July 23, 2013

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

JULY 10 – 23, 2013

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Shine a light – make sure your BI data set is complete enough

The report sponsored by Amadeus on how big data impacts the hospitality industry (see below) got me thinking about business intelligence in general. I don’t like the term “big data” itself – as it’s one of those fad jargon terms that everyone seems to use without really understanding it – but I do recommend reading the report. It’s a well-balanced overview of the advantages and challenges, both operational and technical, of analyzing the massive streams of constantly-changing information that characterize this topic.
The technical challenges themselves are significant, involving the collection and near-real-time analysis of huge volumes of data to analyze trends and guest/traveler reactions to current pricing offers and availability restrictions, the very essence of revenue management. Nevertheless, the technology is available and is certainly affordable to the major chains that are pioneering this analysis. It’s also good that management understands the value of this approach, and that this drives a more data-driven decision process in general.
What I worry about, though, is whether the data streams being analyzed are actually complete, and represent all the relevant information about traveler and guest behavior and preferences. Clearly there’s enough there to be useful, given that the chains are seeing value (i.e. revenue increases) out of the decisions they make based on it, but it’s an old truism that you can’t manage what you’re not measuring. Maybe the systems capturing the data need to be updated to record even more relevant facts about the guests and their activity to get a truer picture of what influences them. It’s also true that the whole organization must recognize the value of data-driven management; only by using data in every department does it become open to regular scrutiny and therefore become clean and reliable.
This applies even more at the independent hotel level. Business intelligence is just as important there, but it’s necessarily on a more traditional level because of the difficulty of justifying full “big data” analysis tools for a single property. This makes it just as important to be sure your systems are capturing all the data about your guests that will help you create attractive package offers to each, and to recognize each and cater to their preferences. Focusing on just one area –their room preferences, for example, without also looking at their spa/golf or third party tour activity – is useful but handicaps your efforts.
It reminds me of the old story about a man searching around on the sidewalk for his car keys under the only street light on a dark road. When asked if he lost his keys there he replied, “No, but this is where the light is.” Do everything you can to make sure your street is completely illuminated, and that you have all the information you need to find the keys to get you moving again.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Todd Davis, Choice CIO, receives 2013 CIO of the Year and Innovations in Technology Award
  • Kyle Fulcher joins innRoad as Director of Sales, Midwest
  • Dan Johnson hired by Megasys as Sales & Marketing Manager
  • Andrew Galloway appointed to Finance Director at Guestline

Todd Davis, chief information officer at Choice Hotels International, has received a 2013 CIO of the Year and Innovations in Technology Award from the Phoenix Business Journal and the Arizona Technology Council. Mr. Davis joined Choice Hotels in 1995; he was promoted to CIO from chief technology officer in March this year. In a 25-year IT career, before joining Choice Hotels he was an advanced systems engineer for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) focusing on the hospitality sector, and earlier designed global reservation systems for Cendant Corp., now Wyndham Worldwide Corp. Under Mr. Davis’ leadership, Choice Hotels has earned multiple recent technology honors, including a Hospitality Technology Visionary Award and an Oracle Innovation Award.
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Kyle Fulcher has joined innRoad as Director of Sales, Midwest. He previously held General Management and Director-level Sales and Revenue Management positions at both Hilton and Starwood at multiple properties in the Midwest.
He recently won Starwood’s Element Brand 2012 GM of the Year award for his work as General Manager of the Element Omaha Midtown Crossing in Omaha, Nebraska.
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Dan Johnson has been hired by Megasys as Sales & Marketing Manager. Mr. Johnson comes to Megasys from a 25 year career in aerospace.
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Andrew Galloway has been appointed to the role of Finance Director at Guestline; he was previously Finance Director of the UK Bus Business at National Express.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Protel designates TAC its preferred spa software
  • Megasys signs distribution partnership for InnLink’s CRS
  • Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) switches to Prologic First’s WISH hospitality suite
  • Prologic First announces points-based Booker Loyalty incentive module
  • Prologic First appoints Compulynx KENYA its sales and support partner in East Africa
  • Sydney Boulevard Hotel and The Arts Hotel,  Sydney, switch to Guestline’s Rezlynx
  • Hotel Bellevue Kärnten Seeboden, Austria implements hetras
  • Magnuson Hotels offers Web-based PMS1 GMS to client hotels at no charge beyond per-reservation fee

