March 18, 2008

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Amadeus survey highlights three key trends

Amadeus has released a new research report on trends driving the hotel industry. The three most significant areas it highlights won’t come as a surprise to anyone keeping up with the news, but it’s definitely helpful to have them confirmed by the wide range of resources interviewed. These included senior hotel executives, consultants, academics and researchers; the hotel executives included C-level positions as well has those with direct responsibility for IT, distribution, revenue management, marketing and sales.
The three main drivers were seen as:
1. Globalization and rapidly developing economies offer great opportunities. The emerging markets of Russia, India, China and the Gulf offer both significant markets and major challenges, in that each requires a culturally distinct approach. Brand integrity is critical: hotels need to supply consistent service levels on a global basis while still catering to local markets.
2. Better-informed travelers expect experiences to be built around their personal needs. Guests now do much more research before traveling, especially from peer group reviews on social networks, and want to engage with a hotel across all touch points they feel appropriate. Hotels need to place even more emphasis on capturing and using guest profile data quickly and accurately to personalize the experience, and must go further in their adoption of social networking.
3. New integration technologies provide opportunities to personalize the experience and improve operational performance. Tight integration between the core systems of distribution, channel and content management is an even higher priority as it becomes more complex. Applications, databases and networks must integrate more easily with each other and third-party systems to facilitate collaborations with partners. And with the growing importance of the mobile channel, hospitality technology platforms must support interactions with all user devices from phone to fax to PC to PDA to mobile.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Rod Collier and John W. Wallace hired by The Rainmaker Group

Rod Collier and John W. Wallace have been hired by The Rainmaker Group at its Georgia headquarters.
Mr. Wallace is the new vice president of business consulting, replacing Tom Walker who has joined Rainmaker client Omni Hotels as vice president of revenue management. He has served in upper level executive positions at Talus Solutions and Manugistics, and most recently worked with Axicom Digital/Kefta.
Mr. Collier joins as vice president of professional services, coming to Rainmaker from JDA Software where he served as a practice director and director of revenue management. He also has experience with Talus Solutions and was a senior consultant for Aeronomics.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Spirit Group picks Guestline’s RezLynx for 36 sites
  • Hotel Concepts’ PMS validated as CISP-compliant
  • MSI performance-tests EnterprisePM in Microsoft labs

The UK’s Spirit Group has contracted with Guestline to implement its Internet-based RezLynx PMS at 36 sites. The system will be centrally hosted at Guestline’s secure data center, and includes PMS, Central Reservation System and Head Office Management modules. The Spirit Group’s portfolio includes over 800 pubs, bars and restaurants. (www.thespiritgroup.com, www.guestline.com)
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Hotel Concepts announced that its PMS has achieved Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) validation, following the recommendations of the Payment Application Best Practices (PABP) program. The PABP’s 14 recommendations require the protection and security of private financial data and credit-card information, including encryption, access control, physical security, and operational audits, and requires annual re-confirmation of validation. (www.hotelconcepts.com)
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Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has run performance benchmark tests on its EnterprisePM system at Microsoft’s Technology Center. The test application simulated users from front desk clerk to hotel manager to back office operations working with the system at peak times such as check in, check out and end of day. Over three days more than a dozen tests were run, with the number of users varying from 250 to 1300 running against 50 to 350 properties. (www.msisolutions.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • InterContinental implements direct connectivity with Travelocity
  • Expedia launches subsidiary for Indian travelers

InterContinental Hotels Group has implemented direct connectivity with Travelocity, providing real-time inventory and pricing on Travelocity and allowing reservations to be booked directly into IHG’s Holidex Plus reservation system. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.travelocity.com)
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Expedia has launched a subsidiary for Indian travelers, offering almost 80,000 worldwide hotels and accepting payment in Indian rupees. An in-country help desk is staffed with dedicated agents who speak both Hindi and English. (www.expedia.co.in)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • ICE Portal adds NeuStep virtual walk-through content
  • Market Metrix, Andiamo Systems partner for on-line guest comment research, response

