May 15, 2012
MAY 2 – 15, 2012
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- Managing expectations; dropping the ball on service cripples the marketing message
- HTNG releases 2012A Web Services specifications
Managing expectations continues to be one of the hardest things we do. Sometimes in this entitlement-prone society guest expectations are simply unreasonable (“I expect unlimited Internet bandwidth, free!”), in which case all we can do is respond as rationally as we can and trust that the wider audience will understand what’s possible and what’s simply impractical to provide.
Sometimes, though, marketing gets ahead of reality, and we have to constantly navigate the fine line between attracting guests with great photography and appealing amenity offers and promising more than we’re prepared to deliver. Guest feedback sites help keep this in check, of course, quickly pointing out transgressions (e.g. on TripAdvisor, Expedia and others) or posting guests’ own photos to show more typical views (Oyster.com). To maintain trust hoteliers must constantly monitor this feedback and respond appropriately, both on-line to the public and internally to correct service deficiencies. To do otherwise is to risk undermining all the marketing and training effort spent on building up a brand and image in the first place.
This is why it’s especially discouraging to find that the mobile site of a particular chain’s technology-focused flag crashes every time a guest tries to book a hotel with it. And that it’s done so for nearly a year without being updated, judging by the comments posted on-line by frustrated users. No, I’m not going to name it; the brand in question is already aware of the situation, and maybe this will encourage others to make sure reality matches their marketing message a little more closely.
Promising something and then failing to deliver on that promise is worse than not offering it at all.
HTNG has released its 2012A Web Services specifications. Three new specifications cover:
– Customer Profile: core services and schema to enable a richer and more structured customer profile, plus web services to facilitate customer profile interactions.
– Folio Detail Exchange: a message set for passing transactional-level guest folio data to systems that support analytics, loyalty, invoice dematerialization, VAT tax rebate, centralized direct billing, corporate expense reporting and other applications.
– Hosted Payment Capture: covers the secure, remotely-hosted capture of credit card data by a booking website, CRS or other system through transferring control temporarily to the hosted secure site, maintaining the look and feel of the hotel’s website, potentially enabling the hotel system to move outside the scope of PCI requirements.
Three other specifications have been updated:
– Product Distribution: many enhancements, corrections, and documentation improvements, plus the ability for Rate Plans to be flagged as yieldable or not, and quotable in multiple currencies.
– Digital Signage: adds multilingual capabilities.
– Guest Self Service: allows the handling of multiple availability requests within a single message, plus other minor enhancements.
- Randy Craven named 2012 CHTP of the Year
- Riko van Santen joins Kempinski Hotels as VP Digital Strategy & Distribution
- Jay Livingood hired by Yellow Dog Software as President
- Kevin Bennett joins Blueprint RF as CFO
- Kurt Slinglend joins Amway Hotel Corp as CIO
- Dan Lulich promoted to CTO at Eleven Wireless
- Kristin Lysne joins Otrum as Director of Strategic Initiatives
- Karl Henrik Lilleheier is Otrum’s new CFO
- Trond Henriksen hired by Otrum as SVP Sales & Distribution
- Steven Weeks appointed CEO at FCS Computer Systems
- Larry Steinberg hired by Agilysys as SVP of Technology
Randy Craven has been named HFTP’s 2012 CHTP (Certified Hospitality Technology Professional) of the Year, in recognition of his scoring the highest on the CHTP certification exam in a given year. Mr. Craven has worked in the hospitality industry for 25 years in both operations and technology positions; for the last 15 years, he has been principal at Randy Craven Software and Consulting in Greensboro, N.C., developing web and client-server applications, helping clients with software selection and providing custom reporting and integration services.
Riko van Santen has joined Kempinski Hotels as Vice President Digital Strategy & Distribution, as of June 1. Most recently Vice President Electronic Distribution at Louvre Hotels Group and earlier at Golden Tulip TOP Hospitality Group before its merger into Louvre, Mr. van Santen was earlier Group Revenue Manager at Utell Hotels & Resorts in London. He began his career in 1995 as Front Office Manager at five-star Hotel Okura in Amsterdam.
