May 3, 2011

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Engineering

Security


APRIL 20 – MAY 03, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Details make the difference to legibility
  • HT Magazine announces its annual Visionary Awards
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My wife gave me a new fountain pen for my birthday (I just last half of my audience, who have no idea what I’m talking about) and I’ve been re-discovering the pleasures of handwriting. One thing I’ve noticed is how much difference the smallest details make to legibility. I wouldn’t say that I’m striving for calligraphic perfection (stop laughing), but little things like closing the loops completely on round letters make a much more significant difference than I’d remembered.
Which leads me to thinking about user interface design and its impact on ease of use. Several vendors have recently redesigned their screen layouts, some quite radically as you’ll see at HITEC. Typically these have produced much more appealing screen designs and a better use of graphics and color, but I’ve also noticed that some old habits die hard.
One is continuing to put conformity of size and layout in data fields and their headings ahead of readability. The eye tends to follow vertical lines down a page when scanning it for information; accordingly, it makes a big difference to data recognition if field headings are right-justified against their data (which, except for numeric data, should be left-justified against their headers), and not left-justified far away out of peripheral vision.
Equally, making all data fields the same size may look neat and tidy, but it’s harder to pick up the data in them. For example, on a guest history screen the field for “Total number of visits” is often the same length as “Total revenue to date.” You may be hoping that guests will stay with you 999,999 times in their lifetime, but a field length like this means that the more typical single-digit total will be far to the right of the header, and thus harder to pick up. Aligning headers and appropriately-sized data fields along a vertical axis also gives each screen a different overall visual pattern, which sticks in the mind (even sub-consciously) and is a great help to users in identifying where they are in the system.
Take a look at a few typical screens and see what I mean; these are little things, but they have a disproportionate impact on readability. Taking time to sweat the details, in screen design as well as in my handwriting, means that readers will grasp the information almost sub-consciously without being distracted as their eyes flicker around putting it together.
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Hospitality Technology magazine announced its annual Visionary Awards as follows:
– Infrastructure and Back-office Technology (1): Choice Hotels International, for its web-based, propriety property management system.
– Infrastructure and Back-office Technology (2): Galt House Hotel, for transforming its revenue management, sales and CRM capabilities with systems from Passkey, Cendyn, EZYield, Easy RMS, Infor/Softbrands and Newmarket International.
– Customer-facing/In-room Technology (1): Morgans Hotel Group, for the in-room virtual concierge system at its Royalton property in New York City, using Intelity ICE software on Apple iPad tablets.
– Customer-facing/In-room Technology (2): Royal Caribbean, for its network of custom-developed Four Winds Interactive digital signage.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Brian Hightower named 2011 CHTP of the Year
  • Stephen Henry hired as Sales Manager at System Concepts, Inc.
  • Bill Hirsch joins BirchStreet Systems as VP of Sales – North America

Brian Hightower has been named 2011 CHTP of the Year by Hospitality Financial Technology Professionals (HFTP) for achieving the highest score in the CHTP certification exam last year. Mr. Hightower is a systems administrator for Fisher Island Club, off Miami Beach, Fla. He began working at Fisher Island in 1999 in the hotel front office, transferred into IT in 2001 and currently manages the club and property management systems, point-of-sale and virtual infrastructure.
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Stephen Henry has been hired as Sales Manager at System Concepts, Inc. (SCI), developer of FOOD-TRAK. Mr. Henry brings over 25 years of experience, gained in such former positions as National Sales Manager for Eatec Corp, President of POS vendor Fasfax Corp. and President/Founder of HMS Inc., a certified reseller of ReMACS and RealWord/Great Plains Accounting Systems.
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Bill Hirsch has joined BirchStreet Systems as VP of Sales – North America. Mr. Hirsch’s background includes hotel operations, strategic planning, and sales and marketing at hospitality companies including BuyEfficient, Choice Hotels International, HD Supply and Ramada Franchise Systems.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Hospitality International names SKYWARE its preferred PMS, recommends to all 300 franchise properties
  • Georgian Inn Beach Club selects SPI Orange timeshare software
  • Best Western Premier Freeport Inn and Suites, Calgary, Alberta, installs MSI’s WinPM and Place Point
  • Northwind announces 17 new clients
  • PURO Hotel, Wroclaw, Poland installs Ariane’s interactive check-in kiosks
  • Ariane’s Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk technology certified PA-DSS-compliant

