March 29th, 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

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

MARCH 16 – 29, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • The challenge of Quality Assurance
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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how extraordinarily difficult it is to perform thorough quality assurance (QA) on today’s management systems. The more comprehensive we ask the vendors to make them, and the more sub-systems we ask for them to be integrated with, the more the complexity of the end product increases exponentially. If you’re going to be certain of flawless system performance under all circumstances, you have to test every possible combination of configurations, interfaces and user actions.


You can’t of course; current systems are just too powerful, flexible and, therefore, complex. Someone once defined how you know when you’re finished with testing; it’s when you’re out of time and budget. In addition to testing how a new enhancement needs to work, the circumstances that gave rise to every new problem encountered in a test lab or by any customer in live operations need to be documented and incorporated into all ongoing test scripts, all of which must be automated just because of the sheer volume of actions to be covered.


This puts vendors in a difficult position; the volume of testing required to be reasonably certain that:
(a) all the new features and bug fixes work as intended, and
(b) you didn’t break anything that was working before
will never stop growing. It’s clearly far too much to be handled manually, yet writing automated test scripts to cover every possible combination of circumstances is incredibly time-consuming, and probably never-ending, especially for systems that were designed many years ago without automated testing in mind.


So much of this comes down to expectations management. Every hotel will tell you, “You don’t understand; we do things differently here.” And to some extent they’re right; no two people ever do everything just the same way. As a result it’s only to be expected that some will try to use systems in ways the designers never imagined, and will uncover bugs. Every new release must therefore be expected to have some flaws in the new functions, and every hotel must expect them and be on the look-out for them.


But equally users have every right to expect that fundamental, basic operations will continue to function unchanged regardless of how many enhancements or bug fixes are incorporated into a new release. Larger and more complex hotels and resorts will gain a lot of reassurance from maintaining a test system that can be used to verify new releases against their own operating procedures, but even then some things will probably only crop up later in real-world circumstances. A vendor’s support reputation rests on how seldom this happens, and on how quickly it comes up with a fix when it does.


Automated regression testing is therefore an essential, critical part of each vendor’s toolkit. Nonetheless, a simple, manual check that you can still make reservations, check guests in, post charges to their accounts and check them out may still catch some overlooked problem that has no business getting anywhere near an operating hotel.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Marcie Hyder promoted to CFO and EVP at Pegasus
  • Kevin Housh promoted to VP and controller at Pegasus
  • Alan Goldschneider hired by runtriz as Managing Director EMEA

Marcie Hyder has been promoted to chief financial officer and executive vice president at Pegasus Solutions; she has been with Pegasus for 10 years, most recently as vice president and controller. Prior to Pegasus, Ms. Hyder was director of financial reporting for Builders FirstSource, and earlier served in financial roles with Brinker International and KPMG.


Kevin Housh will take over Ms. Hyder’s responsibilities as vice president and controller; he joined Pegasus in August 2009 as director of Accounting.
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Alan Goldschneider has been hired by runtriz as Managing Director of EMEA operations, based in its new centralized offices in Tel Aviv, Israel. Mr. Goldschneider has served in management roles at Morgan’s Hotel in New York, Cunard Hotels, The Ritz London, LaToc Suites in St. Lucia, Paradise Beach Club in Barbados, Hotel Atop the Bellevue in Philadelphia, and The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. He also served at the Soho Grand Hotel in New York, Hotel Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica, Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, and David Geffen’s Malibu Beach Inn.
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • AC Hotels by Marriott picks MICROS’ centrally-hosted OPERA and Simphony for 91 properties
  • InnQuest releases roomMaster interface with LeisureLink channel management
  • Berkley Group orders SPI Software’s timeshare management suite
  • The Village at Lyons deploys SoftBrands’ Medallion
  • Best Western Premier Miami International picks MSI’s WinPM and Place Point

AC Hotels by Marriott has picked MICROS’ OPERA software for its 91 properties in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.  The modules selected include Property Management and Back Office, as well as MICROS’ Simphony Enterprise Restaurant POS; the applications will be centrally hosted at the MICROS Frankfurt Datacenter and delivered using cloud computing technology.  Deployment will begin in May 2011 and is scheduled to be complete by year-end. (www.ac-hotels.com, www.micros.com)
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InnQuest has released an interface for its roomMaster HMS with LeisureLink’s distribution channel management application, using its iQ-WorldLink module. The 42-room Thunderbird Inn, in Savannah, GA, beta tested the integration. (www.thethunderbirdinn.com, www.LeisureLink.com, www.innquest.com)
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The Berkley Group has ordered SPI Software’s timeshare management suite. Formerly known as D.E.L. Management Corp, the company manages the development, sales, and marketing operations of timeshare resorts in Florida, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, Virginia, and Tennessee.  (www.spiinc.com)
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The Village at Lyons in County Kildare, Ireland, has deployed SoftBrands’ Medallion hospitality management system following a major renovation and the addition of 14 new rooms. (www.villageatlyons.com, www.infor.com/hospitality)
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The 144-room Best Western Premier Miami International Airport Hotel and Suites has chosen MSI’s WinPM HMS and Place Point POS. (www.bestwestern.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • InnLink releases iLINK mobile booking engine
  • Availpro releases Facebook booking engine
  • Expedia announces Expedia Hotels mobile app for iPhone and iPod Touch
  • Egencia announces impending launch of new mobile capabilities
  • Trust moves main systems into new data center, upgrades disaster recovery system
  • Heritage Hotels and Resorts picks Pegasus for full reservations services

