December 1, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications

Security

NOVEMBER 11 – DECEMBER 1, 2009

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Bandwidth demand continues to grow, moves more to phones. How does this affect hotels?

Several news items below point to the unstoppable growth in bandwidth demand as consumers continue to focus primarily online for their travel and entertainment needs. Marriott claims that its own-brand Website is now the world’s 7th largest online consumer retail site, which is an incredible figure.
That demand is also becoming more mobile. A survey by SwissCom reports that mobile phone bandwidth usage is about to match that of laptops as phones become travelers’ main source for finding and acting on information; at its partner hotels the average volume per handheld session is now 86MB, with an average session length of 14 hours. The explosion of social networking is also driving bandwidth demand up, and not only just for messaging. Ad-Ology research reports over half of 18 to 34 year olds saying that social media influenced their choice of a hair salon or day spa, and more spas are taking advantage of that to allow online booking.
Where does this leave hotels faced with having to satisfy their guests’ incessant bandwidth demands for high-speed access or be labeled “undesirable”? Some of that demand will undoubtedly be siphoned off by travelers moving to the new wide-area 4G wireless networks slowly coming into use, such as WiMax and LTE, which will let them access their own entertainment independently of the hotel network. However, this won’t have a noticeable impact for some time, and meanwhile ever more guests see streaming video as part of their evening entertainment on the road, often overwhelming hotels’ total available bandwidth.
I don’t see an alternative to hotels having to pay for significantly more bandwidth than at present, and to having to pass on some of the costs to their guests, probably on a tiered-access basis. So I think we’ll see less free WiFi in the future – or at least, free WiFi at usable speeds – and travelers will, reluctantly, accept it. Or, perhaps, adopt pricing plans from third parties (Boingo, et al) that include service at multiple hotel chains.
However, there’s an upside for hotel operators upgrading their network capabilities; even if guest demand does slow down a little in the future, their staff will have a first-class platform on which to build much more efficient operations. After all, if the younger generation sees texting as an inherent part of their lives, why not leverage it to make them more effective in their work?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Lisa Klueppel, Cory Sinclair, Robin Hughes Patton join Vizergy’s sales & marketing team
  • Cynthia Russo named as new Chief Financial Officer at MICROS
  • Toby Kubis joins VFM Leonardo as Vice President Corporate Hotel Sales
  • Terence Ronson, Les Spielman and Dave Berkus join forces

VIZERGY has added three new managers: Lisa Klueppel joins as senior manager of search engine marketing services, after a five year stint with Google where she worked in the Direct Sales Organization as a Senior Account Manager in Chicago and Paris.
Cory Sinclair, joining as regional sales manager, offers five years experience in online marketing sales, focusing on keyword ranking and placement in search engines. He had earlier worked as a marketing analyst in the retail sector, measuring and monitoring Website trends and data, sales information and marketing relations.
Robin Hughes Patton, also a new regional sales manager, brings more than 13 years of successful online advertising and Website development sales experience. She worked as a senior new media consultant for The Florida Times-Union, and has worked with numerous local and national businesses with Website development, online public relations, marketing & advertising and social networking.
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Cynthia Russo has been named as new Chief Financial Officer at MICROS Systems, succeeding Gary Kaufman who will be retiring on March 31, 2010. Ms. Russo has held various positions in the MICROS finance department since 1996, and is currently Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller. Mr. Kaufman has served as CFO for almost 16 years.
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Toby Kubis has joined VFM Leonardo as Vice President Corporate Hotel Sales. Mr. Kubis brings 20 years of experience, most recently having served 10 years in various positions with Sabre Holdings, culminating in Director of Leisure Strategy and Marketing. He has also held positions at American Airlines and at companies in the pharmaceutical and banking industries.
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Terence Ronson, Les Spielman and Dave Berkus have formed a partnership between their two consulting companies, Pertlink for Hong Kong-based Mr. Ronson and Hospitality Automation Consultants Ltd. (HACL) for Messrs Spielman and Berkus, based in California. The partnership is intended to leverage HACL’s infrastructure and telecoms expertise with Pertlink’s guest-experience focus.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • The Crossings selects ResortSuite
  • ResortSuite adds on-line booking of spa and club services, tee times and gift certificates
  • NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS now PCI-certified
  • IQware announces IQrez online booking engine for Global PMS
  • Empire Hotel Group completes rollout of Skyware Systems’ PMX PMS
  • Steele Hill Resorts selects SPI Software’s Orange System Enterprise
  • Meadow Lake Resort picks SPI’s Orange System Enterprise

