August 7, 2013

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications / Infrastructure

JULY 24 – AUGUST 7, 2013

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Hotels say they want us to book on their Web sites, but it’s still quicker and easier to call.

I’m a bit out of touch when it comes to booking hotel rooms on line. Most of the time I stay at the hotel that’s hired me for a consulting assignment, or at a local hotel they book for me. On vacation we tend to visit friends and family and stay with them. Given all the press releases I see about the latest growth figures for on-line booking, when I do use hotels’ on-line sites I assume (ha!) that the bugs will have been worked out of the process long ago. After all, because it’s hotels’ least-expensive source of business they want us to book that way, right?
And yet…
Using Google Maps to find hotels close to a new client earlier this year, I found one that looked right, clicked on the link in the pop-up box on the map and made the reservation. It wasn’t until I checked the confirmation e-mail the day before leaving that I realized that the URL in the link was wrong; the booking had been made for a different hotel in the same chain, in a city with the same name but in a different state. And it was a prepaid, non-refundable reservation. I was able to sort this out by phone, and mentioned it to the check-in agent when I arrived. “Oh yes, we get about five guests a week with that problem.” Really? And no-one’s gone back to Google Maps and corrected the URL?
Last weekend my wife and I needed a hotel in Ohio for a family event. The only non-smoking rooms available on-line at the most convenient hotel were handicapped-access rooms with two double beds; not ideal, but everyone else had already decided on that property, and so we booked it. I called the hotel that evening (after the confirmation had come through) and asked if there were any non-smoking rooms with king or queen beds. “Sure, no problem, we have several; let me change that for you.” It was cheaper, too.
Then our plans changed slightly and I needed to shorten our stay at the hotel by one night. Should be easy on the Web site, I thought, using the Modify link. Ah, well, yes, but if you want to change the number of nights, you have to cancel the booking and re-start the search for availability. Again, really? I called the hotel and they made the change in less than a minute.
I still prefer booking on-line; it’s easier to look at all the alternatives from different chains and pick the one that’s best for me. I also understand that hotels would prefer that I do that, as it’s cheapest for them and they don’t want to burden their staff with unnecessary phone calls. But if they want guests to focus primarily on the Web site for reservations, that site has to carry all the inventory the guest can book, and it has to function in ways that allow the guest to make and change reservations in the simplest, most helpful way possible.
Have you checked your site lately?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Binu Mathews promoted to CEO of IDS NEXT
  • Nicolas Aznar joins VingCard Elsafe as President for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Laura Cigana hired by iRiS as VP Sales for North America

Binu Mathews has been promoted to Chief Executive Officer of IDS NEXT; he was previously President and COO. Before joining IDS in early 2010, Mr. Mathews had served nearly eight years as VP and General Manager for SoftBrands India.
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Nicolas Aznar has joined VingCard Elsafe as President for Latin America and the Caribbean, based out of the company’s regional offices in São Paulo. Mr. Aznar joins VingCard Elsafe after 13 years with MICROS Systems.
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Laura Cigana has been hired by iRiS Software Systems as Vice President of Sales for North America. Most recently VP of Regional Hosiptality Sales for Intelity, Ms. Cigana had earlier served in senior sales positions in Canada for Kaba Lodging, ASSA ABLOY, and Tesa Entry Systems.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Swiss-Belhotel Lao Cai, Vietnam, installs protel SPE
  • NORTHWIND launches 2-way Maestro interface with SYNKROS casino management system
  • Outrigger to standardize on Micros’ Opera

The 186-room Swiss-Belhotel Lao Cai, Vietnam, has installed protel Single Property Edition guest management system and Xn POS EPoS, both supplied by Xn Hotel Systems (Vietnam) Company Ltd. (www.swiss-belhotel.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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NORTHWIND has launched a 2-way interface for its Maestro suite with SYNKROS, Konami Gaming’s casino management system. The interface sends casino player reward point data tracked by SYNKROS to Maestro, enabling property guests to redeem points throughout a casino resort.  Resort staff can recognize and honor loyalty club members by swiping their loyalty card or entering a player I.D number in Maestro. Loyalty points can be accrued at property outlets or at any transaction terminal; guests who accrue loyalty points on the gaming floor or elsewhere on property can redeem their points throughout the casino resort. (www.konamigaming.com, www.maestropms.com)
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Outrigger Enterprises Group is standardizing its operations on Micros Systems’ Opera enterprise system. Its four Asia-based properties already use Opera; implementation at its 35 properties in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region began in July, and includes a two-way interface with Outrigger’s proprietary central reservation system. (www.outrigger.com, www.micros.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • nuTravel releases v2013 1.3 of Enterprise booking system

