March 9, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications

Security

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TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • HTNG annual conference maintains its high standard; three Most Innovative Hospitality Awards presented

The annual conference of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) in Orlando last week confirmed its status as one of the most useful and thought-provoking get-togethers on the calendar. It was very encouraging to see how much progress has been made with the various hardware and software inter-operability workgroups, both in terms of development and in adoption of the products by multiple vendors and hoteliers. It’s a huge job to move this industry forward but by maintaining its focus on priority tasks identified by hoteliers who commit to buying the resulting solutions HTNG continues to serve as a great example of what can be achieved.
The networking opportunities were equally good, not just in the mix of senior hotel and vendor contacts but also in the thoughtful building in to the schedule of very useful amounts of time to allow as much interaction as possible. Add in seven speaking sessions on highly varied subjects from uniformly excellent speakers providing useful, pragmatic information and you have one of my annual must-attend functions. It’s not just me, either; attendance was only slightly down from last year, which under the current economic circumstances means that it remains high on many other people’s lists too. Highly recommended; congratulations to Doug Rice and his team at HTNG for maintaining a consistently high standard.
The conference was also the venue for HTNG’s first Most Innovative Hospitality Award. The winner was MTech’s REX Room Expeditor product, an iPod Touch-based housekeeping application that handles room status updates and advises attendants (in their native language) of the next room they need to clean based on hotel-defined criteria such as room rush, VIP status, room type, etc. Two runner-up awards were made. One went to Intelity for its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) product, which allows hotel guests to order multiple services via an in-room touch screen, laptop, lobby, TV, smart phone or other mobile device. The other runner-up award went to a company whose policy prohibits publicly disclosing them, a restriction I find completely baffling. Congratulations to all three vendors, anyway!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Keith Konicki joins Frontstream SaleSynergy as Vice President of Business Development
  • Bob Coyne joins Skyware Hospitality Solutions as Senior Systems Consultant
  • Frank Elsenbast picked as LodgeNet Interactive’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
  • Fabian Specht appointed by IDeaS as Regional Managing Director, EAME
  • Alfredo Moreno de la Santa joins EZYield.com’s global sales force
  • Anthony Ku promoted to Vice President Asia Pacific at Trust International
  • Mike Blake, CIO of Hyatt, and Robert Webb, Hilton’s CIO, join HTNG board
  • Maureen Kieffer hired as Chief Operations Officer by MSI
  • Jennifer Ranno joins iBAHN as vice president of sales for the Americas

Keith Konicki has joined credit card services vendor Frontstream SaleSynergy as Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Konicki brings over 19 years of hospitality industry experience, having spent the greater part of his career with SDD-JAZZ, where he was Director of Sales.
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Industry veteran Bob Coyne has joined Skyware Hospitality Solutions as Senior Systems Consultant. With 30 years of hospitality software experience, Mr. Coyne previously held top executive positions with leading PMS suppliers as well as serving ten years with hospitality consultants Chervenak, Keane and Co.
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Frank Elsenbast has been selected as LodgeNet Interactive’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, beginning in April. Mr. Elsenbast brings more than 20 years of corporate finance, media industry background and public accounting experience to his new position. He was most recently Senior Vice President and CFO for electronic retailer ShopNBC, had served in a variety of financial and analytical roles with The Pillsbury Company and began his career as a Certified Public Accountant with Arthur Andersen.
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Fabian Specht has been appointed by IDeaS Revenue Optimization as Regional Managing Director, EAME, replacing Uli Pillau who will be leaving IDeaS in July. Prior to joining IDeaS 11 years ago, Mr. Specht was Director of Sales Hotel Systems, EAME for Micros Fidelio Software. He had earlier he worked for Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts at multiple properties.
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Alfredo Moreno de la Santa has joined EZYield.com’s global sales force. He brings over 20 years of retail hospitality experience, most recently as regional director for Orbitz.com and founder of several online travel agencies.
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Anthony Ku has been promoted to Vice President Asia Pacific at Trust International. Mr. Ku joined Trust in 2005 as Regional VP of Sales for Asia Pacific; he had earlier spent four years with Pegasus Solutions, culminating in the position of Regional Director, Sales & Account Management, Asia-Pacific region.
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Two more major hotel company CIOs have joined Hotel Technology Next Generation’s (HTNG’s) board.
Mike Blake, CIO of Hyatt, was formerly Hyatt’s Vice President of Finance for Global Marketing, Brand Standards & IT; he has over 20 years of experience in finance and technology in various roles. Prior to Hyatt, Mr. Blake had served as Senior Vice President of IT for First Data, Vice President of IT Finance at Kaiser Permanente, and Director of IT Finance for Sears, based in Chicago, IL. He had earlier been Director of Financial Planning & Analysis for Commerx, a B2B startup, and Director of Financial Planning for United Airlines.
Robert Webb joined Hilton Worldwide as Senior Vice President and CIO in August 2009. Immediately prior to joining Hilton, he held a similar position for five years at credit information provider Equifax, and earlier held executive positions at General Electric including CIO of GE Commercial Finance as well as management consultant roles for Andersen Consulting and Electronic Data Systems.
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Maureen Kieffer has been hired as Chief Operations Officer by MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.). Bringing over 20 years of hospitality technology experience, Ms. Kieffer had previously held executive roles with global companies including Pegasus, Best Western and Choice.
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Jennifer Ranno has joined iBAHN as vice president of sales for the Americas region. With nearly 20 years of experience in hospitality sales, Ms. Ranno most recently served nine years with SynXis in roles which included managing director of sales (West Coast) and vice president of accounts for the Americas. Prior to SynXis, Ms. Ranno was a national sales manager for Westin Hotels/Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Holiday Club Resorts picks SPI Software’s Orange Systems enterprise
  • Sheraton Buganvilias timeshare resort implements SPI Orange management software
  • Virgin is implementing protel PMS across Limited Edition portfolio
  • Four more Mandarin Oriental Hotels install PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host
  • Historic Hotel Bethlehem completes migration to Skyware Hospitality web based PMS

