March 6, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

FEBRUARY 15 – MARCH 6, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Microsoft’s Windows 8 beta points the way to touch-screen interfaces, but will they be any faster?

Spring is in the air and things are definitely stirring – just look at the number of People On The Move below! It’s also a traditional time for new announcements by Apple, whose new iPad is due to be announced tomorrow (as I write this) and which always prompts thoughts as to how we might improve the usability of systems in general and hotel systems in particular. Not to disparage Apple’s aesthetic inspiration, but the directions Microsoft takes are usually more meaningful for mainstream users, and this week’s release of the Public Beta version of Windows 8 is therefore highly significant.
Its tile-based screen design, an enhancement of Microsoft’s Phone software approach, is both visually appealing and intuitively useful, with various tiles displaying brief information on their underlying context such as the number of unread e-mails. The applicability to hospitality management systems is obvious – different tiles could easily lead to lists of arriving guests, in-house groups, VIPs or other categories of information – but I’m just as interested in whether this will lead to a more touch-based interface in general.
Clearly many vendors have been moving towards this, as witness the number of tablet-based versions of systems now available. Few, however, have changed the fundamental design of their user interfaces towards a primarily touchscreen approach, with the notable and admirable exception of PAR Springer-Miller’s Atrio system. Most have ported their standard screen designs over to touch-screen devices and left it to the users to cope as best they can with fingers somewhat larger than ideal for the small target buttons. Microsoft’s new approach shows much more promise, although as with Atrio it remains to be seen how far the metaphor can be applied into more detailed functions such as setting up a multi-day, multi-room type group block with complex charge routing.
One thing I am curious about, though, is whether this touch-screen direction will actually produce faster processing of routine functions such as check-ins. When mouse-driven graphical user interfaces were first introduced they were always slower than traditional keyboard-based approaches, due to the need to focus and carefully position the cursor before clicking the mouse. With time, however, a generation of users brought up on Windows and gaming consoles closed the gap and began to see keyboards as the slower option. Will touch-screens be faster or slower? Drop me a line (jon@joninge.com) and let me know what you think.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Dayna Kully joins Enseo as Vice President, Hospitality Business Development
  • Mario Agrario named CEO at Bartech Systems
  • Debra Golden promoted to Director of Teleprospecting Services at Hospitality Softnet
  • Michael McCartan appointed CEO at eRevMax International
  • Phillip Spencer appointed to Board of Directors at LodgeNet
  • Alicia Pavignano promoted to Director of Client Services for Lodging Interactive
  • Rosella Virdo promoted to Director of Social Media Marketing for Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle
  • Ulf Guldi hired by Your Hotel Worldwide as Regional Sales Director – Germany
  • Aamir Shaheen joins EasyRMS as Director of Finance
  • Suneil Aggarwal promoted to Interim Chief Operations Officer at Guest-tek