The Crossings has selected ResortSuite to manage its resort operations, and will implement modules covering property management, spa, activities, dining, retail POS and events, with online booking for room, spa and activities. The property, located on more than 200 acres of Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in the Texas Hill Country, will re-open in early 2010 following its current renovation.
ResortSuite has added on-line booking of spa and club services, tee times and gift certificates to its ResortSuite WEB online booking module.
(www.thecrossingsaustin.com, www.resortsuite.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS has announced the certification of its Maestro PMS by the PCI Security Standards Council as fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry’s Payment Application Data Security Standard (PA-DSS). Northwind has also implemented credit card ‘tokenization’ for increased security, a feature that exceeds the minimum requirements of the PCI standards. (www.maestropms.com)
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IQware announced the IQrez online booking engine for its Global PMS, allowing on-line reservations for rooms, special/package rates and a-la-carté deals. (www.iqwareinc.com)
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Empire Hotel Group has completed the rollout of Skyware Systems’ SaaS-based PMX PMS and yield management system to its four New York City hotels. (www.newyorkhotel.com, www.skywaresystems.com)
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Steele Hill Resorts of Sanbornton, NH has selected SPI Software’s Orange Systems enterprise software modules for marketing, sales, property management, reservations, rentals, maintenance fee and mortgage loan servicing and web-user interface functions.
Meadow Lake Resort, a golf and ski resort in Montana’s Flathead Valley, has selected SPI Software’s Orange System Enterprise software to manage its vacation ownership operations.
(www.steelehillresorts.com, www.meadowlake.com, www.spiinc.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Roomex.com moves to OpenJaw Technologies’ platform, adds 80,000 hotels
  • Genares Worldwide Reservations signs 2,600th hotel
  • Japan Rail Hotel Group migrating all 61 properties to Sabre’s SynXis
  • Viking Line Abp deploying MICROS’ myfidelio.net for CRS and distribution services
  • Amadeus’ Affinity Shopper wins top prize at PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit
  • Traveltainment integrating Internet Booking Engine v3 into Microsoft Surface application
  • Nokia’s Ovi Maps to integrate Expedia’s hotel booking
  • Pegasus outsources technology infrastructure to HP Enterprise Services
  • Marriott adding high-end independent hotels to its reservations system
  • Marriott updates Web site, claims it’s world’s 7th largest online consumer retail site
  • Kayak launches Kayak Trips itinerary management tool
  • Pelican System releases Version 3 of its Central Reservation System
  • Harrah’s Entertainment launches Total Experiences small-group planning program

