August 29, 2006

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Hospitality’s tech challenges aren’t unique

Because hospitality technology is a pretty specialized field, it’s easy to think that our challenges are unique. However, a recent feature article in InfoWorld magazine showed that many other industries face the same issues we do.
Since InfoWorld tends to focus on IT developments and solutions in general, it decided to look at five different vertical markets to see what specific problems arose they had, and if there were lessons that could apply to IT in general. The reporters looked at several different companies each in the arenas of financial services, retail, telecommunications, health care, and government.
The result was a major reality check on the types of real-world problems that get in the way of implementing new technology. Sure, the advantages of new developments are attractive, but they’ll remain a goal rather than a fact while, for example, some large retail chains still struggle to switch stores from dial-up to broadband. And in hospitals, where doctors would benefit from having access to consolidated patient records wherever they are but don’t have desks, resolving basic hurdles such as putting laptops on wheeled carts and ensuring strong wireless coverage throughout the building are first-step necessities.
There was one overriding common theme, however – consolidation. All five verticals emphasized the cost and efficiency benefits of standardized operations running on centrally-hosted systems, with Web-services links to older applications that cannot realistically be replaced just yet. To quote the summary, “Telecom may lead this trend, but few industries can afford to maintain a bloated hodgepodge of applications and their associated operating costs. Consolidation is the only way to leave anything in the IT budget for innovation.”
The real world will always throw up unexpected challenges which need pragmatic solutions, but we can be reassured that other industries have the same goals we do, are using the same technologies to get there, and provide experience we can learn from.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Scott Alvis appointed president and general manager of SynXis
  • Chet Smith hired as KoolConnect Technologies’ Chief Technical Officer
  • George Schweitzer named Executive Vice President of Business Development at UniFocus
  • Jessie Burgess promoted to director of the IT – Telecommunications at Accor North America
  • Brian Cunningham leaves Nirvana, launches ActivityTec consultancy

Scott Alvis has been appointed as president and general manager of SynXis. With more than 18 years of experience in the travel industry, 16 of them with Sabre, Mr. Alvis was previously Sabre Holdings’ vice president of enterprise marketing. He had earlier held the position of senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sabre Travel Network, as well as vice president of airline sales and marketing, manager and managing director of professional Sabre and manager of financial analysis.
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Chet Smith has been hired as KoolConnect Technologies’ Chief Technical Officer (CTO), coming from Bose Corporation where he had served as Director of Software Engineering. With over twenty-five years of experience in software development, Mr. Smith has also held executive level positions at Nortel and various technology start-up companies.
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George Schweitzer has been named a partner at UniFocus and will assume the role of Executive Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Schweitzer was formerly President and C.E.O. of LaborSage, which has been acquired by UniFocus.
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Jessie Burgess has been promoted to director of the Information Technology – Telecommunications Department at Accor North America. Mr. Burgess was most recently Accor’s manager of Enterprise Communications Services, and earlier had served for over five years as a communications and computer systems officer in the US Air Force.
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Brian Cunningham has launched ActivityTec, a consultancy for guest activity service operations such as golf, spa, dining, fitness center, child program, adventure tours, etc. Mr. Cunningham was most recently founder and CEO of Nirvana Technology, a vendor of Web-based activity reservation and eCommerce software. He had earlier founded activities software vendor Rio Systems International, following several years experience at Springer-Miller Systems.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Visual One integrates IDeaS’ Revenue Optimization with its PMS

Visual One announced the integration of IDeaS’ Revenue Optimization with its Property Management System, to help set Best Available Rates and maximize both transient and group revenue. The integrated products have been installed at various joint clients including the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. (www.ideas.com, www.v1s.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • China Airlines signs with OctopusTravel.com to provide hotel, etc. bookings on its website
  • Noble House renews contract with Pegasus for reservation services for its 13 properties
  • Groupology launches small-group reservations service using PegsTour and UltraDirect
  • Pegasus finalizes reservation services contracts for 37 former Distinguished Hotels properties
  • InterContinental contracts with Pegasus for commission processing
  • www.search.travel search engine gives priority to “.travel”-authenticated sites
  • Travelocity planning to let travelers use existing miles and points to book travel services

