August 21, 2012

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

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

AUGUST 1 – 21, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Nervous newsletters and artistic egos are real barriers to communication

In this visual world it’s critical to have a distinctive look to your Web site and other online points of presence such as newsletters to make your image stand out and be memorable. However, it’s equally important to keep in mind that the primary purpose of these presentations is to impart information, and I’m seeing more examples where the designers seem to have forgotten this.
The most persistent annoyance to me is the nervous newsletter, so-called because it’s constantly jumping around the screen as it fills in its graphic elements. When Outlook’s Inbox preview pane displays the content, it’s intensely annoying to start reading the headlines and then two seconds later have them drop off the screen to make way for the newsletter’s logo and graphics. Even worse is when the newsletter that seems to jump up and down randomly for several long seconds while it fills in both the artistic framework for its various panels and each individual advertisement.
Look, here’s something interesting for you to read – no, wait, now it’s over here! Fooled you again – now it’s over there! Don’t you want us to read what you’re distributing? And if they rely on advertisers’ payments for display ads to offset their newsletter costs, they’re not doing their advertisers any favors by annoying readers to the point where they try to spend as little time as possible reading what’s put out.
It’s not necessary to do this; HospitalityNet 360’s site does indeed take a long time to load its “Picture of the Day”, but its actual news content stays still and can be read while the graphics fill in. Other newsletters please note: HotelNewsNow and HotelInteractive, I’m looking at you.
At the other end of the scale are hotel Web sites that are so artistically beautiful that I give up waiting for them to load and go somewhere else. I’m sure if I waited for them to display completely I’d be awed by their quality and soothed by their artistic perfection, but seriously, if I’m looking to make a reservation and every page of your graphically gorgeous Web site takes over 20 seconds to load, you’ve just shown me that you care more about showing off than about satisfying my needs.
Don’t be so impressed with your own talents and beauty that you ignore your customers.
Rant mode /OFF
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Ben Jared joins Merchant Link as Director of Business Development for retail
  • Kathleen Garcia is The Knowland Group’s new Chief Sales Officer
  • Steve Hood receives ICHRIE Industry Recognition award
  • Kristin Muhlner  appointed Chief Executive Officer at newBrandAnalytics
  • Barton Phillips joins newBrandAnalytics  as Executive Vice President of Sales

Ben Jared has joined Merchant Link as Director of Business Development for its retail vertical. Previously Area Sales Director for ACI Worldwide and for ISD Corp, Mr. Jared brings more than 26 years of experience in the financial, retail, and high tech industries, including expertise in domestic and international payment processing, payment security techniques, and PCI and PA-DSS compliance.
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Kathleen Garcia is The Knowland Group’s new Chief Sales Officer. A sales and marketing executive with more than 25 years of experience, for the last seven years Ms. Garcia has focused on group sales technology with OnVantage, StarCite and Active Network. Most recently she was a Vice President of Global Sales for Starcite/Active Network. She also spent over a decade as a Director of Sales and Marketing for Marriott Corp, and was an Opening Director of Marketing for Hilton Hotels in Newark, Delaware.
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Steve Hood has received the ICHRIE Industry Recognition award, given annually by ICHRIE, the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, to a hospitality and tourism industry professional and/or organization in recognition of a pattern of demonstrated commitment to advance hospitality and tourism education as a discipline. Mr. Hood is senior VP of research at STR.
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Kristin Muhlner has been appointed Chief Executive Officer at newBrandAnalytics and has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Ms. Muhlner brings 20 years of experience, most recently as CEO of RollStream, an enterprise community management solutions provider. She was previously Executive Vice President of Product Development for webMethods, and earlier served as a Senior Manager at Deloitte and Touche Consulting. She holds a B.A. in economics from Rhodes College.
Barton Phillips has joined newBrandAnalytics  as Executive Vice President of Sales. Mr. Phillips was most recently Area Vice President of Sales with Salesforce.com, following roles as a Director of CRM Sales with Oracle Corp and in leadership positions with Siebel Systems and American Management Systems.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • hetras releases comprehensive interface with Vectron’s POS systems
  • citizenM Bankside hotel implements Hetras GMS

hetras has released a comprehensive interface with Vectron’s F&B and Retail POS systems. In addition to room-charge postings, the interface enables:
– automatic discounts for loyalty club members at the article level,
– full guest check detail being sent to the GMS for detailed folio review and statistics,
– POS discounts being sent to the GMS in detail for full tracking in the GMS or accounting system,
– both charges and payments (e.g. cash or credit card) being sent from POS to PMS.
Both hetras and Vectron are cloud-based, removing the need for a site visit to implement the interface.
The 192-room citizenM Bankside hotel has implemented hetras’ cloud-based HMS, hetras’ first London installation. citizenM already uses the hetras system in its hotels in Amsterdam (2) and Glasgow, and has committed to use it for three additional hotels in London, two hotels in New York City, Paris and Rotterdam.
(www.vectron.com.au, www.citizenm.com/london-bankside, www.hetras.com.)
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RESERVATIONS

