May 31, 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

MAY 18 – 31, 2011

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • New technology may not be inexpensive, but keep it in perspective and stay aware of the upside

HITEC will be here in just three weeks, and many people will be headed there to check out new or replacement systems, as always. Recent comments by Mitesh Shah, CEO at Atlanta-based Noble Investment Group, suggest that many of them may experience sticker shock at the cost of replacement technology, given how long it usually is between their system purchases. The benefits of more advanced systems tend to come with more advanced prices.
No-one wants to pay more than they have to for anything, least of all while many properties are still working their way out of the hole of the last couple of years, but a couple of things are worth keeping in perspective. One is that everything wears out and must be replaced if you’re going to stay in business. Furniture, carpets, bed linen, kitchen equipment, airport shuttle buses – all of them have to be kept current and in good working order, and by comparison the cost of an upgraded computer system or more bandwidth for guestroom Internet access can look downright reasonable.
The other is that while all these items need to be kept in good order, none of them have the potential to generate upside like a more modern computer system. Sure, occupancy will gradually taper off if the property’s not kept up, or if Internet connection speeds become intolerably slow, but a new management system can track and analyze guest profile and stay information in enough detail to actually bring in new business through highly-targeted marketing campaigns based in accurate data. Maintaining a property’s décor and infrastructure will prevent occupancy erosion, but only new technology can generate new business.
By all means compare system prices and negotiate for the best deal that’s fair to both hotel and vendor, but don’t be afraid to invest in the right mix of technology that will help your particular operation maximize its business; you absolutely need it.
It’s bizarre that technology purchases are so frequently made dependent on calculations showing a theoretical but acceptable ROI. No-one asks for an ROI for new bed linen.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Frank Wolfe inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
  • Tim Kinsella joins Sundrop Mobile as Executive Vice President of Sales
  • Mike Montemurro promoted to SVP, Product Strategy & Support at Pegasus Solutions
  • Robert Aquilino hired by VingCard Elsafe as President, Americas
  • Marion Hughes joins RateGain as VP Business Development, Hospitality Solutions for the Americas

Frank Wolfe, CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), will be inducted into HFTP’s International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame at this year’s HITEC. Celebrating his twentieth year with HFTP, Mr. Wolfe was cited for his many efforts in raising the visibility of hospitality technology and the professionalism of its practitioners. He was responsible for changing the association’s name from International Association of Hospitality Accountants (IAHA) to HFTP and, along with the AH&LA’s Educational Institute (EI), creating the Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) certification program. Under his leadership the HITEC conference has grown into the largest hospitality technology conference in the world, and he championed the introduction of the Guestroom 2010 (now called Guestroom 20X) booth, a model hotel room illustrating the possibilities of technology integration. Mr. Wolfe expanded HFTP’s hospitality technology education offerings internationally with the European Hospitality Technology Education Conference (EHTEC) in 2007, Asia Hospitality Technology Education Conference (AHTEC) in 2008 and AHTEC@HOFEX in 2011.
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Tim Kinsella has joined mobile marketing and loyalty applications provider Sundrop Mobile as Executive Vice President of Sales. With more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and technology industries, Mr. Kinsella was most recently former Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Merchant Link.  He had earlier served for six years with MICROS Systems, first as General Manager of OPUS 2 Revenue Technologies and then as President/COO for Hospitality Solutions International, and before MICROS with Newmarket International as Director of Sales & Marketing for Destination Products.
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Mike Montemurro has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Product Strategy & Support at Pegasus Solutions; he was previously Vice President of Central Reservation System (CRS) Product Management. Before joining Pegasus in late 2009, Mr. Montemurro served for ten years with TravelCLICK in senior positions in marketing, operations and IT, culminating in SVP of Product Management – Reservations Services. Prior to TravelCLICK Mr. Montemurro served eight years with Galileo; he started his career with United Airlines..
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Robert Aquilino has been hired by VingCard Elsafe as President, Americas; he succeeds Rune Venas, who will return to Norway to take on a global business development role for the company. Before joining VingCard Elsafe, Mr. Aquilino served in senior general management, marketing and sales roles with international consumer brands including Pepsi, Frito-Lay, Kidde and Invisible Fence; most recently, he served as Managing Director of MorrisAnderson, a Chicago-based corporate financial consultancy. He has also served as a division president at United Technologies, where he led Onity on two occasions and Kidde Consumer and Commercial, as part of Chubb Fire and Security.
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Marion Hughes has joined RateGain as Vice President, Business Development, Hospitality Solutions for the Americas. Ms. Hughes brings more than 25 years experience in travel industry business development with roles in electronic distribution, online marketing and revenue management. During her career she has worked on property as Director of Sales and Marketing for 6 properties, ran the NYC market region for a leading OTA, worked for an online booking engine technology provider, managed the European Affiliate Sales division of Travelocity and ran a group of travel portals that generated over $30 million in online bookings (www.luxurytravel.com, www.worldairportguides.com et al.).
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Jebel Ali International Hotels to install protel MPE at all five properties
  • protel ports guest management system to Apple’s iPad, introduces protel Air SaaS application
  • Ariane Systems appoints Hansab AB its distributor in the Baltic States