Dayna Kully has joined Enseo as Vice President, Hospitality Business Development. Most recently serving five years with Corning MobileAccess as Senior Director Channel & Market Strategy – Wireless Carriers, Ms. Kully brings 30 years of experience in sales, channel development, marketing and senior level management. Prior to Mobile Access, she served as Vice President Sales & Marketing with IP3 Networks, and as Director, Custom Network Solutions at Sprint/Nextel.
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Mario Agrario has been named CEO at Bartech Systems International. Mr. Agrario was one of the original cofounders of Bartech, and has served in top management positions for more than 20 years, most recently as Bartech’s Americas division president since 2005. He had earlier held the title of corporate vice president of research and development for eight years and director of engineering systems in EMEA for seven years, and has held a position on Bartech’s board of directors since 1991. Before cofounding Bartech, Mr. Agrario served as vice president of research and development at Hexequip, a developer of TV antennas, satellite systems, and internal video and sound systems for the hotel industry.
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Debra Golden has been promoted to Director of Teleprospecting Services at Hospitality Softnet. Before joining Hospitality Softnet three years ago she was with Marriott Hotels & Resorts, where she won the Chairman’s Circle Award.
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Michael McCartan has been appointed CEO at eRevMax International; he was hired as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in September 2010. Prior to joining eRevMax, Mr. McCartan was VP Product Management at Pegasus Solutions.
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Phillip Spencer has been appointed to the Board of Directors at LodgeNet Interactive Corp. Mr. Spencer is Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Windjammer Communications, and was earlier President and CEO of Aplus.Net and President and CEO of Everest Connections.
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Alicia Pavignano has been promoted from Manager to Director of Client Services for Lodging Interactive. Prior to joining Lodging Interactive Ms. Pavignano held senior management positions with various national media companies based in New York.
Rosella Virdo has been promoted from Manager to Director of Social Media Marketing for Lodging Interactive’s CoMMingle division. Ms. Virdo brings more than 25 years advertising and marketing experience, working in operational and management positions for various advertising agencies throughout New York and New Jersey.
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Ulf Guldi has been hired by Your Hotel Worldwide as Regional Sales Director – Germany. Bringing over twelve years’ experience in hotel sales, Mr. Guldi was previously Sales Manager for Germany for RateTiger.
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Aamir Shaheen has joined Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) as its Director of Finance, based in EasyRMS’ London office. Mr. Shaheen had previously held the role of Finance Director at SAM (Self-Assessment Method) Learning, a provider of online education for schools, and had earlier spent 10 years in the print and media industry as European Financial Controller at Schawk Inc. and Seven Worldwide.
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Suneil Aggarwal has been promoted to Interim Chief Operations Officer at Guest-tek.  Mr. Aggarweil has been with Guest-tek for 10 years in several Executive positions, most recently as Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Hunley Hotel & Golf Club is first UK client for Infor10 SoftBrands HMS
  • SoftBrands formally releases latest version of Infor10 SoftBrands HMS
  • Shearings Holidays deploys SoftBrands’ Classic Starlight GMS across 48 properties
  • The Mark Anthony Group of Companies chooses Cenium for 6 locations
  • MISComputer announces Head’sUp FD proximity badge-based login/logout for front desk agents
  • MSI releases “nTouch” mobile application for Apple hand-held devices
  • Hospitality Partners selects SKYWARE for three hotels
  • Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group picks centrally-hosted MICROS OPERA, S&C and Simphony POS for ten sites
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto implements MICROS OPERA and Restaurant Enterprise applications
  • Gracesoft announces Smart Device mobile interface for its Easy InnKeeping  software
  • Island One Resorts selects SPI Software’s Orange Enterprise Suite for 8 resorts

