July 15, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management


Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing



  • Travelers still making vacation plans, but closer to home and for shorter stays

As record-high gas prices, higher airfares, and unexpected airline fees take their toll on people’s travel plans, Travelocity has revisited its annual Forecast Poll ( taken in January) to see how higher costs are impacting travelers’ vacation plans this year. They report the following changes in attitudes since January:
– Although summer fares are up 13 percent over 2007, 55 percent of Americans are still opting to travel this summer. However, many said rising gas prices are changing their plans, mostly by going shorter distances or shortening their stays.
– More Americans are shifting international plans to destinations where they can stretch their dollar further. Travel is up to Mexico (31 percent), South America (8 percent) and Eastern Europe (13 percent), while Western Europe is down 15 percent.
– The average length of stay is decreasing from seven days to six this summer, in line with January’s predictions.
– Travelers are booking summer trips an average of 4.3 percent farther in advance than they did in 2007, again in line with January’s expectations.
– Packages are increasingly attractive as a way of saving costs. **

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  • Brendan May appointed to Sales Manager Europe for IDeaS
  • Mel Hatchard joins Onity as managing director of EMEA
  • Frank Dyer appointed to director of product marketing at Onity
  • Blizzard Internet Marketing shuffles top management positions

Brendan May has been appointed to Sales Manager Europe for IDeaS. A Canadian currently living in Germany, Mr. May was most recently Director of Client Services at h2c consulting and earlier Technology Research Analyst at PhoCusWright. He had previously served with both chain and independent hotels in Europe and North America, including the Hotel im Wasserturm in Cologne.
Mel Hatchard has joined Onity as managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), splitting his time between Onity’s UK and San Sebastian facilities. Mr. Hatchard was previously EMEA deputy managing director for Vicon Industries.
Frank Dyer has been appointed to director of product marketing at Onity, based at Onity’s headquarters in Duluth, Georgia. Mr. Dyer was most recently a senior product marketing manager for AT&T, formerly Cingular Wireless.
Blizzard Internet Marketing has shuffled its top management positions:
– Trent Blizzard, founder, relinquishes his Chief Executive Officer post to take on the dual roles of President and Chief Marketing Officer.
– Susan Blizzard, previously Chief Financial Officer, takes over as Chief Executive Officer.
– Heather Austin moves from the Chief Operations Officer role to that of Chief Administrative Officer.
– Russ Cabe has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer, having managed Blizzard’s production departments for the last 5 years.

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  • Jekyll Island Club Hotel installs NORTHWIND’s Maestro suite
  • Savan Vegas Hotel & Casino, Laos, orders Agilysys’ LMS, InfoGenesis, SWS and DataMagine
  • Amadeus’ PMS now has ExpediaQuickConnect interface
  • MICROS OPERA V.5 includes integrated Business Intelligence and Revenue Management
  • Islander Beach Resort picks SPI’s PMS and annual assessment billing software
  • Springer-Miller’s new SMS|Host release validated by Visa USA to latest PABP standard

The 157-room Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Georgia, has installed NORTHWIND’s Maestro Property Management suite, including modules for PMS, yield management, Web booking and 2-Way GDS connectivity. (www.jekyllclub.com, www.maestropms.com)
The 180-room Savan Vegas Hotel & Casino in Savannakhet, Laos, scheduled to open in September, has ordered several Agilysys systems, including its Lodging Management System, InfoGenesis POS for food and beverage operations, Stratton Warren System (SWS) for inventory and procurement and DataMagine report management. (www.tycoonresort.com, www.agilysys.com)
Amadeus has released an ExpediaQuickConnect interface for its Property Management System (PMS) to allow hotels to sell inventory on Expedia direct from the PMS and receive bookings automatically. (www.amadeus.com)
MICROS Systems has released Version 5 of its OPERA suite. New features include the OPERA Business Intelligence Suite (OBI, replacing the previous Vision product) and the OPERA Revenue Management System (ORMS, replacing the Opus TopLine Profit system and integrated with the OPERA PMS, S&C and Reservation System). (www.micros.com)
The Islander Beach Resort, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, has selected SPI’s property management and annual assessment billing software. (www.islanderbeachresort.com, www.spiinc.com)
PAR Springer-Miller Systems has announced that the upcoming release of its SMS|Host Hospitality Management Solution has been validated by Visa USA to its latest Payment Application Best Practices (PABP). (www.springermiller.com)

