January 29, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • The benefits of random input

Monday’s Wall Street Journal had a fascinating section forecasting developments in technology over the next decade. One in particular that caught my eye was the fairly predictable convergence of GPS technology in cellphones with social networks, so that if, to use the WSJ’s example, you’re stuck in Dallas airport for hours between flights you can easily see if anyone you know is in the same terminal and might be free for a chat. (There are existing services that let you do this already, but only for subscribers to the same service, not universally.)
This got me thinking, and not only because the day before I’d been stuck in Dallas airport for hours between flights, thinking there must be someone there I knew. First was that this could be a two-edged sword, in that while I would certainly want to know if any of my friends were around, I wouldn’t want to broadcast my presence to that timeshare salesman who keeps pestering me for a commitment. Some form of universally-accepted dual-listing of contacts – social vs. business – seems desirable but will be hard to enforce, both technically (“broadcast my presence but only to people I’ve listed as friends”) and given the commercial pressures on the telecoms vendors to provide access to as many potential advertising recipients as possible. The seemingly-inevitable prospect of losing what little privacy we have left can get pretty depressing at times.
But the other thought that came to mind was that focusing only on contacting people I already know eliminated the chance of finding that the people sitting next to me in the terminal were actually pretty interesting themselves, which they were. I do get concerned that our increasing tendency towards specialization is unhealthy, both individually and for society. If we limit our circle of friends to those we know (and their socially-networked friends), or get our news only from sites and newsletters that find out what we’re interested in and send us as much of it as they can find, or focus on teaching our children only how to pass the specific tests that get their schools the highest ratings instead of helping them become rounded, educated citizens, we limit ourselves too much and hamper the serendipitous discoveries that broaden our minds and foster innovation.
The human gene seems to be programmed to throw in unexpected modifications – mutations – from time to time, apparently just to try out changes that might prove beneficial to the survival of the race. We need to make sure we keep a healthy degree of diversity and randomness in our lives, too. **

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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Hooman Honary promoted to acting President of NxTV
  • Shelia DeShazo and Dan Artman join Onity’s CodePro North American regional sales team
  • Douglas Kwok hired by INNCOM as Director of Sales, Asia Pacific
  • Andrew Sanders and Keith Cook hired by MSI as VP of Sales, Director of Product Management
  • Mike Gray appointed Chief Technical Officer at IDeaS
  • Robert E. Dowdell named Chairman of the Board at TravelClick
  • Industry veteran Ray Ellis retires after 50+ years of distinguished service