Hunley Hotel & Golf Club on England’s Yorkshire coast has chosen Infor10 SoftBrands HMS. Planned to go live this month, the 30-room hotel is the first UK site to deploy HMS in the cloud.
SoftBrands has formally released the latest version of its Infor10 SoftBrands HMS, in both on-premise and cloud-based formats. Enhancements include Infor10 Workspace, a more consumer-style user interface, additional mobility functions for agents and housekeepers, the ability to track and respond to user generated content for improvements in reputation management and social marketing campaigns, and in-context analysis of data such as a guest’s previous stay and preference information to help reservation agents provide relevant upsell offers.
UK tour operator Shearings Holidays has deployed SoftBrands Classic Starlight Guest Management System across its 48 properties, hosted at SoftBrands’ Frankfurt data center and accessed by property staff via Citrix. Implementation of the systems for all 48 properties at the data center was achieved in three hours.
(www.hunleyhotel.co.uk, www.shearings.com, www.infor.com/solutions/hospitality/)
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Vancouver, BC-based The Mark Anthony Group of Companies has chosen Cenium as its ERP system, replacing existing systems for CRM, PMS, Sales and Catering, POS, gift cards and loyalty at its Mission Hill Family Estate winery in the Okanagan Valley, and replacing all CRM, POS and loyalty programs at its five retail locations across British Columbia in a single fully hosted configuration. Implementation began last December of 2011. (markanthony.com, www.cenium.com)
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MISComputer has announced its Head’sUp FD utility, a proximity badge-based login/logout approach for front desk agents that eliminates the manual login/logout procedure. (www.miscomputer.com)
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Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has released its “nTouch” mobile application for the iTouch, iPhone, and iPad electronic hand-held devices. (www.msisolutions.com)
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Hospitality Partners has selected SKYWARE Hospitality Solutions’ multi-property enterprise software for three of its resort hotels in Ocean City, Maryland, the Carousel Resort Hotel (330 rooms), Atlantic Oceanfront Inn (60 rooms) and the Coastal Palms Hotel and Suites (95 rooms). Modules to be installed include Front Office, Sales and Catering, Restaurant Point of Sale and Guest Analytics. (www.skywaresystems.com)
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Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group has chosen MICROS Systems cloud-based systems for its ten hotels in Ireland and the UK. The four Moran Hotels already use OPERA and will be migrated to a centrally-hosted configuration; this will also be implemented at the six Bewley’s Hotels, replacing their existing systems. Moran & Bewley’s will also implement centralized sales & catering, website integration and MICROS Simphony POS system at all ten sites.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, which opened on January 31, 2012, implemented MICROS OPERA Enterprise and Restaurant Enterprise applications, including Guest Management System, Vacation Ownership and Customer Information System modules.
(www.moranhotels.com, www.bewleyshotels.com, www.trumptoronto.ca, www.micros.com)
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Gracesoft has announced a Smart Device interface allowing managers and hotel staff to manage their Easy InnKeeping reservation and hotel software from Apple, Android and Blackberry devices. (www.easyinnkeeping.com)
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Island One Resorts has selected SPI Software’s Orange Enterprise Suite to handle all aspects of its operations including sales and marketing, central reservations, property management, resort operations, and web-based access to reservations and account management for its owners. The Orlando-based timeshare developer operates Club Navigo and manages eight resorts in Florida including Barefoot’n Resort, Bryan’s Spanish Cove, Liki Tiki Village, Orbit One Vacation Villas and Parkway International Resort in Orlando; The Crescent Resort on South Beach, Miami; Charter Club Resort of Naples Bay in the historic downtown Naples and The Cove on Ormond Beach. (www.islandone.com, www.spiinc.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Sceptre acquires Whiteboard Labs as part of joint venture
  • Worldhotels integrates Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade into its ResMaster 3 Internet booking engine
  • TourOnline integrates DIRS system with Trust International
  • Groupize launches beta online booking engine for groups needing 5-25 rooms
  • InnLink launches VisitUs suite of booking software for  DMOs and CVBs
  • GoMio’s youth hostel reservation system uses Appnostic’s SocialBooker app for hostel Facebook pages

Sceptre Hospitality Resources’s parent company City e-Solutions Limited (CES) has entered into a joint venture with Whiteboard Labs, under which all of Whiteboard’s assets, products, R&D, patents, facilities and staff in Shanghai, China, and Houston and Austin, Texas will become part of Sceptre.  Sceptre recently moved its 620 hotels to Whiteboard Labs’ Windsurfer CRS. (www.sceptrehospitality.com, www.whiteboardlabs.com)
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Worldhotels has integrated Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade into its ResMaster 3 Internet booking engine, allowing its collection of 500+ independent hotels make customized upsell offers for each reservation. (www.worldhotels.com, www.nor1.com)
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Germany’s TourOnline has integrated its DIRS system with Trust International; 250 of its hotels will use Trust’s technology in background processing. (www.touronline.ag, www.trustinternational.com)
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Groupize has launched a beta version of its hotel booking engine, which offers group rates and availability at over 25,000 hotels.  A Group’s Page offers planning tools such as an “Evite-like” invitation tool and a central hub for tracking signups and specific modifications to the group. The software is targeted at groups of 5-25 rooms or more, typically organizers of family reunions, weddings, business trips, girl’s weekend getaways, family vacations, sport trips, etc., and launches with a “best rate guarantee” that users will not find better group rates anywhere else on the web. (groupize.com)
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InnLink has launched its VisitUs suite of hospitality booking software for Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) and Convention and Visitors Bureaus (CVBs), helping them package, distribute and sell activities in their areas. VisitUs supports accommodations, transportation, events and attractions bookings by visitors within a consolidated reservation and confirmation system.  (www.visituscrs.com )
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Appnostic has partnered with GoMio, linking GoMio’s youth hostel reservation system with Appnostic’s SocialBooker booking App for hostel Facebook Fan Pages and allowing travelers to book at more than 5,000 hostels worldwide without leaving their Facebook accounts. (ww.gomio.com, www.appnostic.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Olery announces Feedback system using on-site tablets or computers to obtain guests’ feedback
  • Lodging Interactive releases InnterACT online client portal for website analytics, KPIs and social media monitoring
  • Lodging Interactive extends Link2Brand URL service to include branded Google+ Business Pages
  • Pegasus receives Gold Adrian Award for trade show marketing campaign
  • Thirteen TravelClick customers receive Adrian Awards for excellence in digital marketing
  • Appnostic enhances SEO offerings to include Google+ “social search” results
  • Uniguest picks Ascension Software (formerly GBCblue) to develop guest portal and mobile applications
  • Five hotel companies select Aptech

