May 1, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

APRIL 18 – MAY 1, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Why the lack of adoption of fully-integrated hospitality systems? And why no US vendors?
  • Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine announces its 2012 Visionary Awards

There’s a lot to be said for minimizing the number of different systems that hotels have to deal with on property.  Whenever data has to be transferred between applications (despite the interface flexibility provided by Web-services approaches) there’s always some potential for inaccuracy, given that the two systems’ designers may have had slightly different intentions for data elements with the same name.  Further, staff needing to use multiple systems also have to deal with multiple user interfaces, each usually with a unique look and feel, and often have to research guest data in several systems to see the full picture.
An all-in-one integrated system that provides appropriate functionality across the board for a property’s needs – which is something each must evaluate for itself –has two major advantages.  The users will see it as a seamless, uniform tool for all of their needs, and will have confidence in the completeness of the data they see.  Further, management will have access, in real time, to accurate data from all parts of the operation in a single database, with all that this implies in terms of effective marketing and efficient management.
While several systems integrate multiple traditionally separate areas – typically GMS, Sales & Catering, Room Reservations and Activity Bookings, sometimes also POS – there are very few that cover the full range, including financial accounting, labor management and payroll, to provide complete, real-time business information.  Among these few are Cenium, which has been gaining steady acceptance in the US market and internationally, and IDS NEXT, which recently published a white paper on the value of a hospitality ERP system.  Another is Prologic First’s suite, which I recently reviewed in India and which impressed me with its breadth of functionality.
Despite Cenium’s current base in Las Vegas, however, all three of these systems were developed overseas (Cenium in Iceland and Norway, IDS Next and Prologic First in India) and all have found significant success internationally.  Why are North American hotels reluctant to adopt this approach? And who will be the first US vendor to offer a competitive product?
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The winners of Hospitality Technology (HT) magazine’s 2012 Visionary Awards (selected by HT editorial staff) are:
A. Infrastructure/Back-Office Technology:
– Hilton Worldwide, for its revamped StayConnected program providing sufficient wireless High-Speed Internet Access bandwidth globally across the Hilton brand.
– La Quinta Inns & Suites, for its multi-year project to get all on-property systems and telecom services in the “cloud.”
B. Customer-Facing/In-Room Technology:
– The Flamingo Las Vegas, for its development (with FourWinds Interactive) of dual-purpose digital signage that provides interactive mapping for players and guests and also serves as a loyalty kiosk for players.
– Gaylord Entertainment, for its use of iPads for real-time guest services (concierge information, check-in/check-out, general guest information) and for convention services to make changes to contracts.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Mick Talbot joins EasyRMS as Director of Sales for UK & Ireland
  • Doug Carr recognized by HSMAI as one of its Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing

Mick Talbot has joined Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) as Director of Sales for the UK & Ireland market. Mr. Talbot brings 35 years of experience from the airline and hospitality industries in both Revenue Management and Sales positions, including Director of Revenue Management for the Intercontinental Hotel Group, Senior Director Pricing for Travelport by GTA and most recently Sales Director for EZYield.com.
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Doug Carr, executive director of distribution at Fairmont Raffles Hotels International, has been recognized by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (“HSMAI”) as one of its “Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing.” Mr. Carr was nominated specifically for executing Passkey’s GroupMAX as a centralized strategy to automate the group housing experience for guests and meeting planners across the Fairmont brand’s global portfolio.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • MSI releases two-way interface between NiteVision GMS and SynXis’ CRS
  • Mama Shelter Marseille picks Xn Hotel Systems

Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has released a two-way interface between its NiteVision GMS and SynXis’ Central Reservation System. The first implementation is for Vantage Hospitality Group, which includes Americas Best Value Inn and Lexington Collection; this is MSI’s 15th two-way CRS interface to an MSI Guest Management System. (www.VantageHospitality.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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The 127-room Mama Shelter Marseille, the chain’s second property, has opened with its primary management systems hosted by Xn Hotel Systems from its new UK data center. These include protel’s Multi Property Edition GMS, Xn dotPOS for F&B management, ACOM accounting system and Xn Business Intelligence. (www.mamashelter.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • La Quinta lets travelers hold a room for up to four hours using only a mobile phone number
  • Advantage Reserve certified by MICROS for two-way interface with OPERA PMS
  • Over 300 Preferred Hotel members implement Sabre’s Mobile Guest Connect booking engine since 2011 launch
  • hotel SystemsPro enhances hotel WebSpace internet marketing software
  • Travel Tripper launches Email Retargeting of abandoned bookings
  • Amadeus and Expedia extend global content and technology agreement to cover North America

La Quinta Inns & Suites has announced its LQ-Instant Hold service, which allows users to hold a room for up to four hours using only their mobile phone number, as part of its new mobile app for iPhone and Android devices. Other functions allow guests to see hotels on an interactive map with driving directions, check TripAdvisor reviews, find local restaurants and attraction information from Yelp, access special packages, weekend deals and destination guides, and redeem La Quinta Returns points for gift cards and certificates. (www.lq.com)
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Voice center operator Advantage Reserve has been certified by MICROS Systems for a two-way interface with MICROS’ OPERA Property Management System (PMS), allowing its agents to view rates and availability in OPERA, process reservations, modifications and cancellations and see and service reservations coming in through other channels. (advantagereserve.com, www.micros.com)
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More than 300 members of Preferred Hotel Group have implemented Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ Mobile Guest Connect booking engine since it was launched last year. The mobile booking engine is fully integrated into Sabre’s SynXis CRS; Preferred Hotel Group members may also brand their pages and customize the user experience for their mobile audience. (www.preferredhotelgroup.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
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hotel SystemsPro has enhanced its hotel WebSpace internet marketing software to let operators track landing-page traffic statistics, customize their landing pages with property photos and access online training and help documents. (www.hotelsystemspro.com)
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Travel Tripper has launched Email Retargeting of abandoned bookings for its RezTrip online booking engine, allowing hotels to send personalized offers to shoppers who abandon the booking process to encourage them to return and complete their reservation. (www.traveltripper.com )
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Amadeus and Expedia have signed a multi-year content and technology agreement for North America, providing Expedia with Amadeus’ fare search technologies for air travel (among other products) and access to global travel supplier content through the Amadeus system. This extends their 2005 global agreement, under which Amadeus has been providing its services to Expedia in over 15 countries. Services include content distribution, Application Programming Interface (API) and Web Services, Amadeus Selling Platform agent desktop software and Amadeus Master Pricer low-fare search technology. (www.expediainc.com, www.amadeus.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa selects VIZERGY for Internet marketing services
  • Milestone Internet Marketing receives four awards in Internet Advertising Competition

The 142-room Cabo Villas Beach Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico has selected VIZERGY for Internet marketing services, including a new custom website design, a mobile website, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and other marketing services. (www.cabovillasbeachresort.com, www.vizergy.com)
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Milestone Internet Marketing received four awards in this year’s Internet Advertising Competition (IAC):
– Outstanding website design and marketing: Residence Inn Savannah Downtown and Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach
– Outstanding website social media campaign: Hotel 1000 Facebook Scavenger Hunt
– Outstanding website design and marketing: The Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel
(www.iacaward.org, www.milestoneinternet.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Rocco Forte Hotels picks SiteMinder for online distribution for its 13 hotels
  • Choice names RateGain as qualified vendor for US properties
  • Availpro adds Amadeus’ LinkHotel to its range of GDS connections
  • eRevMax International opens new development center in Bengaluru
  • Southwind Hotels and Resorts  announces Demand Management services
  • Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel implements EzRMS

