July 28, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Vendors continue to develop their systems with admirable enthusiasm

One good thing about the current “quiet time” in the economy is that it’s given me time to catch up on systems I haven’t looked at recently, or even at all. And you know what? It’s really heartening to see that the spirit of inventiveness and optimism is still thriving.

At a time when so many hoteliers are looking to do the minimum upgrades they can to stay afloat, implementing just the essentials without going for the “nice to have” enhancements they’d been hoping for, it’s refreshing to see vendors continuing to develop their systems enthusiastically. Just recently I caught up with couple of established vendors of systems targeted at smaller properties, and was pleased to see what a good job they’ve done in re-writing their applications on more modern platforms. They’ve also found success outside the traditional lodging industry, finding ways to tweak their applications for similar-but-not-quite-the-same verticals.

I’ve also looked at a couple of newer arrivals from Europe aiming at much larger fish, with very comprehensive systems that have been in development for some time and show some nice, original features. And kudos to Micros, too, while I’m at it; with their dominant market share they could probably get away with resting on their laurels for a while, but I’m constantly pleased to see how much extra functionality they’re able to keep adding.

Of course, no vendor does everything – if they ever do I’ll probably be out of work – and as I mentioned after HITEC it’s encouraging to see their ever-growing ability to work together in flexible combinations to offer what hoteliers are looking for. Teamwork rules, and I salute the industry’s optimism!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Venky Rangachari appointed chief technology officer at Wyndham
  • Robert J. Webb hired as Chief Information Officer at Hilton
  • Darren Temple joins PSAV as executive vice president of global sales
  • Michael Jacques to lead business development at Tripware

Venky Rangachari has been appointed chief technology officer at Wyndham Hotel Group. Mr. Rangachari was most recently chief information officer at StarCite; he had earlier served as vice president of operations at restaurant systems vendor Jacent Technologies, as well as with electronic discovery service Stratify, CRM vendor Digiprise and Internet service provider Exodus Communications.
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Robert J. Webb has been hired as Chief Information Officer at Hilton Hotels Corp. Mr. Webb was most recently CIO at global credit information provider Equifax, and had earlier held executive positions at General Electric and as a management consultant for Andersen Consulting and Electronic Data Systems.
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Darren Temple has joined PSAV Presentation Services as executive vice president of global sales. Mr. Temple brings more than 20 years experience with the Freeman Companies, most recently as senior vice president of sales administration and branch sales.
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Michael Jacques has joined Tripware to lead its business development efforts. Mr. Jacques has over 30 years of industry experience, most recently as an independent consultant working with American Airlines and in previous years at Farelogix, e-Travel/Amadeus, Boeing, Carlson Wagonlit and Maritz Travel.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Southwind Management orders SPI’s Orange Systems CRS and PMS
  • Think Apartments picks protel Multi-Property Edition for five new sites in London
  • NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS announces  25 new installs in western USA
  • Clevelander Hotel and Essex House order Visual One PMS and InfoGenesis POS
  • China Hangzhou Dragon Hotel picks IBM for completely integrated hotel management system

Southwind Management Corp, an affiliate of Spinnaker Resorts, has ordered Systems Products International’s (SPI’s) Orange Systems central reservations and property management software, after using SPI’s owner billing module for approximately a year. (www.spinnakerresorts.com, www.spiinc.com)
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Think Apartments has selected protel Multi-Property Edition (MPE) for its five new developments in London, three in 2009 and two in 2010. Xn will implement protel MPE in a fully centralized, multi-property environment, with the first property going live in October 2009. (www.think-apartments.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS announced that 25 western USA properties operated by six hotel companies recently installed Maestro PMS.  Operators included:

– Waterford Hotels and Inns (San Mateo, CA) – Cavallo Point, The Lodge at The Golden Gate (near San Francisco) and The Allison Inn & Spa (Newberg, OR)

– Columbia Hospitality (Seattle, WA) – Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island.

