February 3, 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

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Why are implementations so hard?

I wrote about the many “opportunities” that implementations present last Fall, but the topic resurfaced two weeks ago when two different clients asked me for help with them. They’d selected different vendors but were both experiencing the same challenges: miscommunication, contracted enhancements delivered with important errors, and an apparent lack of urgency in fixing the situation on the part of the vendors.

It’s a tense time for everyone, and it’s inevitable that the hotel’s euphoria at having made a decision and the vendor’s at making the sale will both lead to unrealistic expectations. Everyone lives in a state of belief up to that point – the hotel that the new system will solve its problems, and the vendor that it can deliver what it promised. But hotel operations are complex, and there’s never enough time to explore everything in enough detail to be certain.

In reality, the hotel team realizes that the system doesn’t work quite the way they thought, aren’t familiar enough with it to be sure of the right configuration decisions, and often discover they hadn’t been clear enough in defining enhancements or actually want to operate in a slightly different way. The vendor in turn finds out it hadn’t fully understood the nature of the hotel’s operation, the enhancement development is more complex than it estimated and it therefore has less time for quality testing before the contracted go-live date.

All of this is normal, which makes it all the more critical that both sides approach the situation with openness, a commitment to proper communication and an understanding of the hotel’s absolute need to go live on a specific date. Even though some of the problems are of the hotel’s making, it’s the one with the immovable deadline, and by the time they come to light the hotel’s usually committed to such an extent that it’s just not possible for it to back out. It’s therefore the vendor’s responsibility to stay on top of the situation, keep the original sales person in the loop to advise on background, provide clear and accurate tracking of problem corrections with an appropriate degree of urgency, work in partnership with the hotel to come up with any necessary short-term work-arounds, and at all times show the hotel that it understands its priorities and is committed to its success.

Stuff happens on every project, but hotels can deal with a lot of stuff if they know about it and can plan around it. A pro-active, partnership-based approach makes all the difference.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Bill Nicholson re-joins Pegasus Solutions as COO and President, Reservation/Distribution
  • Meg Fasy hired by MPI as VP sales and marketplace performance
  • Amadeus reorganizes Commercial organization into three functional areas
  • Amadeus’ Eberhard Haag recognized by Computerworld as a Premier 100 IT Leader
  • Derrick Brian joins Guest-Tek’s sales team
  • Sabre’s Felix Laboy and Trevor Stuart-Hill named to HSMAI’s Top 25 Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds of 2008

Joseph “Bill” Nicholson has re-joined Pegasus Solutions, as chief operating officer and president of reservation and distribution services. Mr. Nicholson was the second employee hired during Pegasus’ start-up phase 20 years ago and served 15 years there, playing key roles in the development of the hotel switch, of products such as Pegasus Commission Processing, Pegasus Electronic Distribution, TravelWeb and central reservation services, and in the acquisition and integration of Unirez. He then served as president and general manager of SynXis, and later founded Nicholson Consulting.
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Meg Fasy has been hired by Meeting Professionals International (MPI) as its vice president of sales and marketplace performance. Ms. Fasy previously served as vice president of venue development for nTAG Interactive, a provider of Event Data Management (EDM) for the meetings and event industry, and also held executive positions with Event Strategy Group and iBAHN. She had earlier worked with Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Hyatt Corporation.
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Amadeus has divided its Commercial organization into three functional areas.
– Julia Sattel will head Airline IT, starting from March 1; she was formerly VP, Global Sales Development, EMEA and Latin America.
– Ian Wheeler takes charge of Amadeus’ distribution business, bringing all distribution for airlines, hotels, car rental, rail, ferry cruise and insurance into one unit. Mr. Wheeler also retains overall responsibility for Amadeus’ global marketing and customer services.
– Claude Giafferri leads a new business unit formed by combining the division which develops travel agency IT solutions with the Multinational Customer Group (MCG). Mr. Giafferri was formerly VP Travel Office Products & Solutions.
– Bertrand Kientz will head a new department as VP, Product and Software Development Strategy.
Amadeus’ Commercial organization will be divided into 3 regions, each with dedicated units for Airline IT, Distribution, Travel IT & Multinational Customer Group and Regional Development.
– David Brett will continue to lead the Asia Pacific Regional organization; he was appointed Vice President, Amadeus Asia Pacific in January 2000.
– Frédéric Spagnou will lead the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Regional organization from March 1; he was formerly VP, Airline Business Group.
– Philippe Chérèque will lead a combined North, South and Central America organization from February 1. Kay Urban remains as President and CEO Amadeus North America, a role she was appointed to in 2004 and Christian von Thuemen will continue as Director, Amadeus Latin America, his role since 2006.
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Eberhard Haag, Amadeus’ Executive Vice President of Global Operations and General Manager of Data Processing, has been selected by Computerworld Magazine as a Premier 100 IT Leader for 2009. Mr. Haag led Amadeus’ eight-year transition from a Transaction Processing Facility (TPF) mainframe environment to an open systems, service-oriented architecture.
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Derrick Brian has joined Guest-Tek’s sales team. Mr. Brian was most recently with KoolConnect Technologies, where he served six years as Vice President of Sales, he had earlier worked for NXTV, TNCI, Mitel and NEC Business Communications Systems.
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Sabre’s Felix Laboy and Trevor Stuart-Hill were named to Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s (HSMAI) Top 25 Extraordinary Sales and Marketing Minds of 2008.
– Mr. Laboy is president of E-site Marketing, Sabre’s Internet marketing arm. A 25-year industry veteran, he founded E-site Marketing as the first Internet marketing company specializing in online business solutions exclusively for the hospitality industry.
– Mr. Stuart-Hill is vice president of revenue generation for SynXis, Sabre Holdings’ hotel distribution and channel management division. He is recognized as an expert in hospitality revenue management and recently co-authored a textbook on its principles and practices.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Primland Resort picks PAR Springer-Miller
  • Trump Hotel Las Vegas implements Visual One, InfoGenesis and Stratton Warren System

