January 17, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


Guest Services

Back Office



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JANUARY 4 – 17, 2012


    • Seven major chains launch joint metasearch booking engine; Starwood waits it out
    • Amadeus-sponsored study highlights need for greater vendor cooperation

Six major chains – Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Wyndham – have joined forces to launch Room Key, an on-line metasearch booking site that pulls inventory and rates from their own-brand sites. Best Western joined almost immediately as a Commercial Partner; Starwood is reported to be taking a wait-and-see approach. CEO of the joint venture is Pegasus funder John Davis.
While clearly a major new force in the on-line booking market, it’ll be interesting to see how much traffic Room Key pulls from existing metasearch sites such as Expedia, Google, Kayak and Hipmunk. Although limited to the seven brands’ inventory and excluding channels other than their own brand.com sites, it should be able to offer a useful service at lower rates by avoiding third-party commissions.
A global study on transformative technologies and evolving social values/trends by The Futures Company, sponsored by Amadeus, highlights that extent to which collaboration between vendors will be needed to provide the richer and more personal travel experiences guests will expect over the next decade.
The report (“From chaos to collaboration: how transformative technologies will herald a new era in travel”) predicts a qualitative shift where travelers become partners as much as customers and where context is as important as the transaction. Six key areas were identified:
1. Next-generation experience, emphasizing depth rather than breadth of experience through augmented reality, more gaming-influenced mechanisms and smart mobile devices.
2. Automatic transit through faster and more efficient identity management systems, with chips, biometrics, long range fingerprinting and near field communications (NFC) providing a more integrated way for people to move around.
3. Integrated payment data from all travel stages acting as a digital memory of expenditure and activity for individuals, groups and travel industry operators, allowing even greater personalization and service bundling.
4. Intelligent recommendation from peer groups and expert curators, allowing for personal travel guides and mobile tour representatives to offer richer experiences.
5. Less travel stress, through both intelligent luggage tags and tickets for greater reassurance and mobile health applications to let travelers manage their health and wellbeing as if they were at home.
6. Greater integration between business travel and tourism from a continued emphasis on work-life balance and well-being at work will see travelers expecting speed and efficiency as well as a home-away-from-home.

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  • Paul Staveley  appointed Director of Hospitality Channel Management/-Europe/Africa at Infor-SoftBrands  
  • Alicia Jividen joins iBAHN as Director of Sales, Gaming, North America

Paul Staveley has been appointed Director of Hospitality Channel Management at Infor-SoftBrands in Europe/Africa . He brings over 25 years of hospitality experience, most recently as Business Development Director for customer service/market research provider ITS Incognito. Mr. Stavely previously served in senior sales and marketing positions with CMS Hospitality, Onity, Agilysys, Softbrands Hospitality, AremisSoft, LK Global Hospitality and IGS.
Alicia Jividen has joined iBAHN as Director of Sales, Gaming, North America. Ms. Jividen has worked in the gaming industry for more than a decade, most recently as a sales manager at Aruze Gaming America. She had earlier worked in sales roles with Konami Gaming and Systems and Bally Gaming and Systems.

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  • NORTHWIND announces 9 new Maestro sales
  • Hotel Modern New Orleans picks Agilysys’ Guest 360, InfoGenesis
  • Accor integrates IC Mobil’s ScanINN check-in/ID verification software into GMS at Motel 6 and Studio 6
  • China’s Naked Home Village goes live with protel MPE from Xn Hotel Systems

NORTHWIND has announced 9 new sales for its Maestro suite, three to multi-property hotel companies and six to independent operators:
– Sands Resorts with six properties in Myrtle Beach, SC,
– National Hospitality Group for two properties in Kamloops, BC (Hotel 540 and the Thompson Hotel and Conference Center)
– Benchmark Hospitality International,
– Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe, NM,
– T-Bar M Resort and Conference Center near San Antonio, TX,
– Brookshire Suites in Baltimore,
– Paul Smith’s College in New York’s Adirondack Mountains
– The Georgian Lakeside Resort, also in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.
– Bahia Dos in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The 135-room Hotel Modern New Orleans has selected Agilysys’ Guest 360 guest management system and InfoGenesis POS solution. The hotel is owned and managed by August Group NYC, and is the second August property to pick Guest 360, after the Gotham in NYC. (www.thehotelmodern.com, www.agilysys.com
Accor has integrated Intellicheck Mobilisa’s (IC Mobil’s) ScanINN check-in and ID verification software into its guest management system at its Motel 6 and Studio 6 Extended Stay hotels in North America.  ScanINN scans the bar code or magnetic strip on the back of a guest’s driver’s license or other government-issued ID card, identifies usable elements such as name and address, and enters it into electronic forms in the GMS. (www.icmobil.com, www.accor-na.com)
Naked Home Village is the second resort of China-based Naked Retreat Collection to go live with protel Multi Property Edition (MPE) from Xn Hotel Systems, following the Naked Stables Private Resort last year. The system is also used at the company’s Central Reservations Office in Shanghai for centralized profiles, management reporting and cross selling. Naked Home Village is a collection of 8 traditional Zhejiang village houses comprising 21 bedrooms in Moganshan. (www.nakedretreats.cn, www.xnhotels.com)

