August 26, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Engineering

Communications

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Tech-savvy travelers cover all ages, spend 50% more on travel than non-techies

Contrary to current belief, travelers who make full use of the Internet, the latest phones and gadgets and rely on social network sites are just as likely to be over 40 as under 30, according to a survey taken in March by Ypartnership and PhoCusWright. More predictable is that these tech-savvy travelers have higher education (30% with a 4-year college degree, 20% with at least one year of graduate school) and income (30% of households with an annual income in excess of $100,000) than their less tech-savvy counterparts. Given these advantages, it’s not surprising that they love to travel (75% would travel more if they had more money, 62% if they had more time) and on average spend over 50% more on travel annually than non-techies.
The survey covered the preferences and habits of 2,559 self-styled “active users” of the latest computer, entertainment or consumer technology who took at least one overnight trip at a hotel or resort over the last year. This group are heavy users of gadgets: two-thirds use their phones to take digital photos (65%) or to text message (63%), one third to access the Internet and 29% to play video games. Away from their phones two-thirds shop online sites such as eBay (67%), 37% own the latest video game console and nearly a quarter have a GPS in their cars.
The tech-savvy focus on using the Internet for travel information was similarly spread evenly across all age ranges; 71% of this group go to it to search for travel information, over half (58%) rate “the ability to check the best fares/rates” as the most important feature in a travel web site, 41% have taken a virtual tour of a destination and 38% have built a trip itinerary online.
As for peer reviews, nearly 40% said they’re influenced by personal comments on social networking or travel advisory web sites, but interestingly they go to social sites such as MySpace.com (56%) and Facebook (30%) more often than to travel review sites such as TripAdvisor (14%). A remarkable 33% say they’ve posted a travel review online.
As a challenge to marketers targeting this attractive group, they often ignore advertising messages and claim that traditional media outlets exert little influence. Over half (56%) read newspapers online, and nearly 20% never read a hard-copy newspaper. More details from “The NEXTgen Traveler” at www.ypartnership.com or www.phocuswright.com.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Lawrence Hall hired as President of PAR Springer-Miller Systems
  • David Sjolander joins TravelCLICK as VP of Strategy and Business Development
  • Andy Mantis joins TravelCLICK as SVP of Product Marketing and Management
  • Paula Christy promoted to TravelCLICK’s VP Corporate Client Sales/Americas
  • Michael Yagemann appointed chairman of iBAHN’s Board
  • Juliet Hodge joins TTI Technologies International as Hotel Relations Manager
  • Mike Edmeyer hired as Vice President of Sales at ReServe Interactive
  • Alan Young elected Chairperson of OTA’s Board of Directors
  • Jo Masters promoted to Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hospitality at SoftBrands
  • Ingvar Herland promoted to General Manager, Research & Technology at Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
  • P.T. Wong promoted to General Manager, Project Coordination and Technical Services at Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels
  • Roomlinx promotes Matt Harris to VP of Operations, Colin Tang to HSIA Support Manager, Wes Song to M&E Support Manager, Rene Harrison to NOC Support Coordinator.
  • Roomlinx hires Char Gross as Senior Sales Executive, Dmitriy Devayev as Managing Developer, Jon Disterhoft as Internal Support Specialist.