The Primland Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia has chosen PAR Springer-Miller Systems’s SMS|Host Hospitality Management System for all aspects of its resort. Modules to be installed include SMS|Spa/Resort Scheduling, SMS|Touch Fine Dining, SMS|Retail POS and SMS|Golf Tee Times. (www.primland.com, www.springermiller.com)
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The 1,282-suite Trump Hotel Las Vegas has implemented a suite of Agilysys hospitality software applications, including the Visual One property management system (including the condo owner module), InfoGenesis POS system and the Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement system. The Visual One Multi-Property Enterprise System is currently being rolled out to all Trump Hotel Collection locations. The property also uses the Visual One Retail POS module, Sales & Catering module and spa module. (www.trumplasvegashotel.com, www.agilysys.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Carlson enables Direct Connect between its five brands and Amadeus’ distribution system
  • Amadeus partners with Hotel Booking Agents’ Association
  • De Historiske – Historic Hotels and Restaurants of Norway switches to SynXis’ RedX
  • EZYield.com integrates with European reservations site Booking.com

Carlson Hotels Worldwide has enabled a Direct Connect between its five hotel brands and Amadeus’ distribution system, based on OTA standards. (www.carlson.com, www.amadeus.com/hotels)
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Amadeus and the Hotel Booking Agents’ Association have signed a strategic partnership agreement to develop hotel booking technology.
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De Historiske – Historic Hotels and Restaurants of Norway has switched to SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System, and will use the Guest Connect booking engine for its 37 unique properties in Norway. (www.dehistoriske.no, www.synxis.com)
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EZYield.com has integrated its channel management system with European hotel reservations site Booking.com. The direct connection lets EZYield.com clients send reservations made through Booking.com directly into the hotel’s property management system (PMS) or central reservations system (CRS), and to send electronic confirmations back to Booking.com and to the guest. (www.ezyield.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • GuestCentric enhances online booking and marketing service with multilingual support
  • Open Hospitality announces Brand Monitor service
  • TIG Global receives twelve Adrian Awards for excellence in Web Marketing
  • Marcus Hotels & Resorts picks Standing Dog for social media content management
  • E-site Marketing recognized with seven Adrian Awards

GuestCentric Systems announced enhancements to its GuestCentric online booking and marketing service, including multilingual support for Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese languages. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, targeted at independent hotels, lets users create a website, yield prices, manage online and offline reservations and create promotions. (www.guestcentric.com)
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Open Hospitality has announced its Brand Monitor service to help hotels protect their brand name, image and reputation on the Internet by tracking third-party companies using a hotel’s brand name, without consent or authorization, in Pay-Per-Click advertising, thus diverting travelers from the hotel’s primary consumer website. (www.openhospitality.com)
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TIG Global received twelve Adrian Awards for excellence in Web Marketing from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), including:
– a Gold Adrian Award for its integrated marketing campaign for the Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club.
– a Silver Adrian Award for its design of the Resort’s website.
– four additional Adrian Awards for website design for the Hotel Roger Williams, Golden Door Spa, The Rittenhouse Hotel and the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa.
– five integrated Marketing Campaign Awards for the above four properties plus The Westin St. Francis.
– a Silver Adrian Award in the CVB/Destination/Offices of Tourism category.
(www.adrianawards.com, www.TIGGlobal.com)
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Marcus Hotels & Resorts has contracted with Standing Dog Interactive to manage social media content through its ReviewAnalyst application. ReviewAnalyst collects and reports on hotel reviews, blog entries, videos and photos from travel and social media websites, and offers rating and ranking comparisons with a hotel’s peer group. ReviewAnalyst now also includes Keyword Alerts to generate alert messages when an online guest review includes hotel-specified words or phrases, such as “room service” or “renovations” the tool sends an alert to the client. (www.marcushotels.com, www.reviewanalyst.com)
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Sabre’s E-site Marketing was recognized with seven Adrian Awards in the 52nd HSMAI Adrian Awards Competition, for creating outstanding Web sites for Broadmoor, Montage Weddings, National Geographic / Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts Photo Contest, Palmetto Dunes, Suncadia Resort, Terranea and the Voice Restaurant and Lounge (Hotel Icon). (www.esitemarketing.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Omni completes two-way integration of new CRS with Rainmaker’s revolution

