May 17, 2011

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

MAY 4 – 17, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Clarity on both sides makes for an easier system selection process
  • Starwood brands receive top ratings for digital competence
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One of the challenges of looking for new management systems has always been comparing the vendors’ proposals; it seems that no two ever cover the same set of functions, no matter how clear the property’s requirements definition. Part of the challenge is coming up with a consistent definition for the vendors to bid against, because this is invariably an iterative process. Most hotels have a good idea of what they’re looking for when they start the process, but inevitably discussions with different vendors and demonstrations of their various systems will highlight additional functions that could be very useful. These are then added into the mix, though not necessarily retroactively to update the early bidders’ offers. Comparing different vendors’ bids for the “same” project thus requires many emails and phone calls to bring the functionality of each bid up to equivalent levels.
Equally, though, the vendors themselves frequently complicate the process by including additional modules that the hotel didn’t ask for but which the vendor thinks could be useful. Whether this is from a misunderstanding of the hotel’s real needs and/or budget or an enthusiastic salesperson trying to maximize the order, it’s another factor complicating bid comparisons and therefore the hotel’s decision process.
No two systems offer the same functionality and so there’ll always be a need for careful comparisons and scripted demonstrations of the property’s key operational scenarios. Both sides can make the process clearer and more consistent, though, hotels by making sure they revisit earlier vendor bids in the light of functionality they added later and vendors by clearly identifying useful extensions of the requirements as options, with reasons why they believe they’re applicable to the particular property in question.
Of course, if everyone did this I’d be out of work, but it would certainly make the process easier for hotels to understand and give them more confidence in their selection decisions.
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Six of Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ nine brands were awarded top rankings in L2 Travel’s first Digital IQ Index: Travel. The Index measures the digital competence of 89 brands across airlines, hotels and cruise companies across more than 350 data points in four criteria: Site (35%, including booking, loyalty programs and interactivity), Digital Marketing (25%, covering search engine optimization, email marketing and display), Social Media (20%, specifically Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) and Mobile (20%, defined by compatibility and applications). The rankings are somewhat whimsically labeled Genius, Gifted, Average, Challenged or Feeble.
W Hotels Worldwide earned the top spot amongst all hotel brands, and the six Starwood brands evaluated (Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Le Méridien, St. Regis and The Luxury Collection) collectively ranked third overall in the survey, the highest hotel company. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • David Morley receives OpenTravel’s Tom Grubbs Award
  • Steve Cover appointed VP of Software Development at Rainmaker
  • Susan Powell hired as Corporate Director of Marketing at VIZERGY
  • Brenda Key, Elizabeth Dabbs and Danielle Bennett join VIZERGY as client marketing service staff
  • Angela Mitchell joins VIZERGY as web designer
  • Sarah Atkins hired by VIZERGY as Copywriter
  • Kees Koolen transitioning to Chairman of Booking.com

David Morley, Technical Consultant for Marriott International, has received the Tom Grubbs Award from The OpenTravel Alliance. The annual award goes to someone who exemplifies OpenTravel’s passion and commitment to travel distribution.
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Steve Cover has been appointed Vice President of Software Development at The Rainmaker Group.  Prior to joining Rainmaker, Mr. Cover was Vice President of Research and Development for Sage’s Peachtree Accounting division, and had earlier led Microsoft’s Office Mobile development organization.
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VIZERGY recently added six staff members at its Jacksonville, FL headquarters.
– Susan Powell was hired as Corporate Director of Marketing. Ms. Powell has extensive advertising and marketing experience, most recently during ten years with Florida’s St. John & Partners ad agency.
– Brenda Key, Elizabeth Dabbs and Danielle Bennett join as client marketing service staff. Ms. Key is the former VP of Operations at LuxuryRes and has over 20 years of hospitality experience. Ms. Dabbs most recently served as Director of Sales and Social Media at the Amelia Hotel, Amelia Island, FL. Ms. Bennett, a former VIZERGY intern, returns to the company after working in sales.
– Angela Mitchell joins as a web designer after graduating from the University of North Florida and working at Pilot Pen Corp.
– Sarah Atkins has been hired as a Copywriter writing search engine optimized content for new client Websites. She is an experienced freelance writer, editor and communication specialist.
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Kees Koolen is transitioning from Chief Executive Officer to Chairman of Booking.com, and will assume full-time responsibilities for his new post when the search for his successor is completed. Mr. Koolen was a founder of Booking.com B.V. and has been its Chief Executive Officer since September 2008.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Ariane Systems selected to represent France at 2011 European Business Awards
  • Joie de Vivre Hospitality selects MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution
  • MICROS achieves Oracle Partner Network (OPN) specialized status
  • Aloft Hotels expanding ‘Smart Check In’ to five more properties
  • momentohs announces interface with Benalla’s energy management/control system
  • The Emirates Vacation Club in Dubai picks SPI Software
  • Bentota Beach Hotel, Sri Lanka implements Zhara Hospitality Suite
  • Hassler Roma implements protel’s management system

