August 26, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

AUGUST 13 – 26, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Wanted: a hotel chain pioneer
  • Hospitality tech vendors recognized in the Inc. 5,000

What’s it going to take for a hotel chain to take the plunge with one of the new breed of guest management systems? Great interest was aroused 3-4 years ago when several vendors announced new-generation cloud-based products, with the promise of vastly more appealing user interfaces, greater reliability, faster development for enhancements and significantly easier deployment and training.
Progress on many of these has been steady if not as fast as hoped for, but while most lack depth of functionality in some areas all are capable of running at least focused-service hotels, and some much more. While most of them are slowly selling in ones and twos to innovative hoteliers finding just what they need, none of them have yet found a major client. What they’re all looking for is a hotel chain willing to commit to one of them for multiple hotels, even as a pilot, and seeing such promise in the new approach that they’re willing to wait a while until all the functionality they’d really like has been developed, influencing that development along the way.
While all of the new breed are appealing, you can find a reason with each one for a chain to be cautious and take a “wait and see” approach. To take some examples, PAR Springer-Miller’s Atrio has a highly original and very appealing user interface, as does Agilysys’ new rGuest, yet both, as new products, need to be sold into the midrange commercial hotel segment where neither vendor had much experience with their prior resort-focused systems. Infor’s HMS has more functionality than most and a good UI, yet it’s unclear what the impact of Infor’s wide coverage of many verticals is on its interest in selling GMSs. The same can be said of Micros’ Opera 9; while not a new product as such its significantly improved UI is very encouraging, but the impact of Oracle’s ownership has yet to be seen. Skytouch is a proven product with a great track record at Choice, but until it’s spun off as a completely separate company how independent will it really be of Choice’s influence? And so on.
All of these objections have some validity, but they all miss the point. Every one of these is a proven product in operational use (except rGuest, but I’ve seen enough of that system to be very encouraged), and while they may not yet be as fully-functioned as many chains would like no system is ever really “complete”. Backing any one of them now would give a chain a significant advantage in being able to shape its extended development and gain some very real benefits.
This whole situation reminds me of when Fidelio introduced a new approach to user interface design and functionality 25 years ago, yet didn’t really see widespread adoption until Hilton International took the plunge and adopted it, taking early advantage of what became a worldwide standard. Which visionary chain is going to take the lead this time?
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Evidence that interest in hospitality technology is growing fast continues to mount. The latest indication is that this year’s Inc. 5000, a listing of the fastest-growing privately-held companies in North America, includes four hospitality system vendors:
#2200 – Four Winds Interactive
#2745 – The Rainmaker Group
#3178 – Dinerware
# 4081 – Unifocus
Many congratulations!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Jacob Buckstead hired by SkyTouch as VP Client Partnerships
  • St. John Murphy joins Sabre as VP Enterprise Accounts
  • Christopher Donnellon joins Sabre as VP Strategy & Planning
  • Steve Smith hired by CheckMate as VP Global Sales

Jacob Buckstead has been hired by SkyTouch Technology as Vice President of Client Partnerships. In a 15 year career in international hospitality technology, Mr. Buckstead has gained extensive experience working with hotel brands and ownership groups including, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood and Accor.
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St. John Murphy has joined Sabre Hospitality Solutions as Vice President for Enterprise Accounts. A highly respected industry veteran, Mr. Murphy brings an extensive background in the travel and tourism industry as well as experience with a number of top technology companies. He most recently served as the Global Travel & Hospitality Leader with NTT Data; he earlier fulfilled various leadership roles at AMR Corp., Global-Res Inc., Avis Rent A Car and Perot Systems, and was a partner at BearingPoint before he and his team were acquired by NTT Data Inc.
Christopher Donnellon has joined Sabre Hospitality Solutions as Vice President of Strategy & Planning. Mr. Donnellon brings strong experience in driving strategic improvement and guiding high-performing teams; he has advised various Fortune 500 corporations on corporate strategy and operations issues for over 10 years, most recently with the Boston Consulting Group.
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Steve Smith has been hired by CheckMate as Vice-President Global Sales. Mr. Smith brings a strong background in business technology sales, especially with start-up companies. His past experience includes senior leadership at digital agencies, start-ups and Fortune 1,000 brands, including helping start Yelp’s sales team.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Value Place migrates to MSI’s TruCloud for 190 properties
  • Best Western certifies MSI’s CloudPM for general release in its properties
  • Skyware completes 2-way interface with eRevMax’s RateTiger & Connect
  • Frontdesk Anywhere announces interface with SiteMinder’s Channel Manager
  • Golden Nugget Lake Charles picks Agilysys’ LMS, GolfPro, Insight Mobile Manager and DataMagine
  • B4CheckIn completes all requirements for PCI DSS 3.0
  • Swiss-Belhotel Seef Bahrain  selects Protel Single Property Edition GMS and Xn POS from Xn Hotel Systems

