May 6, 2015

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

APRIL 23 – MAY 6, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Are mobile apps becoming too specialized?

Mobile hospitality technology continues to be a hot topic, and Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research recently surveyed hotel guests about what makes an app worthwhile. The report, “The Mobile Revolution Is Here: Are You Ready?” was sponsored by Intel and Monscierge.
It turns out that guests are more interested in using apps to receive room-ready notifications and request room amenities, hotel services and room upgrades – the things of most immediate use to them during their stay – than in marketing or room booking. Curiously, the report also notes that women and younger travelers were more willing than others to share a limited amount of personal information in order to receive special services; I would have expected women in general to be less open to that.
Significantly, though, travelers reported a preference for having one single app that could be used to create a personal travel profile and would serve as a central location for their information and booking preferences across multiple hotels and brands. They believe that this would allow for a more personally customized experience than is currently possible by downloading an app for each individual hotel or brand. Maybe this doesn’t hold true for travelers who make a point of always staying with the same brand family, but I believe anyone who has to stay at a variety of different brands can relate to it.
What it would need, though, is a very clear way for individuals to set boundaries around what personal information they would be willing to share with what class of business entities under what circumstances. Hotels would also need to agree that working to this goal for the benefit of the traveler carries greater rewards than does pushing their individually-branded apps onto guests’ phones. That may be a stretch for many hotel brands’ marketing departments to accept, but I hold out hope that someone like Apple or Google has enough clout to make it happen. What happened to Apple’s iTravel?
I think we’re in an age of increasingly narrow focus on our apps, to the point where you have to wonder whether some of them are actually useful or are just complicating our lives instead of making them easier. Apple Pay, for example, only seems to make sense for those few travelers who have a phone with them but not a credit card. Apple Watch is intriguing but it can’t do a whole lot without its wearer also carrying a phone, so it adds visual convenience (in some cases; how many of those tiny screens do you have to flip through to find what you want?) at the cost of adding yet another device (and charging cable) to the traveler’s load. Just today I saw a smart suitcase that will display a traveler’s current flight number, status and departure gate. Why do we need another way to see that?
My sense is that what we really want is the fewest number of apps (and gadgets) that genuinely help us and take the fewest steps to use. We need to strike a balance between having one app that does many useful things but requires multiple menu choices to get to any of them, and multiple apps that each perform one useful thing very simply. It’s a fine line, but one that vendors need to be increasingly aware of. Slapping a chip on something and calling it “smart” doesn’t make it so.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Mike Uwe Dickersbach joins Highgate Hotels as SVP Information Technology

Mike Uwe Dickersbach is joining Highgate Hotels as Senior Vice President, Information Technology. He had most recently served 15 years at Thayer Lodging, Brookfield Hotel Properties, the last five as VP Information Technology/Hospitality, and started his career as Systems & Control Manager (Technology) at the Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Somerset, NJ.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Agilysys releases LMS v7.3
  • Hotel Schani Wien implements Hetras booking module for guests to select individual rooms
  • PAR Springer-Miller releases Host interface to Travel Tripper’s CRS
  • Little Hotelier brings small-hotel front desk, reservation and channel management system to the USA market
  • Marriott releases Rewards app for Apple Watch
  • Starwood launches SPG Keyless in UK, using Apple Watch app

Agilysys has released version 7.3 of its Lodging Management System (LMS). Enhancements include:
– rGuest Analyze, Agilysys’ business intelligence module
– Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) and tokenization support, including certification and support for Shift4 and Agilysys’ rGuest™ Pay payment gateway
– Expanded reservation entry and search capabilities
– Advanced posting of nightly charges
– Guest Locater, which lets users search by frequent traveler or casino number
– LMS Offers, which helps agents complete complex reservation scenarios
(www.agilysys.com)
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The Hotel Schani Wien has implemented a room booking module for its Hetras GMS that gives guests free reign to select rooms by floor, the direction it faces and its view.  (www.hotelschani.com, www.hetras.com)
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PAR Springer-Miller has released an interface between its SMS|Host guest management system and Travel Tripper’s central reservation system (CRS). (www.traveltripper.com, www.partech.com)
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Little Hotelier is launching its front desk, reservation and channel management system for small hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns and motels into the USA market. Powered by SiteMinder, the system is already marketed through Little Hotelier’s offices in Bangkok, Dallas, London, Sydney and Cape Town. (www.littlehotelier.com)
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Marriott International has released a Marriott Rewards app for the Apple Watch, to let members access mobile check-in and checkout, receive room ready alerts, book and review of reservations and receive directions to the hotel. (www.marriott.com)
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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has launched SPG Keyless in the UK, allowing SPG loyalty program members to use an Apple Watch app to unlock their guestroom doors at participating Aloft, Element and W hotels hotels using Assa Abloy Bluetooth-enabled locks. The app also provides information including the hotel address, room number, confirmation number and directions and the member’s SPG account information. The SPG App for Apple Watch will be available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • DHISCO partners with Nustay.com to offer combination OTA and online marketing channel
  • InterContinental and Amadeus developing next-generation Guest Reservation System to replace HOLIDEX
  • SHR certified as TripConnect Premium partner

