August 11, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move

Hospitality Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications


JULY 28 – August 11, 2010

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Business travel stages a comeback, though not in all regions
  • Emphasizes continued need to focus on efficiency, revenue management and, for companies, expense tracking

Call it good timing, but as the travel industry focused on the annual National Business Travel Association conference it received encouraging news from American Express’ North America Business Travel Monitor, which reported a significant return for business travel in the first half of the year.
Good news for the airlines (if not for travelers): international and domestic airfare rates are at their highest since pre-recession levels. Despite that, international business class ticket purchases in particular are up substantially compared to the same period last year, and international trip volumes have seen double digit spikes. Overall airfares have increased substantially versus the first half of 2009, climbing steadily towards pre-recession levels as of June 2010.
Hotel rates, however, decreased slightly overall compared to the first half of 2009, although individual rate changes varied dramatically from region to region. Gradual upticks over the first half of the year with further increases in demand indicate that hotel price declines will likely cease and even begin to rise in the 2011 negotiating season.
As ever, this points out once again that the hotels best placed to take advantages of the demand patterns specific to their location will be those that make the best, most informed use of revenue management systems to guide their rate and availability decisions. Equally, those companies that have a good handle on their travel expenses will be best positioned to send their key people to the right places to close new business.
As evidence of this demand a veritable stream of travel expense-tracking announcements came out of the conference (see below), but just as meaningful as their quantity is the common thread they share: integrating data from multiple sources to present a consolidated picture of overall costs. As always, the key to successful decision-making is complete, accurate and timely data collection, coupled with intelligent analysis; it’s good to see real progress in the technology that permits and supports that.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Nancy Carle hired by TTI Technologies as Regional Sales Manager
  • Darrin Deck joins Amadeus as Vice President, Sales and Account Management, North America

Nancy Carle has been hired by TTI Technologies as Regional Sales Manager. With over 19 years of sales and management experience, Ms. Carle was most recently a Partner with Apical Resource Group; she had earlier held senior level sales management positions with SoftBrands and MICROS Systems.
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Darrin Deck has joined Amadeus as Vice President, Sales and Account Management, for its North America operations. Mr. Deck brings more than 25 years of travel and technology experience, including eight years with TRX where he served in several positions culminating in Vice President of Product Operations.
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas picks Agilysys’ Visual One, DataMagine
  • Mexico Grand Hotels selects PAR Springer-Miller for two properties in Cabo San Lucas
  • PAR Springer-Miller completes two-way interface between SMS|Host and EZYield.com
  • NORTHWIND qualifies as a Certified Partner in the Microsoft Partner Network
  • Callista integrates hospitality management system with SiteMinder distribution engine
  • Micasa Aparthotel implements InnQuest’s roomMaster 2000 via NFS Hospitality

Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas has selected Agilysys’ Visual One hospitality management system and DataMagine document management application. The 183-room resort includes a spa, golf course, marina, five restaurants and several land and water sports facilities. (www.sandals.com, www.agilysys.com)
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Mexico Grand Hotels has selected PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host Hospitality Management System for its two properties, Hacienda Encantada and Marina Fiesta in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The two properties include 305 rooms; Hacienda Encantada overlooks the Sea of Cortez and offers a full resort experience, while Marina Fiesta, on the waterfront in Cabo, offers access to shopping, dining and other activities adjacent to the property. The two resorts will use SMS|Host to integrate their resort operations, using the core HMS as well as modules for Spa/Resort Scheduling, Activities and Retail POS; Multi-Property Management enables booking across both resorts as well as cross-property charging, marketing and single database management, and the Owner Fulfillment module will manage the monthly Owners billing statement process.
PAR Springer-Miller Systems has completed a two-way interface between its SMS|Host product suite and EZYield.com’s RezDelivery technology, helping the distribution of rates and room availability to multiple channels and automating the transfer of reservations booked via online travel agents directly to the SMS|Host system.
(www.mexicograndhotels.com, www.ezyield.com,www.springermiller.com)
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NORTHWIND has qualified as a Certified Partner in the Microsoft Partner Network, a status which gives it access to exclusive resources and technical assistance from Microsoft. (www.maestropms.com)
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New Zealand-based Callista has integrated its hospitality management system with SiteMinder distribution engine to help its hotel clients place their room availability and pricing automatically to multiple online booking sites such as Expedia, Wotif, Booking.com and Agoda. Reservations from the booking sites are automatically captured by SiteMinder and passed directly into the hotels’ Callista PMS. (www.callista.co.nz, www.siteminder.com.au)
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Micasa Aparthotel in Aberdeen, Scotland has implemented InnQuest Software’s roomMaster 2000 HMS, through InnQuest’s UK distributor NFS Hospitality. Formerly a department store, the building was completely refurbished to form 34 apartments. (www.micasaaparthotel.co.uk, www.nfs-hospitality.com, www.innquest.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • TripIt offers automatic pick-up of travel-itinerary confirmations from users’ e-mail accounts
  • Carlson Wagonlit to resell Rearden Commerce Platform travel management service
  • Rearden integrating booked transaction data from Commerce Platform with IBM’s Global Expense Reporting
  • Trust releases channel management interface between yourVoyager and GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager
  • Genares links its CRS with REVPAR GURU’s in-hotel revenue management
  • TRAVELCLICK’s StayHIP voted a Top Travel App for 2010 by Travel + Leisure

