July 26, 2011

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Security

JULY 7 – 26, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

    • Quality is about more than software code

I’ve written before about the difficulties of quality control in modern software development, due in no small part to the enormous complexity of the applications. Even the best-written programs, though, can be let down by careless usage and data entry. The software may be functioning perfectly, but the end result still produces confusion, inconvenience and a small but definite loss of trust in the company.
A couple of travel examples from a trip I just took:
– I like to select my airline seats in advance (window – I love to take photographs – and as far forward as I can get), but the seat plan offered on the airline’s Web site differed from the actual aircraft. It wasn’t a question of one aircraft type being substituted for another (they only fly a single type on the routes I was taking) and the seats I had weren’t that different from the ones I thought I was getting. But if you’re going to offer me a choice, the choices ought to be accurate, or why bother?
– I rented a car for point-to-point travel. TripIt (truly useful software) pulled in to my itinerary the addresses of the pick-up and drop-off locations from the rental company’s database – and both were wrong. The pick-up point was listed as being at an Amtrak station, but was two miles away at a small local airport. The drop-off location was described as off-airport with a shuttle to the terminal, but was actually at an unmarked parking lot at the terminal with the return desk inside the main building. Fortunately the phone numbers of both were accurate so I was able to sort things out without too much of a problem, but only after confusion and the loss of both time and trust.
Other examples include press releases with spelling and grammatical errors; I can usually work out what was meant, but they interrupt my thought process as I’m reading and make me wonder what else is wrong. Similar errors in vendor presentations raise doubts that the software was written with any more care than the PowerPoint text. Programmers assure me that “the compiler catches stuff like that” but clearly errors do get through, and text typos lower my trust that the company cares about quality at any level.
None of these things are that big of a deal individually and can usually be worked around, but they all compromise the message. To err is human, certainly, but given the high expectations we’re all encouraged to have about personalized service, such mistakes are disappointing and undermine our trust that the company really does know who we are – or cares.
Have you checked your Web site lately to see if you’re sending mixed messages?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Dick Porter appointed Chairman of the Board at hetras

Dick Porter has been appointed Chairman of the Board at hetras. Mr. Porter co-founded STA Travel in 1979, was Director and CEO until 2007 and a Director of the STA Travel Group until June 2011.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • NORTHWIND-Maestro launches Guest Loyalty System

NORTHWIND-Maestro has launched a points-based multi-tiered Guest Loyalty System for its Maestro GMS.  The system is optimized for mobile platforms as well as for Facebook, and allows guests to sign-up, manage profiles and generate, track, and redeem reward points for reservations, room nights, referrals and other activities. Rewards points may be earned for individual, corporate or referral bookings; property-configurable reward point criteria can include rate types, dollars spent, nights spent, reservations, Guest Experience Measurement (GEM) Survey completion and other factors. Hotels can also offer Loyalty members incentives such as double points for booking on specific date ranges or responding to Loyalty Member-Only ‘flash sales type’ promotions. (www.maestropms.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • DerbySoft integrates Trust’s yourVoyager into its global distribution platform
  • Carlson renews contract with Pegasus for commission processing
  • Louvre implements ExtraConnect for Golden Tulips’ Goldres3 CRS
  • Destinations of the World addition takes Amadeus past 100,000 properties

DerbySoft has integrated Trust International’s yourVoyager CRS with its global distribution platform, making TrustInternational’s hotel rates and inventory available to buyers on DerbySoft’s channels, including travel agents and websites within China.  The pilot demand partner for the Trust connection is Travelsky, China’s GDS. (www.derbysoft.com, www.TrustInternational.com)
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Carlson Hotels has renewed its contract with Pegasus Solutions for Global Commission Processing Services for its 1,000+ hotels. (www.carlson.com, www.pegs.com)
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Louvre Hotels Group has implemented ExtraConnect, the integration of Pegasus Solutions’ RezView NG CRS with eRevMax International’s RateTiger channel management, for the Goldres3 CRS used by its Golden Tulip properties. Golden Tulip can now send both base rates and derived rates to the various channels chosen per hotel, deliver reservations from external sales parties into the system and automate and consolidate commission processing for extranet channels. (www.louvre-hotels.com, www.erevmax.com, www.pegs.com)
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Travel wholesaler Destinations of the World has added its property content to Amadeus, taking Amadeus past the 100,000 property mark. (us.dotwconnect.com, www.amadeus.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Best Western names VIZERGY an Endorsed Supplier for online marketing services
  • Ten hotels using TravelClick’s digital agency software receive Interactive Media Awards
  • Concorde Hotels & Resorts announces new digital strategy
  • Visalia CVB deploys Passkey’s GroupMAX ME
  • Galaxy Macau installs Makito HD H.264 encoders, IPTV infrastructure for digital signage
  • NORTHWIND-Maestro launches Guest Loyalty System for Maestro

