January 19, 2011

In this issue…

People on the Move

Hospitality Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications / Infrastructure

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • The Challenges of Clouds – Interfaces and Upgrades

Cloud computing is still much in the news, as witness this week’s announcement of Cenium landing another client and OTRUM’s new cloud-based Enterprise portal and Digital Signage products, as well as the continuing interest I’m seeing in remotely-hosted hospitality management systems of all kinds. I’ve talked before about their advantages in security, ease of installation and, especially for multi-property operations, consistent and accurate reporting.
One major challenge still needs to be worked out, though, and that’s how to handle system upgrades. With today’s ever-growing need for more cross-system data collection and consolidation in this famously multi-system environment, interfaces between applications are more critical than ever. They’re typically easier to set up in a multi-application cloud environment – implementing a single interface between two cloud-based applications surely beats having to do so between two site-based examples of each at every property – but keeping them working seamlessly becomes a real challenge when either vendor can upgrade their system at a moment’s notice.
There’s clearly a significant need for vendors to cooperate in providing test environments for each other; any unexpected snags when a new version is put into operation are going to be massively apparent when the change occurs simultaneously at every hotel using the applications. Vendors will also have to maintain multiple versions of each application in operation, because not every hotel will be able – or want – to upgrade to a new version at the same time. And, of course, every different version kept in operation just multiplies the interface problem.
For simpler applications such as OTRUM’s Digital Signage this isn’t too much of an issue; its interface requirements are fairly straightforward and unlikely to change often. Something like the mix of applications required to run a complex resort is a different situation altogether. Interface format standards are a major help, of course, but another approach is the development of much more all-encompassing applications that cover as many operational areas as possible, reducing the need for interfaces to the minimum. All the major HMS vendors have pretty comprehensive offerings with their current ranges, but it will inevitably take a while for them to reach the same degree of full-property functionality with the new-architecture applications they’re developing. In the meantime, keep your eye on Cenium.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Ken Fisher joins Xn Hotel Systems’ Board of Directors
  • Tom Gallagher hired by Pegasus Solutions as EVP of revenue generation
  • Roger Crellin joins iBAHN as president, Americas
  • Keith Cotton appointed VP of Connectivity at DerbySoft
  • W. Laird Hamberlin joins Onity as President
  • Mark Lomanno promoted to CEO at Smith Travel Research. Randy Smith named Chairman.
  • Amanda Hite named as STR’s new president
  • Brian Sterrett joins IDeaS Revenue Solutions as vice president of global sales and marketing

Ken Fisher has been appointed to Xn Hotel Systems’ Board of Directors. Currently head of the company’s R&D function, Mr. Fisher joined Xn as a systems architect and strategic consultant in 1999. He had formerly served 21 years with Micros Systems, in positions including Senior Vice President, R&D and Senior Vice President Quick Service division.
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Thomas “Tom” Gallagher has been hired by Pegasus Solutions as executive vice president of revenue generation. Mr. Gallagher has more than 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, most recently as sales vice president at HP Enterprise Services. Prior to HP, he was the strategic outsourcing executive for International Business Machines (IBM), and had earlier launched global sales initiatives with IPC Information Systems, AT&T Solutions, BSG Corporation and Electronic Data Systems (EDS).
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Roger Crellin has joined iBAHN as president, Americas. Most recently serving as chief operating officer and managing director at Acentic for nearly six years, Mr. Crellin was earlier general manager, consumer digital services at Fujifilm and has considerable global hospitality industry experience, including serving as chief operating officer for the International Hotels Association, Australia.
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Keith Cotton has been appointed VP of Connectivity at connectivity services vendor DerbySoft in Shanghai, China. Before joining Derby Soft Mr. Cotton was VP of Sales at Hotel Booking Solutions Inc. (HBSi), and had earlier served as Director of Sales for AltiusPAR and Managing Director for ReservHotel. He began his career in the early 1980’s and gained more than 20 years’ management experience with Holiday Inn Worldwide and with Pegasus Solutions as the Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Mr. Cotton was a founding board member of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Association (HEDNA.)
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W. Laird Hamberlin has been appointed to the position of President at Onity. Most recently Mr. Hamberlin served over nine years at Tyco Fire & Security, culminating as Vice President, Global Accounts.
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Mark Lomanno has been promoted to CEO at Smith Travel Research. Mr. Lomanno has served as president of STR for the past 12 years; former CEO and founder Randy Smith has been named chairman.
Amanda Hite has been named as STR’s new president. Ms. Hite has been with STR for five years, most recently as Chief Strategy Officer. Prior to joining STR, she was the Director of Research for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
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Brian Sterrett has joined IDeaS Revenue Solutions as vice president of global sales and marketing. Mr. Sterrett brings more than 20 years of experience, most recently at revenue management software vendor iMANY. He was previously vice president of world-wide channel sales for Lawson Software, after several years of consulting and direct sales management with Accenture, Oracle and SPSS.
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • NORTHWIND announces 21 new customers for Maestro in 4Q10
  • Ariane completes kiosk integration with Saflok RFID keys
  • AutoClerk and Bay Lakes Information Systems merge
  • White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa picks Cenium’s Enterprise Resource system
  • Cenium opens new North America corporate office in Las Vegas
  • SkiStar installs SPI Software timeshare management software at five destinations
  • RMC Resort Management installs SPI Software’s Orange 7 system in Hilton Head offices
  • Cosmopolitan Las Vegas implements multiple IJWS check-in options for guests

