July 27, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move

Hospitality Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Back Office


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Believe in yourself, and know where and why you’re better than your competition
  • Customer service follow-up

Times are hard and everyone’s looking both to keep costs down and to discount prices heavily to grab sales, but you don’t need me to tell you how unhealthy the latter can be. I’ve heard that vendors are now even more often under extreme pressure to cut their prices to the bone in order to make a sale. Many have not helped themselves in the past by offering increasing levels of discount during negotiations, which is always both welcomed and treated with suspicion; hotel customers always wonder about a “partner” who was willing to make substantially more money off them than they agree to settle for.
But the reverse is also true; vendors are equally cautious about entering into a long-term relationship with someone whose main purpose during the negotiations seems to be to squeeze ever-greater amounts of money out of the proposal. Maybe it’s that when hotels hit the recession they seemed to try to chase each other down to ruin by constantly undercutting each others’ rates, and don’t see why software vendors shouldn’t follow the same route. That’s a self-defeating way to go, though; if you’re buying a complex piece of software on which you’ll rely completely to track your crucial information – client history and operating data – you really do want the vendor (a) to stay in business to support and enhance it and (b) to answer the phone with a smile and a willing attitude when you call for help. A fair price for both is a decent compromise that ensures an ongoing spirit of partnership.
My advice to vendors is the same as to hotels; if you have confidence in the value of your product (including service) and know (not just believe) how it stands out from your competition, hold the line and convince your client that you’re worth the price. Business that puts you out of business is no business at all.
**
As a follow-up to my travel-related comments on customer service in the last newsletter, you should know that I forwarded my comments to both Frontier and United and heard back from both within two days. Frontier was pleased at my good experience and thanked me for the feedback; United was good enough to apologize, provide me with a discount coupon for future flights and offer to reimburse me for the clothing I had to buy as a result of their baggage delivery failure. Both responses were a bit formulaic – boiler-plate phrases assembled into a semi-coherent whole – but at least they responded appropriately.
And I have nothing at all to complain about compared to Robert Cole’s recent series of clueless, jaw-dropping lack-of-service encounters (and one person who absolutely shone) with Delta and US Airways – see http://bit.ly/9BUU0H. His summary at the end is pretty much the same as mine:
“Some may say that it is not fair to vilify US Airways based on encounters with a few employees, but I disagree. This highlights the importance of organizations recognizing that each employee in a customer contact role represents a potential point of failure that can negatively impact perception of the overall brand.”
“The solution is simple – treat your customers with respect, empower employees to help customers in need, and establish processes that provide the organization with an opportunity to proactively identify and correct issues. It appears that Southwest inherently understands this challenge and meets it head-on. It is not a cost issue; it reflects the corporate culture, the brand promise and the company’s sincere interest in customer engagement.”
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Kyle Duffy hired as Vice President of Global Accounts at Revinate
  • OpenTravel announces 2010-2011 board of directors

Kyle Duffy has been hired as Vice President of Global Accounts at social media tracking vendor Revinate. Mr. Duffy Kyle comes to Revinate from Travelocity, where he developed marketing programs for Travelocity’s largest travel partners. Prior to joining Travelocity, he managed the launch of Zooba.com, a division of Bertelsmann AG, and earlier served in sales at Moguls Mountain Travel.
**
OpenTravel has announced its 2010-2011 board of directors as:
* Vincent Lextrait, Director Hospitality, Ground and Maritime, Amadeus IT Group
* Buddy Altus, Director Electronic Distribution, Online Marketing Group, Avis Budget Group
* Harold Dibler, Managing Director, Application Development, Information Services, Best Western International
* Vicki Bias, Manager of Technology, Continental Airlines
* Gianni Cataldo, Vice President and General Manager Americas, Datalex
* James White, Director Global Automation Marketing, Hertz
* Greg Berman, COO and Managing Director, Hotel Booking Solutions, Inc.
* Andrew Rubinacci, Vice President, Distribution and Intermediary Sales, InterContinental Hotels Group
* Lisa Fues, Director of Reservations, Inventory and Distribution, Marriott International
* Stephen Joyce, CEO, Rezgo, Acting Chairman of the Board
* Lew J. Harasymiw, Esq., Director of Interface Solutions, Sabre Hospitality Solutions
* Eric Mason, Vice President Global Product Development, Wyndham Exchange and Rentals
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • ResortSuite now available on monthly subscription-fee basis
  • NORTHWIND lands orders for 16 properties in 2nd Quarter 2010