InnLink has released its iLINK mobile booking engine, allowing travelers to make hotel reservations on the go and receive confirmations both on the phone and via email. The interface includes room photos, descriptions and available rate plans as well as Corporate, Group and Discount rates. Pacific West Hotels & Resorts has implemented the mobile booking engine for its La Bellasera Hotel & Suites property. (www.labellasera.com, www.innlink.com)
**
Availpro released its Facebook booking engine, allowing internet users to book directly on a hotel’s Facebook page. Fifty hotels have already implemented the interface, including the California Hotel in Paris. (www.availpro.com)
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Expedia.com announced its Expedia Hotels app for the iPhone and iPod Touch (without specifying a launch date), its first app since acquiring mobile software developer Mobiata. Key features include an interactive map of hotels in the area around the phone, selectable by price, TripAdvisor rating, popularity or distance. (www.expedia.com)
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Expedia’s Egencia division announced the second-quarter launch of new mobile capabilities for business travelers and corporate clients, including smart Itineraries, flight schedules and online check-in, interactive maps for all trip segments (including directions), location-relevant flight/transportation alerts, easy access to travel agents and weather forecasts.
The app will support eight languages: US and UK English, French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch.
(www.egencia.com)
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Trust International has moved its main systems into a new IBM-designed data center for improved response times, expandability, security and support.

Also in conjunction with IBM, Trust has also upgraded its disaster recovery (DR) system to be more flexible and to improve the recovery time.
(www.trustinternational.com)
**
Heritage Hotels and Resorts has contracted with Pegasus Solutions for its RezView NG central reservation system, NetBooker NG Internet booking engine, commission processing services and private label voice services, and has switched to Pegasus’ Utell Connect for global distribution. Heritage offers seven historic properties, six in New Mexico and one in Arizona. (www.hhandr.com, www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Travelclick acquires Rubicon
  • Lodging Interactive rolls out Mobile SMS Text Marketing services

Travelclick has acquired Rubicon, adding its intelligence reports to the existing RateVIEW, SearchVIEW and Hotelligence360 offerings. Tim Hart, former CEO of Rubicon, will become executive vice president and head of Travelclick’s business intelligence division. (www.rubicongroup.com, www.travelclick.net)
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Lodging Interactive has rolled out its Mobile SMS Text Marketing services for guest and prospective guest mobile communications. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • LeisureLink releases interface with InnQuest’s roomMaster
  • Galt House Hotel deploys interface between EZYield and Passkey
  • Swiss-Belhotel International implements EZYield at 20 new properties
  • Lixto receives Travel Innovation award at Travel Distribution and Investment Summit
  • IDeaS integrates RateGain’s ChannelGain and PriceGain-Hotels applications with RMS
  • Pan Pacific signs with SiteMinder for distribution channel services

LeisureLink has released an interface for its distribution channel management application with InnQuest’s roomMaster hospitality management system, using the iQ-WorldLink module. The 42-room Thunderbird Inn, in Savannah, GA, beta tested the integration. (www.thethunderbirdinn.com, www.LeisureLink.com, www.innquest.com)
**
Galt House Hotel has deployed an interface between EZYield’s rate management tool for group inventory and Passkey’s online group reservation application, allowing it to sell room upgrades and extended stays to its group guests automatically.  The hotel offers 1,290 guestrooms, 124,000 square-feet of convention space and more than 50 meeting rooms.


Swiss-Belhotel International is implementing EZYield’s channel management application at 20 new properties in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, including Sydney, Bali, Jakarta, Dubai and Doha.
(www.GaltHouse.com, www.swiss-belhotel.com, www.ezyield.com, www.passkey.com)
**
Lixto has received the Travel Innovation award at the Trends and Innovation Travel Distribution and Investment Summit; the award recognizes the product or service with the greatest ability to change the way people make decisions and that demonstrates significant impact on the optimization of the travel and tourism industry. Lixto’s Price Intelligence Suite provides managers with data on competitors’ pricing strategies by monitoring thousands of offerings, rate points, ratings and reviews across multiple websites. Users receive results online through dashboards and reports that highlight possible threats and opportunities. (www.lixto.com)
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IDeaS has integrated RateGain’s ChannelGain and PriceGain-Hotels applications with its IDeaS Revenue Management System (RMS) to distribute approved updates to different channels through a single interface. Launch client for this interface is the Grand Millennium in Dubai. (www.rategain.com, www.ideas.com)
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Pan Pacific Hotels has signed with online hotel distributor SiteMinder to link its Opera ORS central reservation system with major online distribution channels, worldwide. Singapore-based Pan Pacific owns and/or manages over 30 hotels in Asia and North America under its Pan Pacific and PARKROYAL brands. (www.panpacific.com¸www.siteminder.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Galt House Hotel deploys interface between EZYield and Passkey

