July 13, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move

Reservations

Revenue Management

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Customer service: individuals make the difference, but leadership sets the tone

Customer service is top of mind for most companies these days, as each tries to stand out from its competition by making sure people want to continue doing business with it. I say “most” because some just don’t seem to get it.
It’s true that the individual interacting with the customer makes all the difference. Someone who truly cares can give even an indifferent organization a rosy aura it may not otherwise deserve, and all employees have bad days when they don’t represent a good company at its best. When multiple interactions with the same company all leave the same impression, though, it’s clear just how much the leadership’s attitude permeates the whole organization and defines the overall experience for the great majority of customers.
Examples from my recent travels:
– On a brief overnight stay at a limited service Hyatt Place, several front desk staff cooperated to sort out why my on-line reservation hadn’t made it into their front office system and found a way to make it happen, giving humorous reassurance the whole time. The property also offered free on-demand rides to and from local restaurants in its airport shuttle van, a great service for a remote operation with limited F&B options. No problem, no fee, happy to help, have a good time. WIN
– At a Marriott Renaissance, my room had no information on the hotel restaurants or other facilities. When I asked about F&B outlets at the front desk later, the clerk pointed them out and immediately comp’d the next day’s breakfast “because you had to ask.” Later, other front desk agents were happy to recommend outside restaurants, offered maps and provided discount coupons for several. WIN
– To get to HITEC I booked what United described as a non-stop flight from Seattle to Orlando. Turned out it stopped in Washington Dulles for an hour en route, and to continue I had to change planes even though the flight number was the same. United failed to transfer my baggage, eventually delivering it to my hotel six hours after it arrived in Orlando the next morning. Looking for my bag in the airport at midnight I met one of my clients, who’d flown there directly from San Francisco on a true non-stop United flight. Her bag had never made it onto the plane at all, and United took two days to find it and get it to her. On the approach into Orlando the cabin crew announced they’d be making one last pass through the cabin before landing and asked us to pass any remaining unwanted items to them. When I tried I was met with an angry glare, and was told “I don’t have a bag, I’ve walked this aisle four times on this flight already. Why couldn’t you have given it to me earlier? Just leave it in the seat pocket.” The Friendly Skies? Not so much. FAIL
– Flying to and from Indianapolis on Frontier took two flights each way, through Denver. The gate staff on all four flights were clear, friendly and firm about boarding procedures, turning back passengers trying to board ahead of their row number, trying carry-on bags in the size checker and gate-checking any that would have taken up too much room, and, in the cabin, ensuring that passengers used only the overhead bins by their assigned seats. All flights left and arrived on time, they transferred my checked bags between flights despite the challenge of a 30-minute layover – United, please note – and despite the thunderstorm-laden skies and turbulent approaches managed four of the smoothest touchdowns I’ve experienced in a long time. Thanks, people; Frontier may be my new favorite airline. WIN
Who sets the tone for customer service in your organization? How do you make your standards real and instinctive for all staff at all levels?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Victor Owens appointed Vice President of Marketing, North America at Hotels.com
  • Richard Robinson named Chief Executive Officer at Acentic
  • Steve D’Erasmo joins InterContinental Hotels Group as Director, Hotel Information Systems
  • Victor Alikin named Senior Vice President Hospitality at Green Vision Media

Victor Owens has been appointed Vice President of Marketing, North America at Hotels.com. Mr. Owens has extensive marketing experience including a role as Principal, Product Strategy and Marketing for hosted marketing systems provider WebIvy Solutions. He had earlier served seven years at EarthLink in a number of roles, including Vice President, Narrowband and PeoplePC DSL Products.
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Richard Robinson has been named chief executive officer at Acentic. Mr. Robinson brings 20 years of media experience, including 15 years in hotel television technology, and has been an executive director at Acentic since its founding in 2003. He was previously marketing and development director at European TV media provider Granada. Mr. Robinson succeeds Alistair Forbes, who served as Acentic’s CEO for seven years.
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Steve D’Erasmo has joined InterContinental Hotels Group as Director, Hotel Information Systems. With twenty years of hospitality technology experience, Mr. D’Erasmo most recently served as a Business Advisor at BearingPoint and had earlier held positions as Director of Applications at Ginn Clubs & Resorts and Manager IT at Walt Disney World. Starting his career as a Technical Trainer with Hyatt, he then moved to Micros for seven years as Director of Major Accounts.
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Victor Alikin has been named Senior Vice President Hospitality at Green Vision Media after serving nearly seven years as CEO at GBCblue where he continues as a company Director and major shareholder. Before GBCblue Mr. Alikin was Vice President, Treasurer and CFO at semiconductor firm SARIF, CFO at Cohesive Media and Corporate Director of Accounting and Information Systems at Columbia Forest Products, and previously served as a Senior Accountant at Arthur Andersen.
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RESERVATIONS

  • Worldmate announces TripCatch automatic itinerary compiler

Worldmate has announced its TripCatch itinerary-consolidating application, which monitors users’ email messages for travel booking confirmations and automatically prompts the user to add them to a Worldmate itinerary. The service is initially available only for Blackberry devices. (www.worldmate.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Jurys Inn rolling-out IDeaS’ V5i to all 30 properties
  • Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic, Montreux, Switzerland, picks FastBooking
  • Open Hospitality completes direct XML connection with RateTiger
  • Mammoth Mountain Ski Area selects EasyRMS suite for all four properties

