February 14, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Security

FEBRUARY 1 – 14, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

    • New announcements highlight fresh energy in hospitality tech
    • HFTP calls for innovative tech ideas for GUESTROOM 20X

Some years start off slowly, but the news this week is full of innovation and good progress reports. Some of last year’s new systems are gaining good traction, and a number of innovative new ideas have been announced.
For example:
– the eagerly-awaited first installation of Springer-Miller’s new Atrio GMS was announced
– Softbrand’s new HMS now has over 20 systems installed or on order, both in the USA and internationally
– Gogo brings last minute hotel bookings to passengers in flight through HotelTonight
– Nor1 has integrated its software with Opera to provide individually-targeted upgrade offers to guests who have just booked based on their profile and history data, truly getting into to one-to-one marketing
– OpenWays is gaining ground with new orders for its phone-based room keys from the USA and France
– LodgeNet’s new Mobile App lets guests use smartphones and tablets as TV remote controls, with a local channel guide for the hotel where they’re staying. What a useful concept; not only does it make channel surfing so much easier, it means you no longer have to wonder how clean the existing TV remote is…
Only six weeks in and already we’re seeing plenty of excitement and fresh ideas. It’s going to be a good year!
**
Speaking of innovation, HFTP is putting out feelers for technology ideas for its GUESTROOM 20X exhibit at HITEC this June. While not billed as a “room of the future” – I agree with Rich that it’s hard to show examples of working technology under that heading – GUESTROOM 20X is always a fascinating look at recent developments as they might be incorporated into a hotel room. If you have or know of anything innovative that might fit, visit the GUESTROOM 20X site (www.hftp.org/Pages/Events/HITEC/GUESTROOM20X.aspx) or e-mail guestroom20x@hftp.org. But hurry; submissions must be received by March 1.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Jeff Edwards is back! Joins Amadeus as EVP North America & Global Head of Hotel Group
  • Ted Warring promoted to Chief Technology Officer at MSI
  • Jennifer Sullivan joins Percipia Networks as Major Account Executive, North America

Industry veteran Jeff Edwards has joined Amadeus as EVP North America & Global Head of Hotel Group. Bringing over 25 years of industry experience, Mr. Edwards has both run a successful industry consultancy and held senior positions with several hospitality companies. He served as Chief Information Officer and EVP Distribution of Wyndham Worldwide (and earlier, Cendant) for five years, as President/CEO at OpenTable for two years and earlier, at Micros Systems, as President and CEO – Micros Fidelio and EVP-Micros Distribution for North America. Mr. Edwards will be based in Madrid, Spain.
**
Ted Warring has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer at Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI). With a career covering 27 years of software engineering and systems automation, Mr. Warring joined MSI in 1998. He was earlier a principal in two software automation companies covering several vertical market industries, and was a software architecture consultant for various software companies during the DOS-to-Windows transition of the 1990s.
**
Jennifer Sullivan has joined Percipia Networks as its new Major Account Executive, North America. Ms. Sullivan brings more than 10 years of sales experience in the hospitality arena.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Hotel Diva in San Francisco implements Springer-Miller’s first ATRIO system
  • SoftBrands announces international interest in HMS, releases iPad version.
  • Northwind offers Management Strategy Services for Maestro users, expands Online Marketing and Social Media services
  • Choice Hotels deploys 5,000th instance of choiceADVANTAGE GMS