Ariane Systems is one of 25 companies selected to represent France at the 2011 European Business Awards, for its Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk technology. The Awards highlight companies that deliver innovation and successful commercial results while acting in a socially responsible manner. (www.ariane.com)
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Joie de Vivre Hospitality has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution, expanding on its existing centralized implementation of OPERA Property Management System through the addition of the OPERA Customer Information System, Business Intelligence and Sales Force Automation. All modules will be hosted in Joie de Vivre’s San Francisco Datacenter.
MICROS Systems has achieved Oracle Partner Network (OPN) specialized status for:
* Oracle Database
* Oracle Database Performance Tuning
* Oracle Database Security Options
* Oracle Database Real Application Clusters
* Oracle Enterprise Manager
* Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation
(www.jdvhotels.com, www.oracle.com/partners, www.micros.com)
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Aloft Hotels is expanding its ‘Smart Check In’ to five more properties by year end (Harlem, Brooklyn, Dallas Downtown, Jacksonville Tapestry Park and London) following its pilot run at Aloft Lexington last year. Participating Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members receive an RFID SPG/Aloft-branded ID card which acts as their room key; a text message is sent to their phone on the day of arrival with their room number. The pilot program partner is VingCard Elsafe. (www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels, www.vingcard.com)
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momentohs has announced an interface between its hotel management system and Benalla’s energy management and control system, integrating guest preference and presence data. (www.benalla.com, www.momentohs.com)
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The Emirates Vacation Club in Dubai, which operates in association with the Grand Hotel, Dubai, has selected SPI Software’s timeshare application to manage its operations. (http://www.emiratesvacationclub.com, www.spiinc.com)
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The 133-room Bentota Beach Hotel in Sri Lanka has implemented JKCS’ cloud-based Zhara Hospitality Suite, which includes a reservation system, Web booking engine and PMS. (www.jkcsworld.com)
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The 95-room Hassler Roma has implemented protel’s management system, including modules for business intelligence, banquets, sales & marketing and Serenissima Informatica’s Mèta Hotel Back Office. (www.hotelhasslerroma.com, www.serinf.it , www.protel-hotel-software.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Swiftrank adds 15 properties to Middle Eastern destination sites
  • Utell updates TravelCom online commission processing
  • Omni launches Facebook reservations tool

Swiftrank has expanded its presence in Middle Eastern markets via partnerships with12 Dan Hotels Israel properties, two Rimonim Hotels & Resorts sites and the Inbal Jerusalem Hotel, all of which will receive premium positioning on eight of Swiftrank’s destination-specific websites. (www.swiftrank.com)
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Utell Hotels & Resorts has updated its TravelCom online commission processing service to alert hotels via email to outstanding commission payments owed to travel agents. (www.utellagent.com)
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Omni Hotels & Resorts has launched a Facebook reservations tool, claiming to be the first major hotel company to enable booking directly on the site. The app allows travelers to shop and book Omni properties while logged onto Facebook, and to hold a live chat session with an Omni reservations agent to address any questions. (www.omnihotels.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Hard Rock International expands use of ReviewAnalyst’s social media and customer review monitoring to Cafés
  • Joie de Vivre picks MICROS’ OPERA Enterprise Solution, including BI, CIS and SFA
  • Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites using online comment card system from Lodging Interactive
  • Trump International Hotel Las Vegas deploys Cendyn’s SMS text marketing
  • VIZERGY wins two Interactive Media Awards

