August 18, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Communications

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • PhoCusWright survey identifies seven trends impacting corporate travel
  • Check out my new Web site/blog

The restrictions of the economic downturn are an obvious influence on business travel this year, but the latest PhoCusWright survey of US Corporate Travel identifies seven other powerful trends. These are:
1. The 3Ps of Corporate Travel: Balancing the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet (sustainability practices), considering travel’s social/environmental impact as well as its cost.
2. Travel & Expense: Putting the “E” Cart before the “T” Horse, making sure expense reporting is tied into the travel booking process.
3. Business Travel Goes Retail: Supply Chain Management, or applying KPIs and risk-reward incentives to travel suppliers based on the wealth of data available on-line.
4. Traveler-Centric vs. Trip-Centric Buying, taking a richer view of the traveler (profile, preferences, historical behavior, etc.) in the selling process, not just the destination.
5. Going Mobile: as everywhere, providing more relevant, just-in-time information to the traveler and integrating self-service, paperless travel, e-wallet payments and expense reporting.
6. Videoconferencing: Traveling Without the Trip, as tele-presence systems finally make videoconferencing a viable alternative to travel.
7. SMEs Become Big Business: small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) have not been well served but represent huge business volume, and are looking for booking and expense reporting solutions scaled to their needs and budgets.
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Somewhat late to the party in the time-honored tradition of the cobbler’s children always going barefoot, I’ve finally migrated my Web site (www.joninge.com) to WordPress.
This means that you can now sign up for an RSS feed for automatic notification whenever I post the latest tech news, a blog entry or a new article. It also means that you can leave comments on any of my posts, so don’t leave me in the dark! Argue with me, suggest alternative thoughts or topics I should write about, but say something.
The Search function is the same as before, allowing you to search through all my old articles and newsletters and providing the context for each result. So far I’ve migrated the last two years of TechNews and the last eight years of Hospitality Upgrade articles to the new site, which should give you plenty to start with. The rest will be there in a few weeks, probably in mid-September when I return from vacation.
To all of you who’ve been asking for an RSS feed for so long, thanks for your patience!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Victor Vesnaver is new SVP Sales and Marketing at PAR Springer-Miller
  • OpenTravel announces board of directors for 2009-2010
  • Helen Wallace joins TravelCLICK as CFO
  • Vickie Singer joins PhoCusWright
  • Chuck Sullivan is new SVP Global Online Services at Hilton
  • Mike Durazo promoted to Director of Online Client Solutions at Best Western

Victor Vesnaver is the new Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing at PAR Springer-Miller Systems. Mr. Vesnaver brings more than 24 years of hospitality technology experience, most recently as Vice President, Hotel Systems for Micros Systems. He had earlier served as SVP and CTO for The Mills Corporation, VP of IT and CIO for the European operation of Security Capital Group, and senior positions with Hyatt Hotels Corporation, SABRE Decision Technologies, and Zoho Corporation.
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The OpenTravel Alliance (OpenTravel) announced its board of directors for 2009-2010, as follows; Valyn Perini remains as Executive Director.
– Air Carrier Board Representative: Michelle Aaron, Director Application Development, PSS Replacement, American Airlines
– Hotel Company Board Representative: Lisa Fues, Director of Reservations, Inventory and Distribution, Marriott International
– Rental Car Company Board Representatives: John Turato, Vice President of Technology, Avis Budget Group James White, Director of Global Automated Marketing, The Hertz Corporation
– At-Large Supplier Board Representative: Eric Mason, Vice President, Global Product Development, Group RCI/Wyndham Worldwide
– Non-Supplier Board Representatives: Greg Berman, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director HBSi, an IBS Group Company Lew Harasymiw, Director of Interface Solutions, SynXis/Sabre Stephen Joyce, Chief Executive Office, RezGo Kevin Short, Client Industry Executive for Global Travel and Hospitality, EDS
– International Board Representative: John Lambe, Chief Technology Officer, OpenJaw Technologies
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Helen Wallace has joined TravelCLICK as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Before TravelCLICK, Ms. Wallace had served as Senior Vice President and then as CFO and Corporate Treasurer at multi-property resort company, American Skiing Company. Her previous positions included CFO of Cyrano Sciences, VP & Director of Citigroup’s Asia Business Development/Mergers & Acquisitions group, International CFO with Hubbell and Director of Finance, Director of Tax and Corporate Treasurer for Esprit de Corporation.
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Vickie Singer has joined PhoCusWright’s team, bringing 23 years of travel industry experience in marketing and event management. Ms. Singer was most recently general manager of TravelCom and vice president of strategic partnerships at the U.S. Travel Association, and earlier served as CEO of Travel Technology Source.
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Chuck Sullivan has been named to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Global Online Services at Hilton Hotels Corp. Mr. Sullivan joins Hilton from Chrysler Group where he was Head of Marketing – Delivery, and previously served as Director of Interactive. Before his time at Chrysler he had served as Executive Director of Engagement Management at digital marketing services company Organic, and earlier held management positions with Ford Motor Company, Andersen Consulting Strategic Services and Caterpillar Overseas S.A.
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Mike Durazo has been promoted to director of online client solutions at Best Western International. Mr. Durazo has been with Best Western since 2005, most recently as senior manager of e-business initiatives.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • innRoad introduces enhanced interface with InnLink for GDS/OTA access
  • Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, OR installs Maestro PMS, Table Reservations and Analytics
  • Ariane’s “VIKI” mobile check-in/check-out project to receive government financing
  • SPI adds Orange Documents to its Vacation Ownership software
  • ACS’ North Phoenix Hope Lodge to be 29th Hope Lodge to implement SoftBrands’ Epitome

