May 7, 2013

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

APRIL 24 – MAY 7, 2013

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Hotel system sales presentations: where’s the enthusiasm?

A bunch of us consultants were sitting around comparing notes the other night – you can guess the type of location – and realized that we’ve all noticed a common phenomenon recently: few people try to sell anything anymore. It’s not that there aren’t good systems on the market; there clearly are, and in enough variety to offer real choices to any of our clients in any market segment. It’s just that the sales process has become static and reactive, lacking energy and focus.
This is not to cast aspersions at all sales representatives; most work hard to respond to RFPs and prepare proposals, often laced with enticing discounts. When called upon to make a system presentation, they clearly know their system inside out and can always spend more time than is available going through the functionality list. The problem is that (with a few, memorable exceptions) this is too often passive; “Here’s our system, here are its functions, we think it’s great, can I have the order?”
What’s missing is both a laser focus on the prospective client’s specific needs, and the passion to address them and really make a sales pitch. When there are several viable alternatives (and there almost invariably are) it’s not enough to show the standard system and see how the client reacts; the sales rep should know what their company stands for, where its focus is, what makes it shine and stand out and why it’s the best solution for this specific set of needs. “I understand what you’re looking for. We’ve specialized in that area for years, here are the three functions we offer that truly handle that in depth, and here’s how and where they’re going to make you money!”
In common with my colleagues, I try to summarize each client’s environment and needs for the vendors up front, and list the major scenarios that a new system must be able to handle. But I’ve even had a vendor dismiss that at the start of a presentation, saying “You don’t want us to follow this, do you? We’ll just start from the top of our standard demonstration.” Here’s another quote recounted at our informal round table: “How many systems do you set per year as a sales goal?” “Well, we seem to get about 40-50 a year.” Really? “Seem to get”? If you targeted 80-100 and really went after them do you think you might get more?
We’re not looking for over-the-top razzle-dazzle, glib promises and glossed-over details, just some evidence that the sales person has read the RFP, taken the time to research the property, understood the demo scenarios, prepared the system to show them, focused the presentation with the client’s needs front and center, and really cares, passionately, about meeting those needs and closing the sale. Too much to ask?
I look forward to my next RFP process with interest.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Tom Stoffo, Director of Information Technology at Mainsail Lodging & Development, named CHTP of the Year
  • Matt Neff promoted to Executive Director of Sales, North America at innRoad
  • Sandee Swearingen is innRoad’s new Director of Sales, Southeast Region
  • Susan Cotton hired by innRoad as Director of Sales, Northeast Region
  • Katherine Blaisdell appointed Vice President, Technical Services at Orient-Express Hotels
  • Mark Swetman promoted to Vice President, Global Sales, Americas at Pegasus Solutions
  • John Owens promoted to Senior Vice President, Distribution Sales at Pegasus Solutions
  • Prashant Menon promoted to Vice President – Sales, Asia Pacific at eRevMax