China Airlines, Taiwan’s national carrier, has contracted with OctopusTravel.com to provide hotel, apartments, car hire and private transfer bookings on its website. OctopusTravel will also provide China Airline’s customers with local call centre support in local dialects. (www.china-airlines.com, www.octopustravel.com)
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Noble House Hotels & Resorts has renewed its contract with Pegasus Solutions for distribution and reservation services for its 13 properties nationwide. The agreement covers the use of Pegasus HotelFactory central reservation system, voice reservation services through Pegasus’ call centers, online reservations from Noble’s website through the Open Hospitality booking engine and a one-way interface from HotelFactory to the Springer Miller property management system Noble uses at all properties. Noble House has been a Pegasus customer since 2001.
Groupology has launched a small-group reservations service, targeted at bookings for five or more rooms and with a special focus on the SMERF (social, military, education, religious and fraternal) segment. Groupology will use Pegasus Solutions’ PegsTour and UltraDirect electronic distribution products combined into a single interface, linking tour operators and hotel reservation systems.
Pegasus Solutions has finalized contracts to provide reservation and distribution services for 37 of the 60+ independent properties that were previously members of Distinguished Hotels, which ceased its marketing and representation operations in April. Pegasus also acquired the “DH” chain code. Pegasus had continued to provide service to all the hotels for an interim period.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has contracted with Pegasus for commission processing on behalf of its hotels to travel agents and distributors worldwide.
(www.noblehousehotels.com, www.groupology.com, www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.pegs.com)
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Following the introduction of the .travel Internet domain six months ago, a new search engine has been launched to focus on the destinations and tourism-related companies registered under it. In order to own a .travel Internet domain name, applicants must be authenticated to verify that they are legitimate travel companies and legally entitled to use the domain names. The search.travel engine returns results from the entire World Wide Web, but gives priority to .travel-authenticated destinations and businesses. (www.search.travel)
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Travelocity is planning to allow travelers to use the miles and points from their various loyalty-reward programs to book travel services. Being developed with reward-management portal Points.com, the program is scheduled for release by year-end.
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Lodging Interactive launches eProposal Rapid RFP Response system
  • IPIX liquidating its 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology
  • Wynn Las Vegas picks WebSideStory’s HBX Analytics to optimize its Web site

Lodging Interactive has launched its eProposal Rapid RFP Response system, a browser based application that helps hotels and resorts quickly prepare custom responses to inbound RFPs for group and event space. The eProposal system is based on a website designed for each hotel to showcase its meeting space, floor plans, accommodations, menus, and food & beverage operations. RFP responses created by hotel sales managers include a unique user name and password for access to a secure, personalized hotel website with information tailored to the upcoming event. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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IPIX Corp is liquidating its patented high-resolution digital 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology after filing for bankruptcy. The technology was used by many hotels to generate pan-and-tilt 360-degree views of meeting rooms, guestrooms and public spaces; the 360-degree video system was targeted at the surveillance market, including the US military and border management. (www.ipix.com)
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Wynn Las Vegas has selected WebSideStory’s HBX Analytics to optimize its Web site, tracking visitor interaction with both rich and streaming media for a better understanding of visitor behavior. (www.wynnlasvegas.com, www.websidestory.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • GenaRes integrates AnyRate’s competitive rate intelligence software into its CRS
  • IDeaS integrates Revenue Optimization with Visual One’s Property Management System

GenaRes Worldwide Reservation Services has integrated AnyRate’s competitive rate intelligence software into its CRS, complementing its earlier integration with EZ Yield. GenaRes customers will be able to use the AnyRate competitive rate shopping programs at discounted fees, including the AnyRate Flash real-time rate search tool. (www.any-rate.com, www.genares.com)
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IDeaS announced the integration of its Revenue Optimization with Visual One’s Property Management System, to help set Best Available Rates and maximize both transient and group revenue. The integrated products have been installed at various joint clients including the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Alabama. (www.ideas.com, www.v1s.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Certain Software releases Version 4.7 of Register123
  • Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) contracts with Passkey

Certain Software has released Version 4.7 of its Register123 meeting management application. Enhancements include more automated communications with travel agencies on changes in registrants’ ravel information, on-site registration with kiosk badge printing and more flexible payment processing options, including accepting cash payments and collecting wire transfer bank routing information. (www.certain.com)
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The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) has contracted with Passkey for online group reservations as part of its convention services package for event planners. (www.visitlasvegas.com, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Cheesecake Factory implementing QSR Automations’ ConnectSmart Kitchen
  • Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas installs InfoGenesis POS
  • Black Angus Steakhouse to install Compeat Restaurant Accounting Systems in 85 sites
  • OpenTable passes 25-millionth diner milestone
  • Denny’s selects Radiant’s MenuLink back office software for 543 restaurants