innRoad has introduced an enhanced interface with InnLink to provide their customers with GDS and OTA access and allowing inventory and reservations management from a single dashboard. (www.innlink.com, www.innroad.com)
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The Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, OR has installed Northwind’s Maestro Front Office System and reservation software, Table Reservations for its dining room and Maestro Analytics for business intelligence and targeted marketing programs. The property will add Maestro Spa and Activities Management, Fine Dining POS and Retail POS in the coming months. (www.stephanie-inn.com, www.maestropms.com)
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Ariane Systems Group’s “VIKI” mobile check-in/check-out project will receive government financing for 40% of its development costs from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as “one of the most innovative research and development projects for 2009”. The project is intended to let customers check-in/check-out where and when they want, from a desktop computer, laptop, cell phone or other PDA, integrating online mobile payment solutions and allowing users to modify their bills, addresses and guest profiles remotely. (www.ariane-systems.com)
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Systems Products International (SPI) Orange Systems has added Orange Documents to its Vacation Ownership software, for the management of documents, images and any PC-compatible file. Files can be associated with an owner, sales contract, reservation, or other entities; documents can be edited within the SPI Framework using Word, Excel, etc. (www.spiinc.com)
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The American Cancer Society’s North Phoenix Hope Lodge will be the 29th Hope Lodge to implement SoftBrands’ Epitome property management system when it opens this Fall. (www.cancer.org, www.softbrands.com/hospitality)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Travelocity Global acquires India’s Travelguru
  • AboutAnywhere.com launches free-listing online booking website
  • Hilton launches UK and German mobile services using Mobile Travel Technologies
  • Expedia reports 10 hotel booking trends

Travelocity Global has acquired India’s Travelguru online hotel distribution network, which has a portfolio of more than 4,000 hotels in India, mostly independent properties. Travelocity’s existing businesses in India include Travelocity India which will continue to maintain its own identity separate from Travelguru. (www.travelguru.com, www.travelocity.com)
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AboutAnywhere.com launched its online booking website with free hotel listings and direct links to hotels’ own Web sites for booking. Hotels may increase their visibility by purchasing ads on the site. (www.aboutanywhere.com)
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Hilton Hotels has launched UK and German mobile services using Mobile Travel Technologies’s (MTT’s) mobile hotel platform, m2bed. The applications allows travelers to select and book a hotel, access and change bookings and view hotel images and information from their smart phones and iPhones, and is fully integrated with the Hilton HHonors loyalty club. (www.mttnow.com, www.hilton.com)
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Expedia reported 10 hotel booking trends gathered from hotel bookings on its Web site:
1. Exchange rates are shifting travel patterns; more Americans are traveling to the U.K. due to a 35-percent cheaper exchange rate.
2. Consumers are looking for a deal; year-over-year share of bookings with promotions has increased and will continue to do so throughout the third-quarter of 2009.
3. Promotions matter more than ever; year-over-year percent change on rooms booked with major promotions has increased in 2009.
4. Promotions are getting more creative; rather than cut rates hotels are offering free nights, value-add packages and other incentives to drive demand.
5. Customers who book online are trading up, finding that four- and five-star hotels are getting more affordable.
6. There are massive swings in online market share as hotels trade rates for occupancy. In Nashville, Tennessee, for example, the most booked hotel during second-quarter 2009 jumped 13 spots to land in that position, increased year-over-year room nights by 413 percent but saw its year-over-year ADR decline by 34 percent.
7. Booking window compression; travelers are waiting longer than ever before to book their stays.
8. Leisure rates are leading the way and are going down more.
9. Hotels are using packages to protect their room rates, e.g. by bundling a hotel stay with an airfare or car rental.
10. Opaque channels are growing faster than non-opaque channels.
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Cap Juluca resort selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope
  • Travel search/booking site Voyij.com signs with VFM Leonardo for rich-media content
  • VFM Leonardo adds Gekko.com to its VNetwork
  • VIZERGY listed in Jacksonville Business Journal’s top 50 private companies
  • Tristar Hotel Group offers selection of online tools and services