Value Place has selected Multi-Systems, Inc.’s (MSI’s) TruCloud cloud-based applications to manage its property management, secure point-to-point encryption payment processing, central reservation services, website booking, guest loyalty and national sales, replacing an MSI on-premise property management system, third-party CRS provider, and other disparate systems. Value Place operates nearly 190 extended-stay hotels in 32 states.
Best Western International has certified MSI’s CloudPM for general release in its hotel properties.
(www.ValuePlace.com, www.bestwestern.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Skyware Hospitality Solutions has completed a 2-way interface with eRevMax’s RateTiger & Connect for automated channel management and reservation delivery. (www.erevmax.com, www.skywaresystems.com)
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Frontdesk Anywhere has announced an interface with SiteMinder’s Channel Manager online room inventory and rate management. (www.siteminder.com, www.FrontdeskAnywhere.com)
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The Golden Nugget Lake Charles has selected an Agilysys software suite, including its Lodging Management System (LMS), GolfPro, Insight Mobile Manager mobile dashboard application and DataMagine document management. The new 740-room casino resort is scheduled to open later this year; several other Golden Nugget properties also use Agilysys solutions. (www.goldennuggetlc.com, www.agilysys.com)
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B4CheckIn announced that it has completed all the requirements of the latest PCI DSS, version 3.0. (www.b4checkin.com)
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The 149-room Swiss-Belhotel Seef Bahrain  has selected Xn Hotel Systems for GMS, POS and Guest Marketing applications, installing the Protel Single Property Edition GMS and Xn POS systems as the core rooms and F&B systems applications. (www.swiss-belhotel.com, www.protel.net, www.xnhotels.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Greater New Smyrna Beach has ordered Regatta Travel Solutions’ booking engine

Greater New Smyrna Beach has ordered Regatta Travel Solutions’ booking engine for its official destination website, allowing visitors to the destination website to book hotels, attractions and packages. (nsbfla.com, www.regattatravelsolutions.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • RoamingAround offering RoamView interactive virtual property tours
  • Ivy Boutique Hotel implements Flip.to
  • Palisades Resort Hotel implements Flip.to
  • Singgasana Hotels picks TrustYou
  • Thomas Cook using TrustYou to monitor more than 45,000 hotels
  • Worldhotels actively promoting hotels with highest ratings in TrustYou
  • TravelClick receives 28 Interactive Media Awards website design
  • Infor acquires Saleslogix

RoamingAround is now offering RoamView interactive virtual property tours, which incorporate virtual reality, overhead drone footage, GoPro cameras, educational videos and interactive buttons. These tours can be embedded in a property’s website or app; individual portions can be used as a sales tool or in social media presence for potential guests and meeting planners to experience the hotel remotely. RoamingAround will film and photograph rooms, meeting spaces, common areas and other locations of interest, and then render the images. (www.RoamingAround.com)
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The 63-room Ivy Boutique Hotel, Chicago, has implemented Flip.to.
The 75-suite Palisades Resort Hotel, Orlando, FL has implemented Flip.to.
(www.exploreivy.com, www.palisadesvacations.com, www.flip.to)
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Singgasana Hotels has picked TrustYou to provide reputation management services for its hotels throughout Indonesia, including The Sultan Hotel and Residence Jakarta, Ayodya Resort Bali, and Singgasana Hotel Surabaya.
Thomas Cook will use TrustYou online reputation management (ORM) tool to monitor more than 45,000 hotels in its portfolio. The results will be used by Thomas Cook to provide hotel partners with a real-time indication of how they are performing in the eyes of their customers, identifying areas for improvement.
Worldhotels is actively promoting those of its hotels that receive the highest ratings with TrustYou, publishing their TrustScores and promoting the best-performing hotels in a special newsletter.
(www.singgasanahotels.com, www.thomascookgroup.com, www.worldhotels.com, www.trustyou.com)
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TravelClick has received 28 Interactive Media Awards (IMA) in the hotel/resort category, combining 10 Best in Class and 18 Outstanding Achievement awards for website design. (www.TravelClick.com)
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Infor has acquired CRM vendor Saleslogix. Renamed as Infor CRM, the Saleslogix system will be integrated into Infor’s ERP and Finance systems. (www.saleslogix.co, www.infor.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Rainmaker listed in  Inc. 5,000 for fourth consecutive year
  • The Luxe Nomad signs with SiteMinder’s RDX platform