Roomex.com has moved to OpenJaw Technologies’ platform to allow it to source hotel rooms for its customers from a larger global range, and has already added over 80,000 hotels to its website. (www.openjawtech.com, www.roomex.com)
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Genares Worldwide Reservations has signed its 2,600th hotel, The MAve in New York City, a member of the Desires Hotels portfolio. (www.themavehotel.com, www.desireshotels.com, www.genares.com)
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Japan Rail (JR) Hotel Group is migrating its 61 properties to Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis Central Reservation System (CRS). One of the largest hotel consortiums in Japan, JR Hotel Group’s properties are all located near rail stations in key gateway cities. JR Hotel Group will also use the Japanese language control center and will be supported through Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ Tokyo office. (www.jrhotelgroup.com, www.sabre-holdings.com)
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Viking Line Abp is deploying MICROS Systems’ myfidelio.net with its own cruise booking system to handle cruise and partner hotel reservations. Myfidelio.net will provide central reservation management services and connections to worldwide distribution channels through all four major GDSs. Viking Line Abp manages passenger and car ferry traffic on the northern Baltic Sea. (www.vikingline.fi, www.micros.com)
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Amadeus’ IT Group and leisure division Traveltainment’s Affinity Shopper project was awarded top prize at the PhoCusWright Travel Innovation Summit. A front-end search and booking platform for consumer websites, Affinity Shopper is currently in pilot test with STA Travel in Germany to help travelers looking for air fares. Instead of the traditional departure airport, destination and date elements, Affinity Shopper asks travelers to input parameters such as budget limit, trip type (single, return), duration, geography and preferred activities. Results are displayed on an interactive map which allows users to reconfigure their requirements. Fares can be selected in a range of formats including a traditional list form or bar calendar display.
Traveltainment is also integrating its Internet Booking Engine version 3 (IBEv3) into a Microsoft Surface application as a pilot product for travel agents.
(www.amadeus.com)
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Expedia Affiliate Network (EAN) and Nokia are partnering to integrate Expedia’s hotel booking with Nokia’s Ovi Maps mapping and navigation. All of Expedia’s hotel locations will be viewable on Ovi Maps, allowing users to click on them to view hotel details, availability and prices as well as Expedia customer review scores. Initially Nokia will release a call-to-book functionality direct from the existing Ovi Maps mobile service, followed in time by click-to-book. (www.expedia.com, www.nokia.com)
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Pegasus Solutions has outsourced its technology infrastructure and support to HP Enterprise Services under a seven-year services agreement. HP Enterprise Services (formerly Electronic Data Systems before its acquisition by HP) will manage Pegasus’ technology infrastructure, provide data center services including server, storage and network management for Pegasus and its clients, and provide disaster recovery services. Pegasus’ RezView NG will be integrated into HP’s Travel Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) platform. HP will utilize its Best Shore global delivery network, and will manage Pegasus’ workplace computing environment for employees in 17 offices across 11 countries. (www.pegs.com, www.hp.com)
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Marriott International is adding high-end independent hotels to its reservations system under the brand of The Autograph Collection. Approximately 25 hotels will be added through 2010, worldwide.
As an indication of how large a percentage of on-line commerce comes from travel bookings, Marriott International used the unveiling of its updated Web site to claim that this is now the world’s 7th largest online consumer retail site. This claim is based on rankings of top Internet websites from Internet Retailer (Top 500 Guide, 2009 edition), various public earnings reports and Marriott estimates. The site improvements include a modernized look and feel with a noticeably more intuitive layout. (www.marriott.com)
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Kayak has launched its Kayak Trips itinerary management tool to consolidate travelers’ multiple travel site bookings into a single web-based itinerary. Features include travel alerts, one-click itinerary sharing and calendar integration, and is planned to include integration with the Kayak iPhone and other mobile apps. (www.kayak.com)
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Pelican System has launched Version 3 of its Central Reservation System, which includes embedded features such as guest testimonials, custom rates and promotions for different market segments. (www.pelicansystem.com)
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Harrah’s Entertainment is launching Total Experiences, a free small-group planning program designed to fulfill the roles of travel agent, concierge and VIP host. The program provides a dedicated Harrah’s contact person to assist with planning before the trip and logistics during the stay. It targets leisure groups of six or more and is free if at least three rooms are reserved at a Harrah’s property. (www.harrahs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • IQware releases IQmail e-marketing add-on for its Global PMS
  • EZYield.com receives Silver Adrian Award for its own Website redesign
  • Milestone Internet Marketing receives six awards for Website design, Internet marketing
  • 10Best Solutions launches Vinepulse social media hospitality reputation/response tool
  • VIZERGY awarded multiple 2009 Adrian Awards in hospitality sales and marketing
  • VIZERGY moving to new headquarters in Jacksonville, FL

IQware has released its IQmail e-marketing add-on to its Global PMS. IQmail helps hotels create and deliver customized messages and track responses and results, including each campaign’s ROI. It can also send reservation confirmation e-mails, pre-arrival e-mail reminders, post-departure follow-up e-mails and thank you messages, and is fully integrated into IQware’s Global Property Management System. (www.iqwareinc.com)
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EZYield.com has received a Silver Adrian Award for Web Marketing Excellence from the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). The award is in the “Web Marketing” category for its own newly redesigned website, the only travel service/supplier website to claim an award this year for its own site. (www.ezyield.com)
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Milestone Internet Marketing has received six awards for its hotel website designs and internet marketing strategies in the recent Davey Awards and W3 Awards Competitions. The awards were for The Historic Inns of Annapolis (a Gold Davey Award and Silver W3 Award), The Heathman Hotel in Kirkland (Silver Davey, Silver W3), The Hotel Rouge Kimpton Hotels (Silver Davey) and The NYLO Hotels (Silver Davey). (www.milestoneinternet.com)
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10Best Solutions has launched its Vinepulse social media reputation and response tool for the hospitality industry. Vinepulse scans the social web including over 10 Online Travel Agencies (Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, TripAdvisor, etc.) and sorts all mentions of a hotel into high priority, positive, negative and neutral categories for a brand; each brand determines what constitutes a high priority alert. (www.10BestSolutions.com)
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VIZERGY has been awarded multiple 2009 Adrian Awards for best in hospitality sales and marketing, winning for nearly 70% of its nominations in the Web site, E-mail Series and Web Ad Series categories of the Web Marketing Division. This is the company’s fourth consecutive year of winning multiple Adrians.
VIZERGY is expanding and moving to new headquarters close to its existing Jacksonville, FL location. The move was prompted by substantial growth in business. (www.vizergy.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Six new casino hotels go with Rainmaker’s revolution

