December 15, 2009

December 2 – 15, 2009

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

Engineering

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • New Year’s Predictions from RevPAR Guru emphasize the importance of automation for maximizing opportunities

It’s close to year end, and the usual flood of Top Ten lists and predictions for the New Year is in full flow, some useful, some not. However, I wanted to summarize one from Jean Francois Mourier and Bruno Perez, co-founders of RevPAR Guru. Although naturally slanted towards their specialty, many of their Top Eight Predictions reflect a good balance between recognizing reality, spotting opportunities and using technology to get the most benefit from them, all themes close to my heart.
1. Less is sometimes… less – Business is still likely to be down for much of next year, staffing levels will continue to be below recent norms and yet hotels must look for incremental revenue. Implication: managers will be pressured to improve their systems, to relieve the operational burden on their staff.
2. Auto, Automate, Automation – Despite traditional caution in investing in systems and software in this environment, automation in specific departments can increase RevPAR and ADR, and free up revenue management staff for proactive planning. Automation is a winning strategy for 2010.
3. RevPAR Resurgence – As occupancy slowly picks back up the emphasis will be more on RevPAR than lose-lose price wars. Hotels will do all they can to bolster RevPAR, from improving or updating their revenue management systems to offering new ancillary services.
4. Building for a Recovery – Hotels will get back to making what investments they can in revenue-generating initiatives as CapEx becomes slightly more available.
5. Supply Pipeline – The pipeline of new room inventory is still intact but only producing a trickle of new rooms coming online. 2010 is unlikely to see a sudden influx of new hotels, allowing existing properties more leeway to take advantage of slow but real occupancy growth.
6. ADR Rising – Business travel is poised to make a comeback though probably not to 2007 levels. Hotels’ decreasing reliance on deep discounting will lead to higher ADRs which, if combined with effective revenue management to optimize occupancy, will in turn lead to improved RevPAR.
7. Information is King – For 2010 efficiency is an imperative, and especially so to leverage available information effectively to improve rate setting and establish a competitive edge. Revenue management systems that use information on competitors’ rates for optimal rate adjustment will continue to gain favor.
8. Bit by Bit – The smallest but well-timed variations in offered rates, particularly over multiple online channels, can make the difference between optimized occupancy/RevPAR and lost revenue. Hotels will become increasingly aware of the benefits of real-time rate adjustment and will invest in automated systems to manage this.
More than anything, innovative properties and chains will eke out a considerable competitive advantage over their lagging peers. There are always opportunities; in 2010, the key will be seizing them when they present themselves.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • eTammy Peter receives HEDNA’s 2009 Award of Excellence
  • Patti Goodrich named vice president of enterprise infrastructure at Choice
  • Roy Womack appointed CIO at Worldwide Revenue Solutions
  • Bill Mitchell joins hotel SystemsPro as Senior Director, Customer Service
  • Katie Stewart has been hired by hotel SystemsPro as Account Manager
  • Marilyn Crawford joins Roomlinx’ Advisory Board
  • Joe Hirsch is PSAV Presentation Services new Vice President of Branch Sales

