March 15, 2011
MARCH 2 – 15, 2011
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Demand for local information grows, drives need for internal signal coverage
- Intelity ICE Touch on iPads wins HTNG’s 2010 Most Innovative Hospitality Award
- HTNG, AH&LA and HFTP issue basic data security guidelines for all hotels
Demand for useful travel apps continues to grow; a new poll by Travelport shows that business travelers are looking for guidance on local attractions just as much as leisure travelers. The platform of choice is increasingly moving to the smart phone from the laptop, too, as the demand for “want-it-here-and-now” information grows. Along with that, of course, is the demand for cellphone and/or WiFi signal coverage throughout a property, wherever the guest happens to be when she needs to know something, and not just in the lobby or guestrooms.
The survey covered over 600 corporate travel buyers and others. Findings included:
- 80% of business travelers would like a mobile guide to restaurants and bars close to a hotel location. General tools such as TripAdvisor and Yelp already provide that, of course, but the opportunity for hotel-specific apps is clear.
- Two-thirds of respondents want similar information on recreational activities near the property.
- 70% think that technology such as WiFi should be standard in guest rooms
- room environment apps (lighting, thermostat, drapes, etc.) have only limited appeal. This isn’t surprising; for them to have widespread acceptance a critical mass of guestrooms would need to have standardized controls and interfaces. For now, at least, these controls are better handled on a touch screen or tablet in the guestroom itself.
Speaking of standards and interfaces, Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) recently held another successful annual North American conference in sunny but chilly San Diego. Attendance was well up, the networking was great and the level of activity and buzz around the vendor tables was an excellent indicator of the current wave of optimism in the industry. Along with its traditionally high quality of speakers, this is one of my “must-attend” conferences each year.
And speaking of in-room concierge apps, HTNG’s hotelier members picked Intelity’s “ICE Touch on iPads” for the 2010 Most Innovative Hospitality Award. ICE was a runner –up at last year’s conference; the app provides a wide range of concierge services, and is now making an appearance on tablets in guestrooms.
First runner-up was Corning MobileAccess’ MobileAccessVE product, which lets hotels distribute cellular signal over existing LAN cabling while maintaining full Ethernet and wireless LAN capabilities. Second runner-up was Ariane Systems’ Allegro Online-Mobile-Kiosk Check-in/out Solution, which allows guests to check in/out, settle their folios and manage their reservations from any web-enabled device, including cell phone, PC, laptop, PDA, iPad or lobby kiosk. Allegro automatically detects the device being used and sends notifications and instructions in the appropriate format.
And speaking of HTNG, it has been working with the AH&LA and HFTP on basic guidelines for hotels on securing their data. Properties still need to conform to PCI requirements, but these are not always easy for smaller properties to understand and follow. Consequently, the three organizations have jointly issued a clear, straightforward document listing the three most important first steps every hotel must and can do to as the basis of data security: eliminate all default passwords on all equipment, only allow remote-access connections if the caller has positively identified, and put a firewall on the Internet connection. Hospitality is certainly among the top three prime targets for data fraud, if not the prime target; these precautions can help even the smallest property protect its guests’ data and improve that situation.
- Jack Alexander joins Rainmaker as Vice Chairman
- Andrew Rains joins Rainmaker as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing
- Jen Shepherd hired as Director of Products and Solutions MSI | REMco in Phoenix, AZ
- Robert Swartzwelder joins MSI | Remco as Director of Operations, Dickinson, ND
- Rob Kosier hired by SkyWire Media as Director of Product Development
- Alexis Dobbelaere named VP Strategic Sales, EMEA at Pegasus Solutions
- Natalie Roberts promoted to Director of Hotel Performance/Customer Satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro
Jack Alexander has joined The Rainmaker Group as Vice Chairman. A recent advisor to Rainmaker, Mr. Alexander
previously served as CEO of NextLevel Strategies, and was co-founder and CEO for 15 years of BCD Travel. He also co-founded transaction processing company TRX and was its Chairman for 12 years.
Andrew Rains has joined Rainmaker as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Also a recent advisor to the company, Mr. Rains brings more than 20 years of sales and marketing leadership experience, gained with companies such as Intuit and Oracle/PeopleSoft/JDEdwards.
Jen Shepherd has been hired as Director of Products and Solutions in Phoenix, AZ for MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) | REMco. She was most recently Senior Manager, Professional Services at Pegasus Solutions.
Robert Swartzwelder has joined MSI | Remco as Director of Operations in Dickinson, ND. Mr. Swartzwelder was most recently President and former Owner of QSR Delivery Solutions, a call center and help desk provider. Prior to founding QSR, he was a Management Consultant for DeWolff, Boberg & Associates, and had served as Director of Operations for Universal Delivery Solutions, Inc.