Six new casino hotels have selected The Rainmaker Group’s revolution Product Suite, namely:
– Pinnacle Entertainment (the 1000-room L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Louisiana and the 600
-room Belterra in Indiana),
– Seneca Gaming (Seneca Niagara and Seneca Allegany),
– the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City
– the Greektown Casino Hotel in Detroit.
The two Pinnacle properties implemented the revolution system in September 2009, the other hotels will go live in 4Q ’09. (www.letitrain.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Self-bookings tools used by 70% of travel managers, save an average 7%
  • Cvent recognized for exceptional service by CSIA
  • Newmarket receives Software Association of New Hampshire’s MVP award

Almost three quarters of travel managers use self-booking tools for business travel, according to a new study by the Institute of Travel & Meetings, but only a minority make use of social networking media. The survey found that:
– 70% of buyers managing business travel presently use self-booking tools
– 58% use expense management software
– 52% use technology for traveler tracking
– 33% are planning to implement mobile traveler updates
– 25% are planning to implement meeting booking tool solutions in the future
– Estimated, measured and proven savings achieved through self booking tools averaged seven per cent
– Only eight per cent use social networking tools as part of their travel and meetings program.
The responses also suggested that the cost and workload associated with implementing and maintaining technology solutions is regularly underestimated by both buyers and suppliers.
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Cvent has been recognized for exceptional service in the Contact Center category at the 2009 International Service Excellence Awards from the Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA). (www.cvent.com)
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Newmarket International has received the Software Association of New Hampshire’s MVP award, given annually to a NH based company that demonstrates success in the areas of business growth, innovation, and citizenship. (www.newmarketinc.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Hotel Del Coronado chooses Capton’s Beverage Tracker
  • Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort releases iPhone app for its restaurants

Hotel Del Coronado has chosen Capton’s Beverage Tracker for monitoring and improving operations at its Babcock & Story Bar, integrated with the property’s Micros POS system. (www.hoteldel.com, www.captoninc.com)
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The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has released an iPhone application to help guests reserve meals at the property’s 17 outlets before or during their stay using their phone. The application allows users to select a restaurant category– signature, casual, quick service, character dining or lounges – to access descriptions, photos and menus for their preferred restaurant, and provides links directly to the resort’s dining reservations phone number and website. (www.swandolphinrestaurants.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • Leading Spas lists worldwide inventory with SpaFinder
  • ISPA’s ten spa trends for 2010

Leading Spas is listing its worldwide inventory of spas with SpaFinder, Inc. (www.lhwspas.com, www.spafinder.com)
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The International SPA Association (ISPA) has identified the following ten spa trends for 2010:
1. More Use of Social Media: significant growth in offering and booking last-minute deals, re-booking cancelled appointments, and in influence. Ad-Ology research shows that 57 percent of 18 to 24 year olds and 48.5 percent of 25 to 34 year olds say social media influenced their choice of a hair salon or day spa.
2. Higher Customer Service: consumers have higher service expectations, and spas are responding by making each visit a customized experience for the guest. 87 percent of ISPA member spas use customer feedback tools to ensure they’re exceeding consumers’ needs, and 48 percent have implemented customer loyalty programs.
3. Spa Sampling Menus: mini-service options to try out spa treatments. 46 percent of ISPA member spas report an increase in shorter (30 minutes or less) treatment bookings.
4. More Preventive Care: spa treatments like massage, acupuncture and meditation have been proven to aid in stress reduction and recovery time for pre and post-op patients.
5. Spa Partnerships: Forty-six percent of ISPA day spa members partner with local businesses to incorporate spa into their workplace, most often with through wellness programs at local hospitals, accommodating guests at local hotels without spa facilities and service discount trades between spas and local business employees.
6. Cell Phone Applications: more applications allow spa availability browsing and booking, including those from The Four Seasons, Hot Springs and Spa Finder – California, Tripology and Find a Spa, the latter based on its detection of your location.
7. Giving Back: more spas are offering promotions and free services to people who serve the community, such as teachers, hospice workers and military personnel.
8. The Millennials Take Over: this group now outnumbers the baby boomers, grew up in a culture where a healthy lifestyle was the norm, and is increasing its use of spa services.
9. Simplified Spa Menus: spas are focusing on their business core of results-oriented treatments.
10. Beauty Rest: more spas make rest a priority by letting guests book time to sleep at the spa or stay after a treatment to nap when they’re relaxed. (www.experienceispa.com) **