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  • Travelocity, hotels.com, TripAdvisor first out of the gate with new iPhone applications
  • Expedia acquiring Italy-based Venere Net
  • Expedia enhancing its corporate travel service, rebrands it “Egencia”
  • PlanetEye launches interactive map-based online travel planning service
  • Maybourne Hotel Group contracts for Pegasus’ Global Commission Processing
  • Pegasus offers Galileo-connected travel agencies reduced prices for commission processing
  • Hard Rock selects MICROS’ OPERA Reservation System, Web Suite and myfidelio.net
  • Pestana implementing MICROS’ OPERA Reservations System and Web Services
  • Lastminute.com upgrading its dynamic packaging technology

Apple’s new iPhone features a library of hundreds of downloadable applications to help their mobile users, and it’s no surprise that travel vendors are some of the first out of the gate to take advantage of the new model’s built-in GPS locator function.
– Travelocity announced its TravelTools application, which includes a location-based “Hotels Near Me” feature listing nearby hotels, with links to maps, hotel descriptions, and booking options, as well as itinerary management within Travelocity, with information on flight status and TSA security checkpoint wait times.
– hotels.com’s new iPhone module offers Search for properties close to the user’s current location or close to an airport, landmark or street address, Sorting the results by price, guest rating, star rating, property name or hotels.com picks, and the ability to book lodging for Registered users with a hotels.com profile.
– TripAdvisor released an iPhone version of its Local Picks restaurant finder, listing restaurants closest to the user and sorted by TripAdvisor’s popularity index (based on customer satisfaction), distance or price. Tapping the restaurant’s phone number on the map initiates a call; users can also see TripAdvisor reviews of the restaurant.
(www.apple.com, www.travelocity.com, www.hotels.com, www.tripadvisor.com)
Expedia is acquiring Italy-based Venere Net ApA, adding more than 10,000 incremental hotel properties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to its inventory base. Venere has recently been adding hotel properties at a rate of more than 1,000 per month.
Expedia is enhancing its corporate travel service and rebranding it “Egencia” to compete directly with Amex and Carlson Wagonlit Travel on a global basis.
(www.venere.com, www.expedia.com)
PlanetEye has launched an interactive map-based online travel planning service. The map, powered by Microsoft’s World Wide Media eXchange (WWMX), presents extensive information around a destination, including geotagged photographs, hotels, attractions and restaurants. For example, if a traveler selects five attractions in Paris, PlanetEye will show on the map the best and closest hotel. PlanetEye also offers Travel Packs, which allows users to compile an online wish list of travel destinations or experiences they would like to have while traveling, which can be kept private or shared with friends, family or anyone on the Web. (www.planeteye.com)
London’s Maybourne Hotel Group has contracted for Pegasus Solutions’ Global Commission Processing to allow its three properties to pay commissions weekly to agents in their currency and method of choice. Maybourne Hotel Group includes Claridge’s in Mayfair, the Connaught in Mayfair Village, and The Berkeley in Knightsbridge.
Pegasus has agreed with Travelport GDS to offer Galileo-connected travel agencies a reduced price on its commission processing services. Initially planned for the EMEA and ASPAC regions, the program will transfer booking data from the Galileo GDS to Pegasus, which will then process, reconcile, consolidate and make weekly payments to agents who have signed on.
(www.maybourne.com, www.travelportgds.com, www.pegs.com)
Hard Rock International has selected MICROS’ OPERA Reservation System (ORS), Web Suite (OWS) and myfidelio.net as its central systems for all future Hard Rock Hotels. The Hard Rock properties in Biloxi and San Diego are currently connected; other franchised Hard Rock hotels are expected to be connected soon. The OPERA Reservation System (ORS) will support close to 4,700 rooms in Hard Rock’s central reservation office in Orlando, Florida; myfidelio.net will provide hosted GDS and ADS connectivity. MICROS’ OPERA Xchange Interface (OXI) will link the ORS and the properties’ OPERA PMS for real-time synchronization.
Portugal’s Pestana Hotels and Resorts is implementing MICROS’ OPERA Reservations System (ORS) and Web Services (OWS), hosted in a Lisbon Data Center and integrated with the three regional OPERA Property Management System (PMS) multi-property Data Centers currently supporting Pestana’s 25 locations.
(www.hardrock.com, www.pestana.com, www.micros.com)
Lastminute.com is upgrading its dynamic packaging technology to allow any product on its platform to be sold singly. The new system, due for release in early 2009, will allow users to combine flights, hotels and package holidays with other destination services such as restaurants, activities, attractions and theatre tickets. Other enhancements will include the ability to serve product offers on lastminute.com pages based on the weather in certain destinations. Currently users cannot add ancillary services onto their main transaction as lastminute.com uses separate systems to run the booking functions. (www.lastminute.com)