Galt House Hotel has deployed an interface between EZYield’s rate management tool for group inventory and Passkey’s online group reservation application, allowing it to sell room upgrades and extended stays to its group guests automatically.  The hotel offers 1,290 guestrooms, 124,000 square-feet of convention space and more than 50 meeting rooms. (www.GaltHouse.com, www.ezyield.com, www.passkey.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • AC Hotels by Marriott picks MICROS’ centrally-hosted Simphony Enterprise Restaurant POS for 91 sites
  • Uncorkd releases Web-based application for creating wine lists on an iPad tablet

AC Hotels by Marriott has picked MICROS’ Simphony Enterprise Restaurant POS and MICROS’ OPERA software for its 91 properties in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.  The applications will be centrally hosted at the MICROS Frankfurt Datacenter and delivered using cloud computing technology.  Deployment will begin in May 2011 and is scheduled to be complete by year-end. (www.ac-hotels.com, www.micros.com)
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Uncorkd has released a Web-based application for restaurants, hotels and nightclubs to create their own wine lists on an iPad tablet. (www.uncorkd.biz)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Hôtel de Crillon, Paris, selects Quadriga’s Sensiq
  • Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas deploys Evolve Guest Controls in over 2,700 rooms
  • Flyte Systems expands flight information service internationally, starting with South America and Caribbean
  • at-visions ONEvision Hotel TV displays now include a WiFi access point
  • Novotel picks TeleAdapt’s MediaHub as brand standard for new properties
  • O’Rourke releases version 2 of Smartstay mobile platform

The 147-room Hôtel de Crillon, Paris, has selected Quadriga’s Sensiq for its guest communications portal and TV content. (www.crillon.com, www.quadriga.com)
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The Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV has deployed Evolve Guest Controls LCD Director Series guestroom management system, managing over 65,000 devices in over 2,700 rooms. Guests can wirelessly control each room’s motorized drapes, communicate privacy/service room requests to housekeeping, activate various lighting scenes, adjust the temperature, and put the room into energy efficiency mode when unoccupied.  (www.wynnlasvegas.com , www.eguestcontrols.com)
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Flyte Systems has expanded its real-time airline flight information service internationally, starting with hotels in South America and the Caribbean.  Launch clients include the San Juan Marriot Resort & Stellaris Casino, the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, the Marriott Aruba Resort & Stellaris Casino, and, in the near future, the JW Marriot in Lima, Peru. (www.flytesystems.com)
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at-visions ONEvision Hotel TV displays are now equipped with a WiFi access point to provide wireless internet coverage in each guestroom. (www.at-visions.com)
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Novotel has chosen TeleAdapt’s three MediaHub models as a brand standard for new Novotel properties. It was recently implemented in the new 370-room Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit, Thailand; Novotel plans to open 15 new hotels and renovate several others in 2011. (www.novotel.com, www.teleadapt.com)
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O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing has released version 2 of its Smartstay mobile platform, in conjunction with development partner DeCare Systems Ireland. Enhancements include multilingual functionality, Google Analytics tracking, custom-designed landing pages, custom navigation tabs and RSS feeds for real-time weather forecasts, local news, Twitter feeds, etc. (www.smartstayapp.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Service Tracking Systems integrates Shift4 payment processing into Computerized Valet Parking System

Service Tracking Systems has integrated Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET payment processing into its Computerized Valet Parking System (CVPS). Guests’ charges can be billed directly to their rooms, and non-hotel guests can be immediately charged through the hotel’s POS system with payment data securely processed and archived by Shift4. (www.ServiceTrackingSystems.net, www.shift4.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Wyndham Worldwide deploying Adaco’s .NET system enterprise-wide

Wyndham Worldwide is deploying Adaco’s .NET system enterprise-wide for procurement and cost control of food, beverage and non-food items. The initial roll out includes Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. & Caribbean; other divisions and regions will follow, eventually covering all Wyndham brands. (www.wyndhamworldwide.com, www.adaco.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Palms Hotel & Spa implements Phybridge UniPhyer to upgrade IP, HSAI service
  • BelAir Networks announces BelAir100LP LTE Picocell outdoor cell base station
  • Defero3 authorizes EscapeWire Solutions as sales/service distributor

The Palms Hotel & Spa, on Miami’s South Beach has implemented Phybridge UniPhyer equipment to migrate its 251 guestrooms to IP telephony and improved Ethernet services over its existing network. (www.thepalmshotel.com, www.phybridge.com)
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BelAir Networks announced its new BelAir100LP LTE Picocell, a compact outdoor small cell base station that combines LTE and 802.11n Wi-Fi and can be installed and activated within 15 minutes. (www.belairnetworks.com)
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Defero3 has authorized Buffalo, NY-based EscapeWire Solutions to sell, install and service its hosted PBX solution. (www.escapewire.com, www.Defero3.com)
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SECURITY

  • Marina Bay Sands in Singapore completes installation of Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes

The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore has completed installation of Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes. (www.marinabaysands.com, www.elsafe.com)
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