NORTHWIND announced 21 new customers for its Maestro Property Management Suite in 4Q 2010, including:
– Spectrum Resorts, Gulf Shores, Alabama (three properties totaling 50+0 rooms)
– Stonebridge Resort, Branson, MS
– The Northland Inn, Minneapolis
– Nita Lake Lodge, Whistler, British Columbia
– Jamaica Bay Inn, Marina del Ray, California
– General Morgan Inn & Conference Center, Greenville, Tennessee
– Hotel De Anza, San Jose, California
– The Holman Grand Hotel, Prince Edward Island
– Inn on the Forks and Norwood hotels, Winnipeg
– Six South Street Hotel, Hanover, New Hampshire.
(www.maestropms.com)
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Ariane Systems has completed integration with KABA’s Saflok RFID-based locking system, allowing its Allegro-platform self-service kiosks to encode and dispense Saflok-compatible RFID keycards at check-in and read them for check-out. The first property to implement the integrated technology is the Comfort Xpress Hotel in Oslo, Norway. A second phase implementation at the Comfort Xpress will integrate the OpenWays Mobile Key cell phone-based key system. (www.saflok.com, www.ariane.com)
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AutoClerk and Bay Lakes Information Systems have merged. Both companies launched their respective hospitality management systems 25 years ago for the small-to-mid-sized hotel market, and have since expanded them to include POS, web-booking, condominium and marina management for properties up to 1,000 rooms. The newly merged entity has yet to be named. (www.autoclerk.com, www.lodgicalsolution.com)
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White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, Ontario, Canada has selected Cenium’s Enterprise Resource system to replace its current applications. With 220 guestrooms the Resort include restaurants, a spa, a racquet and fitness facility and more than 60,000 sq.ft. of meeting space. Modules to be implemented include financials, CRS, CRM, PMS, Sales and Catering, POS Restaurant/Retail, Spa, Club Management and Workflow. Future installations of HR and Payroll are planned.
Cenium North America has opened a new US office in Las Vegas, Nevada as its North American Corporate Headquarters. The new facility also includes a Microsoft Innovation center with 8500 square feet of integrated technology vendors.
(www.whiteoaksresort.com, www.cenium.com)
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Scandinavia ski-center operator SkiStar AB has installed timeshare management software from SPI Software. SkiStar operates five mountain destinations: Sälen, Åre and Vemdalen in Sweden, and Trysil and Hemsedal in Norway.
RMC Resort Management has installed SPI Software’s Orange 7 timeshare management system in its Hilton Head offices, from which it manages vacation rentals throughout the island.
(www.skistar.com, www.hiltonheadusa.com, www.spiinc.com)
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The new 2,995-room Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has implemented several check-in options from Penn Center Systems’ It Just Works Software (IJWS), including IJWS Xpress Kiosks, Xpress Wireless Tablets and I-POD signature capture. (www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com, www.penncentersystems.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Travel Tripper interfaces RezTrip with InnLink’s distribution network
  • Availpro expanding into Spain
  • FastBooking listing 6,000-property database with Hotels4U.com