Omni Hotels has completed the full two-way integration of its new Central Reservation System (CRS) with The Rainmaker Group’s revolution Profit Optimization Suite. (www.omnihotels.com, www.letitrain.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Lodging Interactive announces link2brand.com group booking tool
  • InterContinental picks UniFocus’ MEETINGScope as brand standard for all 157 hotels

Lodging Interactive announced its link2brand.com group booking tool, which converts long and hard-to-remember brand.com URL’s into short, clearer URL’s which redirect back to the brand.com website. This allows hotel sales staff to provide group clients with simple links for travelers to book into their special group room rates, such as http://HotelWeddingRooms.com/SmithWedding. Links can be set to auto-expire beyond a certain date. (www.link2brand.com)
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InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has selected UniFocus’ MEETINGScope as its brand standard for its 157 hotels worldwide. The web-based system gathers critical feedback in real-time to help ensure meeting planner satisfaction during the entire event process, and includes rich-media online sales tools. (www.intercontinental.com, www.unifocus.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Snoqualmie Casino selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec Solutions
  • HSI Profit Series POS now uses Apple iPod touch as handheld POS device

The Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, WA has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS and Eatec Solutions. The casino features a 51,000-square-foot gaming floor, five restaurants, a nightclub, luxury bar, cigar lounge and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom. (www.agilysys.com)
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MICROS’ Hospitality Solutions International (HSI) division has announced that its Profit Series POS application can now use the Apple iPod touch as a handheld POS device. The iPod touch can run the Profit Series POS application for up to 6 hours on a single charge. The display allows viewing of full Profit Series POS screens, while Apple’s Multi-Touch touch-screen interface enables users to zoom in to “touch” the appropriate selections. (www.hsi-solutions.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • TeleAdapt and Vantage Point offer avComplete integrated flat-screen mounting device
  • Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel in Miami implements SuiteLinq digital services
  • Flyte Systems integrates flight information software with EscapeWire’s digital signage and free-to-guest television services
  • Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago installs three TTI self-service guest computers

TeleAdapt has partnered with Vantage Point to offer the avComplete, a flat-screen mounting device with integrated TeleAdapt MediaHub and with all connecting wires covered. A tempered glass shelf sits inches below the MediaHub to support guest’s portable electronic devices. (www.vanptc.com, www.teleadapt.com)
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Kimpton’s 441-room EPIC Hotel in Miami has opened with SuiteLinq digital services, including a thin-client computer in each guest room with an interactive portal to hotel information and amenities, local guides, on-demand entertainment, Microsoft Office software and several embedded Microsoft services including Live Search. The flat-panel digital TVs in the guestrooms deliver SuiteCast free-to-guest TV and SuiteVOD video-on-demand services. SuiteLinq will deploy Microsoft Surface in the hotel’s public areas. (www.epichotel.com, www.suitelinq.com)
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Flyte Systems is integrating its real-time airline flight information software with EscapeWire’s digital signage and free-to-guest television services. (www.escapewire.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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The Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago has installed three TTI Technologies self-service guest computers with free-to-guest Airline Boarding Pass printing and a full-service Fax/Copier/Scanner/Printer. (www.millenniumhotels.com, www.ttitel.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Snoqualmie Casino selects Agilysys’ Eatec Solutions and InfoGenesis POS

The Snoqualmie Casino in Snoqualmie, WA has selected Agilysys’ Eatec Solutions and InfoGenesis POS. The casino features a 51,000-square-foot gaming floor, five restaurants, a nightclub, luxury bar, cigar lounge and an 11,000-square-foot ballroom. (www.agilysys.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • HotSpot to resell Mushroom Networks broadband bonding technology in Mexico

Mushroom Networks has signed a partnership and master reseller agreement with HotSpot International to deliver broadband bonding to Mexico’s hotel and resort industry. Mushroom’s technology combines up to six broadband Internet connections of any type including DSL, cable, T1/E1 into a single high-speed link, allowing customers to mix and match various broadband services from multiple providers to deliver built-in network redundancy. If one or more of the bonded links fails or is degraded, the traffic transparently spreads across the remaining links in real-time without interruption. HotSpot International will use Mushroom’s Broadband Bonding Service to provide hotel & resort customers with fast uplink connections for business critical applications such as reliable IP voice and video communications, and will resell Mushroom Networks entire line of products including the Truffle large enterprise range, Porcini for small to medium businesses, and PortaBella wireless system that bonds multiple cellular data cards into a single shared connection. (www.hotspotinternational.com, www.mushroomnetworks.com)
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