– Mayfair Hotels (Vancouver, BC) – centralized reservations for 12 hotels.

– Banff Lodging (Banff, Alberta) – Sparkling Hill Resort

– Deer Valley Resort (Utah)

– Sparkling Hill Resort (Vernon, BC)
(www.maestropms.com)
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The 60-room Clevelander Hotel and 74-room Essex House, both in Miami’s South Beach area, have selected Agilysys Visual One PMS and InfoGenesis POS systems. Both hotels are owned and managed by BRIO Investment Group. (www.clevelander.com, www.essexhotel.com, www.agilysys.com)
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The 527-room China Hangzhou Dragon Hotel has selected IBM to build an instrumented, interconnected and intelligent hotel management system. IBM will implement IT infrastructure linking more than 20 sub-systems and applications, including the hotel management system, communications system, a one-stop service center, a staff personal digital assistant (PDA) system, self check-in kiosk, interactive TV, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) smart card system, Internet telephony, cell phone system and room control system. Hotel staff will have access to guest information on their PDAs; the interactive TV system and IP phone in the hotel room will display personalized welcome messages in the guest’s language, and the room configuration will be set to the guest’s preferences for brightness, temperature and humidity.
IBM will also implement a conference management system which can track which exhibition area a conference attendee has visited and his attention span. Banquet guests will be able to see the seating plan and assignments on an LCD screen.
Through collaboration with China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, IBM will integrate China’s six telecommunications networks into one platform. Guest room phones will function as mobile phones within the hotel as well as in and beyond the Hangzhou city. (www.dragon-hotel.com, www.ibm.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Protel implements interface between its PMS and Trust’s Voyager CRS
  • Hilton releases mobile web/iPhone reservation services for UK and Germany
  • SynXis launches direct interface to Expedia QuickConnect
  • Kohler Resort installs new two-way interface between Springer-Miller PMS and iHotelier
  • TravelCLICK on Crain’s 2009 Fast Fifty list for Chicago-area companies for 3rd year
  • Travelport joins with PSP International to offer eNett payment and settlement services
  • America’s Best Franchising extends contract with InnPoints for Internet/voice reservations
  • Founders of Hotels.com launch new discount site, Getaroom.com
  • Airline flight search site Skyscanner adds hotel search

Protel has developed and implemented a new interface between its PMS and Trust International’s Voyager CRS. The interface was developed for Athens-based Classical Hotels, with hotels in Greece, Turkey, Serbia and Bulgaria. (www.protel-hotel-software.com, www.TrustInternational.com)
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Hilton Hotels Corp has released mobile web and iPhone reservation services in the UK and Germany, using Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT) hotel platform, m2bed, and fully integrated with Hilton’s HHonors loyalty club. (mobile.hilton.co.uk, mobile.hilton.de, www.mttnow.com)
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SynXis has launched a direct Expedia interface for independent hotels and small- to medium-size hotel chains. SynXis can now connect its CRS hotel customers to Expedia QuickConnect as well as to Expedia Connect, Expedia’s large hotel chain product. The launch customer for the interface was Affinia Hotels. (www.synxis.com)
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Kohler Hospitality Systems has installed a new two-way interface between the PAR Springer-Miller SMS|Host Hospitality Management System at its destination Kohler resort and TravelCLICK’s iHotelier CRS.
TravelCLICK has placed 35th in Crain’s 2009 Fast Fifty list, its third consecutive year on the list of the Chicago region’s best and most innovative public and private companies.
(www.destinationkohler.com, www.springermiller.com)
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Travelport has entered into a joint venture with PSP International to offer eNett, which combines PSP’s existing payment and settlement capabilities with Travelport’s world-wide distribution and airline, rail operator, hotel and car rental relationships. eNett enables automated payments, settlement and reporting between travel agencies and travel product suppliers, and supports debit cards and other increasingly relevant alternative forms of payment. (www.psp-international.com, www.travelport.com)
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America’s Best Franchising Inc has signed a two-year extension to its agreement with InnPoints Worldwide for Internet and voice reservations services for approximately 225 properties that it operates under four hotel brands – Country Hearth, America’s Best, Budgetel, and 3 Palms. InnPoints provides America’s Best with GDS and IDS distribution, its MyCRS central  reservation system, a 24-hour centralized call center, a customized internet booking engine for the company’s four brand websites and the MyHMS web-based property management system. (www.abestfranchise.com, www.innpointsworldwide.com)
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Bob Diener and David Litman, the founders of Hotels.com, have launched Getaroom.com, a booking site offering travelers access to non-published discount rates for hotels whose identity is clearly stated in advance. Getaroom.com claims that it offers discounts up to 50 percent off regular rates, plus access via a call center to non-published rates at select hotels, and to additional Deals of the Day. (www.getaroom.com)
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Airline flight search site Skyscanner has added hotel search functionality to its Website, powered by HotelsCombined and covering over 200,000 hotels across 195 countries. (www.HotelsCombined.com, www.skyscanner.net)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Libra OnDemand appoints McLaren International as Asia Pacific distributor
  • Xotels names ZDirect its preferred eCRM system for European hotels
  • Ritz London picks TravelCLICK’s Social Media Optimization (SMO) service
  • TravelCLICK uses DoubleClick/Google technology to improve GDS advertising
  • Wyndham deploys ProfitSage business intelligence software to all managed properties
  • RCI announces over 30 resorts signed for high-definition (HD) online marketing videos
  • Hotelicopter unveils new hotel rating platform linked to Facebook