Amsterdam-based Olery formally announced its Feedback guest-input system, which is being pilot-tested by several properties. The system uses tablets or computers in guestrooms, hotel restaurants and lobbies to obtain guests’ feedback while they are on-site so the property can respond swiftly. Feedback can also be accessed from guests’ laptops or mobile devices. The remotely-hosted software is customizable, available in multiple languages and comes with the ability to drill down on the data based on the restaurant, spa, hotel floor or specific room. (www.olery.com)
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Lodging Interactive has released its InnterACT online client portal, offering real-time website analytics, key performance metrics and social media monitoring tools. The dashboard allows hoteliers to:
– View real-time analytics for a website and/or blog (traffic, keywords, top landing pages, referring sites, etc.)
– Access real-time Search Engine Rankings and keyword reports
– Download archived weekly and monthly management reports
– Monitor a hotel’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
– Create personalized analytics via the dashboard for quick reference on key performance indicators
– Create customized PDF reports to share with others
– Export data into Excel
Lodging Interactive has extended its Link2Brand URL service to include branded Google+ Business Pages, allowing hotels to replace typically cryptic URLs with more recognizable links such as http://GPlusPage.biz/HotelName/G+. Lodging Interactive offers a Google+ Page Creation service for hotels; its subsidiary CoMMingle manages the page for effective positioning on Google+.
(www.Link2Brands.com, www.lodginginteractive.com)
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Pegasus Solutions has been recognized by the HSMAI with a Gold Adrian Award for trade show marketing campaign excellence, based on its ‘Pegasus in the News’ trade show campaign. (www.pegs.com)
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Thirteen of TravelClick’s customers were recognized with HSMAI’s annual Adrian Awards for excellence in digital marketing, using TravelClick-designed websites, GDS campaigns or social media work:
The Ritz London – Gold, Website Design
The Residence – Gold, Website Design
Hotel SOHO Barcelona – Silver, Website Design
Villa Zolitude – Silver, Website Design
Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – Silver, Website Design
Zeavola – Bronze, Website Design
Anabella Hotel – Bronze, Website Design
Hidden Pond – Bronze, Website Design
Shelborne – Bronze, Website Design
Shepard’s Beach Resort – Bronze, Website Design
Four Seasons Hotel Mexico City – Bronze, GDS Campaign
JW Marriott Lima – Bronze, GDS Campaign
Solis Lough Eske Castle – Bronze, Social Media Campaign
(www.adrianawards.com, www.TravelClick.com)
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Appnostic has released enhanced its SEO offerings to manage Google’s recent algorithm change, which include Google+ “social search” results more prominently in page rankings. (www.appnostic.com)
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Uniguest has picked Ascension Software (formerly GBCblue) to develop guest portal and mobile applications for Apple and Android platforms, allowing Uniguest’s customers to reach guests across web, mobile, and television platforms. Uniguest will also add the PMS authentication and post-to-folio functionality of ORION to its existing kiosks. (www.ascensionsoftware.com, www.uniguest.com)
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Five hotel companies have selected Aptech Computer Systems:
– Krushiker Hospitality Group will implement Profitvue and Webvue enterprise accounting software to centralize back office accounting and reporting for seven hotels.
– Century Management and TRN Hotel Management will also implement the Profitvue and Webvue accounting systems for multi-property operations.
– Strand Development will upgrade to the newest version of the Execuvue Business Intelligence system for its 65-property operation.
– An un-named hotel company based Beverly Hills, CA, has selected Execuvue for implementation in 1Q ’12. (khghotels.com, www.stranddevelopment.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • BTG-JIANGUO Hotels & Resorts contracts with IDeaS for revenue optimization services
  • IDeaS announces Pricing System (PS) for hotel managers at budget, economy or midscale properties
  • Hotels4u.com integrates RateGain’sChannelGain channel management software
  • TravelClick launches Rate360 rate shopping product
  • H-Top Hotels Group implements Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager
  • SiteMinder expands online distribution network with six more travel agent sites
  • TripAlertz Travel Solutions announces Deal Distribution System
  • Vacation Internationale selects TimeShareWare Resorts-4-Rent