Hospitality International has named SKYWARE’s Property Management System (PMS) as its preferred PMS and will exclusively recommend it to its 300 member hotels. Hospitality International’s brands include Red Carpet Inn, Passport Inn, Scottish Inns, Master Host Inns and Downtowner Inns, currently totaling 300 properties in 36 states, Canada and the Bahamas. (www.hifranchise.com, www.skywaresystems.com)
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The Georgian Inn Beach Club has selected SPI Orange timeshare software for its property in Ormond Beach, Florida, close to Daytona Beach. Modules to be implemented include Reservations, Maintenance Fee Billing and Collections, Owner Rentals, Property Management and an Owners Web Site. (www.georgianinnbeachclub.com, www.spiinc.com)
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The new 97-room Best Western Premier Freeport Inn and Suites in Calgary, Alberta, the first Best Western Premier in Canada, has completed its installation of MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) WinPM and Place Point guest management and point-of-sale systems. (bestwesternalberta.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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NORTHWIND announced 17 new orders for its Maestro Property Management Suite from independent resorts, boutique hotels, and multi-property companies in 1Q 2011.  New users include Accent Inns (six properties), Oak Bay Beach Hotel destination resort in Victoria, British Columbia, the Schooner Inn, Marjac Suites in Virginia Beach, Barclay Towers Hotel and Resort, SouthernMost Resorts (three properties in Key West, FL), Quyana Hospitality Services in Anchorage, Alaska, The Cheshire Hotel boutique in St. Louis, MO and the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  (www.maestropms.com)
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Poland’s first PURO Hotel, in Wroclaw, has installed Ariane Systems’ interactive check-in kiosks, the first such kiosks in the Polish hotel market. The 102-room hotel, which opened April 1st, uses four Ariane terminals to check-in guests and issue HAFELE RFID keycards, which also provide access to the elevator and PURO coffee machines. The kiosks include a payment system by Wincor Nixdorf. The equipment was installed by Ariane’s distributor, VISIONTIME, which also provided the property’s Protel PMS software and HAFELE RFID door locks. The PURO chain plans to open eight more properties in Poland by 2015.

Ariane Systems announced that its Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk technology has been certified PA-DSS-compliant by Trustwave.
(www.visiontime.pl, www.ariane.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Castle Resorts & Hotels implementing Travelclick’s iHotelier CRS for 25 sites
  • Travel Tripper updates RezTrip  booking engine with interfaces to Agilysys’ LMS and Micros’ Opera

Honolulu-based Castle Resorts & Hotels is implementing Travelclick’s iHotelier central reservation system (CRS) for GDS connectivity and IDS distribution for its 25 hotels and resort condominiums in Hawaii, Saipan and New Zealand. Castle already uses Travelclick’s business intelligence and digital agency services. (www.castleresorts.com, www.travelclick.com)
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Travel Tripper has updated its RezTrip online booking engine with certified reservation delivery interfaces to Agilysys’ LMS and Micros-Fidelio’s Opera guest management systems. (www.traveltripper.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • RateTiger launches RTSuite Content to distribute and manage marketing content centrally

RateTiger has launched RTSuite Content, a new module to manage, upload and distribute marketing content (hotel descriptions, room type details, services, contact details and locality information) centrally across multiple booking channels. (www.ratetiger.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • EasyRMS)  appoints Fashion Information Technology its new technology partner in Asia Pacific
  • Availpro celebrates 10 year anniversary and 10 millionth room sale transaction

Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions Ltd (EasyRMS) has appointed Fashion Information Technology Co. as its new technology partner in the Asia Pacific region. Based in New Taipei City, Fashion has been providing hotel solutions to the Taiwanese market for over 24 years. (www.fas.com.tw, www.EasyRMS.com)
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Paris-based Availpro is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. Since it began in 2001, more than 10 million room sales have passed through the its booking distribution application. (www.availpro.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • StarCite announces new web services-based Nexus platform