ResortSuite announced that its comprehensive hospitality management suite is now available on a monthly subscription-fee basis. (www.resortsuite.com)
**
NORTHWIND has announced that 10 independent resorts and hotel companies, a total of 16 properties, ordered its Maestro hospitality management system in the 2nd Quarter of 2010. The new clients were:
– the new Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola, Florida,
– MCM Hotels with seven properties in Texas and New Mexico (a centrally-hosted implementation including Front Office, Sales & Catering, Spa & Activity Management, and Gift Card modules),
– the Hotel Granduca operated by Benchmark Hospitality International,
– Andover Inn near Boston,
– Unity Village Hotel and Conference Center,
– the Goodstone Inn & Estate in Virginia,
– The Bernards Inn,
– Duke University R. David Thomas Center,
– the 185-room City Hotel & Bistro in Greenville, NC,
– the Sportsman’s Inn Resort and Marina in Ontario, Canada. (www.maestropms.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts renews distribution agreement with Sabre
  • Lanyon announces GDS Seamless Functionality Review

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has renewed its distribution agreement with Sabre Hospitality Solutions for its 66 properties in Asia Pacific, North America, and the Middle East. Shangri-La will continue to use the SynXis CRS for distribution services to all four GDSs, integrated with its property management and revenue management systems. (www.shangri-la.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
**
Following testing with Genares’ seamless connectivity displays, Lanyon has announced the public availability of GDS Seamless Functionality Review, a content delivery consultation service that provides a six-point evaluation of distribution messages:
– identifying the maximum functionality in each GDS,
– defining the best practices for each functionality point,
– creating clear test cases,
– identifying functionality gaps in the supplier’s responses,
– recommending processes and enhancements to close the gaps,
– opening any issues with the GDSs, switch company or CRS. (www.genares.com, www.lanyon.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Milestone receives nine awards for website design and Internet marketing
  • TIG Global receives Web marketing honors in five international industry competitions
  • Choice signs one-year agreement with VRX Studios for Photography and Content Management Services
  • Vantage picks VIZERGY to help brand members create property-specific Websites
  • REBEL Travel Corp launches PropertyVIEW reputation management application
  • Marriott selects VFM Leonardo for photo distribution and online merchandising services

Milestone Internet Marketing has received nine awards for creative hotel website designs and Internet marketing strategies in three recent Internet marketing competitions:
Interactive Media Awards for website design and development went to four Milestone-designed websites for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotel and Lodging category:
* Nickelodeon Suites Resort (http://www.nickhotel.com/)
* Marquis Los Cabos (http://www.marquisloscabos.com/)
* InterContinental Los Angeles (http://www.intercontinentallosangeles.com/)
* The Red Lion Denver Southeast Website (http://www.denverseredlion.com/)
Summit International Awards for marketing, advertising, and design/interactive pieces of communications went to three Milestone-designed hotel websites:
* InterContinental San Francisco (http://www.intercontinentalsanfrancisco.com/) — Silver Award
* Flatiron Hotel (http://www.flatironhotel.com/) — Silver Award
* River Terrace Inn (http://www.riverterraceinn.com/) — Bronze Award
Communicator Awards for communications professionals’ creative excellence were received by two Milestone-designed hotel websites:
* InterContinental Los Angeles (http://www.intercontinentallosangeles.com/) — Silver Award
* Hotel Urbano (http://www.hotelurbano.com/) — Silver Award
(www.milestoneinternet.com)
**
MICROS subsidiary TIG Global has received honors in five international industry competitions this year:
– The 2010 TravelMole Web Awards (UK) for Best Hotel/Resort site (Borgo Egnazia, a five-star resort located in Italy’s Puglia region).
– Interactive Media Awards (IMA) gave TIG two awards for Outstanding Achievement in Website Development for El Cid Resorts and theWit Hotel.
– A Webby Award in the Tourism category for its website design work for the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies, a partnership between four state tourism organizations and a Canadian province, three All-American Roads, four adjacent National Parks/Recreations areas and the three National Historic Trails that connect them.
– A Summit Creative Award in the Travel/Tourism/Nature category for its website work with Banff Lake Louise Tourism.
(www.tigglobal.com)
**
Choice Hotels International has signed a one-year agreement with VRX Studios designating it as a “Qualified Vendor” of Photography and Content Management Services to Choice’s 11 brands. VRX Studios will provide photography services including Architectural, Lifestyle, Destination and Food & Beverage photography along with Content Management, Distribution and Licensing. (www.choicehotels.com , www.vrxworldwide.com)
**
Vantage Hospitality Group has selected VIZERGY’s Web World Publishing content management platform to help its brand members create property-specific Websites, including mobile capabilities, automated XML site maps for improved Google indexing and many content-rich features. (www.vantagehospitality.com, www.vizergy.com/)
**
REBEL Travel Corp has launched its PropertyVIEW reputation management application, which includes hotel content verification and rebranding notification services. REBEL lets hoteliers monitor the status of their hotel descriptive content and images on hundreds of OTAs, travel distribution networks, review sites, mapping providers, listing services, and more. (www.rebel-travel.com)
**
Marriott International has selected VFM Leonardo to strengthen the online visual presentation of its properties through photo distribution and online merchandising, using VFM Leonardo’s VScape Digital Asset Management System to distribute photos to online channels for its 3,500 properties, and its Multimedia Viewer to syndicate their rich media content online. (www.marriott.com, www.vfmleonardo.com)
**