BTG-JIANGUO Hotels & Resorts has contracted with IDeaS Revenue Solutions to develop a strategic approach to revenue optimization throughout the group. BTG-JIANGUO currently operates member hotels in Beijing, Tianjin and 18 other provinces across China and is targeting to manage 100 hotels by the end of 2013. IDeaS will advise on various aspects of pricing, forecasting and optimization at both group and property levels.
IDeaS Revenue Solutions has announced its IDeaS Pricing System (PS), intended to enable hotel managers at budget, economy or midscale properties to forecast occupancy more accurately, set daily room rates quickly and make more competitive pricing decisions. IDeaS Pricing System is in controlled release for a limited number of charter clients and is scheduled to be generally available in the second half of 2012.
(www.btgjianguo.com.cn, www.ideas.com)
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Thomas Cook’s Hotels4u.com has integrated RateGain’sChannelGain online channel management software. Hotels using ChannelGain can update a range of rates and multiple channels in one step, and the updated rates will be immediately available to customers shopping hotels on Hotels4u.com. (www.hotels4u.com, www.rategain.com)
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TravelClick has launched its Rate360 rate shopping product, which integrates ten billion hotel rates from more than 400 sources onto a single platform to help hoteliers manage their property’s pricing strategy and ensure rate parity across multiple channels. The cloud-based software allows hotels to manage critical items only or drill down for more in-depth data with guided analytics and flexible filtering; Rate360 can also be integrated into a hotel’s revenue management system. (www.TravelClick.com)
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Spain’s H-Top Hotels Group has implemented Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager to enable its 14 hotels to manage their online bookings on distributor websites. (www.htophotels.com, www.availpro.com)
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SiteMinder has expanded its online distribution network with six more online travel agent sites:
* Atrapalo, covering Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in South America
* Hotel Shop UK,  specializing in discounted bookings for UK and European accommodation and short stays
* Travel Stay, offering affordable accommodation across the UK, especially London, Edinburgh
and Glasgow
* Priceline Hong Kong
* Inntopia, a software provider powering sites such as Tourism Whistler
* Worldview, specializing in hotels and serviced apartments in the UK and around the world.
(www.siteminder.com)
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TripAlertz Travel Solutions has announced its Deal Distribution System (DDS), intended to ‘aggregate the aggregators’ and allow hoteliers to place large volumes of unsold inventory with an international network of private member websites. Distributions can be customized; options include:
– Global geographic targeting with custom-designed distribution;
– Providing add-ons or even “opaque” pricing to protect rate parity;
– Date-specific offer windows that drive bookings only during need periods;
– Travelzoo Top 20 listings, for select, mutually agreed offers;
– Access to TripAlertz’s targeted affiliate publisher networks;
– SEO/SEM/CPC support and other resources to optimize yield.
Travel suppliers can use the Deal Management Console (DMC) to offer two options for redeeming reservations, either booking real-time or booking with the flexibility of a voucher. (www.tripalertz.com/)
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Timeshare operator Vacation Internationale (VI) has selected TimeShareWare (TSW) Resorts-4-Rent (R4R) software to facilitate GDS inventory exposure and reservation bookings via Marketspan by LeisureLink for its resorts in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Marketspan will update inventory availability and rates and send reservations directly into VI’s TimeShareWare system. (www.viresorts.com, www.leisurelink.com, www.timeshareware.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • PSAV receives Bronze Stevie Award for Sales & Customer Service
  • Newmarket wins 2012 MarketTools ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Award
  • Benchmark Hospitality announces Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2012
  • MeetingRoomNow.com launches online booking site for hotel meeting rooms