Travel Tripper has interfaced its RezTrip booking engine with InnLink’s GDS and online travel agency distribution network. (www.traveltripper.com, www.innlink.com)
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Availpro is expanding its online booking services from its French base into Spain, still targeting the same property mix of independent hotel owners, hotel chains and residences. (www.availpro.com)
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FastBooking is listing its database of 6,000 independent properties worldwide with UK-based Hotels4U.com (part of the Thomas Cook Group), which currently works with more than 8,000 travel agencies internationally. (www.hotels4u.com, www.medhotels.com, www.fastbooking.net)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • buuteeq launches Web-based Digital Marketing System for independent hotels
  • Motorola launches MC65 Enterprise Mobile Computer
  • HeBS receives three “outstanding web design” awards for Loews Hotels website
  • Chaminade Resort & Spa implementing d2o’s PMI suite
  • Boyd Gaming implementing SkyWire Media’s Coupon Connect text messaging

Seattle-based buuteeq has launched a Web-based Digital Marketing System to help independent hotels create and manage their websites, engage guests on social and mobile channels and book reservations directly. buuteeq’s DMS includes four main components: content management system, digital distribution, online reservations and business intelligence. Hotels upload photos, videos, maps and other assets, enter room, location, seasonal promotions and other data through a web-based ‘Back Office’ and offer them on marketing channels such as Facebook, mobile applications, booking engines and more. The system can be integrated with a hotel’s existing third-party booking engine to enable integration with its reservation and property management applications. The Business Intelligence module offers reports of each marketing channel, web traffic insights, campaign-specific reporting and search engine optimization. (www.buuteeq.com)
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Motorola has launched its MC65 Enterprise Mobile Computer, a robust, handheld device that includes scanning, camera, and GPS capabilities as well as voice and has a customizable user interface. (www.motorolasolutions.com)
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Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) has received three “outstanding web design” awards for the Loews Hotels website: a Silver Davey Award, Silver W3 Award and Bronze Adrian Award. (www.hospitalityebusiness.com)
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The Chaminade Resort & Spa is implementing d2o’s Performance Management Intelligence (PMI) suite in all departments. (www.chaminade.com, www.d2o.biz)
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Boyd Gaming Corp is implementing SkyWire Media’s Coupon Connect text messaging to deliver profile-driven mobile coupons to members of its B Connected player loyalty program, alerting them to new offers or other news and information. Coupon Connect integrates directly with Boyd Gaming’s MICROS 9700 Point of Sale system to make coupon redemption seamless to guests at all venues while providing detailed reports about customer activity and preferences. (www.boydgaming.com, www.skywiremedia.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • IDeaS releases version 5.2 of V5i

IDeaS Revenue Solutions has released version 5.2 of its V5i Revenue Management System. Enhancements include a new reporting framework (to facilitate the delivery of enhanced business intelligence, improved navigation and more visual data presentation), Quoted Rate functionality to allow evaluation of a group based on a client-entered rate, changes to the Transient Benefits Module to show benefits at the daily level (to facilitate detailed analysis of the impact on transient revenue of working with V5i in the previous month) and an explanation of any benefits that cannot be calculated on a single day. (www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Knowland releases new version of Insight lead generation service
  • Knowland ’s Target Net SFA tool receives 2010 Product of the Year Award from CIS magazine
  • Cvent listed by Washington SmartCEO magazine as 2011 Future 50 award winner
  • SmithBucklin selects Meeting Evolution software for all meeting management processes
  • OTRUM moves Digital Signage service to IBM’s test and development cloud service