Irish hotel group Jurys Inn has begun its roll-out of IDeaS’ V5i Revenue Optimization System to all 30 of its properties, following a pilot test at three properties. (www.jurysinn.com)
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The Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic in Montreux, Switzerland, has selected FastBooking for channel management and e-booking services. The newly renovated property will use FastBooking Updater to manage rates and availability on Internet distribution sites, and will replace its existing online booking system with the FastBooking Engine. (www.suisse-majestic.com, www.fastbooking.net)
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Open Hospitality has completed a direct XML connection with RateTiger, allowing its users to update rates and availability through RateTiger applications. (www.openhospitality.com, www.ratetiger.com)
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The operators of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California’s Eastern Sierra Mountains have selected EasyRMS’ product suite for all four of its properties: The 188-room Village Lodge, 171-room Juniper Springs Resort, 217-room Mammoth Mountain Inn and 46-room Tamarack Lodge. EasyRMS will implement portfolio-wide forecasting and optimisation based on Total Revenue across all market segments and room categories, a specific Group module, a Dynamic Budgeting product and web-based Competitive Rate shopping, along with a full two-way interface with the Visual One HMS used across all properties and an upload interface to EZYield.com’s Channel Management system. (www.mammothmountain.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Dave & Buster’s completes rollout of TMx Enterprise 5 labor management system

Dave & Buster’s has completed its rollout of TimeManagement Corp’s TMx Enterprise 5 labor management system. A TMx customer for over 15 years, Dave and Buster’s self-hosts the application on two central servers; its 57 properties access the software via the Internet. (www.daveandbusters.com, www.timemgmt.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • TeleAdapt named to the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 100 listing of fastest-growing companies
  • St. Ermin’s Hotel London first to implement Swisscom ConnectedHotel IP TV and web based guest services
  • Ho Chi Minh City’s Caravelle Hotel installs Wi-Fi service in guest-service cars

TeleAdapt has been named to the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 100, which ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing international sales over their latest two years. (www.fasttrack.co.uk, www.teleadapt.com)
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The 328-room St. Ermin’s Hotel London is implementing Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel application for IP television and web based guest services, the first hotel to do so. ConnectedHotel TV delivers interactive HD TV, video on demand and wired and wireless Internet access to a purpose-designed LG flat screen via a converged network. (www.StErminsHotelLondon.co.uk, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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Ho Chi Minh City’s Caravelle Hotel has installed Wi-Fi service in its guest-service cars, allowing guests to log in on their way to the hotel from the airport and while on business trips arund the city. The cars’ Wi-Fi routers use 3G and HSPDA technology to provide download speeds of up to 7.2MB per unit. Two years ago the Caravelle became the first five-star hotel in the city to offer free wired and wireless access to the Internet, with fiber optic distribution to the guestrooms, restaurants, bars and pool deck. The general manager believes the benefits of the goodwill engendered by complimentary access outweigh the revenues, and complaints, that result from squeezing $10 – $20 per day fees from guests. [Other five star properties, please note.] (www.caravellehotel.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • UniFocus integrates Sage Abra human resource management system into Watson, R.M. labor management

UniFocus has extended its Watson, R.M. labor management system (LMS) through the integration of Sage’s Abra human resource management system (HRMS). New functions provided by the Sage Abra module include payroll (attendance tracking, online benefits enrollment, compliance with EEO regulations, FMLA, OSHA, COBRA and HIPAA and rich reporting and analysis), employee self-service (view and print pay stubs and W-2s, change W-4s, review payroll history, withholding, bonuses and commissions), dynamic reporting tailored to each user and automated workflows for managers. (www.sageabra.com, www.unifocus.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Melco Crown Entertainment picks Stratton Warren for gaming properties in Macau

Melco Crown Entertainment has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System inventory and procurement application for its gaming properties in Macau, the Altira Macau in Taipa, the City of Dreams integrated urban resort in Cotai, and the eight Mocha Clubs. (www.melco-crown.com, www.agilysys.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • ZyXEL introduces N4100 Wi-Fi gateway integrated with four-port switch
  • Defero3 signs North American distributor agreement for Cetis SIP and DECT SIP guestroom telephones
  • Defero3 appoints Pinnacle Communications a dealer for hosted voice services throughout USA

ZyXEL Communications has introduced its N4100, an 802.11n hotspot gateway integrated with a four-port switch. The unit is designed as an Access Controller for the rapid deployment of high-speed Internet access service for guests, and supports credit card billing via Authorize.net, iValidate.net, SecurePay and Paypal. An optional SP300E ticket printer simplifies account administration with one-button printing of tickets for customers to use for login access. (www.zyxel.com)
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Defero3 has signed a master distributor agreement with Cetis to provide its North American dealers with Cetis SIP and DECT SIP telephones designed for hotel guestroom applications. Defero3 has certified Cetis’ corded 3300IP and cordless 9600 Series sets as being compatible with its hosted voice service application.
Defero3 has appointed Pinnacle Communications as a dealer for its hosted voice services throughout the USA. With over 20 years experience in the voice and data business, Pinnacle has more than 200 associates and access to a network of 500 certified technicians nationwide.
(www.cetisgroup.com, www.pinnaclecommunications.com, www.defero3.com)
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