Rob Kosier has joined digital and mobile marketing provider SkyWire Media as Director of Product Development. He comes to SkyWire after five years as Director of Information Technology for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Mr. Kosier previously held the positions of Executive Director of Information Technology for The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino Arizona Charlie’s Properties as well as Director of PC/Web Applications for all Station Casino Properties and Director of Information Technology at Sunset Station.
Alexis Dobbelaere has been named Vice President of Strategic Sales, EMEA at Pegasus Solutions, based out of Pegasus’ Frankfurt office. Mr. Dobbelaere joins Pegasus from Design Hotels, where he served as the director of revenue and distribution; he has also worked in similar capacities with Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts in London, Grupo Real in Latin America, the Hotel Royal Windsor in Belgium and the Hotel Bogota Royal in Colombia.
Natalie Roberts has been promoted to Director of Hotel Performance/Customer Satisfaction at hotel SystemsPro, where she has served for four years. Ms. Roberts previously held management positions with Marriott, Hilton, Radisson and IHG properties.
- Valley View Casino & Hotel selects Agilysys’ Visual One suite
- Rilano Group implementing SoftBrands’ centrally-hosted Starlight for all five locations
- New York’s Chelsea Star implements TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS
- Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne to use protel SPE in two-year hotel management diploma program
Valley View Casino & Hotel in Valley Center, CA has selected Agilysys’ Visual One suite for its property management, comp accounting and sales and catering operations; the Comp Accounting module is interfaced with the property’s casino patron management system. The property, which is owned by the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, has used Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system for several years; its 108-room hotel opened in November, along with a new event center. (www.valleyviewcasino.com, www.agilysys.com)
Germany’s Rilano Group is implementing SoftBrands’ Starlight hospitality management system at all five of its locations this year, in Kleve, Wolfenbuettel, Munich, Hamburg and in the Kitzbühel Alps in Austria. Rilano is implementing the Starlight system as a Multi-Property Edition on a central platform. (www.rilano.com, www.Infor.com/hospitality)
New York’s Chelsea Star has implemented TTI Technologies’ Scan2PMS software, operating on 3M scanners. (www.starhotelny.com, www.ttitel.com)
The Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne will use protel’s SPE hospitality management system in its two-year hotel management diploma program starting this autumn. (www.ehl.edu, www.protel-hotel-software.com)
- FairBridge selects InnLink for distribution and booking services
- SiteMinder announce new release of pmsXchange
- Swiftrank moves to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud platform
- Pegasus launches MetaSearch Services to link metasearch engines to chain CRSs
- Regent Hotels & Resorts properties switching to Sabre’s SynXis
FairBridge Hotel International has selected InnLink Central Reservation Services to provide reservation connections for all their hotel properties, which include the FairBridge Hotels, FairBridge Inn Express, FairBridge Inn & Suites and Loyalty Inns brands. Fairbridge properties will use InnLink’s eLINK for GDS and OTA connectivity, iLINK Web booking engine and vLINK, private-label voice reservation services. (www.fairbridgeinns.com, www.loyaltyinn.com, www.innlink.com)
SiteMinder announced a new release of pmsXchange, its two-way booking site integration platform, which connects Property Management and Central Reservation systems to online booking channels. (www.siteminder.com)
Online travel network Swiftrank has moved to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud platform to help it scale for rapid growth. Singapore-based Swiftrank now has a network of over 12,000 location-based travel websites such as www.LasVegasHotels.com and www.SingaporeHotels.com.sg, and provides partner hotels with direct links to their own hotel website to facilitate direct bookings. (www.swiftrank.com)
Pegasus Solutions has launched MetaSearch Services, which allows metasearch engines to shop hotels and travel suppliers through Pegasus and send the booking directly to the hotel chain or hotel web site. Pegasus’ UltraDirect interface connects metasearch engines to the central reservation systems of most worldwide hotel chains for real-time access to updated rates and inventory. The new product was beta tested with Kayak, Fairmont Hotels and at least three other chains. (www.pegs.com)
Formosa International Hotels Corporation’s (FIHC’s) Regent Hotels & Resorts properties are joining the groups other brands in using Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis Central Reservation System (CRS)for GDS connectivity and marketing services. The change is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011. (www.regenthotels.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
- Ameristar Casinos selects Teradata Data Mart Appliance for its seven casinos
- Hotel ZaZa implements ZDirect’s eCRM platform at Dallas and properties
