February 4, 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




  • What’s in a name? A great deal.

A couple of recent conversations have centered around system names – and no, I’m not going to revive the “Inn”-range of names we had fun with last year (Inn-Decision, et al). This may seem like a minor point, but I think it has more importance than it’s usually given, especially for new products looking to make an impression.
When developing a new product, most vendors use something like “NewCo” or “NextSys” as a project code name to get things moving, but clearly something more striking needs to be found before going to market. It doesn’t have to be a real word, but it does need to be memorable, easy to pronounce and to conjure up some image in the reader’s mind. This is especially true if you’re looking for funding; the folks with the money typically aren’t familiar with our industry, and it really helps them grasp the concept if they don’t have to struggle with understanding its name.
This applies to the company name as well as the product, of course. The names Micros, Infor and Agilysys don’t mean anything as such, but they’re easy to say and conjure up technological associations that help make them memorable. Founders’ names or vivid imagery can also be good, such as Springer-Miller, Northwind or Squirrel; they have nothing to do with the product, but they’re clear and vivid. Good system names such as ResortSuite, Maestro, Opera, Host and Galaxy expand on this with the implication of helping hoteliers conduct all the myriad aspects of hospitality.
When inspiration is hard to come by it’s tempting to resort to acronyms, but these carry a double disadvantage. One is that they’re easy to confuse with one another; quick, tell me the difference between HIS, HSI and IHS. Anyone? How about HMS and HRM? Several of us who’ve been in this industry for a while do know what these are, but when you’re introducing a new product why make it harder on yourself by being anonymous?
The other challenge with acronyms is that you have to expand them when you talk about them, especially when they’re first introduced to the marketplace, and when you do the expanded phrase must, again, be easy to say, clear and memorable. “HIS” became a widely known acronym in the industry because Hotel information Systems met those criteria (it was also a good system) but if the phrase is awkward to say it’s going to be hard to stick in people’s minds, even if it has a good meaning. Sorry, Newmarket, but Hospitality Relationship Management just has too many syllables and HRM sounds like a Human Resources application. What happened to the memorable clarity of Delphi, Libra and HotSOS?
Recognition breaks down completely when the company names the product (or itself) after some image that’s meaningful only to its leaders. One example that has stayed with me since the early 1990s is Lodging Touch International (not a bad name at all), which called its GMS “Libica” and its F&B POS “Cenacolo”. To this day I have no idea what those names stood for, nor have they ever conjured up any memorable image in my mind. And I have to feel that an opportunity was lost when Hotel Concepts and Brilliant Software (great name!) combined their operations under the name iTesso. Their new system is very promising, but the name is an enigma.
It’s like coming across a spelling mistake in a press release. You can understand what the vendor’s saying but it’s a distraction, an interruption to your grasping the message. And anything that trips up the brain and breaks the flow of the message is never good.
There’s a reason marketing consultants earn their fees. This stuff is really hard, and really important.

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  • Sharon Duffy joins Nor1 as SVP Global Operations
  • Matt Zaruba appointed Chief Information Security Officer for Carlson
  • Benu Aggarwal recognized by HSMAI as one of Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing
  • Jeff Bixler hired by Optii Solutions as VP North America
  • Chris Clement joins The Rainmaker Group as Director, Hospitality Sales

Sharon Duffy has joined Nor1 as Senior Vice President of Global Operations. Ms. Duffy brings 30 years of hospitality experience, most recently with Hilton Worldwide as VP, Brand and Franchise Revenue. Prior to Hilton she served as Director of Corporate Relations at Priceline, and earlier held positions in revenue management and front office operations.
Matt Zaruba has been appointed Chief Information Security Officer for Carlson. Most recently, Mr. Zaruba served as Director, Information Security and Disaster Recovery for banking industry services vendor Jack Henry & Associates. He had earlier served as Director of Corporate Audit for Travelers Insurance, National Director of Computer Assurance for McGladrey & Pullen, and senior auditor at Ernst & Young.
Benu Aggarwal, Founder of Milestone Internet Marketing, has been recognized by The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) as one of 2013’s Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales and Marketing.
Jeff Bixler has been hired by Optii Solutions as Vice President, North America. Mr Bixler has an extensive career in IT and Communications, having previously held senior management positions with companies such as Hughes and Intelsat. Most recently, he was EVP of Business Development at Visible Spectrum, a cloud-based SaaS content provider.
Chris Clement has joined The Rainmaker Group as Director, Hospitality Sales.  Mr. Clement started his hospitality career in 1998 as a front desk associate at a Marriott Courtyard; in 2005, he was promoted to Senior Sales Manager with Marriott International. For two of his 13 years with Marriott International he helped launch Marriott’s internally-developed forecasting and group-pricing tool. Mr. Clement also served two years with Cvent, selling marketing solutions to hotels.