Hard Rock International has expanded its use of ReviewAnalyst’s hotel social media presence and customer review monitoring to include its Café properties. ReviewAnalyst evaluates the major social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and FourSquare, as well as many travel and review sites, for user-generated content pertaining to a particular brand or location. (www.hardrock.com, www.reviewanalyst.com)
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Joie de Vivre Hospitality has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution, expanding on its existing centralized implementation of OPERA Property Management System through the addition of the OPERA Customer Information System, Business Intelligence and Sales Force Automation. All modules will be hosted in Joie de Vivre’s San Francisco Datacenter. (www.jdvhotels.com, www.micros.com)
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Georgia Department of Natural Resources has implemented a customized online comment card system from Lodging Interactive for Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites, to capture guest comments and user reviews. (www.gastateparks.org, www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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Trump International Hotel Las Vegas has deployed Cendyn’s SMS text marketing for mobile devices to reach guests with promotional offers. (www.trumplasvegashotel.com, www.cendyn.com)
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VIZERGY has won two Interactive Media Awards (IMA) for Outstanding Achievement in the Hotel/Resort category, for the portal websites for Bed and Breakfasts of Savannahand Sky Hotels & Resorts. (www.vizergy.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Cavendish London implements EzRMS
  • Two Agua Caliente casinos implement Rainmaker’s TribalREV

The 230-room Cavendish London has implemented Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) EzRMS. (www.thecavendish-london.co.uk, www.EasyRMS.com)
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Two tribal casinos in California owned by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians are implementing The Rainmaker Group’s TribalREV revenue management approach, which combines Rainmaker’s revolution profit optimization software with Rainmaker’s professional services for implementation, pricing strategy, forecasting, and revenue management analysis.  The two properties are the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage and its sister property, the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs.  The Agua Caliente site will also use Rainmaker’s interfaces to its MICROS property management and IGT gaming systems.  Implementation is expected in 3Q 2011. (www.hotwatercasino.com, www.letitrain.com  )
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Sertifi expanding electronic signature management app into the hospitality industry

Sertifi is expanding its Web based electronic signature application into the hospitality industry, targeting hotel management, sales and human resources staff. The Sertifi platform replaces the paper process of obtaining signatures — sending, printing, signing and faxing — with electronic signatures.  Hotels working with Salesforce.com will be able to integrate Sertifi into their existing CRM application by leveraging Force.com, Salesforce Mobile and Visualforce functionality. Website integration allows hotels to receive executed forms and contracts through in-session signing; Sertifi for Mobile extends interoperability with devices including iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile phone. (www.sertifi.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • MICROS integrates Tabbedout into its POS systems

MICROS Systems announced integration of its POS systems with ATX Innovations’ Tabbedout app, which allows diners to review and pay their restaurant or bar tabs from an iPhone and Android smart phone. Outlets will be able to deploy Tabbedout’s software through their existing MICROS POS software with no additional hardware requirements. MICROS and its authorized resellers will sell, install and maintain the Tabbedout application. (www.tabbedout.com, www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Four Chicago hotels select Intelity ICE
  • The Hilton Inn at Penn installs Intelity ICE  on iPads in all 238 guestrooms
  • Hotel Technologies announces HiD37 alarm clock radio with iPad dock
  • Cairn Group  implements TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD units in two Holiday Inn properties
  • Hampton Inn & Suites Woodland-Sacramento Area installs FlyteBoard
  • OTRUM to offer HD movies via Filmbank 3 months after cinema release