Rocco Forte Hotels has chosen SiteMinder for online distribution for its 13 hotels in Europe and the Middle East, integrated with its protel Multi-Property-Edition (MPE) CRS and IDeaS revenue management system. SiteMinder will distribute live availability from protel MPE to booking sites and transmit online reservations back into protel. (www.roccofortehotels.com, www.siteminder.com)
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Choice Hotels International has named RateGain as a qualified vendor for its more than 5,000 U.S. franchise properties. (www.choicehotels.com, www.rategain.com)
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Availpro has added Amadeus’ LinkHotel to its panel of connections, extending its GDS connectivity offer to LinkHotel users with direct, automatic connectivity to the GDS channel. Users can still manage their offer via a single interface across all distribution channels. (www.amadeuslinkhotel.com, www.availpro.com)
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eRevMax International has opened a new 4000 sq. ft. Development Centre in Bengaluru, India, moving from its previous small service office in the city. (www.erevmax.com/)
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Southwind Hotels and Resorts has announced its Demand Management services, which combine analysis, revenue management and reporting with direct engagement with internal department heads and distribution channels to streamline sales, marketing, and social media efforts.  (www.southwindhospitality.com)
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Zhejiang Narada Grand Hotel, the flagship hotel of China’s Narada Hotel Group, has implemented Easy (Ez) Revenue Management’s EzRMS. (www.naradahotels.com/cn/, www.EasyRMS.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • ARAMARK selects The Knowland Group’s Target Net

ARAMARK Conference Centers has selected The Knowland Group’s Target Net as its new sales and catering tool for more than 20 properties. ARAMARK currently manages 60 properties in North America and Europe, plus 48 conference centers in Japan. (www.aramarkconferencecenters.com, www.knowlandgroup.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Oxford Casino selects Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system and Stratton Warren inventory and procurement
  • Restaurant Association of Maryland names MICROS’ Mid-Atlantic office its 2012 Allied Member of the Year
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Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system and Stratton Warren System inventory and procurement. The casino is scheduled to open in summer 2012. (www.oxfordcasino.com, www.agilysys.com)
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The Restaurant Association of Maryland has selected MICROS Systems’ Mid-Atlantic district office as its 2012 Allied Member of the Year. (www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Ritz-Carlton launches mobile app with GPS recognition of location, QR code access to local information
  • Roomlinx introduces Interactive “click and go” Program Guide
  • OPUS Vancouver  completes multi-phase technology renovation
  • Vesta Hospitality implements FlyteBoard flight information displays at two properties
  • Hotel Technologies releases Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio with Speakerphone

Ritz-Carlton has launched a mobile application that includes GPS recognition of when a guest enters a Ritz Carlton property (to provide location-specific information and offers) and personal guest-experience advice and information accessed by scanning QR codes at each property. The app is available for Apple and Android devices. (www.ritzcarlton.com)
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Roomlinx has introduced an Interactive “click and go” Program Guide (IPG) for its iTV system v3.0 and above. Currently in use at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans and Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center properties, the IPG lets guests press the guide button on the remote or click the TV icon onscreen to display listings of all program descriptions, filter them by genre or through a keyword search, and access the selected channel with one click. (www.roomlinx.com)
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The OPUS Vancouver has completed a multi-phase technology renovation, including the installation of TELUS Optik TV, a Virtual iPad Concierge program, new TravelClick website and a mobile website. The TELUS Optik TV system provides more than 30 HD channels and access to HD pay-per-view events and HD On Demand movies. Virtual Concierge software from Travelvu is installed on customized iPads in each room; guests may take the iPads with them around the city. (www.opushotel.com/vancouver)
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Vesta Hospitality has implemented Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard airline flight information displays at two properties, the Staybridge Suites and Country Inn & Suites near the Portland International Airport in Oregon. (www.vestahospitality.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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Hotel Technologies has released a Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio with Speakerphone for Bluetooth-capable iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. The new unit allows guests to stream music from across the room while also using their devices for other purposes, and to use it as a speakerphone; it will also dock and charge the devices. (www.hoteltechnologies.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Shift4 announces Google Wallet interfaces for four Ingenico PIN pads
  • AmericInn International names Merchant Link its preferred provider of payment and data security services

