February 18, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

FEBRUARY 5 – 18, 2014


  • The Last Mile Depends on People

We read a lot about the importance of personalized service these days, and how systems are increasingly able to track guests’ history and preferences to ensure that each visit is customized to their exact needs. In learning to cater to the demanding and vocal few guests who aren’t shy about expressing exactly what they want, systems vendors have added features that let hotel staff raise the bar for all visitors. If you know what your guests either do or are likely to expect, you can be much better prepared and have more time to respond to the unexpected as well.
But (you knew that was coming) two aspects still need to be kept in mind. One is that no matter how sophisticated the data gathering, analysis and forecasting systems are that you rely on, it’s still your staff that shapes the guests’ experiences and memories. Hiring the right people and giving them the right training are still the bedrock of hospitality.
The other aspect is that the systems you use may not interact with each other well enough to make sure that the staff has the full picture and can make use of all the data you’ve been collecting. As a simple example, my wife and I recently stayed at a local resort hotel; I made reservations for Saturday night dinner at its restaurant at the same time as I booked the room. The booking form specifically asked about any allergies they should be aware of (the restaurant is only open three nights a week and serves a fabulous ten-course prix-fixe meal), and I let them know of my wife’s allergy to crustaceans.
In the weeks before arrival I received two e-mailed confirmations of our stay, each confirming our bookings for both the room and dinner and asking me to let them know if either of us had any preferences or allergies. Huh? Both times I contacted the property and was assured that the right alert was on the reservation, but clearly there was a disconnect between the restaurant reservation system and the CRM system used for sending pre-arrival confirmations. More importantly, once the property was made aware of this disconnect the CRM system wasn’t updated to compensate.
Fortunately the staff on property was a delight, the restaurant had already prepared an alternative version of the one crab-based course for my wife, and we had an enjoyable and truly memorable meal. The moral, though, is that it can be very useful to have someone not involved with the hotel operations run through typical CRM situations from the outside, alerting the staff of any gaps in the procedures. Management must then make sure that if the systems aren’t capable of passing important data amongst themselves – especially data you’ve specifically asked the guest to provide – then someone on staff is responsible for doing so manually.
As Michael Schubach commented several years ago, if you ask guests for their birthdates you’d better be in the greeting card delivery business.

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  • Peter Klebanoff has been hired by OpenWays as SVP Business Development
  • David Reed promoted to Director, Systems & Programming at Outrigger
  • Christine Liu hired by TSA Solutions as Regional Director of Business Development for Greater China
  • Keith Povah joins Vertical Booking as VP Sales International
  • Linda Kent joins Pegasus as SVP Distribution Strategy
  • Ricky Castoldi appointed to VP Sales for the Americas at eRevMax
  • Louise Meyer, VP Global Account Management at Leonardo, receives 2013 HEDNA Award of Excellence

Peter Klebanoff has been hired by OpenWays as Senior Vice President, Business Development. Most recently Mr. Klebanoff spent 16 years with LodgeNet Interactive (now SONIFI Solutions), and earlier held front office and housekeeping roles for Holiday Inn, Ramada, Sheraton and Marriott.
David Reed has been promoted to Director, Systems & Programming at Outrigger Enterprises Group in Honolulu. Most recently Manager of Application Programming, Mr. Reed held several positions in hotel operations with Outrigger before joining information technology, initially as systems control coordinator and then as programmer analyst and senior project engineer.
Christine Liu has been hired by TSA Solutions as Regional Director of Business Development for the Greater China market. Ms. Liu joins TSA Solutions after seven years with EasyRMS as a revenue management consultant and the country manager for China.
Keith Povah has joined Vertical Booking as VP Sales International, covering Europe and the UK. Mr. Povah was previously with eRevMax for 5 years, managing the International Sales team for the RateTiger Suite.
Linda Kent has joined Pegasus Solutions as Senior Vice President, Distribution Strategy. Ms. Kent brings more than 30 years of experience, most recently serving five years as Senior Vice President, Electronic Distribution for Wyndham Hotel Group. She had earlier spent eight years with Starwood Hotels and Resorts as Vice President of Electronic Distribution, and has also held positions with Sabre Hotels, ITT Sheraton Corporation, Worldspan, Cohasset Travel Service and Woodside Travel Management Systems.
Ricky Castoldi has been appointed to Vice President Sales for the Americas at eRevMax. Mr. Castoldi brings over 18 years of travel sales, hospitality technology sales & sales management experience, gained in senior sales management positions with Lanyon, Dolphin Dynamics and Pegasus Solutions.
Louise Meyer, Vice President, Global Account Management at Leonardo Worldwide Corp, has received the 2013 HEDNA Award of Excellence, which honors an individual who has made remarkable contributions toward the advancement of hotel electronic distribution, mainly, though not exclusively, through their activities within HEDNA.