The Cheesecake Factory is implementing QSR Automations’ ConnectSmart Kitchen (CSK) kitchen management system in its Cheesecake Factory and Grand Lux Cafe restaurants. CSK will be installed in each of the 21 new restaurants the company will open in its fiscal 2006, and be retrofitted to each of the seven existing Grand Lux Cafes. (www.qsrautomations.com)
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Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas has installed InfoGenesis POS, the eighth Station Casinos property to do so. Red Rock Resort, in Summerlin, Nevada, includes a 25,000 square-foot spa, nine restaurants and a nightclub. (www.redrocklasvegas.com, www.infogenesis.com)
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American Restaurant Group has contracted with Compeat Restaurant Accounting Systems to provide back office software for 85 locations of its Black Angus Steakhouse restaurants. (www.stuartandersons.com, www.compeat.com)
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OpenTable has passed the 25-millionth diner milestone for its online restaurant reservations service, nine months after achieving its 15-million-diner milestone. (www.opentable.com)
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Denny’s has selected Radiant Systems’ MenuLink back office software for its 543 restaurants. (www.dennys.com, www.radiantsystems.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Hampton Hotels releases new “My Hampton” home page portal for guests’ HSIA access
  • Sybase recognizes Metromedia’s HotelEXPERT as finalist in its sixth annual Innovator Awards
  • icableholder appoints StayOnline as North American distributor

Hampton Hotels has released a new “My Hampton” home page for guests logging on to the high-speed Internet service at its 1,350+ properties. The portal provides local restaurants, maps, directions, weather and news. (www.hampton.com)
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Sybase iAnywhere recognized Metromedia Software as a finalist in its sixth annual Innovator Awards. The four winners were McDonald’s Corporation, Tennant Company, Spring Wireless and FarmWizard Limited. Metromedia was recognized for its HotelEXPERT application. The Innovator Awards recognize the innovative use of iAnywhere technology in advanced applications providing anywhere, anytime access to enterprise information. (www.sybase.com, www.hotelexpert.us)
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Australia-based icableholder has appointed StayOnline as the exclusive North American distributor of its guestroom broadband connection point and cable holder. (www.icableholder.com, www.stayonline.net)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Carnus Systems launches Auto-RLM automated Revenue & Labor Management System
  • Valutec and Shift4 partner to process gift and loyalty cards through POS systems
  • UniFocus acquiring LaborSage

Carnus Systems has launched Auto-RLM, its Web-based automated Revenue & Labor Management System. Auto-RLM offers rooms demand forecasting (occupancy, arrivals, departures, and guest count), revenue forecasting, ADR forecasting & optimizing (including real-time competitive rate reporting) and automated departmental labor scheduling. No PMS interface is required; hotels upload their existing daily reports to Auto-RLM for analysis using its artificial intelligence software. (www.carnussystems.com)
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Valutec Card Solutions has certified a high-speed connection to allow Shift4’s $$$ ON THE NET to accept and process Valutec gift and loyalty cards directly through point-of-sale (POS) systems. (www.valutecinfo.com, www.shift4.com)
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UniFocus is acquiring LaborSage, provider of banquet and event labor scheduling software EventSage. EventSage integrates with Banquet Event Order Systems to schedule catering and meeting labor according to event needs, using work content analysis to determine the staff and equipment resources required to setup, service and tear down events. EventSage is intended to complement UniFocus’ existing Watson, R.M. Labor Management Systems (LMS). (www.unifocus.com)
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SECURITY

  • IPIX liquidating its digital 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology
  • Safemark Systems announced recent installations of its guestroom safes at fourteen hotels
  • Hotel 1000 installs Miwa’s FeLica proximity locks

IPIX Corp is liquidating its patented high-resolution digital 360-degree still/video photo and surveillance technology after filing for bankruptcy. The technology was used by many hotels to generate pan-and-tilt 360-degree views of meeting rooms, guestrooms and public spaces; the 360-degree video system was targeted at the surveillance market, including the US military and border management. (www.ipix.com)
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Safemark Systems announced recent installations of its guestroom safes at fourteen hotels in the USA, Mexico and the Maldive Islands. (www.safemark.com)
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Seattle’s recently-opened Hotel 1000 has installed Miwa’s FeLica proximity locks in all guestrooms. The locks can read a key from within one inch of the lock. Hotel 1000 is one of the first users in the United States to install the system, which was introduced three to four years ago in Japan and is currently in use in over 10,000 rooms worldwide. (www.hotel1000seattle.com, www.miwalock.com)
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