  • TravLynx announces TravLynx Connex technology partner program
  • OpenTravel announces Travel Traction conference for startups and new entrants in travel

TravLynx has announced TravLynx Connex, its expanded Hospitality Technology Partner Program that provides resellers and technology partners with technology, tools, support and training. Partner options:
– Licensed Partner, for full service hospitality and technology companies wanting to “White Label” and license TravLynx technologies under their own brand.
– Partner, for leveraging TravLynx products, services, and solutions in bundled services and co-marketing.
– Sales Partner, for independent sales agents selling TravLynx products and services to expand their own product profile.
– Referral, for companies selling their own hospitality products/services and wanting a sales referral relationship with TravLynx.
(www.TravLynx.com)
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The OpenTravel Alliance (OpenTravel) has announced Travel Traction, a new event focused on providing industry knowledge to startups and new entrants in travel. The conference will be held on September 12, 2012 at the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel. (www.opentravel.org)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TrustYou adds access to TripAdvisor reviews, performance metrics
  • Sarova Hotels, Resorts and Game Lodges selects B4Checkin for eight properties
  • Milestone Internet Marketing wins two Best in Class, two Outstanding Interactive Media Awards
  • Pelican integrates social-media marketing tool into Web booking engine
  • Digital Alchemy introduces Campaign Central dashboard reporting tool

TrustYou has added access to TripAdvisor reviews in 23 languages to its reputation management tool, as well as to a summary of other TripAdvisor performance metrics. (www.trustyou.com, www.tripadvisor.com)
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Sarova Hotels, Resorts and Game Lodges has selected B4Checkin to provide communication and feedback software to its eight hotels and lodges in Kenya and East Africa, the first African installation for B4Checkin. Sarova will use B4Checkin’s Email Communication package to send pre-arrival and post-stay emails to all guests and its B4Feedback module for online comment cards. (www.sarovahotels.com, www.b4checkin.com)
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Milestone Internet Marketing has won two Best in Class awards in the Interactive Media Awards for a portal website for Warwick International Hotels and a website for Grand Hotel & Spa Ocean City. Milestone also received Outstanding Website Awards for the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza and The Sainte Claire. (www.milestoneinternet.com )
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Pelican has integrated a social-media marketing tool into its Web booking engine to encourage hotel guests to share travel experiences. On completion of an online booking, the confirmation screen includes an option for the traveler to post a message on various social networks and receive an e-voucher for a room upgrade or other incentive. Departing guests will be sent an email asking for comments about their stay, again with an incentive for a future stay. (www.pelicansolution.com)
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Digital Alchemy has introduced Campaign Central, a new dashboard reporting tool for email campaigns that provides at-a-glance and in-depth reporting of all emails, including ROI, click-through statistics, room nights booked and other related data. Enhancements over the existing eCampaign Summary Report include real-time data updates, tracking of revenue per email sent and per email opened, a running tally of lifetime revenue generated and historical ROI for all of the hotel’s email marketing campaigns. (www.Data2Gold.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Grand Skylight Hotel Shenzhen deploys IDeaS
  • Despite interest in social media as a marketing channel, hotels still focus on offline and direct sales – EHL/RateTiger survey

The 265-room Grand Skylight Hotel Shenzhen has deployed IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ Virtual Revenue Management Services (VRMS) and Forecasting Management System (FMS). (www.grandskylight.com, www.ideas.com)
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Despite interest in social media as a marketing channel, hotels are still focused on offline and direct sales to reduce third-party costs and improve margins, according to a RateTiger-sponsored survey by Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (EHL) Research. The six month study covered 72 3-star and 4-star properties in France, Germany, Spain, UK and the USA and found that while social networks are recognised as new forms of digital marketing, hotels are still unconvinced about the their actual impact on bookings. One in three of the hotels had no social digital media strategy, and only one in eight used any form of social media as a marketing tool. The responders’ were instead focused on offline strategies to build corporate contracts delivering more predictable business, and on diversifying their online distribution mix. Travel deal platforms such as Travelzoo were perceived by a few as an opportunity to stimulate demand, but more aimed at optimising their use of Google (both PPC and Adwords) and SEO to bring more direct bookings and lower the use of high-commission OTAs.
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • InterContinental Hong Kong deploys Passkey’s GroupMAX
  • Regatta Travel Solutions adds rich media from ICE Portal to its CVB booking engine
  • Best Western moves worldwide RFP processing and management to Nexus
  • LeisureLink lists 1,000+ properties on Groupize
  • Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC) opens with PSAV Presentation Services