Protel has designated TAC’s The Reservation Assistant as its preferred spa software, and has intensified its partnership with TAC in Europe. TAC will also be available globally through Protel’s long-term distributors such as Ideosoft, Serenissima and Xn Hotel Systems. (www.reservationassistant.com, www.protel.net)
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Megasys Hospitality Systems has signed a distribution partnership for InnLink’s CRS, powered by TravLynx technology. InnLink will provide the electronic distribution technology for maintaining real-time rates, availability, inventory and packages on the GDSs and OTAs. (www.innlink.com, www.megasyshms.com )
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Sterling Holiday Resorts (India) Limited, which operates 19 vacation ownership resorts in 16 locations, has replaced its hospitality system with Prologic First’s integrated WISH hospitality suite. WISH is being rolled out first at the Ooty property; Prologic’s Web ProL’IFIC financial accounting system will be deployed centrally at Chennai for all 19 properties.
Prologic First has announced a points-based Booker Loyalty incentive module, allowing hotels to track and reward those individuals who actually book reservations on behalf of others. The module tracks and manages both points accumulation and their redemption.
Prologic First has appointed Compulynx KENYA as its sales and support partner in the East African hospitality market.
(www.sterlingholidays.com, www.prologicfirst.com)
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The 270 room Sydney Boulevard Hotel and The Arts Hotel, also in Sydney, have replaced their GMSs with Guestline’s Rezlynx web based PMS and distribution manager products. (www.sydneyboulevard.com.au, www.artshotel.com.au, www.guestline.com)
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The 52-room Hotel Bellevue Kärnten Seeboden in Austria has implemented hetras’ GMS. Several enhancements were made for the property, including a Comm-Unity interface which sends registration data to the local tourist office and the national agency for statistics, an interface to the Kunleysis CRM and customer loyalty system, the integration of DailyDeals in the web booking engine for guests to access special rates via coupon codes, an Aastra PBX interface and an enhanced interface to IDeaS revenue management system, which now sends optimized rates and pro-person supplemental charges to hetras on an hourly basis. (www.bellevue.or.at/, www.hetras.com)
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Magnuson Hotels has taken the unusual step of offering its Web-based PMS1 GMS (based on RSI International’s RoomKey) to its client hotels at no charge beyond a per-reservation fee for bookings downloaded from Magnuson’s CRS.
Magnuson represents nearly 2,000 UK and North American hotels. (www.magnusonhotels.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Hilton lists hotel inventory with Rakuten Travel online booking site
  • InnLink signs distribution agreement with Megasys
  • UniTravel adds 40,000 hotels to hotel distribution network
  • IDS NEXT’s RezNext partners with Yatra.com, Travelguru.com
  • Regatta announces sales to four new clients

Hilton Worldwide has listed its hotel inventory with Japan’s Rakuten Travel online booking site. The pilot program includes 54 Hilton properties, including the Conrad Centennial Singapore, Conrad Bangkok and DoubleTree by Hilton Los Angeles Downtown, and is planned to expand to cover all of Hilton’s 4,000 properties. This is Rakuten Travel’s first direct system connection with an international hotel company outside of Japan. (travel.rakuten.co.jp/kaigai, www.hiltonworldwide.com)
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InnLink has signed a distribution agreement with Megasys Hospitality Systems for its CRS. InnLink will provide the electronic distribution technology for maintaining real-time rates, availability, inventory and packages on the GDSs and OTAs. (www.innlink.com, www.megasyshms.com )
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UniTravel announced that it has added 40,000 new hotels to its hotel distribution network. (www.unitravel.com)
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IDS NEXT’s RezNext distribution system has partnered with Yatra.com and Travelguru.com, who are among the largest sellers of domestic hotels in India. The partnership offers Yatra.com and Travelguru.com customers access to real-time availability and the ability to book and confirm their bookings directly from the IDS NEXT ERP Software. (www.yatra.com. reznext.com)
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Regatta Travel Solutions has announced sales of its booking engine to four new clients:
– Travel Lane County, marketing the Eugene and Cascades Coast region
– Washington County Tourism Promotion Agency
– Tyler, Texas CVB
– Denton, Texas CVB
(www.EugeneCascadesCoast.org, www.VisitWashingtonCountyPA.com, www.visittyler.com, www.DiscoverDenton.com, www.regattatravelsolutions.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Kempinski implements ReviewPro at 80 hotels
  • Hotel V implements Flip.to
  • Coast Hotels contracts with GCommerce for internet marketing
  • Principal Hayley Hotels retains GCommerce for digital marketing services
  • Omni introduces augmented-reality print advertising campaign
  • Infor announces Business Intelligence (BI) 10x
  • Amadeus sponsors global study of big data and the hospitality industry