The Sheraton Buganvilias timeshare resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has implemented SPI Orange management software. The property has 478 units. (www.sheratonvallarta.com, www.spisoftware.com)
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Virgin is implementing the protel PMS across its Limited Edition portfolio, principally in a centralized, multi-property configuration but with the more remote properties using a local server synchronised with the central protel system. The system will go live across the group in March 2010; the sale was made by Xn Hotel Systems services. (www.virginlimitededition.com , www.xnhotels.com)
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Four more Mandarin Oriental Hotels have installed PAR Springer-Miller’s SMS|Host Hospitality Management System in the last 90 days, in Jakarta, Barcelona, Las Vegas and Elbow Beach, Bermuda. (www.mandarinoriental.com, www.springermiller.com)
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The Historic Hotel Bethlehem, Bethlehem, PA has completed its migration to Skyware Hospitality web based property management systems. (www.hotelbethlehem.com, www.skywaresystems.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Internet bookings for top 30 hotel brands increased by 6.6% in 2009; GDS, voice bookings continue decline
  • Best Western Hotel President Berlin launches online booking widget
  • HomeAway acquires BedandBreakfast.com
  • Expedia updates TripAssist iPhone app to track non-Expedia itineraries
  • Travelport GDS achieves compliance with Safe Harbor privacy framework
  • Genares releases direct link to booking engine for hotels Facebook fan pages

According to data from eTRAK Internet bookings for the top 30 hotel brands increased by 6.6% in 2009 vs. 2008, the only channel showing growth. Both the GDS and Voice Channels continued to decline, GDS bookings by 3.7% down to 23.6% of total CRS bookings and Voice by 2.9% to 22.2%.
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The Best Western Hotel President Berlin has launched a Worklight-powered online booking widget for desktops, Facebook and the Web to let customers check rates, book rooms at a discount and receive notifications from the hotel about upcoming promotions. They can also access regional conferences and cultural events, preview the hotel’s daily lunch menu and follow its Twitter feed for more updates. (www.worklight.com/bestwestern)
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HomeAway has acquired BedandBreakfast.com, but plans to continue operating it as an independent brand. Founded in 1995, BedandBreakfast.com lists more than 10,000 B&Bs across 100 countries.
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Expedia has updated its TripAssist iPhone app to let users enter and track non-Expedia travel itineraries. (www.expedia.com)
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Travelport has achieved compliance with the Safe Harbor privacy framework for its global distribution systems (GDS), claiming to be the first GDS to do so. Safe Harbor was developed by the European Commission, the Swiss government, and the US Department of Commerce to harmonize the differences between US and European laws on privacy and data protection, specifically to help organizations transferring personal data to the US from Europe. (www.travelport.com)
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Genares Worldwide Reservations Services has released a link for hotels to equip their Facebook fan pages with one-click access to their booking engines, claiming to be the first hotel reservations services company to offer this. (www.genares.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Libra OnDemand certified compliant with Safe Harbor privacy framework
  • TRAVELCLICK launches Global Hotel Services (GHS) sales and marketing support
  • SPI Software integrates Brand Tango timeshare/vacation club marketing system into Orange Software
  • Revinate introduces social media monitoring application for hospitality industry
  • TripTelevision incorporates PlanetEye’s mapping, technology and geo-tagged content
  • Cavendish London Hotel in London selects ZDirect’s eCRM platform
  • Lemon Tree installs Leisurepoint for its frequent guest program
  • MMG Worldwide picks Movitas’ mobile communication, marketing and commerce platform