The 98-room Cap Juluca resort on Anguilla, British West Indies, has selected UniFocus’ GUESTScope for guest feedback measurement. (www.capjuluca.com, www.unifocus.com)
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Travel search/booking site Voyij.com, recently launched by the creators of SideStep, has contracted with VFM Leonardo for rich-media content including photos, virtual tours and videos.
VFM Leonardo has added hotel and restaurant recommendation site Gekko.com to its VNetwork, letting its customers distribute their photos to Gekko’s members.
(www.voyij.com, www.gekko.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
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VIZERGY has been listed in the Jacksonville Business Journal’s annual list of the top 50 private companies who have maintained the highest year over year growth, its third year of such recognition. (www.vizergy.com)
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Hotel owner and manager Tristar Hotel Group is offering a variety of online tools and services, HMOnline.com. This includes detailed, interactive training for all hotel positions, a resource library of customized forms for access to operational and revenue management tools and to Tristar’s consulting services. (www.hmonline.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Forestdale Hotels installs RateTiger in 13 properties
  • Tristar Hotel Group offers RM3 subscription-based revenue management service

Forestdale Hotels has installed RateTiger’s online channel management products across 13 of its 18 properties to maintain rate parity across the Internet. (www.forestdale.com, www.ratetiger.com)
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Hotel owner and manager Tristar Hotel Group is offering a subscription-based revenue management service, RM3, to hoteliers. (www.hmonline.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • American Express Business Travel unveils virtual meetings eXpert telepresence service
  • Knowland Group ranked No. 2 in Travel and 222 overall on Inc. magazine’s Fast 500
  • InterContinental signs enterprise-wide agreement with Newmarket for MeetingBroker, Delphi.Net
  • Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors merging
  • Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Galt House Hotel and Talbott Hotel sign with Passkey

American Express Business Travel has unveiled its virtual meetings eXpert telepresence service, intended to act as a central hub and aggregator of both public telepresence facilities and any private network a company may already have. AEBT has filed for patent protection of the approach. Integrated at the point-of-sale with travel counselor assisted reservations or online booking channels and based on criteria such as the price, duration of the trip, purpose, environmental impact and more, eXpert will alert travelers at the time of booking to available telepresence and other virtual meeting options, helping them determine if these are more appropriate. It can also be used to help companies convert conference calls and Webex sessions to a virtual meeting. (www.americanexpress.com)
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The Knowland Group has been ranked by Inc. magazine as No. 2 in the Travel category and 222 overall on its 28th annual list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. (www.knowlandgroup.com)
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IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has signed an enterprise-wide agreement with Newmarket International to implement MeetingBroker as its lead distribution and management platform for every property worldwide, along with Delphi.Net as the online sales and catering application for IHG’s midscale properties. (www.ihg.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors are merging their event housing experience and services as a result of Lakeview Equity Partners, LLC becoming the majority shareholder in both. The new company, referred to as TTG|AMB while a rebranding initiative is completed, is moving forward with the business integration of its Chicago and Atlanta teams. All events will be managed within a single event management system. (www.ttgonline.com)
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The Hyatt Regency Albuquerque has contracted with Passkey for group reservation management.
The Galt House Hotel has signed with Passkey to offer meeting planners a real-time view into their group blocks and help manage group reservations. The property, with 1,290 guest rooms, 124,000 square-feet of convention space and over 50 meeting rooms, generates more than 80% of its business from meetings and events.
The Talbott Hotel in Chicago is implementing Passkey’s GroupMax system, comprising three core components:
– web-enabling its group business by driving call-in reservations online, automating room lists and monitoring its group performance,
– increasing its selling opportunities by offering upgrades and extended stays to all groups and delivering highly targeted email messaging to group guests,
– allowing planners to track their events online.
(www.hyatt.com, www.GaltHouse.com, www.talbotthotel.com, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Resorts World at Sentosa selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec
  • Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas implements ReServe Anywhere

Resorts World at Sentosa, on Singapore’s Sentosa island, has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec systems. More than 250 InfoGenesis POS terminals will be used across the resort, which is scheduled to open in early 2010 and includes Universal Studios Singapore (the first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia), Marine Life Park (the world’s largest oceanarium), six hotels totaling more than 1,800 rooms, a casino, meeting facilities, a water theme park and several entertainment, retail and food and beverage offerings. (www.rwsentosa.com, www.agilysys.com)
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Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas has implemented ReServe Interactive’s ReServe Anywhere web-based system across four on-property restaurants to manage dining reservations. (www.treasureisland.com, www.reserveinteractive.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina implements PDC’s RFID wristband system
  • Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City installs seven Microsoft Surface units in Xhibition Bar
  • Four Points Columbus Ohio Airport picks Broadband Hospitality for TV, Internet service
  • Roomlinx installs Interactive TV at seven hotels in eight weeks
  • Sheraton University City Hotel extends SuiteLinq interactive service to hotel lobby

