December 1, 2010
NOVEMBER 18 – DECEMBER 1, 2010
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Internet bandwidth becomes a key hotel selection factor
More indications that the bandwidth available to hotel guests is going to be as big a differentiator
now as just having Internet access used to be.
A Deloitte survey of 1,001 business travelers found that roughly two-thirds of them often work in
their room, 79% rate high-speed Internet access as an important amenity and 80% predict that they’ll
be traveling more in 2011. At the same time their companies’ travel policies are being more strictly
enforced (59%) with 32% reporting dollar limits on accommodation spending. The report concludes that
“the tipping point for hotels to differentiate their brand offering and strengthen loyalty among the
post-recessionary business traveler will be providing additional complementary services and amenities
tailored to their guests’ specific needs.” In other words, effective high-speed Internet access at
low or no charge will be a key factor.
Outside of business usage, a study by Sheraton Hotels & Resorts of 4,204 people in the U.S., U.K. and China reported that 60% of respondents use social media to stay in touch with family and friends while
traveling, with more than a third (36%) saying they’d rather log on than make a phone call. One fifth
of respondents said that they check social networking sites multiple times throughout the day while
And the bandwidth requirements of all this activity are still increasing at unprecedented rates.
Users are downloading more YouTube videos, Hulu TV episodes and Netflix movies than ever before, to
the point that Comcast is trying to impose surcharges on Netflix to carry its soaring movie traffic.
The bottom line: travelers will be making more trips, expect true high-speed Internet access, will use it for more bandwidth-intensive traffic and will continue to watch expenses. It’s a tough situation
for hotels, but just as with the introduction of HSIA to guestrooms in the first place, those that
provide usable, affordable, reliable service will get the bookings.
- Alan Young joins Infor-SoftBrands as Vice President, Global Marketing – Hospitality Group
- Michael McCartan hired by eRevMax as Chief Operating Officer
- Jorge Valverde Rico appointed Project Manager for RTConnect at eRevMax
- John Seaton, Giles Gurney hired into eRevMax sales division for RTConnect
- Lilian Stjepanovic joins eRevMax as sales representative for south east Europe
- Nigel Allport appointed Director of Business Development EMEA at Agilysys Hospitality
Alan Young has joined Infor-SoftBrands as Vice President, Global Marketing – Hospitality Group. He
brings 25 years of travel technology experience, most recently as a partner at hospitality technology
recruiting service Apical Resources Group. Mr. Young has held executive level marketing positions
with Newtrade Technologies (since acquired by Expedia), Hotel Information Systems (now part of
SoftBrands), Hotel Booking Solutions and IBS Software. He began his career in operations with Four
Seasons Hotels, later transitioning to leading the sales effort of Micros/Fidelio in the Caribbean for
a Micros partner and returned to Canada in 1997 as Industry Sales and Marketing Manager for Sweda
Michael McCartan has been hired by eRevMax as its new Chief Operating Officer. Formerly VP Product
Management at Pegasus Solutions, Mr. McCartan has over 12 years experience in the hospitality
Jorge Valverde Rico has been appointed
Project Manager for RTConnect, eRevMax’s two-way XML gateway; he was previously a Global
Implementation Manager for Lufthansa AirPlus.
John Seaton, formerly of Pegasus
Solutions and HBSi, and Giles Gurney, previously Senior Sales Manager of Xotels, have been hired into
the sales division for RTConnect.
Lilian Stjepanovic has joined eRevMax
as sales representative for the south east European market.
Nigel Allport has been appointed Director of Business Development EMEA at Agilysys Hospitality
Solutions. Based in the UK, Mr. Allport brings 25 years technology experience from both the insurance
& financial services and hospitality sectors; he was most recently EMEA Regional VP of Sales for
SoftBrands Hospitality. After starting his career as an auditor for a firm of Chartered Accountants
specializing in hotels, he subsequently spent 10 years with Misys plc, culminating in the role of
National Sales Manager for the Innsite Hotel Services division.
- Tanglewood picks PAR Springer-Miller
Tanglewood Resort & Conference Center on Lake Texoma near Dallas has selected PAR Springer-Miller’s
SMS|Host Hospitality Management System, including Multi-Property Management, Owner Fulfillment, Golf,
Activities and Membership modules. Tanglewood includes over 240 guestrooms, golf, spa, three swimming
pools and many other land- and water-based activities. (www.tanglewoodresort.com,
- Groupize releases research/booking engine for small-group travel
- Open Up signs with Pegasus Solutions for UltraDirect interface
- Expedia acquiring Mobiata
Groupize.com has released an online research/booking engine focused on creating custom itineraries for
small-group travel, including family reunions, corporate meetings, weddings, reunions, school groups,
religious events, sports outings, etc. Both travel professionals and consumers are offered
collections of sample itineraries for customization. Traditional travel companies can use various
affiliate tools such as links, widgets, white labels, Facebook connections and various APIs. Groupize
also offers destination-based group travel products such as tours, coaches, attractions, restaurants,
insurance and tour guides. (www.groupize.com)
Open Up has signed with Pegasus Solutions to use its UltraDirect interface to able to book Pegasus’
90,000+ global hotels. Based in Bern, Switzerland, Open Up has ten offices in six countries primarily
serving Russian-speaking travel agencies and tour operators in Russia and the Commonwealth of
Independent States. (www.openup.ru, www.pegs.com)
Expedia is acquiring Mobiata, which has developed several mobile travel applications including
FlightTrack, itinerary manager app TripDeck and hotel booking apps HotelPal and Travelclick’s StayHIP.