Tammy Peter is the recipient of HEDNA’s 2009 Award of Excellence, which honors individuals whose careers have made remarkable contributions toward the advancement of hotel electronic distribution and involvement with HEDNA. Currently the Vice President, eCommerce New Business Development with the Wyndham Hotel Group, Ms. Peter has been in the travel industry for 24 years, starting with Embassy Suites, then moving to various hotel representation firms before spending six years with the company now known as Pegasus Solutions. During her tenure with HEDNA, she chaired the Education Committee and led the development of HEDNA U, taking responsibility for all HEDNA U curriculums and its delivery at all conferences.
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Patti Goodrich has been named vice president of enterprise infrastructure at Choice Hotels International, responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of the company’s data center, service/support and infrastructure services. Ms. Goodrich brings 23 years of experience, most recently as associate vice president of information technology operations at Scottsdale Insurance Company.
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Roy Womack has been appointed as Chief Information Officer at Internet marketing provider Worldwide Revenue Solutions. Mr. Womack has over 30 years experience; he most recently served as Vice President of Product Development at Vere Software.
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Bill Mitchell has joined hotel SystemsPro as Senior Director responsible for customer service. He most recently served as West Coast regional manager for Hilton Worldwide’s Hampton brand hotels, and was earlier general manager at two New Orleans properties operated by Expotel Hospitality and Highpointe Hotels, respectively.
Katie Stewart has been hired by hotel SystemsPro as a nationwide Account Manager, based in the company’s Florida office. Most recently an independent consultant in off-site sales for hotel SystemsPro and for the Crossroads division of Interstate Hotels and Resorts, Ms. Stewart was with Crossroads Hospitality Company providing internet marketing and off-site sales support, had also served as general manager of the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Mattoon, Illinois and as business manager for Hale Grove, the largest direct marketing citrus company in Florida.
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L. Marilyn Crawford has joined Roomlinx’ Advisory Board. Ms. Crawford has over 15 years of strategic branding, marketing, public relations, advertising, and communications experience, and currently leads WindsorPTM, a global marketing, advertising and Public Relations firm.
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Joe Hirsch is PSAV Presentation Services new Vice President of Branch Sales. Mr. Hirsch brings 18 years of experience, gained with hospitality companies including Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, LXR Luxury Resorts and Freeman Audio Visual Solutions.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Santa Claran Hotel Casino, Española, NM orders Agilysys’ Guest 360 PMS
  • One&Only Resorts picks MICROS OPERA PMS as worldwide standard
  • Sparkling Hill Resort and Wellness Hotel installs Northwind’s Maestro PMS, on-line booking
  • NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS announces 21 new clients
  • SPM Resorts orders SPI’s Orange suite for 30 resorts
  • Blue Mountain Resort implements Cenium’s HMS integrated application

Santa Claran Hotel Casino (formerly Big Rock Casino) in Española, NM, has ordered Agilysys’ Guest 360 property management system for its new 124-room hotel, scheduled to open in January, the first gaming property to do so. Already using Agilysys point-of-sale and inventory/procurement systems, the Hotel Casino includes a 27,000-square-foot casino, three restaurants, tapas bar and live entertainment. (www.santaclaran.com, www.agilysys.com)
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One&Only Resorts has selected MICROS OPERA Property Management System (PMS) for all of its properties worldwide, and has implemented it at the recently-opened One&Only Cape Town along with MICROS’ 9700 Hospitality Management System (HMS) POS system. (oneandonlyresorts.com, www.micros.com)
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The 152-room Sparkling Hill Resort and Wellness Hotel, in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada has installed Northwind’s Maestro PMS and on-line booking engine for rooms and activities. The Resort is due to open in April 2010, features crystals extensively in its guestroom and public space décor, and includes a -110 degree Celsius Cryotherapy Cold Sauna.
NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS announced 21 new clients, including:
– Island Lake Resorts in British Columbia (three properties)
– Sherwood Inn Properties (four hotels)
– The Capes Resort Hotel,
– The Golf Villas at Oro Valley,
– The Peekskill Inn in New York State,
– Water’s Edge Resort and Spa,
– Pinnacle International (two properties)
– the Forty 1 North Marina Resort, and
– Metropolitan Hotels (three properties)
(www.sparklinghill.com, www.maestropms.com)
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SPM Resorts has ordered SPI Software’s Orange property management, reservations, rentals, owners servicing and web applications, to be deployed in an enterprise-wide network serving its 30 resorts. (www.spmresorts.com, www.spiinc.com)
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Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario, Canada, has implemented Cenium’s HMS integrated application to help manage its 900 guestrooms, dining and shopping facilities, recreational attractions and 37,500 square feet of conference space. PMS, Food and Beverage POS, Inventory and Recipe management and Finance modules are now live; Retail POS, HR and Sales and Catering will be cut over in January, with Mountain Activity operations, Spa, Golf, Workforce Management and other minor modules scheduled for after the ski season. (www.bluemountain.ca, www.cenium.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Park Hotel Group switches to Sabre Hospitality Solutions
  • Accor releases free iPhone rooms booking application for all its brands
  • Amadeus and Fourth Dimension Software integrated some offerings, enter co-marketing agreement
  • Conde Nast Traveller implements white-label version of Travel Intelligence’s Starfish booking engine