Tom Stoffo, Director of Information Technology at Mainsail Lodging & Development, has been named by HFTP as the 2013 Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP) of the Year. Mr. Stoffo oversees the information systems for Mainsail Lodging & Development’s corporate offices as well as for their properties, which include Mainsail Suites and Conference Center, Execustay, Mainsail Beach Inn and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina.
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Matt Neff has been promoted to Executive Director of Sales, North America at innRoad; he was previously Regional Director of Sales. Mr. Neff joined innRoad in October 2012 after a 12 year tenure at TravelClick as Director of Sales NYC/New Jersey.
Sandee Swearingen is innRoad’s new Director of Sales, Southeast Region. In a hospitality career spanning over 20 years Ms. Swearingen was most recently Regional Sales Director at MICROS eCommerce, following an eleven-year career in Sales at TravelClick. She had earlier served as Director of Sales at the Embassy Suites Hotel, Richmond and Doubletree Guest Suites in Durham, NC.
Susan Cotton has been hired by innRoad as Director of Sales, Northeast Region. Ms. Cotton was most recently a Director of Sales at TravelClick, where she served eight years; she had earlier served in senior sales and marketing roles with Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club, The Charles Hotel, Rosewood Hotels and resorts and the Lodge at Vail.
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Katherine Blaisdell has been appointed Vice President, Technical Services at Orient-Express Hotels in London, UK. Ms. Blaisdell joins Orient-Express from Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, where she was Vice President, Architecture & Design; she had earlier served as Director of Project Management & Construction for St.Regis Hotels & Resorts and as Vice President of Design & Construction for Viceroy Hotels.
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Mark Swetman has been promoted to Vice President, Global Sales, Americas at Pegasus Solutions; he previously served as Global Director of Sales for Open Hospitality, a division of Pegasus Solutions. Before joining Open Hospitality, Mr. Swetman was the Director of Sales and Marketing for Hilton Hotels of Parsippany in New Jersey, and earlier served as the Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Dolce International Hotels & Resorts.
John Owens has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Distribution Sales at Pegasus Solutions. Mr. Owens has been with Pegasus for nine years, most recently as Senior Vice President, Global Sales and earlier as Vice President, Sales and Account Management and Director, Strategic Accounts. Before joining Pegasus he was a Regional Director of Sales for TravelClick, and Vice President, Global Business Development and Sales for Lanyon; he had earlier held director level positions with Meristar Hotels in Arlington, Tex. and Washington, D.C., American General Hotels Inc. in Dallas, and Marriott Hotels Corporation in Dallas. He started his career with Aston Hotels and Resorts in Honolulu.
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Prashant Menon has been promoted to Vice President – Sales, Asia Pacific at eRevMax. Mr. Menon has been with eRevMax for 18 months, most recently as Regional Director of Sales; in his 14+ year career he previously worked with Air India, Siemens and TRX in various leadership roles.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Marriott International picks MICROS OPERA as standard GMS to be used in all Marriott brands worldwide
  • Best Western adds MICROS Opera to list of Preferred Hosted PMS Providers
  • Best Western Premier Petion-Ville opens in Haiti with MSI’s WinPM
  • Magnuson Hotels names Roomkey as exclusive recommended GMS for 2,000 hotels
  • Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport and Hyatt Regency Chicago add HeadsUp FD to front desk operations
  • Patton Hospitality Management picks SPI Software as vacation ownership technology platform

Revealing what was probably the worst-kept secret of the year, Marriott International announced that has selected MICROS Systems hosted OPERA Property Management System (PMS) as its standard GMS to be used in all Marriott brands worldwide.  Marriot has long used Opera for its international properties; this agreement extends that standard to all domestic properties, replacing Marriott’s existing FSPMS and FOSSE systems. (www.marriott.com, www.micros.com)
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Best Western International has added MICROS Systems’ remotely-hosted Opera, Opera Xpress and Opera Lite systems to its list of Preferred Hosted PMS Providers. These systems are available to all Best Western locations in North America and will be hosted in Micros’ data center.
The 106-room Best Western Premier Petion-Ville has opened in Haiti, using Multi-Systems, Inc.’s (MSI’s) WinPM system, making it the first full-service U.S. brand hotel to open in Haiti and MSI’s first implementation there. (www.bestwestern.com, www.micros.com, www.BestWesternPremierHaiti.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Magnuson Hotels has named RSI International’s Roomkey as the exclusive recommended guest management system for its portfolio of 2,000 independent North American hotels. Implementations have already begun. All GDS and OTA reservations will automatically be downloaded to the front desk, so remote and mobile devices can access rooms sold, occupancy, source of booking and ADR all in one place.  (www.magnusonworldwide.com, www.welcometorsi.com)
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The Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport and Hyatt Regency Chicago have purchased HeadsUp FD for their front desk operations. HeadsUp FD uses proximity badges and RFID readers to let front desk staff sign in instantly and securely without manually typing user names or passwords. (sanfranciscoairport.hyatt.com, www.chicagoregency.hyatt.com, www.headsupfd.com)
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Patton Hospitality Management (PHM) has selected SPI Software as its vacation ownership technology platform. PHM provides rental management, timeshare and HOA operations for a portfolio currently comprising 28 vacation resorts, three hotels, 12 catamarans and a marina. (www.pattonhospitality.com, www.spiinc.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Roamba.com selects SPI Orange as Central Reservation System
  • Pegasus Solutions sells commission processing financial services division to H.I.G. Capital

