August 6, 2008

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

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • SAS acquires IDeaS: will this change the way the average hotelier looks at yield management?
  • HTNG announces first Asia-Pacific members’ conference

The major business news of the week is that SAS Institute, one of the earliest proponents of business intelligence tools and still one of the leading players, has acquired IDeaS, one of the two best-known hospitality yield management vendors.
The merger makes sense at several levels. SAS has been re-focusing its efforts on hospitality business intelligence, CRM and yield management recently, and this provides them with a very well-respected platform. IDeaS has been looking for ways to spread its influence beyond its traditional market segment, and SAS certainly gives it access to wider markets as well as significant financial backing.
The question remains as to whether this will change the way yield management is used in the hospitality sector. With the industry beginning to slow down interest in maximizing pricing efficiency should be very strong, but it still seems that only a small segment of the market understands the value yield management systems can bring. Perhaps a simpler approach with fewer parameters for hotel GMs to monitor or understand, possibly with regular hands-on advice from a central team of expert guides, might encourage more to try the systems. It’ll be an interesting challenge for a company of SAS’ size and traditional market outlook to address the smaller operator in a cost-effective manner.
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HTNG announced its first members’ meeting and conference in the Asia-Pacific Region, to be held on September 22 and 23 at the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Brad Dettmer promoted to chief technology officer at Group RCI
  • Darlene Rondeau, Susan Tennant join VFM Interactive
  • Ric Leutwyler hired as president of Pegasus’ representation services

Brad Dettmer has been promoted to chief technology officer at Wyndham’s Group RCI division. Mr. Dettmer has been with RCI for twenty years, serving most recently as vice president of Information Technology; he was earlier senior director of the Global Technology Group and project director of the Global Points Network. He also served on the ARDA Technology Committee for three years, and has been a CIO Executive Counsel Member since 2007.
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Darlene Rondeau and Susan Tennant have joined VFM Interactive’s Global Hotel Team.
Ms. Rondeau has been hired as Vice President, Hotels – North America, and brings over 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the travel industry. She was most recently Vice President Sales & Marketing for G2 SwitchWorks before its sale to Travelport, and had earlier served in senior roles with Sabre Holdings, including Vice President, Electronic Media Sales and Account Planning.
Susan Tennant joins as Senior Director Hotels – North America. She has extensive experience in sales, marketing, fundraising and strategic planning, and before joining VFM was Regional Manager, Strategic Accounts, at Galileo by Travelport.
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Ric Leutwyler has been hired as president of Pegasus Solutions’ representation services, which include Utell Hotels & Resorts and Unirez. Mr. Leutwyler most recently served six years with Best Western in various senior vice president and vice president positions in brand quality, member services, eCommerce and field marketing. Prior to joining Best Western in 2002, he was general manager of Cendant Travel, and had earlier held national account positions with AT&T.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • MSI implements Nova Plus interface with Best Western’s guest loyalty program
  • purplehotels picks Amadeus’ PMS for 15 UK hotels
  • Celebrity Resorts orders SPI’s Orange Systems for 13 locations
  • America’s Best Franchising designates MyHMS its preferred PMS

Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has implemented an interface with Best Western’s Gold Crown Club International (GCCI) guest loyalty program for its Nova Plus PMS, the first hotel property management system to do so. Best Western properties can now perform GCCI lookups and enrollments from within Nova Plus, create and/or modify profiles, rates, room reservations, and more. Similar functionality on MSI’s WinPM system is scheduled for release later this year. (www.msisolutions.com)
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The Real Hotel Company’s purplehotels has selected Amadeus’ Property Management Solution (PMS) for its UK expansion. The multi-property implementation will support the first 15 hotels by the end of 2008 with Front Office, Sales & Marketing, Conference Management and Restaurant Management functionality. 40 more hotels are planned in time for the London 2012 Olympics. (www.purplehotels.co.uk, www.amadeus.com)
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Celebrity Resorts has purchased Systems Products International (SPI)’s Orange Systems vacation ownership enterprise suite on an integrated enterprise-wide basis, to replace the existing systems at its 13 locations. (www.celebrityresorts.com, www.spiinc.com)
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America’s Best Franchising has designated InnPoints Worldwide’s MyHMS as its preferred property management system. Twenty of its properties are already using the application, which is offered on an ASP basis. America’s Best Franchising currently franchises 105 America’s Best Inns & Suites and 93 Country Hearth Inns & Suites. (www.americasbestinns.com, www.countryhearth.com, www.innpoints.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Jumeirah to list all properties with Expedia and hotels.com
  • SynXis converts RedX to Oracle, migrates to new data center
  • TripIt now available through Sabre Travel Network’s VirtuallyThere itinerary service
  • OpenTravel Alliance announces nine project teams for second half of 2008
  • BookDirectRooms.com inventory now on HotelsCombined.com
  • WORLDHOTELS to interface Nexus and Trust Voyager for automated rate loading