Jay Livingood has been hired by Yellow Dog Software as its new President. Mr. Livingood brings more than 20 years of hospitality software experience, most recently as a Strategic Account Executive in the resorts division of The Active Network. He was earlier the founder and President of Ally Systems, a provider of retail and F&B point of sale systems in Virginia, and had been Director of National Accounts at club software provider Integrated Business Systems.
Kevin Bennett has joined networking and energy management vendor Blueprint RF as Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bennett brings over 30 years of financial management experience with companies such as Bellsouth, Intelligent Systems Corporation, InterTech Information Management and Melita International. He was most recently as CFO of StayOnline.
Kurt Slinglend has joined Amway Hotel Corp as chief information officer. His most recent roles include senior IT manager at Spectrum Health, and two senior consulting roles at Formativ. Previously he worked for more than ten years at Herman Miller as an IT manager and director of market intelligence; he had earlier consulted for companies such as Fridgidaire and Brunswick.
Dan Lulich has been promoted to chief technology officer at Eleven Wireless. He joined the company three years as VP of Technology at Eleven; before then he was a Director at venture capital firm Emergent, and had previously served in senior technology leadership roles with iovation, NIITEK, AOL Time Warner and RuleSpace.
Otrum has named three new members of its management team:
Kristin Lysne joins as Director of Strategic Initiatives after serving with the Elkem group for several years, most recently as Senior Project Manager for REC based in Singapore.
Karl Henrik Lilleheier, as Otrum’s new CFO; he has been with Telenor for the past 12 years in various roles, the latest being Head of Finance in one of Telenor´s operations in India.
Trond Henriksen, SVP Sales & Distribution; he has been working from the UK the last 8 years, most recently as Regional Sales Director for SCC (Specialist Computer Centre).
Steven Weeks has been appointed the new CEO at FCS Computer Systems. Mr. Weeks’ previous responsibilities have included senior posts at Fortune 500 companies in the capacities of vice president of sales, chief operating officer and managing director. He has lived in the Asia Pacific region for more than 15 years, including Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia and China, and previously lived and worked in the United Kingdom, with management and operational control for organizations across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Larry Steinberg has been hired by Agilysys as senior vice president of technology; he was most recently a development manager for Microsoft. Mr. Steinberg joined Microsoft in 2007 as a result of the company’s acquisition of Engyro, where he had served as chief technology officer. He was earlier a founder and director of Dirigo, an enterprise systems management company, and founded and managed eSpecto, which specialized in the development of e-business monitoring and management software applications.
- G1 Group selects MICROS Opera
- NORTHWIND announces Maestro iPad Xpress Check-In app
Scotland’s G1 Group has selected MICROS Systems’ Opera for all five hotels, and MICROS RES, Materials Control, Enterprise Management and XBR Loss Prevention for all 40 retail and F&B outlets. G1 will implement centralized configuration and management of the products. (www.g1group.co.uk, www.micros.com)
NORTHWIND has announced its Maestro iPad Xpress Check-In app, to be officially launched at HITEC 2012. Xpress Check-In lets properties use iPads and other tablet devices for mobile check-in and check-out services, integrated with their Maestro Property Management Suite. Functions include:
- Wireless check-in and check-out
- Personalized upsell and room-change capability with real-time availability access
- Guest registration signature capture
- Remote group conference check-in and room blocking
- Remote encoding of magstripe and RFID room keys from the iPad (magstripe keys will be produced on the nearest keycard generator, RFID keys will be generated from the iPad itself)
- Credit card payment capture with PCI compliant processing
- Guest message delivery from the iPad, or emailed instantly to the guest’s address.
- Louvre Hotels extends CRS agreement with Pegasus for three years
- Pegasus completes connection with China’s TravelSky Technology
- Choice Hotels releases IPad app
- Roomkey.com drops “beta” designation, adds new tools and Facebook page
- Pelican System rebrands as “Pelican Hotel Solutions,” moves headquarters to Los Angeles
- InnLink expands into India through partnership with MAI E-Travel Services
Louvre Hotels Group has extended its CRS agreement with Pegasus Solutions for three more years; the chain uses Pegasus RezView NG under its private label Goldres3 platform. Louvre has also contracted with Pegasus for mobile app development, MetaSearch Services and the recently announced TravelSky connection to drive bookings from China.
Louvre Hotels Group operates more than 1,100 hotels under six brands, including Première Classe, Campanile, Kyriad & Kyriad Prestige, Tulip Inn, Golden Tulip and Royal Tulip, all of which currently operate on Goldres3.
