March 1, 2011

In this issue…

People on the Move

Hospitality Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • New visual approaches to selling rooms

One of the fascinating things about mobile application development right now is seeing how companies continue to combine data from different sources into something immediately useful and interesting.
A couple of examples came up this week, both using information from Google. One is a new extension of Google Maps itself. Often used to find hotels near a specified address, it now allows users to enter their proposed arrival and departure dates and see pricing for each hotel in a dropdown box providing links to each of the various booking channels, including the hotel’s own Web site.
The other takes a new approach to the old problem of knowing what the view will be from the hotel you’re thinking of booking, and preferably seeing which rooms have the best view. The technology’s existed for a long time for hotels to actually take photos from each room and add them to their Web sites, but that’s really tedious and labor-intensive. HMS start-up Hetras takes this to a different level by combining 360-degree exterior and roof-top photos of a property into a digital simulation that highlights the different rooms a traveler is considering (and some potential alternatives and upgrades) and the view from each.
Now a start-up called Room 77 is taking a different approach by taking the hotel’s latitude and longitude, floor plans, the height of each floor and the direction the room faces, then using Google Earth data to simulate the actual view from each room. Few hotels have the ability to let users pick an individual room but Room 77 at least allows them to request a specific room based on what they see. An iPhone version can also be used at check-in to make quick decisions about the room being offered at the front desk. Room map data comes directly from hotels, from staffers examining hotels themselves and – an approach I particularly like – from individual users contributing by sending in photos of the floor plans on the back of their room doors.
Clearly this has more application for resort properties than commercial city center sites (though it’s nice to know how high up a Seattle hotel you have to be to get a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, for example), and of course the simulated view is only as up-to-date as the Google Earth photos it’s derived from. Nevertheless, it’s a great help in visualizing the experience in advance, in managing guests’ expectations and especially in justifying different rates for different rooms of the same type but different views. Revenue management by individual room? Why not?
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Stan Van Roij hired by EasyRMS as Managing Director
  • Jean-Eric Martin joins Safemark Systems as VP Sales for Europe and North Africa
  • Larry Birnbaum is Guest-tek’s new VP of National Accounts
  • Yauric Mercier hired by Travel Tripper to head sales in Europe and Middle East

Stan Van Roij has been hired by EasyRMS as its new Managing Director. With over two decades of experience in hospitality & revenue management, Mr. Van Roij spent the last six years with NH Hoteles, most recently as Corporate Director of Revenue Management. He was earlier Vice President of Revenue Development for Radisson SAS Hotels & Resorts, and Area Director of Revenue Management for Marriott Hotels International, in Frankfurt.
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Jean-Eric Martin has joined Safemark Systems as Vice President of Sales for the company’s Europe and North Africa regions. Mr. Martin brings more than 20 years of sales experience in the European region, as European Sales Director for Safeplace and earlier as Director of Safotel.
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Larry Birnbaum is Guest-tek’s new Vice President of National Accounts, joining from LodgeNet Interactive where he had been Vice President of Sales. Mr. Birnbaum joined StayOnline in 2003, which LodgeNet acquired in 2007.
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Yauric Mercier has been hired by Travel Tripper to head its new sales effort in Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Mercier was most recently VP of EMEA Sales for Fast Booking, and had earlier held positions with several hotels throughout Europe, including the Richmond Hotel, La Réserve, the Hôtels et Résidences du Roi Group, the Montalembert hotel, and the Bel Ami.
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Dynamique Hôtels Management becomes first customer for Amadeus Hotel Platform
  • MSI celebrates 20 year anniversary

Dynamique Hôtels Management (DHM) has become the first customer for Amadeus’ new centralized Hotel Platform, which combines central reservation, global distribution and property management systems into a single, fully integrated platform. The six-week migration process, which is scheduled to be complete in March 2011, will replace DHM’s current central reservation system (CRS), call centre, booking engine and property management system with a single database. DHM owns and operates a network of more than 150 hotels in France, Germany, and Belgium, including French budget chain Balladins. (www.balladins.com, www.amadeus.com/hotelit)
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Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. Founded in 1991, and having recently acquired HMS vendor REMco, MSI now has 210 employees and an installed customer base of 5,800 properties throughout North America. (www.msisolutions.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Google Maps shows rates for specified stay dates, includes links to booking channel sites
  • Room 77 shows travelers simulated view from each room in a hotel
  • RIM release BlackBerry Travel app, integrates itineraries, profiles, flight status updates into BlackBerry Calendar