Singapore-based Park Hotel Group has switched to Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis Central Reservation System and Guest Connect booking engine for all eight properties; it plans to add another 10 to 12 properties in the next three to five years. (www.parkhotelgroup.com, www.sabre-holdings.com)
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Accor Hotels has released a free iPhone application for booking rooms at any Accor brand property worldwide, including Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Mercure, Novotel, Suitehotel, Adagio, ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel, Formule 1 and hotelF1 hotels. Developed with mobile systems specialist Haiku, the application is available in five languages (French, English, German, Spanish and Italian) and includes geolocation features that enable users to search for the nearest hotels or calculate itineraries in real time. It can also memorize current reservations and favorite hotels and synchronizes with the iPhone contacts. (www.accorhotels.com)
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Amadeus and Fourth Dimension Software have integrated some of their tour operator offerings and entered into a co-marketing agreement; Amadeus will market FDS’ Contour application to tour operators, and FDS will offer Amadeus’ TravelTainment booking and distribution application to its customers. Contour can now also be tied into Amadeus Web Services, Amadeus Master Pricer and TravelTainment’s distribution front-ends. (www.4ds.com, www.amadeus.com)
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Conde Nast Traveller has implemented a purpose built hotel booking engine, using a white-label version of Travel Intelligence’s Starfish platform on the main CNTraveller Web site. (www.cntraveller.com, www.travelintelligence.com )
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Cendyn wins 2009 Gold Adrian Award for development of Trump website
  • Marriott signs TransPerfect for language support of its Web sites
  • Solutionz Media partners with GuestCentric Systems to offer social media marketing application
  • Generator Systems and SPI Software to interface their vacation ownership sales, management systems
  • IQware releases IQsem Search Engine Marketing services module
  • Aston Hotels signs with VFM Leonardo

Cendyn has won an HSMAI 2009 Gold Adrian Award for its development of The Trump Organization’s website. (www.cendyn.com)
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Marriott International has signed TransPerfect to an ongoing technology and services agreement for language support of its Web sites. (www.marriott.com, www.transperfect.com)
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Solutionz Media has partnered with GuestCentric Systems to offer the Customer Engagement Platform, a social media marketing application for the hospitality industry that allows hotels to use Twitter and Facebook as booking channels. The application helps manage media campaigns and measure the effectiveness of promotions, as well as providing channel cost analysis, monitoring and alerts, a social media reputation audit and ongoing social distribution management. (www.solutionzmedia.com, www.guestcentric.com)
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Generator Systems and SPI Software are developing an interface between their systems for developers of vacation ownership real estate, linking Generator Systems’ vacation ownership sales optimizing software with SPI’s Orange software for marketing, point-of-sale, finance, owner servicing and resort management. (www.generator-systems.com, www.spiinc.com)
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IQware has released its IQsem Search Engine Marketing services module to help properties optimize their Web pages for content and keywords. IQsem provides tools to manage and automate the keyword bidding process based on defined sales, costs, or combined ROI metrics, and measures marketing ROI without having to merge cost and sales data from multiple sources. (www.iqwareinc.com)
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Aston Hotels, formerly ResortQuest Hawaii, has contracted with VFM Leonardo to use its VBrochure Online Merchandising System to distribute virtual tours for its 27 hotels and resorts. (www.AstonHotels.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • IQware releases IQlink online channel management module for IQware Global PMS
  • Classic Vacations signs for HBSi’s Demand Gateway links to its hotel partners
  • eRevMax receives PCI DSS certification for all products, including RateTiger
  • Sol Meliá selects EZYield.com as preferred channel management system for all brands

