December 19, 2006

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services


NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 19, 2006

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • We need a more professional approach to systems security and support

A thought for end-of-year reflections: we need to do something about support.
We all know the problems with looking after the multiple different systems required by any moderately-sized hotel; there are too many separate products from separate vendors, each with their own technology, interfaces and support needs. This has been a major factor behind the drive to develop more all-encompassing systems, as a way to reduce the number of vendors involved (and hence the number of interfaces) as well as to provide a more complete picture of guest activity and operational data. While we’re still a long way from having a single solution – no-one yet offers a telephone system or video-on-demand services as part of a PMS package, for example – vendors continue to make progress in expanding their systems’ coverage.
With the appearance of XML-based IP interfaces, though, the need for one vendor to do it all seemed to recede. With the availability of more flexible links between multiple products more complete application sets have become available, especially as vendors make formal agreements with preferred partners. As a result, the best-of-breed approach gained renewed life; hotels can get a more complete offering from one PMS vendor and its specialist partners, with better-integrated data flow and fewer interface configuration hassles.
But flexibility of interconnection doesn’t necessarily translate to simpler support. Just because a PMS can link effectively to spa, golf, sales & catering and other systems from other vendors, it doesn’t become any easier for the hotel to get good support for the complete installation. Even if the PMS vendor takes support responsibility for its partners’ products (including single-sign-on and effective user access security across all applications) it’s still a multi-step process to resolve a cross-system problem. And no PMS vendor yet takes responsibility for supporting the network on which all the applications depend, let alone keeping up with security patches and anti-spyware on the hotel servers.
In the past this has just been a royal pain for properties as they try to manage it themselves. But as the legal and adverse-publicity consequences of guest data loss continue to rise, and as company executives are expected to certify that all changes made to the data on their systems were made by authorized users, the need for professional, full-time support of each property’s complete systems environment has never been greater. Who’s going to step up to this opportunity and provide it?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • JDA Software hires Dominic Beveridge, John Fuggles and Christina McClay
  • Jay Weaver promoted to CFO at Onity
  • Ty Abrahams joins Mintek Mobile Data Solutions as Director of Marketing
  • Ignacio Martos appointed CEO of Opodo
  • Max Steinhardt joins CBORD Group as Senior Vice President of Operations
  • Shawn McCarthy joins CBORD as Vice President of Wide Area Commerce Solutions

JDA Software Group has added three senior staff members to its Services Industries (Travel, Tourism, Hospitality) Division.
– Dominic Beveridge rejoins JDA Software to lead pre-sales consulting in Revenue Management, bringing more than 10 years of experience in revenue management and consulting. Mr. Beveridge previously worked for Manugistics (formerly Talus Solution) in its European operations, and had earlier held revenue management roles at Savoy Group, Forte Hotels and le Meridien.
– John Fuggles has been hired as a Senior Account Manager. He has eight years of experience in the Travel, Tourism and Transportation sector, with a background in customer relationship management consulting with large global corporations.
– Christina McClay also joins as a Senior Account Manager. She brings over 15 years of experience, most recently as Vice President, Casino/Resort Division for Micros Systems.
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Jay Weaver has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer at Onity. He was most recently Finance Director for Onity’s North America division, and had earlier served as a regional Finance Manager for Kraft Foods. He has also held prominent positions with Diversity Food Processing and Union Camp Corporation.
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Ty Abrahams has joined Mintek Mobile Data Solutions as Director of Marketing. He was previously Director of Operations for broadband deployment vendor Conexco Communications.
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Ignacio Martos has been appointed CEO of Opodo. Sr. Martos was most recently Chief Executive Officer of Spanish online travel portal Rumbo.
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Max Steinhardt has joined the CBORD Group as Senior Vice President of Operations.
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Shawn McCarthy has joined CBORD as Vice President of Wide Area Commerce Solutions.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Golden Tulip picks centrally-hosted Amadeus PMS (Hogatex) for Northern Europe
  • RedSky IT wins PMS category at WTM/TravelMole Travel Technology Awards 2006
  • MSI implements 100th two-way PMS interface with Best Western’s CRS
  • Comtrol releases Lodging Link Premier turn-key hardware interfacing product
  • Matfen Hall Hotel orders Visual One’s PMS suite