Libra OnDemand has been certified as compliant with the Safe Harbor privacy framework, as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Swiss Government and the European Commission. (www.libraondemand.com)
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TRAVELCLICK has launched its Global Hotel Services (GHS) sales and marketing support for corporate, consortia, and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) markets worldwide, available to customers of its iHotelier central reservations system. London’s Grange Hotels is an early adopter of GHS for its 15 properties. Services will include on-the-ground expertise and face-to-face customer contact with travel agencies and travel procurement professionals, plus a brand presence at trade shows and a number of road shows on behalf of clients across Europe, the Americas, and Asia. (www.grangehotels.com, www.travelclick.net)
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SPI Software has integrated Brand Tango’s timeshare and vacation club marketing system into its SPI Orange Software, under the title “SPI Campaign Manager powered by Brand Tango.” (www.brand-tango.com, www.spiinc.com)
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Revinate has introduced a social media monitoring application for the hospitality industry, offering comprehensive monitoring of review sites, blogs, news sites and services such as Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and TripAdvisor as well as advice on how to use the data for greater staff efficiency, improved operations, increased guest loyalty and incremental bookings. Initial clients include Peninsula Hotels, Trump Hotel Collection, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels, InterContinental, Andaz, White Lodging and Peabody Hotel Group. (www.revinate.com)
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TripTelevision has incorporated PlanetEye’s mapping, technology and geo-tagged content into its High Definition (HD) quality, professional videos, technology, and marketing services for the travel industry. (www.triptelevision.com, www.planeteye.com)
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The 230-room Cavendish London Hotel in London has selected ZDirect’s eCRM platform to develop stronger relationships with its loyal customer base. (www.thecavendishlondon.com, www.zdirect.com)
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The Lemon Tree Hotel company in New Delhi has installed Leisurepoint, supplied by Xn Hotel Systems (India) Pvt Ltd, for its Lemon Tree Rewards Club frequent guest program. The system will be integrated with Lemon Tree’s protel MPE property management system for seamless updates of loyalty transactions. (www.lemontreehotels.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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MMG Worldwide has picked Movitas’ mobile communication, marketing and commerce platform to power its mobile marketing efforts in the hospitality industry. The Movitas platform assists the promotion of amenities, events and attractions using mobile web applications and social media, enables guests to make reservations, schedule appointments and purchase tickets by integrating with reservation, point of sale, ticketing and property management system, and communicates with guests for alerts and reminders via SMS text messages, IM, Twitter, and email. (www.movitas.com, www.mmgworldwide.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Mövenpick to use EZYield.com throughout 69 property portfolio
  • EZYield.com launches three-module enterprise reservation delivery platform
  • Brooklands Hotel opens using Yeeld Solutions CRS powered by Synxis
  • Marina Bay Sands, Singapore implements IDeaS V5i RMS and SAS’ Customer Intelligence software
  • Potomac Hospitality Services implements EasyRMS at three DC-area hotels
  • eRevMax launches mobile phone version of RateTiger channel management software
  • InnQuest interfaces SiteMinder’s channel management with roomMaster 2000 PMS

