May 27, 2009

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Guest Services

Communications

Security

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Do people tend to abandon “blind” sites when rates drop?

I’ve been wondering, in these uncertain times and as rates fall, whether “blind” booking sites and auction sites might be losing favor as people look for more certainty in their travel plans (or life in general). Even eBay is transforming itself steadily from an auction site into more of a fixed-price, low-cost marketplace. After all, if you can see good price deals on an open basis, why go “blind” or start bidding?
It seems to me that business could go either way. Travelers still looking for the lowest possible deal regardless of the property they end up at (because they want to spend the minimum possible) would tend to maintain auction-site traffic. Those wanting to feel in control of at least something in their lives would be more inclined to book a specific property, especially as its rates are likely to have been cut recently and it’s easier to find something that feels like a bargain.
Then along comes the Graves 601 hotel in Minneapolis, combining the two approaches by offering a “name your price” option for on-line bookers (see below). This promotion allows you to state the price you’d like to pay for the specific dates you enter; the hotel decides whether to accept it and lets you now. Sort of like Priceline but you know where you’re staying and you know the standard rates, so you have at least a guideline as to what might work. And just like the “blind” sites, the hotel still maintains its published rates at a higher level than it’s actually selling rooms for.
Either way, good luck to them. Hotels need to try every possibility they can to attract customers, and kudos to Graves 601 for trying something new.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Tom Giannopoulos and Cindy Estis Green to be inducted into HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
  • Kjell Olsson named HFTP’s 2009 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional of the Year
  • Lisa Funk is new global secretary of HFTP
  • Bill Marriott, Jr., Fred Malek and Trip Schneck recognized by Cornell University
  • William Hagey named regional director of sales for Northstar Technologies
  • Charles Mobbs appointed Chairman of IndiCater
  • Tim Russell appointed managing director of Amadeus UK & Ireland
  • Phil Hayward joins National Recreation & Parks Association as chief communications officer

This year’s inductees into the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame are Tom Giannopoulos, chairman, president and CEO of MICROS Systems, Inc., and Cindy Estis Green, managing partner of The Estis Group.
Mr. Giannopoulos was cited for his 18-year leadership of MICROS, which started when he left a 25-year career with Westinghouse Electric Corp. to run this former Westinghouse subsidiary. During his tenure MICROS has expanded from a restaurant systems company with $35 million in annual sales into one of the leading software companies in the hospitality industry, with annual revenue over $900 million and offering enterprise applications for restaurants, hotels, casinos, motels, leisure and entertainment and retail operations.
Ms. Estis Green is managing partner with The Estis Group, travel industry consultants in sales and marketing best practices, internet marketing, social media, distribution strategy, revenue management and customer relationship management (CRM). A long-time advocate for automating marketing and sales functions in the hospitality industry, while working for Hilton she worked closely with its IT department to build the first international database that profiled customers and captured transaction information. She subsequently founded Driving Revenue, a marketing technology firm focused on predictive consumer modeling, database marketing and marketing planning software, which was acquired by Pegasus Solutions in 1998. She has since maintained a strong and influential presence in travel and hospitality marketing with The Estis Group.
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Kjell Olsson has been named as HFTP’s 2009 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional of the Year. Mr. Olsson is area director of IT for WHM, LLC, the management company for LXR Luxury Resorts. Based at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa, he has been with the hotel since 1992, working his way up from night audit clerk and now responsible for IT at several WHM properties in the Florida area.
Lisa Funk is the new global secretary of HFTP. An independent hospitality consultant, she was most recently director of financial operations for Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA; her 11+ years of leadership experience in the hospitality industry includes country clubs, athletic clubs and hotels.
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Bill Marriott, Jr., Fred Malek and Trip Schneck have been recognized by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration for their thought leadership and contributions to the hospitality industry.
Mr. Marriott received the “Icon of the Year” award for his lifelong industry leadership and civic and philanthropic contributions.
Mr. Malek and Mr. Schneck, co-founders of TIG Global, received the “Innovators of the Year” award for their dedication in assisting hospitality professionals worldwide capture market share and drive direct revenue to their businesses online. Over the past year TIG Global drove over $700 million in online revenue to its clients and received over twenty-five awards for excellence in web design and web marketing.
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William Hagey has been named as regional director of sales for club membership software vendor Northstar Technologies, working primarily in Great Lakes Region. Mr. Hagey has over 13 years of sales and customer service experience in club management software and IT, most recently as an Account Manager for Wolcott Group, an IT consulting firm. He had earlier held various roles in sales, customer service/system implementation, and operations management for Gary Jonas Computing and Smyth Systems.
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Charles Mobbs has been appointed Chairman of web-based hospitality software vendor IndiCater. Mr. Mobbs brings 24 years of experience with IT firm Fretwell Downing Hospitality, as Sales Director and latterly as Managing Director.
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Tim Russell has been appointed managing director of Amadeus UK & Ireland, replacing Stephane Durand who moves to a new role for Amadeus IT Group as director leisure and online, based in Nice. Mr. Russell was formerly MD Amadeus Australia and New Zealand.
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Phil Hayward, long-time Editor of the AH&LA’s Lodging magazine and a true gentleman, has joined the National Recreation & Parks Association as chief communications officer.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Oyster Bay Beach Resort to use SPI Orange Systems’ reservations system
  • Northwind adds eMarketing Campaign Management and Tracking tool
  • Northwind adds Interactive Web Chat, desktop sharing to Diamond Plus Service for Support