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  • IQubz announces hosted option of IQubz Hospitality CRM
  • Shell Vacations implements SPI’s Orange Systems marketing and sales software
  • Hard Rock Hotel and Casino selects SAS’ Patron Value Optimization
  • TripAdvisor acquires VirtualTourist.com and OneTime.com
  • VIZERGY’s My Web World Web presence management gains 2,000+ clients in 6 months
  • Hersha implements ProfitSword’s ProfitSage Financial Suite at 67 properties
  • Peninsula Hotels selects ZDirect as its eCRM platform

IQubz has announced a hosted option of its IQubz Hospitality CRM, built on Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM 4.0 platform and using Microsoft’s .NET Framework and SQL Server. IQubz Hospitality CRM tracks guest preferences, interactions and spend history to allow sales, marketing, service and revenue management staff to qualify leads and opportunities, execute marketing campaigns and administer loyalty programs. Clients can access IQubz Hospitality CRM directly from Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Internet Explorer. (www.iqubz.com)
Shell Vacations, Northbrook, Illinois, is implementing Systems Products International’s (SPI’s) Orange Systems marketing and sales software for tour booking and registration, mini-vacation fulfillment, sales center management, gifting/premiums, contracts and sales administration. Shell Vacations operates 23 resorts in the U.S., Mexico and Canada. (www.shellvacationsclub.com, www.spiinc.com)
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has selected SAS’ Patron Value Optimization to help maximize loyalty, share of entertainment budget, total value and ROI. (www.hardrockhotel.com, www.sas.com)
TripAdvisor has acquired VirtualTourist.com, offering user-generated travel content since 1999, and OneTime.com, a travel booking comparison site, both based in Manhattan Beach, Calif. There are no plans for integration of the businesses or the Web domains, and current staff and management will remain in place. VirtualTourist claims over 1.6 million travel reviews and 3 million photos on more than 58,000 destinations worldwide. OneTime allows users to compare prices from more than 60 popular travel websites, direct suppliers, and metasearch engines each month. (www.tripadvisor.com)
Internet marketer VIZERGY, formerly SECURE-RES, released its My Web World Web presence management platform in January 2008, and has already gained over 2,000 clients. My Web World manages clients’ Web activities including Internet and third-party sales channels, Web site reporting, e-mail hosting and event calendars, with tracking and review services and a reputation monitoring component. (www.vizergy.com)
Hersha Hospitality Management has implemented ProfitSword’s ProfitSage Financial Suite for business intelligence services at 67 of its properties, collecting data from the PMS, back office accounting, point of sale, sales automation and payroll systems. Hersha began the migration to ProfitSage in August. (www.hershahotels.com, www.profitsword.com)
The Peninsula Hotels has selected ZDirect as its eCRM platform to manage event-driven and eConfirmation initiatives worldwide. Using its ZMail platform, ZDirect will deliver transactional and electronic marketing functionality interfaced with Peninsula’s central reservation and property management systems. (www.peninsula.com, www.zdirect.com)

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  • Austria Trend Hotels & Resorts deploying IDeaS V5i at all 30 properties
  • IDeaS launches IDeaShare forum for clients to share ideas on enhancements.

Austria Trend Hotels & Resorts is deploying IDeaS V5i On-Demand Revenue Management Solution for all 30 of its properties. All modules are being installed, with an emphasis on the Best Available Rate (BAR) and Centralized Control modules; the latter provides multi-property roll-up reporting and group evaluations across user-definable property groups for cluster yielding. IDeaS has launched IDeaShare, a forum where IDeaS clients can post and discuss public suggestions on how to improve the system’s functionality. (www.austria-trend.at, www.ideas.com)

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  • McCormick & Schmick’s selects ReServe Interactive

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants has selected ReServe Interactive’s Catering and Event Management software to manage private dining events. The Company operates 80 restaurants in the United States plus six in Canada under The Boathouse brand. (www.mccormickandschmicks.com, www.reserveinteractive.com)

