December 2, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Engineering

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • PhoCusWright summit highlights need for innovation
  • HTNG releases 2008B Property Web Services specifications

Is the on-line booking arena becoming stale? My reaction to the six highest scoring demonstrations at PhoCusWright’s Travel Innovation Summit was that we’re seeing more variations on established themes than true innovation. Or maybe it’s just that the pace of technology development makes new approaches quickly feel established. Either way, with on-line bookings falling dramatically (Web traffic at Expedia sites, Travelocity.com and Orbitz is down 25%, 16% and 23%, respectively, per the Chicago Tribune) we definitely need some new thinking to spark travelers’ interest.
The six winners were:
– Home&Abroad’s Fogglight, a free utility to help on-line travel businesses integrate trip planning and booking tools into their sites.
– Interactive Mobile @dvertising’s iM@ (“I’m at”), a geographically-aware content management site offering destination-specific information on accommodation, transport and entertainment.
– TripIt, a site that builds travel itineraries from various booking confirmation emails and integrates travel information, weather, maps, and city guides to an itinerary. (Actually, I do think this site is innovative, being both elegantly simple to use and thoughtful in the information it provides back.)
– Triporati, a destination-selection site working from travelers’ needs and affinities.
– Wandrian, a single site integrating global rail booking systems for travelers to search for and book global rail travel from a single platform. (I must admit to a juvenile pleasure in being told I can book global rail travel “from a single platform”…)
– Yapta (“Your Amazing Personal Travel Assistant”), a site that helps find flights, monitors their prices, alerts customers of price changes and helps get refunds if the price drops.
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Continuing its work towards a more fully-integrated technology environment, HTNG has released the 2008B version of its Property Web Services specifications. These include updates to the Web Services Framework, the Single Guest Itinerary for sharing guest itinerary information and transactions across PMS, CRM, POS, and activity systems (golf, concierge, dining reservations, spa, etc.), the Open Data eXchange (ODX) which enables the Web Services-based transfer of flat-file data between two systems, and the Back Office Integration specification (being revised further). New specifications were issued for Digital Signage, to connect sales/catering systems to digital signage systems, and Guest Self Service, for self-service devices to order food and beverage through an interface with a point-of-sale system.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Amadeus’ IT Group promotes David Jones to President and CEO, Luis Maroto to Deputy CEO and Philippe Chérèque to EVP, Commercial
  • Trey Feiler joins Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as COO
  • Vivek Bhalla hired by The Rainmaker Group as Managing Director of Asia Pacific
  • iBAHN’s Joseph Rook awarded AH&LA Certification of Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus

Amadeus’ IT Group has shuffled its senior management as follows:
David Jones has been promoted to President & CEO, effective January 1; he succeeds José Antonio Tazón, who will become Chairman of the Amadeus Board of Directors. Mr. Jones has led Amadeus’ global commercial operations since 1992.
Luis Maroto, Chief Financial Officer for Amadeus IT Group, will serve also as Deputy CEO from 1st January 2009; he joined Amadeus in 2000.
Philippe Chérèque, currently Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, will succeed Mr. Jones as Executive Vice President, Commercial. M/ Chérèque has been with Amadeus since the creation of the company in 1987.
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Trey Feiler has joined Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as Chief Operating Officer. He brings over 20 years of leadership experience to MPI, having served in real estate, finance, and development with Brinker International (Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, On the Border, and Maggiano’s), and Yum! Brands (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W). Mr. Feiler was most recently Senior Vice President, Development of Jamba Juice Company.
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Vivek Bhalla has been hired by The Rainmaker Group as its new Managing Director of Asia Pacific, based at its new regional office in Singapore. Mr. Bhalla brings more than a decade of international hotel experience; he started his career with Hyatt International and held regional and corporate roles in revenue management in both SE Asia and Chicago. He was also Director of Revenue Management for Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts for four years, and also served in an operational role at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit hotel in Bangkok.
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iBAHN’s Joseph Rook has been awarded the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) Professional Certification of Master Hotel Supplier Emeritus, given to an industry professional based on a significant, lifetime contribution to the growth and development of the hospitality industry. Mr. Rook has more than thirty years of experience, beginning with Western International Hotels (now known as Westin) at the Peachtree Plaza Hotel in departmental and executive leadership roles. He acquired experience in hotel development, new construction and renovation projects with John Portman & Associates, and then served as Vice President of Sales/Marketing for United Cotton Goods, General Manager for Broyhill Hospitality Furnishings, and Vice President of Sales/Marketing for VingCard. He joined iBAHN in early 2006.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • InnLink and Innsoft announce enhanced two-way interface

InnLink and Innsoft announced an enhanced two-way interface between InnLink CRS and Innsoft’s Check-Inn for Windows PMS, covering delivery of reservations from the CRS, rate updates from the PMS and availability exchange between the systems. Beta testing of the interface was completed with Brentwood Suites in Brentwood, TN. (www.innlink.com, www.innsoft.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Dolphin Dynamics adds three more direct booking suppliers
  • Precise Hotel Collection signs with SynXis for eight properties
  • SynXis to use HBSi’s Demand Gateway to enhance connectivity for 8,500+ hotels
  • Carlson signs new agreement with Expedia to list all brands
  • Great Addresses signs with Advantage Reserve for call center services for two hotels
  • Travelocity Business extends reach via Radius’ network of corporate agencies
  • Bharat Hotels orders Trust’s Voyager|CRS for 21 hotels