ICE Portal has contracted with NeuStep to add its virtual walk-through content to ICE Portal’s network of over 30,000 travel websites. (www.neustep.com, www.iceportal.com)
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Market Metrix and Andiamo Systems have partnered to link Market Metrix’ survey, analysis and benchmarking tools with Andiamo’s real-time Word of Mouth & Social Media reporting. This is intended to let companies discover and act on virtually any online conversation occurring across the spectrum of online media and direct guest feedback. Initial users are currently in place and a full launch is scheduled to follow within the next 90 days. (www.marketmetrix.com, www.andiamosystems.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Oxford Hotels & Inns installing Rate Tiger revenue management chain-wide
  • Sunstar Hotels installing IDeaS V5i at all nine properties
  • IDeaS releases version 3.2 of Revenue Optimization V5i
  • IDeaS launches New Hotel Service Success Package
  • IDeaS integrates TravelCLICK’s ChannelDirect into V5i Revenue Management
  • SynXis signs new three year agreement with re-seller Yeeld Solutions
  • Carlson names JDA Software Group its Supplier of the Year
  • Luxe Worldwide Hotels upgrades to version 3.0 of EZYield
  • FastBooking releases new version of Updater channel management tool

Oxford Hotels & Inns is installing Rate Tiger revenue management systems chain-wide. The RTAllocator Pro channel manager is being installed in 24 hotels for room rate parity and inventory distribution across multiple third-party websites. The remaining 20 properties will use RTChannel Manager, an integration of Rate Tiger’s RTShopper and RTAllocator products. (www.oxfordhotelsandinns.com, www.ratetiger.com)
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Sunstar Hotels is installing IDeaS V5i On-Demand Revenue Management Solution at all of its nine properties in the Swiss Alps and southern Switzerland, interfaced with their Fidelio Suite 8 PMSs. Deployment has started with the Lenzerheide and Grindelwald Hotels.
IDeaS has released version 3.2 of its IDeaS Revenue Optimization V5i application. Its over 30 enhancements include improvements to the Group Pricing and Best Available Rate (BAR) modules, and new integration with Newmarket’s Delphi Sales & Catering systems that allows the Group Pricing Module to be launched directly from within Delphi, eliminating redundant data entry.
IDeaS launched its New Hotel Service Success Package, which enables new hotels within an estate to get up to speed more rapidly by leveraging budget data and business patterns derived from like hotels.
IDeaS has integrated TravelCLICK’s ChannelDirect into its V5i Revenue Management application, allowing hoteliers to accept pricing recommendations from the IDeaS system and distribute them across all channels using a single web-based user interface.
(www.sunstar.ch, www.travelclick.net, www.ideas.com)
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SynXis has signed a new three year agreement with its Berlin-based re-seller, Yeeld Solutions, which uses the RedX distribution management system to develop single source distribution solutions for small to mid-size hotel groups in Europe. (www.yeeld.com, www.synxis.com)
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Carlson Hotels Worldwide has named JDA Software Group its Supplier of the Year, after implementing JDA’s Manugistics-powered Demand forecasting system at all 900 properties between April and December 2007. (www.jda.com, www.carlson.com)
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Luxe Worldwide Hotels has upgraded to version 3.0 of EZYield’s channel management application. (www.luxehotels.com, www.ezyield.com)
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FastBooking has released a new version of its Updater channel management application, now fully interfaced with FastBooking’s Internet Booking Engine and GDS/IDS service. The new Updater allows hoteliers to update rates and availabilities on their own website, on GDS/IDS channel and on more than 20 third party websites simultaneously from a single entry point. Its One Click Parity technology allows users to publish the same price on all extranets with one click, automatically taking into account specific channels commissions and mark ups. Updater is now also available in 5 languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and includes a new administration tool for defining different access rights according to user’s tasks and responsibilities. (www.fastbooking.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Benchmark Hospitality’s annual Top Ten Meeting Trends