TripIt has released a beta version of its opt-in integration with individual users’ Gmail and Google Apps e-mail accounts to authorize the automatic import of their travel-itinerary confirmations into TripIt instead of having to email them manually to TripIt. Users can choose to have their confirmations automatically flow into their TripIt itineraries or aggregate them into an Unfiled Items folder in their TripIt account for later sorting. TripIt plans to introduce similar auto-import features for other email services in the near future. (www.tripit.com)
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Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has signed a reseller agreement with Rearden Commerce, incorporating the platform into its CWT Traveler Assistant booking and travel management service. CWT Traveler Assistant incorporates personal and company preferences, is completely integrated with users’ calendar, Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes accounts and can be integrated with a proprietary CWT products such as portal sites, profile management systems, messaging tools and unused ticket tracking for travelers, and reporting capabilities for travel buyers. The combination also enables the booking of previously unmanaged travel categories such as airport parking, dining and entertainment.
Rearden Commerce has announced an alliance with IBM’s Managed Business Process division to integrate booked transaction data from Rearden’s Commerce Platform with actual business expense data from IBM’s Global Expense Reporting System. The combination allows administrators to manage policies, spend and preferred providers, and to gain insight into employee business expenses and spending patterns.
(www.carlsonwagonlit.com, www.reardencommerce.com)
**
Trust International has released a channel management interface between GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager and Trust’s yourVoyager white-labeled centralized reservation system. The Web services-based interface was developed for Trust’s and GestioneAlbergo’s joint client HotelREZ, and sends rate and room availability into yourVoyager on behalf of HotelREZ’s 1,000+ independent hotels and small hotel groups. (www.hotelrez.net, www.gestionealbergo.it, www.trustinternational.com)
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Genares Worldwide Reservations has released a direct link between its CRS and REVPAR GURU’s in-hotel revenue management system. In addition to the integration benefits both REVPAR GURU and Genares are extending preferred pricing to one another and their respective clients. (www.revparguru.com, www.genares.com)
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TRAVELCLICK’s StayHIP has been voted a Top Travel App for 2010 by Travel + Leisure (T+L), only three months after its launch. StayHIP’s smart-phone application allows travelers to research and book boutique properties in over 205 cities in 49 countries from Apple and Android-powered devices. Guests can search by city name, price or keyword, or for hotels near to their current GPS location; confirmations are e-mailed, and can be shared with friends on Facebook and Twitter. (www.travelclick.net)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TRX TRAVELTRAX reporting application now includes ancillary fees
  • Concur’s Travel & Expense clients able to import folio data automatically from Marriott hotels
  • Concur integrates services from Amtrak, FlightTrack by Mobiata, GateGuru, MetrO by Kinevia, OAG, Open Table and Taxi Magic
  • Ariett Xpense for iPhone lets users enter expenses and attach snapshots of receipts
  • DATABASICS integrates Expense Reporting with Cornerstone’s iBank data management
  • ExpenseWatch.com helps companies integrate online travel bookings and expense management
  • ExpenseWatch.com releases collection of template reports and dashboards for Custom Reporting module
  • ExpenseWatch.com to integrate with TripIt
  • CyberShift offers Outsourced Services for expense management
  • Google to allow owners’ responses to reviews left on Google Places
  • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces deploys Enterprise Edition of TRAVELCLICK’s Hotelligence360
  • Libra OnDemand to use Informatica Cloud Services for hospitality-specific data integration
  • Knotice enhances Concentri direct digital marketing platform
  • Sol Meliá contracts with VFM Leonardo