Hooman Honary has been promoted to acting President of NxTV from his current position as Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Honary has extensive experience in areas such as WiFi, WiMax, IPTV and digital media systems. He previously served as Chief Technology Officer at Oxford Media, Senior Strategic Technologist and Sr. Wireless Architect at Broadcom Corp, and at the Intel Architecture Labs — Wireless Technology Division. Prior to Intel he was part of the early team at VxTel Corp, a Voice over IP start-up which was acquired by Intel in 2001. Mr. Honary has 19 patents issued or pending.
**
Shelia DeShazo and Dan Artman have joined Onity’s North American regional sales team for its CodePro electronic code access system. Ms. DeShazo is CodePro regional sales consultant for Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, based in Virginia Beach, VA. She was previously corporate sales manager for a large hospitality company. Mr. Artman is Southwest regional sales manager for Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and the mountain states, based in Phoenix, AZ. He has been with Onity since 2002, as a Southeast Educational Sales Consultant.
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Douglas Kwok has been hired by INNCOM as Director of Sales for the Asia Pacific region. Mr. Kwok brings two decades of sales and management experience, most recently as Country Manager/Hong Kong and Taiwan for international software-services firm Intergraph Corp.
**
Andrew Sanders and Keith Cook have been hired by Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI). Mr. Sanders becomes Vice President of Sales, joining from MICROS where he was Director of Sales. He had previously served as Director of Sales & Marketing for Ramesys/RedSky IT, which was acquired by MICROS last year, and earlier as Manager, International and Strategic Business for Innsite Hotel Services in the UK, and as Business Unit Manager – Hotels & Leisure for McDonnell Douglas in the UK. Mr. Cook, the new Director of Product Management, served ten years at Pegasus Systems leading to the position of Product Director, Reservation Services, and was earlier with Encore.
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Mike Gray has been appointed Chief Technical Officer at IDeaS. Mr. Gray brings more than 26 years of technical experience in IT, most recently with West Publishing and Thomson Corporation developing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems for the legal, financial and scientific markets.
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Robert E. Dowdell has been named Chairman of the Board at TravelClick, following the company’s acquisition from Bain Capital by private equity firm Genstar. Mr. Dowdell is a founder and Chairman of Career Education Corp. and has been a Director of TravelClick since its inception in 1994.
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Distinguished industry veteran Ray Ellis has announced his retirement after more than 50 years of industry and academic service. Best known for his work in education and hotel safety, Mr. Ellis was adjunct professor at the University of Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management (which he joined in 1994) and director of the Loss Prevention Management Institute (LPMI). He began his career with 17 years at Marshall Field’s, then joined the National Safety Council in 1955 and began pro bono consulting for the American Hotel Association (AHA) on safety, security and fire protection. From 1967 to 1977, Mr. Ellis administered the Howard Johnson Motor Lodge Safety Group and the hotel safety groups for New York City, New York State, New Jersey and Massachusetts. After 22 years of pro bono consulting for the AHA, he joined the staff under its new title of the American Hotel Motel Association (AHMA). In 1986, Mr. Ellis received the National Safety Council Distinguished Service to Safety Award, was named to the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals Technology Hall of Fame in 1989, and the American Hotel & Motel Association’s Educational Institute presented him with the Lamp of Knowledge Award in 1999.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Westin Bear Mountain Victoria picks OwnerRelations Technology’s Owner Experience system
  • Rivertide Suites installs MSI’s WinPM system, customized with condo owner reporting
  • Hyatt introduces Web-In and Web-Out online check-in and check-out
  • Accor chooses MICROS OPERA as sole preferred PMS for all Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and Suitehotel hotels
  • NORTHWIND releases ResWave Internet booking, lets guests book activities on-line

The Westin Bear Mountain Victoria has selected OwnerRelations Technology’s Owner Experience system to provide owner accounting statements and a secure web site for owners to retrieve their statements and other information, integrated with Starwood’s Galaxy Hotel Reservation System. (www.westin.com/victoria, www.ownerrelations.com)
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Condo hotel Rivertide Suites in Seaside, OR has installed MSI’s WinPM system, customized to include Home Owner Association (HOA) reporting for its condo owners. The new functionality includes a “booked because” feature to help the property to explain the booking patterns across the multi owner suites and a report card for a room showing all revenue generated by guests occupying it. (www.rivertidesuites.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has introduced Web-In and Web-Out online check-in and check-out at over 100 of its North American properties. Web-Out is a new feature; Web-In was previously available only to Hyatt’s Gold Passport loyalty members. A ‘Check-In’ button on the Hyatt.com homepage enables guests to check in via the Internet after 1:00 pm on their day of arrival, collecting room keys from hotel-lobby kiosks. The Web-Out option is handled through e-mail; guests will receive a message on the morning of their scheduled departure date to review their account, with an option to proceed with check out via their PDA or laptop. The guest will then be emailed a copy of a folio containing a zero balance. Hyatt plans to enhance Web-In this year with the ability to pre-select a guestroom online or at a check-in kiosk, using graphic images of floor plan layouts and room availability. (www.hyatt.com)
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The Accor Group has chosen MICROS Systems’ OPERA as its sole preferred PMS for all Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure and Suitehotel hotels worldwide. (www.accor.com, www.micros.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS has released its ResWave Internet booking suite, integrated with its Maestro Enterprise PMS. ResWave provides online dynamic package customization, guest dining/event reservations and group management capabilities, coupled with Maestro’s real-time yield management to optimize property income from all revenue channels. Guests can now reserve add-on package and non-package activities including golf tee times, dining reservations, spa treatments and recreational equipment rentals online with their room booking. Group planners also have the ability to manage their own room blocks. (www.maestropms.com)
**