The 503-room InterContinental Hong Kong has deployed Passkey’s GroupMAX to manage hotel bookings for its meetings and events. (www.hongkong-ic.intercontinental.com, www.passkey.com)
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Regatta Travel Solutions has teamed with ICE Portal to deliver rich media to its CVB booking engine, using ICE Portal photographers to shoot hotels, activity providers and attractions for its BookBarbadosNow.com site. (www.regattatravelsolutions.com,
www.iceportal.com)
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Best Western International is moving its worldwide RFP processing and management to the Nexus system, beginning with this year’s rate negotiation season. Nexus will help Best Western solicit rates and information from its hotels and maximize the accuracy and speed with which bid responses are communicated back to its Corporate and Travel Management Company clients. (bestwestern.com, www.nexusworldservices.com)
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LeisureLink announced that it is listing over 1,000 of its independent vacation and hotel properties in the U.S. and Canada on Groupize’ group booking service. Travel planners shopping for 5+ rooms via Groupize.com will have access to group rates at LeisureLink properties, as well as to a customized Planning Page with social and management tools and a central hub for tracking signups, payments and modifications to the group. (www.leisurelink.com, www.groupizesolutions.com)
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The new Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC) has opened with PSAV Presentation Services. PSAV also renewed its equipment agreement with the adjacent DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Both properties are owned and operated by United Capital Corp. (www.macc.com, www.doubletreemiamimart.com, www.psav.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • hetras releases comprehensive interface with Vectron’s POS systems
  • Lodge hotel in London selects dotPOS system from Xn Hotel Systems
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hetras has released a comprehensive interface with Vectron’s F&B and Retail POS systems. In addition to room-charge postings, the interface enables:
– automatic discounts for loyalty club members at the article level,
– full guest check detail being sent to the GMS for detailed folio review and statistics,
– POS discounts being sent to the GMS in detail for full tracking in the GMS or accounting system,
– both charges and payments (e.g. cash or credit card) being sent from POS to PMS.
Both hetras and Vectron are cloud-based, removing the need for a site visit to implement the interface. (www.vectron.com.au, www.hetras.com.)
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The 60-bedroom Lodge hotel in London has selected the dotPOS system from Xn Hotel Systems, interfaced to the protel GMS that Xn provided in 2008. The dotPOS system is scheduled to go live in September 2012. (www.thelodgehotellondon.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Four Points’ survey reports tech habits of 6,000 business travelers
  • Ciena Hotels & Suites selects MTech’s HotSOS for its first hotel
  • InterContinental Sydney implements High Speed Internet Access from McLaren Technologies
  • Uniguest unveils TouchTable touch-screen coffee table and TabletDispenser tablet-loan system
  • Bryant Park Hotel becomes 50th hotel to sign up for Intelity’s ICE Mobile
  • Beachtree Properties launches pilot program to loan guests customized iPads at three hotels
  • KoolConnect’s new VU offering converts regular hotel TVs into Internet-equipped Smart TVs
  • UIEvolution and HMS partner on Hospitality TV Platform for cruise liners