Pegasus Solutions has completed a connection with TravelSky Technology Limited, China’s state-owned global distribution system (GDS), that makes Pegasus’ inventory of nearly 100,000 hotels available for booking in China by the 7,000 agents using TravelSky. Starwood Hotels & Resorts is the first Pegasus customer to go live on the connection. TravelSky also now has full access to the Pegasus Hotel Content Database (HCD), which houses nearly 1.5 million images, videos and virtual tours, as well as property and room descriptions.
Choice Hotels has released an IPad app to complement its existing iPhone and Android phone apps. Choice also commented that mobile revenue for its properties was up more than 250 percent year-over-year in 2011. (www.choicehotels.com)
Roomkey.com has dropped its “beta” designation, added some new tools including integrated consumer reviews and a shortlist tool, and unveiled its new Facebook page. The shortlist feature lets consumers compare properties across multiple locations, share their top picks and collaborate with family and friends via email, Facebook and Twitter. (www.roomkey.com)
Pelican System has rebranded itself as “Pelican Hotel Solutions” and relocated its headquarters from Southeast Asia to Los Angeles. Pelican will open a second development division in Europe this summer, supplementing the Asian development office. (www.pelicansolution.com)
InnLink announces its expansion into India through a partnership with MAI E-Travel Services in New Delhi. MAI will distribute all three of InnLink’s brands (InnLink, InnVite, and VisitUs) to provide full CRS and Revenue services in India. InnLink has integrated local language and currency capabilities into its Internet Booking Engine. (www.maiets.com, www.innlink.com)
- Cendyn receives four Communicator Awards from IAVA
- TRX releases version 2.0 of Hotel Name Normalization software
- Xn Hotel Systems announces QlikView-powered Xn Business Intelligence
- Availpro integrates Kelkoo and Trivago price comparison sites into Direct Click Manager
- Digital Alchemy certified by US Government’s General Services Administration
- Lodging Interactive receives three Interactive Media Awards
- MICROS rebrands TIG Global as MICROS eCommerce
- Highpointe Hotel Corp. upgrading to latest version of Aptech Execuvue
Cendyn has received four Communicator Awards from the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), for:
- The National Hotel Website: a Gold Award of Excellence.
- Trump Hotel Las Vegas Social Influence campaign: a Silver Award of Distinction.
- The Crescent Canada Website: a Silver Award of Distinction.
- The Hay Creek Hotels Website: a Silver Award of Distinction.
TRX has released HNN 2.0, a new version of the Hotel Name Normalization software for its TRAVELTRAX business intelligence application. HNN 2.0 improves normalization by 90 percent on previously missed matches through advances in machine learning and natural language processing and a more sophisticated mathematical algorithm. HNN helps companies identify actual spend at particular hotel properties by aggregating all representations of the same hotel under varying names (e.g. “The Marriott Downtown,” “The Downtown Marriott”) through identification of its unique features, including phone, address, chain name and more. (www.trx.com)
Xn Hotel Systems has announced Xn Business Intelligence, its new reporting and analytics tool powered by QlikTech’s QlikView in-memory BI platform. Xn BI provides a graphical, on-line platform consolidating business data from multiple sources such as PMS, POS, CRS, CRM, Conference & Banqueting, accounting systems, spa management, energy management, call accounting and other operational systems, presented on up to 50 interactive dashboards. Xn BI can be accessed from iPhone, iPad and Android devices and also via web browsers, and has already been installed in three hotel groups: Mama Shelter (France), Ayana Resort and Spa (Bali) and Windsor Property Management Group (Vietnam).