Jebel Ali International Hotels in Dubai has signed a master agreement to install protel MPE (multi property edition) at all five of its properties, starting in September.


protel hotelsoftware has ported its guest management system to Apple’s iPad, facilitating its use as a mobile check-in/check-out and general management support workstation, and introduced protel Air, its new “full-service” SaaS application.
(www.jebelali-international.com, www.protel-hotel-software.com)
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Ariane Systems has appointed Estonia-based Hansab AB its exclusive distributor in the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.  Hansab has 20 years experience in the business security and self-service fields across the Baltics, and is also an authorized distributor of guestroom safes and hotel access-control systems.  (www.hansab.com, www.ariane.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Kosmopolito Hotels International to deploy TravelCLICK’s iStay booking engine across all 22 hotels
  • Orient-Express Hotels signs with Pegasus for its RezView NG, NetBooker NG and voice services

Hong Kong-based Kosmopolito Hotels International (KHI) is expanding its use of TravelCLICK’s products by deploying the iStay Internet booking engine across all 22 hotels. Several KHI properties have already been using iStay as well as Hotelligence360 and RateVIEW, TravelCLICK’s business intelligence products.  KHI owns and manages the Hotel Kosmopolito, Boutique Series by Kosmopolito, Dorsett Regency and Silka brands; seven of its 22 properties are under development. (www.kosmopolito.com, www.travelclick.com)
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Orient-Express Hotels has signed a multi-year deal with Pegasus Solutions for its RezView NG central reservation system, NetBooker NG Internet booking engine and private label voice services, allowing it to sell hotel rooms, trains and cruises through one booking itinerary. Orient-Express owns and manages 41 properties in 24 countries. (www.orient-express.com, www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • HeBS Digital celebrates 10-year anniversary
  • Lodging Interactive launches Field Marketing Services for franchisees’ branded hotels

HeBS Digital is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, having grown to a 65+ person company with over 1,000 clients. (www.HeBSDigital.com)
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Lodging Interactive has launched a series of Field Marketing Services for branded hotels to ensure that franchisees’ brand.com pages are fully optimized. The core services include scorecard review, site evaluation, keyword research and recommendations, creation of meta-tags & submission to the brand, SEO optimization, image maximization, professional copywriting, creation of marketing PDFs and a 30-second video montage and monthly search engine ranking report. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • FRHI Holdings implements EZYield’s reservation delivery application across 100+ hotels
  • RateTiger launches RTChannels channel data analysis service
  • Best Western deploying Lixto’s Price Intelligence Suite for Travel to monitor rate parity compliance
  • SiteMinder now has 25 guest management systems integrated to pmsXchange

FRHI Holdings has implemented EZYield’s reservation delivery application across its worldwide portfolio of 100+ hotels, which operate under the Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissôtel brands, providing seamless connectivity between its MICROS Opera central reservations system and online distribution channels. FRHI has used EZYield’s channel management system for many years. (www.frhi.com, www.ezyield.com)
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RateTiger has launched RTChannels, a complimentary service that provides data on online travel agents and third party channels connected to RateTiger and includes customised search functionality to filter channels that best fit the property. RTChannels provides sales data to educate hoteliers and allows them to contact the connected channels directly; they can link to subscription forms to add new channels or subscribe as part of the RateTiger channel manager tool. (www.ratetiger.com)
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Best Western International is deploying Lixto’s SaaS-based Price Intelligence Suite for Travel, a web extraction and analysis service that allows revenue and general managers to monitor information on thousands of properties and rate points across multiple websites. Best Western will use the suite to help assure rate parity compliance among all of the corporation’s more than 4,000 independently owned and operated hotels. (www.bestwestern.com, www.lixto.com)
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SiteMinder announced that it now has 25 guest management systems integrated to its online distribution network through its pmsXchange product, which allows PMS and CRS vendors to achieve two-way integration directly between their systems and Internet booking sites. (www.siteminder.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Cendyn launches eFaceTime video enhancement to eProposal
  • QuickMobile launches MobileEvent Express Edition iPhone app