TRX, Inc. announced that its TRAVELTRAX reporting application now includes ancillary fees for airline, hotel and car rental services incurred post booking, along with dashboard reporting capabilities. (www.trx.com)
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Concur reported that its Travel & Expense clients can now receive detailed folio data from participating Marriott hotels, downloaded directly into the customer’s expense report. Participating brands include Marriott Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Courtyard, Residence Inn, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn and Suites, TownePlace Suites and Marriott Vacation Club International; the service is available throughout the U.S. and Canada, and from select properties in the Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America.
Concur also announced that its mobile platform now integrates with services from Amtrak, FlightTrack by Mobiata, GateGuru, MetrO by Kinevia, OAG, Open Table and Taxi Magic through its partner program, Concur Connect, and later this year will be able to incorporate a Twitter feed and share travel plans on social networking sites, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Concur’s mobile apps are available on the iPhone, Blackberry and Android platforms.
(www.marriott.com, www.concur.com)
**
Ariett Business Solutions unveiled Ariett Xpense for the iPhone, an extension of its Ariett XpenseNet application that helps users enter miscellaneous out-of-pocket expenses through their iPhone or iPad and attach snapshots of receipts. Ariett Xpense is available in both stand-alone and fully integrated versions, the latter for corporate users of XpenseNet who can submit expenses seamlessly for approval routing and financial processing. Ariett Xpense also offers real-time integration to Microsoft Dynamics ERP for posting and employee reimbursement. (www.ariett.com)
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DATABASICS has integrated its Expense Reporting with Cornerstone Information Systems’ iBank data management platform, allowing customers with multiple travel providers to capture booked data from multiple sources in their expense reporting system. Upon the customer’s direction and schedule, Cornerstone will transfer booked travel data via iBank directly to DATABASICS through a secure XML transfer; DATABASICS will then match the iBank data with expense report data for an analysis of the customer’s travel spend. Currently over 80,000 corporations house some or all of their travel-spend data in the iBank platform. (www.data-basics.com, www.ciswired.com)
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ExpenseWatch.com has released an application to allow companies to integrate online travel bookings and ExpenseWatch.com expense management. Travel booking integration is currently available with Egencia and Travelocity Business; support for additional travel management systems (such as TripIt, see below) will become available over the coming months.
ExpenseWatch.com also announced a collection of template reports and dashboards for its Custom Reporting module, to provide insights into such areas as booked versus actual expensed travel, compliance with company spending policies and the analysis of spending trends and vendor performance.
ExpenseWatch.com plans to release its integration with TripIt in the fourth quarter, enabling TripIt’s itinerary information to flow into ExpenseWatch.com Expense Reports. A running tab of booked versus expensed travel helps reconcile booked travel against actual expensed items or credit card transactions. (www.tripit.com,www.ExpenseWatch.com)
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CyberShift has added Outsourced Services to its suite of Expense Management Automation software, allowing clients to offload some or all of their daily expense reporting tasks such as:
* Expense Report Audits – Outsourced and independent audit of expense reports
* Expense Report Payments – Reimbursement to the charge card vendor and submitter
* Receipt Handling Service – Imaging and verification of paper receipts from submitters
* End User Support – Support services directly for end user submitters and approvers
* System Administration Support – Tasks such as policy and approval chain updates
(www.cybershift.com)
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Google has announced enhancements to its Google Places platform to allow two way conversations for business place reviews, allowing owners to reply to both negative and positive reviews left on their Google Places profile. (www.google.com)
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Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces has deployed the Enterprise Edition of TRAVELCLICK’s Hotelligence360 to analyze GDS business performance throughout the group, having implemented the Property Edition earlier this year. The first major chain in Asia Pacific to deploy the Enterprise Edition, India-based Taj will use the application to analyze Global Distribution System (GDS) data and forecast future trends. (www.tajhotels.com, www.travelclick.net)
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Libra OnDemand has signed an agreement with OEM Informatica Cloud Services to use its suite of hospitality-specific data integration applications to link Customer Relationship Management (CRM), loyalty management, group sales and event management, analytics, email marketing and an online consumer-facing customer portal. (www.informatica.com, www.libraondemand.com)
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Knotice has enhanced its Concentri direct digital marketing platform to:
– include content not hosted in Concentri’s content management system and insert it into any email, Web and mobile direct digital marketing campaign.
– help users build mobile Web site and mobile email templates, delivering an optimized view of Web content for site visitors, and email content for subscribers, through its built-in device recognition tools (currently available for BlackBerry, iPhone, Droid or any other mobile device).
– boost mobile analytics by tracking SMS conversations between consumer and brand to help marketers better understand consumer behavior and recognize trends.
(www.knotice.com)
**
Sol Meliá has adopted VFM Leonardo’s VScape Digital Asset Management System to distribute photos to online channels for its 300 properties, and has endorsed VFM Leonardo’s VBrochure Online Merchandising System for individual properties to syndicate their rich media (virtual tours, video and Flash presentations) in VFM Leonardo’s Multimedia Viewer across its online media network. (www.solmelia.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Regal Hotels International picks EasyRMS for six Hong Kong properties
  • Callista integrates its hospitality management system with SiteMinder’s distribution engine
  • Springer-Miller completes a two-way interface between SMS|Host and EZYield.com’s RezDelivery
  • Trust releases yourVoyager channel management interface with GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager
  • Genares links its CRS and REVPAR GURU’s in-hotel revenue management