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RESERVATIONS

  • Topaz Hotel Services contracts with AltiusPAR for full range of systems
  • Trust International launches Release 11 of Trust|Voyager CRS
  • IDS Softwares releases Fortune iBooking online reservation engine
  • Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants selects TravelCLICK for distribution and marketing services
  • Crystal Inns picks SynXis’ RedX for distribution services for ten properties
  • Shangri-La chooses SynXis for distribution services for 54 properties
  • Interface Technologies contracts with Pegasus for UltraDirect distribution system
  • Carlson Hotels Worldwide contracts with Pegasus for payment processing services
  • Steigenberger extends contracts with Pegasus to add commission processing
  • Folio Hotels orders Guestline’s GuestLynx CRS for thirty-five hotels
  • eTRAVELi signs with Amadeus for travel content and fare-search technology
  • 2007 first year when more US travel purchased online than off-line, per PhoCusWright Survey

Topaz Hotel Services has contracted with AltiusPAR to offer participating hotels AltiusPAR’s modules for CIS (central inventory system), CRO (central reservations system), AltiusPAR Groups (sales and catering), AltiusPAR Loyalty (loyalty programs), PMS (property management systems) and GDB (global distribution broker) with connectivity to all distribution channels, including GDS. (www.topazhotelservices.com, www.altiuspar.com)
**
Trust International has launched Release 11 of its Trust|Voyager CRS, with additional flexibility in linking to newly created codes for speedy rate structure set up by hotel staff, plus a new treatment of auto-calculated lowest available rates (LAR) to save hotel groups additional time and effort. Other enhancements include new features for the hotels’ GDS displays, extended rate displays for Trust´s direct connect channels, new options for managing inventory and monitoring a property’s status and room/rate categories, and an interface to Serenata’s Nethotel customer relationship management (CRM) system to import customer profile data into the reservation. (www.trustinternational.com)
**
Indian vendor IDS Softwares Pvt Ltd. has launched its Fortune iBooking online reservation engine, which integrates hotel websites with existing IDS’ Fortune Enterprise / Express / Genie Property Management Systems. Booking confirmations are generated immediately and can be printed and/or emailed to the guest; guests can also change or cancel their confirmed reservations online. (www.idsfortune.com)
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Dutch luxury hotel group Amrâth Hotels & Restaurants has selected TravelCLICK hotel distribution and marketing services for its 15 hotels. Amrâth will use the iHotelier central reservation system for connectivity to the GDSs and third-party travel websites, Corporate Hotelligence to benchmark its bookings performance against competitors at chain and individual hotel levels, and Travel Agent Media for GDS channel advertising. (www.amrathhotels.com, www.travelclick.net)
**
Crystal Inns has picked SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System for distribution services for its ten properties, connecting them to the GDSs, third party travel sites and the hotels’ reservation centers, and also providing a booking engine for Crystal Inns’ own website. RedX Property Connect will provide a 2-way interface to the RoomMaster PMS used at Crystal Inns’ properties.
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has chosen SynXis for distribution services for its 54 properties, supported from SynXis’ regional support centres in Singapore and Hong Kong. Shangri-La properties will use the RedX Distribution Management System for GDS connectivity and RedX Channel Connect for direct links to online travel sites. Shangri-La will collaborate with SynXis to develop new Channel Connects to online travel agents throughout the Asia Pacific region.
(www.crystalinns.com, www.shangri-la.com, www.synxis.com)
**
France-based Interface Technologies has contracted with Pegasus Solutions to use its UltraDirect distribution system for smaller travel agents, tourism organizations, destination management offices and online agencies which would otherwise not be able to work with Pegasus directly, linked to Interface Technologies’ Reservit platform. Over 10,000 hotels, mainly in Europe, currently use the ReservIT platform.
Carlson Hotels Worldwide has contracted with Pegasus Solutions for payment processing services to its five major hotel brands, Regent Hotels & Resorts, Radisson Hotels & Resorts, Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Country Inn & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn. The services include Pegasus’ Rules Engine and TravelCom and will consolidate commission payment and collection for travel agents and travel suppliers. Carlson has used Pegasus commission processing for some brands in the past, but the new contract will provide more uniform financial services.
Steigenberger Hotel Group has extended its contracts with Pegasus Solutions to add commission processing to the distribution and representation services it is already providing.
(www.reservit.com, www.carlson.com, www.steigenberger.de, www.pegs.com)
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Folio Hotels has ordered Guestline’s GuestLynx Central Reservations System for its thirty-five 3 and 4 star hotels across the UK. (www.foliohotels.com, www.guestline.com)
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European Travel Interactive (eTRAVELi) has signed a long-term, pan-European agreement with Amadeus for travel content and fare-search technology. All eTRAVELi brands, including Seat24 and Supersaver, will use Amadeus Web Services to access and book travel content in Amadeus’ distribution system and Amadeus’ Master Pricer Calendar; the latter returns the best available fares across multiple airlines for the three days before and three days after the chosen dates of travel. eTRAVELi operates 9 different brands in 15 markets in Europe, and has over 1 million subscribers. (www.etraveli.com, www.amadeus.com)
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The year 2007 was the first in which more travel was purchased online (51%) than off-line in the U.S., according to the PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey, which projected that percentage to increase to 56% in 2008 and 60% in 2009. The survey also said that travel products with multiple components, such as vacation packages, are being purchased less frequently online, while simple components such as plane tickets are bought more often. The report also reported that travel websites are evolving to offer more features such as group travel planning and booking, as well as content generated by readers and users. (www.phocuswright.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TravelCLICK wins six Adrian awards
  • Milestone Internet Marketing wins Adrian Gold Award in “Hotel – Individual Property” category
  • E-site Marketing awarded five Golden Click Adrian Awards