StarCite has announced its new Nexus platform, based on a web services technology architecture intended to offer more flexibility and integration capabilities. Enhancements include enhanced supplier search, streamlined Supplier RFP selection from the search screen, more robust RFP models with additional planning elements and features, an updated user interface. (www.starcite.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Hotel Chatter releases annual “Best/Worst WiFi” report
  • Philips transfers television business to joint venture set up with TPV Technology
  • InterContinental Hong Kong implements MTech’s HotSOS

Hotel Chatter released its annual comments on the best and worst brands and hotels for WiFi service.
The top 5 Best ratings were for IHG’s Indigo brand, Kimpton, Aloft, Fairmont “budget brands” including Holiday Inn, Best Western, Courtyard by Marriott, Hampton Inn and many others. Indigo, Aloft and the budget brands offer always-free WiFi; Kimpton and Fairmont make it free for members of their frequent guest programs, which are free to join. Many other brands also offer free WiFi, but the above were rated for their consistency and the overall hotel experience.
Worst Hotel WiFi “accolades” went to Marriott’s flagship hotels, W Hotels, Intercontinental’s flagship properties, Sofitel and all luxury properties that continue to charge for access. Gold and platinum members of some rewards programs can receive it free, but the qualifications for those levels rule them out for most travelers. The report finds that “It seems the more you pay for the hotel room, the more you will pay for WiFi as well.”
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Royal Philips Electronics is transferring its television business to a joint venture set up with TPV Technology as part of a long-term partnership; the new company will be 70% owned by TPV and 30% by Philips.  The partnership is intended to leverage Philips’ brand, innovation and trade relationships with TPV’s scale and manufacturing strengths.  The joint venture will be responsible for the design, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales of Philips’ Television business worldwide, with the exception of mainland China, India, United States, Canada, Mexico and certain countries in South America, where existing license agreements will remain in force. (www.philips.com/hospitalitysolutions)
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The InterContinental Hong Kong has implemented MTech’s HotSOS incident tracking and guest messaging services, through MTech’s distributor, McLaren Technologies Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
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BACK OFFICE

  • GGC Software Holdings/Infor acquires Lawson Software
  • Galt House Hotel selects Infor PM performance management software

GGC Software Holdings, an affiliate of Infor and Golden Gate Capital, has acquired Lawson Software. Lawson’s product range is seen as a good fit with Infor’s current back-of-house software applications, especially in the areas of healthcare, public sector, manufacturing and human capital management. (www.lawson.com, www.infor.com, www.goldengatecap.com)
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The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, KY, has selected Infor PM (performance management) for its planning and budgeting, forecasting, financial consolidation, and reporting and analysis. The 1,290 room property also uses an Infor-SoftBrands guest management system. (www.aljsco.com, www.infor.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group picks Eatec for 13 locations in Singapore

The Imperial Treasure Restaurant Group has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system for its 13 locations in Singapore.   (www.imperialtreasure.com, www.agilysys.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Peabody Orlando integrates HotSOS with Control Green guestroom energy management monitoring

The Peabody Orlando hotel has integrated MTech’s HotSOS and Control Green’s guestroom energy management monitoring services, the first to do so. The property will use it to maintain and monitor energy consumption of unoccupied guestrooms, to identify when equipment is failing or batteries are low and dispatch staff to address any issue before it becomes a guest complaint. Control Green is also interfaced to MTech’s REX room expeditor to notify staff in real time when a stay-over room is unoccupied and can be cleaned. (www.peabodyorlando.com, www.controlgreen.net, www.m-tech.com)
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SECURITY

  • ASSA ABLOY introduces Mobile Keys Platform for distribution of NFC keys to mobile phones
  • Hyatt Regency Montreal  completes installation of KABA Saflok RT networked door locking system

ASSA ABLOY introduced its Mobile Keys Platform for the distribution of NFC (Near Field Communication) keys to enabled mobile phones as an alternative to mechanical keys and physical access cards. The access credentials are stored in a tamper-resistant memory space in the phone; they can be revoked if the phone is lost or stolen, and new keys issued to a temporary phone. (www.assaabloy.com)
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The Hyatt Regency Montreal has completed installation of its KABA Saflok RT networked door locking system. The Saflok Messenger wireless communication system allows web-based monitoring of door locks and keys for the hotel’s 605 guest rooms as well as 200 back-of-house doors. (www.montreal.hyatt.com, www.saflok.com)
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  • Jon Inge & Associates
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