Google Maps has been updated to allow users to enter their proposed arrival and departure dates when looking for hotels near a specified address; search results show pricing for each hotel with a dropdown box providing links to each of the various booking channels, including the hotel’s own Web site. This option is available now on Google Maps and Google Place pages on many of Google’s domains in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Sales and marketing consortium Worldhotels is making the feature available to its members as a pay-per-click advertising module connected with the group’s trust-powered booking engine Resmaster.
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A start-up called Room 77 allows travelers to identify their preferred guestroom in a hotel they’re considering booking, based on hotel floor plans, parameters such as size, bed type and distance from the elevator and, uniquely, the view from a potential room. The company generates the simulated view by combining Google Earth data with the hotel’s latitude, longitude and floor height parameters. An iPhone version can also help guests decide whether to accept the room being offered at the front desk during check-in. The company has results for 2,500 three-star and above hotels in North America and the UK; floor plan data is obtained through direct relationships with hotels, from staff visits to hotels and from users taking pictures of the floor plans on the back of their room doors. (www.room77.com)
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Research In Motion (RIM) has announced its BlackBerry Travel app, which provides push notifications and integration of travel itineraries, profiles, and flight status updates into the BlackBerry Calendar. The Travel app is automatically updated whenever a new booking confirmation or itinerary arrives in the user’s Inbox, and can monitor flight statuses to provide providing notification of changes. It can also flag potential omissions or scheduling concerns with the itineraries, such as missing accommodations or timing conflicts, and offer suggestions.
Other tools included in the app include hotel booking, currency converters, weather forecasts and local searches. Travel information can be shared with colleagues via email or through a direct connection to LinkedIn, allows users to search for people in their network who will be in the same city, send messages to contacts and update their status. The BlackBerry Travel app was built in collaboration with WorldMate. (www.blackberry.com/appworld)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club implements Cendyn’s eConcierge
  • SKY Hospitality picks Aptech Execuvue

The 271-room Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, located on the campus of Duke University, has implemented Cendyn’s eConcierge web-based marketing system to send guests confirmations of their room bookings and encourage them to book dining, golf and other property activities well before they check in. The system then e-mails itineraries to guests pre-arrival. (www.washingtondukeinn.com, www.cendyn.com)
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SKY Hospitality has selected Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system, and will implement it (along with Aptech’s Profitvue accounting system) in nine Microtel Hotels by the end of the first quarter 2011. (www.skyhospitality.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • NH Hoteles adopting RateTiger’s RTConnect for all 400 properties
  • eRevMax adds Allocation Management and AutoRTSE functionality to RateTiger
  • Scandic Hotels extends use of V5i and V5i Forecasting to all properties

NH Hoteles has selected eRevMax’s RateTiger multi-channel management system to help its 400 hotels update prices and availability in real-time and accept booking information into its central reservation system. NH Hoteles is adopting RTConnect channel management; more than 200 hotels currently using RTSuite will migrate their data to the new platform.
eRevMax has added Allocation Management and AutoRTSE functionality to its RateTiger range. Allocation Management automates room distribution of available inventory across selected websites via pre-configured rules and threshold values; available inventory is updated based on confirmed reservations. AutoRTSE will automatically re-calculate rates based on real-time competitor pricing data, hotel occupancy levels and other pre-defined parameters, and can then distribute them automatically to configured websites or publish them through the traditional channel manager following a manual review.
(www.nh-hotels.com, www.ratetiger.com)
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Stockholm-based Scandic Hotels is extending its use of IDeaS systems from the 66 properties currently using V5i Revenue Management System to include V5i and V5i Forecasting across all its remaining properties. (www.scandichotels.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Newmarket wins 2011 MarketTools Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) Award
  • Passkey’s GroupMAX integrates OneClick Mobile for simple customized, rich content mobile site for events

Newmarket International has won 2011 MarketTools Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) Awards in the areas of Worldwide Customer Support, Platinum Customer Support, Americas Customer Support and Americas Project Management. This is the fifth consecutive year Newmarket has received a MarketTools ACE Award; the Award, given after extensive third party evaluation, certifies outstanding achievement in customer satisfaction. (www.markettools.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Passkey’s GroupMAX group reservations system now integrates OneClick Mobile’s application to help hotels, destinations and meeting planners create a customized, rich content mobile site for their events in just one click. The mobile event site, available for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms, provides attendees with access to information such as the event agenda, destination and hotel information, as well as links to the event’s hotel booking page and social network. EventSphere, a full-service housing and meetings fulfillment company, will be the pilot customer. (www.eventsphere.com, www.oneclickmobile.com, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar creates custom iPad wine list using Incentient’s SmartCellar