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  • Agilysys releases Visual One v8.51
  • Qbic hotel group migrating to hetras

Agilysys has released version 8.51 of its Visual One GMS. Enhancements include:
– A more powerful installation utility
– Support for credit card tokenization through Fusebox (Elavon) and BRIF 3 (Servebase)
– An interface to Konami Casino Management System SYNKROS
– A package entitlements screen
– Advance configuration of sales and catering discounts by revenue type
– The ability to sell multiple gift cards in a single transaction
– Confirmation numbers for transferred postings on guest folios
– Enhanced Delphi XML Interface
– IDeaS rate recommendations
– Integration with the Agilysys Insight™ Mobile Manager application
The Dutch-based Qbic hotel group is migrating its properties to Hetras. The first hotel to convert is the 171-room property in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London. (www.qbichotels.com, www.hetras.com)

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  • Welcome Hotel Group signs with Trust for 17 hotels
  • Maritim Hotel Group implements Pegasus’ OpenView Internet booking engine
  • Genares completes direct connectivity interface to Sabre’s GDS

The Welcome Hotel Group has signed with Trust International for reservation and distribution services. Welcome operates 17 hotels in Germany, and will use Trust’s yourVoyager central reservation system (CRS). (www.welcome-hotels.com, www.TrustInternational.com)
Maritim Hotel Group has implemented Pegasus Solutions’ OpenView Internet booking engine for its 51 hotels.
(www.maritim.com, www.pegs.com)
Genares has completed a direct connectivity interface to Sabre’s Global Distribution System (GDS). (www.genares.com)

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  • Elevation Hotel and Spa picks UniFocus’ GUESTScope
  • Mission Inn Hotel & Spa selects Agilysys’ DataMagine
  • Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association to provide TrustYou sentiment analysis to over 800 hotels

The Elevation Hotel and Spa in Crested Butte, CO has selected UniFocus’ guest satisfaction survey system, GUESTScope. (www.elevationresort.com, www.UniFocus.com )
The 238-room Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, CA, has picked Agilysys’ DataMagine document management system. (www.missioninn.com, www.agilysys.com)
The Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association has contracted with TrustYou to provide detailed sentiment analysis to over 800 hotels in Alberta, including categories such as cleanliness, service, price, food and beverage, amenities, etc. AHLA members will also able to see how they benchmark against the competition, the number of total reviews, and new reviews among other important data points. (www.ahla.ca, www.trustyou.com)

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  • iRates partners with AppnosticWorx to embed revenue management in other system
  • Omega Hotels integrates booking engine with RateGain’s RezGain
  • Rocco Forte Hotels signs for eRevMax’s  RateTiger Shopper 
  • Charles Hotel implements Duetto’s Edge

iRates has partnered with Appnostic’s technology development division AppnosticWorx to make iRates Revenue Management System more available to low- and mid-tier hotels. Using Appnostic’s technology resources, experience and global locations, iRates will focus on deployment as an embedded solution in Guest Management Systems, Channel Management Systems, Central Reservations Systems and other partners. Appnostic and iRates have agreed to combine their offices worldwide to maintain 24/7 support for customers and partners. (www.i-rates.com, www.appnosticworx.com)
Omega Hotels, a B2B provider of incoming travel services to hotels across Eastern Europe, has integrated its booking engine with RateGain’s RezGain channel distribution application. (www.omegahotels.ro, www.rategain.com)
Rocco Forte Hotels has signed with eRevMax for its RateTiger Shopper real-time pricing data, managed report services and competitor rate analysis, interfaced with the chain’s IDeaS RMS. (www.roccofortehotels.com, www.erevmax.com)
The Charles Hotel, Cambridge, MA, has implemented Duetto’s Edge revenue strategy and profit optimization application. (www.charleshotel.com, www.duettoresearch.com)