PSAV Presentation Services has received a Bronze Stevie Award for Sales & Customer Service in the “Best Use of Technology for Customer Services” category, for its Survey Portal Access system. SPA gives PSAV employees the data necessary to respond to customer concerns immediately and alerts regional management if there is a sub-par response by a client who wishes to be contacted about an issue. (www.psav.com)
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Newmarket International has won 2012 MarketTools ACE (Achievement in Customer Excellence) Awards in the areas of Worldwide Customer Support, Platinum Customer Support, Americas Customer Support, and Americas Project Management, the sixth consecutive year it has received ACE Awards. (www.markettools.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Benchmark Hospitality has announced its “Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2012,” as observed by its properties:
#1 – Luxury is coming back, if cautiously.  Luxury resorts are no longer shunned but meeting budgets are still being closely monitored.
#2 – Meeting demand is growing, is at its strongest since 2008 and is trending up across all industry segments.
#3 – Meeting size is also trending up, space is at a premium and properties are being more selective with the bookings they take.  Planners can no longer expect to book a meeting 30 days out and receive premium space at bargain prices.
#4 – Meeting spaces need to be more creative as planners look for properties with outsized meeting rooms, out of doors, inspirational and non-traditional nooks & crannies for small gatherings and breakouts inside.
#5 – Meetings technology has leapt into the mobile world, with apps downloaded to phones and tablets, mobile sites and meeting-dedicated Facebook pages assisting registration, event itinerary access, and offering an easier method to gather feedback from participants post event.
#6 – Demand for meeting packages has rebounded. Instead of unbundling, planners today are more apt to request customization of the meeting package.
#7 – Meeting pricing is slowly trending up.  Planners are still looking for the best value, but pricing push-back is on the wane.
#8 – Teambuilding budgets continue to rise, with groups looking for unique half-day options onsite and offsite.  Properties with creative, built-in teambuilding opportunities such as volleyball on the beach, kitchens designed for cooking classes, mixology programs and even golf courses are winning meetings business.
#9 – Training budgets are up as corporate America renews its focus on having the best trained sales and management teams possible to survive future challenges.  Training is more intense and meetings tend to be longer than previously.
#10 – The Meeting destination is as important as the venue, as companies want to balance time invested in a meeting with recreational experiences.
One More Trend … Socially Responsible Meetings and the need to give back remain strong.  From initiatives like Clean the World to an afternoon supporting Habitat for Humanity or a local Soup Kitchen, investing in the community is as important for planners and conferees as it is for the hotel or resort serving as the meeting venue.  Socially responsible meetings are no longer just about helping clean up the environment, they’re about helping corporate teams learn ways to more actively integrate into their local community and help develop and strengthen its social fabric.
(www.benchmarkhospitality.com)
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MeetingRoomNow.com has launched an online booking site for hotel meeting rooms. Hotels enter their inventory through a secure portal and can adjust pricing as the time to booking shrinks. Meeting planners enter their requirements (date, budget, city, location, number of people, venue type, etc.) and can book immediately from the available rooms presented without having to go through an RFP process or pay a membership fee.  (MeetingRoomNow.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group chooses MICROS’ Simphony POS

Moran & Bewley’s Hotel Group has chosen MICROS Systems cloud-based Simphony POS system for all ten hotels in Ireland and the UK. The four Moran Hotels already use OPERA and will be migrated to a centrally-hosted configuration; this will also be implemented at the six Bewley’s Hotels, replacing their existing systems. Moran & Bewley’s will also implement centralized sales & catering and website integration. (www.moranhotels.com, www.bewleyshotels.com, www.micros.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • TAC adds mobile app to Reservation Assistant