TravelCLICK has won six awards in the 2007 HSMAI Adrian Awards Competition for excellence in hotel Internet marketing. The awards include a Silver Award, Application (for The Hospitality Toolkit), a Silver Award, Website Design (www.thepalmshotel.com) and two Bronze Awards, Website Design (www.classicresorts.com, http://barbadosdestinationguide.com). (www.travelclick.net)
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Milestone Internet Marketing has won an Adrian Gold Award in the Hotel – Individual Property category for its Grand Velas Resort Website (www.grandvelas.com, www.milestoneinternet.com)
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E-site Marketing has been awarded five Golden Click Adrian Awards for sites for Wild Dunes Resort, www.wilddunes.com (Individual Property Category), Gilt New York www.giltnewyork.com (Restaurant Category), CitizenM www.citizenm.com (Hotel Chain Category), Puerto Rico Tourism Company www.gotopuertorico.com (CVB, Destination Category) and the Hay Adams Hotel www.hayadams.com (Individual Property Category). (www.esitemarketing.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Brøchner Hotels implements EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite for four properties

Brøchner Hotels has implemented EzRMS’ Internet Product Suite, including Ez-QUOTE Deal Quotation, Ez-REGION Regional Management and Ez-COMPETE Competitive Analysis Modules for its four properties in Copenhagen. (www.brochner-hotels.dk, www.ezrms.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Peabody Memphis chooses Capton’s RFID-based Beverage Tracker

