July 12, 2011

In this issue…


People on the Move

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Back Office

Security

JUNE 29 – JULY 12, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

    • Variety is essential to progress
    • Please can we start calling them Guest Management Systems, not PMSs?

It’s hard to be creative – just try thinking of something you haven’t thought of before – but in our current hyper-filtered world I believe it’s more important than ever to incorporate some form of random input from outside our habitual sources, to inspire us and to bring us unexpected ideas. We need variety to thrive and to grow; advances can’t be made if we continue to do things the way we always have or just copy from each other, and we can’t expand our personal horizons if we limit our news and entertainment input only to people who think like us.
This was brought home to me a couple of times at HITEC. One was while reviewing several new-generation guest management systems and seeing how the vendors had taken different approaches to the opportunity to start from scratch with brand new code. Some had deliberately tapped development ideas outside of previous norms and come up with some original ideas, fresh visuals and new ways to guide users through the desired work flow. Others seemed to have preferred to stay with their traditional user interface approach but to re-write the underlying code more efficiently for cloud-based architectures, to make the system easier to develop and support in the future. I can’t help but wonder how successful the latter will be, unless they can show decisive savings in cost and speed of development for the hotels.
The other was a comment made during the System Selection education session about asking vendors to commit, in their contracts, to add to their system within six months any new feature their competitors come out with that would be beneficial to the hotel. I can see the attraction of this to a property that wants to hedge its bets on a system purchase, and certainly some of the older pay-per-view video contracts, for example, locked properties into obsolete technology for far too long. However, I think it’s unrealistic; most vendors’ development road maps are set too many months in advance to make this feasible. In any event, the net result can only be to make all systems more alike, and each needs to have some distinguishing points of difference that give it an edge for a particular type of customer.
As a friend said to me a long time ago, “If you and I think the same on everything, then one of us is redundant.”
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Speaking of Guest Management Systems, Rich has commented before on my attempts to move us away from their traditional name of Property Management Systems. PMS is both inaccurate – these systems don’t manage properties, they manage guest stays – and, as I said last year, too often it’s an awkwardly inappropriate acronym. GMS rolls off the tongue just as easily, and its meaning is crystal clear. Can we try to make it a habit to call them GMSs from now on? Please?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Monika Nerger promoted to CIO at Mandarin Oriental
  • Alan O’Riordan appointed Managing Director/UK and Europe at Xn Hotel Systems
  • Bill Oliver hired by VingCard Elsafe as VP and General Manager, North America
  • Doug Rae joins Sertifi as Director of Sales for Hospitality

Monika Nerger has been appointed Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, replacing Nick Price who will step down as CIO effective 31 August, 2011. Ms. Nerger joined MOHG in 2006 as vice president technology, The Americas. Prior to joining MOHG she spent five years as a hospitality and gaming consultant for KPMG and Advanced BusinessLink, and had earlier managed Systems Operations for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and for Pan Pacific Hotels.
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Alan O’Riordan has been appointed Managing Director of Xn Hotel Systems’ UK and European business unit. Mr. O’Riordan previously worked with Xn Hotel Systems for four years as UK Sales Director prior to taking a year’s sabbatical in Australia.
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William J. (Bill) Oliver has been hired by VingCard Elsafe as Vice President and General Manager, North America.  He brings 27 years of experience, most recently as founder and president of the consulting firm Evolve Hospitality Group. Mr. Oliver had earlier served six years with Onity, rising to Vice President of Global Sales & Marketing; previous positions have included senior management positions with Noble Investment Group, Winegardner & Hammons, Vista Host, Inc. and Peabody Hotel Group.
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Doug Rae has joined Sertifi as Director of Sales for Hospitality. Mr. Rae brings 20 years of experience in hotel technology, sales and executive management, gained through positions including director of business development , Hotel Information Systems, Senior Account Executive at Paymentech, Vice President – New Media for ClickandBuy, and Regional Director for Wells Fargo bank.
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RESERVATIONS

  • Motel 6 releases app for iPhone, iPod Touch
  • Pegasus identifies five trends in hospitality bookings

Motel 6 has released its app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, allowing guests to find and book rooms at it’s over 1,100 properties in North America. The app uses the device’s GPS to identify the closest location available, with details such as amenities, brand policies, property images and daily rates. Locations are also searchable using an airport code, city or state. (www.motel6.com)
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Pegasus Solutions has identified five current trends in hospitality industry bookings:
1. Both reservations and rates are up, by 30% and 42.5% respectively in March vs. last year.
2. Business travel slowed in April, possibly due to the Mid East crisis and Japan’s tsunami, but recovered in May.
3. Leisure recovery slower but steadier, averaging about 10% year-over-year growth in 2011.
4. Growth is expected to continue through the summer in all segments, with ADR up by 3% to 4% even though length-of-stay looks to remain relatively short.
5. Lead times are increasing, showing increased consumer confidence and growing demand for meeting space.
(www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • World Resorts International licenses SPI Software’s Orange
  • TripAdvisor acquires Where I’ve Been
  • Alloso unveils hospitality business intelligence app for iPad
  • Red Roof chooses VFM Leonardo for rich media management
  • Louvre Hotels signs with ReviewPro for online reputation and social media presence management