The new Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina has implemented Precision Dynamics Corp’s (PDC’s) Smart Band RFID wristband system, the seventh Great Wolf Resorts property to do so. The automated wristbands provide keyless entry into hotel rooms and cashless payments at POS workstations and vending and token machines. (www.greatwolf.com, www.pdcorp.com)
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Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City has installed seven Microsoft Surface units in its Xhibition Bar, with a set of customized applications built by Harrah’s which include Hip-notic (allowing guests to view the latest and most popular on line videos) and High Roller bowling and Last Call musical memory games. The units also include a photo application and virtual concierge system developed by Microsoft that Harrah’s customized for Atlantic City. (www.harrahs.com)
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The 110-room Four Points by Sheraton Columbus Ohio Airport has selected Broadband Hospitality to provide standard- and high-definition satellite TV service (HDTV), 32-inch Pro:Idiom Hospitality TVs and high-speed wired and wireless Internet in guestrooms. Broadband Hospitality will also install and manage computer and Internet service in the hotel’s business center, and assist in the setup of the hotel’s property management and reservation systems. The high-speed Internet services use SMC wired switches, a Cisco wireless overlay and a head end server from Nomadix. (www.broadbandhospitality.com)
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Roomlinx has installed its Roomlinx Interactive TV at seven hotels over the past eight weeks, six in Chicago (including theWit) and the Bohemian Hotel in Savannah, GA. (www.roomlinx.com)
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Philadelphia’s Sheraton University City Hotel has extended its SuiteLinq interactive service from the guest room to the hotel lobby. Installed in conjunction with Microsoft as part of the new Link@Sheraton brand standard, SuiteLinq provided four 22-inch HP Touchsmart workstations with free access to Microsoft Office software, high-speed Internet and connectivity to a nearby printer. A Sheraton video-postcard application is also part of the system. (www.philadelphiasheraton.com, www.suitelinq.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Resorts World at Sentosa selects Agilysys’ Eatec and InfoGenesis

Resorts World at Sentosa, on Singapore’s Sentosa island, has selected Agilysys’ Eatec and InfoGenesis POS systems. The resort is scheduled to open in early 2010 and includes Universal Studios Singapore (the first Universal Studios theme park in Southeast Asia), Marine Life Park (the world’s largest oceanarium), six hotels totaling more than 1,800 rooms, a casino, meeting facilities, a water theme park and several entertainment, retail and food and beverage offerings. (www.rwsentosa.com, www.agilysys.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hilton Asheville, NC installs roof-mounted solar water heating system
  • Two Cooper Hotels properties installing solar thermal systems

The newly-opened 165-room Hilton Asheville has installed a roof-mounted solar water heating system, one of the largest installations in the Western North Carolina region. Water throughout the hotel, including the pool, will be solar heated, eliminating twenty-five tons of carbon dioxide per year (the equivalent of planting 7,377 trees), saving about $10,000 a year in fossil fuel costs and providing over 2,300 gallons of hot water a day. (www1.hilton.com)
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Two of Memphis-based Cooper Hotels properties, the Hilton Knoxville Airport and the Doubletree Hotel Oak Ridge, are installing solar thermal systems to provide almost 2,000 gallons of hot water per day per property. The systems are designed, installed and maintained by FLS Energy of Asheville, North Carolina. (www.flsenergy.com, www.cooperhotels.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Destination Hotels & Resorts implementing EthoStream networks at two sites

Destination Hotels & Resorts has awarded contracts to EthoStream for a converged IP network at its newly-opened Terranea Resort on California’s Palos Verdes Peninsula, integrating wireless and wired high-speed Internet access (HSIA) with back-office connectivity and remote customer support, and for wireless networking at the Resort at Squaw Creek near Lake Tahoe, California. With EthoStream’s web-based management interface, Destination Hotels & Resorts can now manage 14 of its properties remotely from a single location, including the ability to compare HSIA usage among properties and monitor Internet connectivity and guest support activity. (www.destinationhotels.com, www.ethostream.com)
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SECURITY

  • Onity takes orders from 28 properties in one month after launch of ADVANCE RFID locks
  • Heritage Rotorua installs Kaba RFID electronic locks

Onity announced that it has taken orders from 28 properties in 12 countries just one month after the official launch of its ADVANCE RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) contact-less electronic locking system. Installation has already begun at over half of those properties, starting with the Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. (www.onity.com)
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The Heritage Rotorua has installed a Kaba RFID electronic locking system. (www.heritagehotels.co.nz, www.kaba.co.nz)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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