May 18, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move

Hospitality Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Communications


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Say Good-Bye to the PMS?
  • HTNG releases new specifications

The more I look at property management systems, the more apparent it is how much they’ve moved beyond their original focus on guest reservations, room availability, check-in/check-out and folio charges, i.e. the basic aspects of guests’ stays while they’re at the property. Since they now cover so much more of the guest experience, often including multi-property reservations, sales and catering, spa/golf/activities management and so on, isn’t it time we called them something else?
The name has always been misleading. To apartment or commercial property managers, as well as to the general public, a property management system does just that; it manages the property itself, its maintenance, equipment, furnishings, environmental controls and anything else to do with keeping the place in good condition and running efficiently. Besides which, the acronym can be awkwardly inappropriate.
So what would be a better description? I thought about Guest Stay Manager, which implies a breadth more in line with current system abilities, but it also seems to exclude the CRM marketing and central reservations functions that precede the stay itself. “Guest” also seems to exclude “groups,” and there may be some minor confusion with the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) cell phones used by most of the world.
The best I could come up with is Hospitality Management System (or Suite), HMS, which is more accurate but also a bit of a mouthful. I don’t see a problem with keeping existing names and acronyms for the various functional sub-sets found within a modern system, such as S&C, POS, RMS and so on (and GSM, perhaps!), whether they’re modules of the full Suite or separate systems from different vendors. But I do think it’s time we dropped PMS.
What do you think? If you have a preference, another suggestion or think there’s nothing wrong with staying with “PMS,” drop me a text or e-mail and let me know.
**
Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has released new interface specifications for connecting hotel guest kiosks to property management systems, simplifying connectivity of payment systems and enabling a new model for more accurate and seamless hotel distribution.
– Kiosks: Based on OpenTravel Alliance schemas and leveraging messages from an HTNG workgroup on payment systems, this first kiosk specification covers guest check-in, room key issue, folio review, check-out and payment processes.
– Payment Systems: A single interface specification that covers standard credit card activities: authorization, incremental authorization, authorization reversal, settlement, sale, void settlement, and returns.
– New Product Distribution Model: An addition to the existing Distribution specification includes a “Seamless Shop and Book” distribution model, which offers a more real-time status about room availability, rates and inventory to online shoppers by retrieving this information directly from the source instead of from cached data.
HTNG is also currently assessing the possibility of several new workgroup efforts, including Guest room access via near field communications, a shared global network, shared services for guestroom device provisioning and management, migration to above-property systems , automated VAT reclaiming, enhanced cell phone coverage, standardizing the sharing of guest-related information between databases, and enhanced point-of-sale interfaces
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Nick Price inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
  • Simon J. Hulme honored as HFTP’s 2010 CHTP of the Year
  • Christine Petersen promoted to President of TripAdvisor for Business
  • Laurie Knapp joins PSAV Presentation Services as VP of Global Sales

Nick Price is the 2010 inductee into the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals’ (HFTP) International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. Currently global CIO/CTO of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Mr. Price is being recognized for his innovative approach to hotel technology and his influence in bringing hospitality technology vendors together.
Joining the hospitality industry in 2000, with an outsider’s perspective on how technology was being leveraged in other industries and the direct experience of spending 250+ days annually in hotels, Mr. Price has used technology to establish Mandarin Oriental as a leading five-star brand for tech-savvy hotel guests. Always willing to explore new technology, both hotel-oriented and in the wider consumer and commercial worlds, he was one of the first to include web services and converged IP networks in a new hotel, to deploy high definition content in guestrooms and to link guest devices such as laptops, video cameras and iPods with the in-room AV system through an auxiliary panel.
More widely, Mr. Price has greatly influenced hospitality technology in general as a key founding member (and later President) of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), using diplomacy, determination and encouragement to bring vendors, hoteliers, consultants and other hospitality members together to foster the selection and adoption of open standards and improve how hotel systems could best be integrated for the benefit of all guests.
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Simon J. Hulme has been honored as the 2010 CHTP ( Certified Hospitality Technology Professional ) of the Year, as the individual who scored the highest on Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals’ (HFTP’) CHTP certification exam. Based in Las Vegas, Nev., Mr. Hulme is the director of IT business services for Diamond Resorts International, a major Vacation Ownership company. In March 2008 he moved to the United States from his native England, where he held director level IT and Operational roles for tour operator Thomas Cook and had previously worked throughout Europe for American Express and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
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Christine Petersen has been promoted to President of TripAdvisor for Business. She joined TripAdvisor in 2004 as Chief Marketing Officer.
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Laurie Knapp has joined PSAV Presentation Services as VP of Global Sales. Ms. Knapp brings more than 20 years experience in national and worldwide hotel sales, most recently as Senior VP for Associated Luxury Hotels in Chicago. She has also held national sales posts with Wyndham Worldwide, Hilton Hotels Corp. and Hyatt Hotels & Resorts.
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HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • NORTHWIND releases self-service kiosk for Maestro
  • Hotel H2O implements Amadeus’ PMS