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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • eRevMax expanding in Asia Pacific
  • Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa goes with EasyRMS

eRevMax has announced its expansion in Asia Pacific (APAC) with two new offices in Singapore and China and the introduction of up to six new Sales Managers over the next 3 to 6 months. The initial focus will be on Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and China. (www.ratetiger.com)
**
The 216-room Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa in London has contracted with Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions (EasyRMS) for its EzRMS SaaS Revenue Management system. The property has deployed the EzRMS Core Module for portfolio-wide forecasting and optimization, its Ez-QUOTE Decision Support tool and a two-way interface with its Micros Opera V5 hospitality management system. (www.pestana.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
**

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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Dolce implements SpeedRFP for 27 properties
  • Cvent upgrades Cvent Supplier Network (CSN)

Dolce Hotels and Resorts has implemented SpeedRFP’s online request-for-proposal tool for its 27 properties, to help meeting planners solicit bids from multiple hotels at once. (www.dolce.com, www.SpeedRFP.com)
**
The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau (PBC CVB) has partnered with Cendyn on a multi-tiered on-line marketing initiative that delivered over 150,000 new visitors to the CVB’s website and significant conversion of hotel bookings. Cendyn’s three-tiered campaign covered:
* Rich-media display ads focused on leisure, eco-adventure travel and group business.
* Retail/hotel promotions for rebates and discounts.
* Cooperative marketing programs for 50 co-branded CVB member hotels.
(www.palmbeachfl.com, www.cendyn.com)
**
Cvent has upgraded its Cvent Supplier Network (CSN). Enhancements include:
– A new Quick RFP that simplifies RFP creation for planners and facilitates more timely responses from hotels and CVBs;
– An RFI option for planners to reach out to restaurants and special event venues, particularly for smaller-scale meetings;
– Enhanced venue profile details and filters to help planners find the information they need;
– More and more varied venues in the network, with more in-depth detail about each meeting supplier; and
– Additional opportunities for suppliers to showcase their venue or services.
(www.cvent.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • Park Hyatt Jeddah installs TAC’s Reservation Assistant, TAC’s first Saudi Arabia implementation
  • Hammock Beach Resort partners with GolfTripGenius.com

The Park Hyatt Jeddah has installed TAC’s Reservation Assistant spa and activity tracking system, marking TAC’s first implementation in Saudi Arabia and the 51st country in which it has customers. (www.jeddah.park.hyatt.com, www.reservationassistant.com)
**
Florida’s Hammock Beach Resort has partnered with GolfTripGenius.com to provide golf groups with a Web-based service for setting up customized golf pairings, the selection and scoring of trip tournaments and concierge golf trip support. (www.hammockbeach.com, www.GolfTripGenius.com) **