The Hotel Diva in San Francisco, CA has implemented PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ first ATRIO guest management system, hosted on Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud platform. The 116-room property, fresh from a $2 million renovation, is managed by Personality Hotels, which intends to also implement ATRIO at its other three hotels in San Francisco. (www.hoteldiva.com, www.atrio.com)
**
Infor affiliate SoftBrands announced that its HMS Hotel Management System is receiving multinational attention, with 13 installations in the USA (six on-property, seven cloud-based), eight signed in France with Najeti Hotels & Golf, its release in the UK hosted on BT’s networks and very strong interest in Asia. An iPad application is now also available. (www.infor.com/softbrands/)
**
NORTHWIND is now offering Management Strategy Services to help hotel owners and managers get the best and most productive use out of its Maestro hotel management system. Its approach focuses on in-depth operations consulting and management experience to help clients use Maestro to maximize productivity and financial returns from day-to-day operations.
NORTHWIND also expanded its Web Connection Online Marketing Services help operators develop, design, and broadcast more effective e-mail promotions that boost reservations, and its Maestro Social Media strategies and tools to leverage Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. (www.maestropms.com)
**
Choice Hotels International has deployed the 5,000th instance of its choiceADVANTAGE cloud-based guest management system at the Comfort Hotel De L’Europe of Saint-Nazaire, France. Choice also recently celebrated the 2,000th installation of its Rate Center management tool. (www.choicehotels.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Gogo partners with HotelTonight to offer last-minute deals to in-flight passengers
  • Trust’s yourVoyager CRS now available in Chinese
  • Sabre Holdings launches Eco-Certified Hotel Program
  • ezRez Software rebrands as Switchfly
  • Online bookings significantly higher in UK than in other European markets – two surveys
  • Orbitz updates its Hotels iPhone app
  • Bookt enhances InstaManager FLEX vacation rental manager software with multiple languages
  • THE OUT NYC selects Travel Tripper’s RezTrip Web site booking engine

Add “in-flight” to the places you can now find and book a hotel: in-flight connectivity supplier Gogo has partnered with HotelTonight to offer last minute hotel deals to passengers flying to 30+ US destination cities.  The free HotelTonight app can be loaded onto Apple and Android tablets and mobile devices only. (www.gogoair.com, www.hoteltonight.com)
**
Trust International’s yourVoyager CRS is now available in Chinese, able to handle multi-byte characters throughout, including being able to store and process complete bookings, descriptions of hotels, rooms, rates, policies, etc., in Chinese.  The system also supports Chinese payment processing methods (such as Union Pay, processing via local payment shops and manual methods) and provides complete Chinese user manuals for all modules (www.trustinternational.com )
**
Sabre Holdings has launched an Eco-Certified Hotel Program, intended to identify sustainable travel offerings in Sabre’s portfolio.   The program builds upon Travelocity’s Green Hotel Directory to recognize hotels certified as sustainable according to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s guidelines.  (www.sabre-holdings.com)
**
ezRez Software, a provider of travel, loyalty and payment applications, has rebranded itself as Switchfly. Founded in 2003, the company recently acquired Topguest, which provided entry into the social media and mobile arenas, and late last year announced a digital wallet product with beta partners PayPal and United MileagePlus. (www.switchfly.com)
**
Online bookings of leisure/unmanaged business travel are significantly higher in the UK than in other European markets, according to the seventh edition of PhoCusWright’s European Online Travel Overview. While the U.K. (47%) overtook Scandinavia (46%) in online travel penetration by only a small margin in 2010, the size of the U.K.’s total travel market makes it by far the largest online market in Europe, comprising 28% of total European online leisure/unmanaged business travel gross bookings. At the other end of the spectrum, Italy and Spain – smaller travel markets with low online travel penetration – are expected to comprise just 5% and 7%, respectively, of European online leisure/unmanaged business bookings by 2013. (www.phocuswright.com)
**
Highlighting the same trend, a survey by TravelSupermarket reported that 66 per cent of Britons will book their main 2012 vacation online, with just 14 per cent booking over the telephone and 11 per cent visiting a high street travel agent. Similarly for pre-booking research: only 12 per cent said they would call at a shop to pick up brochures and discuss destinations, while 52 per cent would use internet search engines and 40 per cent would go to review websites such as TripAdvisor.
**
Orbitz has updated its Hotels iPhone app to offer comparison tools, secure bookings in three taps and Orbitz Mobile Steals mobile-only discounts. (m.orbitz.com)
**
Bookt has enhanced its InstaManager FLEX vacation rental manager software with the ability to add multiple international languages for all current and new clients.  This includes a full language translation of the entire website including all property descriptions and booking screens. (www.bookt.com)
**
THE OUT NYC has selected Travel Tripper’s RezTrip as its Web site booking engine. The 105-room property is due to open on March 1st. (www.theoutnyc.com, traveltripper.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Nor1 integrates PRiME software and eStandby Upgrade application with MICROS’ OPERA
  • Expedia licenses Kenshoo Enterprise for global search engine marketing
  • Pipeline introduces SocialCEO Facebook management
  • VIZERGY using BrightEdge technology for new SEO Advantage Plus marketing services
  • Lodging Interactive and CoMMingle announce turnkey service for Google+ Business Pages
  • NORTHWIND offers Management Strategy Services for Maestro users, updates Online Marketing and Social Media Services
  • Cornell launches new hospitality marketing course in collaboration with Sabre
  • Brilliant integrates Flip.to social marketing platform into RezExchange channel management and distribution
  • Starwood survey reports that 73% of travelers would rather have loyalty-program benefits than take a spouse with them on a trip