Cendyn has launched eFaceTime, an enhancement to its eProposal application that lets hotel salespeople link personalized videos of their properties, services, amenities and staff to eProposal presentations. eFaceTime was developed in partnership with Vipe, a worldwide provider of video marketingsoftware and advice. (www.vipepower.com, www.cendyn.com)
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QuickMobile has launched MobileEvent Express Edition, an iPhone app for meetings and events that lets the client put their own data into a pre-defined schema. Features include a mobile Events Agenda, Attendees List and Messaging and allow for post-event analytics. (www.QuickMobile.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • ReServe Interactive announces future availability of ReServe Q online restaurant reservation application

ReServe Interactive announced its ReServe Q online restaurant reservation application, available from the third quarter of this year and designed to allow restaurants to accept reservations and manage waitlists through their own website. ReServe Q can also be embedded into third party sites, e-mail promotions and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, and provides automatic free listings in online dining guides.  (www.reserveinteractive.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • W Hotels unveils iPhone application
  • protel releases Voyager browser-based mobile app for hotel guests
  • Yotel New York installs Yobot luggage-handling robot
  • Intelity adds OpenWays room keys to ICE guest self-service application

W Hotels has unveiled a new iPhone application that lets guests order room service and request other services, in addition to booking guestrooms. The free app also includes a music platform with exclusive content, as well as W Insider tips, local weather, directions and hotel photos, Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare connectivity, a form to order anything for anyone staying at any W Hotel anywhere, and special offers and retail shop ordering. (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels)
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protel has released its Voyager browser-based mobile app for hotel guests, available for Apple, Android or BlackBerry devices and intended to offer access to guest management system functions such as booking services across multiple properties. It also offers access to location based services advertising local events and facilities and to the hotel’s social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. (www.protel-hotel-software.com)
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The new 669-room Yotel New York has installed Yobot, a 15-foot luggage-handling robot in a room off the hotel lobby that can pick up luggage and place it in one of 133 storage lockers. A bar-coded ticket allows guests to retrieve their bags upon return to the lobby. (www.yotel.com)
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Intelity has added OpenWays acoustic room keys to the services available on its ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) guest self-service application. (www.OpenWays.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • UniFocus updates Watson, R.M.
  • MICROS launches MICROS Payment Gateway, agreement with Planet Payment
  • InvoTech announces upgraded UHF-RFID version of GIMS uniform and linen tracking system

UniFocus has released an updated version of its Watson, R.M. Labor Management System (LMS). Enhancements include improved accountability through better data for banked hours, sick accrual and overtime calculation management, easier access for staff to check schedules and make requests and improved visual displays to identify conflicts, allow shift swaps and adjust schedules. (www.unifocus.com)
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MICROS Systems launched the MICROS Payment Gateway (MPG) along with an agreement with multi-currency payment processor Planet Payment to offer integrated payment options for all MICROS enterprise hospitality products, including OPERA, MICROS 3700, MICROS 9700 and Simphony. MPG will integrate within Planet Payment’s data center and processing platform, while MICROS will provide merchants with direct customer service and support. MPG is fully compliant with all applicable Card Association requirements including PCI-DSS and PA-DSS, includes end-to-end encryption and transaction tokenization and supports Planet Payment’s “Pay in Your Currency” function, also referred to as Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). (www.planetpayment.com, www.micros.com)
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InvoTech Systems announced its GIMS UHF-Radio Frequency ID uniform and linen tracking system, which provides a greater reading distance than previous RFID options.  The tracking system can automatically scan, inventory and generate reports for entire carts of linens or uniforms at one time as they pass by a reader station. The UHF-RFID laundry tags are fitted in pouches sewn into linens and uniforms. (www.invotech.com)
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