IQware has released its IQlink module to provide online channel management for its IQware Global Property Management System. IQware already supports GDS and IDS interfaces; IQlink adds the ability for properties to manage their inventories, rates and restrictions across multiple third-party distribution Web sites. (www.iqwareinc.com)
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Expedia’s Classic Vacations division has contracted with HBSi to use its Demand Gateway channel management and connectivity application to link to its hotel partners, including contracted allotments as well as dynamic rates and promotions. (www.classicvacations.com, www.hbsconnect.com)
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eRevMax has received Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) certification from the PCI Security Standards Council for its product portfolio, which includes RateTiger. (www.erevmax.com)
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Sol Meliá Hotels & Resorts has selected EZYield.com as the preferred channel management system for its brands. Currently, Sol Melia operates more than 300 hotels under the brands of Gran Meliá, Meliá Hotels & Resorts, ME by Meliá, Innside, TRYP Hotels, Sol Hotels, Paradisus Resorts and Sol Meliá Vacation Club (www.solmelia.com, www.ezyield.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Louvre Hotels signs with Lanyon
  • Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors rebrand their merged organizations as “onPeak”
  • MeetingTrader launches open clearinghouse for cancelled meeting contracts

Louvre Hotels has expanded the multi-year agreement its newly-acquired Golden Tulip subsidiary had with Lanyon, Inc. to provide the common RFP platform structure for the two groups. (www.louvre-hotels.com, www.goldentulip.com, www.lanyon.com)
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Event housing vendors Travel Technology Group and Ambassadors have announced “onPeak” as the new brand identity for their merged organizations. (www.onpeak.com)
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MeetingTrader has launched an open clearinghouse for cancelled meeting contracts, helping to match hotels holding cancelled contracts with planners seeking discounted group meetings. For the client who cancelled, this may also reduce the financial penalty resulting from the cancellation. RFP data is entered once and sent only to the hotels of the planner’s choice, keeping distribution in the planner’s hands and improving response rates from hotels. (www.meetingtrader.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Oneida Nation selects MICROS’ 9700 for its Oneida Retail, Oneida Casino and Radisson Hotel
  • Pascua Yaqui Tribe picks MICROS’ 9700 for its Sol Casinos enterprise POS operations
  • SoftCafe releases version 9 of its MenuPro software

Wisconsin’s Oneida Nation Tribe of Indians Enterprise has selected MICROS’ 9700 Hospitality Management System (HMS) to centrally manage the POS operations of its Oneida Retail, Oneida Casino (with five satellite locations) and Radisson Hotel operations.
The Pascua Yaqui Tribe has selected MICROS’ 9700 Hospitality Management System (HMS) for its Sol Casinos enterprise POS operations. Casino Del Sol, Casino of the Sun, and the AVA Amphitheatre have all implemented the system; Casino Del Sol and Casino of the Sun have also implemented Mobile MICROS handhelds and wireless MICROS Workstation 5s.
(www.oneidanation.org, www.casinodelsol.com, www.micros.com)
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SoftCafe has released version 9 of its MenuPro software, enhanced with more features, menu styles, artwork, borders and fonts and now available for for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. (www.softcafe.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Intelity updates ICE guestroom application to run on Windows 7 and use touch-screen capabilities
  • TeleAdapt announces ChargeHub universal charging station with 12 different device connectors
  • Hilton Frankfurt installs Swisscom’s convergent IPTV and Internet system
  • Sutton Place Hotel, Toronto is first Canadian property to implement LodgeNet HD free-to-guest service
  • Vdara Condominium Hotel installs Axxess’ electronic Do-Not-Disturb indicator and doorbell system
  • Element Hotels to install ChargePoint electric car-charging stations at all properties by year end