NORTHWIND has released a self-service kiosk for its Maestro PMS, featuring a touch screen where guests can enter their name or swipe a credit card to identify reservations, capture a signature, and check themselves in. The system also codes room keys and provides guests with a folio receipt. The kiosk was developed in partnership Penn Center Systems, itself a partner of NCR and IJWS (It Just Works Software Corp.) providing sales, support and implementation services. The first property to implement the kiosk software is the Harvard Faculty Club. (www.penncentersystems.com, www.ijws.com, www.maestropms.com)
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Hotel H2O, adjacent to the Manila Ocean Park in Luneta, Manila, in the Philippines, has implemented Amadeus’ PMS through Courtesy Point Technologies, Inc. (www.hotelh2o.com, www.amadeus.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Concur adds 210,000 hotels to inventory from hotel.info
  • Concur Cliqbook Travel adds 260,000 properties from Hotel Reservation Service
  • Travelport acquires Singapore-based Sprice metasearch engine
  • Travelport partners with Worldmate to offer customers Blackberry-based itinerary management
  • Open Hospitality announces availability of online hotel booking engines for mobile devices
  • Tourisme Montreal picks Interface Technologies’ ReservIT CRS
  • Accor Hospitality, Carlson Hotels upgrade to Sabre’s DCX direct connect booking platform
  • Kimpton selects Sabre’s SynXis CRS
  • TRAVELCLICK launches StayHIP mobile booking application for boutique hotels
  • Carlson Wagonlit Travel integrates tools to remind travelers when bookings don’t comply with company policies
  • Kayak acquires Munich-based flight and hotel search site swoodoo
  • Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas signs with Genares
  • Whiteboard Labs launches Windsurfer CRS, The Ultimate Booking Experience (TUBE) booking engine