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  • Benchmark Resorts & Hotels releases 2014 “Top Ten Meeting Trends”
  • John Q. Hammons deploying Passkey’s GroupMAX at 39 additional hotels
  • Passkey integrates with Flip.to 
  • Noventri Readerboards certified for Marriott’s Consolidated Inventory Total Yield (CI/TY) event management system

Benchmark Resorts & Hotels has released the 2014 “Top Ten Meeting Trends” as reported by its 40 properties, as follows:
#1 Lightning Speed! – highly effective WiFi is the top issue everywhere; ideally it must be free, fast and reliable, able to handle delegates’ multiple devices.
#2 Content Leads to Discovery  – Most planners and conferees discover and learn about properties primarily through Google searches. Meaningful web content is therefore essential.
#3 Demand Trends UP! – Demand & Booking Pace are consistently on the upswing. Short term bookings are still prevalent, but the booking demand window is increasingly stretching into 2015, 2016 and beyond.
#4 Creating The Experience – As with consumer travel, out-of-the-ordinary experiences increasingly factor into meeting destination decisions. Properties partnering with local assets such as wineries, historic & natural wonders, intriguing adventure resources, and unique off-site reception & dinner venues have a strategic advantage.
#5 Green is Good, But… – Being green is not as a critical factor in property selection. Properties are still trying to be good green citizens, but other issues are often paramount to the success of a meeting.
#6 Select Social Media has a place – Social Media has minimal impact on securing corporate meetings business (with the possible exception of LinkedIn), but planners and conferees use Twitter and LinkedIn for communications during meetings. Meeting-specific property apps are appearing for planning & implementation communications.
#7 Meeting ROI – Meetings & Budgets are finally increasing, especially in the Association market, but meeting professionals are becoming firmer with demands of flexibility, including the negotiation of attrition clauses.
#8 Health Conscious! – F&B options are increasingly focused on health and variety for refreshment breaks and meal menus. Creative Spa breaks may substitute for refreshment breaks at those properties that offer this service.
#9 Teambuilding Climbs Back – Groups are looking for unique ways to motivate, inspire and build camaraderie as the business environment continues to improve. Socially conscious and smaller groups tend to look to develop fellowship through teambuilding volunteerism initiatives, like building bikes for kids in the local community.
#10 Who’s Meeting in 2014? – Traditional industry segments are once again delivering business to meeting properties, including the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Association and increasingly Healthcare industries. Silicon Valley and the High Tech Northwestern U.S. are on the rebound, too.
John Q. Hammons Hotels & Resorts is deploying Passkey’s GroupMAX hotel booking technology at 39 additional hotels, having implemented it at four properties in 2011. The 39 new properties include 24 Embassy Suites, one Hilton, six Marriotts, four Renaissance Hotels, and four independents.
Passkey and Flip.to have integrated their platforms to allow hotels to turn their group guests into brand advocates by sharing their booking details with their social network.  The integration was developed for the Caribe Royal Hotel in Orlando, FL, which has been using Flip.to for its transient guest’ reservations.  (www.jqhhotels.com,
www.flip.to, www.passkey.com)
Noventri has been certified for Marriott’s Consolidated Inventory Total Yield (CI/TY) global event management system, allowing it to link directly to the CI/TY system for dynamic data share on Noventri Digital Readerboards and Digital Door Cards. Noventri Readerboards automatically pull meeting information for the day, advertisements and more, and display them on digital screens throughout facilities. (www.noventri.com)

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  • GuestMobile launches Mobile Guest Voice Solution, lets guests make low-cost calls on their own phones
  • LVMH installs iPort’s LaunchPort iPad wireless charging at Cheval Blanc Randheli, Maldives
  • Grand Park Orchard, Singapore, equips all guestrooms with complimentary smartphones
  • Bitbuzz launches Hotel Freetime service, lets hotels offer free Wi-Fi access in 20-minute units in public areas