DHISCO has partnered with start-up Nustay.com to offer personally tailored hotel discounts based on registered member profiles as a combination OTA and online marketing channel. Based in Dubai and Barcelona, Nustay.com matches its members with special discount offers at select four- and five-star hotels using algorithms that will predict what they are likely to spend on extras. (www.nustay.com, www.dhisco.com)
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InterContinental Hotels Group and Amadeus announced that they will develop a next-generation Guest Reservation System (GRS) as part of their continuing strategic relationship. The new GRS will ultimately replace HOLIDEX, IHG’s proprietary reservation system, and will be rolled out globally in a phased transition in 2017. (www.ihg.com, www.amadeus.com)
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SHR has been certified as a TripConnect Premium partner by TripAdvisor, allowing its hotel clients to use the TripConnect instant booking channel.  (www.shr.global)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Cendyn  acquires Ovations Management Solutions

Cendyn has acquired Ovations Management Solutions, an Atlanta-based corporate ticket management company. The acquisition lets Cendyn Arcaneo enterprise clients manage corporate tickets and entertainment assets via a stand-alone solution or via Metron Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) software. Ovations helps companies track and report on their sponsorship spend to improve Return on Investment (ROI) as well as Return on Relationship (ROR), while satisfying audit and compliance requirements. (www.cendynarcaneo.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Park Hotel Group selects PriceMatch for 12 hotels
  • Shangri-La, Meritus and Pan Pacific select TravelClick’s Demand360
  • Ctrip.com integrates with eRevMax

Park Hotel Group has selected PriceMatch for its 12 hotels in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, becoming PriceMatch’s first client in the Asia-Pacific region. (www.parkhotelgroup.com, www.pricematch.travel/en)
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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, Meritus Hotels and Resorts and Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts have selected TravelClick’s Demand360 business intelligence product. (www.shangri-la.com, www.meritushotels.com, www.panpacific.com, TravelClick.com)
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Ctrip.com International Ltd., the largest online travel agency in China, has completed integration with eRevMax to offer XML connectivity to its growing base of hotel customers to let them adjust rate/availability and receive bookings directly into their property management system.  The 2-way XML connection with Ctrip has been certified and is currently being implemented by Kempinski Hotels across its portfolio. (english.ctrip.com, www.erevmax.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Ingenico launches iWL series Wi-Fi mobile terminal for U.S. market
  • Ingenico, Intel jointly developing mobile tablet that supports EMV1 and NFC payment
  • Prologic First releases version 2 of Android Touché POS
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Ingenico Group has launched its iWL series mobile terminal for the U.S. market, adding Wi-Fi capability to its 3G wireless and Bluetooth options. The iWL series allows merchants to accept all forms of payment including MSR credit and debit, EMV contact and contactless cards, stored-value cards, mobile NFC and contactless systems such as Apple Pay, MasterCard contactless and Visa payWave.
Ingenico and Intel are jointly developing a mobile tablet that supports EMV1 and NFC payments, combining Intel Data Protection Technology for Transactions  with Ingenico’s payment acceptance capabilities in mobile and future solutions in the United States and Canada. The first products will be mobile tablets based on the Intel Atom processor.
(www.ingenico.com)
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Prologic First has released version 2 of its Android Touché tablet-based POS system. Enhancements include new bill settlements, statistical reporting and the ability to collect guest feedback before guest leaves the table. Touché can now also track customer information, allowing more personal service and help in suggesting menu items. (www.prologicfirst.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • FCS signs Channel Partner agreement with Australia’s Unified Network Group
  • Ramada Plaza Waikiki adds Bittel’s 2-USB port Classic Charger and Multi-Charging Cable to all guestrooms
  • National Conference Center installs FlyteBoard
  • Primland resort releases Intelity ICE-based mobile app for guest services
  • Motel 6 signs with World Cinema, DISH Network for HD satellite TV and HSIA to 500+ corporate properties
  • Stanford Court implements Foli’s digital multimedia interactive magazines and eBooks