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GUEST SERVICES

  • Loews’ Atlanta hotel installs LodgeNet’s TV and broadband services
  • LodgeNet appoints TriDENSA re-seller for Mid-East, South Asia
  • InterContinental offers Priority Club points to members checking-in to geolocation service Topguest
  • IHG releases version of Priority Club Rewards mobile app for Android
  • Morgans launches virtual concierge based on Intelity’s ICE and iPads in all guest rooms at Royalton, New York
  • Albus Hotel, Amsterdam installs Quadriga’s Sensiq guest communications portal
  • Tharaldson Communications Inc. picks Guest Tek as HSIA product to offer its telecommunications services clients

Loews’ new 414-room Atlanta hotel has installed LodgeNet’s TV and broadband services for its guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. Services include HD Interactive TV (iTV), HD Free-To-Guest and broadband access (wired in every guest room, wireless throughout the property) managed with LodgeNet’s Guestroom Manager and ProActive Monitoring System, as well as remote power management and Blue Coat/Packeteer bandwidth management. The Loews Atlanta is the 18th Loews property to become a LodgeNet customer under a master agreement signed between the companies in 2008.
LodgeNet has appointed TriDENSA as a re-seller of LodgeNet iTV systems and services throughout Bahrain, Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria and the U.A.E.
(www.loewshotels.com, www.tridensa.com, www.lodgenet.com)
**
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has announced that Priority Club members who are registered with social networking location-based service Topguest will now be awarded loyalty points for each geolocation check-in at any one of its hotels worldwide, whether for an overnight stay or just for coffee in the restaurant. Topguest coordinates giving travelers loyalty points and rewards for “check-ins” on all major location-based-services (LBS) applications, including Foursquare, Twitter, Gowalla, Yelp, Loopt and Google Latitude.
IHG has released a version of its Priority Club Rewards mobile app for the Android, allowing customers to find and book hotel rooms, check rates and view or cancel reservations for all seven of IHG’s brands. The Android app follows the release of the iPhone version in late April, which IHG states has been downloaded over 70,000 times globally and has generated nearly $3 million in revenue since it was launched.
(www.topguest.com, www.ichotelsgroup.com)
**
Morgans Hotel Group announced plans to launch a new virtual concierge program based on Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) via iPads available in all guest rooms at its Royalton property in New York. The service will deliver content from “The List” destination guide (curated by the group’s concierge teams in collaboration with UrbanDaddy), access to the companies’ music compilations, custom content relating to Fashion Week, the Armory Show and other current, New York related events and access to select movies and television shows. Other mobile applications and services will also be included. The new platform will also provide advanced communication tools for hotel staff, including real time messaging, notes from the General Manager, messages regarding programmed events, and information on specialty cocktails and featured menu items from the restaurants’ Chef. (www.morganshotelgroup.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
**
The Albus hotel in Amsterdam has installed Quadriga’s Sensiq guest communications portal, allowing it to push information about the local area to the TV (including shopping, culture and entertainment) as well as inform guests about services and special promotions within the hotel. The hotel updated all 74 rooms with new Philips 32-inch flat screen LCD TVs. (www.albushotel.com, www.quadriga.com)
**
Tharaldson Communications Inc. (TCI) has selected Guest Tek’s OneView Internet service as the premier HSIA product to offer its 4000 telecommunications services clients in the hospitality industry. Tharaldson Hotels has used Guest-Tek in its 350 properties for many years. (www.guest-tek.com, www.tharaldson-communications.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Aptech announces four new customers for Profitvue
  • Hardage Group Management deploys UniFocus’ GUESTScope at Chase Suite and Woodfin Hotels properties

Aptech has announced four new customers for its Profitvue back office system:
– Horizon Hospitality with three operating properties and two in construction,
– Duke University R. David Thomas Conference Center,
– 15th & L Investors in Sacramento,
– The Kirkland Conference Center with 165 rooms operated by ARAMARK in Silver Springs, MD.
(www.horizonhmi.com, www.fuqua.duke.edu/admin/rdtc, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Hardage Group Management has deployed UniFocus’ GUESTScope at its Chase Suite and Woodfin Hotels properties. (www.thehardagegroup.com, www.unifocus.com)
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