Lawrence Hall has been hired as President of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, replacing John Springer-Miller who will stay with the company as a key strategic advisor. Mr. Hall was most recently President & CEO of Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSI), and has held several other prominent senior executive positions in the hospitality technology industry over the past 25 years.
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David Sjolander has joined TravelCLICK in the newly created position of Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. Mr. Sjolander has over 30 years of operational and technology experience in the hotel industry, working with Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt Hotels and earlier with PMS vendors Micor and HIS. For the past 15 years, he has served as Vice President Hotel Systems and functioned as interim Chief Information Officer at Carlson Hospitality Corp.
Andy Mantis has joined TravelCLICK in the newly created position of Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Management. Mr. Mantis comes from a 14-year career at American Express, most recently as Vice President of Network Information Strategy.
Paula Christy has been promoted to TravelCLICK’s Vice President Corporate Client Sales for the Americas. Ms. Christy has 14 years of experience in the travel industry, including eight years as Regional Director of Sales for TravelCLICK; she had earlier worked for Hilton Hotels as the Director of Travel Industry Sales.
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Michael Yagemann has been appointed chairman of iBAHN’s Board, replacing Peter Bodine who will continue to serve as a member of the Board. Mr. Yagemann has served on the iBAHN board for five years and is a founder of Greenbridge Capital LLC. He has also served as partner, co-founder and co-head of the media/telecommunications group at Montgomery Securities, and spent seven years at Bear Stearns.
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Juliet Hodge has joined business-center vendor TTI Technologies International as Hotel Relations Manager. Ms. Hodge served previously as Assistant Manager and Customer Representative at the JFK Airport in New York.
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Mike Edmeyer has been hired as Vice President of Sales at ReServe Interactive. He brings more than 14 years of experience in high-level technology sales and account management with Philips Medical Systems (formerly Picker Medical Systems) and EMC Corporation, as well as six years of catering and event management experience with the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale, Ariz. Mr. Edmeyer has served as an outside consultant for ReServe Interactive since the company’s inception in 1996.
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Alan Young has been elected Chairperson of the Open Travel Alliance’s (OTA’s) Board of Directors. With over 24 years of travel industry experience Mr. Young is currently Head of IBS’ Canada Operations. He was earlier Vice President, Supplier Sales for Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi), which was recently acquired by the IBS Group, and Vice President of Hotel Systems and Integration at Newtrade Technologies.
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Jo-Ann (Jo) Masters has been promoted to Senior Vice President and General Manager, Hospitality at SoftBrands, taking over the role from Steve VanTassel on Oct. 1, 2008. Ms. Masters is currently Vice President and General Manager, SoftBrands Hospitality Americas, and joined SoftBrands in 2000 as General Manager of Australia. Earlier in her career she held positions at Eltrax Systems, Sulcus Australia and All Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
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Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels has promoted Ingvar Herland to General Manager, Research & Technology and Mr. P.T. Wong to General Manager, Project Coordination and Technical Services.
Mr. Herland joined HSH in 2006 as Manager — Engineering. He had earlier worked in telecommunications worldwide for 24 years, after gaining a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the Technical University of Trondheim in his native Norway.
Mr. Wong first joined HSH in 1996 as Senior Assistant Project Manager; he left the Group in 2002, but re-joined in 2006 as Senior Manager, Projects. Born in Malaysia and educated in Hong Kong and the UK, he is an alumnus of Imperial College, London and a Chartered Engineer with the Engineering Council, United Kingdom.
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Roomlinx has announced several staff promotions and new hires.
Matt Harris, former director of operations, has been promoted to Vice President of Operations; he has over 15 years of management and operations experience in the television and cable broadcast industry.
Colin Tang, former Senior NOC Engineer, has been promoted to HSIA Support Manager, overseeing the Vancouver office.
Wes Song has been promoted from the Development Group to M&E Support Manager.
Rene Harrison has been promoted from support to NOC Support Coordinator.
Char Gross has been hired as Senior Sales Executive. Ms. Gross brings 12 years of hospitality sales experience to Roomlinx, previously selling Property Management, Sales and Catering, and Point-of-Sale Systems for both Multi-Systems Inc. (MSI) and Softbrands.
Dmitriy Devayev joins Roomlinx as Managing Developer.
Jon Disterhoft has been hired as an Internal Support Specialist.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Deville Hotels picks MICROS OPERA Suite for 10 hotels in Brazil
  • Scandic selects MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise Solution for 130+ hotels
  • MSI achieves Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft Partner Program

Deville Hotels has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA Property Management System (PMS), Sales & Catering, Sales Force Automation and Web Services Suite for its 10 hotels in Brazil, and MICROS RES 4.0 for POS in all hotel restaurants. The complete OPERA Enterprise Solution will be hosted in Deville Hotels’ headquarter office in Curitiba City; implementation is in progress for completion in early 2009.
European hotel chain Scandic has selected the MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise Solution for its 130+ hotels; it has been a MICROS-Fidelio customer since 1993. Modules to be implemented include the OPERA Reservation System (ORS), Customer Information System (OCIS) and Web Services Suite, all hosted in the MICROS Datacenter located in Frankfurt, Germany.
(www.scandichotels.com, www.micros.com)
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Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has achieved Gold Certified Partner status in the Microsoft Partner Program with competencies in Data Management Solutions and Custom Development Solutions, the highest available level of certification with Microsoft. (www.msisolutions.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Shilo Inns signs with Genares for reservations services
  • China’s Ctrip.com signs partnership with Google China
  • Triphub.com closes its doors
  • Drury Hotels renews distribution contract with Pegasus Solutions
  • CheapOair partners with Hotels.com
  • Starwood signs with SPI for condo hotel software integrated with Galaxy LightSpeed
  • SPI clients to sell and service travel insurance from CSA Travel Protection
  • Greece’s Youtravel.com now distributing resort content and inventory through China’s DerbySoft