Golden Tulip Hospitality has selected Amadeus Property Management System (Hogatex) as the preferred PMS System partner for its Management Division Northern Europe. Golden Tulip will implement integrated PMS, Conference, Sales & Marketing and International Finance Management System (back-office system) modules on a central, multi-property platform hosted at the Amadeus Data-centre in the greater Munich area. The first hotels to switch to the new system will be the Golden Tulip Hamburg Aviation and the Tulip Inn Düsseldorf – Arena. (www.goldentulip.com, www.amadeus.com)
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RedSky IT won the property management system category at the World Travel Market (WTM) and TravelMole Travel Technology Awards 2006, which recognize excellence in innovation, service and performance across the travel industry. (www.redskyit.com/us)
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Multi-Systems Inc. (MSI) has implemented its 100th two-way PMS interface with Best Western’s CRS. Fifty-two additional properties are in the queue to install the interface. (www.msisolutions.com)
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Comtrol has released Lodging Link Premier, which replaces Lodging Link III as its turn-key hardware interfacing product. The Premier product runs on the Windows XP Embedded operating system, has a faster (1 GHz) processor and increased storage (1 gigabyte) and includes 8 DB9 male serial ports instead of DB25 ports. (www.comtrol.com)
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Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa has ordered Visual One’s Front Office, Sales and Catering, Point of Sale, Golf Management, Spa Management and Web Bookings modules. The 53-room property, a privately owned country house hotel in Northumberland, includes dining facilities, 18 hole and 9 hole golf course, spa and leisure facilities. (www.matfenhall.com, www.v1s.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Internet to account for over half of all U.S. travel bookings next year, per PhoCusWright
  • Hotel Plus partners with HBSi for enhanced connectivity
  • OpenTravel Alliance publishes latest version of its messaging specifications
  • Executive Hotels & Resorts cuts over to SynXis’ RedX for 14 hotels
  • SynXis processes record number of transactions in 2006, handles $2 billion worth of bookings
  • Hoteles Centro Ciudad contracts with Pegasus for Internet booking and e-marketing
  • Travelport, owner of Galileo, acquires Worldspan
  • Sabre sold to private equity consortium
  • Galileo launches multi-currency rate capabilities for hotels

The Internet will account for over half (54%) of all U.S. travel bookings next year, according to the sixth U.S. Online Travel Overview from PhoCusWright. Although suppliers (e.g., airlines, hotels and car rental agencies) have outperformed online agencies (e.g., Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline) for some years, growth rates for both channels are expected to converge by 2008. Other insights include:
* The U.S. represents just one third of total 2005 online and offline travel bookings in the combined North America, Western Europe and Asia Pacific markets, but over 60 percent of all online bookings.
* The advanced level of the U.S. online travel market produces many innovations such as dynamic packaging, metasearch and user-generated content, which then expand to other global markets.
* The growth of dynamic packaging (consumers combining airline, hotel, rental car and other product purchases online) is projected to slow from 51 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2008, partly due to less discounting during the current robust economy.
* Hotels will surpass air travel as the fastest growing segment online.
(www.store.phocuswright.com/reports.html)
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Booking site Hotel Plus has partnered with Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi) to provide enhanced connectivity for individual hotels and hotel chains and to help hotels track and control bookings and different room/rate types in a more unified way. (http://corp.hotelplusportal.com, www.hotelbookingsolutions.com)
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The OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) has published the latest version of its XML-based messaging specifications. Enhancements include:
– For hotels: a hotel event message to communicate meeting planner needs, including meeting room setup, audiovisual, food and beverage, and safety and security.
– For cruise lines: several new message sets, including document type/delivery method retrieval, request the change/service history on an existing reservation, ‘fast sell’ to cover a cabin hold, cabin availability, cabin category availability, and package availability, miscellaneous cruise ship statistics and information, and improved payment submission.
– For airlines: a demand ticketing request/response message pair, and a check-in message to let travelers use various channels (kiosks, web and mobile) and perform related functions such as checking baggage, issuing bag tags/boarding passes and entering additional passenger information (APIS data etc.).
Several cross-vertical messages were also published, including support for verifying various documents (credit cards, drivers licenses, addresses, checks or some combination), charge approval and the ability to purchase non-inventory items (such as gift certificates or drink tickets on an airline) electronically.
(http://www.opentravel.org/ota_downloads_form.cfm)
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Executive Hotels & Resorts has cut over to SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System for channel management for its 14 hotels, including GDS, IDS and bookings coming directly from their individual and chain websites. Executive Hotels & Resorts is also using SynXis’ call center for its toll free number and individual hotels overflow calls.
SynXis announced today that it processed a record number of transactions in 2006 and has handled bookings worth more than $2 billion in revenue for its hotel customers. In 2006 SynXis saw a greater than 60-percent increase over 2005 in bookings made on hotel booking engines that it has built for its customers.
(www.executivehotels.net, www.synxis.com)
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Spanish hotel chain Hoteles Centro Ciudad (HCC) has contracted with Pegasus Web Services by Open Hospitality for Internet booking, Web site design, search engine optimization and e-mail marketing for its six hotels in Barcelona. HCC also renewed its agreement for Utell by Pegasus representation for three years. (www.hcchotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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Turmoil continues in the GDS world: The Blackstone Group’s Travelport, owner of the Galileo GDS, has acquired the Worldspan GDS, and Sabre Holdings has been sold to a consortium of private equity firms that includes Silver Lake Partners and Texas Pacific Group.
How times have changed; Bob Crandall, ex-CEO of American Airlines, once said that if it came to a choice between the airline and its Sabre reservations system he’d sell the airline and keep Sabre, since it made far more money. Now AA is one of the few major airlines NOT to have filed bankruptcy recently, Sabre’s on the block and two other GDSs are merging.
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Galileo has launched multi-currency rate capabilities for all hotels in the Galileo system, enabling them to provide rates in a number of different currencies for the same hotel. This is intended to help hotel companies tailor prices for particular markets and, for those in countries with fluctuating exchange rates, to present their rates in a more stable currency than their own. (www.galileo.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Ethan Allen Hotel orders Delphi Select Edition and Delphi Diagrams
  • InterContinental Dubai Festival City and Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City to implement Delphi Multi-Property Edition
  • Newmarket releases version 6.0 of Daylight sales and catering application
  • Passkey and HBSi to integrate their platforms