World Resorts International has licensed SPI Software’s Orange software applications for marketing, sales, member dues and membership loan servicing. World Resorts International offers its members access to over 5,000 private resort destinations worldwide, promoted through independently operated sales centers and developer partnerships. (www.worldresortsinternational.com, www.spiinc.com)
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TripAdvisor has acquired Where I’ve Been, lets users share where they’ve been, lived, and want to go on an interactive world map that. Where I’ve Been’s Facebook application has acquired 10 million users, who can also upload stories and photos, ask the community travel questions and browse a “Travel Guide” of socially relevant information. (www.whereivebeen.com, www.tripadvisor.com)
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Alloso Technologies has unveiled its hospitality business intelligence app for the iPad. Via push notifications, dashboards and interactive reports it provides key performance indicators, P&L data, budget comparisons, revenue segments, expenses, competitive set data and links to guest reviews. (www.alloso.com)
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Red Roof has chosen VFM Leonardo for its rich media management, using its VScape Digital Asset Management System to ensure online photo consistency across all 345+ hotels and designating VFM Leonardo as the preferred vendor for properties to syndicate virtual tours and video as well as additional photos. (www.redroof.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
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Louvre Hotels Group has signed with ReviewPro for online reputation and social media presence management across all seven of its brands, which comprise more than 1,100 properties. ReviewPro will gather and semantically analyze guest opinion from over 65 review sources. (www.louvrehotels.com, www.reviewpro.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Preferred Hotel Group selects RateGain
  • LINQ360 Innovation Center picks Rainmaker as official Revenue Management partner
  • RateTiger’s RTCorp nominated for Business Traveler Innovation Award
  • Concorde Hotels & Resorts completes phase 1 of EzRMS roll-out, with nine hotels online

Preferred Hotel Group has selected RateGain to power its iRate application, providing revenue and general managers with data on competitor rates.  (www.PreferredHotelGroup.com, www.rategain.com)
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Microsoft’s LINQ360 Innovation Center in Las Vegas has picked The Rainmaker Group as its official Revenue Management partner. LINQ360 members are committed to working closely on cross-product integration, in a solutions-lab setting that simulates a high-tech hotel environment. (www.linq360.com, www.letitrain.com)
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RateTiger’s RTCorp rate shopping technology has been nominated for a Business Traveler Innovation Award, Travel Management category, at the GBTA Convention 2011 sponsored by The Wall Street Journal and the Global Business Travel Association. RTCorp monitors hotel rates in the public market in real-time and via scheduled reports, sending automated exception alerts to the appropriate manager to action. (www.ratetiger.com)
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Concorde Hotels & Resorts has completed phase one of its implementation of EasyRMS’ Revenue Management System, with nine of its 25 hotels now online. The properties have implemented the EzRMS Core Module, Ez-QUOTE, Ez-REGION and Ez-BUDGET, along with a two-way interface with MICROS’ Opera V5 PMS. Phase two will add the Hotel Crillon, Hotel Lutetia Paris Left Bank and Hotel de la Cité Concorde Lyon, with two further sites in the planning stage. (www.concorde-hotels.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Virtual Visit  unveils new version
  • Design Hotels extends, expands contract with Nexus

Virtual Visit has unveiled a new version of its “web walk-through” technology, which helps sales staff take meeting planner prospects through their properties via computer, while speaking on the phone. Enhancements include a Live Lead feature to pre-qualify prospects and put them in touch with sales staff, a new Flash platform for better imagery, more detailed data tracking and reports, and contest options to drive prospects to the property. (www.virtualvisit.ca)
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Design Hotels has extended its eight-year contract with Nexus to double the number of its member properties using Nexus for Corporate and Consortia contracting (RFPs) management and to include ShareworX, Nexus’ program and activity planner. ShareworX helps hotels participate in non-standard leisure-oriented programs such as those offered by OTAs and other travel management companies. Design Hotels represents and markets more than 200 independent hotels worldwide. (www.designhotels.com, www.nexusworldservices.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • NCR acquiring Radiant Systems