Nor1 has integrated its PRiME pricing and merchandising software and eStandby Upgrade application with MICROS Systems’ OPERA. When a reservation is made in OPERA, PRiME dynamically analyzes detailed guest data to identify specific upsell offers, with pricing and display ranking suggestions. The guest is then presented with an offer, either on the brand.com booking confirmation page or within the property’s e-mailed confirmation, which they can commit to pay for if it is still available at check-in. The reservation records are updated to show the offer; if the hotel can fulfill the upgrade at check-in the eStandby fee is added to the guest’s bill. (www.nor1.com, www.micros.com)
**
Expedia has licensed Kenshoo Enterprise to manage its global search engine marketing (SEM), helping it create, manage, and optimize paid search marketing campaigns across channels like Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Baidu and Yandex. Expedia is already using Kenshoo Social to help manage its Facebook Ads campaigns. (www.kenshoo.com, www.expedia.com)
**
Pipeline Social Media Solutions has introduced its SocialCEO Facebook management application, to help hotels measure ROI and monitor “friend” interactions. SocialCEO combines trackable Facebook applications such as digital coupons for hotel specials with a customizable hotel booking engine integrated within Facebook. To have a strong ROI through Facebook marketing, users must show a positive experience on the page. Dedicated SocialCEO account representatives monitor each Facebook page, responding to comments, tracking current campaigns and updating the page regularly. (www.pipelinesms.com)
**
VIZERGY is using BrightEdge’s SEO technology and analysis of competitor data for its new SEO Advantage Plus marketing services. BrightEdge allows VIZERGY to determine which keywords are yielding results for hotels’ competition, allowing clients to capitalize on similar keywords.  Opportunity analysis also identifies the pages that drive the bulk of the competitors’ traffic and the most effective backlinks to help the VIZERGY team implement link building strategies to help boost natural search rankings for their own clients. (www.brightedge.com, www.vizergy.com)
**
Lodging Interactive and its social media consulting subsidiary CoMMingle announced a turnkey service for creating and managing Google+ Business Pages. Lodging Interactive will create the pages, and CoMMingle’s managed marketing service will help each hotel be properly positioned on Google+ pages where potential and past guests discuss their destination. (www.commingle.com, www.LodgingInteractive.com)
**
NORTHWIND is now offering Management Strategy Services to help hotel owners and managers get the best and most productive use out of its Maestro hotel management system. Its approach focuses on in-depth operations consulting and management experience to help clients use Maestro to maximize productivity and financial returns from day-to-day operations.
NORTHWIND also expanded its Web Connection Online Marketing Services help operators develop, design, and broadcast more effective e-mail promotions that boost reservations, and its Maestro Social Media strategies and tools to leverage Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. (www.maestropms.com)
**
The Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA), in collaboration with Sabre Hospitality Solutions, is launching a new hospitality marketing course (Hospitality Marketing with Evolving Media: Social, Mobile, and Search) to expose students to developments in electronic marketing media for the hospitality industry.  (www.hotelschool.cornell.edu, www.sabrehospitality.com)
**
Brilliant has integrated the Flip.to social marketing platform into its RezExchange channel management and distribution system. The Flip.to platform offers guests incentives such as complimentary room upgrades or F&B discounts to spread the word about the hotel through their social networks. Additional incentives can be earned for referrals that are converted into reservations via the guest’s personalized Flip.to landing page. Earned incentives are automatically credited to the guests’ hotel folios. L’Auberge Carmel, a Relais & Chateaux hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is the first property to go live with the integration. (laubergecarmel.com, www.flip.to/hotels, www.itesso.com)
**
Highlighting the addictive nature of loyalty programs, a survey of nearly 10,000 frequent, international travelers by Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) reported that 73% of the respondents would choose loyalty-program benefits over a spouse if they could take just one on the road. Seventy-six percent felt that their status in a hotel loyalty program would last longer than their marriage or current job, and 70 percent believed that, in a travel emergency, their elite status in a hotel loyalty rewards program would be more useful than their smartphone, tablet or even their personal assistant.
Respondents would also willing to lie to get a better hotel room or hotel/airline travel upgrade; 45% claimed they would pretend it was their honeymoon, 25% that they had a family emergency and 20% would pretend to be someone important. Losing their status in a hotel loyalty program (65%) scares respondents more than lost luggage (12%) or missing a flight (11%).
(SPG.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • EasyRMS partners with Availpro to distribute rate recommendations via all channels
  • IDeaS named “Allied Vendor of the Year” by Minnesota Lodging Association
  • Rainmaker to resell RateGain’s PriceGain-Hotels competitive data

