May 13, 2014

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

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

APRIL 30 – MAY 13, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • The most critical system in hotel technology?

What’s the most important system in a hotel today? It used to be the property management system before we all got connected. Then we looked to the reservations and distribution systems, followed more recently by revenue management and channel distribution systems. I’ve long maintained that the most strategic system at any property is the CRM database; after all, it contains all of your customer information and is the source for all of your marketing.
But the most important? I nominate Microsoft’s Excel.
Despite outstanding improvements in system interfacing and interoperability, there are always cases where it’s just easier to export data from one system into Excel, re-sort and filter it and import it into another. Every hotel I’ve ever come across produces its daily flash report in Excel. Although the guest management system may produce an excellent summary of the front office activity, there’s always other information such as labor costs that needs to be included to make it truly useful.
When replacing an old management system there’s always the thorny question of how to migrate the old data. The universal answer? “If you an export it to Excel, clean it up, decide what’s worth keeping, summarize the rest, and then sort the columns to match the new database layout, no problem!” And if you just happen to have kept a lot of the more detailed guest activity information in Excel in the first place because the management system itself couldn’t track it, even better.
Business intelligence systems do a fantastic job of normalizing and consolidating data from multiple different systems into a cohesive whole, and providing powerful and flexible analysis tools to make sense of it. But the number one query every BI vendor hears is “Can I export this into Excel?” It’s universal, and its sorting, filtering, analysis and display functions are powerful and familiar.
So is there a downside? Of course; anything so flexible and open to modification is really hard to keep accurate and to rely on for a consistent, truthful answer. Sometimes that’s why you use it; much raw data needs to have extra information added to it to provide context, or needs to be adjusted for circumstances the system wasn’t aware of. Adding a note about the weather may explain all kinds of unexpected peaks and valleys, for example. Most of the time, though, while there are more powerful and accurate tools available Excel is good enough for the job, and it’s become indispensable.
So let’s acknowledge Microsoft for its achievement. Excel may not be perfect, but this industry (and many others) would grind to a halt in an instant without it.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • LuAnne Lambert joins Rainmaker as Director of Sales for ReelREV
  • John Pulling appointed CTO at Lanyon

LuAnne Lambert has joined The Rainmaker Group as Director of Sales for its ReelREV software and services for improving slot performance.  Ms. Lambert brings with her a sales executive career spanning nearly two decades, the last seven in gaming with Paltronics and, more recently, Bally Technologies.
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John Pulling has been appointed Chief Technology Officer at Lanyon.  Mr. Pulling most recently served as Senior Vice President of Products for BigMachines, another Vista Equity Partners portfolio company (Vista owns Lanyon) that was recently acquired by Oracle. He had previously served as Vice President of Product Management at Infor, and earlier as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Provia Software.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Prairie Band Casino & Resort picks Agilysys’ LMS, InfoGenesis and Stratton Warren
  • Restoration on King, Charleston, SC installs Northwind’s Maestro
  • Sens Group implementing Prologic First’s WISH front office system in new 56-room property in Kolkatta

The 297-room Prairie Band Casino & Resort in Mayetta, Kan., has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS), InfoGenesis POS system and Stratton Warren System procurement system. Owned and operated by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, the casino resort is located on tribal land just north of Topeka, Kansas. (www.prairieband.com, www.agilysys.com)
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The 16-suite Restoration on King, Charleston, SC has installed Northwind’s Maestro Property Management System. TripAdvisor recently voted the property the #4 Best Small Hotel in the U.S in 2014. (www.restorationonking.com, www.maestropms.com)
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India’s Sens Group is implementing Prologic First’s WISH front office system, WebProl’IFIC and other interfaces in its new 56-room property coming up in Kolkatta. (www.thesensgroup.com, www.prologicfirst.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Spencer in Dublin moves to Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium
  • Sunway Hotels & Resorts implement Pegasus’ OpenView for 10 hotels in Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam
  • REVPAR GURU and BitPay announce GuestLeader Bitcoin-compatible hotel booking engine
  • Red Lion Hotels replacing CRS with Sceptre’s WindsurferCRS
  • Choice Hotels International to use TripAdvisor’s new mobile Instant Booking
  • Spanish OTA Destinia creates Google Glass app to search for and book hotels

