August 12, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

JULY 30 – AUGUST 12, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Is Glass the answer for guest service?

Have you had an opportunity to try Google Glass yet? I took advantage of iTesso’s demo unit on their HITEC booth, and while it’s technically intriguing I have mixed feelings about it, both for staff use in guest service and for guests to wear as a guide to the property.
For one thing, as a device it doesn’t really work with regular glasses. Because it sits on them at an awkward angle that makes it hard to read its small screen area, it seems inevitably limited to those with good vision (or contact lenses). Those of us oldsters who can no longer wear contacts need not apply.
Many aspects of its capabilities are intriguing. It seems to hold the promise of that one essential app I’ve longed for at conferences, one that will scan the faces in front of me, search my contacts list and unobtrusively pop up their names. Heaven… Glass’s portable, hands-free access to key information is also promising in so many other ways, whether driven by iBeacons or GPS coordinates for guests on a self-guided tour of a city or of a property’s art collection (see the stories below).
But some other things detract from its appeal in a practical sense. One is that it must, absolutely must, be fitted with an LED indicator to let people know when it’s recording a photo or video. How Google missed this essential factor to its social acceptance is beyond comprehension; people hate being photographed unawares. Another is the somewhat glazed looks that come over a user’s face when she’s reading the screen; it’s clear that she’s distracted, and not really looking at the guest. (As an aside, at Westin Hotels thirty years ago the same concern led us to drop a wild idea we had about projecting check-in screens onto fold-up glass screens in the counter; the agents would no longer be looking down at their workstations but they’d still seem glazed and detached as they focused on the glass instead.)
Worse than that, to me at least, is that, for data queries, Glass’s convenient form factor mandates an inconvenient and obtrusive voice-controlled user interface, which is a real turn-off for a guest. Asking a question of a guest service agent and having him glaze over, stare into the middle distance and start having a one-way conversation with his glasses seems to me the very antithesis of guest service. I’ve said it before: guest service requires eye contact – real eye contact – and that seems hard to achieve with the way Glass works now. Maybe there’ll be a better Version 2.0.
But I still want my face-recognition app.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Graeme Barrit joins Itesso as CEO
  • IDeaS announces winners of its IDeaS Cornell Revenue Management Scholarship
  • Roger Crellin hired by FCS as Executive Director

Graeme Barrit has joined Itesso as Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Bas Blommaart who will become Chief Technology Officer. With more than three decades of hospitality industry experience, Mr. Barrit’s leadership roles have included President of Coast Hotels & Resorts, Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, and Director of Sales for Commonwealth Holiday Inns.
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IDeaS Revenue Solutions has announced the winners of the first 2014 round of its six-year-old IDeaS Cornell Revenue Management Scholarship:
Certificate in Hotel Revenue Management
– Ankush Bhargava, Front Desk & Reservations Executive, Best Western, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
– Raluca Constantinescu, Sales Account Manager, Hotel Epoque, Bucharest, Romania
– Sean Tamon, Revenue Manager, The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas, Lahaina, Hawaii, USA
Certificate in Advanced Hospitality Revenue Management: Pricing and Demand Strategies
– Carla Ridder, Revenue & Reservations Manager, Apollo Hotel Utrecht City Centre, Utrecht, Netherlands
– Emelie Aronsson, Revenue Manager, Scandic Hotels AB, Stockholm, Sweden
– Joseph Checca, Revenue Manager and Assistant Controller, Morris Inn at University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
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Roger Crellin has been hired by FCS Computer Systems as Executive Director, initially focusing on North America and EMEA. Mr. Crellin’s experience includes serving as Chief Operating Officer for Acentic gmbH; he was earlier General Manager at Fujifilm Retail Australasia, and has represented the Australian Tourism Industry and served as a media spokesperson in eleven countries for a variety of organizations.
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RESERVATIONS

  • Visit Mesa chooses Regatta’s booking engine for its official destination website
  • Sabre certifies Guest Connect Booking Engine with TripAdvisor’s TripConnect
  • Sabre introduces Meta Connect bid management service for optimal positioning on cost-per-click meta search sites
  • Trivago launches local platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand
  • YTL Hotels expands use of TravelClick’s reservations services at 8 hotels
  • Hyatt properties sign on to Expedia’s Egencia Preferred Rate (EPR) program