GuestMobile has launched its Mobile Guest Voice Solution, a hotel-branded downloadable app that lets hoteliers provide low-to-no-cost international and domestic mobile telecom services to foreign guests upon check-in. The VoIP/Voice over WiFi application will let hotel guests make and receive calls on their own smartphones while enabling outbound cost-efficient international calling over the property’s existing IP-based or legacy non-IP based PBX systems. Via the hotel-branded GuestMobile app, guests can be assigned a virtual DID phone number prior to arrival, upon reservation or at check-in. When callers dial that number, the system routes the call either as local (Find Me) or international (Follow Me) to the guest’s own smartphone. Guest-generated outgoing international and local calls can be charged at a low-cost fee per day or per stay. (www.guestmobile.io)
LVMH Hotel Management has installed a custom-branded version of iPort’s LaunchPort wireless charging and magnetic mounting system for the iPad in all 45 rooms at the Cheval Blanc Randheli in the Maldives. The LaunchPort consists of a sleeve and a magnetic mounting and inductive charge station for the tabletop or wall. LaunchPorts will also be available throughout the resort for staff to update and charge their iPads, used to provide concierge services. (www.chevalblanc.com/en/?, iPortProducts.com)
The Grand Park Orchard, Singapore, has equipped all 308 guestrooms with a complimentary smartphone from Handy Smartphone as an in-room amenity. The service provides unlimited international and local calls, unlimited 3G data and Wi-Fi tethering capabilities, an informative city guide, promotions and other features. Guests can take the Handy out of the hotel to stay connected during the day, and dial directly to in-room dining, concierge or spa. The phone is pre-loaded with travel apps including news services, a currency converter, MRT maps as well as a digital location-based city guide. Upon check-out, all browsing history, personal information and any additional applications are completely deleted from the device, which is reset to the original factory settings. Preparations are underway to roll out handy at the Grand Park City Hall and Park Hotel Clarke Quay. (www.parkhotelgroup.com/orchard/, www.handy.travel/hk/en/)
Bitbuzz has launched its Hotel Freetime service for hotels wanting to offer Wi-Fi access to casual visitors in the lobby, bar or restaurant. Hotel Freetime will provide complimentary 20 minute Wi-Fi sessions without the need for a voucher. The system has been installed at the 145 bedroom Mercure London Greenwich Hotel. (www.thegreenwichlondon.com, www.bitbuzz.com)

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  • Casino Rama implements InvoTech to manage 15,000 uniforms
  • Penn Wells Hotel & Lodge implements Data Plus financial systems
  • Shift4 Corporation celebrates 20th anniversary

Canada’s Casino Rama has implemented InvoTech Systems’ Uniform System to track and maintain its 15,000 uniforms in conjunction with the resort’s White Conveyors U-Pick-It automated uniform delivery system. Casino Rama has a uniformed crew of almost 2,000 serving its 289 rooms, 2,500+ slot machines, 110+ gaming tables, 8 restaurants, 5,000 seat Entertainment Centre, spa and health club. (www.casinorama.com, www.invotech.com)
The 32-room Penn Wells Hotel & Lodge, Wellsboro, PA, has implemented Data Plus financial systems in an SaaS configuration. Modules installed include DPFinance (Payables, General Ledger, Accounts Receivables, Bank Reconciliation, DP Analytics), DPAnalytics, DPSupply (Purchasing, Inventory Control) and interfaces to Micros’ Opera and
Paytime. (pennwells.com, www.dphs.com)
Shift4 Corporation is celebrating its 20th anniversary. (www.shift4.com)

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  • PhoneSuite completes interoperability testing of Voiceware VoIP phone system with Uniden EXP1240 SIP DECT Cordless Mobility system

PhoneSuite has completed interoperability testing of its Voiceware VoIP phone system software with Uniden America’s EXP1240 SIP DECT Cordless Mobility devices. The EXP1240 platform currently supports up to 200 cordless users per network segment and supports seamless roaming on up to 40 DECT Access points with zero interference with other wireless networks. A single access point can support as many as 30 cordless handsets per access point with eight simultaneous conversations, and up to 200 handsets on a single network segment are supported. (www.uniden.com, www.Phonesuite.com)

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