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  • Seven chains launch Room Key metasearch booking engine
  • Corporate travel specialist HRS lists 250,000 hotels with Amadeus
  • Travelodge lists over 490 properties with Amadeus
  • Travel Tripper launches mobile-enabled version of RezTrip booking engine
  • Vacation rental specialist Bookt LLC makes mobile websites available for InstaManager FLEX clients
  • Pegasus and Vacation Rental Managers Association to launch Vacation Rental Switch (VRS) by mid-year
  • Pegasus selects Ness Technologies as software development partner in Mumbai

Six major chains – Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental, Marriott and Wyndham – have joined forces to launch Room Key, an on-line metasearch booking site pulling inventory and rates from their own-brand sites. Best Western later joined the group as a Commercial Partner; Starwood is reported to be taking a wait-and-see approach. The joint venture is led by John Davis, founder of Pegasus, and uses search technology from Hotelicopter, which Room Key acquired last year. Most of the partners automatically enroll their properties in Room Key but provide an opt-out arrangement for their owners; Best Western has adopted an opt-in approach, but expects most of its owners to participate.
Users can browse rates across every property, read independent reviews, compare prices and share information around their various social networks. Any traveler conducting an unsuccessful search for accommodation on one of the partners’ brand.com sites will be automatically transferred to Roomkey.com.
Corporate accommodation specialist HRS has made its portfolio of 250,000 hotels available on Amadeus’ e-Travel Management corporate booking tool and on the Amadeus Selling Platform for travel agencies. The deal includes 50,000 independent hotels.
Travelodge has listed more than 490 properties in the UK, Ireland and Spain with Amadeus’ Selling Platform, Hotels Plus booking tool and Amadeus e-Travel Management self-booking tool for corporate travelers, as well as other online travel sites and 3rd party developers using Amadeus Web Services.
(www.hrscorporate.com, www.travelodge.com, www.amadeus.com)
Travel Tripper has launched a mobile-enabled version of its RezTrip booking engine, compatible with Android, BlackBerry, and any iOS device. Hotels can personalize the look and feel of the mobile product to match their hotel branding. (www.traveltripper.com)
Vacation rental specialist Bookt LLC has made mobile websites available for all InstaManager FLEX clients.  InstaManager FLEX combines vacation rental manager software with marketing distribution through FlipKey and TripAdvisor.  (www.bookt.com)
Pegasus Solutions and the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) have partnered to launch a Vacation Rental Switch (VRS) by mid-year, starting with VRMA’s official public resource on vacation rental travel, www.DiscoverVacationHomes.com. The switch aims to set consistent standards for how vacation rentals are presented and sold online, allowing vacation rental managers to automate the distribution of their properties through a single platform. The VRS will leverage Pegasus’ RezView NG central reservations system and UltraSwitch and UltraDirect distribution products.
Pegasus Solutions has selected Ness Technologies’ Software Engineering division as a software development partner. Working at a joint extended software development center (EDC) in Mumbai, India, Ness will focus on developing communication adapters between customer applications and Pegasus’ RezView NG reservations platform, and will cover development, integration testing and end-to-end customer certification testing.
(www.vrma.com, www.pegs.com)

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  • Whiteboard Labs to bring HotelIQ business intelligence application to market
  • Evision Worldwide announces free Online Marketing Budget Calculator for the hospitality industry
  • Trapp Family Lodge signs with VIZERGY for Internet marketing services
  • New Orleans Hotel Collection selects The Knowland Group’s Target Net
  • TravelShark  receives Gold HSMAI Adrian Award for its rebranding campaign
  • TIG Global receives IAVA Davey and W³ awards and WMA WebAwards for five Web sites