nuTravel Technology Solutions has release v2013 1.3 of its Enterprise booking system, which helps corporate travelers and travel arrangers create policy-compliant and on-budget travel reservations. The new version features an enhanced UI with more focused content on the screen, a more modern look and feel, new advanced filters for cars and hotels, better placement of sort and filter options for air, and fewer clicks required to confirm a booking. (www.nutravel.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Hole in the Wall Gang Camp implements UniFocus’ Survey Solutions, donated by the company
  • CWT Solutions Group platform encourages business travelers to support corporate travel programs through rewards, recognition
  • Watermark Hotel Group implements ZDirect’s ZMail at Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Watermark Hotel Brisbane
  • Lanyon launches Marketplace Intelligence
  • Choose Chicago, Visit Seattle implementing nSight’s newtravel intelligence service
  • 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa interfaces Data Plus Finance and Analytics with TimeTrak T&A
  • Lindner Hotels & Resorts lets guests link social media accounts with Serenata -based loyalty program
  • Lodging Interactive  announces www.HotelFAQs.info service

The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp has implemented UniFocus’ Survey Solutions, donated by the company, to gain insight from parents who support the Camp’s strategy to become a more research-based organization. (www.holeinthewallgang.org, www.unifocus.com)
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Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s CWT Solutions Group is building a platform to encourage business travelers to support their corporate travel programs, using competitive, game-style elements to influence desired behaviors and drive incremental savings in non-mandated travel environments. Travelers making good booking decisions will be recognized in ways which may include point accruals or acknowledgement on leader boards. They will also have the ability to track their individual performance against their peers, division, or company as a whole. (www.cwt-solutions-group.com)
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The Australian division of Watermark Hotel Group has implemented ZDirect’s ZMail electronic communication platform at the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, and will soon roll it out to the Watermark Hotel Brisbane. (www.watermarkhotelgoldcoast.com.au/, www.zdirect.com)
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Lanyon has launched Marketplace Intelligence, a new business intelligence application for corporations using its Total Hospitality Marketplace. Providing real-time market and pricing analyses to assist with hotel rate and amenity negotiations, Marketplace Intelligence’s dashboard is accessed through a customers’ Lanyon Total Hospitality Portal; it displays graphical and analytical views of a corporation’s negotiated programs in comparison to similarly compiled and averaged data from all of Lanyon’s 800+ corporate accounts. It also provides visualizations that include Google maps, scorecards, charts and graphs and drill-down analytics. (www.lanyon.com)
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Choose Chicago, the official destination marketing organization (DMO) for Chicago, has chosen nSight’s newtravel intelligence solution to provide actionable insight into online travel consumers and attract more visitors. Go-live is scheduled for September.
Visit Seattle, the official destination marketing organization for Seattle, has also signed with nSight for its newbusiness intelligence solution, and will be the first DMO to go live with it when it launches in September. nSight can show the DMO instantly what share it has of global travel searches compared to competitive markets, as well as the different types of personas or profiles that are searching and what country or city they’re from.
(www.choosechicago.com, www.visitseattle.org , www.nsightfortravel.com)
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The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka, Arkansas has implemented an interface between its Data Plus Finance and Analytics software and its TimeTrak Time & Attendance system, allowing it to include labor costs in Data Plus’ Daily Revenue report. This report also uses information from the hotel’s Northwind Maestro GMS. (www.crescent-hotel.com, www.dphs.com)
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Lindner Hotels & Resorts is now allowing guests to connect their social media accounts with the Lindner Nights loyalty program, which is built on Serenata’s NetHotel CRM system. Lindner has used NetHotel for many years for central profile management and the implementation of a consistent sales and marketing strategy across all customer points of contact.  Guests can now link their Lindner Nights login to their social media sign-in, such as their Facebook account, and can share their public shares, likes, comments and interests directly with the Serenata CRM. They retain the ability to decide what information they want to share from their social media profile and what should remain private. (www.lindner.de, www.serenata.com)
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Lodging Interactive has announced its www.HotelFAQs.info service, which helps hotels create Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) pages for their Web sites. HotelFAQs.info can be integrated into the hotel’s Facebook page and blog, and are fully mobile compatible. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Sabre adds RateGain channel management to Channel Connect
  • Chic and Basic Born hotel, Barcelona, picks RateGain’s RezGain 
  • ToPrague.com implements RateGain’s RezGain
  • Hotel Westminster, Nice, France, selects EzRMS
  • Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs implements Rainmaker’s GuestREV 
  • Transhotel joins eRevMax’s Channel Ecosystem
  • Spirit Pub Company implements Guestline’s Distribution Channel Manager
  • Guestline’s Channel and Distribution Manager delivers over £150 million of revenue in last 12 months
  • Anantara moves to IDeaS’ Pricing System
  • IDeaS adds Price Optimization Service to consulting capabilities