The Spencer in Dublin (formerly ClarionHotel IFSC Dublin) has moved to Pegasus Solutions’ Connect+ Premium for sales and marketing support. Situated in the heart of Dublin’s International Financial Services Centre, the Fitzpatrick Lifestyle Hotels property has 166 guest rooms and 10 meeting rooms.
Sunway Hotels & Resorts has implemented Pegasus Solutions’ OpenView Internet booking engine for desktop and mobile bookings for 10 of its hotels in Malaysia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
(www.thespencerhotel.com, www.sunwayhotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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REVPAR GURU and BitPay announced GuestLeader, a Bitcoin-compatible hotel booking engine available through REVPAR GURU¹s revenue management system, allowing hotels to accept Bitcoins as a form of payment via the booking engine on their own brand.com site.  BitPay processes all such transactions, alerting the hotel that a booking has been made and paid for, and sending payment to the hotel the next business day in the hotel¹s choice of 10 currencies. Advantages claimed include avoidance of international transaction fees and prompt payment. (www.revparguru.com)
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Red Lion Hotels is replacing its CRS with Sceptre Hospitality Resources’ (SRH’s) WindsurferCRS. (www.redlion.com, www.sceptrehospitality.com)
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Choice Hotels International claims to be the first hotel company to commit to using TripAdvisor’s new mobile Instant Booking feature, currently in test. Instant Booking allows travelers to complete their hotel reservations while remaining on the TripAdvisor mobile app and mobile website. (www.choicehotels.com, www.tripadvisor.com)
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Spanish OTA Destinia has created “Hotel Near Me”, a Google Glass app created in collaboration with Glob3Mobile that lets users search for and book hotels, from an inventory of 200,000 properties. Users can swipe the side of Google Glass to see several nearby hotel choices, scroll through the list, filter by price, check photos and make a reservation. The app is still in the testing phase awaiting final approval from Google. Destinia users will also be able to see their past and current reservations. (destinia.us)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Cendyn moving North American headquarters to new location in Boca Raton
  • Oliver Companies implementing Aptech’s Execuvue BI system for 13 properties
  • Vizergy  announces Content Test & Target website optimization software
  • Prologic First releases Corporate WISH MIS business intelligence module
  • Jewel Resorts uses ZDirect’s ZMail at three resorts in Jamaica

Cendyn is moving its North American headquarters to a new location in Boca Raton, after purchasing and renovating the 94,000 square foot office building. (www.cendyn.com)
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Oliver Companies has implemented Aptech’s Execuvue BI system for the 13 properties it operates from Florida to Wisconsin under multiple flags, including Hilton, Carlson and IHG brands plus independents. The company already used Aptech’s Profitvue back office accounting and Webvue data gathering applications. (www.olivercompanies.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
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Vizergy has announced its Content Test & Target website optimization software, which helps hotels to personalize digital interactions throughout the travel shoppers’ journey and provides measurement and optimization against key performance indicators (KPIs) relative to engagement, conversion and loyalty. Features include:
– Segmentation using variables such as environmental, behavioral, referrer and offline.
– Rules-based Targeting and Dynamic Content to direct content to specific audiences, e.g. using a visitor’s ZIP code to deliver location-related content and offers.
– Automated Behavioral Targeting and Dynamic Content using a self-learning algorithmic approach.
– A/B Testing to determine the best offers, messaging and content sequences.
– Multivariate Testing to understand the most impactful elements on a page and which click paths have the highest conversion.
– Targeted Site Search and Merchandising to optimize the way visitors browse, find, compare and select offerings and content.
– Personalized Recommendations and Cross-selling.
– Search-driven Merchandising.
– Mobile Targeting.
(www.vizergy.com)
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Prologic First has released its Corporate WISH MIS business intelligence module, allowing a hospitality chain that spans hotels, QSR & seated dining, clubs and events & catering venues to use a single performance monitoring dashboard. Corporate WISH MIS is deployed centrally, aggregates data at the end of each business date from each business unit, and provides many standard reports along with more robust business intelligence tools for sophisticated data analysis. (www.prologicfirst.com)
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Jewel Resorts is using ZDirect’s ZMail at three resorts in Jamaica (The Jewel Dunn’s River Beach Resort and Spa, Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort and Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa) to send personalized pre-arrival email confirmations and post-departure emails with guest satisfaction surveys. (www.jewelresorts.com, www.zdirect.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • 25hours rolling out IDeaS’ RMS to all properties in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
  • Delta Hotels and Resorts implementing IDeaS RMS at all 37 hotel properties
  • glh deploys Infor’s EzRMS at 10 more managed properties
  • TBOHolidays completes integration with eRevMax’s RateTiger and Connect
  • Auris Group  chooses eRevMax’s Connect