FCS Computer Systems has signed a Channel Partner agreement with Australia’s Unified Network Group, which specializes in the consultation, supply, installation and service of electrical and communications systems. (unifiednetworkgroup.com.au, www.fcscs.com)
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The Ramada Plaza Waikiki has added Bittel’s 2-USB port Classic Charger to all guestroom phones, along with Bittel’s four-connector Multi-Charging Cable for Apple traditional (iPhone 4s and older), Apple Lightning (iPhone 6 and 5, new iPad) and two Micro USB connections. (www.ramada.com/Waikiki?, www.bittelamericas.com)
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The 917-room National Conference Center has installed Flyte Systems’ FlyteBoard real-time airline flight schedule display for arrivals and departures at Washington Dulles International Airport. (www.conferencecenter.com, www.flytesystems.com)
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The Primland resort in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains has released an Intelity ICE-based mobile app for guest services. Guests can use the app for resort information, restaurant menus, concierge requests, activity listings and wake-up call scheduling during their stay, and also before arriving and after check out. They can also select different scenes from the property to send virtual postcards.  The resort staff will be able to set up push notifications to remind guests who have downloaded the app to open it, and can configure location-based triggers to send prompts to guests once at the property. (www.primland.com, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Motel 6 has signed a multi-year contract with World Cinema and DISH Network to deliver HD satellite TV service and high speed internet access to the chain’s 500+ corporately owned and operated properties. (www.g6mediacenter.com, www.worldcinemainc.com, www.dish.com)
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Stanford Court, San Francisco, has implemented Foli’s app of digital multimedia interactive magazines and eBooks for its guests. (www.stanfordcourt.com, www.getfoli.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • PAS has releases auditor-approved SOPs and USALI 11th Global Framework for PasCLOUD
  • HOTELbeat announces Neglected Tickets Report

PAS has released a set of auditor-approved SOPs and a USALI 11th Global Framework for its PasCLOUD software, which includes over 40 pre-built reports and dashboards, an Expense Dictionary with over 4,000 items, and hundreds of application integrations.  (www.profact.com)
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HOTELbeat has announced its Neglected Tickets Report, which operates alongside HOTELbeat’s operations management platform to provide a daily summary of assigned tickets that have been left unattended for too long. (www.hotelbeat.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Pinehurst implements Percipia’s Parallax guest service software and Precision voice mail
  • Water Club at Borgata selects Percipia’s Frequency PBX, Precision voice mail and Parallax

Pinehurst Resort and Country Club has implemented Percipia’s Precision voice mail system and Parallax software with customized guest service applications for its 474-room multi-accommodation property, which includes The Carolina Hotel, The Holly Inn, The Manor Inn and The Villas at Pinehurst.
The 800-room Water Club at Borgata has selected Percipia’s Frequency PBX, Precision voice mail and Parallax hospitality suite. The property, in Atlantic City’s Marina District, includes 18,000 square feet of event space, retail outlets and a spa.
(pinehurst.com, www.theborgata.com/hotel/the-water-club, www.percipia.com)
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SECURITY

  • Hotek Hospitality Group introduces RFID Upgrade Kits for magnetic card systems to US market
  • Kaba Holding merging with Dorma Holding to become the dorma+kaba group

Netherlands-based Hotek Hospitality Group is introducing its RFID Upgrade Kits for magnetic card systems to the US market. Hotek focused on security solutions for the hospitality industry based on technology including NFC, Bluetooth, and QR codes, and currently serves over 5.000 customers in more than 65 countries.  (www.hotekhospitalitygroup.com)
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Kaba Holding is merging with Dorma Holding GmbH + Co. KGaA to become the dorma+kaba group. Dorma is a global provider of access equipment and related services, including door closers, automatic door systems and glass fittings. The combined companies will have around 16,000 staff and locations in 53 countries. (www.dorma.com, www.kaba.com)
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