May 29, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Engineering

Communications / Infrastructure

MAY 16 – 29, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Advice to first-time HITEC attendees: start planning! 

It’s amazing how fast the year’s gone, and HITEC is now less than four weeks away. A major part of its appeal is the opportunity to see so many vendors and systems in one place, not to mention catching up with friends and acquaintances in the industry, and of course no-one who’s been before needs any encouragement to return.
However, the very scope and complexity that make it such a worthwhile event are often intimidating for first-time attendees. The key is to do as much planning ahead of time as possible; it won’t guarantee that you’ll fit everything in, but if you don’t plan you will certainly miss many valuable opportunities.
Three separate areas need planning: education sessions, floor exhibits and the evening receptions. No, that last one’s not flippant; there are very many evening activities and they can be great places to catch up with people you missed during the day. However, because they’re spread all around the local area it really helps to plan out where they are on a street map; mark it up with the date and time of each one you want to get to, and plan a route before you start.
For education sessions and vendor exhibits, start at HFTP’s HITEC Web site (www.hftp.org/hitec). The exhibition floor isn’t open during the education sessions, so at least you can identify which of them you want to catch without distraction. The exception is the Tech Tour on Wednesday morning, a valuable one-hour guided tour of selected vendors before the hall opens that helps provide a good grounding in specific areas of technology.
There are two critical things regarding visiting the exhibition floor. One is that you will never see all the booths, and so again you need to plan. Know which vendors are your top priority (there are guides on the HFTP Web site), learn where they are on the floor plan and work out how to get to those first. The second is that if you want to have meaningful discussions with any senior person at a vendor booth you simply must make a prior appointment; they are so much in demand that they are perpetually in meetings and have no time for a casual introduction. All vendors take appointments; call them up now and make sure you’re on their list. Oh, and take a tablet if you have one; the interactive app for HITEC gets better every year and makes it really easy to locate vendors, but trying to use it on a smart phone is a real exercise in eye-strain.
Finally, although pre-planning is so important do allow for serendipity, time to discover things of interest on booths from vendors you’ve never heard of. No, you won’t cover the whole show, but with a good plan you can achieve a great deal on your agenda and still come across new ideas that can prove both fascinating and useful. See you there!
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Doug Rice inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
  • Cristina Blaj appointed Sales Manager at RateTiger in London
  • Cristina Hernandez  promoted to Regional Sales Manager at RateTiger in London
  • Sunaina Jagtiani promoted to VP Customer Support at RateTiger in London
  • Touradj Farahani hired by Otrum as General Manager for the Middle East
  • David Warren joins Your Hotel Worldwide as Regional Sales Director/UK
  • Daniela Trimmel promoted to Marketing and PR Manager at TAC
  • Steve Davis is new President at Safemark Systems
  • Dennis Hall promoted to Manager, Information Technology at Aqua Hotels & Resorts

Doug Rice, executive vice president and CEO of Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG), is the 2012 inductee into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame. Mr. Rice was cited for his industry influence and leadership in founding and leading HTNG, which has had a major impact on the interoperability of hotel systems. He has remained involved with HTNG since its formation in 2002, becoming the Executive Director in 2004 and then the Executive Vice President and CEO in 2007. He serves on the HITEC Advisory Council and was instrumental, along with HFTP, in forming the Hospitality Technology Strategic Initiatives Council (HTSIC), an informal group of chief executives and volunteer leaders from all relevant associations involved with hospitality technology.
Prior to HTNG Mr. Rice spent over 15 years as a hospitality technology consultant, working as project leader for numerous high-profile projects for major hotel groups. He also created two of the early information products serving the hotel distribution community: ResTrak (a syndicated statistical study of reservations and distribution operations cost and effectiveness) and PHASER (the first competitive rate/availability comparison product based on GDS data). Both products proved highly successful, with most major chains and (in the case of PHASER) thousands of individual hotels subscribing. His earlier career included several years as a Marketing Manager at United Airlines, and as an Economist with Data Resources, Inc., a major economic forecasting company now known as GlobalInsight.
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Cristina Blaj has been appointed Sales Manager at RateTiger in London, UK, responsible for England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Ms. Blaj brings firsthand experience in travel agency hotel sales across Europe.
Cristina Hernandez has been promoted to Regional Sales Manager at RateTiger in London, UK. Formerly a Sales Manager, she is now responsible for Spain and Germany.
Sunaina Jagtiani has been promoted to VP Customer Support at RateTiger in London, UK. Ms. Jagtiani joined RateTiger over four years ago, and was most recently Senior Sales Manager (UK).
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Touradj Farahani has been hired by Otrum as its new General Manager for the Middle East, based at Otrum’s Dubai office. Mr. Farahani has over 23 years of experience from the hospitality industry, and for the last 6 years served as General Manager Middle East & Africa for Wayport.
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David Warren has joined Sweden’s Your Hotel Worldwide as Regional Sales Director for its UK business unit. With over 20 years of hotel system sales experience with Property Management Systems (PMS) and Channel Management, Mr. Warren was most recently Group Operations Manager for a group of 14 hotels, and served in operational management for Edwardian, De Vere and Hilton Hotels.
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Daniela Trimmel has been promoted to Marketing and PR Manager at TAC; she has been working for TAC since 2010 as a Sales Manager.
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Steve Davis has been hired by Safemark Systems as President. Mr. Davis brings over 15 years of industry experience, most recently as CEO of Digney York Associates, which provides renovation and project management services to upscale and luxury hotels. He was previously General Manager for the hospitality division at HD Supply, and for nearly 20 years earlier had held multiple executive leadership positions at Konica Business Technologies.
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Dennis Hall has been promoted to Manager, Information Technology at Aqua Hotels & Resorts in Hawaii; he has been with Aqua since 2006 and was most recently Systems Administrator. Prior to returning to Hawaii, Mr. Hall was Network Specialist with Affordable Home Furnishings in Louisiana, and also worked for the Lafayette Parish School System as the lead computer technician for 45 schools.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Clarenco chooses protel Multi Property Edition from Xn Hotel Systems for 6 properties
  • MSI releases CloudPM, next generation cloud-based guest management system
  • NCR launches NCR Express Key table-top key-generating mini-kiosk