Availpro has integrated the Kelkoo and Trivago price comparison sites into its Direct Click Manager service, which ensures that a hotel’s official website appears in the top three distribution channels displayed when a user searches for availability on TripAdvisor and on price comparison sites. (www.availpro.com)
Digital Alchemy has been certified by the US Government’s General Services Administration (GSA) to be included on its Multiple Award Schedule program, allowing federal, state, and local government agencies with access to the GSA Schedule Contract program to contract directly with Digital Alchemy for its CRM and digital marketing services. Digital Alchemy currently provides its electronic eSurvey services to Air Force Inns, Navy Gateway Inns and Inns of the Corps. (www.data2gold.com)
Lodging Interactive has received three Interactive Media Awards from the Interactive Media Council Inc. for Outstanding Achievement in website design in the Hotels/Resorts category, the third consecutive year it has been so recognized. The Awards were given for sites designed by Lodging Interactive for the Marriott Burlington in Massachusetts, the Denver Renaissance in Colorado and the Doubletree Oak Brook in Illinois. (www.lodginginteractive.com)
MICROS Systems has rebranded its TIG Global subsidiary as MICROS eCommerce. (www.micros.com)
Highpointe Hotel Corp. is upgrading its Aptech Execuvue to the latest version, which uses the Cognos 10 platform, to automate data gathered from its Hilton and Marriott property systems, STR comp-set input and other sources. Highpointe has used Execuvue since 2001 for its 15 hotels in Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. (www.highpointe.com, www.aptech-inc.com)
- Omni pilots Rainmaker’s GroupREV group forecasting and pricing software
- Hotel Brunelleschi and Grand Hotel Minerva in Florence implement IDeaS
- EasyRMS launches Ez PLUS consulting services
Omni Hotels & Resorts is piloting The Rainmaker Group’s new GroupREV group forecasting and pricing software at four locations: Fort Worth, San Diego, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh. While GroupREV is designed to work with any revenue management system, Omni will tie it to its Rainmaker GuestREV revenue management system, which is in turn tied to Omni’s central reservations system. GroupREV will also receive nightly extracts from Omni’s sales and catering system. (www.omnihotels.com, www.letitrain.com)
Two luxury hotels in Florence, the 96-room Hotel Brunelleschi and the 102-room Grand Hotel Minerva (part of the same regional hotel management group) have implemented IDeaS Revenue Solutions’ Revenue Management System. The Hotel Brunelleschi and Grand Hotel Minerva went live in March and April 2011 respectively. (www.brunelleschihotelflorence.com, www.grandhotelminerva.net, www.ideas.com)
Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) has launched Ez PLUS service, which offers Revenue Management consulting for existing EzRMS users and for hoteliers not yet ready for a fully automated Revenue Management system. Ez PLUS will deliver consulting and training via webinars, seminars, in-company training programs as well as onsite consulting services. (www.easyrms.com)
- Orient-Express Hotels deploying MICROS OPERA Sales and Catering in 37 hotels
- Westin announces Project Hive small meeting room concept for hotel business centers
- Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach implements Passkey’s GroupMAX
Orient-Express Hotels is deploying MICROS OPERA Sales and Catering system in 37 of its hotels, starting with its properties in the US and Mexico. Orient-Express already uses MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise suite. (www.orient-express.com, www.micros.com)
Westin Hotels & Resorts has announced Project Hive, a new workspace concept for its hotel business centers that features media:scape by Steelcase technology, video conferencing, connectivity and collaboration areas. The workspace is intended to host small impromptu meetings of up to four people and can be booked by the hour, at a moment’s notice, through LiquidSpace.com. It is currently in operation at The Westin Boston Waterfront and The Westin Arlington Gateway Hotel and will be implemented soon at the Westin Grand Munich. Westin plans to roll out the concept globally through 2013. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
The Red Lion Hotel on the River – Jantzen Beach, in Portland, OR, has implemented Passkey’s GroupMAX online reservation system for meetings and events. The 320-room property offers over 36,000 square feet of meeting and event space. (www.redlionontheriver.com, www.passkey.com)
- G1 Group picks MICROS’ RES, Materials Control, Enterprise Management and XBR Loss Prevention for 40 outlets
- IDS NEXT launches Envy Dine tablet application for restaurants
- Smorgie.com announces concierge restaurant recommendation system
- Foursquare partners with OpenTable
Scotland’s G1 Group has selected MICROS Systems’ RES, Materials Control, Enterprise Management and XBR Loss Prevention for all 40 retail and F&B outlets, and MICROS Opera for all five hotels. G1 will implement centralized configuration and management of the products. (www.g1group.co.uk, www.micros.com)