The Oyster Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten will use Systems Products International (SPI) Orange Systems’ reservations system, as selected by its developers, Pearl Development and sister company Ansley Associates. (www.oysterbaybeachresort.com, www.spiinc.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS has added an eMarketing Campaign Management and Tracking tool to its Maestro PMS Web Connection suite. Maestro eMarketing includes both full service and self-service options such as List Management with filtering and personalization, Content Creation for dynamic HTML and text emails or customizing pre-designed templates, Deliverability management with authentication audits, spam scoring meter, list unsubscribe, and Web Analytics for Geo-tracking, analytics, activity reports of open rates, click-throughs and conversions with Google Analytics.
Northwind has also enhanced its Diamond Plus Service with Interactive Web Chat for Support, including desktop sharing for Maestro system specialists to help hotel staff.
(www.maestropms.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Graves 601 Hotel lets travelers bid a price for their stay
  • BedandBreakfast.com to list 1,600 bookable inns on Travelocity this Fall
  • RezExchange deploys two-way interface with BookYourHotel.org
  • Scandic Hotels extends contract with Pegasus for Global Commission Processing
  • Expedia introduces Easy Manage commission-based option for hotels in EMEA
  • Destination Hotels & Resorts launches informational mobile Web sites for 30+ properties
  • Dolphin Dynamics new release enhances tour operating module for more ground products
  • Raveable unveils beta website to identify, filter and consolidate opinions in text of guest reviews
  • GTA signs distribution contracts with Louvre Hotels, InterContinental and Hilton