Libra OnDemand has appointed McLaren International Pty Ltd its distributor in the Asia Pacific region. McLaren, based in Sydney with a regional office in Singapore, will be responsible for local sales, support and implementation services; it recently signed a distributorship agreement with MTech for its HotSOS product, which works in tandem with Libra OnDemand. (www.mclarenint.com, www.libraondemand.com)
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Xotels has named ZDirect as the preferred eCRM system for the European hotels it manages and/or represents. (www.xotels.com, www.zdirect.com)
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The Ritz London has selected TravelCLICK’s new Social Media Optimization (SMO) service to help it build its social network presence, leverage user-generated content across all media from blogs to guest review sites and rich digital viral content such as video and targeted promotions. Facebook will be used to offer special events and promotions, London travel tips and to engage fans and guests; Twitter will cover last-minute promotions, customer relations, and guest feedback.
TravelCLICK has announced its use of DoubleClick/Google ad serving technology to improve advertising on select GDSs, coupled with a new methodology for measuring advertising reach. Its first enhancement, Dynamic Rate Update, automatically inserts a hotel’s BAR, specific to actual check-in date, into the ad copy displayed to the agent. Secondly, new methodology identifies advertising-enabled travel agencies and measures the hotel booking revenue they produce in participating GDS.
(www.theritzlondon.com, www.travelclick.net)
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Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has now deployed ProfitSword’s ProfitSage business intelligence software in all its managed properties; implementation began in November 2008.
Wyndham Worldwide’s RCI vacation exchange subsidiary announced that more than 30 resorts have signed up for high-definition (HD) online marketing video production as par of RCI TV’s “Resort Showcase” channel.
(www.wyndham.com, www.profitsword.com, www.rci.com/RCITV, www.grouprci.com)
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Hotelicopter has unveiled a new hotel rating platform, enabling users to create reviews and share them with their Facebook network; the system also shows users recommendations from their friends. The company has also signed a deal to incorporate Tripadvisor’s reviews on the system. (www.hotelicopter.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • JDA Software signs collaboration agreement with QL2 Software
  • Lenox Hotel to deploy IDeaS V5i
  • IDeaS expanding operations in China
  • Ehbox partners with RateTiger
  • Raffles activates HBSi iDemand Gateway to electronic distribution channels