25hours hotel group has announced a full rollout of IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ Revenue Management System (RMS) for its properties in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. IDeaS RMS is already in operation at seven properties, including the 25hours Hotel at MuseumsQuartier and 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin.
Delta Hotels and Resorts is implementing IDeaS Revenue Management System at all 37 hotel properties. The rollout started in December 2013; the majority of Delta’s hotels are expected to be live on IDeaS by July 2014.
(www.25hours-hotels.com/en/?, www.deltahotels.com, www.ideas.com)
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glh, the London-based hotel subsidiary of Singapore-listed GuocoLeisure Group, has deployed Infor’s EzRMS across a further 10 managed properties. glh, which owns the Guoman and Thistle hotel brands, will use the EzQuote, EzContract and EzRegion modules; EzRMS was installed for 19 owned properties in 2012. (www.glhhotels.com, www.infor.com)
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Dubai-based TBOHolidays has completed two-way XML integration of its Middle East-focused B2B online booking site with eRevMax’s RateTiger and Connect applications for distribution connectivity.
Dubai-based Auris Group has chosen eRevMax’s Connect to provide real time two-way connectivity between the hotels and Online Travel Agencies, Metasearch Engines, Travel Agents and Corporate clients.  Connect will also reinforce visibility through multi-platform advertising on meta search engines, including Google Hotels, WeGo, Kayak, Trivago among others. Auris Group currently has six operational properties in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and five pipeline projects set to open by 2017.
(www.tboholidays.com, www.auris-hotels.com, www.erevmax.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Lanyon acquires Passkey
  • MCR Development expands use of hotel SalesPro to 26 more hotels

Lanyon has acquired group booking management and optimization vendor Passkey, adding to its recent acquisitions of StarCite and Active Networks’ Business Solutions division. (www.passkey.com, www.lanyon.com)
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MCR Development has expanded its use of hotel SystemsPro’s hotel SalesPro Sales and Catering system to include 26 hotels that it recently acquired. MCR currently manages 56 properties under nine brands, including Hilton and Marriott. (mcrdevelopment.com, www.hotelsystemspro.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Marriott selects MICROS’ Simphony for F&B operations in  United States and Canada
  • Lemon Tree Hotel, Dehradun, implements Prologic First’s POS Touché and WebProl’IFIC
  • Country Inn Saket by Carlson in New Delhi implements Prologic First’s Touché POS and WebProl”IFIC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. picks Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS for two newest ships
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Marriott International has selected MICROS Systems’ Simphony Enterprise Solution for its F&B operations at Marriott brands in the United States and Canada. Hosted in a MICROS Data Center, the deployment will be substantially complete by the end of 2014. (www.marriott.com, www.micros.com)
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Lemon Tree Hotel, Dehradun, has implemented Prologic First’s POS Touché and WebProl’IFIC systems to help manage its F&B operations, stores and F&B costing.
The 57-room Country Inn Saket by Carlson in New Delhi’s DLF South Court Mall shopping and entertainment center, has implemented Prologic First’s Touché POS and WebProl”IFIC to manage its three restaurants and back office operations.
(www.lemontreehotels.com, www.countryinns.com, www.prologicfirst.com)
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Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system for its two newest ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, bringing its total to 35 vessels using Agilysys applications. (www.royalcaribbean.com, www.agilysys.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Palladium Hotel Group introduces guest RFID bracelets at Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel and Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza
  • WestHouse Hotel New York installs Intelity ICE
  • Intelity upgrades ICE to help properties offer guests a mobile app experience
  • Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile installs FlyteBoard and FlytePass
  • FCS Computer Systems has released i-Guest V3 for iOS and Android
  • UBIQ  launches QikStay application
  • Quadriga announces SmartQubeTV HDMI plug-in box to convert guest TV to a smart TV