Minneapolis’ 255-room Graves 601 Hotel has launched a “PLACE A BID!” option for travelers, allowing them to place an online bid price for the duration of their stay prior to making a reservation. If the bid falls within the hotel’s predetermined range of acceptability, the reservation is automatically confirmed. The initiative was launched with the help of Internet marketers Open Hospitality. (www.graves601hotel.com)
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BedandBreakfast.com has agreed to list its 1,600 bookable inns on Travelocity this Fall, linking them to Travelocity’s Merchant Hotel program for rates, availability, and reservations. Innkeepers will manage their inventory through the BedandBreakfast.com Global Online Reservations Program as before, but their availability will automatically be added to the Travelocity website. (www.bedandbreakfast.com, www.travelocity.com)
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RezExchange has deployed a two-way interface with Belgium-based online travel agent BookYourHotel.org, which now offers an extensive inventory of hotel properties across Europe. The new interface allows rates and availability to be uploaded from the property management systems (PMSs) directly to the BookYourHotel.org web sites, with reservations downloaded back to the PMS. (www.bookyourhotel.org, www.rezexchange.com)
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Stockholm’s Scandic Hotels has extended its contract with Pegasus Solutions’ Global Commission Processing for another three years. Scandic operates over 152 properties throughout the Nordic and Northern European region. (www.scandichotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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Expedia has introduced its Easy Manage program, a commission-based partnership option for qualifying hotels in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA) that allows eligible hotels a fast way to offer their property on more than 70 Expedia and Hotels.com sites as well as on Venere.com and thousands of active affiliate sites. Expedia Easy Manage has no registration fees and no fixed costs, and includes a set of straightforward online tools for managing rates, inventory and content distribution. (www.expedia.com)
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Destination Hotels & Resorts has launched mobile Web sites for its 30+ properties to provide general information, location, directions, details on accommodations and reservation contact numbers as well as a single click on the address or phone number for a direct link to a map or auto dial. Mobile reservation functionality will be added over the next few months. (www.destinationhotels.com)
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UK Travel technology supplier Dolphin Dynamics has released a new version of its Dolphin travel platform, with enhancements to its tour operating module that support a more complete range of ground products such as golfing holidays and luxury and city breaks specialists. (www.dolphind.com)
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Raveable, a startup formed by two ex-Microsoft employees, has unveiled the beta version of its website, which identifies opinions buried inside the text of guest reviews and consolidates them into categories of Overall, Room, Location and Service. (www.raveable.com)
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Global travel wholesaler GTA (Gullivers Travel Associates) by Travelport has signed contracts for distribution services for three major chains:
– Louvre Hotels, for over 830 hotels in Europe.
– InterContinental Hotels Group, for 4,100 hotels worldwide.
– Hilton Hotels Corp, for most of Hilton’s 3,200 hotels worldwide.
(www.gta-travel.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • HeBS receives “Best in Class” Interactive Media Award (IMA) in Travel/Tourism category
  • TravelCLICK wins Best Hotel and Lodging Interactive Application WebAward from WMA
  • Trust to offer TIG Global Internet marketing services to hotels using its Web|Direct service
  • Northwind adds eMarketing Campaign Management and Tracking to Maestro PMS
  • E-site Marketing adds Travelscream’s Travel Deals Network to Content Management Tool
  • X2O Media introduces Xpresenter vClips video kiosk
  • Crescent Hotels & Resorts chooses ProfitSword business intelligence

Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) has received the “Best in Class” Interactive Media Award (IMA) in the Travel/Tourism category, for its work with Outrigger Lodging Services’ Grafton on Sunset Hotel in West Hollywood. (www.hospitalityebusiness.com)
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TravelCLICK has won the Best Hotel and Lodging Interactive Application WebAward from the Web Marketing Association (WMA) for the third time, for its iStay web booking engine application for Zeavola Resort, a five-star luxury island beach resort in Thailand. (www.travelclick.net)
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Trust International has contracted with TIG Global to offer its Internet marketing services to hotels using Trust’s Web|Direct product. (www.trustinternational.com, www.tigglobal.com)
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NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS has added an eMarketing Campaign Management and Tracking tool to its Maestro PMS Web Connection suite. Maestro eMarketing includes both full service and self-service options such as List Management with filtering and personalization, Content Creation for dynamic HTML and text emails or customizing pre-designed templates, Deliverability management with authentication audits, spam scoring meter, list unsubscribe, and Web Analytics for Geo-tracking, analytics, activity reports of open rates, click-throughs and conversions with Google Analytics. (www.maestropms.com)
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Sabre Holdings’ E-site Marketing has added Travelscream’s Travel Deals Network to its Content Management Tool (CMT), making it available to all Sabre hospitality businesses including SynXis. CMT provides a one-stop control center for hotel marketers to manage Website content and distribute marketing communications to multiple channels, including traditional advertising opportunities on affiliate websites and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. (www.synxis.com, www.esitemarketing.com)
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X2O Media has introduced its Xpresenter vClips video kiosk, an interactive video application that allows users to browse and play back video clips using a touch screen interface. Available as a stand-alone application or as part of a multiple-location, networked solution with X2O’s Xpresenter Server, customers can manage vClips’ video content themselves via a Web control page or have X2O manage and remotely monitor content from its network operations center. (www.x2omedia.com)
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Crescent Hotels & Resorts has chosen ProfitSword’s ProfitSage Business Intelligence application for its hotel and golf course portfolio. Headquartered in Fairfax, VA, Crescent owns or operates approximately 55 hotels and resorts in 26 states. (www.chrco.com, www.profitsword.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • High Tech Hoteles signs with EZYield.com