The Rainmaker Group has been in the Inc. 5,000, Inc. magazine’s list of the nation’s fastest growing private companies, for the fourth consecutive year. Coming in at # 2,745, Rainmaker reported three-year revenue growth of 136 percent and has added 64 employees in the previous three years. (www.inc.com, www.LetItRain.com)
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Asia Pacific-based luxury hotel booking website The Luxe Nomad has signed with SiteMinder’s RDX platform for two-way links between booking channels, guest management systems and central reservation systems worldwide. TheLuxeNomad.com is a members-only site that offers Flash Sales and 24/7 Best Available Rates of luxury hotels, resorts and villas, and currently lists over 400 properties. (www.theluxenomad.com, www.siteminder.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando implements iPad menus from Uptown Network
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The Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s Bull & Bear restaurant has implemented iPad menus from Uptown Network, and has made the app available through Apple iTunes Store for pre-arrival menu browsing. (waldorfastoria.hilton.com/Orlando?, www.uptownnetwork.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Percipia moves to new headquarters at Michigan Plaza, Chicago
  • Ritz-Carlton rolling out mobile app for check-in, check-out, service requests; will add “Travel Poster” feature
  • Hyatt integrates Uber’s ride-sharing service into revamped mobile guest app
  • Intelity adds Knowcross’s KNOW SERVICE guest request management module to ICE
  • FCS opens new office in Mumbai
  • Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa installs TAC’s Reservation Assistant from Xn Hotel Systems
  • Shelbourne Dublin installs Acentic’s Panorama NG system
  • Grosvenor House installing Guest-tek’s internet and IPTV
  • Marriott expands mobile check-in and checkout to additional 11 brands
  • Safemark Systems and ScooterBug merge

Percipia has moved to new headquarters at Michigan Plaza, between Chicago’s Millenium Park and Magnificent Mile. Percipia has additional offices in Las Vegas, Nevada and Chennai, India.  (www.percipia.com)
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Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Resorts is rolling out a mobile app for mobile check-in and check-out, real-time service requests, food and beverage ordering, folio review, local content and offers. Later this year the app will add a shareable “Travel Poster” feature, which will enable guests to curate their own images with special filters, titles and stamps to create retro-style travel posters to capture their memories and share them on their social network. (www.ritzcarlton.com)
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Hyatt Hotels Corp. has integrated Uber’s ride-sharing service into its revamped iOS and Android app. In cities where Uber operates, an Uber button appears under the My Reservations section of the app from the day of check-in to the end of the stay. It offers guests the option to use available Uber transport from their current location to their Hyatt hotel and provides an estimated wait time and estimated trip price. (www.hyatt.com, www.uber.com)
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Intelity has added Knowcross Solutions’ KNOW SERVICE guest request management module to its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) guest service platform. Guest requests register into the back-end ICE Request Manager, which automatically communicates them to the KNOW SERVICE system. Staff then review and assign requests, complaints and maintenance jobs, and update the status of these jobs from their mobile devices. (www.knowcross.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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FCS Computer Systems has opened a new office in Mumbai, India.  (www.fcscs.com)
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Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary and Holistic Spa, Koh Samui, Thailand, has installed TAC’s Reservation Assistant from Xn Hotel Systems to manage its spa, activity and dining bookings. (www.kamalaya.com, www.xnhotels.com/)
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The 265-room Shelbourne Dublin, a Marriott Renaissance Hotel, has installed Acentic’s Panorama NG system, turning the hotel TVs into interactive media hubs supporting guest’s devices and content display. Using Acentic’s Push & Play application, guests can now view and stream movies, music or video content from their own devices to their in-room TV.
The 496-room Grosvenor House, a JW Marriott hotel, is installing Guest-tek’s GPNS compatible high speed internet and IPTV. Guests will also be able to stream their own content to the Samsung in-room TVs using Guest-tek’s myAway TV feature.
Marriott International is expanding its mobile check-in and checkout feature to an additional 11 brands: Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection, AC Hotels, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites and Marriott Executive Apartments. Marriott Rewards members receive a push notification on their iPhones or Android devices after 4 p.m. the day before their arrival alerting them they can check-in, followed by an automatic notification when their room is ready. On arrival they collect their key card from an expedited mobile check-in desk. At the end of their stays, a push notification alerts guests that mobile checkout is available. Upon completion, guests are prompted for an email address where their bill should be sent. Mobile check-in and checkout are available in English, French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.
(www.marriott.com, acentic.com, www.guest-tek.com)
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Safemark Systems and ScooterBug has merged, adding ScooterBug’s guest mobility equipment to Safemark’s Best Lockers electronic locker division. ScooterBug provides rental products including scooters, strollers and wheelchairs that can be delivered directly to local hotels and resorts.  (www.scooterbug.com, www.bestlockers.com, www.safemark.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando implements InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort has implemented InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform System to automate management of the property’s more than 7,000 custom uniforms. The Orlando resort is the ninth Four Seasons resort that utilizes InvoTech’s system. (www.fourseasons.com/orlando, www.invotech.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Telstra extends cloud-based unified communications service to 25 countries
  • Inn Marin installs Comcast Business’ 400Mbps fiber-optic Ethernet service

Telstra has extended its cloud-based unified communications service, launched in Australia last year in partnership with Cisco, to 25 countries across four continents. The service is delivered via Telstra’s cloud infrastructure, which now extends to seven locations throughout the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific. (www.telstra.com.au)
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Inn Marin has installed Comcast Business’ 400Mbps fiber-optic Ethernet service to help improve its guest experience. (innmarin.com, business.comcast.com)
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