Kempinski Hotels has implemented ReviewPro’s online reputation and social media analytics for its 80 hotels in 30 countries. (www.kempinski.com, www.reviewpro.com)
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Amsterdam’s Hotel V has implemented Flip.to’s brand advocate platform, and reports that in its first month 21% of its guests forwarded their booking details to their social contacts. (www.hotelv.nl/, www.flip.to)
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Coast Hotels has contracted with GCommerce Solutions to optimize its internet marketing.  GCommerce has developed brand and individual property websites that integrate online content delivery and a booking engine that allows for dynamic pricing at the individual hotel level.  GCommerce also provides marketing services including direct email campaigns and targeted online advertising support for the brand’s entire portfolio.
UK-based Principal Hayley Hotels has retained GCommerce to build its brand and property websites, and to provide on-going digital marketing services for its 23 hotels and conference/training venues across the U.K. and France.
(www.coasthotels.com, www.principal-hayley.com, www.gcommercesolutions.com)
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Omni Hotels and Resorts has introduced a print advertising campaign with augmented reality technology to promote its meeting and events business. The campaign was created by AvreaFoster and executed by Southwest Media Group using technology from HP Autonomy’s augmented reality platform Aurasma. The campaign allows mobile device users to access videos from a print ad, prompting them to download the Omni LIVE app to watch the full ad and access special bonus offers. The video content includes customer testimonials, virtual tours and behind-the-scenes discussions with top chefs; meeting planners can unlock a special discount offer by clicking through to a landing page. (www.omnihotels.com)
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Infor has announced its Business Intelligence (BI) 10x, which includes advanced analytics and planning capabilities, self-service dashboards and social collaboration, including core technologies such as Infor ION middleware and Ming.le collaboration engine. Infor BI 10x offers flexible integration with third-party applications and databases; self-service dashboards are offered on mobile devices or within a web browser. Dashboard widgets provide in-memory intelligence to connect related content automatically to show how performance in one area affects other results. Advanced planning and forecasting capabilities allow users to define future performance targets and analyze historical results. (www.infor.com)
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Amadeus has sponsored a global study of how the hospitality industry is being transformed by big data. The report, “At the Big Data Crossroads: turning towards a smarter travel experience” looks at how hotels, travel agencies and other industry players are unlocking the power of big data to improve products and services and enhance their competitive position. Respondents included senior executives at more than twenty companies in the travel industry, including Fairmont Hotels, Marriott and KAYAK.
Key findings included:
– Enhanced revenue management: Data analytics help to establish optimal prices for rooms and ensure that as few as possible are empty. Marriott extends this approach to price optimization in restaurants, catering and meeting spaces.
– Well-informed investment decisions: Rather than a ‘test and learn’ approach to capital investment, investments such as new conference facilities can be tested on a small scale before deciding whether to authorize a full rollout.
– Better relationships with hotel guests: Aggregating customer data from a hotel’s various divisions allows analytical insights that lead to better marketing and customer service.
The study was conducted by Thomas H. Davenport, a Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School and the President’s Distinguished Professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College.
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Bourbon Hotels & Resorts signs with eRevMax for RateTiger for ten sites
  • Marina d’Or Holiday Resort selects eRevMax’s RateTiger for seven properties
  • Secret Retreats Hotels implements SiteMinder’s RDX for 37 properties
  • Eaton Chelsea, Toronto, implements IDeaS

Brazil’s Bourbon Hotels & Resorts has signed with eRevMax to use its RateTiger Channel Management at ten properties.
Spain’s Marina d’Or Holiday Resort has selected eRevMax’s RateTiger Channel Manager for all seven properties in the complex.
(www.bourbon.com.br/en/, www.marinador-holidays.com, www.erevmax.com)
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Secret Retreats Hotels has implemented SiteMinder’s Room Distribution Exchange (RDX) for its 37 boutique properties across Asia. Secret Retreats is also using SiteMinder’s TheBookingButton Website booking engine. (www.secret-retreats.com, www.siteminder.com)
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The 1,590-room Eaton Chelsea, Toronto, Canada’s largest hotel, is implementing IDeaS’ Revenue Management System (RMS). (www.eatonchelsea.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • MGM Resorts International picks SpeedRFP
  • Regatta to send OTA visitors on to CVB and DMO websites
  • Passkey launches GroupMAX 2