Jumeirah Group agreed to list all its properties on all Expedia and hotels.com branded points of sale, the first time it has collaborated with an online player. (www.jumeirah.com, www.expedia.com))
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SynXis has completed the conversion of its RedX platform from SQL Server to an Oracle 10g RAC database management system. Concurrently it also migrated the system to a new data center, housed in an AT&T commercial facility and managed by the Sabre operations teams. (www.synxis.com)
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TripIt announced that its travel itinerary and social networking services are used by 76 of Fortune 100 companies and all of the BTN 100 (a list of the 100 top traveling companies compiled by Business Travel News magazine). TripIt is also now available as part of the VirtuallyThere itinerary service from Sabre Travel Network. Business travelers forward their various flight, hotel and rental car confirmations emails to TripIt, receive a single, combined itinerary with weather forecasts, local maps, driving directions and city guides, and can share this with colleagues and friends. TripIt currently accepts confirmation emails from more than 150 booking services. (www.tripit.com)
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The OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) has announced nine project teams for the second half of 2008, including:
• Enhanced content distribution messages for better control of digital assets (led by Starwood)
• Adding insurance elements to existing rental car messages (led by Hertz)
• Creating dynamic packaging XML messages combining hotel, car and/or air components in a single transaction (led by US Airways)
• Enhancing current OTA customer profile messages and extending them to handle advanced search (led by Amadeus)
• Creating a new schema to communicate an event’s actual history, including meeting room setup needs, audiovisual needs, catering needs, safety and security needs (led by APEX)
• Unbundled selling of additional services and discount options at the time of reservation for airlines (led by Air Canada)
In addition, the following projects are active in the Architecture Work Group:
• Creating an OpenTravel Data Dictionary
• Namespace Usage in OpenTravel Schemas
• PCI-PII and Remediation Study
(www.opentravel.org)
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BookDirectRooms.com’s inventory of 2,000+ UK B&Bs, guesthouses and small, independent hotels is now listed and bookable on HotelsCombined.com and its affiliate network. (www.hotelscombined.com)
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WORLDHOTELS has announced an interface between Nexus, its contracting platform, and Trust Voyager, its Central Reservation System, to provide an automated rate loading process for global corporate contracts. The interface is scheduled to be operational in time for next year’s rate loading season. Rates accepted in the corporate contracting process will be uploaded automatically into Trust Voyager and to the various distribution channels. (www.worldhotels.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Market Metrix releases streamlined version of Employee Metrix survey system
  • Thayer Lodging Group using UniFocus’ SERVICEScope for employee surveys
  • ICE Portal partners with TripTelevision to enhance online video products
  • Amadeus partners with SAP for enhanced travel and expense management
  • National Business Travel Association announces tools to help companies’ corporate social responsibility initiatives