Shilo Inns has contracted with Genares Worldwide Reservation Services for its full range of global hotel reservations services. Genares will provide next-generation seamless connectivity to the GDS, access to all major Internet travel sites and a proprietary Web booking engine. (www.shiloinns.com, www.genares.com)
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China’s largest online travel service provider Ctrip.com has signed a partnership with Google China. The new partnership plans to publish Ctrip top trip lists on Google Rebang, as well as Ctrip content to enhance Google Life Search results. (www.ctrip.com, www.google.com)
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Seattle-based Triphub.com, an online startup focused on group travel arrangements, has closed its service. The service attempted to allow groups of people — friends, family members or classmates — to organize and research trips online.
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Drury Hotels has renewed its distribution contract with Pegasus Solutions through 2010 for Pegasus’ central reservation system (CRS) and GDS/ADS distribution for its 120+ hotels. Drury has been a Pegasus customer since 1999. (www.druryhotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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CheapOair has partnered with Hotels.com to let travelers book Hotels.com inventory directly through CheapOair.com, assisted by Hotels.com’s in-depth and current information about each property. (www.cheapoair.com, www.hotels.com)
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has entered into an agreement with Systems Products International (SPI) for integrated condo hotel software for Starwood-managed and franchised properties, integrated with Starwood’s Galaxy LightSpeed property management system. SPI’s software will manage owner reservations, owner rental and the equitable rotation of rental units.
SPI has arranged for its software clients to sell and service specialized travel insurance from CSA Travel Protection whenever they sell a timeshare. The insurance covers annual maintenance fees, exchange fees and taxes should owners be unable to use their vacation privileges; resorts offering it receive a percentage of every sale.
(www.starwoodhotels.com, www.csatravelprotection.com, www.spiinc.com)
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Athens-based Youtravel.com is now distributing its resort content and inventory to Chinese travel agents through DerbySoft, the operator of China’s hotel switch and Global Distribution Network. Later this year, DerbySoft will distribute the content of its Chinese resort properties through Youtravel.com. (www.youtravel.com, www.derbysoft.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Dallas CVB extends partnership with UniFocus to include SERVICEScope
  • New Castle Hotels & Resorts launches UniFocus’ GUESTScope in all independent properties
  • Outrigger Hotels & Resorts names Avalon as its preferred solution for reputation monitoring
  • Accor North America signs with VFM Interactive for rich media management for Motel 6
  • GenaRes selects VFM Interactive for distribution and production of hotel rich visual content
  • MICROS Systems acquires e-commerce services provider Fry, Inc.
  • Shell Vacations Hospitality picks Market Metrix’ real-time satisfaction survey system

The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau has extended its partnership with UniFocus to include its SERVICEScope “mystery shopping” survey system to help the bureau improve phone service and informational assistance to the public.
New Castle Hotels & Resorts has launched UniFocus’ GUESTScope guest survey systems in all independent properties in its portfolio, which includes 31 resorts and hotels the company manages, owns or is developing in the United States and Canada.
(www.dallascvb.com, www.newcastlehotels.com, www.unifocus.com)
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Outrigger Hotels & Resorts has named Avalon Report Corp as its preferred solution for Web 2.0 reputation monitoring. The BUZZ Report will deliver on demand data on traveler reviews, ratings and other user generated content to Outrigger’s 47 properties. (www.outrigger.com, www.avalonreport.com)
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Accor North America has signed with VFM Interactive to provide rich media management and distribution services to its Motel 6 properties. VFM will distribute newly created online video tours for participating properties to partner travel and travel-related websites, and will use its web-based digital media management platform, Vscape, to manage and distribute Motel 6 property photos.
GenaRes Worldwide Reservation Services has selected VFM Interactive as its exclusive partner for the distribution and production of hotel rich visual content. GenaRes will utilize VFM’s Vscape digital media management platform as the single point for the entry, storage, management and distribution of all of its 3,000+ hotels’ images and other rich visual content.
(www.motel6.com, www.genares.com, www.vfmii.com)
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MICROS Systems has acquired Fry, Inc., an e-commerce design, development, and managed services provider. David Fry, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, will remain as President. (www.fry.com, www.micros.com)
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Shell Vacations Hospitality has picked Market Metrix’ real-time satisfaction survey system to optimize the guest experience and improve employee engagement. (www.shellvacationshospitality.com, www.marketmetrix.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • HSMAI survey reports planners seeing an increase in the technology used for meetings
  • Hosmark signs for Nexus’ integrated suite of sales management applications
  • Hilton Hotels rolling out tech-oriented Hilton Meetings program in North America
  • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces implementing Cisco TelePresence in five properties