EasyRMS has partnered with Availpro to apply its rate recommendations instantly, online, via all distribution channels. (www.availpro.com, www.easyrms.com)
**
IDeaS Revenue Solutions has been named the “Allied Vendor of the Year” by the Minnesota Lodging Association (MLA). (www.ideas.com)
**
The Rainmaker Group has partnered with RateGain to resell its PriceGain-Hotels competitive price data to casino and resort users of Rainmaker’s revolution revenue management software. (www.rategain.com, www.LetItRain.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Knowland Group extends Readers hotel reader board service to Sydney
  • InterContinental selects Lanyon

The Knowland Group has extended its Readers hotel reader board service to Sydney, Australia. (www.KnowlandGroup.com)
**
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has selected Lanyon to publish its hotel content and rates and to deploy a customized white label version of its RFPpublisher lead management software, aiming to reduce its RFP response time, improve its ability to monitor RFP status, allow cross-selling of RFPs to additional properties and provide an online negotiations platform. IHG’s properties will be able to use Lanyon’s Market Leads unsolicited bids service, and Lanyon’s content management software will manage the distribution of hotel data across third party selling platforms such as GDS and online travel agencies. (www.lanyon.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Z Hotels implements dotPOS from Xn Hotel Systems

Z Hotels, an 85-room conversion of twelve Georgian townhouses in central London, has implemented the dotPOS Electronic Point of Sale system from Xn Hotel Systems. (www.thezhotels.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • SuiteLinq introduces six-module single-platform range of digital services
  • Ciena Hotel & Suites, Cotulla, TX to implement OpenWays’ Mobile Key
  • Ascott’s Citadines Apart’hotels in Cannes and Lyon to implement OpenWays’ Mobile Key
  • LodgeNet’s Mobile App lets guests use smartphones, tablets as TV remote controls, with local channel guide

SuiteLinq has introduced a single-platform range of digital services, available in six modules:
Q | Vision –free-to-guest programming and Video-On-Demand via IPTV;
Q | Linq – an interactive portal via local HSIA  and WiFi connectivity;
Q | Mobile – offering on-site amenity purchases via a mobile app for iPhone, Android, Win Phone 7, Blackberry, iPad and similar tablets;
Q | Touch – providing hotel content via in-room and public area desktops, kiosks and Microsoft Surface devices;
Q | Console –managing content, services and performance analytics via SuiteLinq’s Content Administration System;
Q | Gaming – offering personal gaming in casino guestrooms (where allowed by law) and opening new revenue streams on existing digital slot machines.
The SuiteLinq platform also integrates with and exchanges guest data with property systems such as guest management, POS, central reservations, content management and customer-relationship management, and can distribute hotel contanet and special offers to guests’ phones and tablets. Expanded integration with in-house systems such as room environmental controls also allows guests to control room temperature, lighting, drapes, etc. remotely even if they are not on site.
(www.suitelinq.com)
**
Ciena Hotels & Suites, the new brand from HotelWorks Development, has selected OpenWays’ Mobile Key, starting with its first property, the 75-room Ciena Hotel & Suites in Cotulla, Texas.
Ascott’s Citadines Apart’hotels in Cannes and Lyon is implementing OpenWays’ Mobile Key later this year, OpenWays’ first implementation in France. All apartments at the Citadines Croisette Cannes and the Citadines Part-Dieu Lyon will be equipped with Saflok RT RFID locks incorporating OpenWays Mobile Key acoustic couplers.
(www.citadines.com, www.OpenWays.com)
**
LodgeNet Interactive has announced a Mobile App for Apple and Android devices that allows guests to use their own smartphones or tablets as remote controls for the LodgeNet interactive TV system, as well as to display an Interactive Program Guide for the channels available at their hotel.  The app also supports both folio and credit card payment options, offers local dining and entertainment options curated by a team of editors based on local insight and online user reviews, and allows the traveler to order room service while in transit or poolside, make on-site restaurant or spa reservations, and check-out from the hotel with an e-mail receipt. (www.lodgenet.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Odawa Casino Resort upgrades InvoTech Systems GIMS Uniform System from barcode to UHF-RFID
  • Noble Investment Group and Noble-Interstate Management Group pick e-mail service from Luxmail International

