January 8, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing




  • Year-end review

It’s been another year with an emphasis on consolidation than on new products, but centrally-hosted, Internet-accessed systems definitely found their footing as operators looked to maximize the productivity and security of their systems. This approach became a mainstream choice for hotels of all sizes, with systems hosted either by the vendor or by a hotel management company.

Large-scale examples included:
– Carlson Hotels selecting Micros’ OPERA for 400+ Country Inns & Suites, hosted by Micros,
– Jumeirah opting for SoftBrands’ Epitome in regional multi-property installations,
– Hard Rock International self-hosting MICROS’ Simphony POS centrally for 60+ locations in North America and Europe
– UK-based Marston’s Inns selecting Guestline’s RezLynx for 58 sites, hosted by Guestline
– Golden Tulip opting for Amadeus PMS and POS, hosted by Amadeus in Munich

Smaller groups also taking this route included:
– Larkspur Hotels with SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS at multiple hotels in San Francisco
– Nantucket Island Resorts (NIR) implementing Northwind’s Maestro system for five hotels
– four SunSwept Resorts in Saint Lucia, also on Northwind’s Maestro
– Emirates Hotels and Resorts choosing Germany’s protel hotelsoftware for six hotels
– Enclave Inns implementing innRoad’s innCenter for four properties on New York’s Long Island. Both established vendors (SoftBrands) and start-ups (innRoad) offered centrally-hosted PMSs for a fixed monthly per-room price covering the software license and 24×7 support.

Business Intelligence grew strongly as the need to filter out critical information from mountains of data grew ever more important. Extended Stay Hotels, for example, implemented Aptech’s Execuvue at 681 properties. Business intelligence modules capable of consolidating data from multiple vendors’ systems were released by InfoGenesis (Analytics), MSI (The Helm) and Aptech (Innvue); Datavision saw major growth in its customer base.

There was the usual round of vendor consolidations:
– MICROS acquired RedSky IT.
– Agilysys acquired POS vendor InfoGenesis.
– The Blackstone Group took Travelport subsidiary Orbitz public, then in December filed an IPO for Travelport itself just a year after acquiring it from Cendant.
– In June Pegasus acquired Travelport’s Wizcom subsidiary, its only rival GDS switch vendor.
– Pegasus also acquired channel distribution management vendor GuestClick.
– TravelCLICK acquired Web design and SEO vendor Blue Square Studios.
– Canadian POS venders Posera Software and Squirrel Systems announced a merger in February but called the deal off a month later.
– Resort Technology Partners’ (RTP’s) employee owners bought out Vail Resorts ownership interest.
– Hotel Technology Solutions (HTS) acquired converged network vendor Lorica Solutions, and adopted its name.
– power-line network vendor Telkonet acquired HSIA vendor EthoStream.
– iBAHN acquired guestroom digital services vendor ETV Interactive.
– travel search engine SideStep acquired social networking site TripUp, and was in turn acquired by rival Kayak. Both SideStep and Kayak brands will continue.

Revenue Management continued to gain importance with the added need to manage distribution channels. Multiple implementations were reported by EzRMS, EzYield, IDeaS, Amadeus and HBSI. Rate comparison/reporting tools also gained ground.

On the systems integration front the HTNG initiative went from strength to strength, with seven vendor interfaces now certified and being put into service. A sixth workgroup was added to focus on issues related to payment systems and data security. Three new Board members, all CIOs, added further credibility to the approach: Jeff Edwards (Wyndham Worldwide), Tom Peck (MGM MIRAGE) and Todd Thompson (Starwood).
Capton’s beverage pour-control system made steady progress as one of the first practical examples of a useful RFID-based product; another was Great Wolf Resort’s use of RFID guest bracelets to simplify POS charging at its water park properties. However, RFID’s usefulness in inventory and purchasing management is still being evaluated, and the hotel industry is wisely letting mainstream vendors work out the best approach first.