JDA Software Group has signed a collaboration agreement with market intelligence data provider QL2 Software. This agreement enhances JDA’s Travel Price Optimizer, launched earlier this year for travel, transportation and hospitality companies to optimize prices dynamically based on competitive rates, capacity constraints, local market demand and economic and company factors. JDA and QL2 were selected by Carlson Hotels Worldwide for its SNAP (Stay Night Automated Pricing) project to optimize nightly room rates. (www.QL2.com, www.jda.com)
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Boston’s Lenox Hotel will deploy IDeaS V5i as a hosted service this summer. Modules to be implemented include forecasting, Best Available Rate (BAR), Group Pricing, and the Sales and Catering integration with its existing Newmarket Delphi System.
IDeaS is expanding its operations in China, based in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The expansion includes the IDeaS Advantage consulting division, with Chinese-speaking consultants providing direct assistance to hotel owners and operators, and the development of a new range of revenue management forecasting systems and services specifically for the Chinese market. These will include a lower entry cost model of the V5i Revenue Management range.
(www.lenoxhotel.com, www.ideas.com)
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Hotel online booking provider Ehbox has partnered with RateTiger to build a white-labeled Rate Allocator/Rate Updater, allowing hotels to update their rates and inventory for over 275 channels in one place.
RateTiger has release RTSuite, a modular offering integrating its RTShopper, RTAllocator and RTChannelManager; RTStrategy will be added shortly. Enhancements include the ability for hoteliers to increase or decrease currently loaded Website rates by percentages or values, and improved alert functions. (www.ehbox.com, www.ratetiger.com)
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Raffles Hotels & Resorts has activated its HBSi iDemand Gateway to many of its tour operator partners, wholesalers and other electronic distribution channels. The interface enables Raffles transmit room availability, rates and inventory to members of the HBSi Demand Partner Network (DPN), and fully automates reservation delivery to Raffles properties. (www.raffles.com, www.hbsconnect.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • PSAV Presentation Services partners with X20 Media
  • hotel SystemsPro announces Account Saturation Tool for hotel SalesPro
  • Penn State implements UniFocus’ MEETINGScope
  • EMCVenues adds Cvent’s technology to VenueFinder tool
  • ConferenceDirect to use Cvent Supplier Network
  • MeetingMetrics releases version 2.1 of its session evaluation tools

PSAV Presentation Services has contracted with Montreal-based X20 Media to provide content design, management, distribution, monitoring, integration, and support services for PSAV customers’ digital signage deployments. The Hyatt Regency O’Hare recently installed a PSAV-designed guest-service system using thirteen 46-inch digital touch screen displays driven by X2O’s Xpresenter platform. The displays provide access to information about scheduled events, facilities, concierge services, amenities and airline departures, and include an X2O-designed 3D map to help guests navigate from one hotel area to another. (www.psav.com, www.x20media.com.)
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hotel SystemsPro announced availability of an Account Saturation Tool for its hotel SalesPro system. The tool includes account qualification and contact profiling components and allows operators to own their detailed account information, regardless of changes in property branding. (www.hotelsystemspro.com)
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Penn State Hospitality Services has implemented UniFocus’ MEETINGScope for the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel and the Nittany Lion Inn, which are both owned by Penn State University and managed by its Hospitality Services Department.  (www.pennstatehotels.com, www.unifocus.com)
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EMCVenues has added Cvent’s technology to its VenueFinder tool, which provides detailed profiles of suppliers for planners to use in online searches with a menu of qualifying options.  Profiles include specific details on property location, amenities, meeting & function space statistics, photographic images, as well as virtual tours.
ConferenceDirect, a meeting sourcing provider with 280 associates worldwide, will now use the Cvent Supplier Network to search for meeting venues, send electronic group business RFPs, compare venue bids and track client budgets throughout the site selection process.
(www.emcvenues.com, www.conferencedirect.com, www.cvent.com)
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MeetingMetrics has released version 2.1 of its on-site, online session evaluation tools. Enhancements include the batch production and delivery of PDF speaker reports online during and immediately after the meeting, and the ability of one person to administer a session evaluation process from start to finish, even for large events with many sessions. (www.meetingmetrics.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • SCI approves Motorola MC5590 handheld scanning device for use with FOOD-TRAK