Roamba.com, an online travel agency dealing exclusively with timeshare rentals, has selected SPI Orange as its Central Reservation System. Roamba.com specializes in offering multi-room resort vacation rentals. (www.Roamba.com, www.spiinc.com)
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Pegasus Solutions has sold its commission processing financial services division, Pegasus Financial Services, to H.I.G. Capital, LLC. (www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Choice Hotels signs Buuteeq as exclusive provider of digital marketing services
  • Milestone Internet Marketing receives three IAC awards from WMA
  • REBEL Travel Corp launches OTA Analyzer for Hotels
  • ZDirect redesigns Forms Center services
  • Flip.to unveils new mobile landing page
  • TrustYou announces TrustYou Comp Index online benchmark
  • LeisureLink integrates ReviewPro’s Global Review Index benchmark into LeisureLink MarketSpan platform

Choice Hotels has signed Buuteeq as its exclusive provider of digital marketing services. Buuteeq custom-designed a new reservation platform called Digital Direct Program for more than 5,000 Choice brand hotels, with subscription tiers ranging from franchises trying to build an online presence to hotels needing to improve an already established website. (www.choicehotels.com, www.buuteeq.com)
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Milestone Internet Marketing has received three IAC awards from the WMA:
– Best Social Media Campaign for the Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa’s custom Facebook tab
– Outstanding Social Media Campaign for the Hyatt 48 Lex New York’s Facebook Survey
– Outstanding Website Award for the Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort’s website design & marketing strategy.
(www.milestoneInternet.com)
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REBEL Travel Corp has launched OTA Analyzer for Hotels, an extension of its PropertyVIEW hospitality solutions suite. OTA Analyzer is a monthly audit report that provides hoteliers a side-by-side view of their property details as shown on 10 major Online Travel Agency channels and distribution networks including Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, and more. Data reported includes descriptive information, policies, amenities and other information in normalized categories. (www.rebel-travel.com)
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ZDirect has redesigned its Forms Center services to make it easier for hoteliers to create digital forms and surveys and to send them to guests via its ZMail electronic communications platform. The update brings the advantages of Web 2.0 functionality to its users and implements newer technologies to make the user experience more interactive and flexible.  Surveys are multilingual; one survey can support every language and the results all feed into one report instead of having one surveys for each language. Among the first to use the updated Forms Center is Stout Street Hospitality’s Magnolia Hotels. (www.magnoliahotels.com, www.zdirect.com)
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Flip.to has unveiled a new mobile landing page to facilitate organic promotions and generate additional bookings on the go. When guests want to share their upcoming stay via Flip.to, their social connections can easily interact with the link through any mobile device, automatically directing their friends to the page that works best for the device they are using while maintaining all of the functionality. (www.flip.to)
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TrustYou has announced its TrustYou Comp Index, an online benchmark that shows hotels how they stack up against their competitive set (up to 10 properties) in reputation across all relevant sites in the market, including TripAdvisor, Expedia, Yelp!, Google+ and more. Data points include the number of reviews, overall score, management response rate, positive vs. negative comments and more.  (www.trustyou.com)
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LeisureLink has integrated ReviewPro’s Global Review Index benchmark for online guest satisfaction into its LeisureLink MarketSpan distribution platform, which combines distribution and revenue management into a single actionable platform. The Global Review Index aggregates guest reviews from leading review sites, social media sites and online travel agencies (OTAs) into a single index, and is viewable by overall score or by distribution channel within MarketSpan. (www.leisurelink.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Leonardo Hotels extends contract for RateTiger to cover additional 20 properties

Leonardo Hotels has extended its contract with eRevMax’s RateTiger to cover the additional 20 properties it has acquired from the QMH Hotel Germany Group. The portfolio will also benefit from RateTiger’s RTCorp real-time market rate data, to monitor rates for various properties and competitors across hundreds of selected sales channels. Leonardo Hotels operates 44 hotels in Germany. (www.leonardo-hotels.com, www.erevmax.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • Stonebridge Companies implements hotel SalesPro across 47-property portfolio
  • Lanyon adopted by five new chains: NH Hoteles, Kimpton, Jumeirah Group, Larkspur Hotels and Onyx-Hospitality