Guest service continued to ratchet up as travelers’ minimum expectations grew. More hotels turned to concierge software, often from GoldKey and GoConcierge. Homewood Suites’ Suite Selection let guests view hotel floor plans and book a specific room from its Web site. Growing frustration with flight delays led to Orbitz’ launch of its hotel notification service for delayed travelers, and to several properties implementing Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard displays of real-time arrival and departure information.

On the Internet front free Internet access became still more widespread; now only 18 percent of hotels (mostly upscale and luxury properties) charge for Internet access, down four points in two years. With the growth in travelers’ bandwidth needs for video downloads and Internet calling, and with IP-TV beginning to appear in US hotels, there was an increasing emphasis on bandwidth management, served by products such as NetEqualizer and Elfiq. In a more wholesale approach some properties and vendors began to upgrade their complete HSIA networks; Swisscom, for example, upgraded all 240 of its sites in Italy.

Where are things going this year? The pressure on both guestroom and hotel Internet bandwidth can only grow stronger, certainly, as more guests become used to the pleasures of streaming video and Internet telephony and as hotels offer more detailed booking information and choices on their Web sites. WiMax may finally start to impact wide-area networks, though it will probably still take a year or two to become mainstream, and even then may well need to be integrated with current WiFi standards for full coverage inside buildings. And good BI systems will become ever more essential to help managers pick out the exceptions needing action from the wealth of data collected.

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  • Bob Mackett formally appointed President of Squirrel Systems

Bob Mackett has been formally appointed President of Squirrel Systems. A long-time member of parent company Marin Investments’ team, Mr. Mackett has taken a leadership role on the Squirrel executive team since July 2007.

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  • Movenpick includes MICROS as preferred IT vendor for 80 sites
  • Grand Canyon Railway Hotel installs Comtrol interfaces for Proteus PMS
  • Vantage Hospitality designates RSI’s RoomKey PMS as approved system
  • Best Western Ville-Marie implements MSI’s WinPM, WinSam and Web Booking Engine
  • MSI adds ACS card scanning products to all three of its PMSs
  • Guestline provides RezLynx PMS to Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne’s CyberHotel Project
  • Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club picks SoftBrands Epitome PMS, Condotelware, Emerald Golf and Emerald F&B
  • Navy Lodge Program orders SoftBrands Epitome, Core, CRO and Karyon for 43 Lodges
  • Golden Tulip chooses Amadeus’ centrally-hosted multi-property PMS
  • Fairmont Hot Springs Resort implements Northwind’s Maestro PMS

Movenpick Hotels & Resorts has included MICROS-Fidelio as a preferred IT vendor for its 80 hotels and resorts in 25 countries, covering MICROS’ OPERA PMS and Sales and Catering systems. (www.moevenpick.com, www.micros.com)
The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, in Williams, AZ, has implemented Comtrol’s Lodging Link to provide sub-system interfaces for its Proteus PRO*Resort resort/tour management system, which it implemented in March last year. (www.thetrain.com/hotel, www.comtrol.com/hpd, www.proteus.com.au/)
Vantage Hospitality has designated RSI International Systems’ web based RoomKey PMS as an approved system for all its Americas Best Value Inn and Lexington Collection properties. (www.vantagehospitality.com, www.welcometorsi.com)
The Best Western Ville-Marie in Montreal has implemented Multi-Systems, Inc.’s (MSI’s) WinPM, WinSam sales and catering, and Web Booking Engine systems. MSI customized the WinPM software for the property to add French\English forms and automation for Quebec’s nested tax rates.
MSI has added Advanced Card Systems and Solutions (ACS) card scanning products to all three of its PMS products (EnterprisePM, WinPM and Nova Plus) to allow hotels to collect and store guest identification such as a driver’s license or passport.
(www.hotelvillemarie.com, www.advancedcardsystems.com, www.msisolutions.com)
Guestline has provided its RezLynx property management system to Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne’s (EHL’s) CyberHotel Project, an interactive facility where students and faculty members can familiarize themselves with the hospitality technology. (www.ehl.ch, www.guestline.com)
Salamander Hospitality has selected SoftBrands PMS suite for its 620-room Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club near Tampa, Florida. Systems to be installed include the Epitome PMS, Condotelware, Emerald Golf and Emerald Food & Beverage. The Resort includes four golf courses, four restaurants, three bars, a Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, fitness and racquetball center, six swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space.
The Navy Lodge Program has contracted with SoftBrands for systems to be installed at 43 Navy Lodges worldwide. The Lodges will implement a full enterprise suite, including Epitome Property Management System (PMS), Core Central Reservation System (CRS), Central Reservation Office (CRO) integrated web and Karyon’s distribution service for over-sold situations.
(www.innisbrookgolfresort.com, www.salamanderhospitality.com, www.softbrands.com)
Golden Tulip has chosen Amadeus multi-property PMS, hosted along with Amadeus Point of Sale (POS) system at Amadeus’ data centre in Erding, Munich. Golden Tulip is a long-standing user of Amadeus GDS services. (www.goldentulip.com, www.amadeus.com/hotels)
The 137-room Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in British Columbia has implemented Northwind’s Maestro PMS. Further modules will be added in early 2008, including the Maestro Fine Dining Point of Sale, ResEze Internet booking engine, Maestro Spa and Activities Management and Maestro Analytics Business Intelligence. (www.fairmonthotsprings.com, www.maestropms.com)