Visit Mesa has chosen Regatta Travel Solutions to power the booking engine on its official destination website. Mesa has also signed on for Regatta’s group and sports housing system and TripAdvisor TripConnect placement. (visitmesa.com, www.regattatravelsolutions.com)
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Sabre Hospitality Solutions has certified its Guest Connect Booking Engine with TripAdvisor’s TripConnect, allowing its hotel customers to display real-time rates and availability on the metasearch section of TripAdvisor alongside other online travel agencies.
Sabre also introduced Meta Connect, a Sabre-managed bid management service to help hotels get the optimal position on cost-per-click meta search sites like TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Finder and Kayak.
(www.tripadvisor.com, www.sabre.com)
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Trivago has launched new local platforms in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, bringing its worldwide coverage to 47 global markets in 28 languages. (www.trivago.co.id, www.trivago.com.my, www.trivago.co.th)
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YTL Hotels has expanded its use of TravelClick’s iHotelier reservations service, which it started using three years ago. YTL’s properties will now also have access to TravelClick Channel Management, iHotelier PMS Integrations, iHotelier GDS, iHotelier Web 3.0 and iHotelier Mobile.  These modules will be used at eight properties in Malaysia, one in Japan and one in Indonesia. (www.ytlhotels.com, www.TravelClick.com)
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Hyatt Hotels Corp’s affiliates have signed a new multi-year agreement to include Hyatt properties in Expedia’s Egencia Preferred Rate (EPR) program, helping them offer special rates and/or amenities to Egencia travelers. (www.hyatt.com, www.egencia.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Regatta launches new booking engine for tours and attractions
  • Shore Hotel, Santa Monica, implements Flip.to
  • Two Open Hospitality hotel websites win web design awards
  • Voyat launches V-CRM and V-Direct guest analytics and business intelligence products
  • HeBS Digital announces Dynamic Rate Marketing service to place real-time hotel inventory availability/pricing in marketing initiatives

Regatta Travel Solutions  has officially launched a new booking engine for tours and attractions. Launch clients include official destination websites such as Barbados and Colorado Springs. (www.regattatravelsolutions.com)
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The Shore Hotel in Santa Monica has implemented Flip.to’s guest-driven referral service. (www.shorehotel.com, www.flip.to)
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Two hotels with websites designed by Pegasus Solutions’ Open Hospitality division have been recognized with web design awards.
– The Skyline Hotel, New York: a Summit Creative Award from Summit International, and a Best in Class Award from the Interactive Media Awards.
– The Holiday Inn Manhattan View: Outstanding Achievement in the Interactive Media Awards.
(www.skylinehotelny.com, www.holidayinnmanhattanview.com, www.pegs.com)
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Voyat has launched its first two products, V-CRM and V-Direct, aimed at providing hotels with guest analytics and business intelligence gathered from a wide network of potential and actual hotel guest information. Initial clients include Morgans Hotel Group, The New York Palace, and W Hotels. (voyat.com)
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HeBS Digital announced its Dynamic Rate Marketing (DRM) service, which allows real-time hotel inventory availability and pricing to be featured in various marketing initiatives such as meta search, banner advertising, retargeting, Google Adwords, and email marketing. (www.hebsdigital.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • AB Hotels selects eRevMax’s RateTiger Shopper for two UK sites
  • GreenPark Hotels and Resorts implements eRevMax’s channel management software at all five properties
  • Rainmaker integrates TrustYou online reputation management metrics into GuestREV
  • Busy Rooms announces certified integration with Trivago
  • Kempinski signs new global framework agreement for EzRMS

England’s AB Hotels has selected eRevMax’s RateTiger Shopper to provide its Arch London and Sopwell House St Albans properties with live alerts on rate changes and rate reports.
Hyderabad-based Indian hospitality chain GreenPark Hotels and Resorts has implemented eRevMax’s channel management software at its five properties in Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam and Chennai. GreenPark uses RateTiger to distribute real-time availability across all distribution points through automatic adjustment from a pooled inventory, Reservation Reports to monitor channel performance and map demographics of its customers, and the RateTiger Shopper price intelligence tool.
(www.abhotels.co.uk, www.hotelgreenpark.com, www.erevmax.com)
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The Rainmaker Group has integrated online reputation management (ORM) metrics from TrustYou into its GuestREV profit optimization product. The pilot client is Caesars Entertainment. (www.trustyou.com, www.LetItRain.com)
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Busy Rooms announced a certified integration with the Trivago metasearch platform. Hoteliers participating in the Busy Rooms service will now be able to list the rates shown on their Internet Booking Engine alongside online travel agencies also selling their rooms on Trivago. (www.trivago.com, www.busy-rooms.com/en)
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Kempinski Hotels has signed a new global framework agreement for Infor’s EzRMS, hosted in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model by Infor. The Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin will be the first European hotel to take advantage of the new agreement, and is the fourth of the group’s 73 hotels to implement EzRMS. (www.kempinski.com, www.infor.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • The James implements Groupize’s Group Booking Engine