Mobiata will remain in its headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI. (www.mobiata.com, www.expedia.com)
- Lodging Interactive releases Chatter Guard Lite Social Media Monitoring
- Manhattan at Times Square Hotel selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope
Lodging Interactive has released Chatter Guard Lite Social Media Monitoring, a low-cost version of its
Chatter Guard Reputation Management Service tool for the hospitality industry. The web based Chatter
Guard Lite provides an online dashboard, real time email alerts, guest comment sentiment scoring and
the ability to share guest comments with others via email. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
The 665-room Manhattan at Times Square Hotel, New York City, has selected UniFocus’ GUESTScope system.
- Rainmaker releases interface with EZYield.com
- César Ritz Colleges Switzerland partners with EasyRMS
The Rainmaker Group has developed an interface with EZYield.com to allow hotels update optimized room
rates across over 500 channels. The new interface is currently in use at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
in Las Vegas. (www.ezyield.com, www.letitrain.com)
César Ritz Colleges Switzerland has partnered with EasyRMS to provide educational sessions and
online demonstrations of EzRMS to César Ritz students on a quarterly basis. (www.ritz.edu,
- Task Retail Technology opens North American office to launch
cloud-based Xchangexec POS
Australia-based Task Retail Technology has opened a North American office in Atlanta, GA, to offer its
cloud-based Xchangexec F&B and retail point-of sale application. Xchangexec provides real-time sales data,
centralized POS terminal and data management with integration to devices such as digital menu boards,
electronic marketing panels with pricing managed automatically and wirelessly, global loyalty, mobile
applications and text messaging. Xchangexec is developed in Microsoft’s .NET environment and based on
SQL Server. (www.taskretail.com.au)
- TAC receives User Experience Award from Austria’s World Usability Day
- TAC releases iPad version of Reservation Assistant
TAC has received the User Experience Award in the “Service Engineering” category from Austria’s World
Usability Day, for version RA 4.0 of its Reservation Assistant spa & activity software. Since 2009
Austria’s User Experience Award has been given to software companies that stand out through innovative
functionalities and user-friendliness.
TAC has released an iPad version of its Reservation Assistant spa & activity software.
- Florida Hotel & Convention Center implements TTI Technologies business center
- Marriott Australia picks DOCOMO InterTouch, HP Networking to upgrade guestroom services
- Topguest adds VOILA Hotel Rewards to range of loyalty programs
- Royal Garden Hotel implements Swisscom’s Hospitality Services, ConnectedHotel TV
- Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo, upgrades guestroom technology with OTRUM Evolution, LG displays
- iBAHN appoints Speeron sales, support partner for Nordic region
Florida Hotel & Convention Center has implemented a new Business Center designed and implemented by
TTI Technologies, incorporating six all-in-one workstations, fax/copy/scan functionality and Microsoft
Office. (www.thefloridahotelorlando.com, www.ttitel.com)
Marriott International in Australia has selected DOCOMO InterTouch and HP Networking’s E Series suite
of routers, switches and controllers to upgrade guestroom services such as high-speed wireless
internet access and IPTV in its properties in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The first hotel
installation was completed this month; full deployment is scheduled for completion in August 2011.
(www.marriott.com, www.hp.com, www.docomointertouch.com)
Topguest has added VOILA Hotel Rewards to its range of loyalty programs offering points and perks to
users “checking-in” via location-based-services such as Facebook Places, Twitter and Foursquare.
VOILÀ’s program covers more than 250 four- and five-star independent hotels and luxury brands.
The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London, is implementing Swisscom’s Hospitality Services
throughout the 400-room property. ConnectedHotel TV from Swisscom will offer guests web based
services such as weather forecasts, real-time flight information and news as well as live TV and video
on demand. Swisscom will also provide high speed wired and wireless Internet access in all guest
rooms with customized interfaces for both laptop and Smartphone users. The project is scheduled to go
live in March 2011. (www.KensingtonParkHotel.com, www.swisscom.com/Hospitality/)
The 673-room Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Oslo, has upgraded its guestroom technology with OTRUM’s
interactive Evolution system, also installing 717 new LCD TVs from LG ranging from 32” – 55”. The
Evolution’s user interface was developed with Rezidor, offers a greeting in the guest’s own language
and provides targeted marketing campaigns promote special offers and potential points of interest to
the guest. The TV channels are also sorted according to the guests’ profiles. (www.radissonblu.com,
iBAHN has appointed Speeron its sales, support and service partner across the Nordic region. The two
companies recently worked in partnership on an installation at the 382-room Hilton Copenhagen Airport.