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has signed an exclusive agreement to use EZYield.com’s distribution technology throughout its 69 property portfolio in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East; it has a further 25 projects under development.
EZYield.com has launched an enterprise reservation delivery platform, comprising RezDelivery, RoomRez and GDSConnect modules in addition to its core channel management system.
– RezDelivery is a two-way link between hotel systems and third-party platforms, connecting CRS and PMSs including Micros/Fidelio’s Opera, SoftBrands’ Epitome and Medallion, InnQuest’s RoomMaster, protel hotelsoftware’s protel solution and CMS Hospitality’s Guest Centrix, to distribution channels including third party websites and offline traditional wholesalers.
– RoomRez is a hotel web booking engine that supports best available rate (BAR) strategies and incorporates technology preventing competitive shopping tools reading a property’s discounted rates.
– GDSConnect provides a direct connection to upload hotel rates and inventories to the Galileo, Sabre, Abacus, Amadeus and Worldspan GDSs.
(www.moevenpick-hotels.com, www.ezyield.com)
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The new Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey, located on the site of the legendary Brooklands race circuit, has opened using Yeeld Solutions CRS, powered by Synxis, for GDS/Pegasus connectivity, competitor rate shopping, a customized Website booking engine and two-way integration with its Cenium Property Management System. (www.brooklandshotelsurrey.com, www.yeeld.com)
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The 2,500-room Marina Bay Sands in Singapore has implemented IDeaS V5i Revenue Management System and SAS’ Customer Intelligence software platform. (www.marinabaysands.com, www.ideas.com)
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Potomac Hospitality Services (PHS) has implemented EasyRMS Revenue Management suite at its three DC-area hotels, the River Inn, the Quincy and Virginian Suites Arlington, including the Core Module, Ez-QUOTE, Ez-BUDGET, Ez-REGION and Ez-COMPETE. The River Inn and Virginian Suites properties use Micros’ Opera V4 PMS; The Quincy has Agilysys’ Visual One PMS. Upload interfaces are being provided for Synxis, NetRez & iHotelier. (www.potomachospitality.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
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eRevMax has launched a mobile phone version of its RateTiger channel management software, optimized for the iPhone and with a version for BlackBerry users. (www.ratetiger.com)
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InnQuest has interfaced SiteMinder’s channel management software with its roomMaster 2000 property management system to provide two-way integration with booking sites worldwide, including Expedia, Wotif, Booking.com and Agoda. (www.siteminder.co.uk, www.innquest.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Nexus launches version 7.0 of GroupworX
  • Starwood launches first in-hotel Cisco TelePresence meeting suites
  • Bluebuzzard introduces social media campaign manager for ProposalPath sales tool

Nexus has launched version 7.0 of its GroupworX application, which stores details about hotel meeting facilities (including images and floor plans) and enables potential clients to send leads to specific hotels based on criteria such as location or meeting room capacity. The system can be used by centralized hotel group sales desks to send leads to multiple properties, by one hotel to send a lead to another, or by clients to send requests direct to a property via the hotel group’s own web site. Account management tools allow users to track client activities, manage contacts and monitor key performance indicators through dashboards and reports. (www.nexusworldservices.com
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide launched its first in-hotel Cisco TelePresence meeting suite with a virtual meeting linking the W Chicago City Center and the Sheraton on the Park in Sydney. In a partnership with Tata Communications Starwood plans to build Cisco TelePresence rooms in 10 properties worldwide; the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers and Sheraton Centre Toronto will come online by mid-year. The Westin Los Angeles Airport is scheduled to follow this year, likely followed by locations in Dallas, San Francisco, Brussels, Paris, Hong Kong and Frankfurt. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.tatacommunications.com/telepresence/, www.cisco.com)
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Bluebuzzard has introduced a social media campaign manager for its ProposalPath sales tool, allowing users to create a campaign, post to Twitter and Facebook, capture group leads and respond with a ProposalPath proposal. (meetproposalpath.com, www.bluebuzzard.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Sunstone Hotel Investors installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker at six more properties
  • ReServe Interactive selects Element Payment Services as PCI DSS compliant solutions partner

Sunstone Hotel Investors is installing Capton’s Beverage Tracker at six properties after pilot installations in its Renaissance Washington DC and Marriott Boston Long Wharf hotels. Sunstone’s 27 property portfolio includes Marriott, Hyatt, Fairmont and Hilton sites. (www.sunstonehotels.com, www.captoninc.com)
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ReServe Interactive has selected Element Payment Services as its PCI DSS compliant solutions partner. (www.elementps.com, www.reserveinteractive.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • SpaFinder launches iPhone app

SpaFinder has launched a free iPhone app that uses the smartphone’s GPS features to help users find a nearby spa, access maps, directions and user reviews, check availability and make appointments. Users can search SpaFinder’s database of more than 5,000 spas by price, deals and treatment types. (www.spafinder.com) **

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GUEST SERVICES

  • Doubletree by Hilton, Bristol South, Cadbury House and Ramada Encore London West install Quadriga’s Sensiq
  • Travelscream releases iPhone app to allow hotels to promote ancillary services to guests
  • Americana at Brand and The Grove offer Runtriz-based One Touch Concierge smartphone app
  • Hilton Garden Inn rolling out PrinterOn’s PrintSpots mobile printing service brand-wide
  • Inspira Hotels picks Swisscom as IPTV/interactive video services provider