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  • Infor releases HMS version 3.6
  • Frontdesk Anywhere now supports seven payment processors across 33 European countries
  • Inn at Woburn migrates to hosted PMS, EPoS and Web booking systems from Xn Hotel Systems

Infor has released version 3.6 of its Hotel Management System (HMS). Enhancements are focused on expanding guest service functions, rate and reservation management, group convention handling and resort fee and package management. The release incorporates the Infor User Experience platform, a consumer-inspired user interface based on HTML5 technology. Infor HMS 3.6 includes tools to track guests’ social media handles for Facebook, Twitter, Trip Advisor and Booking.com to help communicate with them. The system can be deployed both in the cloud and on-premise, and supports English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish. (www.infor.com)
Cloud GMS provider Frontdesk Anywhere announced that it now supports seven of the top payment processors across 33 European countries, and supports transactions in both Euro and GBP. The integration allows hotels to charge their customers’ credit cards with a single click from within the GMS and have the funds automatically transfer to the property’s bank account. This new service extends the company’s existing coverage in the U.S. and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore via PayPal.com. (www.frontdeskanywhere.com)
The Inn at Woburn has migrated to hosted PMS, EPoS and Web booking systems from Xn Hotel Systems, including a two-way integration with the Classic British Distribution Hub. The Inn, a member of Classic British Hotels, has 48 bedrooms and seven cottages. (www.woburn.co.uk/inn/?, www.xnhotels.com)

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  • Trust International moves U.S. call center to larger location in Orlando
  • Prologic First introduces its next generation CRS
  • Traxo introduces Traxo Factor hotel recommendation engine
  • NAVIS expands RezForce Reservation Call Center
  • Ayre Hoteles switches rest of its hotels to Pegasus Connect+

Trust International has moved its U.S. reservation operation to a larger location in Orlando to accommodate recent growth and planned future expansion. The call center, formerly in the Winter Park area, is now located at 3504 Lake Lynda Drive. Trust’s centers in Orlando, Europe and Asia handle voice operation in 47 countries. (www.Trustinternational.com)
Prologic First has introduced its next generation CRS, a completely Web-based system that allows users to view the occupancy of all or part of the hotels at one glance and access each and every hotel easily. Users can also access central guest histories and company /TA information, create FIT, group or corporate reservations and update the respective hotels reservation chart /database in real time. Associated with the CRS is a Central Information System (CIS) providing for centralized reporting of a range of marketing statistics, forecasts and financial reports. (www.prologicfirst.com)
Traxo has introduced its Traxo Factor hotel recommendation engine, which considers over a dozen attributes of a traveler’s profile and travel history to identify relevant options. Its algorithm analyzes the traveler’s loyalty accounts and elite status level, location of past stays, historical average star-rating booked, previously submitted hotel reviews and more to suggest the ten best-fit hotel properties for each traveler’s upcoming trip. Results based only on information that travelers have chosen to share, and “self-tune” over time. (www.traxo.com/hotels)
NAVIS has expanded its RezForce Reservation Call Center, adding 80 team members to support a 50% increase in call volume in 2013.  (www.navisresorts.com)
Ayre Hoteles, part of the Palladium Hotel Group, has switched the rest of its hotels to Pegasus Connect+. The brand manages 11 urban hotels in six Spanish cities. (www.ayrehoteles.com/en/, www.pegs.com)