Shift4 Corp announced Google Wallet interfaces for four Ingenico PIN pads (models iSC250, iSC350, iPP320 and iPP350) that also support swipe-ahead functionality, meaning customers can swipe their cards (or touch their phones) and then enter their PIN or signature before the merchant finishes ringing up the order. When the order is completed customers approve the amount, get their receipt and can leave. The new NFC functionality integrates with Shift4’s existing TrueTokenization and 4Go DOLLARS ON THE NET features. (www.shift4.com)
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AmericInn International has selected Merchant Link as the preferred provider of payment and data security services for its more than 260 franchisees. Locations using an integrated property management system for payments are now required to install the Merchant Link software, which includes its Payment Gateway, TransactionVault tokenization and TransactionShield point-to-point encryption technology. (www.AmericInn.com, www.merchantlink.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Clear Sky Software releases interface with MICROS 9700 POS
  • Oxford Casino selects Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System and InfoGenesis POS

Clear Sky Software has released an interface between its FOOD & BEVERAGE inventory control system and MICROS’ 9700 POS system.  By importing sales data from Micros and comparing it to F&B inventory, Clear Sky produces true costs reports offering views at the location, category, sub-category and product level. (www.micros.com, www.clearskysoftware.com)
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Oxford Casino in Oxford, Maine has selected Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System inventory and procurement and InfoGenesis POS system. The casino is scheduled to open in summer 2012. (www.oxfordcasino.com, www.agilysys.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates selects Telkonet’s cloud-based EcoSmart energy management

The 393-room Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai has selected Telkonet’s cloud-based EcoSmart energy management platform, integrated with its work order management system to streamline response times for reported issues in guestrooms. The system will be implemented by Varis Energy, Telkonet’s Middle East-based partner. (www.kempinski.com/fr/dubai, www.telkonet.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Starwood selects Spectrio as preferred vendor for on-hold audio recordings
  • Quadriga announces QNetworks unit to support hotels upgrading their networks

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide has selected Spectrio as the preferred vendor to produce and provide on-hold audio recordings for its newest hotels worldwide, including the ability to play specific messages at specific times of the day. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.spectrio.com)
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Quadriga announced QNetworks, a specialist business unit to help hotels with technology and operational challenges as they upgrade their networks for greater efficiency, competitive advantage and meet guest requirements. QNetworks will act as the single point of contact for hotels across Europe or globally as required, and will provide services such as network monitoring and reporting, Internet provisioning, bandwidth optimization, WiFi consultancy, TV network standards and convergence services. (www.quadriga.com)
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SECURITY

  • Les Hôtels JARO retrofits five properties with Kaba’s RFID locking systems
  • VingCard Elsafe phases out brass metal plating and painting in favor of physical vapor deposition
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Marion, Ill., implementing OpenWays’ phone-based acoustic room keys

Les Hôtels JARO in Quebec City, Canada has retrofitted five of its seven properties with Kaba’s RFID locking systems, using ILCO 790 locks at the Hotel Quebec Inn, Hotel Quebec and Hotel Must, and Saflok RT locks with the Messenger LENS wireless online system at the Hotel Palace Royal and the Hotel Plaza Quebec.  The remaining two hotels (the Auberge Sir Wilfrid and Hotel Lindbergh) are both scheduled for future upgrades to RFID technology. (www.hotelsjaro.com, www.kabalodging.com)
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VingCard Elsafe announced that it has phased out the use of brass metal plating and painting in manufacturing its locking systems, in favor of physical vapor deposition (PVD), a more environmentally friendly process that involves vaporizing an alloy onto stainless steel within a heated vacuum. (www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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The Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Marion, Ill., is implementing OpenWays’ mobile phone-based acoustic room keys. The 105-room property is scheduled to open in early May. (www.hiexpress.com, www.OpenWays.com)
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