MGM Resorts International has selected Elite Meetings International’s cloud-based SpeedRFP system for mgmresorts.com and 15 of its hotels. (www.mgmresorts.com, www.SpeedRFP.com)
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Regatta Travel Solutions announced that it has signed an agreement with one of the largest Online Travel Agencies to capture customers who did not convert on the OTA website to CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) and DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) websites for booking. (www.regattatravelsolutions.com)
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Passkey has launched its redesigned GroupMAX 2 hotel booking engine, focused on maximizing revenue creation opportunities. Its highly visual design includes creative cues, imagery, promotional tools and other elements to drive higher online booking rates, greater guest satisfaction and maximum up-sell revenue. The booking engine can also be customized for each event. Highlights include:
– Dedicated “showcase” page as the entry point for each event with branding and images that conveys to attendees that the website offers private rates not available on any public booking channel.
– Dedicated up-selling pages for customized room upgrade and extended stay offers.
– Hotel add-ons, for event organizers and hotels to generate revenue from the sale of add-ons such as Wi-Fi, meal specials, parking, late checkout, spa treatments, etc.
– Promo cubes allowing hotels and event organizers to promote hotel services, local attractions and activities.
– Ability for attendees to find hotels and rooms using several different views, all with helpful information and images; social sharing can be embedded to drive attendees to the event’s private booking website.
(www.passkey.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • TAC’s Reservation Assistant designated by Protel as preferred spa software

TAC’s The Reservation Assistant has been designated by Protel as its preferred spa software. Protel has intensified its partnership with TAC in Europe, and will also make TAC available globally through Protel’s long-term distributors such as Ideosoft, Serenissima and Xn Hotel Systems. (www.reservationassistant.com, www.protel.net)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Enseo partners with Dish Network to provide FTG service

Enseo is partnering with Dish Network to provide free-to-guest (FTG) service to hotels as a Dish systems integrator, allowing it to resell Dish content in fully-customizable channel packages. Enseo also offers benefits such as cloud-based management, health and status monitoring for hotels, as well as a custom-branded Welcome Page, Interactive Program Guide and Channel Banner. Guests can also watch their own content and access in-room controls, weather and guest services directly through the TV. (www.enseo.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • StayWell Hospitality Group implements Prologic First’s Web Prol’IFIC at new hotel in Jaipur
  • Hilton picks UniFocus’ Labor Management System and Time and Attendance for global labor management
  • Davidson Hotels & Resorts  migrating to for 46 hotels

StayWell Hospitality Group (SWHG) has implemented Prologic First’s Web Prol’IFIC financial accounting system to manage the complete back office at its new hotel located in Jaipur’s M.I. (www.staywellgroup.com, www.prologicfirst.com)
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Hilton Worldwide has chosen UniFocus’ Labor Management System (LMS) and Time and Attendance (T&A) system to optimize its global labor management. LMS will be installed for all Hilton Worldwide owned, leased and managed full-service properties in all North America and international locations; T&A will be installed in all international locations, beginning with the United Kingdom properties this year. The six pilot installations were at the Waldorf Astoria New York, Hilton New York, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria Orlando Bonnet Creek, Hilton Glasgow and Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor. (www.hiltonworldwide.com, www.UniFocus.com)
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Davidson Hotels & Resorts has migrated to M3 Accounting + Analytics for its 46-hotel portfolio,  which operates under flags including Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Sheraton, Westin, Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard by Marriott and Radisson. Davidson is currently implementing M3’s AccKnowledge accounting system, including paperless A/P through document imaging, tracking and workflow. The first round of a phased rollout process is now under way. (www.DavidsonHotels.com, www.M3AS.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel converting DAS to multi-carrier, using SOLiD ALLIANCE technology
  • Scandic contracts with Swisscom Hospitality for next-generation HSIA services

The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel is converting its meeting and public space cellular Distributed Antenna System (DAS) from a single-carrier system to a multi-carrier system. The upgrade is being installed by BTS Wireless on behalf of Sprint’s Custom Network Solutions; it’s based on SOLiD ALLIANCE DAS technology to provide multi-service DAS capacity and coverage for commercial wireless, public-safety radio, private two-way radio and paging on a code-compliant, single-fiber architecture. (www.sheratondenverdowntown.com, www.solid.com)
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Scandic Hotels has contracted with Swisscom Hospitality for next-generation hotel HSIA (High-speed Internet Access) services. Swisscom’s Internet Access gateway has already been implemented in 135 Scandic Hotels across four countries. For Scandic Hotels the Swisscom Gateway was customized with a new navigation experience to recognize returning guests and deliver personalized messages to them wherever they are staying chain, including a click-to-connect log-in. Scandic Hotels opted for Swisscom’s High Capacity service which supports as many as 5,000 simultaneous users per property; Swisscom’s local deployment teams will upgrade the Wi-Fi coverage within all 160 Scandic properties, using the latest access points and Smart WLAN controllers from Ruckus Wireless. (www.scandichotels.com, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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