Regal Hotels International has contracted with Easy (Ez) Revenue Management (EasyRMS) for its six Hong Kong properties, the Regal Airport Hotel, Regal Hongkong Hotel, Regal Kowloon Hotel, Regal Oriental Hotel, Regal Riverside Hotel and the newly opened Regal iClub Hotel. The group operates four other properties in China, and two more are scheduled to open later this year. The six Hong Kong properties will implement the EzRMS Core Module, Ez-QUOTE and Ez-REGION, as well as an extraction interface with Regal Hotels’ own PMS. (www.regalhotel.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
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New Zealand-based Callista has integrated its hospitality management system with SiteMinder’s distribution engine to help its hotel clients place their room availability and pricing automatically to multiple online booking sites such as Expedia, Wotif, Booking.com and Agoda. Reservations from the booking sites are automatically captured by SiteMinder and passed directly into the hotels’ Callista PMS. (www.callista.co.nz, www.siteminder.com.au)
**
PAR Springer-Miller Systems has completed a two-way interface between its SMS|Host product suite and EZYield.com’s RezDelivery technology, helping the distribution of rates and room availability to multiple channels and automating the transfer of reservations booked via online travel agents directly to the SMS|Host system. (www.ezyield.com, www.springermiller.com)
**
Trust International has released a channel management interface between GestioneAlbergo’s LeoPortalsManager and Trust’s yourVoyager white-labeled centralized reservation system. The Web services-based interface was developed for Trust’s and GestioneAlbergo’s joint client HotelREZ, and sends rate and room availability into yourVoyager on behalf of HotelREZ’s 1,000+ independent hotels and small hotel groups. (www.hotelrez.net, www.gestionealbergo.it, www.trustinternational.com)
**
Genares Worldwide Reservations has released a direct link between its CRS and REVPAR GURU’s in-hotel revenue management system. In addition to the integration benefits both REVPAR GURU and Genares are extending preferred pricing to one another and their respective clients. (www.revparguru.com, www.genares.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) integrates StarCite eRFPs, synchronizes content updates
  • Xanterra implements UniFocus’ MEETINGScope at eight Ohio State Park Lodges
  • Egencia Meetings & Incentives to incorporate Cvent’s meetings management and venue site selection
  • Serenata integrating PMS production and RFP data from Lanyon into Serenata NetHotel Sales

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) announced a new relationship with StarCite for its Holiday Inn, InterContinental and Crowne Plaza brands, under which StarCite eRFPs will populate directly into each hotel’s lead distribution system. IHG will provide StarCite with a direct data feed for hotel content to ensure that IHG’s content updates in its chain-wide system are reflected automatically in StarCite’s database. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.starcite.com)
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Xanterra Parks & Resorts has implemented UniFocus’ MEETINGScope throughout its eight Ohio State Park Lodges. (www.xanterra.com, www.unifocus.com)
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Egencia Meetings & Incentives is incorporating Cvent’s online meetings management and venue site selection software into its integrated strategic meetings management (SMM) application, which integrates site selection, attendee management, travel booking and reporting with full-service meetings management. (www.egencia.com, www.cvent.com)
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Serenata IntraWare is integrating PMS production and RFP hotel and account status from Lanyon into its Serenata NetHotel Sales application to provide a full picture of corporate account business. Data imported from Lanyon and visible directly from the NetHotel Sales application includes:
* Bid rates and status for a specific account
* Bid status and rates for all accounts at a specific hotel
* Summary of activities for any particular partner or account
* Details and documents on the RFP process for particular accounts and partners
(www.serenata.com, www.lanyon.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • MSI adds Merchant Link to Place Point POS, WinPM hospitality management system

MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has added Merchant Link’s high-speed payments gateway and reporting to MSI’s Place Point point-of-sale system and WinPM hospitality management system. (www.merchantlink.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • XCom Global launches Corporate aXcess Program to save overseas travelers roaming charges
  • Sheraton introduces new Bing-based portal for guests using Link@Sheraton lobby lounges
  • SuperShuttle announces iPhone app to help travelers book, manage airport shuttle rides
  • UK’s Filmbank introduces online per-room movie payment system for hoteliers and B&B owners
  • Kimberly Hotel implements Intelity ICE Touch system in all guestrooms
  • Acentic introduces Acentic Horizon high-speed Internet access (HSIA) service for hotels
  • Wyndham Worldwide names Samsung as its sole endorsed television brand

XCom Global has launched its Corporate aXcess Program, claiming savings for overseas travelers of up to 90% off standard international roaming charges with its broadband rental services. (www.xcomglobal.com/corporate_axcess/). ** Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has released a new portal for guests using its cumbersomely-named “Link@Sheraton experience with Microsoft” lobby lounges. The portal, driven by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, was designed as a social, interactive site tailored to the hotel’s location, including local maps and the top search results for area restaurants, attractions, special events and services. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
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SuperShuttle announced its iPhone app to help travelers obtain airport Shuttle fare quotes, book and/or cancel airport rides. The app also includes provides a “Where’s My Van?” Google map locator function to show the location of trhe guest’s assigned vehicle. The site was developed by MobiLaurus. (www.supershuttle.com)
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Filmbank, a UK-based supplier of Hollywood movies to guest rooms, has introduced an online system to facilitate easier annual per-room payment for hoteliers and B&B owners who wish to offer guests a selection of DVDs whilst they are staying. Filmbank represents Hollywood studios and distributors who hold copyright for the movies; hotel and B&B owners send a list of the films they have on offer to their guests to Filmbank on a quarterly basis. (www.filmbank.co.uk/dvdconcierge)
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The 187-room Kimberly Hotel, New York has implemented Intelity’s ICE Touch (Interactive Customer Experience) system in all guestrooms and suites, to provide guests with touch-screen access to services including:
– in-room dining
– spa services
– flight status
– express checkout
– weather forecasts
– NYC destination guides
– transportation services with a “Directions” module that allows guests to “map” to-and-from destinations using Google Maps
– boarding pass printing
– wake up calls
(www.kimberlyhotel.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Acentic Media has introduced its Acentic Horizon high-speed Internet access (HSIA) service for the hotel industry, complementing Acentic’s Panorama and Vision iTV systems to provide hoteliers with a converged content strategy. Initial Horizon clients include properties from Marriott, Starwood, Adina Hotels Intercontinental Hotel Group, Maritim Group and Best Western. Acentic Horizon provides integration with the IP backend hardware and existing network infrastructure using industry standard hardware from Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola and 3Com, and includes visitor ticket printers, support for mobile printing, automated VIP pricing and individual encrypted wireless network support for security-conscious users. (www.acentic.com)
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Wyndham Worldwide has named Samsung as the only endorsed television brand for Wyndham Hotel Group, Wyndham Vacation Ownership and RCI affiliates worldwide, leveraging its global purchasing to achieve savings and support brand standards. The Samsung products will be distributed through Hotel Solutions. (www.wyndhamworldwide.com, www.samsung.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • MSI adds Merchant Link payments gateway and reporting to WinPM and Place Point POS
  • Hyatt adopts Microsoft’s Online Services for e-mail, instant messaging and other collaboration tools

MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has added Merchant Link’s high-speed payments gateway and reporting to MSI’s WinPM hospitality management system and Place Point point-of-sale system. (www.merchantlink.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has adopted Microsoft’s cloud-based Online Services for e-mail, instant messaging and other collaboration tools, purchasing its Business Productivity Online Suite for approximately 17,000 individuals in traditional roles at Hyatt’s corporate office and Hyatt properties and a further 40,000 licenses for “deskless” staff in its U.S., Canada and Caribbean locations who don’t have full-time access to a PC. (www.hyatt.com, www.microsoft.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • IHG approves Defero3 as a communications supplier of Hosted Voice Solutions

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has designated Defero3 as an approved communications supplier of Hosted Voice Solutions, offering preferred pricing and services to IHG franchised properties in the U.S. and Canada. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.Defero3.com)
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