Benchmark Hospitality has announced its annual “Top Ten Meeting Trends,” as reported by its properties.
#1 – Green Meetings demand continues at an even higher level than last year. More and more RFPs are inquiring about the conference centers’ green policies as a selection criterion.
#2 – Keeping up with technology. Wireless connectivity is now an expectation, advanced technology such as 360-degree cameras are being installed in conference rooms to enable meetings to patch in persons from around the globe, and at a moment’s notice. The challenge is to stay ahead of the curve when it’s difficult just to keep up.
#3 – Lap Tops now encouraged in the Meeting Room for note-taking or facilitator-directed research, NOT e-mail! It’s also a nod to going “green”, as typing notes into a laptop uses zero paper and eliminates waste.
#4 – Paperless negotiation. More than 80% of RFPs, proposals and contracts are now delivered and returned online, saving great amounts of paper but increasing the pressure to respond in real time.
#5 – Healthy break snacks. Choice, variety and selection are all still important, but the requests to “make sure it’s healthy” have come back strong and “low carb” is not the only criterion. At least “healthy” today is synonymous with flavorful, low fat and low cal.
#6 – Teambuilding activities in high demand. From the traditional to culinary cook offs to white-water rafting, teambuilding activities as part of a meeting are more popular than ever, often driven by the destination and with a preference for outdoor, physical activities.
#7 – All-inclusive package pricing still preferred. There are fewer meetings with a greater number of attendees per meeting, for enhanced cost efficiencies, but package pricing remains solid.
#8 – Critical to stay current on industry segments delivering business to your property. Change happens faster all the time, with company mergers, products becoming obsolete as technology delivers the next generation, global competition bringing rapid paradigm shifts, and social networking systems revolutionizing how information flows from person to person, group to group.
#9 – Destination recreation activities increasingly important. More than golf and spa sessions, attendees are looking to experience all that a destination has to offer, including walking & biking through natural forests, touring historic sites, climbing mountains and mesas, descending into canyons, and even shopping.
# 10 – Interactive Event Websites. Set up by group leaders for a particular meeting for attendees to reference before the meeting begins, and throughout conference as a review of the material discussed during the day. The sites also enable feedback and continued group interaction after hours by contributing to a dialog – or meeting blog.
Bonus Trend #1 – Latin America is increasingly attractive. With geographic proximity, growing business climates throughout the region, a ratcheting up in demand for corporate meetings and the movement toward recognizing all the Americas as One, Latin America is not just for incentive groups anymore.
Bonus Trend #2 – So is Japan. Interest in conference centers in Japan is growing faster than in many other established regions in the world. Corporate Japan is actively embracing the meetings concept that Europe and America adopted over a quarter century ago. Proposals for new purpose-built conference centers in Japan are surfacing every day and the country is projected to lead the concept as it migrates throughout Asia.
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Marker InfoComm releases iHAMMS Direct

Marker InfoComm has released iHAMMS Direct, an update to its well-known system for connecting existing hotel Property Management Systems (PMS) and CRM/Loyalty Programs directly to over 35 Frequent Flyer Programs. iHAMMS tools currently provide FFP connectivity for over 2000 hotels worldwide, and reconciles every transaction sent to an FFP program for accurate hotel billing and accounting. (www.ihamms.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • PAS to offer Infor’s FMS SunSystems and PM Business Process Analytics

PAS has contracted with Infor to provide Infor’s FMS SunSystems and PM Business Process Analytics (BPAs) to PAS’ hotel customers. FMS SunSystems is a complete financial management application; PM BPAs make strategic management, planning and budgeting, forecasting and financial reporting faster, easier and more efficient. (www.infor.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • JHM Hotels selects MTech’s PMWorks for 30 properties
  • Telkonet announces new SS1107 Energy Management Controller

JHM Hotels has selected MTech’s PMWorks to provide its 30 U.S.-based properties with ASP-based maintenance management. The South Carolina-based company operates its properties under various brands, including Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and Hyatt. (www.jhmhotels.com, www.m-tech.com)
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Telkonet has announced its new SS1107 Energy Management Controller, with enhanced communications functions for better interoperability with other equipment. The SS1107 includes a dedicated port for high-speed communication and the ability to support future mesh networking technology. (www.telkonet.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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