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  • University Club of Chicago, New York Athletic Club implement B4Checkin’s member feedback system
  • Infor integrates Epiphany with SmartFocus’ cloud e-mail marketing services
  • MHG Hotels implements Aptech’s Execuvue Business Intelligence across 11 properties
  • Sabre renews relationship with ReviewPro
  • Acme Hotel Company implements Flip.to

The University Club of Chicago and New York Athletic Club have implemented B4Checkin’s online member feedback system. (www.ucco.com, www.nyac.org, www.b4checkin.com)
Infor announced the global availability of Infor Epiphany with email marketing services from SmartFocus’ cloud marketing platform. (www.smartfocus.com, www.infor.com)
MHG Hotels has implemented Aptech’s Execuvue Business Intelligence across its portfolio of 11 properties, which include multiple flags and independents. The system includes seamless data transfers from the different GMSs. (www.mhghotelsllc.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
Sabre Hospitality Solutions has renewed its relationship with ReviewPro, and will offer its hotel clients more integrated access options for ReviewPro’s reputation management tools. (www.sabrehospitality.com, www.reviewpro.com)
Acme Hotel Company is using Flip.to to create an online diary for their guests, helping them share travel experiences with their own social networks, helping boost brand awareness. In the three months since implementation 24% of Acme’s guests have shared a branded message and have reached almost 25,000 of their social contacts.  (www.acmehotelcompany.com, www.flip.to))

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  • RezNext acquires over 400 customers in 113 cities in India in last quarter of 2013
  • AB Hotels pilots integration between IDeaS’ RMS and Avvio’s Convert5 online hotel booking engine
  • IDeaS launches latest versions of cloud-based RMS, including IDeaS Mobile RMS
  • Idiso (formerly Tradyso) selects SiteMinder’s RDX
  • TravelClick to re-name EZYield as TravelClick Channel Management

RezNext announced that it acquired more than 400 customers in 113 cities in India during the last quarter of 2013. RezNext’s proprietary technology creates a direct real-time two-way interface between the hotel’s guest management solution and its distribution channels allowing hotels to automate their otherwise manually-dependent booking process. (www.reznext.com)
AB Hotels, a UK group of three luxury hotels, is the pilot client for a certified interface between IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ Revenue Management System (RMS) and Avvio’s Convert5 online hotel booking engine. The integration allows Daily Best Available Rate (BAR) and BAR by Length of Stay decisions from IDeaS’ RMS to be delivered to their Convert5 online booking platform; Convert5 updates IDeaS RMS with online booking data via the hotel’s guest management system. Convert5 indicates the rate sensitivity of each potential customer to help refine IDeaS’ pricing decisions. The next phase of the integration will include additional controls such as Last Room Value (LRV) recommendations.
IDeaS has launched the latest versions of its cloud-based revenue management software, including IDeaS Mobile RMS, an integrated mobile application able to view, update and deploy hotel pricing information. The app is included with the updated software at no additional cost, and is available for Apple and Android devices. Functions include:
•Viewing monthly, weekly or daily snapshots of KPIs such as Occupancy, ADR, RevPAR and more.
•Current competitive rate comparisons.
•Overriding BAR the moment a change is needed and deploying pricing changes directly from the mobile device.
•Reviewing operational forecasts for staff scheduling purposes.
•Security measures for data encryption and protection.
Additional IDeaS release highlights include:
•A re-designed @ A Glance dashboard including a business summary comparing on-books, occupancy forecast and estimated revenue to budgets and user forecasts.
•Pricing analytics through the BAR module account more powerfully for historical behaviors, seasonal patterns and recent trends in pricing.
•New operations report with forecasted arrivals, departures and stay-thrus.
•Enhanced browser support, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
•Competitor rate pace reporting.
•Enhanced group pricing, including support for minimum acceptable rates (MAR) and greater capabilities to capture all negotiated group costs.
(www.abhotels.co.uk, www.avvio.com, www.ideas.com)
Spanish CRS vendor Idiso (formerly Tradyso) has selected SiteMinder’s RDX platform for channel management services. (www.idiso.com, www.siteminder.com)
TravelClick is re-naming its EZYield channel management software, purchased two years ago, as TravelClick Channel Management. (TravelClick.com)