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  • Dynamic-packaging vendor GoQuo opens US offices
  • Kayak acquires SideStep
  • Chinese search engine Qunar to place more emphasis on brand names than price
  • Amadeus completes migration of 75,000 hotels onto its next-generation Linux-based GDS
  • Preferred Hotel Group enhances iBook distribution system

London-based online and dynamic packaging technology vendor GoQuo has opened a sales and marketing office in New York and a customer support office in Santa Clara, California, to offer its systems directly in North America. GoQuo’s products include GODYNAMIC, which provides real-time integration of multiple travel product selections into one package, GQHotel for online hotel booking and management, GQMailer e-mailing engine and GQGate web services for GDS access. (www.goquo.com)
Online travel search engine Kayak is acquiring its rival SideStep; both brand names will be maintained and promoted individually, with key SideStep personnel joining Kayak’s team. (www.sidestep.com, www.kayak.com)
Chinese travel search engine Qunar is expanding its services to include more emphasis on supplier brand names, as a survey reported that only 30% of Chinese users see price as the key factor when booking travel. Instead, many users place more value on the brand of air companies and hotels. Qunar provides real-time pricing information and other details from more than 100 airlines and 15,000 hotels servicing mainland China. (www.qunar.com)
Amadeus has completed the migration of its 75,000-hotel inventory onto its next-generation GDS platform, which runs on the Linux operating system and uses OpenTravel Alliance XML interface standards. The new system allows more search flexibility for travel agents by categorizing hotels according to 100 separate attributes. (www.amadeus.com/hotels)
Preferred Hotel Group has enhanced its iBook distribution system under a Total Branded Connectivity initiative to leverage PHG brand value in all electronic booking channels. A new online Concierge feature allows travelers to purchase individual package components when booking a hotel. Other features include customized content for key group accounts, as well as promotional content driven by the traveler’s arrival date and the hotel’s promotional needs. (www.preferredhotels.com)

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  • Kimpton contracts with VFM Interactive for rich media
  • Cendyn receives nine 2007 HSMAI Adrian Awards for web marketing
  • Fairmont Hotels & Resorts designates VRX Studios as preferred rich-media provider
  • citizenM picks Nexus World Services automated sales management systems
  • Noble Investment Group installs Aptech’s Execuvue and Targetvue for 40 properties
  • Hawks Cay Resort contracts with OPEN Interactive for new Web sites
  • TravelCLICK enhances its Worldspan Accents advertising services