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GUEST SERVICES

  • Telindus survey reports on British Travelers’ in-room viewing priorities
  • Swisscom launches Smartphone WiFi service, integrates with a hotel’s PMS – Quadriga unveils portal-based next generation technology platform
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites Atlanta Airport West – Camp Creek installs Roomlinx
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A survey by network integration specialist Telindus found that the highest on-line content priority for almost two-thirds of British travelers is instant access to a variety of local information, including weather updates, from their hotel room’s television. Most would like to use their hotel room TV to access information on local weather (65%), tourist attractions, restaurants and bars (64%). Entertainment is also important, with 43 per cent wanting to watch their favorite TV show and 34 per cent wishing to see re-runs of their preferred films. Perhaps surprisingly (or perhaps reflecting what they’d admit to) only 4% reported wanting to watch pornography. Maybe it’s an age thing; the survey reported that the 25-34 year old age group were the ones most likely to watch their favorite TV program in their hotel room, while the 16-24 year olds were most interested in accessing porn.
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Swisscom has launched its Smartphone WiFi service, which integrates with a hotel’s property management system (PMS) to let guests connect seamlessly and allow hoteliers to promote their own services through their guests’ preferred devices. Swisscom has seen bandwidth consumed through WiFi mobile phones rise constantly, with download volumes closing in rapidly on that for laptops. The average volume per handheld session recorded at Swisscom partner hotels is currently at 86MB, with many users going over 1GB and an average session length of 14 hours. Once logged on to the new service, a guest can stay connected for 24 hours at a time; if he leaves the building, he is automatically re-connected on his return. Wireless integration with the PMS enables a personalized user interface, seamless data processing and invoicing through the guest’s room bill. The service has been optimized for iPhones, Symbian phones (e.g. Nokia), Google Androids and Windows Mobile devices, and is already available in more than 1,100 partner locations across Europe. (www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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Quadriga has unveiled its next generation technology platform, a portal concept based on one of the fastest chipsets available for the market and integrating a new content management system and design management tools with a high resolution HD-capable internet browser. Guests will use the portal on their in-room TV to make bookings for the spa, restaurant, golf and future room reservations, view hotel and local information including travel, financial and weather reports, browse hotel facilities, visit the hotel e-shop, or choose from a range of high definition entertainment. The new platform will offer 25 languages, including Japanese, Arabic and Chinese, and will be available for installation in 2010. (www.quadriga.com)
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The Holiday Inn Express and Suites Atlanta Airport West – Camp Creek has installed Roomlinx’ interactive in-room entertainment system, sold by IBM through its new “Hotel-in-a-Box” program with InterContinental Hotels. (www.roomlinx.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Apple REIT Companies of Richmond implements M3 Link reporting at 198 US properties
  • Hilton Grand Vacations signs multi-year agreement for ePercipio e-learning courses

Apple REIT Companies of Richmond, Virginia has implemented M3 Hotel Accounting’s M3 Link operations reporting tool at 198 of its US properties. M3 Link integrates PMS data, Smith Travel Research (STR) reports, guest satisfaction surveys and financial data in one place, across multiple brands, displayed on a single web site with multiple viewing options. (www.applereitcompanies.com, www.hotelaccounting.com)
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Hilton Grand Vacations Company has signed a multi-year agreement with ePercipio for its on-line, multi-dimensional e-learning courses. (www.epercipio.com, www.hiltongrandvacations.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Kahana Falls Hotel retrofits 106 rooms with EnOcean‘s self-powered energy management devices

Hawaii‘s Kahana Falls Hotel has retrofitted 106 rooms with EnOcean‘s self-powered wireless key card switches, presence detectors and door sensors for energy management. The Echoflex Solutions wireless key card switch acts as a master switch for the rooms, with a presence detector automatically cutting off the air-conditioning as soon as a guest takes their key card out of the dock and leaves a room. A solar cell powered door sensor also switches off the air-conditioning after a set length of time if balcony door is open. Signals for the cable-less and battery-less light switches and sensors are converted into switching functions by relay receivers from ILLUMRA. (www.kahana-falls.com, www.enocean-alliance.org)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Innovation Technologies to resell ADTRAN’s NetVanta and Total Access VoIP systems

Innovation Technologies will resell ADTRAN’s NetVanta and Total Access VoIP systems as a complement to its own ComXchange Hospitality IP-PBX software. Using ADTRAN’s VoIP gateways, customers will be able interface ComXchange to existing analog phones, allowing them to add extensions or migrate to next-generation IP phones at any time. (www.innovationtw.com, www.adtran.com)
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SECURITY

  • Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, Thailand completes installation of Classic by VingCard system

The 418-room Millennium Resort Patong Phuket, Thailand has completed installation of its Classic by VingCard magnetic stripe electronic locking system. (www.millenniumpatong.com, www.vingcard.com)
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