The 72-room Doubletree by Hilton, Bristol South, Cadbury House and 150-room Ramada Encore London West have installed Quadriga’s Sensiq guest communications portal, which hotels can customize to include marketing and promotional initiatives in line with each hotel’s business objectives. (www.cadburyhotelbristol.co.uk, www.encorelondonwest.co.uk, www.quadriga.com)
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Hotel-deals syndicator Travelscream has released a free iPhone app to allow hotel partners to promote ancillary services from spa treatments to dining and tours to hotel guests before, during and after their stays. A base set of ancillary services’ content included in Travelscream’s Social Media Toolkit dashboard can be enhanced with unpublished or additional offers targeted to particular guests or groups. The app will also be released in Blackberry and Android formats; it sends confirmation e-mails to guests and notifies the hotels when a customer downloads it. (www.travelscream.com)
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The Americana at Brand, an upscale residential/ retail community in Glendale, Calif., and its sister property The Grove, a luxury retail/entertainment/fine-dining complex in Los Angeles, are now offering their Runtriz-based One Touch Concierge smartphone application. The application uses 3G mobile-device technology to manage guests’ service requests from ordering drinks and food to be delivered poolside at The Americana to having packages picked up and brought to their car at The Grove. (www.carusoaffliated.com)
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Hilton Garden Inn is rolling out PrinterOn’s PrintSpots mobile printing service brand-wide. Guests forward documents from their smartphone to the email address for a PrintSpot printer in the hotel’s business center. The printer processes the document and holds it for the guest to release using a unique code. (www.HGI.com, www.printeron.com)
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Inspira Hotels has chosen Swisscom as its IPTV/interactive video services provider. Its first property, the 89-room Santa Marta hotel, is set to open in central Lisbon at the end of March, refurbished with a Category-6 Ethernet network. (www.inspirahotels.com, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel exploring some mid-office and back-office outsourcing with Amadeus
  • UniFocus to release version 7.5 of its Watson, R.M.
  • Agilysys now offering TimeManagement’s TMx labor management system

Carlson Wagonlit Travel has signed a memorandum of understanding with Amadeus to explore outsourcing some mid-office and back-office technologies, such as invoicing, financial reconciliation and ARC reporting. (www.carlsonwagonlit.com, www.amadeus.com)
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UniFocus announced the imminent release of version 7.5 of its Watson, R.M. application, with multi-language support and an upgraded schedule editor interface to simplify the revision of schedules while matching employee availability to service requirements. The new release also incorporates a staff portal for employees to check schedules, request time off and manage preferences over the web. (www.unifocus.com)
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Agilysys is now offering TimeManagement Corp’s TMx labor management system to customers of its Eatec inventory and procurement system, InfoGenesis POS system and Visual One Property Management System. The TMx Data Transfer Module integrates scheduling, time and attendance, human resources and labor forecasting functions into the Agilysys systems, sharing data such as sales totals, transactions, meal counts, occupancy and arrivals for improved access to information and reductions in redundant data entry. (www.timemgmt.com, www.agilysys.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • Avaya and 3D Networks to collaborate in markets around Australia and New Zealand
  • Two Doubletree properties in Tanzania integrate communications and guest services from McLaren

Avaya and 3D Networks have announced an ongoing collaboration to offer customized and integrated business communications systems to markets around Australia and New Zealand. 3D Networks will adopt the Avaya product suite and its associated converged Nortel suite into its’ existing customer base; Avaya will use 3D’s capabilities for all integration projects, from analysis through to deployment and support of the network infrastructure in the region. (www.3dnetworks.com , www.avaya.com)
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The two Doubletree by Hilton properties in Tanzania, in Dar Es Salaam and Nungwi, have integrated communications and guest services from McLaren Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (www.hiltonworldwide.com, www.mclarenint.com, www.jazz-fusion.net)
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SECURITY

  • Hotel da Rocha installs VingCard VISIONLINE, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II safes
  • Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande installs VingCard VISION, Signature RFID locks and Elsafe Infinity II safes
  • Starwood pilots Smart Check-In program for Aloft Hotels in partnership with VingCard

The new 158-room Hotel da Rocha in Portimao, Portugal has installed VingCard’s VISIONLINE wireless RF-online system, Signature RFID door locks and Elsafe SENTINEL II in-room safes.
The new 206-room Venezuela Marriott Hotel Playa Grande in Catia la Mar has installed VingCard’s VISION locking system, Signature RFID electronic door locks and Elsafe Infinity II electronic in-room safes.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts announced a Smart Check-In pilot program for its Aloft brand at the Aloft hotel in Lexington, MA, in partnership with VingCard Elsafe. Select Starwood Preferred Guest members who opt to participate in the program will receive an enhanced SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard. On the day of arrival a text message is sent to the guest’s mobile phone with their room number at the property; at the hotel, they can bypass the front desk and go straight to the room, where their keycard will unlock the door. The RFID keycard may eventually also act as an all-access pass throughout the Aloft property. (www.hoteldarocha.com,
www.marriott.com, www.starwoodhotels.com, www.vingcard.com, www.elsafe.com)
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