ReServe Interactive has introduced ReServe Anywhere, a centrally-hosted, Web-based version of its catering, event management and dining reservations software, remotely accessible by end-users through an Internet connection. ReServe Anywhere creates a centralized event sales or reservations area for multiple locations to manage operations more efficiently, track customer no shows, and oversee cancelled reservations at all sites. (www.reserveinteractive.com)
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The 193-room Ethan Allen Hotel in Danbury, Connecticut, has ordered Newmarket International’s Delphi Select Edition sales and catering solution and Delphi Diagrams. The hotel, owned by the furniture manufacturer Ethan Allen Corp, has 15 event rooms and 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The 501-room InterContinental Dubai Festival City and the 316-room Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City will implement Delphi Multi-Property Edition when they open in the second quarter of 2007. The Events Centre, shared between the properties, is situated directly below the Crowne Plaza, and includes 13,500 square feet of conference and events space on two levels, a 24-hour business centre and hi-speed Wi-Fi internet access in all public areas.
Newmarket International has released version 6.0 of its Daylight sales and catering software. Enhancements include new document management capabilities, improved workflow management for updating events and customizing sub blocks and billing, and expanded reporting.
(www.ethanallenhotel.com, www.dubaifestivalcity.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Passkey and Hotel Booking Solutions Incorporated (HBSi) are integrating their platforms to provide better connectivity for online group reservations, improving the ability of hotel companies, convention bureaus and other group managers to link supply to various distribution channels. A integration will include support for shared reservations, with separate arrival and departure dates for multiple occupants within a single room and separate payment methods for each guest. (www.passkey.com, www.hotelbookingsolutions.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • MICROS Systems acquires sports and entertainment event POS provider TangentPOS

MICROS Systems has acquired TangentPOS, a provider of event point-of-sale and accounting systems for food service and retail operations at sports and entertainment facilities with over 200 installations in North America. (www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Eleven Wireless announces tiered pricing for Internet access
  • Vertical Systems Inc. converting hotel payphone areas to VistaPoint Internet kiosks

Eleven Wireless has announced tiered pricing for its Internet access technology, to allow hotels to offer free Internet access for guests while charging for high-bandwidth services or non-guest usage. (www.elevenwireless.com)
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Vertical Systems Inc. is converting hotel payphone areas to Internet kiosks with its VistaPoint kiosk, which allows guests to surf the Web, send and receive email, send text messages to mobile phones, print airline boarding passes and make telephone calls. VistaPoint can be offered as a free guest service or as a revenue generator. When a guest logs off a new copy of the Windows operating system, factory settings and applications are loaded, deleting the previous user’s files, personal data, usage history and any user-loaded non-standard programs. (www.ver-sys.com)
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