Intelity has updated its Interactive Customer Experience (ICE) guestroom application to run on Windows 7 and use its touch-screen capabilities. It announced plans to develop new features based on these and on Windows 7’s location-aware APIs. (www.intelitycorp.com)
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TeleAdapt announced its ChargeHub universal charging station for hotel guestrooms, a mobile charging device equipped with 12 different device connectors compatible with most major cell phone brands. A female USB port also provides a charging point for guests who bring their own cable for charging Bluetooth headsets, portable game consoles, and other USB powered devices. (www.teleadapt.com)
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The 342-room Hilton Frankfurt has installed Swisscom’s convergent IPTV and Internet system, which delivers HD live-TV and VOD plus Internet access through the hotel’s telephone system. The services offers Hilton guests wired and wireless Internet access, digital TV with 70+ channels from around the world, a library of new SD/HD movies and various short documentaries in HD quality. (www.Hilton.com/Frankfurt, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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The Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto has become the first Canadian property to implement high-definition free-to-guest (HD FTG) service from LodgeNet (Canada) and Rogers Communications. (www.suttonplace.com, www.lodgenet.com)
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MGM Mirage has installed Axxess’ electronic Do-Not-Disturb indicator and doorbell system at its newly-opened Vdara Condominium Hotel in the CityCenter project in Las Vegas. (www.axxind.com)
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Starwood’s Element Hotels announced a goal of installing ChargePoint electric car-charging stations at all of its properties by the end of this year, following a pilot test at the Element Lexington. The ChargePoint Networked Charging Station was developed by Coulomb Technologies in partnership with Carbon Day Automotive, and includes a universal plug-in for many different electric vehicles from cars and buses to electric bikes. Travelers will be able to use Google Maps to locate charging stations and determine whether they are in use or unoccupied. (www.starwoodhotels.com/element/index.html, www.coulombtech.com, carbondayautomotive.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Ritz-Carlton announces Hotel Folio partnership with American Express

Ritz-Carlton has announced a Hotel Folio partnership with American Express that provides American Express corporate card customers with free reports that analyze and itemize their expenditures (e.g. parking, in-room services, meals) at 40 Ritz-Carlton properties in North America. American Express’ Hotel Folio reports include:
• room charges, separated from applicable taxes
• multiple food and beverage categories, including hotel restaurant and room service charges
• business services such as faxing, computer services, photocopying
• parking and ground transportation.
(www.ritzcarlton.com, www.americanexpress.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Panasonic announces two new WhisperGreen-Lite ventilation fan models
  • Best Western Clock Tower Inn, Billings, Mont., installs Lodging Technology’s GEM Link Wireless Energy Management

Panasonic has announced two new WhisperGreen-Lite ventilation fan models available in January 2010. Designed for 4” ducts, the new FV-08VKML2 and FV-08VKSL2 models feature built-in variable speed controls that range from 0 – 80 CFM and a built-in Delay Timer that can be pre-set up to 60 minutes. The FV-08VKML2 also features a SmartAction Motion Sensor which automatically returns to the pre-set lower speed when the occupant leaves the room. (www.panasonic.com/ventfans)
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The Best Western Clock Tower Inn, Billings, Mont., has installed Lodging Technology’s GEM Link Wireless Energy Management in all 127 guestrooms, to reset room temperatures to an energy conserving level while the guest is out of the room. The ZigBee-based GEM Link consists of wireless passive infrared (PIR) occupancy sensors, wireless door switches and a transceiver control module connectable to any HVAC unit. (www.bestwesternmontana.com, www.lodgingtechnology.com)
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SECURITY

  • Houjie International Hotel, Dongguan, China completes installation of Classic by VingCard locks
  • W Barcelona completes installation of Vingcard’s Signature mag-stripe locks

The 500-room Houjie International Hotel in Dongguan, China has completed the installation of its Classic by VingCard standalone electronic locking system.
The 473-room W Barcelona has completed its installation of Vingcard’s Signature mag-stripe locks.
(www.regalpalacehotels.com/dongguan/international/english/index.asp, www.starwoodhotels.com, www.vingcard.com)
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