Sabre Hospitality Solutions is adding RateGain’s simplified channel management to its core Channel Connect offering, to help hotels reach more online distribution channels and social media sites from a single interface, helping to maintain rate parity across all channels.
The 31-room Chic and Basic Born hotel, in the El Born quarter of Barcelona, Spain, has selected RateGain’s RezGain to manage its rate and inventory across global third party distribution channels.
ToPrague.com, an online travel agency in the Czech Republic, has implemented RateGain’s RezGain channel manager for hotels in Prague, Brno and other destinations in the Czech Republic.
(www.ToPrague.cz, www.sabrehospitality.com, www.www.chicandbasic.com, www.rategain.com)
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The Hotel Westminster, Nice, France, has selected Infor’s EzRMS, as well as the Ez-QUOTE and Ez-COMPETE modules and a Channel Manager interface. The Hotel Westminster is an existing Infor guest management system customer. (www.westminster-nice.com, www.infor.com)
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The Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs has implemented The Rainmaker Group’s GuestREV profit optimization system as part of its expansion project at the Wilkes-Barre, PA, property. The project will add a 238-room hotel, 20,000 square-foot Convention Center and a 4,000 square-foot Spa & Salon. Opening is slated for the fall. (mohegansunpocono.com, www.LetItRain.com)
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Global travel services provider Transhotel has implemented a two-way XML interface with eRevMax’s Channel Ecosystem. Transhotel collaborates with 78,800 travel agencies and offers a portfolio of more than 60,000 hotels internationally. (www.transhotel.com, www.erevmax.com)
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The Spirit Pub Company has implemented Guestline’s Distribution Channel Manager for its 30 Goodnight Inns, which have used Guestline’s Rezlynx web based guest management system since 2008. Spirit also replaced its custom online booking engine with Guestline’s integrated Online Bookings Manager and implemented Guestline’s Central Rate Module, which allows it to manage all rates from one place.
Guestline reported that over the past 12 months its Channel and Distribution Manager has delivered over £150 million of revenue for its independent and group hotel clients by securing more than a million bookings.
(www.spiritpubcompany.com, www.guestline.com)
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Thailand’s Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has become the first hotel group in Asia Pacific and the Middle East to adopt IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ Pricing System, transitioning its 23 hotels and resorts across Asia, the Middle East and Indian Ocean from IDeaS Forecasting Management System. Anantara also has a development pipeline of more than fifteen properties.
IDeaS is expanding its consulting capabilities with the IDeaS Price Optimization Service, which uses SAS Analytics to apply scientific analysis to clients’ historical transaction-level data to deliver improved pricing structure recommendations. The service helps clients determine the optimal BAR price points based on price sensitivity of demand and capacity distribution for room type, day of week, length of stay and seasonality.
(www.anantara.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Vail Resorts Hospitality implements UniFocus’ MEETINGScope
  • Lanyon announces several major new clients for RFPpublisher
  • Knowland Group announces new release of Advanced Researcher Profiles