Market Metrix has released Employee Metrix Express, a streamlined version of its Employee Metrix employee survey system. EM Express is offered as a simple, turn-key solution for employee surveys at independent hotels, small chains and restaurants, conducted electronically and available in multiple languages. (www.marketmetrix.com)
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Thayer Lodging Group is using UniFocus’ SERVICEScope system determine how service standards relate to perceptions and how employee attitudes impact service delivery, so as to achieve more widespread utilization of premier accommodations offered by its 14 properties. (www.thayerlodging.com, www.unifocus.com)
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ICE Portal has partnered with TripTelevision to use its Intelligent Selection smart technology to enhance its online video products. TripTelevision engages users by adjusting the video to match the tastes and needs of an individual customer each time they visit. (www.triptelevision.com, www.iceportal.com)
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Amadeus has expanded its partnership with SAP to offer enhanced travel and expense management for corporations by combining SAP’s Travel Management expense-control application with Amadeus’ e-Travel Management. (www.sap.com, www.amadeus.com)
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The National Business Travel Association (NBTA), NBTA Foundation and NBTA Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Committee announced two new tools aimed at helping companies with travel-related CSR initiatives.
– The 2008 NBTA CSR Toolkit guides users through an examination of CSR as it relates to travel management, including a five-step implementation plan, detailed reference guides on calculating carbon emissions, managing travel demand, procuring sustainable travel services, offsetting travel-related emissions and incorporating duty of care into managed travel programs.
– A CSR self-assessment component added to the NBTA Foundation’s Managed Travel Index & Benchmarking Tool helps travel managers measure the maturity of their companies’ travel CSR initiatives. The 15 questions measure how programs are structured to manage travel demand, procure sustainable travel services, offset travel-related emissions and incorporate duty of care initiatives.
(www.benchmarking.travel)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • SAS acquires IDeaS
  • SAS forms Profit Optimization Global Practice
  • EZYield.com relocates corporate headquarters to Winter Springs, Florida
  • Rate Tiger integrates with EasyRMS for automatic yielded rate distributions
  • STR’s STAR Reports now available to InnLink customers
  • Design Hotels picks Rubicon for rate comparison data for its 170 hotels

SAS has acquired IDeaS Revenue Optimization, which will continue to operate under its current management. IDeaS’ current hospitality customers include Hilton, Hyatt International, Mandarin Oriental, Intercontinental Hotels Group, The Venetian Hotel and Casino, Stations Casinos, Lindner Hotels and Fairmont Hotels.
SAS has also formed a new Profit Optimization Global Practice to apply revenue-management techniques to help companies optimize profitability through scientific and proactive determination of the most profitable market segments and prices. To achieve this SAS will build a new profit-optimization solution integrating revenue management, customer relationship management, pricing and distribution.
(www.ideas.com, www.sas.com)
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EZYield.com has relocated its corporate headquarters to a new office building in Winter Springs, Florida. The new facility will house all EZYield.com’s corporate operations, including sales, customer service, support call center and administration. (www.ezyield.com)
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Rate Tiger has integrated EasyRMS’ revenue management system with its online distribution site channel management, allowing the room rates calculated by EzRMS to be distributed across the web via the Rate Tiger product suites. (www.ratetiger.com, www.ezrms.com)
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STR’s STAR Reports are now available to InnLink customers, allowing those which submit consumed data to compare their occupancy, ADR and revPAR numbers against aggregate figures from the local market and a competitive set of the hotel’s choosing. The complementary Lodging Survey is also made available to all InnLink hotels. (www.strglobal.com, www.innlink.com)
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Design Hotels has selected Rubicon’s MarketVision Competitive Price Position to provide rate comparisons for its 170 hotels. (www.designhotels.com, www.therubicongroup.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • StarCite unveils Group Rate Advisor business intelligence tool
  • StarCite to integrate meetings management platform with Amadeus e-Travel Management
  • The Knot.com now a channel partner on Newmarket’s MeetingBroker
  • Sabre Travel Network announces Bidstork-based rate negotiation and auditing service

StarCite has unveiled its Group Rate Advisor report, a business intelligence tool to provide meeting planners and meeting suppliers with hotel rate forecasts based on meeting planning data from RFPs flowing through its meetings platform. The new offering can produce reports for any city or geographical region of sleeping room rate ranges and trends as far as twelve months in advance, plus in-depth benchmarking information derived from years’ worth of historical booking data. Reports will only be available if there are a minimum of five properties to include in the data set.
StarCite also announced an agreement with Amadeus to integrate StarCite’s corporate enterprise meetings management platform with Amadeus e-Travel Management travel management system by year-end. Meeting attendees will be able to book travel on Amadeus e-Travel Management directly from the StarCite Attendee Management application when they are registering for a meeting.
(www2.starcite.com, www.amadeus.com)
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Wedding planning facilitator The Knot.com is now a channel partner on Newmarket’s MeetingBroker, allowing inquiries sent by couples from TheKnot.com to be delivered online automatically to hotels and venues that are MeetingBroker enabled. Venues can track leads coming from their profiles on TheKnot.com, using assignment and escalation rules to funnel them directly to the supplier’s wedding specialists. (www.theknot.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Sabre Travel Network has announced a more effective rate negotiation and auditing service for corporations, travel management companies and hoteliers, based on its recently-acquired BidStork RFP delivery and management application. An online RFP wizard helps travel buyers assemble an NBTA-compliant RFP package, source and map hotels close to travel destinations, deliver the RFP package, interactively negotiate rates and create final contracts.
A negotiated rate auditing option is scheduled to be added later this year for both corporate customers and hoteliers. Corporate travel buyers will be able to check rates, capture screen shots and send them directly to the hotel. Hoteliers will be able to see online the same view that agencies and corporations see when making bookings, to ensure that what is being displayed is in synch with the negotiated rates.
(www.bidstork.com, www.sabretravelnetwork.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • CBORD Group attains Microsoft Gold Certified Partner status for third consecutive year
  • MICROS Systems receives RSPA’s Gold Award for Outstanding Sponsor in Systems/Software