Dolphin Dynamics has introduced direct booking connectivity with accommodation suppliers AlliedTPro and Jonview and car rental supplier Holiday Autos, and will shortly add Hotelconnect. The new links let users search and book accommodation and car-rental on a standalone basis or combined with air tickets and other ground services. Dolphin plans to add at least ten new third-party travel suppliers by the end of 2009, including both accommodation and ancillary suppliers. (www.dolphind.com)
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The Precise Hotel Collection has contracted with SynXis for CRS and distribution services for its eight properties, and will use SynXis’ Property Connect to integrate data between RedX and the chain’s Property Management System.
SynXis has ordered HBSi’s Demand Gateway to connect its 8,500+ hotels worldwide with wholesalers, tour operators, and online travel channels. Supporting a range of pricing models, this will let hotels offer more products in more innovative ways, such as through short-notice promotions or dynamic packaging.
(www.precisehotels.com, www.hotelbookingsolutions.com, www.synxis.com)
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Carlson Hotels Worldwide has signed a new multi-year distribution agreement with Expedia to list all Carlson Hotels brands on all Expedia and hotels.com sites. (www.carlson.com, www.expedia.com)
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Hotel operator Great Addresses has contracted with Advantage Reserve for evening, weekend and overflow call center services for its two Washington, D.C. hotels, the 170-room Carlyle Suites Hotel and 150-room Savoy Suites Hotel. Advantage Reserve uses TravelCLICK’s iHotelier central reservations system. (www.greataddresses.com, www.advantagereserve.com)
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Travelocity Business is extending its reach via a partnership with Radius’ network of corporate agencies. Radius brings together travel management companies in regional locations to collectively serve multi-national business travel accounts; it currently has 90 travel agencies in over 80 countries. (www.travelocitybusiness.com, www.radiustravel.com )
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New Delhi-based Bharat Hotels has ordered Trust International’s Voyager|CRS central reservation system for its 14 existing hotels and the seven currently under construction, along with two-way interfaces to the properties Opera property management systems. Bharat Hotels is rebranding its “The Grand” properties as “The Lalit”. (www.thelalit.com, www.trustinternational.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • VisionaryFX wins GOLD Adrian Award
  • Milestone Internet Marketing launches Graviti social media optimization product

VisionaryFX has won a GOLD Adrian Award for web marketing excellence in HSMAI’s 52nd annual Adrian Awards Competition. VisionaryFX, formerly the creative arm of MeetingMatrix International, received the award for an architectural visualization project for the New Orleans Marriott. (www.visionaryfx.com)
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Milestone Internet Marketing has launched Graviti, a social media optimization product targeted at the hospitality and travel segments. Graviti packages include combinations of user generated content, blogs, online videos, personal social networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc.), photo sharing (flickr, etc.), and social bookmarking (Digg, etc.). Different articles, videos, and the hotel’s website can be bookmarked using tags on different social bookmarking channels. (www.milestoneinternet.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Fontainebleau Miami Beach implements IDeaS V5i
  • Rainmaker Group opens regional office in Singapore

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach has implemented IDeaS V5i On-Demand revenue management system, including the Best Available Rate (BAR) and Group Pricing modules and integrated with its SynXis reservation management system and Opera property management system. The historic resort was recently renovated and expanded to 1504 rooms. (www.fontainebleau.com, www.ideas.com)
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The Rainmaker Group has opened a regional office in Singapore. (www.letitrain.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • OpenJaw Technologies announces version 2.0 of xEvent

OpenJaw Technologies has announced version 2.0 of its xEvent content and inventory management system for events and destination activities. Enhancements allow travel companies to connect to multiple suppliers and control multiple rates and contracts through business rules. xEvent also facilitates the dynamic packaging of event and destination activities to include flights, hotels and car rental within a single price. (www.openjawtech.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Global Software Applications acquires Flight Time TV
  • Hyatt Regency Woodfield picks SuiteLinq’s digital entertainment system
  • InterContinental Wien (Vienna) implements GoConcierge

Global Software Applications (GSA) has acquired Flight Time TV, which it has managed for some time, to add to its SurferQuest internet kiosk software and IPrinthere mobile printing. Flight Time TV broadcasts live flight information from any designated airport(s) directly onto the guest TV network or single display screens and message boards of hotels; the system is in use at 60 properties, including some Marriott, Hyatt and Westin brand hotels. (www.flighttimetv.com)
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The Hyatt Regency Woodfield (Schaumburg, Illinois) has selected SuiteLinq’s digital entertainment system for all 470 guestrooms, including SuiteLinq Internet access, SuiteCast free-to-guest broadcast and cable TV channels and SuiteVOD pay-per-view services. (www.woodfield.hyatt.com, www.suitelinq.com)
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The 453-room InterContinental Wien (Vienna) has implemented GoConcierge, the 17th InterContinental property to do so. In addition to the concierge team, the system is used by the front office, instant service center, bellmen, banqueting, sales, and housekeeping. (www.vienna.intercontinental.com, www.goconcierge.net)
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ENGINEERING

  • Seaport Hotel implements Grander Technology’s chlorine-reducing water treatment system

The Seaport Hotel has implemented Grander Technology’s chlorine-reducing water treatment system for its indoor pool, claiming to be the first USA hotel to do so. The system improves indoor air quality, reducing skin and eye irritation and improving water taste and appearance, and is itself made from 100 percent high-grade, recyclable materials. (www.seaportboston.com, www.granderwater.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • La Quinta Inns and Suites deploying Thing5 telecommunications across full portfolio

La Quinta Inns and Suites is deploying Thing5’s telecommunications platform across its full portfolio, both corporate owned and franchised. Thing5 services are already deployed at over 400 hotels, and Thing5 provides WAN management for all 680 properties. Services utilized vary from the complete platform (fixed rate calling, hosted PBX, ACD & voicemail and web-administration) to stand-alone services such as fixed rate calling. (www.lq.com, www.thing5.com)
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