System Concepts, Inc. (SCI) has added the Motorola MC5590 as an approved handheld scanning device for its FOOD-TRAK System. (www.foodtrak.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Rezidor approves iBAHN as HSIA provider for entire portfolio
  • SDI Technologies appoints TeleAdapt as a distributor of iHome clock radio for EMEA
  • London’s May Fair Hotel installs 3-D film theater from RealD
  • Eliot Hotel and Hotel Duval installing Intelity’s Interactive Customer Experience
  • Hilton Garden Inn, Charlotte, NC implements Televue HDTV equipment, services

The Rezidor Hotel Group has approved iBAHN as a provider of High Speed Internet Access services for its entire portfolio. iBAHN will provide wired and wireless internet to guestrooms, and for conferences and events with wireless provision in public areas. Rezidor has over 380 hotels in operation and under development in the EMEA region. (www.rezidor.com, www.ibahn.com)
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SDI Technologies has appointed TeleAdapt as a distributor of its iHome iP9GRE clock radio for the EMEA hospitality region. (www.sdidirect.com, www.teleadapt.com)
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London’s May Fair Hotel has installed a 3-D film theater from RealD. The THX-certified theatre features 201 Ferrari leather-trimmed seats, a separate bar and reception area, and an ARS (audio response system) console built into each seat. (www.reald.com)
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Houston’s 244-room Hotel Sorella, due to open in mid-August, will be the first USA hotel to install TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD, which incorporates stereo Bluetooth technology to allow guests to stream audio wirelessly from A2DP-enabled computers or smart phones (iPhone, iPod Touch, Palm Pre, Nokia N97, etc.) through the hotel’s flat screen HDTV speakers without leaving the device tied to the connectivity panel.  (www.hotelsorella-citycentre.com, www.teleadapt.com)
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Boston’s historic Eliot Hotel and Tallahassee’s 117-room Hotel Duval, due to open this August, are installing Intelity’s Interactive Customer Experience (ICE). ICE allows hotel guests to request services via a touch screen from their guest room, laptop or mobile device, and includes a backend monitoring system to track resort activity, staff efficiency and its own return on investment. (www.intelityice.com)
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The new Hilton Garden Inn in Charlotte, NC has implemented Televue HDTV equipment and DIRECTV HD programming services. (www.televue.tv)
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BACK OFFICE

  • priZem adds Jet Reports USA technology to enhance its Business Performance Tools
  • New Castle Hotels & Resorts picks UniFocus’ STAFFScope for all 31 properties

priZem Hospitality Solutions is including Jet Reports USA technology to enhance the financial reporting of its Business Performance Tools (BPT) application, which includes labor productivity reporting, daily revenue preparation and budgeting/forecasting. Jet Reports provides a live to database connection that allows for real time reporting with the look and feel of a spreadsheet.  With a single repository of data organized down to the account code, the addition of Jet Reports offers many options for reviewing and displaying revenue and labor data by day, month or year and expense data by month or year.  (www.jetreports.com, www.prizem.com)
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New Castle Hotels & Resorts has selected UniFocus’ STAFFScope survey system for all its 31 properties. (www.newcastlehotels.com, www.unifocus.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Hilton Garden Inn Riyadh Olaya installs SDD’s Jazz call accounting and DuVoice voice mail

The 180-room Hilton Garden Inn Olaya in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the first Garden Inn in the Middle East & Africa, has installed SDD’s Jazz call accounting and DuVoice voice mail from McLaren International Pty Ltd. (HiltonGardenInn.Hilton.com, www.mclarenint.com, www.jazz-fusion.net)
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