Stonebridge Companies has implemented hotel SystemsPro’s hotel SalesPro Sales and Catering system across its 47-property portfolio. Stonebridge’s portfolio covers eight states and operates under franchise licenses from Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and InterContinental. (www.sbcos.com, www.hotelsystemspro.com)
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Lanyon announced five new major hotel chain clients for its lead management and RFP response software: NH Hoteles, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Jumeirah Group, Larkspur Hotels and Onyx-Hospitality.   (www.lanyon.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Shift4 releases full integration with newest version of JDA Software Group Store system
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Shift4 has added JDA Software Group as its newest preferred partner, releasing full integration including support for tokenization and point-to-point encryption (P2PE) with the newest version of JDA Store, formerly JDA Point-of-Sale. Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET payment gateway original interfaces with JDA’s POS offerings were mainly client-specific to support features requested by individual merchants, but last year Shift4 released full integration to JDA Customer Engagement.  These recent development efforts earned Shift4 a JDA “Top Co-Innovation Excellence” award. (www.jda.com, www.shift4.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Hyatt upgrades mobile app to integrate more guest experiences
  • Intelity to launch new ICE Sapphire in-room guest service platform on June 14
  • PARKROYAL on Pickering in Singapore installs Bartech minibars in all rooms
  • Gaylord Hotels completes deployment of Eleven Wireless  guest Internet management software

Hyatt Hotels and Resorts has upgraded its mobile app to integrate more of its guests’ experiences.  The app offers a richer experience for frequent Hyatt customers, integrating with Apple’s Passbook, offering access to Hyatt’s Twitter concierge @hyattconcierge for customer service requests and acting as a card for Hyatt’s loyalty program.  (www.hyatt.com)
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Intelity has announced a June 14 release date for its new ICE Sapphire in-room guest service platform. Intended as a high-tech take on the hotel clock radio, ICE Sapphire includes Intelity’s Bedside Dashboard, which provides an optional hotel landing page as well as a streaming radio, an alarm clock with sleep function and ambient sounds such as rainfall.
ICE Sapphire will be available as a web-based HTML5 app in addition to native iOS and Android versions, which allows it to run on a wider selection of devices than the original ICE, including TVs, laptops, iPads and iPhones, Android devices, and all other smartphones and tablets. ICE Sapphire offers more presentation options than ICE, including custom fonts and color gradients to match a property’s overall style, as well as restructured, simpler dining menus and full-screen advertisements that allow hotels to market products and services directly to guests. (www.intelitycorp.com)
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The 367-room PARKROYAL on Pickering in Singapore has installed Bartech energy-efficient automatic minibars in all rooms. (www.parkroyalhotels.com, www.bartech.com)
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Gaylord Hotels has completed deployment of Eleven Wireless  guest Internet management software throughout all five properties, bringing them into line with Marriott Guest Internet Access standards that include a consistent guest facing portal page complete with terms-of-use acceptance, guest authentication and optional for-pay, premium-tier bandwidth offerings. (www.marriott.com, www.elevenwireless.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • MGM Resorts International picks Mobilitie for high-density Wi-Fi networks at all Las Vegas properties
  • Canalta Hotels selects RoamingAround to improve mobile phone network coverage

MGM Resorts International has selected Mobilitie LLC, in collaboration with Cisco Systems, to create a high-density Wi-Fi network; Mobilitie will deploy, own and operate the system, which includes services such as location-based and push advertising, faster connectivity to reduce battery drain in mobile devices, automatic Wi-Fi connections and delivery of customized information directly to guests’ devices. Implementation at Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage was completed at the end of 2012; Monte Carlo, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur will be online by late summer 2013. The installations cover the low-rise public spaces, including pools, casinos, lobbies and restaurants, and will also soon be available in the guest rooms. (www.mgmresorts.com, www.mobilitie.com)
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Canalta Hotels has selected RoamingAround’s Roam Boost technology to improve mobile phone network coverage at its corporate offices and, as needed, at its 36 properties across Alberta and Saskatchewan. (www.canaltahotels.com, www.RoamingAround.com)
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SECURITY

  • Safeplace introduces Solid Safe product range

Safeplace has introduced its Solid Safe product range, featuring a large, red LED display with visual feedback and illuminated keypad for safe operation, left or right opening door, two colors and four different models: Compact, Laptop, Wide and Floor. Solid also includes a low-battery indicator and an optional power outlet for laptop recharging with two laptop compatible sizes. Security features include automatic sleep mode after five incorrect codes are entered and a 500-event audit trail record. Solid also features IR communication with Safeplace’s UltiMax Service unit, a PDA-like handheld.  (www.safeplace.co.il)
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