A pre-show survey for HSMAI’s cumbersomely-named Affordable Meetings National and Event Technology Expo reports that planners are seeing an increase in the amount of technology used for meetings of all sizes. Over half of the respondents (57.5 percent) are using online registration, 20.4 percent provide video conferencing, 17.7 percent use social networks and 14.2 percent blogs. Others mentioned the increasing use of electronic surveys, cyber cafes, and podcasts. (www.hsmai.org)
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UK hotel representation company Hosmark has become the first specialist group bookings agency to benefit from Nexus’ integrated suite of sales management applications, which combines sales force automation (HotelworX) with a group sales lead application (GroupworX). Hosmark handles 6,000 UK clients on behalf of 70 hotels around the world. (www.hosmark.com, www.nexusworldservices.com)
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Hilton Hotels is rolling out its successful Hilton Meetings program in North America. The program was launched eight years ago in the UK and will be offered at most U.S. properties by the end of this year; it was piloted at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport. Hilton Meetings is designed for groups of 50 or less, offers business travelers a choice between the formal boardroom setting and flexible multi-purpose rooms. Boardroom tables are equipped with built-in tabletop power strips, data portals and wired and wireless Internet access points. All meeting rooms will include 3M Digital Easels, a virtual whiteboard but which uses actual paper. The O’Hare property featured a 65-in. Sharp plasma TV, a Zvox 425 Surround Speaker System and Apple TV digital media receiver. (www.hilton.com)
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Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces is implementing Cisco TelePresence high definition video-conferencing facilities in five properties, in collaboration with Tata Communications. The rooms are currently available at Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai and Taj West End, Bangalore; they will be introduced late at The Pierre, New York, Taj Boston and 51 Buckingham Gate, London. (www.tajhotels.com, www.cisco.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • AccuBar releases Version 4.0 of beverage management system
  • Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London selects InfoGenesis POS
  • Urban Tavern Restaurant to use Capton’s Beverage Tracker

AccuBar has released Version 4.0 of its beverage management system, which provides remote Web-based access to multiple locations. The new version includes more tools for wine management (e.g. printing a wine list based only on what is in stock, assigning bin numbers to wine, searching handhelds by bin number and distinguishing between different vintages of a wine), better reporting and analytical tools, more powerful reordering capabilities, support for the Firefox browser and mobile phones, and a revamped approach to managing banquets and events. (www.accubar.com)
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The 200-room Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system. (www.mohg.com, www.agilysys.com)
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The new Urban Tavern Restaurant will use Capton’s RFID-based Beverage Tracker when it opens this month in downtown San Francisco at the Hilton Hotel’s Urban Tavern, which is operated by C & L Partners. (www.captoninc.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Apple promotes hospitality industry solutions
  • Chief Manufacturing releases CM8 automated flat-panel TV tilt mount
  • Holiday Inn Select Hotel & Suites Chicago O’Hare installs FlyteBoard and FlytePass
  • Sheraton implements Microsoft’s Surface systems in five Sheraton hotels
  • Arizona Biltmore installs Gold Key Solutions’ Concierge Assistant
  • Resource Technology Management announces project management service to help owners and hoteliers convert to HDTV and flat-screen TVs
  • Uniguest named one of the 50 fastest-growing, privately owned companies in Middle Tennessee