The Odawa Casino Resort has upgraded its InvoTech Systems GIMS Uniform System software from barcode to UHF-RFID technology.  GIMS interfaces with a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System for 24-hour automated uniform distribution to approximately 600 staff.  Owned and operated by the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, the Resort, in Petoskey, Michigan features 1,300 slot machines, 29 table games, a six-table Poker Room, several restaurants, gift stores, a nightclub and a 137 room hotel. (www.odawacasino.com, www.invotech.com)
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Noble Investment Group and Noble-Interstate Management Group have selected hosted enterprise class e-mail service from Luxmail International, Luxury Communication International’s North America subsidiary, for selected properties. (www.nobleinvestment.com, www.lux-com.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Resorts World Casino in New York picks Yellow Dog

Malaysia-based Genting’s Resorts World Casino in New York has selected Yellow Dog Software back office inventory software to manage the retail operations for their gift shop.  Resort World Casino is Genting’s first U.S. Casino. (www.rwnewyork.com, www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Wyndham Mt. Laurel Hotel installs 756 kW photovoltaic solar carport system from SolarMax Technology
  • Shore Hotel in Santa Monica implements INNCOM’s thermostats and Integrated Room Automation System
  • Grand Hyatt San Francisco installs VingCard’s Orion energy management, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes

The Wyndham Mt. Laurel Hotel in New Jersey recently installed a 756 kW photovoltaic solar carport system from SolarMax Technology, using 3,150 solar panels mounted on 12 carports. The system will produce 850,945 kWh/yr, and is expected to help offset the hotel’s energy bills by 67%. (www.wyndham.com/MountLaurel, www.solarmaxtech.com)
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The recently-opened Shore Hotel in Santa Monica, CA has implemented INNCOM International’s e4 Smart Digital Thermostat and Integrated Room Automation System (IRAS) in each of its 164 guestrooms. INNCOM’s Centrally Controlled System remotely displays guestroom status to housekeeping and other departments; the room units are integrated with a do-not-disturb/make-up-room function connected to lamps by the doorbell, as well as a “room vacant” lamp linked to the INNCOM occupancy sensor. (www.shorehotel.com, www.inncom.com)
**
The 659-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco has selected VingCard’s Orion energy management system, Signature RFID locks, VISIONLINE wireless online access management system and Elsafe Infinity II electronic safes as part of its renovation. The Orion system includes wireless digital thermostats, occupancy sensors, door position interfaces, remote server software and a dashboard reporting interface showing the status of each room’s occupancy, locks, safes, lighting and total energy consumption.  Front desk staff can remotely view a safe’s locking status, allowing them to verify with departing guests whether they have forgotten to empty the safe. The property has issued its 75 most frequent guests with RFID-enabled loyalty keycards that they can reuse on each visit, allowing them to bypass the front desk at check-in. (grandsanfrancisco.hyatt.com, www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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SECURITY

  • Grand Hyatt San Francisco installs VingCard’s Orion energy management, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes

The 659-room Grand Hyatt San Francisco has selected VingCard’s Orion energy management system, Signature RFID locks, VISIONLINE wireless online access management system and Elsafe Infinity II electronic safes as part of its renovation. The Orion system includes wireless digital thermostats, occupancy sensors, door position interfaces, remote server software and a dashboard reporting interface showing the status of each room’s occupancy, locks, safes, lighting and total energy consumption.  Front desk staff can remotely view a safe’s locking status, allowing them to verify with departing guests whether they have forgotten to empty the safe. The property has issued its 75 most frequent guests with RFID-enabled loyalty keycards that they can reuse on each visit, allowing them to bypass the front desk at check-in. (grandsanfrancisco.hyatt.com, www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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