What do today’s business travelers bring with them, and what do they use it for? A survey of 6,000 (1,000 each from the United Kingdom, Germany, United States, China, India and Brazil) by Four Points by Sheraton Hotels confirms our suspicions:
* Most respondents (55%) bring three or four devices with them. Most addicted: Brazilians (27% juggle five or more. Least: Germans (33% travel with only one or two).
* Smartphones are the most popular device at 74%, followed by tablets (65%), music players (43%) and laptops (32%).
* Smartphone dependency is high; 54% turn on their phones while the plane is still taxiing on the tarmac, while 12% (cough) never turn it off in the first place (and planes don’t seem to be falling out of the sky as a result…). The remainder wait until they`re in the terminal or taxi/car (17% each). The most popular first thing respondents do when they wake up in their hotel? 36% check their phone (they’re probably just turning off its alarm… sure), ahead of the 19% who turn on the TV and 18% who take a shower.
* Tablets rule: 68% of respondents use a tablet more often than a laptop, and a similar number (69%) would pick the tablet if only allowed to take one device. In Europe, UK (67%) and German (70%) respondents even prefer their tablets to a computer.
Reasons to connect on the road:
* To keep up with email (90%), then internet browsing/social networking (75% overall, though 89% in the UK) and maintaining communication with the office (73%). Least popular: reading a book (43%).
* To check the news. 46% subscribe to 4-7 RSS news feeds (though 55% in India subscribe to only 1-3), principally Reuters (21%), the BBC (15%) and The New York Times (7%).
* Most (60%) believe technology makes their lives easier on the road. This is even higher in the UK (73%), though less so in Germany (53%). 14% of Germans believe it makes life harder.
Communications style:
* Most use emoticons (72%) and shorthand (77%) in daily texts and emails (more so in the UK), but consider them inappropriate when applying for a job (84%), sending condolences (67%) or emailing their boss (66%).
* For friends and family, most business travelers prefer video chat/conference (67%) over email or phone (47% each), with instant messaging/texting down at 37%. Almost 80% get dressed, do their hair and make-up before a video chat/conference, more so in Germany (83%), less so in the UK (78%).
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Ciena Hotels & Suites has selected MTech’s HotSOS Hotel Service Optimization System for its first hotel, due to open in Cotulla, TX in early 2013. (cienahotels.com, www.m-tech.com)
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The InterContinental Sydney has implemented High Speed Internet Access from McLaren Technologies, offering a selection of flexible billing options for both wired and wireless access. Components installed include two Nomadix AG5600 access gateways in High Availability, a Cisco network and two of McLaren’s Hotspot Manager [HSM] Server and Guest Portal.  HotSpot Manager integrates with Nomadix Internet Gateways to enable the rapid set up of random and user-selected wireless profiles. (www.sydney.intercontinental.com, www.nomadix.com, www.mclarenint.com)
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Uniguest has unveiled two new guest-interaction products, the TouchTable touch-screen coffee table that allows guests to surf the web or collaborate without leaving the lounge, and TabletDispenser tablet-loan system.  TouchTable allows guests to view hotel offerings, order food or other services, explore the surrounding area, surf the web and play single and multi-player games without leaving their seats in the lounge, supporting up to four users at once. Guest can use Apple’s AirPlay to share photos, videos and apps from their iOS devices; built-in USB ports allow guests to charge their devices and share files. The TabletDispenser displays and charges any combination of up to six iPads and Android tablets behind the front desk for guest use. When a guest is finished with the tablet and it is returned to the wall-mounted rack, sensitive information is erased, programs are returned to default settings and the device is recharged. (www.uniguest.com)
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New York City’s Bryant Park Hotel has become the 50th hotel to sign up for Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) Mobile technology, giving guests access to a full menu of services via their smartphones or tablets.  (www.bryantparkhotel.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Beachtree Properties has launched a pilot program to provide complimentary use of customized iPads for guests at its 11 boutique hotels across the country, offered initially at the Secrets Inn in South Lake Tahoe, CA, the Heavenly Inn in South Lake Tahoe, CA and the Inn at Deep Creek in Oakland, MD. The iPads will be pre-loaded with apps to find local restaurants, weather and other activities, including Pandora, OpenTable, Pinterest, The Weather Channel and Angry Birds, and will have bookmarked links in Safari that are regionally relevant to encourage guests to explore local attractions, events and history.
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KoolConnect announced its new VU offering, which converts a regular hotel TV into an Internet-equipped “Smart TV” and includes an Electronic Programming Guide (EPG), direct channel tuning from the programming grid and an array of TV “Apps” such as Netflix, Pandora, USA Today, etc.  VU’s design can be customized for the hotel and can include additional property-specific apps including Concierge, TV Check-out, Room Service and more.  Hotels receive a percentage of guest Video on Demand revenues. VU has been installed in the Residence Inn in Framingham, MA. (www.koolconnect.com)
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UIEvolution announced its Hospitality TV Platform for cruise liners, combining HMS’ design, integration and onboard Infotainment delivery systems into a vertical solution for guest entertainment and in-room connectivity in their rooms, common areas and on mobile devices.
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BACK OFFICE

  • Valley Forge Casino Resort implements InvoTech Systems’ GIMS uniform system

Valley Forge Casino Resort, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania has implemented InvoTech Systems’ GIMS uniform system to manage garments for its thousand-person staff, interfaced to a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System for automated uniform delivery.  Employees swiping their infrared barcode ID card at the uniform system door receive their uniforms and locker bags in seconds; an electronic signature capture terminal records the issue of original and loaner uniforms. (www.vfcasino.com, www.invotech.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Yellow Dog Software announce four new orders

Yellow Dog Software announced new orders for its back office inventory management software from the University of Nebraska, Long Beach Lodge Resort, Congress Hall, Clearwater Casino and Mohonk Mountain House.  (www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Marriott certifies Clearview Networks to its Global Property Network Standard

Marriott International has certified Clearview Networks to its Global Property Network Standard (GPNS, formerly ClearSkyNet Initiative), authorizing it to sell a standardized wireless service to Marriott’s hotels. (www.clearviewnetworks.com)
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SECURITY

  • Onity receives AEDIPE Human 2012 Award

Onity has received the Asociación Española de Dirección y Desarrollo de Personas (AEDIPE) Human 2012 Award, recognizing its initiatives in managing, motivating and empowering employees across multiple cultures. AEDIPE, the Spanish Association for Managerial and Human Development, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting human resource activities within organizations nationally and internationally. Its Human Award recognizes the best strategic business and human resources initiatives in three categories: innovation, internationalization and public sector / institutions. Onity received the internationalization award. (www.onity.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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