Apple has posted an online seminar called “Mac for Hospitality” pitching various hospitality industry solutions featuring Mac hardware running Nanonation software, such as an iMac-based digital concierge, Mac mini-based on-demand video services, and Xserve-controlled display systems. Nanonation’s Nanopoint and Commandpoint software are used for system set-up and maintenance. Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines already has fitted several cruise ships with Mac minis; both US-based Fontainbleau Resorts and UK-based City Inn Group plan to outfit every room with an iMac computer for guest use. (www.apple.com)
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Chief Manufacturing has released its CM8 automated flat-panel TV tilt mount, providing smooth flat panel tilt at the touch of a button. It provides an automated tilt when the TV is turned on and automatically returns to a low-profile, flush position when the TV is powered off. (www.chiefmfg.com)
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The Holiday Inn Select Hotel & Suites Chicago O’Hare/Rosemont in Rosemont, IL has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard and FlytePass, and is planning to test the FlyteChannel guestroom airline information television feed, in cooperation with an in-room entertainment vendor. (www.flytesystems.com)
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Sheraton Hotels & Resorts has implemented Microsoft’s Surface table-top systems in the lobbies of five Sheraton hotels, in Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. Three highlighted applications are CityTips (satellite maps and tools to search for local restaurants and bars, entertainment, recreation, shopping, transportation and services, such as banks and pharmacies), Sounds of Sheraton digital jukebox and Sheraton Snapshots where guests can browse the Surface photo library of Sheraton resorts and hotel properties to help them plan for future business or leisure travel. (www.sheraton.com, www.microsoft.com)
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The Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix has installed Gold Key Solutions’ Concierge Assistant (CA) software to manage guest service requests at the 750-room resort. (www.arizonabiltmore.com, www.goldkeysolutions.com)
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Resource Technology Management (RTM) has announced a project management service to help owners and hoteliers convert to HDTV and flat-screen TVs. Services include contract review/negotiation, vendor recommendations, making property specific recommendations on HDTV signal compatibility, Request for Proposal management, project management for upgrades or cable plant replacement, recommendations on third party installers, etc. (www.rtm-inc.com)
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Uniguest has been named one of the 50 fastest-growing, privately owned companies headquartered in Middle Tennessee in the 2008 Nashville Area Chamber Future 50. (www.uniguest.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Biltmore Farms Hotels installing solar water heating system on Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Park Town Square
  • Milwaukee’s Metro Hotel installing Telkonet SmartEnergy

Biltmore Farms Hotels is installing a solar water heating system on its 165-room Hilton Hotel in Biltmore Park Town Square, due to open summer 2009. The system will provide over 2,000 gallons of hot water a day, expected to save approximately $10,000 annually in fossil fuel costs at current rates. (www.biltmorefarms.com)
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The Metro Hotel in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin is installing Telkonet’s in-room, occupancy-driven SmartEnergy (TSE) energy management solution throughout the property. (www.hotelmetro.com, www.telkonet.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • MobileAccess wins $15 million-plus in new wireless projects in the first half of 2008
  • Marriott and AT&T to offer converged IP networks for voice and data transmission

MobileAccess announced that it has won over $15 million in new in-building wireless projects within the hospitality industry in the first half of 2008. (www.mobileaccess.com)
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Marriott International and AT&T announced an agreement to offer converged IP networks for voice and data transmission, supporting guest and employee needs for both wired and wireless services throughout the hotel. The converged network was piloted at the recently opened Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The open-standards solution is based on Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) design principles. AT&T provides Managed Internet and Managed Router services, WiFi connectivity, deployment and management. Marriott expects guest satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business to increase at installed hotels through greater reliability of wired and wireless high-speed Internet access and automatic bandwidth adjusted for peak demand. The converged network will also allow hotels to incorporate advanced interactive communications services such as video-on-demand, Internet TV and VoIP telephony more easily, quickly and more cost effectively. Marriott is also working on a cost-effective solution for retrofitting existing hotels with a converged network as they are renovated. (www.marriott.com, www.att.com)
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SECURITY

  • 70,000+ wood hotel key cards to be used in Denver hotels during the Democratic National Convention
  • ASSA ABLOY Hospitality selected as associate member of ASFONA
  • Swann Communications announces wireless digital ADW-300 Security Camera

Sustainable Cards has donated over 70,000 wood hotel key cards from CPI Card Group to Denver hotels for use during the Democratic National Convention. Used for nearly a decade in Europe, the biodegradable wooden key cards have proven to be equally durable to plastic key cards. (www.sustainablecards.com)
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ASSA ABLOY Hospitality and its VingCard, Elsafe and TimeLox brands have been selected as associate members of the Association of Starwood Franchisees & Owners North America (ASFONA). Consisting of hotel owners and owners’ representatives, ASFONA members work with Starwood to develop brand policies, standards and procedures. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.vingcard.com, www.elsafe.com, www.timelox.com)
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Swann Communications has announced its wireless ADW-300 Security Camera. Swann’s Advanced Digital Wireless (ADW) technology transmits a ‘point to point’ digital wireless feed from the camera to the receiver, which can be connected to a DVR, VCR or monitor for viewing and/or recording. Advantages claimed include clearer video pictures and sound, less interference and an encrypted signal for privacy. The ADW-300 color camera automatically switches to black and white with infra-red night vision in low light situations, and has a wireless transmission range of at least 160ft. (www.swannsecurity.com)
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