TAC has added a mobile app for spas, hotels and fitness centers to its Reservation Assistant software, allowing users to make reservations, book a table or buy vouchers and wellness items from any mobile device such as iPads, iPhones, and on Facebook. In order to avoid no-shows, Reservation Assistant reminds the guests of their appointments by SMS.
Vouchers bought over the mobile app can be customized with an individual message and e-mailed to reciopients, who can redeem them either by printing them at home or opening them on a smartphone on the next visit to the spa. (www.reservationassistant.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Canalta Hotels picks EthoStream high-speed Internet access for 34 properties
  • Dorint chooses Acentic Internet and TV services for 35 properties
  • Omni to upgrade over 30 properties to LodgeNets Envision interactive HDTV
  • FCS appoints Pacific I.T. Solutions its Value Business Partner in Guam
  • Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, St. Regis Deer Valley implement TrackIT’s new Ski Valet software

Canalta Hotels of Alberta, Canada, has chosen the EthoStream Hospitality Network from Telkonet as the exclusive high-speed Internet access service for its 34 properties in western Canada. Telkonet has provided equipment and support to many of the hotels for several years. (www.canaltahotels.com, www.telkonet.com)
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Dorint Hotels & Resorts has chosen Acentic Internet and TV services for 35 properties, primarily located in Germany. Acentic will provide wireless internet access in all guest rooms, public areas and conference rooms, Internet kiosks in the business centers and Philips PrimeSuite HD LCD TVs in all guest rooms, the first such Philips installation in central Europe. The system offers full smartphone and tablet support and will allow guests to connect multiple mobile devices simultaneously. (www.dorint.com/en, www.acentic.com, www.philips.com/hoteltv)
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Omni Hotels & Resorts has announced that will upgrade over 30 properties to LodgeNet Interactive’s latest Envision interactive HDTV (iHDTV) platform and apps, covering over 13,000 guest rooms.  Envision delivers cloud-connected interactive television without the need for a computer in every room and offers guest-service apps such as weather, flight information, on-site amenities and local attractions.  (omnihotels.com, www.lodgenet.com)
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FCS has appointed Pacific I.T. Solutions as its Value Business Partner in Guam, offering the full suite of FCS products to international hotel chains and local hotels. (www.fcscs.com)
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The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado and the St. Regis Deer Valley, Utah, have implemented TrackIT’s new Ski Valet software, which allows the staff to keep track of the movement of skis, boots, and other items through attached bar code labels.  (beavercreek.hyatt.com, www.stregisdeervalley.com, www.trackit.cc)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Five hotel companies select Aptech
  • Shift4 integrates payment services with eBay’s Magento e-commerce platform
  • Transaction Resources, Inc. (TRI) integrates Merchant Link’s Payment Gateway and TransactionVault
  • MICROS integrates Merchant Link’s TransactionShield and TransactionVault
  • HFTP developing global hospitality accounting system users guide
  • Vertical Systems, Inc. (VSi) launches four mobile apps