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  • Passkey launches revenue-maximizing mobile hotel booking website
  • Cendyn acquires Arcaneo and Metron Web-based meeting planning software
  • Cendyn launches getplanning mobile collaboration tool in Europe

Passkey has launched a revenue-maximizing mobile hotel booking website for groups, meetings and events, which includes seamless integration of room upgrades, extended stays, hotel add-ons, promotional cubes and social networking.  Each mobile website is personalized for a specific meeting or event. The new website is available for Apple and Android phones and tablets, and can accommodate any currency and major languages. (www.passkey.com)
Cendyn has acquired Arcaneo, developers of Metron Web-based meeting planning software. Cendyn Arcaneo’s Metron allows planners to manage the meetings process in a standardized format, and helps enterprises to measure their ROI for meetings, gauging the Return on Objectives (ROO) as well as improved response times and compliance tracking.
Cendyn also announced the European launch of Cendyn Arcaneo’s getplanning software, a mobile digital planning and collaboration tool that allows event planners and hotel staff to access and update all event documents and information from one secure online location.

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  • Merchant Link, Precidia Technologies collaborate to offer secure payment acceptance

Merchant Link  and Precidia Technologies are collaborating to offer secure payment acceptance for integrated point-of-sale systems (IPOS). TransactionLink – Precidia Edition removes cardholder data from IPOS systems and enables customer-facing devices to prompt the consumer, request funds, manage error conditions and deliver completed sale information back to the IPOS. Transactions are hardware encrypted at swipe to prevent malware from skimming cardholder data inflight, and tokenized using format-preserving tokens which allow merchants to continue to perform cardholder analytics on purchase data. (www.precidia.com, www.merchantlink.com)

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  • Wedgewood Hotel implements new wireless Internet system from Liveport
  • STC offers Box Seal gasket to improve sound isolation between guest rooms
  • Hilton rolling out tiered Wi-Fi charging
  • Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel implements DIRECTV’s Digital Residential Experience package

Vancouver’s Wedgewood Hotel has implemented a new wireless Internet system from Liveport throughout the property. (www.wedgewoodhotel.com, www.liveport.com)
STC is offering its Box Seal, a specially-molded rubber gasket that seals the holes in the wall formed by recessed telephone, data, TV and electrical outlets, to improve sound isolation between guest rooms, claiming a 6 db to 7 db reduction in transmitted noise. (www.stcsoundseal.com)
Hilton Worldwide is rolling out tiered Wi-Fi charging – free basic service with higher bandwidth available for a fee – in its select-service and extended-stay brands, Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, and anticipates a global rollout throughout the year. Hilton sets WiFi pricing at its other brands “in accordance with their specific market conditions”; basic guestroom Wi-Fi service will be free at most properties and is available to Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members. (www.hilton.com)
The 221-room Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel has implemented DIRECTV’s Digital Residential Experience (DRE) package from PDI Communications, supplied by PDi’s South Florida installation partner Vidal Electronics.  (www.beachsidekeywest.com, www.pdi-eft.com, www.directv.com)

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  • PGA National Resort and Spa selects UniFocus’ workforce management software
  • Canouan Resort in the Grenadines installs InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID System
  • Grand Beach Hotel Surfside implements InvoTech’s UHF-RFID Linen System
  • LTS Hospitality Management, another unnamed client order Aptech’s Profitvue ASP Accounting system
  • Optii Solutions launches Optii Keeper housekeeping app in North America
  • Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park picks Infor’s Infinium FMS, Infinium HCM and PM Query & Analysis
  • Novotel Melbourne On Collins implements Newmarket’s REX and HotSOS
  • D Las Vegas Casino Hotel, Golden Gate Hotel & Casino now accept Bitcoin for payment