Corporate-booking vendor Concur is adding 210,000 hotels to its inventory from hotel.info, the international brand of hotel.de AG., giving corporate travelers access both to their companies’ travel programs rates and to rates from hotel.info’s independent hotels and small chains.
Concur Cliqbook Travel also added 260,000 properties from Cologne-based Hotel Reservation Service (HRS) which claims to be the largest online provider of non-GDS hotel inventory.
(www.hotel.info, www.hrs.com, www.concur.com)
*** Travelport has acquired the Singapore-based Sprice metasearch engine, the first GDS to buy a consumer travel search site, adding 240,000 hotels to its inventory and implementing Sprice’s hotel reviewing system.
Travelport has partnered with mobile travel services provider Worldmate to offer US and Canadian travel management companies using the Galileo and Worldspan systems a platform for their customers to manage their itineraries via a handset, receive flight alerts and browse maps, share itineraries with colleagues and business contacts and access LinkedIn and their own travel consultant. The service will initially be available only on Blackberry devices but is planned to be extended to the Apple iPhone and Nokia handsets.
(www.sprice.com, www.travelport.com)
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Internet marketer Open Hospitality has announced the availability of online hotel booking engines for mobile devices. (www.openhospitality.com)
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Tourisme Montreal has chosen Interface Technologies’ ReservIT to implement a central reservation system integrated with the city’s website, implemented through IT’s Canadian distributor Softbooker Technologies. Hotels will be able to manage their planning within ReservIT or directly from their compatible PMS; some availabilities and rates will also be updated via Pegasus, which is an IT partner. (www.softbooker.com, www.interface-tech.com)
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Accor Hospitality has upgraded to Sabre Global Distribution System’s Direct Connect XML (DCX) direct connect booking platform for its over 4,000 properties, and upgraded the RT chain code to enable Sabre agents to obtain the most current rates and availability directly from the Accor Central Reservation System (CRS). Accor is the first European hotel chain to switch to DCX.
Carlson Hotels recently became Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ beta customer for its Direct Connect XML (DCX) direct connect booking platform for its more than 1,050 hotels. The DCX platform is based on the OpenTravel Alliance’s XML standards, and will allow Carlson to increase the content, product, and promotions it offers its direct consumers and the 55,000+ travel agents using Sabre’s Global Distribution System (GDS).
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has selected Sabre Hospitality Solutions’ SynXis CRS for distribution and marketing services for its 49 hotels across the United States. Kimpton will also use Sabre’s Guest Connect booking engine to give each hotel control of the customization process. SynXis will be integrated with Kimpton’s existing property management systems, revenue management systems and customer relationship management systems.
(www.accor.com, www.carlson.com, www.kimptonhotels.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
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TRAVELCLICK has launched StayHIP, a free mobile booking application for boutique hotels. Developed in partnership with Mobiata and VFM Leonardo and available for Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, StayHIP features hundreds of niche hotels in over 170 cities worldwide and includes a “Hotels Near Me” function. Booking is completed within the application, with e-mail confirmations and the option for travelers to share the booking information on Facebook and Twitter. (www.mobiata.com/stayhip, www.travelclick.net)
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Carlson Wagonlit Travel has integrated its corporate travel tools CWT Policy Messenger and CWT Agency+Card, to send travelers reminders when their air, hotel and group-transportation bookings don’t comply with their company’s preferred relationships and corporate-travel policies. (www.carsonwagonlit.com)
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Kayak has acquired Munich-based flight and hotel search site swoodoo. The combined company will maintain both brands in Germany while integrating technology practices over the next few months. (www.kayak.com)
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The 2,885-room Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has contracted with Genares Worldwide Reservations Services for GDS connectivity services, using the HBSi Demand Gateway. (www.treasureisland.com, www.genares.com)
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Houston-based Whiteboard Labs has launched its Windsurfer CRS, The Ultimate Booking Experience (TUBE) booking engine and a mobile booking engine for the iPhone, Android or Palm Pre. The Windsurfer CRS includes the ability to customize content in reservation emails based on pre-set conditions. (www.whiteboardlabs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TripAdvisor combines, Business, Vacation Rentals listings into TripAdvisor for Business

TripAdvisor has launched TripAdvisor for Business, a new division incorporating its flat-fee subscription Business Listings and Vacation Rentals services. Business Listings covers hoteliers, innkeepers and B&B owners; Vacation Rentals helps property managers and individual home owners list their properties and showcase hotel alternatives. (www.tripadvisor.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Treasure Island in Las Vegas selects Rainmaker’s revolution
  • IDeaS integrates its V5i system with JackRabbit’s BookDirect Lodging and Availability Search Engine
  • Prairie Band Casino deploys IDeaS V5i

The 2,885-room Treasure Island casino and hotel in Las Vegas has selected Rainmaker’s revolution Product Suite, including 2-way Integration with its Agilysys management systems. (www.treasureisland.com, www.letitrain.com)
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IDeaS Revenue Optimization has integrated JackRabbit’s BookDirect Lodging and Availability Search Engine with its V5i revenue management system, to allow its hotel clients to upload their Best Available Rates to the approximately 200 Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) websites using BookDirect. BookDirect quotes website visitors an average nightly rate for a given arrival date and length of stay through the IDeaS V5i system; before completion of the booking guests will be directed to the hotel’s website to enter their personal information.
The Prairie Band Casino in Mayetta, Kansas has deployed IDeaS V5i Revenue Management system, integrated with its Agilysys PMS.
(www.jackrabbitsystems.com, www.pbpgaming.com, www.ideas.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Nexus issues release 7.2 of HotelworX sales force automation system
  • BridgeStreet first corporate housing provider to join Lanyon’s corporate extended stay program
  • Newmarket integrates Elite Meetings International’s new SpeedRFP into product lines