Four Chicago hotels have implemented Intelity ICE (Interactive Customer Experience): the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, the Westin Chicago River North, The Ambassador East Hotel and the Conrad Chicago. The Palmer House Hilton Hotel and Conrad Chicago are introducing Intelity’s ICE Mobile for smart phone/tablet use by guests; Palmer House Hilton will also feature ICE Lobby for public-space access. The Westin Chicago River North is installing ICE Touch with dedicated touch screen units in each guestroom.  The Ambassador East Hotel is implementing ICE TV to provide guest access via the television.
The Hilton Inn at Penn, Philadelphia, has installed Intelity ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) Touch on iPads in all 238 guest rooms. ICE will allow guests to order up to 30 guest services from the iPad units, and is estimated to reduce the property’s guestroom informational printing costs by up to 90 percent.
(www.theinnatpenn.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Hotel Technologies announced its new HiD37 alarm clock radio, which includes a charging stand for iPad tablets as well as connections for iPod and iPhone devices and an additional USB charging port. (www.hoteltechnologies.com)
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Cairn Group has implemented TeleAdapt’s MediaHub HD units in guestrooms at the Holiday Inn Newcastle Upon Tyne and Scotch Corner Holiday Inn properties. The Cairn Hotel Group operates 22 hotels nationwide. (cairnhotelgroup.com, www.teleadapt.com)
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The 71-room Hampton Inn & Suites Woodland-Sacramento Area has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard display. (http://hamptoninn.hilton.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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OTRUM has signed a distribution agreement with Filmbank to provide many HD movies to hotel guestrooms 3 months after cinema release, claiming to be the first major interactive TV supplier to secure this early viewing window for HD movies. Filmbank represents Warner Bros., Sony Pictures (Columbia Tristar), Miramax, MGM, United Artists, Walt Disney (Including Pixar and Touchstone), Twentieth Century Fox and Bollywood studio / producer Eros International. (www.filmbank.co.uk, www.otrum.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Sertifi expands Web based electronic signature application into hospitality industry
  • Aptech releases Profitvue Version 14.5

Sertifi is expanding its Web based electronic signature application into the hospitality industry, targeting hotel management, sales and human resources staff. The Sertifi platform replaces the paper process of obtaining signatures — sending, printing, signing and faxing — with electronic signatures.  Hotels working with Salesforce.com will be able to integrate Sertifi into their existing CRM application by leveraging Force.com, Salesforce Mobile and Visualforce functionality. Website integration allows hotels to receive executed forms and contracts through in-session signing; Sertifi for Mobile extends interoperability with devices including iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile phone. (www.sertifi.com)
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Aptech Computer Systems has released Profitvue Version 14.5.  Multi-company functionality improvements include easier global check searches, multi-property edit lists and new ACH (Automate Clearing House) functionality.  Upgraded accounts payable functions include electronically transfer of specified check runs to banks for vendor payments. Other enhancements include new printing capabilities with one-button conversions to both Excel and PDF formats. (www.aptech-inc.com)

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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort picks Yellow Dog

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort, Santa Ynez, CA has selected  Yellow Dog Software’s inventory application to manage all retail and food and beverage operations, including two Golf Pro Shops, Fitness Center, Activities Center, General Store and all their F&B outlets.  The property went live with the system in March 2011, including a point of sale integration to Springer Miller. (www.alisal.com, www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Hilton Inn at Penn implements Evolve Guest Controls keycard-based energy management

Hilton Inn at Penn has completed implementation of Evolve Guest Controls keycard-based energy management system in all 244 guestrooms and suites. The Evolve system controls all lighting in the room, the TV(s) and the HVAC. Inserting the keycard into a wall-mounted reader activates the room “comfort” mode; removing the card powers down all lights and TV(s), and sets back the thermostat 5 degrees. (www.theinnatpenn.com, www.eguestcontrols.com)
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