Clarenco has chosen protel Multi Property Edition (MPE), to be implemented by Xn Hotel Systems, for 6 properties. The first property will go live in July 2012, with the remaining 5 completed by the end of the summer, all hosted by Xn. (www.clarenco.com, www.xnhotels.com)
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Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) has released CloudPM, its next generation cloud-based property management system. Built from the ground up and architected as a SaaS scalable cloud application, CloudPM is currently in six installations with two more being installed shortly. (www.msisolutions.com)
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NCR Corp. has launched its NCR Express Key check-in kiosk, a small table-top device little wider than a keycard, to allow guests who have checked in online or via a mobile device to collect their key by scanning a printed or mobile-delivered confirmation barcode, or using NFC enabled mobile devices or mobile acoustic keys. Currently in pilot with a leading hotel chain, the mini-kiosk is now available in North America and will be launched in Europe later this year. (www.ncr.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Hotel Okura Co. selects Sabre distribution services for 79 properties
  • Appnostic announces SocialBooker “Plus-U” to give influential Facebook users booking commissions
  • Roger Smith Hotel launches mobile site from Pegasus’ Open Hospitality, includes Facebook booking engine

Hotel Okura Co. has selected Sabre Hospitality Solutions to provide distribution services for its 25 member hotels in Asia, North America and Europe. Hotel Okura has also renewed JAL Hotels’ agreement with Sabre for its 54 properties worldwide; Hotel Okura acquired JAL Hotels earlier this year. All 79 properties will now use Sabre’s SynXis CRS for connectivity services to the GDSs, third party websites, Sabres global call center and to local Japanese online travel agencies. (www.okura.com, www.sabrehospitality.com)
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Appnostic has announced SocialBooker “Plus-U”, an enhancement to its SocialBooker hotel distribution application. “Plus-U” allows Facebook users to receive commissions for booking travel for groups of friends.  Appnostic is developing a qualification program for FB users who heavily influence travel planning decisions, to position them as trusted influencers within their social groups and allow them to receive commissions on Appnostic negotiated rates when travel is booked through their FB page.  FB users can also share, plan and book their trips as a group based on similar interests, and enjoy exclusive offers targeted to FB friends and families. (www.appnostic.com)
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New York’s Roger Smith Hotel has launched a mobile site using OpenFlex from Pegasus Solutions’ Open Hospitality division, including the OpenView booking engine to capture Facebook reservations. (www.rogersmith.com, www.openhospitality.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Kokua Hospitality selects VIZERGY
  • HeBS Digital receives ‘Best of Show’ award at WMA’s 2012 MobileWebAwards
  • HeBS Digital releases CMS Premium updated website Content Management System
  • VIZERGY receives two Summit Creative Awards in unusual categories
  • Travelport adds Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade offers to itinerary emails and ViewTrip online itinerary tool
  • Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club selects Digital Alchemy’s eRelationship module