Nexus has issued release 7.2 of its HotelworX sales force automation system for hotel groups, incorporating the Sales Optimiser sales planning tool which it developed in partnership with UK-based hospitality consultancy group Delta Squared Performance Improvement Ltd. Sales Optimiser allows annual revenue budgeting and forecasting to take place in an online environment instead of on spreadsheets. Other enhancements include the introduction of export and import of contacts and the ability to send emails from the system. (www.nexusworldservices.com)
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BridgeStreet Worldwide has become the first corporate housing provider to join Lanyon’s Engagement and Project Sourcing marketplace for corporate extended stay sourcing and procurement. LEPS helps travel buyers source individual properties, and delivers opportunities for hotels and corporate housing providers to capture new business through a structured competitive bidding and negotiation process. Features for the extended stay market include access to a portfolio of corporate buyers across multiple industries, a lead management dashboard to streamline content and RFP management, a marketing platform to communicate unique property attributes and special offers, and comprehensive performance reporting. (www.bridgestreet.com, www.lanyon.com)
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Newmarket International has integrated Elite Meetings International’s new SpeedRFP approach for creating, submitting, and tracking requests for proposals (RFPs) online into its MeetingBroker, Delphi and Daylight product lines. (www.EliteMeetings.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • HSI releases Profit Series POS version for Apple’s iPad
  • River City Casino, St. Louis, Missouri, implements MICROS’ centrally-hosted Simphony POS system

Hospitality Solutions International (HSI)has released a version of its Profit Series Point of Sale (POS) system for use with Apple’s iPad as an alternative to traditional tablet devices for mobile POS systems. The large 9.7 inch display allows viewing of full Profit Series POS screens; as with the iPod Touch version, the iPad’s multi-touch screen allows users to zoom in on parts of the screen. (web.hsi-solutions.com)
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River City Casino, St. Louis, Missouri, has implemented MICROS’ centrally-hosted Simphony enterprise POS system, along with 60 MICROS Workstation 5 terminals for its food & beverage and retail operations. The application is being centrally-hosted and maintained in Pinnacle Entertainment’s Las Vegas datacenter. (www.rivercity.com, www.micros.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Roosevelt Hotel implements Intelity’s ICE Mobile
  • Broughton Hospitality signs with Roomlinx for Interactive TV system for three Chicago properties

The Roosevelt Hotel, NYC, has implemented Intelity’s ICE Mobile, the first hospitality establishment in the Northeast to do so. The application lets the property offer its guests personalized assistance prior to and during their stay, including ordering room service and housekeeping requests, making dinner reservations or scheduling outside activities. (www.theroosevelthotel.com, www.intelityice.com)
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Broughton Hospitality has signed a 5-year agreement with Roomlinx to provide its Interactive TV (iTV) system for three Chicago properties: The City Suites Hotel, The Majestic Hotel, and The Willows Hotel. Roomlinx iTV was installed in ten rooms in each of these properties a year ago; all rooms will now receive the iTV product, LCD TVs, and Free-To-guest HD television programming. (www.broughtonhospitality.com, www.roomlinx.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Aptech releases Version 14 of Profitvue Enterprise Back Office Accounting system

Aptech Computer Systems has released Version 14 of its Profitvue Enterprise Back Office Accounting system. Among the more than 100 enhancements are improved financial statements (including 10 column variance reporting, side-by-side expense/cost per occupied room analysis and new formatting options, new functionality for multi-company processing (including cash requirements, check book and trial balance reports), ad-hoc General Ledger and Accounts Payable exports for added data evaluation, and enhanced formatting options for all Profitvue reports. (www.aptech-inc.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Bermuda’s Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess deploy Adaco

The Fairmont Southampton and Hamilton Princess hotels in Bermuda have both deployed Adaco’s latest release. (www.fairmont.com, www.adaco.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • INNCOM unveils MODEVA range of guestroom control units

INNCOM International has unveiled MODEVA, its next generation of guestroom control units. The name is based on their being MODular in design, guest-facing DEVices with an Artistic look and feel. The MODEVA switch itself contains all of the hardware components (including logic operations, radio communications, and user interface functionality) to operate as a low voltage controls interface within a thin assembly that rests outside of the wall box cavity, decoupling the system from the line power switching and dimming performed by the system’s load assemblies. The user interfaces include touch capacitance glass and keypad options, and can include nightlights with arrays of LED’s, dimmer slide bars and switching capability for lighting, temperature, drapes and guest annunciation. (www.inncom.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • XETA Technologies acquires Lorica

XETA Technologies has acquired Hotel Technology Solutions, Inc., dba Lorica Solutions. Lorica provides managed converged IP networks and High Speed Internet Access (HSIA) to more than 40,000 hotel rooms, with proactive monitoring and support. XETA Technologies is best known for its hospitality call accounting systems, but also sells, installs and services advanced communication systems in the education and government verticals. (www.loricasolutions.com, www.xeta.com)
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