January 2, 2007

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management


DECEMBER 20, 2006 – JANUARY 2, 2007

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Year-End Review

It’s been another interesting year, but one marked more by consolidation than by startling new products. The world’s continuing obsession with the Internet was reflected in many areas; PhoCusWright, for example, predicted that the Internet will account for over half of all U.S. travel bookings next year. Travel agents still generate significant business (and at higher ADRs than the Internet, too) but the traditional GDS domination seems to be waning; Travelport acquired Worldspan (it already owned Galileo) and Sabre was sold to private investors.
Guestroom technology continued to be a high visibility topic, emphasized by HFTP’s Guestroom 2010 booth at HITEC. The wider availability of entertainment options for guests, both from Internet sources (videos, IP phones, etc.) and from their own portable gadgets, reduced the demand for traditional pay-per-view movies and increased demands on network bandwidth. The latter can only increase significantly next year and many hotels will need to upgrade their networks to cope. The adoption of tiered pricing is expected to spread rapidly to help manage this demand. LodgeNet moved well to maintain its edge, offering Entertainment 2Go for legal movie downloads to guests’ PCs, buying HSIA provider StayOnline and acquiring its traditional pay-per-view rival On Command, but the IP-based vendors will continue to grow in competitiveness.
Pressure on hotels’ networks also came from the continued growth in rich-media content on their Web sites. Video, 3-D photos and interactive media all greatly help a property sell itself, but place major demands on the network to make sure the potential guest can display them quickly.
In the PMS world the demand for wider, more-complete systems led both to acquisitions (SoftBrands acquired HIS, Visual One acquired GolfPro and was in turn acquired by Agilysys) and to more formal partnerships with complementary vendors. HIS partnered with Newmarket, Ennoview (spa/golf), Squirrel and Guestware, SoftBrands with Serenata and Cerenity spa, Visual One with IDeaS, and Northwind with Jencess golf. Ramesys renamed itself RedSky IT, and Amadeus gathered its Hogatex PMS and Optims RMS applications under the Amadeus Hospitality brand.
Reflecting the growing need for more secure, professionally-supported systems an increasing number of hotel groups opted for centrally-hosted PMS operations, using systems from Micros-Fidelio, Northwind, RedSky, Protel and Amadeus/Hogatex, among others.
Consolidation also showed up in the Sales & Catering world (Newmarket acquiring Daylight Software and StarCite merging with OnVantage) and in POS (nuSable and WaiterPAD merged, PAR Technology took over SIVA and MICROS acquired TangentPOS). Contrarily, Cendant split into four groups; its Travel Distribution Services division was renamed Travelport before being sold to The Blackstone Group.
Revenue management systems made good progress, their current wide applicability shown best by Best Western’s adoption of EasyRMS as a Preferred Vendor and by most new implementations being ASP-based. The continued importance of distribution channel management led to the numerous sales reported by EZ-Yield and HBSI, as well as to IDeaS’ integration with EZ-Yield and eRevMax’s RTShopper, and to Travelocity’s interface with TravelCLICK’s RateVIEW. Manugistics was acquired by JDA Software Group.
Data analysis and Business Intelligence were both in strong demand, with Aptech and Datavision among the front runners and Agilysys releasing its own module.
What’s going to be hot this year? Attractive new services will continue to put pressure on network bandwidth, certainly. Other brands will follow Hilton in letting guests pick their own room from floor plans and photos (will RMSs be fine-tuned to yield prices on a per-room basis?), guest recognition and targeted marketing will continue to grow and put more demands on data integration across systems, and good BI systems will become essential to help managers pick out the exceptions needing action from the wealth of data collected. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few more vendor mergers, either. In other words, business as usual!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Dan Bogan promoted to Senior Vice President of NCR’s Retail/Hospitality & Self-Service Solutions

Dan Bogan has been promoted to Senior Vice President of NCR’s Retail/Hospitality & Self-Service Solutions business. Mr. Bogan, a 30-year veteran of the company, most recently served as the interim leader of its retail store automation business. He has also held positions as Vice President of the Americas region, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Assistant Vice President of Cooperative Marketing, Area Vice President for NCR’s Western division and Vice President of Food Industry Marketing.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Agilysys acquires Visual One
  • Three Boyle properties install two-way Medallion/Best Western interface

Agilysys has acquired Visual One Systems Corp. The purchase is expected to close in late January 2007.
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Three Boyle properties – Best Western Murray Hill Inn, Best Western Westfield Inn and Best Western Morristown Inn in New Jersey – have installed SoftBrands’ two-way interface between their Medallion PMSs and Best Western’s CRS. (www.softbrands.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Núñez i Navarro Hotels picks iHotelier for web bookings at nine properties
  • Orbitz launching delayed-flight hotel notification service for travelers
  • Homewood Suites’ Suite Selection lets guests view hotel floor plans and room photos, select a specific room

Núñez i Navarro Hotels has selected the TravelCLICK’s iHotelier central reservations system (CRS) to handle web reservations for its nine properties in Barcelona. (www.nnhotels.es, www.travelclick.net)
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Orbitz is launching a hotel notification service for travelers who book a flight-and-hotel package through its website. If the flight is delayed, Orbitz will call the traveler’s cell phone and, if requested, call the hotel to alert them to the late arrival or, if the flight is cancelled, to rebook at a new hotel. (www.orbitz.com)
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Hilton’s Homewood Suites is introducing its Suite Selection program, which lets guests view hotel floor plans and room photos, select a specific room and check in online. Suite Selection will initially be launched only for Hilton Diamond and Gold HHonors members and only at select Homewoods, but all hotels will be online by year end and available to any traveler who completes a profile. (http://homewoodsuites1.hilton.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • ARAMARK Harrison Lodging selects Blue Square Studios to help re-launch website

ARAMARK Harrison Lodging has selected Blue Square Studios to help re-launch its website and enhance its e-commerce capabilities. Blue Square’s Hospitality Toolkit will let each of the company’s properties create and manage online content, packages and promotions using corporate graphics standards and brand identity. (www.aramarkharrisonlodging.com, www.bluesqstudios.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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