Whiteboard Labs has signed an agreement to bring R&D Intelligent Hospitality’s HotelIQ business intelligence application to market. Whiteboard will absorb HotelIQ and provide all technology hosting, maintenance, support, product development, management, client services and sales and marketing; R&DIH will retain ownership of the software and continue to lead its direction and evolution.  (www.RnDIH.com, www.whiteboardlabs.com)
Evision Worldwide has announced a new Online Marketing Budget Calculator for the hospitality industry, offered at no charge and also able to be used to evaluate or validate existing budgets.  The interactive tool uses hotel-provided variables such as the market, amenities and ADR to generate a budget for each online marketing channel, from standard search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising to mobile marketing and local optimization. (evisionworldwide.com)
The Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, VT has signed with VIZERGY for Internet marketing services, including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. (trappfamily.com, www.vizergy.com)
The New Orleans Hotel Collection has selected The Knowland Group’s Target Net as the new sales and catering tool for its seven hotels: the Bourbon Orleans, Dauphine Orleans, Hotel Le Marais, Wyndham Riverfront, Audubon Cottages, Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport and the Hotel Mazarin.  (www.neworleanshotelcollection.com, www.KnowlandGroup.com)
TravelShark has received a Gold HSMAI Adrian Award for its social-media-fueled viral video advertising campaign to rebrand itself from “Swiftrank” to “TravelShark.”  (www.travelshark.com)
MICROS’ TIG Global subsidiary has received IAVA Davey and W³ awards and WMA WebAwards for five Web sites:
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau
– Davey Awards: Gold
– W³ Award: Silver
– WebAwards: Standard of Excellence
El Conquistador Resort
– W³ Awards : Silver
– WebAwards: Outstanding Website
Loudoun County Convention and Visitors Association
– Davey Awards: Silver
– WebAwards: Standard of Excellence
Park Central Hotel New York
– Davey Awards: Gold
– W³ Awards: Gold
– WebAwards: Standard of Excellence
St. Ermin’s Hotel (www.sterminshotel.co.uk)
– Davey Awards: Silver
– W³ Awards: Silver

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  • The Crane Resort, Barbados, deploys EzRMS
  • NH Hoteles to implement EzRMS at an additional 100 properties
  • Accor N.A. selects RateGain’s PriceGain rate intelligence software for Motel 6/Studio 6
  • Premier Hotels of the World adds Availpro distribution extranet to its Connect Suite

The Crane residential resort in Barbados has deployed EzRMS’ EasyRMS portfolio, including the EzRMS Core Module, Ez-QUOTE and Ez-COMPETE, along with upload interfaces to its Opera V4 GMS and Pegasus NetREZ systems.
NH Hoteles plans to implement EzRMS at an additional 100 properties, bringing its total sites using the system to over 200.
(www.thecrane.com, www.nh-hotels.com, www.easyrms.com)
Accor N.A. has selected RateGain’s PriceGain rate intelligence software for its corporate revenue management department in charge of Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties.  (www.accor-na.com, www.rategain.com)
Premier Hotels of the World is extending its partnership with Availpro to develop an online distribution extranet including booking engines (Web based, mobile and Facebook), a Smart Channel Manager, Rate Screener and Guest Satisfaction tool. This will be included in Premier’s Connect Suite, which currently includes cloud-based GMS and POS systems. (www.premierhotelsworld.com, www.availpro.com)

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  • Tourism Red Deer picks Meetingmax Systems for online housing reservations
  • Kalahari Resort Convention Center, Ohio installs Crestron DigitalMedia throughout the facility
  • The Active Network launches Business Solutions division, acquires StarCite
  • Info Salons Group deploys Passkey’s GroupMAX ME event housing system in Asia, China & the Middle East

Tourism Red Deer, midway between Calgary and Edmonton, has contracted with Meetingmax Systems for online housing reservations. The system is being purchased by a group of ten local hotels and will be used by Tourism Red Deer to manage group housing reservations for sports, convention, and leisure group travel. (www.tourismreddeer.com, www.meetingmaxsystems.com)
The Kalahari Resort Convention Center in Ohio has installed Crestron DigitalMedia digital AV distribution throughout the facility as part of its recent $22 million expansion. The Resort now offers 215,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space, in addition to America’s largest indoor water park and over 900 guest rooms.  Staff technicians can configure the meeting space and control all AV systems using Crestron touch screens and the Crestron Mobile Pro app for iPad. (www.kalahariresorts.com/oh/, www.crestron.com)
The Active Network has launched its Business Solutions division catering to the events industry, and has acquired StarCite to be a leading component of that division. In addition to its global customer base and strategic meetings management technology, StarCite brings access to a major online marketplace of hotels, destinations and venue suppliers worldwide. The Business Solutions division technology suite includes ActiveWorks | Conference for large flagship conferences, RegOnline for attendee management solutions, StarCite SMM for strategic meetings management and event expense management, and the StarCite Supplier Marketplace to connect events with suppliers. (www.starcite.com, www.activeevents.com)
The Info Salons Group is deploying Passkey’s GroupMAX ME event housing system across its event portfolio throughout Asia, China & the Middle East, offering customized booking websites for each event’s branding and business needs, multiple room type and extended stay options for guests and, through Paskey’s RezHUB, automated transfer of reservations to hotels’ internal systems. (www.infosalonsgroup.com, www.passkey.com)