High Tech Hoteles has signed with EZYield.com for revenue management of its Petit Palace and High Tech brands in Spain. High Tech Hoteles is planning for 45 hotels; 14 recently opened or will open soon, with nine more scheduled to open in 2010. (www.hthoteles.com, www.ezyield.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • InterContinental picks MeetingMatrix’s PlanView.NET and ActiveMatrix.NET
  • MSI to offer MeetingMatrix’s application to its WinSam clients
  • MagicBox releases interface to Newmarket’s Delphi to extract digital signage data
  • Bluebuzzard adds Hoover’s business insight and analysis to its ProposalPath software

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has selected MeetingMatrix International’s PlanView.NET and ActiveMatrix.NET tools for its hotels worldwide. PlanView.NET allows meeting planners to drill down from a campus map to stacked floor plans, individual floors, meeting rooms and amenities, includes capacity charts, square footage, digital images and related text information and will be available on intercontinental.com in English, Spanish, Japanese and Korean. ActiveMatrix.NET is integrated with PlanView.NET to provide access to MeetingMatrix Certified Room Diagrams, which display measurements and room layouts to within ¼ of an inch.
MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has signed a marketing agreement with MeetingMatrix International to offer it to clients using WinSam, MSI’s Sales & Catering application.
(www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.msisolutions.com, www.meetingmatrix.com)
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MagicBox has released an interface to Newmarket’s Delphi sales and catering software for its EZ-Stream application, allowing Delphi booking and event information to be displayed as part of a MagicBox Digital Signage Solution. EZ-Stream checks the Delphi database for updates at user-defined intervals (30 seconds – 24 hours) and can manage multiple units, rooms, floors, buildings, and locations from one PC or workstation. (www.magicboxinc.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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Bluebuzzard has announced that it has integrated access to Hoover’s, Inc. business insight and analysis on over 32 million companies worldwide into its ProposalPath hotel sales proposal software. (www.bluebuzzard.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Agilysys releases version 4.1.4 of InfoGenesis POS
  • Restaurant Data Concepts certifies POSitouch software with Shift4
  • OpenTable announces new version of Electronic Reservation Book

Agilysys has released version 4.1.4 of its InfoGenesis POS system. New functionality includes membership gratuities, member photo/profile display, signature capture, combination packages and prix fixe menus, new reports, multiple SKUs per item, configurable tip limit, gift card interface enhancements and USB receipt printing. (hospitality.agilysys.com)
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Restaurant Data Concepts has certified its POSitouch software with Shift4 Corp.’s DOLLARS ON THE NET payment gateway, integrated with the 4Go SecureSuite to prevent credit card information from entering POSitouch. (www.shift4.com, www.positouch.com)
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OpenTable has announced a new version of its Electronic Reservation Book. Enhancements include a new dashboard to help managers track key performance metrics during a given shift and turn tables faster, the ability for restaurants to create new guest profile data fields for better guest service, personalized customer reservation confirmation, cancellation and change e-mails, suggestions on which party and table should be seated next from either reservations or the existing waitlist, pre-assignment of guest tables for large parties, and support for the latest Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards. (www.opentable.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville implements SpaSoft

The Kessler Collection’s 104-room Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville has implemented PAR Springer Miller Systems SpaSoft spa management system in its Poseidon Spa. (www.bohemianhotelasheville..com, www.springermiller.com) **

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GUEST SERVICES

  • Grand Bohemian Hotel, Asheville, NC completes implementation of Roomlinx
  • Roomlinx selected as U.S. finalist in a British contest to offer business incubator support
  • Omni Hotels selects BelAir Networks for Wi-Fi deployments commencing in 2009
  • Knowcross Solutions launches SKIGEE application for SMS text messaging management
  • TileVision launches new 19” waterproof TV, fits same wall space as earlier 17” model
  • INNCOM, Enseo partner to provide in-room control to guests via TV remote control
  • Jumeirah Essex House integrates MTech HotSOS and KoolConnect Intrigue HD VOD system
  • Elsafe releases Infinity II in-room safe

The Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville, NC has completed implementation of its Roomlinx system, providing guests with unlimited complimentary access to Interactive TV with HD Hollywood movies, high speed internet, HD specialty content, international and U.S. television programming, music, business productivity tools, concierge services, games and more.
Roomlinx has been selected as the U.S. finalist in a British contest to find the company most worthy of a year’s office space at a new business incubator operation, to help them launch their products in Europe. The Technium Challenge is sponsored by the government of Wales, U.K., and Technium, a network of five-star business incubators.
(www.kesslercollection.com, www.roomlinx.com)
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Omni Hotels has selected BelAir Networks for Wi-Fi deployments commencing in 2009. Piulot sites were the Omni Fort Worth, TX and the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, CT. AFL Network Services provided network design, installation and technical support for the projects. (www.omnihotels.com, www.AFLNetworkServices.com, www.belairnetworks.com
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Knowcross Solutions has launched its SKIGEE application, which lets hoteliers use SMS messaging to enhance guest experiences, conduct marketing campaigns and provide an emergency alert system. SKIGEE reads guest contact details from Property Management Systems, table management systems, spa systems, and loyalty systems and can be configured to send messages such as upsell offers, reservation confirmations, airport pick up information, welcome and thank you messages automatically upon pre-defined trigger conditions. SKIGEE can automatically send messages based on events in other hotel systems, has features to safeguard branding and can deliver messages worldwide to over 700 mobile operators in 200 countries in any language. (www.skigee.com)
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UK-based TileVision has launched a new 19” widescreen waterproof TV for bathroom use that fits in the same wall space as its earlier 17” model. Other enhancements include improved audio, a new remote control and more adjustable mountings. (www.tilevision.tv)
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INNCOM International has partnered with set-top box vendor Enseo to provide in-room control to guests via the guestroom TV remote control, allowing guests to change in-room temperatures and light settings, signal “do not disturb” or “make-up room” at their doorway, and enter other common service requests. The system uses Enseo’s “widget” technology. (www.enseo.com, www.inncom.com)
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The Jumeirah Essex House hotel in New York has integrated its MTech Hotel Service Optimization System (HotSOS) and KoolConnect Intrigue HD VOD (High Definition Video on Demand) system to allow guests to enter special requests directly on the guestroom TV. The hotel identified the most common requests (housekeeping service, room-service tray removal, toothbrush/toothpaste, ice) from an analysis of its HotSOS request management database. TV-entered guest requests are sent by KoolConnect to HotSOS, which relays the order directly to staff via hand-held technology. The person fielding the request can optionally access information about the guest including VIP level, arrival and departure date, issues from this stay, or stay history including old issues. (www.jumeirah.com, www.m-tech.com, www.koolconnect.com)
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Elsafe has released its Infinity II in-room safe, with anti-tamper technology, anti-cloning technology via RFID carrier and compatibility with both RFID/NFC (Radio Frequency IDentification/Near Field Communications) and RF-online high security electronic locks. (www.elsafe.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS

  • 3CX releases Phone System Hotel, a SIP -based VoIP PBX

3CX released its Phone System Hotel, a SIP -based VoIP PBX which includes hospitality functions such as support for Check In/Out, DND, room status and wake-up calls and integrates with many leading hotel software / property management systems. Existing guestroom analog phones can be retained via FXS gateways, allowing existing analog phone points and cable to be used. (www.3cx.com)
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SECURITY

  • VingCard introduces ZigBee-based VISIONLINE radio-frequency (RF) online electronic locking system
  • Le Germain Calgary orders VISIONLINE and Signature RFID door locks
  • VingCard introduces contactless RFID upgrade for Classic magnetic-stripe door locks

VingCard has introduced its VISIONLINE radio-frequency (RF) online electronic locking system. Two-way communications from individual locks to a central VISIONLINE PC are handled over a ZigBee-based low-power wireless network, which allows single devices to communicate with multiple guestrooms instead of needing one device per room.
Le Germain Calgary has ordered VISIONLINE and Signature RFID contactless electronic door locks for its mix of 150 hotel guestrooms, 90,000 square feet of office space and 40 condos. Installation will be complete by year end, with the first phase scheduled for completion in July.
VingCard is also introducing a new, contactless RFID version of its Classic magnetic-stripe guestroom door locks. A single plug-in replacement fir the top part of the lock allows hotels to upgrade their current locks to employ contactless technology as well as Near Field Communication (NFC) cell phone compatibility.
(www.legermaincalgary.com, www.vingcard.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
    9301 236th Street SW
    Edmonds, WA 98020

    office: 206-546-0966
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