Vail Resorts Hospitality has implemented UniFocus’ MEETINGScope survey for meeting/event planners. The dashboard includes a corporate roll up to show aggregate data of all properties, displaying key business drivers for better strategic planning. (www.vailresortshospitality.com, www.UniFocus.com)
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Lanyon announced several new clients for its RFPpublisher platform over the three months from April to June, including Warwick International Hotels, FastBooking, Corinthia Hotels International, Trump Hotels, Camino Real Hotels, Leonardo Hotels, Restel Hotels, and Sino Group. (www.lanyon.com)
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The Knowland Group has announced a new release of its Advanced Researcher Profiles, which provide an in-depth look at meeting planning departments at large corporations and associations. The Profiles include information on how meeting planning departments are structured (centralized or decentralized), contact information for meeting planners, meetings and events history, third party affiliations such as Helms Briscoe or Conference Direct, and any RFP distribution tools used by a meeting planning department. The Profiles also show possible “rules” and “regulations” such as Strategic Meetings Management Program (SMMP) stipulations, contractual requirements or preferred hotels that the meeting planners may be under. (www.knowland.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • American Express Global Business Travel partners with Sabre’s TripCase mobile travel app
  • Cardola adds OpenWays’ Mobile Key to VirtualHotel mobile concierge
  • Roomlinx adds 4,074 new revenue generating units in last 60 days
  • DOCOMO interTouch and Samsung announce Freedom Entertainment partnership

American Express Global Business Travel has partnered with Sabre Hospitality’s TripCase mobile travel app to provide
AmEx clients with real-time flight updates and live, automatic syncing of itinerary information. Because TripCase knows where the traveler is in the trip, American Express Corporate Cardmembers also receive relevant in-app messages about Card benefits and deals, such as airport lounge access and in-flight Wi-Fi. AmEx customers will also have click-to-call access to an American Express Business Travel expert via TripCase, with each customer’s specific American Express service number incorporated into TripCase’s list of critical phone numbers. (businesstravel.americanexpress.com, www.tripcase.com)
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Cardola has added OpenWays’ Mobile Key to the services included in its VirtualHotel mobile concierge toolkit.
(www.OpenWays.com, www.cardola.com)
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Roomlinx reported that in the last 60 days it has completed installations at eight properties, adding 4,074 new revenue generating units (RGUs) which include interactive television, video on demand, free-to-guest programming and high speed internet access. It has also started installations at three more properties that will add another 4,621 RGUs. The installations include properties located in Aruba, Orlando, Tampa, Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, Denver, and Maui. (www.roomlinx.com)
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DOCOMO interTouch and Samsung have announced a partnership to offer the Freedom Entertainment services to hotels, combining Samsung’s new range of hospitality LED TVs with its H-Browser interface and DOCOMO interTouch’s suite of mobile solutions for hotels such as Freedom One and Freedom Security. (www.samsung.com, www.docomointertouch.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Gila River Casinos implements InvoTech’s UHF-RFID Multi-Property Uniform System

Gila River Casinos has implemented InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Multi-Property Uniform System for three casinos and its corporate distribution center, which between them use 20,000 owned and 16,000 rented uniforms. Gila River Casinos operates Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino, Lone Butte Casino, and Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area. (www.wingilariver.com, www.invotech.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Xn Hotel Systems begins distribution of procure.net

Xn Hotel Systems has begun the distribution of the procure.net hospitality stock and procurement management system. procure??.net is already used in over 60 properties across Asia, Africa and Europe; its largest implementation is at the Sun City Resort in South Africa, which has over one hundred concurrent users across multiple departments and multiple hotels. Xn has installed it for the Windsor Management Company (WMC) in Vietnam. (www.xnhotels.com/procure-net)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Cetis to incorporate feedback from Customer Design Center council in next-generation hotel telephone designs
  • Accor standardizes on Ruckus’ Smart Wi-Fi at 100 hotels in Latin America
  • Ruckus Wireless acquires YFind Technologies

Cetis announced that information gathered at its inaugural Customer Design Center council at HITEC 2013 is being used to make final design and feature-set adjustments to its next-generation hotel telephone designs. The new telephones will feature enhanced wireless technologies, performance improvements and a new clean, angular design. Testing samples will be available soon for SIP interoperability certification with hospitality’s IP-PBX systems and hotel brand-specific vendor approvals. (www.CetisGroup.com)
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Accor SA has standardized on Ruckus Wireless’ Smart Wi-Fi products and technology for free WiFi service at 100 hotels in Latin America, which include its ibis, ibis budget, Mercure, Novotel, Pullman and Sofitel brands. Deployment began last year. The Ruckus networks are also being used for various point-of-sale (POS) tasks at the majority of the hotel restaurants, and to support back office applications used by hotel staff.
Ruckus Wireless has acquired privately-held YFind Technologies Private Limited, which specializes in indoor positioning and real-time location analytics, and will incorporate these functions into its Smart Wi-Fi technology
(www.accorhotels.com, www.ruckuswireless.com)
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