The James  has implemented Groupize’s GBE (Group Booking Engine) for its properties in Chicago, New York, and Miami, replacing static eRFP forms with the ability to quote dynamic group rates in real time to group planners. (www.jameshotels.com, www.groupizesolutions.com
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • San Ramon Marriott installs Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory management software
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The San Ramon Marriott, San Ramon, CA has installed Clear Sky Software’s BEVERAGE inventory management software. (www.marriott.com, www.clearskysoftware.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Aloft Hotel, Cupertino, introducing a robot butler
  • Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine offers guests Google Glass for guided tours, other services
  • Montcalm London Marble Arch equips staff with Google Glass
  • Lavu launches Hospitality extension of its iPad-based POS
  • Newmarket adding Zingle’s guest texting service to HotSOS
  • Umstead Hotel and Spa signs with Bulk TV & Internet for DIRECTV Residential Experience
  • Courtyard by Marriott Irvine Spectrum installs Guest-tek Internet, FTG programming and myAway link to guests’ personal devices

Starwood’s Aloft Hotel, Cupertino, CA is introducing a robot butler called “Botlr” later this month. The three-feet-tall, roughly cylindrical wheeled service vehicle, a SaviOne robot from robotics startup Savioke, will be used to shuttle items from the hotel lobby desk to guest rooms.  After a human loads it up with the appropriate items, Botlr takes the elevator to the appropriate floor, waits outside the destination room and places a phone call to let the guest know it has arrived. Upon opening the door, guests are greeted by the robot’s touchscreen display; its sensors detect that the door has been opened, and its storage compartment opens for the recipient to retrieve his or her items. Guests confirm that they have received everything requested, and can rate their interaction on a five-star scale. (www.aloftcupertino.com, www.savioke.com)
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The Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine, near the Ribera del Duero winemaking region of northern Spain, now offers guests a pair of Google Glass goggles to guide them on a tour of the 900-year old property, which is known for its art collection and architecture. They can also use Glass for taking photos, making videos, phone calls, browsing the Web, etc, as well as watching a video about the hotel. At check out any files stored on the device are downloaded to a memory stick for the guest to take away.
The Montcalm London Marble Arch is the first London hotel to equip its staff with Google Glass, to help them offer guests advice on local restaurants, shops, travel plans, attractions and activities, or simply to give directions. The Montcalm plans to introduce Google Explorer packages, enabling the hotel’s guests to use Google Glass while they are at the property, and to synchronize guests’ Explorer Packages with its in-room iPads, enabling guests to order room service and control the in-room technology using Google Glass.
(www.ledomaine.es, www.themontcalm.com/MarbleArch, www.google.com/glass)
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Lavu has launched Lavu Hospitality, an extension of its iPad-based POS system to cover hotel management, online reservations, lobby services, payments and guest database functions.  Hotel management features are accessed through the same dashboard as the point of sale. The product has been featured on chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hotel Hell television show. Lavu Hospitality connects to various hospitality services on site via wireless technologies. Guest check in/out are connected to online reservations and room service options; room service charges are automatically applied to guest’s bills, as are restaurant tabs and – potentially – spa treatments and other hospitality services. Lavu Hospitality includes e-mail marketing opportunities tied to the guest history and information database to encourage repeat business. (www.poslavu.com/)
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Newmarket is adding Zingle’s guest texting service to its HotSOS service optimization software, to allow hotels to communicate directly with their guests via text. Guests can now text requests directly to HotSOS as they would to any other contact; the hotel receives those messages on an online dashboard, and HotSOS passes them to the appropriate hotel contact for immediate follow-up. (www.zingle.me, www.newmarketinc.com)
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The 150-room Umstead Hotel and Spa, Cary, NC, has signed with Bulk TV & Internet for the DIRECTV Residential Experience (DRE). (www.theumstead.com, www.bulktv.com)
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The new Courtyard by Marriott Irvine Spectrum has installed Guest-tek Internet, Free to Guest programming on Samsung H-Browser smart TVs, and Guest-tek’s myAway, which lets guests control the TV through their personal electronic devices. Guests can also share content to the TV with their Apple iOS devices. (www.marriott.com/Irvin, www.guest-tek.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park implements InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System

The Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park has implemented InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System to manage control of its 6,000-plus uniforms, in conjunction with White Conveyors U-Pick-It System to automate uniform distribution to each staff member. The system uses Impinj UHF-RFID readers to read durable waterproof Fujitsu UHF-RFID laundry tags attached to the uniforms during initial staff garment fittings. (www.hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com, www.invotech.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hilton Barra in Rio de Janeiro installing Telkonet’s EcoSmart

The Hilton Barra in Rio de Janeiro is installing Telkonet’s EcoSmart technology in all 298 guest rooms and all lobby and conference areas and 14,000 square feet of meeting space. Close to Rio’s planned Olympic Park, the hotel will open in November and will be a sponsored hotel for travelers attending the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. (www3.hilton.com, www.telkonet.com)
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