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  • Accor North America completes implementation of wireless HSIA in all Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties
  • Hampshire Hotels & Resorts to offer enhanced guest service options via new communications network from Alcatel-Lucent

Accor North America has completed implementation of wireless, high speed Internet access in all its Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties nationwide. Accor charges a fee of $2.99 for 24-hour access. AT&T provides managed network services; Teledex provides the Wi-Fi equipment and support to the 600+ corporate Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties nationwide. Almost 200 franchise properties have also made Wi-Fi available to guests. (www.accor-na.com)
Hampshire Hotels & Resorts has selected a new communications network from Alcatel-Lucent, offering enhanced guest service options. The new network includes IP telephony, WiFi, LAN switching, contact centers and data security. Guest-facing functionality includes bedside video phone intercoms to show who is at the door, interactive in-room LCD displays to display a menu of hotel services (including room service) and allow guests to place orders through a phone call or digital interaction. IP television will offer multiple entertainment options that can be downloaded to the in-room flat panel television or to the guest’s laptop. Skype-ready keyboard-enabled in-room phones have Bluetooth handsets. The wireless network and automated notification system provide hotel operations with geo-location capabilities to identify the most appropriate employee to handle on-the-spot guest requests. Centralized systems management and telecommunications control will provide consolidated reservations, sales and marketing, accounting and technology services through an interface to remote property management systems. Additional links will integrate energy management systems for automated lighting and temperature control. Initial implementation sites include Dream South Beach (slated for Winter 2008), Dream Downtown (Meatpacking District New York) and The Chatwal (both slated for Spring 2009). (www.hampshirehotels.com, www.alcatel-lucent.com)

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  • Optii Solutions announces Optii Keeper housekeeping management system
  • Millennium Hotels and Resorts adopts UniFocus’ STAFFScope for 15 US sites

Brisbane, Australia-based Optii Solutions has announced its Optii Keeper housekeeping management system. Optii Keeper covers all aspects from forecasting labour requirements, rostering, intelligent schedule creation, communication, quality control and training needs analysis, using patented algorithms to manage the cleaning schedule, optimizing it for lowest cost and returning rooms into clean inventory as early as possible. Cleaning allocations are based on guest profiles and the hotel’s rules, and managers can communicate with staff and other departments via hand-held PDAs. Optii Keeper is offered on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis with tight integration into popular PMS Systems, and is currently in beta-test with an international hotel group. Global release is planned for September. (www.optiisolutions.com)
Millennium Hotels and Resorts is using UniFocus’ STAFFScope Web-based survey tool to launch an employee engagement initiative for its 15 properties in the United States. (www.millenniumhotels.com, www.unifocus.com)

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  • Pebble Beach picks Eatec inventory and procurement system for its three properties

The Pebble Beach Company, Pebble Beach, Calif. has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system for its three resort properties — The Lodge at Pebble Beach, The Inn at Spanish Bay and Casa Palmero. Pebble Beach will also use Eatec’s nutrition module to assign nutritional values to inventory items and recipes. (www.pebblebeach.com, www.agilysys.com)

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  • Hotech Edge launches G-Mesh, a Zigbee-based wireless mesh network
  • Xanterra completes implementation of five acre solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system in Death Valley

Hotech Edge has launched G-Mesh, a Zigbee-based wireless mesh network, with each node linking to the next to provide wide-area coverage throughout a hotel. Zigbee’s low energy consumption enables appliances to operate and communicate for over three years, powered by a single set of batteries. Hotech’s ZigBee-compatible door locks and safes were released last year and have been installed in some 30 leading brand and independent hotels, as well as in several major student halls of residence. (www.hotechedge.com)
Xanterra Parks & Resorts has completed its implementation of one of the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems in the United States. Covering five acres of Southern California’s Death Valley National Park, the one megawatt (MW) system will generate more than one-third of the total annual electricity needs of Xanterra’s operations in Death Valley, including the Furnace Creek Inn, Furnace Creek Ranch, Furnace Creek Golf Course, employee offices and housing. Xanterra fully owns the system and the energy it produces. Because Death Valley is so sunny and the system tracks the sun throughout the day, Xanterra expects its system to be 40 percent more efficient than an average stationary solar facility. (www.furnacecreekresort.com, www.xanterra.com)

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