The Peabody Memphis hotel has chosen Capton’s RFID-based Beverage Tracker system to monitor bar and banquet operations after a successful proof of concept project. (www.captoninc.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Roomlinx has launched its In-Room Media & Entertainment suite
  • Telkonet releases Version 4.5 model of SS5000 Energy Management Thermostat
  • Quadriga contracts with Twentieth Century Fox for distribution rights to top movies
  • European wireless broadband provider The Cloud acquires GlobalAirNet AG
  • The Water Club at Borgata to install Guest-Tek’s OneView Media in 800 rooms
  • The Bristol Panama deploys Guest-Tek’s OneView Media platform
  • Gold Key Solutions upgrades The Concierge Assistant
  • GBCblue announces Client Manager 4 kiosk software, including unauthorized hardware detection
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Airport Hotel installs FlyteBoard airline arrival/departure screens

Roomlinx has launched its In-Room Media & Entertainment suite for hotels, resorts, and timeshare properties, offering a 32-inch HDTV, Windows-based media console, wireless keyboard and remote with integrated mouse, Roomlinx Media & Entertainment software package, 24/7/365 Help Desk Support and a complete HSIA network upgrade. (www.roomlinx.com)
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Telkonet has released an enhanced Version 4.5 model in its SS5000 Energy Management Thermostat line, offering increased HVAC system interoperability, customization and flexibility, as well as installation improvements through the adoption of ZigBee wireless communications. The new design is compatible with a wider range of PTAC and Fan Coil systems, has been re-engineered to use a flash-based CPU for easy field upgrades, has a data rate nearly 100 times faster than the previous version, and includes a dedicated serial interface for computer control and configuration. (www.telkonet.com)
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Quadriga has contracted with Twentieth Century Fox for distribution rights to more top movies, its first direct studio deal and the first major Hollywood studio deal of this magnitude for the European hotel market. (www.quadriga.com)
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European mobile wireless broadband service provider The Cloud has acquired GlobalAirNet AG (Ganag), which provides Wi-Fi services to 300+ four and five star hotels in Germany, including Marriott, Swiss Hotel and Crowne Plaza properties. The Cloud currently provides 12,000+ network locations and 20,000+ access points in the UK, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands. (www.thecloud.net)
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Borgata, a joint venture of Boyd Gaming and MGM MIRAGE, will install Guest-Tek’s OneView Media platform to provide The Water Club’s 800 rooms with free-to-guest Internet protocol television (IPTV), high-definition programming and HD video-on-demand entertainment services. The Water Club, located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is scheduled to open this summer.
The Bristol Panama has deployed Guest-Tek’s OneView Media platform via Datatel S.A., Guest-Tek’s local distributor in Panama.
(www.thewaterclubatborgata.com, www.guest-tek.com)
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Gold Key Solutions unveiled an upgrade to its The Concierge Assistant system. New applications include Lost and Found with item photos, Key Control for tracking the distribution of keys to staff members, and a Timed Services system for guest scheduling of spa and other services. The latter provides a corresponding logbook entry into The Concierge Assistant for automatic monthly reporting, and tracks each therapist’s schedule including days off, lunch times and vacations. (www.goldkeysolutions.com)
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GBCblue announced Client Manager 4 (CM4), the fourth generation of its computer kiosk software, offering 99% uptime, a customizable multimedia user experience and new security features including unauthorized hardware detection. CM4 continuously monitors all peripherals attached to the PC via USB ports and sends an alert to the GBCblue remote monitoring team when a foreign device is connected to the PC. If the device is a recognized keystroke logger or has the same characteristics as a keystroke logger, the USB port is disabled and blocked until reset by a GBCblue technician. (www.gbcblue.com)
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The Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Airport Hotel has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard real-time airline arrival and departure information display screens. (www.marriott.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Coral Hospitality standardizing on Aptech’s Profitvue for 35 properties

Coral Hospitality is standardizing its accounting operations and financial reporting on Aptech’s Profitvue back office financial accounting software system. Coral manages a portfolio of 35 hotels, clubs and residential communities and anticipates adding 10 more in the next two years; it has installed Profitvue in four properties to date. (www.coralhospitality.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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