Kokua Hospitality has selected VIZERGY for online marketing services for its properties, which include the Inn of Chicago Magnificent Mile, The Allerton Hotel Chicago, Doubletree by Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile, Aloft Washington National Harbor and Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach.  The properties will receive new custom websites with search marketing, mobile websites, social media enhancements and more.   (www.kokuahospitality.com, www.vizergy.com)
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HeBS Digital has received the ‘Best of Show’ award from the Web Marketing Association’s 2012 MobileWebAwards for the Loews Hotels & Resorts mobile website. The site also won for ‘Best Hotel and Lodging Mobile Website’.
HeBS Digital has released CMS Premium, an updated website Content Management System that provides a centralized digital content library to service all three channels: desktop, mobile and tablet. The application allows hoteliers to add and edit textual and visual content at any time, publish or un-publish new special offers, create packages and promotions, control the featured special promo tile on the Home Page, manage photos and automatically push new specials and promotions to the hotel’s social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and mobile/tablet sites.
(www.loewshotels.com/m, www.HeBSDigital.com)
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VIZERGY has received two Summit Creative Awards in the unusual categories of Travel/Tourism/Nature Website and Green Marketing Website, for its work with The VERVE – Crowne Plaza Natick (Silver Award, Travel/Tourism/Nature Website) and the Oxford Hotel Bend (Gold Award, Green Marketing Website). (summitawards.com, www.vizergy.com)
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Travelport has added Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade offers to its itinerary emails and Travelport ViewTrip online itinerary tool, used by Travelport-connected agencies. Participating properties confirm at check-in whether guests’ pay-for-upgrade requests are available. (www.travelport.com, www.nor1.com)
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The Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club has selected Digital Alchemy’s eRelationship module to enhance relationships with its guests. , Concourse is able to deliver confirmation emails much more quickly, in about three minutes. Services to be provided include reservation confirmations, cancellation notices, pre-stay marketing messages and post-stay greetings, guest feedback functionality and messaging customized seasonally, by rate codes or by other factors. eRelationship will be integrated with the hotel’s Northwind Maestro PMS. (www.concoursehotel.com, www.data2gold.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • ProfitSword introduces ProfitPace brand-agnostic, multi-property pace reporting tool
  • SiteMinder adds two-way connection with India’s MakeMyTrip
  • Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, Panama and Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto deploy EzRMS

ProfitSword has introduced its new ProfitPace Sales Pacing and Reporting solution for hospitality, claiming it to be the hotel industry’s first brand-agnostic, multi-property pace reporting tool. ProfitPace collects group booking data from the different sales systems (Delphi, SalesPro, ABC Events, Opera S&C, etc.) and transient booking data from the PMS systems, aggregating it into a single warehouse without human intervention. Users can view and edit/filter the many reports, with drill down to see the details. (www.profitsword.com)
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SiteMinder has added a two-way connection with MakeMyTrip, which claims 48% of India’s online travel booking market. Hotels using SiteMinder’s channel management system can now list real-time inventory on MakeMyTrip and receive bookings from it automatically back into their PMS and CRSs. (www.makemytrip.com, www.siteminder.com )
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The 369-room Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower, Panama and 261-room Trump International Hotel & Tower, Toronto have both deployed Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions’ EzRMS Revenue Management application. (www.trumphotelcollection.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Roomlinx introduces SmartEvent to deliver customized interactive event information to attendees’ TVs
  • Accor unveils Carbon Optimizer tool to help manage events’ carbon footprint
  • The Knowland Group passes 170,000-contact milestone in its event booking database

Roomlinx has introduced SmartEvent, a propriety technology to let event hosts deliver customized event information through interactive text, graphics, videos and web links to attendees’ hotel room TVs. Usages include creating welcome messages, displaying schedules, promoting featured speakers or exhibitors, advertising products and services, sharing videos and driving traffic to websites, social media pages and other strategic locations. Hotels can generate incremental revenue by selling access to the various levels of SmartEvent features within the Roomlinx iTV system; event hosts can also generate additional income by re-selling space to sponsors, exhibitors and vendors. (www.roomlinx.com)
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Accor has unveiled its Carbon Optimizer, a tool that allows meeting and seminar organizers to know and cut their events’ carbon footprint. Carbon Optimizer’s variables include the number of participants and room nights, seminar/event duration, size of meeting rooms and the energy mix in the host country; it also factors in the type of food and whether meals are buffets or table-served. (www.accor.com)
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The Knowland Group recently added the 170,000th contact to its database of groups with event booking needs, the foundation of its lead generation tools. (www.knowlandgroup.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Cornell Center for Hospitality Research releases Excel-based Restaurant Table Simulator
  • Sands Bethlehem Event Center selects InfoGenesis
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The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research has released its Excel-based Restaurant Table Simulator (RTS) to help restaurant managers analyze table usage. Users enter their numbers into the spreadsheet to generate metrics such as table usage, customer wait and customers lost, given a particular set of inputs. Restaurant managers to run “what-if” scenarios for different table mixes, testing different assumptions. RTS also allows for situations where customers select their own tables, instead of being assigned to a table by a host or hostess. (www.chr.cornell.edu)
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Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pa. has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system for its newly opened 3,000-seat entertainment venue, integrated with the player tracking system used by Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem to accept comp dollars from the casino.  (www.sandseventcenter.com, www.agilysys.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel adds Pay-Touch finger-print recognition to POS terminals
  • Enseo announces UDCP CableCARD set-back box, claimed to be first for hospitality industry
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts names iBAHN a preferred IPTV vendor
  • Guestware selects Shiji Networks to represent it in China
  • KniTec launches AdRev application to deliver on-screen advertising to guestroom TVs

The Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Hotel in Ibiza, Spain has added Pay-Touch finger-print recognition technology to allow registered users to pay for items in the hotel’s bars, restaurants, club area and elsewhere with a single two-finger swipe.
Guests and visitors can register for the system pre-arrival or after check-in; the technology is fully compliant with PCI-DSS security standards and also allows users to register more than one payment card to be credited with each purchase. (www.ushuaiabeachhotel.com, www.pay-touch.com)
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Enseo announced its UDCP CableCARD set-back box, claimed to be the first CableCARD product designed specifically for hospitality industry, allowing HD cable content to be delivered directly to hotel rooms without additional encryption equipment. The Enseo platform also provides a hotel-branded welcome page and interactive program guide. (www.enseo.com)
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Omni Hotels & Resorts has named iBAHN as a preferred vendor of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) services. The first Omni’s property to use the system, the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel, is also iBAHN’s largest installation of ETVi, its IPTV service, in North America to date. Guest room technology at the Omni Dallas includes LCD HDTVs as well as TV monitors within the bathroom mirrors; ETVi services include 82 channels (a majority in HD), premium programming, on-demand videos and Internet access, as well as access to property restaurants and activities and the ability to make reservations and request services such as spa appointments. (www.omnihotels.com, www.ibahn.com)
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Guestware has selected Shiji Networks to represent it in China. Shiji Networks is the largest hotel technology company in China.  Guestware worked with Shiji to install its software at two large hotels in China and is rolling it out to an international chain. Guestware’s new platform is multi-lingual, including Chinese; each user’s language preference is taken into account for the particular task performed. (www.shijinet.com.cn/en, www.guestware.com)
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KniTec has launched its AdRev application, which delivers on-screen advertising information on hotel amenities and local businesses to the guestrooms’ Pro:Centric compatible LG TVs. Every time the guests turn on their TV they see customizable digital “billboards,” part promoting in-house amenities such as spa, golf and dining services, and the remaining area advertising local businesses such as restaurants, shops and entertainment activities on a revenue-sharing basis. (www.knitec.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Fujitsu Frontech North America features InvoTech Systems’ GIMS UHF-RFID at its Solutions Center
  • UniFocus in final testing for mobile applications for Watson, R.M. Time and Attendance

Fujitsu Frontech North America is featuring InvoTech Systems’ GIMS UHF-RFID system at the grand opening of the Fujitsu Solutions Center at its Foothill Ranch, CA headquarters, as an example of now Fujitsu’s RFID tags allow customers to scan both uniforms and linens wirelessly and update all databases remotely through a cloud-based architecture that requires no intermediate computing devices. (www.fujitsufrontechna.com, www.invotech.com)
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UniFocus announced the final testing phase for mobile applications for both managers and employees using its Watson, R.M. Time and Attendance system.  Managers will be able to see any staff scheduled, late employees, call-ins, who’s coming in soon, who’s late to clock out, who’s in but not scheduled, who’s in or approaching overtime, approaching breaks and more.  Employees will be able to view schedules, submit time off requests and swap, drop or accept shifts quickly. Managers can also send messages to groups of employees requesting shift coverage if there are call-ins or other unexpected circumstance. (www.unifocus.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Mintek enhances Transcendent hotel EAM maintenance management system

Mintek Mobile Data Solutions has announced several enhancements to its Transcendent hotel EAM maintenance management system, including:
– additional language translations: the hotel EAM CMMS =now supports 15 different languages.
– an updated online help viewer with chapter directory, how-to examples and annotated screen shots to make referencing easier.
– improvements in the Windows mobile application response time, as a result of a complete redesign and optimization.
– more supported mobile devices, including Motorola’s ES400.
Other changes allow users to be notified when action has been taken on their work request, improved work management reporting, a barcode generator and the auto-resizing of site photos for increased speed of loading. (www.mintek.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Percipia aligns with Datanamics

Percipia Networks has aligned with Datanamics to leverage their hospitality telephony and technical service offerings. This links Percipia’s established presence in next-generation guestroom technologies, messaging platforms, voice applications and IP telephony with Datanamics single-source networking and information technology services. (www. percipianetworks.com, www.DatanamicsInc.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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