering 35,000 properties. Hotels will be able to manage and publish their content in Spanish, German, French, Chinese and Italian. (www.lanyon.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Certain Software announces significant milestones for the first half of 2006
  • Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau signs with Passkey

Meeting management software vendor Certain Software announced significant milestones for the first half of 2006, including:
– its Register123 system ha snow processed over three million registrations
– revenues have doubled year-to-year
– new executive team members have been added, including Kimberly Enright as Marketing Director and Diane Stoner as Director of Government Services
– new customers were signed in five market segments: Corporate, Independent Meeting Planners, Event Producers, Associations/Non-Profits/Universities and Government.
(www.certain.com)
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The Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau has contracted with Passkey for online group reservations. (www.anaheimoc.org, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Nuvo Technologies releases RFID-based BarVision free-pour liquor management system

Nuvo Technologies has released its RFID-based BarVision 1.0 for Palm OSR software, a wireless, free-pour liquor management system. Using patent-pending RFID pour spouts, BarVision automatically records the brand, portion size, time, cost, price category and location of every pour. A Palm PDA can be located in each bar area to provide immediate feedback to both bartenders and managers about each drink pour, helping bartenders learn and maintain pouring accuracy and a proper pouring style. A management PDA provides real-time reports to identify and resolve problems immediately, including a graphic that shows the current liquor level of any bottle. (www.barvision.com)
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SECURITY

  • InterContinental names Safemark Systems as preferred supplier of guest room safes
  • Kimpton Hotels standardizes on Hospitality Safe Corp’s Challenger safes

InterContinental Hotels Group has named Safemark Systems its preferred supplier of guest room safes. (www.safemark.com)
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Kimpton Hotels has standardized on Hospitality Safe Corp’s Challenger safes for guestroom use in its 46 hotels. (www.kimptonhotels.com, www.hospitalitysafe.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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