Best Western has named VIZERGY an Endorsed Supplier for online marketing services, including independent website design, mobile websites, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media and other services. (www.bestwestern.com, www.vizergy.com)
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Ten hotels using TravelClick’s digital agency software have received Interactive Media Awards. Eight received “Outstanding Achievement” awards:
• Raffaello Hotel (www.chicagoraffaello.com)
• The Anabella (www.anabellahotel.com)
• Shepard’s Beach Resort (www.shephards.com)
• South Beach Biloxi Hotel and Suites (www.sbbiloxihotel.com)
• Holiday Inn Oceanfront @ Surfside Beach (www.hionthebeach.com)
• The Ritz London (www.theritzlondon.com)
• Wilson Island (www.wilsonisland.com)
• Villa Zolitude (www.villazolitude.com)
and two “Best in Class”:
• Capella Hotels (www.capellahotels.com)
• SOHO Hotel, Barcelona (www.hotelsohobarcelona.com)
(www.TravelClick.com)
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Groupe du Louvre’s Concorde Hotels & Resorts announced a new digital strategy that includes social media, e-commerce and a new website. The three-tier e-commerce plan includes mobile reservations and special offers, harmonized Facebook pages for all the brand’s owned hotels and a new Concorde website with include integrated videos and photos of the hotel property’s interiors and exteriors. Individual Facebook pages were launched for the owned hotels in March. The strategy’s social media changes include harmonizing all the Concorde pages on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter with the help of the Paris-based social media marketing agency Influence Digitale. (www.concorde-hotels.com)
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The Visalia Convention and Visitors Bureau has deployed Passkey’s GroupMAX ME system, allowing it to shift most event hotel reservations online. (www.visitvisalia.org, www.passkey.com)
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The newly opened 2,200-room Galaxy Macau has installed Haivision Network Video Makito HD H.264 encoders to simplify its digital signage deployment by using its IPTV infrastructure rather than digital signage players. The configuration includes 4,000 set-top-box endpoints, 800 of which drive public-area displays; the high-definition (HD) signage content originates from more than 20 rack-mounted signage players with DVI links to the Makito HD H.264 encoders, which in turn send the HD content over IP to low-cost HD set-top boxes connected to flat panels and large-format LED displays. (www.haivision.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro has launched a points-based multi-tiered Guest Loyalty System for its Maestro GMS.  The system is optimized for mobile platforms as well as for Facebook, and allows guests to sign-up, manage profiles and generate, track, and redeem reward points for reservations, room nights, referrals and other activities. Rewards points may be earned for individual, corporate or referral bookings; property-configurable reward point criteria can include rate types, dollars spent, nights spent, reservations, Guest Experience Measurement (GEM) Survey completion and other factors. The system also makes it possible to offer Loyalty members incentives such as double points for booking on specific date ranges or responding to Loyalty Member-Only ‘flash sales type’ promotions. (www.maestropms.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Louvre implements ExtraConnect for Golden Tulip’s Goldres3 CRS
  • eRevMax releases SimpleDistribution channel manager for Australia, New Zealand

Louvre Hotels Group has implemented ExtraConnect, the integration f Pegasus Solutions’ RezView NG CRS with eRevMax International’s RateTiger channel management, for the Goldres3 CRS used by its Golden Tulip properties. Golden Tulip can now send both base rates and derived rates to the various channels chosen per hotel, deliver reservations from external sales parties into the system and automate and consolidate commission processing for extranet channels. (www.louvre-hotels.com, www.erevmax.com, www.pegs.com)
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eRevMax has released its SimpleDistribution channel manager for the Australian and New Zealand market, integrating rate shopping, channel management and a hotel and flight booking engine.  (www.erevmax.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • SMI to use Cendyn’s eProposal with Destination 3000 destination marketing application
  • MGM Resorts International deploying Passkey’s GroupMAX across all Las Vegas hotels
  • Passkey announces RezHUB
  • StarCite partners with Experient to offer MeetingComplete

Software Management, Inc. (SMI), will use Cendyn’s eProposal electronic proposal tools with its Destination 3000 destination marketing application. Electronic proposals can be personalized for individual meeting planners with content, custom messages and video to showcase a destination’s offerings to a prospective customer. (www.softwaremgt.com, www.cendyn.com)
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MGM Resorts International is deploying Passkey’s GroupMAX group booking system across all of its Las Vegas hotels; the Mandalay Bay and Luxor have been using it since 2005. Reservations made via GroupMAX’s booking websites directly transfer to MGM Resorts’ internal reservation system, and meeting planners can track their event data across multiple hotels and venues.
Passkey has announced its RezHUB application, which will allow event organizers to automate the transfer of reservations from Passkey’s GroupMAX booking engine to any hotel’s central reservation system (CRS) or guest management system (GMS), while providing hotels a simple way to manage their citywide event room blocks and bookings. Scheduled to launch in August 2011, RezHUB will notify hotels participating in citywide events of their room block assignments via email; they will be able to verify these assignments, monitor bookings and track pick-up throughout the event’s lifecycle via their own web or mobile hotel dashboard. At the event’s reservation access date, hotels will begin receiving automated email notifications alerting them to begin processing the reservations captured by the event’s GroupMAX booking engine.
(www.mgmresorts.com, www.passkey.com)
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StarCite has partnered with Experient to offer MeetingComplete, which adds Experient’s Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) strategy, implementation, and sourcing services with StarCite’s meetings management technology. To help small and mid-sized companies implement their programs.  MeetingComplete helps to design and implement meetings policy, centralizing sourcing and purchasing, data consolidation, standardized attendee management and reporting. (www.experient-inc.com, www.starcite.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Casino MonteLago selects InfoGenesis
  • Menusoft Systems integrates Shift4’s 4Go  into Digital Dining
  • Miku Restaurant implements Squirrel’ Professional POS system on Apple iPads