The Palladium Hotel Group has introduced RFID bracelets for all guests at its Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel and the new Hard Rock Hotel Ibiza, opening this summer. The bracelets allow guests to open their rooms, access different establishments around the hotel, pay for any product using an assigned PIN code, and have many discounts at on-site facilities. (www.palladiumhotelgroup.com:8080/en/)
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The new WestHouse Hotel New York, part of both the Highgate Hotels and LaSalle Hotel Properties portfolios, has installed Intelity ICE guest services. Highgate recently designated Intelity as a preferred vendor for all guest services. In-room tablets equipped with Intelity’s ICE Touch software provide guests with access to all hotel and concierge services, including room service and housekeeping, as well as offering alarm clock and radio functionality, a guestroom compendium, concierge information, digital copies of newspapers and connection to social media accounts. The tablets are integrated with the hotel’s guest management system, and are planned to be linked to the Point-of-Sale and HotSOS guest request response system.
Intelity has released an upgraded version of its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) product to make it easier for hotel brands and individual properties to offer guests a mobile app experience. The app includes a menu of over 40 different hotel services that guests can interact with through their mobile devices, including checking in or out, ordering room service, making housekeeping requests, leaving digital comment cards, and even communicating preferences and requests to the hotel’s concierge before arrival. Additional features include an app reminder that encourages guests to use the app during their stay and push notifications that use geo-location technology to message targeted guests near or on hotel premises. Geofencing makes the hotel operator aware of when and where their guests are en route to the hotel.
(www.westhousehotelnewyork.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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The Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard airline schedule display and FlytePass boarding pass printing service. (hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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FCS Computer Systems has released i-Guest V3 to users on iOS and Android mobile devices. New features include:
– multiple brand/multiple property support
– multiple time zone support
– offline access via auto-cache of hotel data
– easier navigation between favorites, hotel services, and 3rd party technology
– facilitates dedicated videos for conventions and meetings based on group codes or individual guests
– sending targeted messages to specific guests, actively at specific days and times
– Micros POS 3700/9700 integration
– facilitates hotel reservation inquires to the hotel reservation team for processing or automates the entire booking process if interfaced to the hotel booking system
(www.fcscs.com)
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UBIQ has launched its QikStay application, part of its Qikinn Suite, to help guests plan their itinerary during the stay, make their own bookings for facilities/events before and during the stay, etc.  The Singapore Bay Hotel Singapore will be the first to implement this suite. (www.qikinn.com)
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Quadriga has announced its SmartQubeTV box, which lets hoteliers convert any guest TV with an HDMI port into a smart TV. It can optionally also create individual in-room WiFi access points. SmartQubeTV features a gyroscopic remote control with an integrated QWERTY keyboard; guest personal data is automatically erased at check out. Quadriga will customize the SmartQubeTV for each hotel, in the cloud, with selected content and apps in up to six different languages. (www.quadriga.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Westin Singapore implements Newmarket’s REX
  • Vertical Systems releases next generation of mAPPs
  • Optii Solutions upgrades Optii Keeper
  • PAS launches pasCLOUD hotel back office application
  • Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort implements InvoTech’s UHF-RFID Uniform Management System
  • UniFocus Labor Management and Time and Attendance applications now available in English, Chinese, Spanish, French and Japanese