The CBORD Group announced it has attained Gold Certified Partner status in Microsoft’s Partner Program for a third consecutive year, with competencies in Data Management Solutions, Independent Software Vendor (ISV)/Software Solutions, Mobility Solutions, Networking Infrastructure Solutions, and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Processes. Microsoft Gold Certified Partners receive benefits including higher levels of access, training, and support. (www.cbord.com)
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MICROS Systems has received the Retail Solutions Providers Association’s Gold Award for Outstanding Sponsor in Systems/Software. MICROS has received various awards from RSPA the past 18 years, including the Gold Medallion in 2004, and the Gold Award for Systems/Software Vendor in 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 2001. (www.gorspa.org, www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Long Range Systems introduces Butler XP wireless push-for-service paging system
  • Kokua Hospitality installing Flyte Systems arrival and departure displays at six properties
  • PopUp Shipping releases self service shipping centers
  • Regal Hotels International signs with DOCOMO interTouch for HSIA at five hotels

Long Range Systems (LRS) has introduced its Butler XP wireless push-for-service paging system, intended for poolside and beach guests to use to request a server. The one-touch device transmits a pre-programmed text message to a server’s LRS alphanumeric pager. The same system can be used in conference rooms and VIP lounges. An unlimited number of units can be used at one location with the option to page one person or entire groups of servers or staff. (www.pager.net)
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Kokua Hospitality, a subsidiary of Chartres Lodging, is installing Flyte Systems real-time flight arrival and departure displays at its six properties: Adams Mark hotels in Indianapolis and Buffalo, The Inn of Chicago, the Doubletree Hotel Magnificent Mile, the Allerton Hotel, Chicago, and the W Aloft in Maryland. (www.kokuahospitality.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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PopUp Shipping has released self service shipping centers for hotel guest use, equipped with a PC, scale, label and receipt printer, with a lockable mailbox for storing packages securely until a designated carrier arrives. The units use SurferQuest self service shipping software, currently used in over 750 hotel/resort locations. (www.popupshipping.com, www.surferquest.com)
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Regal Hotels International has contracted with DOCOMO interTouch to provide high-speed wired and wireless Internet to its five Hong Kong-based hotels. (www.regalhotel.com, www.docomointertouch.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • IHG to provide American Express with electronic hotel folio detail

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has signed a hotel folio agreement to provide American Express’ corporate card customers with reports that break down their lodging expenditures at the nearly 2,800 IHG properties in the U.S. With the similar folio agreements it has with other hotel chains. American Express now covers about 71 percent of its clients’ global commercial card spend in the U.S. American Express collects folio data from nearly 12,000 hotel properties in North America and around the world. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.americanexpress.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Clear Sky Software releases inventory system for hospitality industry

Clear Sky Software has released its Clear Sky Food inventory system for the hospitality industry. Features include visibility of food products in any outlet or location, easy transfer of inventory to/from locations, electronic requisitions, automatic re-orders, order creation and submission via print/email/web, bar code-based physical inventory and multiple reports. (www.clearskysoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hilton Cebu sees significant water savings from simple piping change

The Hilton Cebu Resort & Spa in the Philippines is using a simple piping system that reuses the water used to cool three ice machine compressors to recycle hundreds of thousands of litres of water each year into the hotel’s flushing tanks, rather than simply washing down the drain. Meters attached to the piping system revealed that the project saved the property its initial setup cost of US$1,000 in just 20 days of operation. It has now been adopted as part of Hilton Hotels Group’s best practice for all its properties around the world. (www.hilton.com)
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