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has contracted with VFM Interactive to produce and distribute new rich media images, virtual tours and videos for each of its properties. (www.kimptonhotels.com, www.vfmii.com)
Cendyn has been recognized with nine 2007 HSMAI Adrian Awards for web marketing. These include one Gold Award (Group eMail Campaign – Blue Man Group for Universal Orlando), four Silvers (Website SEO – www.doralresort.com, Multimedia Tour – www.xanterra.com, Websites – www.kesslercollection.com and www.turtlebayresort.com) and four Bronze (Halloween eInvite Campaign for Universal Orlando, Email Series for Best Western GCCI Newsletter, Applications – Cendyn’s eProposal and eConcierge). (www.cendyn.com)
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has designated VRX Studios as its preferred provider of online visual content services, to produce high-definition virtual tours, still images and interactive maps of all Fairmont properties and manage content hosting services. (www.fairmont.com, www.vrxstudios.com)
New hotel chain citizenM has selected Nexus World Services automated sales management systems. (www.citizenm.com, www.nexusworldservices.com)
Noble Investment Group has installed Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system and Targetvue enterprise planning system for its 40 properties, hosting both Web-based applications at its corporate data center. Execuvue creates daily financial rollups and flash reports on property and enterprise performance, incorporating Smith Travel comp-set data and integrated with Noble’s accounting system. (www.nobleinvestment.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
Northview Hotel Group’s Hawks Cay Resort has contracted with OPEN Interactive to create and host a new suite of Web sites, including a new Web site for the resort, one about Duck Key Island, a related villa site and a human resources recruiting site. Targeted launch is March 2008. (www.hawkscay.com, www.openhospitality.com)
TravelCLICK announced enhancements to the Travelport Worldspan Accents advertising it markets for better visibility among travel agents, now appearing at the top of agent hotel availability and car rental availability screens. (http://travelportgds.com, www.travelclick.net)

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  • Carlson completes rollout of JDA Software to 615 North American hotels
  • IDeaS releases version 3.0 of its IDeaS Client Portal support site

Carlson Hotels Worldwide has completed its rollout of JDA Software’s Demand Forecasting Solution to its 615 North American hotels. (www.carlson.com, www.jda.com)
IDeaS has released version 3.0 of its IDeaS Client Portal, which provides IDeaS customers with 24/7 access to service cases, application news and technical support. New features include an updated Community Home Page with a Support Summary and Opinion Polling, an online resource center, the ability to share changes to company contact details directly with IDeaS, a Community Forum to connect and network with other IDeaS clients, and an enhanced Support Center filtering. (www.ideas.com)

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  • Movenpick includes MICROS as preferred IT vendor for 80 sites
  • OTRUM, First Technology enhance digital signage products

Movenpick Hotels & Resorts has included MICROS-Fidelio as a preferred IT vendor for its 80 hotels and resorts in 25 countries, covering MICROS’ OPERA PMS and Sales and Catering systems. (www.moevenpick.com, www.micros.com)
OTRUM has enhanced its Conference Presenter digital signage product in conjunction with First Technology, which offers its own First View digital signage solutions in restaurants and hotels within Finland and internationally. (www.otrum.com)

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  • Hilton upgrades MICROS POS to 9700 HMS at 75 locations in UK and Ireland
  • Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront implements Capton Beverage Tracker
  • uWink and Volanté partner to offer self-order, self-pay at-the-table digital entertainment
  • CBORD now a Certified PCI Data Security Standard Level 3 Service Provider

Hilton Hotels Corp has upgraded its MICROS POS systems to MICROS’ PCI-certified 9700 Hospitality Management Solution (HMS) at 75 locations in the UK and Ireland. In four cases, Hilton clustered the 9700 HMS to allow one hotel to run the operations of several remote Workstation 4LXs. (www.hilton.com, www.micros-fidelio.co.uk)
The 455-room Embassy Suites Chicago Downtown Lakefront has implemented Capton’s RFID-based Beverage Tracker system to help monitor bar and banquet operations. (www.captoninc.com)
uWink and Volanté Systems have partnered to offer the uV Hospitality Solution, a self-order, self-pay at-the-table digital entertainment system combining uWink’s touch screen user interface software and micro-transaction game credit/redemption system with Volanté’s POS and back office enterprise system. A pilot installation is in operation at uWink’s 200-seat restaurant in Woodland Hills, California, where customers can self-order and self-pay for food, drink and digital media, including short form video games from uWink’s library of 70+ single- and multi-player games. (www.uwink.com, www.volantesystems.com)
The CBORD Group announced that its Payment Card Industry (PCI) auditor, Trustwave, has designated CBORD as a Certified PCI Data Security Standard (DSS) Level 3 Service Provider. (www.cbord.com)