The 379-room PGA National Resort and Spa has selected UniFocus’ workforce management software. (www.pgaresort.com, www.UniFocus.com)
The Canouan Resort on Canouan Island in the Grenadines has installed InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID System to manage its uniforms, linens, and laundry operations. The Resort has a uniformed staff of 300 that utilize 3,000 uniforms, and stocks more than 9,000 linen items. Laundry Cart Reading Stations in the laundry area use touch-screen computers and monitors, and are also installed at the staff exit. Two wireless UHF-RFID Portable Handheld Readers are used for inventory, and allow one staff member to accurately count all items in a storeroom in less than a minute.
The Grand Beach Hotel Surfside has implemented InvoTech’s UHF-RFID Linen System, installed by the T-Y Group which provided the hotel with 50,000 linen items pre-tagged with Fujitsu UHF-RFID laundry tags. A UHF-RFID Laundry Cart Reading Station with Impinj Speedway Revolution Readers and a touch-screen monitor were installed at the loading dock; a separate Reading Station monitors linen aging.
(www.canouan.com , www.grandbeachhotelsurfside.com, www.invotech.com)
LTS Hospitality Management, with 8 properties, and one other unnamed new client have ordered Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue ASP Enterprise Back Office Accounting system. (www.ltshospitality.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
Optii Solutions has announced the North American launch of its Optii Keeper housekeeping application. Optii Keeper uses patented algorithms and business processes to predict, manage and optimize hotel cleaning operations, to help faster turnaround of clean rooms, enhanced interdepartmental communication and improve productivity, quality and guest satisfaction. (www.optiisolutions.com)
The Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northfield, Ohio, has selected Infor’s Infinium FMS, Infinium HCM and PM Query & Analysis to improve its financial reporting, payroll and analysis across the property. (www.hrrocksinonorthfieldpark.com, www.infor.com)
The Novotel Melbourne On Collins has implemented Newmarket’s REX housekeeping management/room expeditor software and HotSOS guest request manager through AHS, Novotel’s contracted housekeeping supply company and staffing agency. AHS engaged McLaren Technologies to install and advise on the project. (www.novotelmelbourne.com.au,  www.ahshospitality.com.au/, www.mclarenint.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and Golden Gate Hotel & Casino located in downtown Las Vegas now accept Bitcoin for payment at both hotels’ front desks and in the D’s Gift Shop and restaurants. Tablets programmed with BitPay will be installed at each cashier, allowing Bitcoin users to pay for services using their mobile wallets. (www.thed.com, goldengatecasino.com)

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  • Gale South Beach installs RoamingAround’s RoamBoost
  • Hilton Hampton Inn Houston installs Guest-tek’s Voice iACT Solution cloud-based PBX

The Gale South Beach in Miami, FL, has installed RoamingAround’s RoamBoost cellular signal enhancement as part of a major restoration. Phase I, completed mid-August 2013, included eight nodes to cover the back-of-house offices, restaurant, bar, lobby, first-floor guestrooms and back lounge; Phase II was completed this month, and included eight more nodes to cover floors two, three and four. (www.meninhotels.com, www.RoamingAround.com)
The Hilton Hampton Inn Houston has added Guest-tek’s Voice iACT Solution cloud-based PBX to its OneView platform.

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  • Starwood to pilot Bluetooth-based room key on guest’s smart-phones
  • OpenWays unveils Mobile Key DUAL, combining Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC) and Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy

Starwood announced pilot tests of a Bluetooth-based room key housed in the guest’s smart-phone at the Aloft Hotels in Manhattan and Silicon Valley before the end of March. Guests will receive a message on a Starwood app containing a virtual key, which will unlock the door with a tap or twist of their phone; the app is compatible with the iPhone 4s or newer models and Android phones running 4.3 or newer. Starwood hopes to introduce the virtual key at all its W Hotels and Aloft hotels (123 properties today) by the end of next year. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
OpenWays has unveiled its Mobile Key DUAL with Bluetooth Smart (BT 4.0 BLE). The Mobile Key DUAL combines OpenWays’ Crypto Acoustic Credential (CAC) Technology and Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth Low Energy, leveraging the Bluetooth Smart technology from its new OKIDOKEYS residential line. Apple’s iBeacon is also supported as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 BLE release. (www.openways.com)

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