- eRevMax awarded Gold at European Seal of e-Excellence 2011
Ameristar Casinos has selected a Teradata Data Mart Appliance for its seven casinos. Phase one of the project, the creation of the planning and analysis data mart, has been completed; Phase two incorporates additional data sources and business intelligence tools, and is currently underway. (www.ameristar.com, www.teradata.com)
Hotel ZaZa is implementing ZDirect’s eCRM platform (Electronic Customer Relationship Management) at both its 152-room Dallas and 300-room Houston properties, to enhance its email marketing and allow it to consolidate guest profile information from disparate systems. (www.hotelzaza.com, www.zdirect.com)
eRevMax has been awarded Gold at European Seal of e-Excellence 2011, the third year it has been recognized. The award cited eRevMax’s RTSuite Review online guest review management tool. (www.ratetiger.com)
- Accor launches two-way XML connection between its Central Reservation System and RateTiger’s RTConnect
- IDeaS partners with RMC Consultores in Chile
- Langham extends use of EZYield to new hotels in Asia, UK and North America
- High Tech Hoteles implementing EZYield’s RezDelivery interface at all 33 properties
Accor Hospitality has launched a two-way XML connection between its in-house Central Reservation System (TARS) and RateTiger’s integration gateway, RTConnect. With more than 4,200 hotels, Accor already offered a full packaged XML web services connectivity option, but wanted an alternative solution for local distributors. (www.accor.com , www.ratetiger.com)
IDeaS Revenue Solutions has partnered with RMC Consultores, a leading management consulting company in the Chilean hotel & tourism industry. (www.rmcconsultores.cl, www.ideas.com)
Hong Kong’s Langham Hospitality Group is extending its implementation of EZYield’s channel management application to several new hotels in its portfolio in Asia, the United Kingdom and North America.
High Tech Hoteles is implementing EZYield’s RezDelivery two-way interface at all 33 of its properties in Madrid, Barcelona and Seville, Spain. The chain has used EZYield’s channel management system for four years. The RezDelivery interface will allow the delivery of reservation data from the online channels directly into its Micros Opera central reservations system (ORS) and down to the individual properties’ Opera PMSs.
(langhamhotels.com, www.hthoteles.com, www.ezyield.com)
- Hotel Napoléon Paris implements full broadband services and digital entertainment from iBAHN
- Crowne Plaza Verona Fiera selects Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel guestroom TV and digital services platform
- Mondrian Soho to implementing Intelity’s ICE Touch on iPads in all 270 guestrooms
- GoConcierge.net celebrates first decade in business
- Roomlinx introduces SmartRoom concept
The 102-room Hotel Napoléon Paris has implemented full broadband services and digital entertainment from iBAHN. Services include iBAHN’s IPTV application (ETVi) and both wired and wireless broadband services in all guestrooms and public areas. (www.hotelnapoleonparis.com, www.ibahn.com)
The Crowne Plaza Verona Fiera has selected Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel guestroom TV and digital services platform. Scheduled to open in April, the property will use Swisscom to provide wired and wireless Internet connectivity in all hotel areas (including back-office), an optimized smart phone user interface and a business center with wireless printing functionality from WiFi-enabled phones, tablets and laptops. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.swisscom.com/Hospitality/)
Morgan’s newly opened Mondrian Soho is implementing Intelity’s ICE Touch (Interactive Customer Experience) software on iPads in all 270 guestrooms, with 30 services available. In addition to the customary concierge services, the Morgans Hotel Group iPad offers The List, a selection of local attractions developed in collaboration with UrbanDaddy, free music downloads curated by RCRD LBL, and current content on events in New York City. (www.morganshotelgroup.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
GoConcierge.net is celebrating its first decade in business. It now has more than 500 hotel installations in more than 40 countries. (www.goconcierge.net)
Roomlinx has introduced its SmartRoom concept, which combines full usage of Roomlinx’s Interactive TV product with a 4-in-1 printer, copier, fax and scanner. (www.kesslercollection.com, www.roomlinx.com)
- DCI announces new hosted unified communications (UC) offering for hospitality based on Mitel’s cloud-based technology
Design Communications Inc (DCI) has announced a new hosted unified communications (UC) offering for the hospitality market, based on Mitel’s Multi-Instance Communications Director (MICD) cloud-based technology. The hosted service is expected to be available in May 2011. (www.mitel.com, www.dci-design.com)
- NOW Hotel in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, implements VingCard’s Signature locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes
The 19-room NOW Hotel in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, has implemented VingCard’s Signature electronic door locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes. (www.nowhotel.com.co, www.vingcard.com, www.elsafe.com)