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  • Sony to offer TeleAdapt’s MediaHub connectivity panel as optional HDTV accessory
  • Extended Stay Hotels renews HSIA agreement with Guest-Tek
  • Hyatt Place implements Hyatt Plug Panel for guest media device connectivity to flat-panel TVs
  • OTRUM appoints KING ICT as Distribution Partner in Eastern Europe
  • InterContinental Los Angeles Century City implements Vocera and MTech’s HotSOS

Sony has signed an agreement to offer TeleAdapt’s MediaHub connectivity panel as an optional accessory to its flat screen HDTV hospitality customers. The MediaHub provides an in-room connection point for hotel guests to connect their laptop, MP3 players, cameras, PDAs, DVD Players and game consoles to a hotel TV and speaker system. (www.teleadapt.com)
Extended Stay Hotels has renewed and extended its 2005 agreement with Guest-Tek Interactive Entertainment to provide high speed Internet access (HSIA) service to over 635 properties. (www.extendedstayhotels.com, www.guest-tek.com)
Hyatt Place is implementing the Hyatt Plug Panel to allow guests to connect their portable media devices to the 42-inch guestroom HDTVs at all its hotels. (www.hyatt.com)
OTRUM has appointed KING ICT as its Distribution Partner in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Monte Negro and Macedonia. (www.king-ict.com, www.otrum.com)
The InterContinental Los Angeles Century City is implementing MTech’s Hotel Service Optimization System (HotSOS, pronounced hot sauce) and Vocera Communication wireless communications to provide improved guest-request tracking and management. Both systems are linked to the property’s MICROS Opera property management system. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.vocera.com, www.m-tech.com)

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  • Agilysys integrates Planet Payment’s Pay in Your Currency service
  • Fairmont selects UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. labor management system for all properties

Agilysys has integrated Planet Payment’s Pay in Your Currency service into its product range. The first client for the integrated payment service is The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel, which now processes Visa, MasterCard and JCB credit card transactions through Agilysys’ LMS property management system, and allows guests and customers to pay their charges in their home currency. (www.agilysys.com, www.planetpayment.com)
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has selected UniFocus’ Watson, R.M. labor management system for its properties. (www.fairmont.com, www.unifocus.com)

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  • Strategic Hotels & Resorts and Sunstone Hotel Investors’ to operate BuyEfficient as joint venture
  • MGM Grand Macau implements Agilysys’ Materials Management System

Strategic Hotels & Resorts has acquired a 50% interest in Sunstone Hotel Investors’ Internet-based BuyEfficient electronic purchasing platform for the procurement of food, operating supplies, furniture, fixtures and equipment. Strategic and Sunstone will operate BuyEfficient as a joint venture; it currently serves more than 600 participating hotels and senior living sites in the United States and Canada. (www.sunstonehotels.com, www.strategichotels.com)
The 600-room MGM Grand Macau in Macau, China has selected Agilysys’ Materials Management System (MMS) inventory and procurement solution. (www.mgmgrand.com, www.agilysys.com)

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  • InTown Suites to install Telkonet SmartEnergy energy management system in 125 locations

InTown Suites has contracted with Telkonet to install its SmartEnergy energy management system in 125 locations across the United States, targeting completion by mid-year. The system combines occupancy sensors intelligent programmable thermostats or PTAC controllers. (www.intownsuites.com, www.telkonet.com)

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  • Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino selects Onity’s ADVANCE electronic locks

The 411-room Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has selected Onity’s ADVANCE electronic locks as part of an ongoing renovation project. (www.marriott.com, www.onity.com)

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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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