Catch Restaurant at Hotel Casa del Mar has created a custom wine list application for the iPad platform using Incentient’s SmartCellar product. The interactive wine list allows Catch guests to search using a number of criteria, including year, place of origin, and varietal. The SmartCellar system also displays photography of each wine label. (hotelcasadelmar.com , www.incentient.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Acentic releases Apple iOS and Android OS versions of its high-speed Internet and iTV services platform
  • NH Parque Avenidas hotel deploys Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV on coaxial cable
  • Hotel President Wilson, Switzerland implements Quadriga’s Sensiq portal on Bang & Olufsen LCD screens
  • JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown implements Intelity’s ICE in all 1,005 guestrooms

Acentic has released Apple iOS and Android operating system versions of its high-speed Internet and iTV services platform, allowing users to check a hotel’s offering of movies or other services from their own mobile devices. Guests can also use their devices for remote control of the TV. (www.acentic.com)
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Madrid’s NH Parque Avenidas hotel has deployed Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV on coaxial cable, with bundled wired and wireless Internet access, interactive live television and video-on-demand services. (www.nh-hotels.com, www.connectedhotel.tv)
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The Hotel President Wilson, Switzerland has implemented Quadriga’s Sensiq portal on Bang & Olufsen LCD screens. The property’s Royal Penthouse Suite is one of only three hotels in the world to B&O’s BeoVision 4-103, a 103″ diagonal T V display. As part of a renovation, all 180 rooms and 48 suites in the hotel have been equipped with AV technology from Bang & Olufsen. (www.hotelpwilson.com, www.quadriga.com)
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The newly opened JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown has implemented Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) technology in each of its 1,005 guestroom. Guests can order in room dining, make restaurant reservations at the hotel’s two restaurants, request wake-up calls, make spa reservations, request housekeeping or maintenance services. Additionally, guests can also check airline schedules and check-in for flights using the remote and the television in their guest rooms. (www.marriott.com/JW, www.whitelodging.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • UniFocus releases corporate-level interactive dashboard for Watson, R.M. Labor Management System
  • SKY Hospitality and Widewaters Hotels both select Aptech’s Profitvue enterprise back office accounting application.

UniFocus announced the availability of a corporate-level interactive dashboard for its Watson, R.M. Labor Management System (LMS). The dashboard provides actionable workforce information for better decision-making, labor performance stats for a multi-property portfolio, fast drill down to the detail and root-cause analysis of any problem, and much more. (www.unifocus.com)
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SKY Hospitality and Widewaters Hotels have both selected Aptech Computer Systems’ Profitvue enterprise back office accounting application for multiple-branded properties. SKY Hospitality will also implement Aptech’s Execuvue business intelligence system, and will have both Profitvue and Execuvue deployed in nine Microtel Hotels by the end of the first quarter 2011. Already owning and developing 16 properties for Hilton, Marriott, and Starwood, Widewaters recently launched its own management company. (www.skyhospitality.com, www.widewatershotels.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • hotel SystemsPro releases hotel ServicePro asset management system for iPad

hotel SystemsPro has announced a version of its hotel ServicePro web-based asset management system for the Apple iPad and other mobile devices, providing mobile task tracking, report monitoring, maintenance alerts and many other functions. (www.hotelsystemspro.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • XETA Technologies launches new hospitality business unit, XETA Hospitality Solutions

XETA Technologies has launched its new hospitality business unit, XETA Hospitality Solutions (XHS). Led by Managing Director Mark Holzberg, former CEO of Lorica Solutions (which XETA acquired in May 2010), this unit provides U.S. and international hotels and resorts XETA’s full range of network, broadband and communications products and managed services. (www.xeta.com/markets/Pages/Hospitality.aspx)
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SECURITY

  • Holiday Inn City of Knowledge, Panama City installs VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks and Elsafe Xtra II in-room safes
  • Kyriad Marseille Centre-Rabatou in Marseille, France installs VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks

The 137-room Holiday Inn City of Knowledge at Panama City, Panama has completed installation of its VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks and Elsafe Xtra II in-room safes.
The 88-room Kyriad Marseille Centre-Rabatou in Marseille, France has installed VingCard Signature RFID electronic door locks.
(www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/panama-city/pcyhi/hoteldetail#, www.kyriad-marseille-centre-rabatau.fr/en/index.aspx, www.vingcard.com, www.elsafe.com)
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