NCR Corp is acquiring POS vendor Radiant Systems, planning to extend Radiant’s site-based and SaaS software through its own operations and through Radiant’s channel partner network. This acquisition will return NCR to the hospitality and specialty retail markets it once dominated. Andrew Heyman, currently Radiant Systems’ chief operating officer, will lead the new vertical. (www.radiantsystems.com, www.ncr.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • TAC expands capabilities of Reservation Assistant web shop

TAC has expanded the capabilities of its Reservation Assistant web shop to allow visitors not only to buy personalized gift certificates and products but also to have them gift-wrapped and delivered to recipients’ homes. Online vouchers can also be printed immediately. The TAC web shop can also be used to book treatments or reserve restaurant tables online. (www.reservationassistant.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • GlobalVue launches hospitality and commercial television product lines
  • Hilton to equip 1,000+ hotel fitness centers with tech-aware fitness equipment
  • Hilton signs with BT Openzone for fully-managed Wi-Fi and Internet services across U.K. and Ireland
  • Great Wolf to let guests link RFID wristbands to Facebook for automatic photo sharing
  • IDAPT releases 4-way mobile electronics charging unit for hospitality industry

GlobalVue has launched its hospitality and commercial television product lines, which will be available from late August through Best Buy for Business, Kingston Distribution and Commercial Solutions. GlobalVue’s Hospitality HD LCD Televisions feature MPEG 4, USB cloning, front panel lock-out and auto volume limiters. The commercial sets incorporate market specific technologies such as USB cloning capability, built-in ATSC/NTSC/QAM Clear tuners, public display settings and multiple HDMI inputs. (http://globalvue.tv/Hospitality.html)
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Hilton Worldwide is equipping more than 1,000 hotel fitness centers around the world with new technology-aware, customizable fitness equipment from vendors including Precor, Life Fitness, StarTrac and TechnoGym. The equipment will include touch screen consoles, iPod compatibility, ePub readers, pre-loaded sample exercises, Internet connectivity, integrated television and personal TV screens with nearly 40 channels. The roll out will begin next year with approximately 300 full-service hotel fitness centers and will continue through year-end.
Hilton Worldwide has contracted with BT Openzone for fully-managed Wi-Fi and Internet services across its hotels in the U.K. and Ireland, offering a tenfold increase in bandwidth and a more consistent online experience for guests from Autumn 2011. The new Wi-Fi service will be available free of charge to all Gold and Diamond Hilton HHonors members and more than five million BT Total broadband customers. BT Openzone will use a centralized cloud computing architecture, and will oversee network operations, guest Internet support, network engineering, software development and 24/7 network monitoring.
(www.btopenzone.com, www.hiltonworldwide.com)
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Great Wolf Resorts is introducing Great Wolf Connect, which allows guests to link the radio-frequency identification (RFID) waterpark wristbands they wear for guestroom access and charging purposes to their Facebook accounts, allowing them to automatically share photos from popular locations throughout the resort. The service, built by Fish Technologies, will be launched at Great Wolf Lodge – Grand Mound. Five Paw Posts located throughout the resort allow guests to scan their wristbands to trigger a digital camera at each spot; the photo (or a general photo of each attraction) and a caption are then automatically posted on the guests’ Facebook wall. (www.fishtechnology.com, www.greatwolf.com)
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Spanish vendor IDAPT has released its IDAPT i4 mobile electronics charging unit for the hospitality industry. The unit charges up to 4 different devices simultaneously through a system of interchangeable tips; it is compatible with the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 as well as 4,000 different mobile electronic devices including BlackBerry, Nintendo DS, PSP, digital cameras, GPS systems and Bluetooth products.  (www.idaptweb.com )
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BACK OFFICE

  • Hospitality Softnet launches theCampus online learning
  • TAXEO receives HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award

Hospitality Softnet has launched theCampus, an online learning system. Self-paced, interactive training courses are currently available for Group Sales, Catering Selling and Front Desk. (www.HospitalitySoftnet.com)
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TAXEO is the first recipient of HEDNA’s Spirit of Innovation Award, which recognizes a key travel innovator who is driving the industry in a new direction. TAXEO helps international business travelers recover VAT on travel services in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland, using a card-based system to submit rebate requests on their behalf and allowing businesses to recover VAT on smaller expenditures that might otherwise be overlooked. The other nominees for the award were menumodo, ReviewPro, ForwardKeys and YouMove.  (www.hedna.org, www.taxeo.com)
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SECURITY

  • La Quinta to install KABA ILCO 760 locking systems in 140 properties

La Quinta Inns & Suites is installing KABA ILCO 760 locking systems in approximately 140 La Quinta hotels, starting this fall. (www.lq.com, www.kaba.com )
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