Casino MonteLago, Henderson, Nev. has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system. Located in Lake Las Vegas, the property includes a 40,000-square-foot casino with 241 slot machines and 38 electronic table games, a full-service restaurant and a bar. (casinomontelago.com, www.agilysys.com)
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Menusoft Systems has integrated Shift4’s 4Go technology into its Digital Dining POS to remove cardholder data from the Digital Dining POS environment.  Digital Dining has used Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET for some time; this enhancement 4Go and TrueTokenization, which replaces card data at the point of swipe and ensures that cardholder data is never stored, processed or transmitted by the merchants’ system. (www.shift4.com, www.digitaldining.com)
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Miku Restaurant has implemented Squirrel Systems’ Professional POS system on Apple iPads at its Vancouver, Canada location. (mikurestaurant.com, squirrelsystems.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • TAC officially a “Leading Company of Austria”

Austrian vendor TAC has been officially awarded a “Leading Company of Austria” designation, as a company that makes an important contribution to a successful Austrian economy. (www.reservationassistant.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Philips launches MediaSuite range of internet-enabled TVs
  • IHG releases version of Priority Club Rewards app for the Windows Phone
  • Palmer House Hilton implements Intelity’s ICE
  • Roomlinx signs distribution MOU with South Africa’s ViaMedia

Philips has launched its MediaSuite range of internet-enabled TVs, providing hotel guests with access to online NetTV apps without the need for a set-top box. Catch-up TV episodes, online apps such as local weather and news, Facebook and Twitter can be accessed through the TV. (www.philips.com/hoteltv)
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IHG has released a version of its Priority Club Rewards app for the Windows Phone, allowing users to find and book hotel rooms, check rates and view or cancel reservations for all seven of IHG’s brands.  The app has already been released for the iPhone, iPad and Android. (www.ichotelsgroup.com)
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The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago has implemented Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience ) guest-service software.  (www.palmerhousehiltonhotel.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Roomlinx has signed a memorandum of understanding to appoint South Africa’s ViaMedia Proprietary Limited its exclusive distributor of Roomlinx Interactive HD TV (iTV) to hotels and resorts within select nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. (www.viamedia.co.za, www.roomlinx.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center implements Yellow Dog Software’s inventory system

The Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center, Sheboygan, WI has implemented Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory application for all retail operations, including the spa and multiple gift shops.  The implementation included integration with the resort’s Springer Miller POS system. (www.blueharborresort.com , www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Xanterra reports successes with environmental initiatives

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has released its 2015 Environmental Vision environmental performance goals, and detailed its progress over a 10-year- period from 2000 to 2009. Absolute greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced 20.9 percent since 2000, and Xanterra’s goal is a 30 percent decrease by 2015. As of 2009, renewable energy provided 14.1 percent of companywide electricity usage, double its 7 percent goal. With a 2015 goal to divert 50 percent of solid waste from landfills, the companywide diversion rate had already reached 47 percent in 2009, with several operations over 70 percent.
Examples of Xanterra’s environmental initiatives include:
1. A retail store “with a conscience” that sells environmentally sensitive products and educates shoppers about making sustainable consumer choices.
2. Retrofitted the steam-powered engines of the Grand Canyon Railway to run on recycled vegetable oil, and collecting rainwater on site to save 11,000 gallons of potable water per trip.
3. Banned the sale of plastic water bottles at Zion Lodge in Zion National Park. Hydration stations allow guests to use their own refillable bottles. Banning plastic water bottles were banned from national park operations in Zion as a whole took 30,000 plastic bottles out of the park’s waste stream.
4. Installed a 1.3 MW solar photovoltaic system at the Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park, which supplies 100 percent of the resort’s power during the day.
5. Started reusing waste vegetable oil at operations in Yellowstone National Park; it is now plumbed directly to boilers to heat buildings.
6. Started replacing the diesel-powered buses at the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park with compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered buses.
7. Installed a wind turbine at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge in northwest Ohio to generate electricity.
8. Replaced all in-room amenities that were in small plastic bottles with fully biodegradable cornstarch-based containers.
9. Swapped out toxic cleaning products for Green Seal-certified cleaning products at all properties.
10. Donated more than $1.7 million to the National Park Foundation over the past eight years.
(www.xanterra.com)
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SECURITY

  • Avendra renews partnership with Safemark Systems
  • Opal 1 Nottingham student housing building installs VingCard VISION at all 302 apartments

Procurement services company Avendra has renewed its partnership with Safemark Systems, an approved supplier of guest room safes since 2005. (www.avendra.com, www.safemark.com)
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The new Opal 1 Nottingham student housing building has installed VingCard Elsafe’s VISION locking system at all 302 apartments. (www.opalstudents.com, www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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