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  • Maryland Live! Casino to install MICROS’ Simphony Enterprise POS

The new Maryland Live! Casino is installing MICROS Systems’ Simphony Enterprise POS system, with MICROS Workstation 5a and Mobile MICROS hardware. Scheduled to open this summer, Maryland Live! Casino will be the largest gaming facility in Maryland, offering 4,750 slot machines and electronic table games, several restaurants and a live entertainment venue. (www.marylandlivecasino.com, www.micros.com)

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  • FCS appoints Quoc Khoa Networks Limited its business partner in Cambodia
  • Hotels.com survey emphasizes importance of free Wi-Fi in hotel-booking decisions
  • KeyLime Cove selects SkyWire Media text messaging services
  • Intelity launches ICE Instant service for hotels to create own version of virtual concierge platform
  • Boston Park Plaza selects TTI Technologies to design and install new business center

FCS has appointed Quoc Khoa Networks Limited as a business partner in Cambodia. (quockhoanetworks.com, www.fcscs.com)
A recent Hotels.com survey on travelers’ favorite in-room and hotel perks emphasized how strongly free Wi-Fi factors into decisions on which hotels to book. Thirty-eight percent of respondents stated that that free Wi-Fi was essential, 35 percent that they want to see more of it in hotels, with 31 percent that they wish it would become a standard in all hotels this year. As regards in-room amenities, 23 percent of guests picked the use of iPads for guest services, local information and personal use, ranking it above air purifiers/humidifiers, high-end coffee makers, iPod dock, massage chairs, video game systems, universal remote rooms and workout equipment/DVDs.
KeyLime Cove, the 414-room Official Resort of Six Flags Great America, has selected SkyWire Media’s Rooms Connect text messaging service to provide rooms-ready alerts and marketing opt-in services to guests at the resort, located just north of Chicago. This service will allow early arriving guests to do a partial check in while waiting for their rooms to become available.  An SMS text message will automatically notify the guest when the room enters a “Ready” status in the resort’s Micros Opera Guest Management System.  KeyLime Cove also selected Mobile Connect and Coupon Connect event based triggers.  The “Rooms Ready” message triggers the sending of new mobile offers to the guest for redemption in the waterpark, retail, spa or food and beverage outlets.  Additional offers can be sent after the check out if the guest opts-in to receive them. The resort also installed Table Connect service to notify guests when their restaurant table is ready for them to be seated; it is also used by the spa to alert guests when their treatment room is available.  (www.keylimecove.com, www.skywiremedia.com)
Intelity has launched ICE Instant, a Web-based service allowing hotels to create their own version of Intelity’s ICE virtual concierge platform, which guests can download to coordinate services such as wake-up calls, transportation requests, turn down services in addition to accessing destination information. (ICEInstant.com)
Boston Park Plaza has selected TTI Technologies to design and install its new business center. (www.bostonparkplaza.com, www.ttitel.com)

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  • Foxwoods Resort Casino deploying UniFocus’ GUESTScope

Foxwoods Resort Casino is deploying UniFocus’ GUESTScope Survey system to enhance its customer service. Owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Foxwoods includes six casinos, four hotels, several entertainment venues and over 30 dining outlets. (www.foxwoods.com, www.unifocus.com )

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  • Telkonet to provide  energy management  in ten Southern California properties

Telkonet has been awarded a contract to provide occupancy-triggered energy management technology in ten Southern California-based hospitality properties through Pacific Energy Services & Facilities. All of the hotels elected to participate in Southern California’s utility ratepayer program, and received the maximum incentive for implementing Telkonet; each guest room received an HVAC system upgrade when integrating Telkonet’s SmartEnergy  platform.  (www.pesfinc.com, www.telkonet.com)

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  • Hyatt Regency New Orleans implements Saflok Quantum RFID locks and keycards, interfaced with Schindler Elevator PORT Technology
  • Mobile Key by OpenWays recognized by Lodging magazine in 2011 Innovation Showcase

The 1,193-room Hyatt Regency New Orleans has implemented KABA Lodging’s Saflok Quantum RFID locks and keycards, interfaced with Schindler Elevator Corporation’s PORT Technology.  Schindler units read each guest’s keycard outside one of the eight elevator cars and automatically call the elevator for the guest.  (neworleans.hyatt.com, www.us.schindler.com, www.ilcohospitality.com)
Mobile Key by OpenWays was recently recognized by Lodging magazine in its 2011 Innovation Showcase as an innovation that is “poised to make a splash in hospitality.” (www.OpenWays.com)

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