IDS NEXT has launched its Envy range of hospitality apps for iOS and Android devices, starting with Envy Dine, a tablet application for restaurants. Envy Dine recommends food and beverage options at a restaurant, interpreting what customers are looking for and directing them to the most requested items in a category. It also dynamically suggests offers and discounts to diners based on their order, provides intelligent reports, facilitates predictive analysis and is interfaced with the IDS NEXT ERP system. (www.idsnext.com)
Smorgie.com announced its self-branded concierge restaurant recommendation system, and is looking for up to twenty beta users. The system guides concierges in creating lists of restaurants and organizing them based on occasion; lists can be printed out or e-mailed to a guest’s smart phone. (www.smorgie.com/concierge)
Foursquare has partnered with OpenTable to let users of Foursquare’s Explore recommendation engine research restaurants in a specific locality, and then make reservations via OpenTable. (www.foursquare.com, www.opentable.com)
- at-visions partners with AV system integrator Omnix in the Middle East
- Three Dorchester Group hotels implement Control4 guest controls
- Hotel Regatta in Hanko, Finland implements Quadriga’s Sensiq Edition
- Pan Pacific’s Nirwana Bali Resort implements MTech’s HotSOS and REX
- InterContinental Singapore implements MTech’s HotSOS
- Four Seasons Baku installs custom Stanford mirror TVs by Electric Mirror
Austria’s at-visions has established a partnership with Omnix, an AV system integrator in the Middle East, for its ONEvision Hotel TV services. (www.at-visions.com)
Three Dorchester Group hotels (45 Park Lane in London, Hotel Bel Air and Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles) have completed implementation of Control4’s hospitality technology, which allows guests to control drapes, lights, temperature, TV, music, and schedule wake-up calls. The system is integrated with the on-screen user interface of iBAHN’s IPTV system and with the Alcatel touch-panel telephone. (www.dorchestercollection.com, www.control4.com)
The Hotel Regatta in Hanko, Finland is implementing Quadriga’s Sensiq Edition in all 49 rooms, offering TV channels displayed in the guest’s own language, IPTV, on-demand pre-DVD movie releases and both wired and WiFi connectivity. (www.hotelregatta.fi/en, www.quadriga.com)
Pan Pacific’s Nirwana Bali Resort has implemented MTech’s HotSOS guest-request management and REX housekeeping systems, in association with MTech’s partner McLaren Technologies.
The InterContinental Singapore has implemented MTech’s HotSOS, in association with McLaren Technologies.
(www.panpacific.com/bali, www.singapore.intercontinental.com, www.mclarenint.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
The Four Seasons Baku has installed custom Stanford mirror TVs by Electric Mirror in all 171 rooms, using the VDA Group to provide the VOD and IPTV technology. Public spaces use a custom Stanford mirror with a 47” HDTV and V Mirror technology, which hides the TV when it is off. The guest rooms and suites have custom-cut Stanford mirror TVs with 15” screens and AV Mirror technology, which camouflages the screen when turned off with a reflective surface. (www.fourseasons.com/baku/, www.vdavda.com, www.electricmirror.com)
- Denihan chooses Telkonet’s EcoSmart energy management for five hotels
- IDS NEXT partners with occupancy-based energy management vendor Energex
Denihan Hospitality Group has chosen Telkonet’s cloud-based EcoSmart energy management platform for five of its hotels in New York City: The Benjamin, Affinia Gardens, Affinia Dumont, Affinia Shelburne and Affinia 50. (www.denihan.com, www.telkonet.com/products/ecosmart/)
IDS NEXT has partnered with occupancy-based energy management vendor Energex. The Energy Management Systems directly interface with existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, regulating the energy consumption at the property; hoteliers can access data and analyses of energy consumption through IDS NEXT’s FortuneNEXT Property Management System. (www.energexinc.com, www.idsnext.com)
- Skywire Media licenses Ameranth web/wireless data synchronization patents
Mobile messaging services developer Skywire Media has entered into a license agreement with Ameranth for its web/wireless data synchronization patents. The two companies are partnering to exploit their combined expertise in key hospitality/gaming market segments. (www.ameranth.com, www.skywiremedia.com)
- Recludo announces time-controlled fingerprint-access door locks
Recludo announced a new range of time-controlled fingerprint-access door locks, which control access without apps, text messages, key cards or any connection to a central computer. On arrival at the hotel, the guest can by-pass the front desk and go directly to the room; his/her authorized fingerprint is stored in the door’s lock for the duration of the stay and then erased. (www.recludo.com)