The Westin Singapore has implemented Newmarket’s REX room expeditor, via Newmarket’s local distributor McLaren Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. (www.starwoodhotels.com, www.mclarenint.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Vertical Systems Inc. has released the next generation of its cloud-based mAPPs mobile apps suite, which cover housekeeping and engineering functions and provide real-time management reports. The suite operates on any iDevice using the hotels existing WiFi. (www.ver-sys.com)
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Optii Solutions has released an upgrade to its Optii Keeper housekeeping management application. Enhancements include an advanced queuing function for the front desk which prioritizes the waiting guests, a new turndown feature, defects reporting and a dedicated housekeeping dashboard. (www.optiisolutions.com)
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PAS has launched pasCLOUD all-inclusive hotel back office application, based on its pasUNITY technology. Covering Accounting, Reporting, Budgeting, Forecasting, Daily and Business Intelligence, pasCLOUD also offers centralized accounts payable, push button consolidation, auto fee calculation and billing, audit event and report capture, and checklist functionality for improved oversight. (www.pasunity.com)
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The Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort has implemented InvoTech Systems’ UHF-RFID Uniform Management System to automate uniform tracking, accounting, and reporting for the 20,000 newly-designed uniforms for its staff of 3,500. The InvoTechUniform System interfaces with the White Conveyors U-Pick-It System to deliver uniforms automatically to staff. (www.soaringeaglecasino.com, www.invotech.com)
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UniFocus announce that its Labor Management system and Time and Attendance applications are now available in English, Chinese, Spanish, French and Japanese. (www.UniFocus.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort installing photovoltaic system from Pear Energy to cover 100% of its electric power

Two Bunch Palms Spa Resort, near Palm Springs, is installing a 550-kW solar photovoltaic (PV) installation from Pear Energy that will provide enough renewable energy to offset 100% of its electric power consumption. The resort’s sustainability endeavors also include initiatives dedicated to recycling, water reuse, new energy efficient hot water heaters, windows and doors, and the use of nontoxic water-based cleaning products and natural materials. System implementation is scheduled to occur simultaneously with Two Bunch Palms’ room renovation in summer and fall 2014. Pear Energy provided financing for the project through a 21-year power purchase agreement (PPA), with Lighthouse Solar managing the installation process. (www.twobunchpalms.com, www.pear-energy.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Ocean Properties chooses Guest-tek to upgrade 25 hotels

Ocean Properties has chosen Guest-tek to upgrade 25 hotels Internet service in compliance with Marriott Global Property Network Standards (GPNS). (www.guest-tek.com)
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SECURITY

  • OpenWays introduces BlueWays for Bluetooth-controlled guestroom access

OpenWays has introduced BlueWays, a mobile key product based on Bluetooth 4.0 (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy or BLE) and iBeacon offering upgrade kits to convert many major hotel lock brands to also accept Bluetooth-based “keys”. Based on technology developed for OpenWays’ OKIDOKEYS residential mobile key product, the BlueWays receiver uses 256bit AES encryption and can be placed unobtrusively inside the room under the lock inside trim. Any BLE-equipped phone can be used as the key.
OpenWays also introduced BlueWays+, an external wireless wall-mounted receiver which can link the BlueWays receiver to phones using Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, RFID and OpenWays’ own Crypto-Acoustic Credentials encrypted-audio technology. BlueWays+ can also read NFC or RFID keycards and wristbands, and is designed to be upgradable with modules developed for future mobile access technologies.
(www.OpenWays.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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