The Knowland Group has released a new version of its Insight lead generation service, which gives hotel sales teams access to a database of groups who have held meetings in hotels and conference centers. Enhancements include a refreshed UI designed to match the tab-centric approach of Knowland’s Readers and Target Net products, a new Advanced Search with many new filters, a tab for more direct access to Knowland’s Event Booking Center and Insight Alerts to notify hotel sales managers immediately of new activity in key accounts. Targeted leads found in Insight may now also be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet or PDF.
The Knowland Group’s Target Net sales force automation and meetings management tool has received a 2010 Product of the Year Award from Technology Marketing Corporation’s Customer Interaction Solutions magazine. The award recognizes companies for their vision, leadership, and diligence.
(www.cismag.com, www.knowlandgroup.com)
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Cvent has been listed by Washington SmartCEO magazine as a 2011 Future 50 award winner. The Future 50 program recognizes the top Washington, D.C.-area companies based on revenue and employee growth over a three-year period. (www.cvent.com)
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Association management and professional services company SmithBucklin has selected Meeting Evolution (ME) software to manage its meeting management processes, including global hotel and supplier database, sourcing, custom hotel contracting, meeting consolidation/leveraged spend and data management. (www.smithbucklin.com, www.meetingevolution.net)
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OTRUM is moving its OTRUM Digital Signage service to IBM’s test and development cloud service and has launched the cloud-based OTRUM Enterprise as its future direction. OTRUM can now provide tailored information remotely to digital signage displays in hotel lobbies and conference centers at 500 hotels worldwide. The company is evaluating moving its entire service portfolio to the IBM cloud. (www.otrum.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Plaza Hotel adds Intelity ICE to guestroom iPads
  • OTRUM launches cloud-based Enterprise information, communication and entertainment portal
  • Starwood implements FaceTime video calling for SPG members contacting customer service agents
  • LodgeNet to market Nomadix’ Freedom Internet hospitality software and access gateways
  • Bourbon Orleans Hotel installs wireless internet access from iBAHN

The 282-room Plaza Hotel in New York now offers Intelity ICE, including in-room environmental controls, on the iPads in its guestrooms. ICE is integrated into both the property management system and point-of-sale system for guest-request management and tracking. The hotel expects that the guestroom iPads will allow it to cut its room-service menu and other informational piece printing costs by 50 to 75 percent while improving service efficiency. (www.theplaza.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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OTRUM has launched its Enterprise information, communication and entertainment portal. Information collected at check-in can be combined with details from a hotel’s CRM database to profile guests as to type, gender, age, language and home country, allowing the hotel to provide customized communications, advertising, service offerings and price points to each individual guestroom TV. Data analytics can evaluate usage of services at different times of day, week and year or by guest type, etc. The first implementation is at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Oslo, a long-time OTRUM user. (www.radissonblu.com/oslo , www.otrum.com)
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Members of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Preferred Guest loyalty program can now communicate with customer service agents using Apple’s FaceTime video calling, using the iPhone 4, iPod touch and Macs. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
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LodgeNet Interactive has contracted with Nomadix (a DOCOMO interTouch subsidiary) to market Nomadix’ Freedom Internet hospitality enterprise software and its full range of access gateways. The alliance will allow LodgeNet Broadband to offer more robust hotel-level reporting, security, enhanced bandwidth shaping and management, and greater portal functionality, as well as improved conference room features, integrated business center connectivity and billing functions. DOCOMO interTouch has also licensed LodgeNet’s conference management software to be part of its product offering in international markets. (www.nomadix.com, www.lodgenet.com)
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The Bourbon Orleans Hotel has installed wireless internet access from iBAHN throughout the property’s guestrooms and public spaces. (www.bourbonorleans.com, www.ibahn.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Horizon Hospitality Management adds fourth property to Aptech Profitvue implementation

Horizon Hospitality Management has added a fourth property to its implementation of Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue enterprise back office application, to streamline accounting processes across its multiple branded properties. (www.horizonhmi.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • DataWorks integrates NeXT inventory software with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System

DataWorks has integrated its NeXT inventory software with Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS), allowing it to serve as the purchasing, inventory operations and customer management center for RMS users. (www.dataworksinc.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Motorola launches WiNG 5 wireless architecture

Motorola has launched its WiNG 5 wireless architecture, designed to offer better direct routing and higher resilience throughout a hotel’s wireless network. WiNG 5 is claimed to require less hardware and fewer controllers as its network-aware access points (APs) collaborate to determine optimal routing paths to avoid bottlenecks, jittery videos or poor voice quality. (www.motorolasolutions.com)
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