Five hotel companies have selected Aptech Computer Systems:
– Krushiker Hospitality Group will implement Profitvue and Webvue enterprise accounting software to centralize back office accounting and reporting for seven hotels.
– Century Management and TRN Hotel Management will also implement the Profitvue and Webvue accounting systems for multi-property operations.
– Strand Development will upgrade to the newest version of the Execuvue Business Intelligence system for its 65-property operation.
– An un-named hotel company based Beverly Hills, CA, has selected Execuvue for implementation in 1Q ’12.
(khghotels.com, www.stranddevelopment.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Shift4 has integrated its payment services with eBay’s Magento e-commerce platform, providing Magento users with an outsourced tokenization service while keeping the customers’ checkout process on their own site.  Shift4’s integration also allows for credit, debit, and gift card transactions, and can accommodate partial authorizations where customers split a balance between a gift card and a credit or debit card.  (www.magentocommerce.com, www.shift4.com)
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Payment processor Transaction Resources, Inc. (TRI) has integrated Merchant Link’s Payment Gateway and TransactionVault tokenization, providing ski resorts and other hospitality providers with enhanced security and support for their payment transactions for lift ticket sales, food and beverage, hotel bookings, spa services and more.  Eight US ski resorts have already implemented this integrated solution; four more are expected to be complete by Q2. TRI’s clients will also be able to add Merchant Link’s TransactionShield point-to-point encryption system.
MICROS Systems has announced Point-To-Point Encryption (P2PE) and Tokenization for its OPERA Enterprise and Restaurant Enterprise systems, using its new encrypting and tamper-resistant card readers and Merchant Link’s TransactionShield and TransactionVault software.
(www.transactionresources.com, www.micros.com, www.merchantlink.com)
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Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is developing a global hospitality accounting system users guide, which will provide a comprehensive glossary of inventory terminology, charts of accounts and will common allocation benchmarks for specific regions of the world. The project’s three phases are:
1) Final year bachelor students at Ecole Hôtelière De Lausanne (EHL) in Switzerland working on their Student Business Project are gathering data, surveying hotel operations and assembling terms of reference.
2) The assembled data will be distributed to regional teams of industry professionals chaired by industry consultants. These teams will develop sample charts of accounts and common allocations for their specific areas.
3) The team chairs will finalize the project by authoring a discussion on similarities or differences of allocations.
The initial guide will be published in English, with plans to distribute globally in multiple languages. HFTP is working with several organizations including EHL, HFTP’s Research Institute at the University of Houston, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA), as well as gathering information from several volunteers from around the world. Companies and/or financial professionals interested in participating or helping to sponsor the project may contact HFTP at GHASUG@hftp.org
**
Vertical Systems, Inc. (VSi) has launched four mAPPs mobile applications to help hotel staff conduct routine operations faster and more easily:
v-Inspect – to examine and score the quality of housekeeping work in a guestroom.
v-Checklist – to inspect public areas.
v-Repair – to identify and track needed repairs, with photo support.
v-Departure – to report the housekeeping and occupancy status of guestrooms scheduled for check-out.
VSi’s mAPPs package includes application-unique software, secure, cloud-based data management, real-time management reports, 24/7 remote monitoring and a trained customer support team, with each element customized for the needs and preferences of the specific property.  (www.ver-sys.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas selects Yellow Dog
  • Maryland Live! Casino selects Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System

Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas has selected Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory system for its retail store, integrated with its Micros POS system. (www.hofbrauhauslasvegas.com, www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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The Maryland Live! Casino in Hanover, Md. has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System for its inventory and procurement operations. The casino also will use the system’s menu/recipe analysis module. Scheduled to open this summer, Maryland Live! Casino will offer 4,750 slot machines and electronic table games, multiple restaurants, shopping outlets and a live entertainment venue. (ppecasinoresortsmd.com, www.agilysys.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hampton Inn, Hendersonville, NC installs solar thermal collector panels from FLS Energy

The Hampton Inn of Hendersonville, NC has installed 24 4’x10’ AET solar thermal collector panels on the roof of the hotel, providing approximately 1,200 gallons of hot water a day for the hotel’s hot water needs, including laundry and guest showers. The panels were engineered, built, and operated by FLS Energy of Asheville, NC, which owns the system and sells the hotel the energy  at a lower rate than it currently pays for fossil fuels. (www.hendersonville.hamptoninn.com/, www.flsenergy.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Best Western names PhoneSuite as a preferred vendor of telecom systems
  • Mandarin Oriental contracts with Swisscom Hospitality for remote IT infrastructure at five locations

Best Western has named PhoneSuite as a preferred vendor of telecom systems. (www.bestwestern.com, www.PhoneSuite.com)
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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has contracted with Swisscom Hospitality Services for the remote management of its IT infrastructure at five European locations. Swisscom will manage the core network components within each hotel, covering all central, floor and in-room switching, Wi-Fi infrastructure and UPS power status monitoring. Swisscom’s Managed Services are built on IBM’s Tivoli software, adapted by Swisscom for the specific needs of the hospitality business. Swisscom presently manages Mandarin’s IP networks in London, Paris, Geneva, Munich and Barcelona. (www.mandarinoriental.com, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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SECURITY

  • Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, CA, upgrades to VingCard’s Classic RFID locks

The 93-room Grande Colonial Hotel in La Jolla, California, has upgraded to VingCard Elsafe’s Classic RFID locking system from an older magnetic-stripe lock system. (www.thegrandecolonial.com, www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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