November 14, 2007

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Guest Services

Engineering

Security

OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 14, 2007

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • IHM&RS review

I just returned from the International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show – “the New York show” to everyone – and have been musing on its value as a technology showcase. It’s expensive to attend (more for the cost of staying in New York – is there any upper limit to what hotels can charge for the most basic of rooms there? – than for the registration fees) and the tech section, while well worth visiting, always feels a little lost among the huge range of other products on show. It was a shame that HFTP’s excellent Guestroom 2010 exhibit – a popular attraction again this year – was located several aisles away. Had it been closer its consistently heavy traffic would surely have boosted attendance at many of the system vendors’ individual booths.
Overall attendance this year seemed down and the show itself was somewhat smaller than it has been in the past, though it’s still a very long trek from one end to the other! While there are always a few prospects specifically looking for systems, the show’s value seems to lie more in providing general background systems information, in the chance to see several vendors at once and in the networking opportunities for the regular crew who show up at most conferences. It has to be a tough choice for vendors as to whether to continue to exhibit there given the costs and the low number of potential buyers, so many thanks to all who did and made it worthwhile for the rest of us.
This year the Editors’ Choice Awards were doubled as the organizers added a green equivalent to each of the five traditional categories – décor, essentials, luxury, restaurant and technology. Even more kudos, therefore, to INNCOM International for winning the overall Best of Show Award as well as the Green Technology category, for its e4 Smart Digital Thermostat with ecoMODE. This unit allows guests to press a button to activate the hotel’s pre-defined energy-saving settings and to signal their acceptance of reduced towel and linen washing. The general Technology category was won by eMenuBoard Systems for its touch-screen menu, intended for placement in front of a restaurant.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Bridget Oliva joins RoomLinX as Vice President, Sales and Marketing
  • Andrew Furrer hired by Destination Hotels & Resorts as VP of IT/CIO
  • William Clements and David Hohne to lead Onity’s CodePro North American sales team
  • Darin McAuliffe joins Pegasus Solutions as Vice President of Distribution Solutions

Bridget Oliva has joined RoomLinX as Vice President, Sales and Marketing. She brings nearly two decades of hospitality sales-and-marketing experience, most recently in business development for the Hcareers hospitality industry job board. Ms. Oliva previously served more than 12 years with Multi-Systems, Inc. (MSI) as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing, and is an active member of several committees for the American Hotel & Lodging Assn.
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Andrew Furrer has been hired by Destination Hotels & Resorts as Vice President of Information Technology/Chief Information Officer. Mr. Furrer has more than 17 years of technology experience, most recently was Vice President of Technology for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurant Co., where he worked for nearly eight years. He had earlier launched a computer service and support company in Vancouver, WA.
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Onity has promoted William Clements and David Hohne to lead the North American sales team for the CodePro electronic code access system, a PIN code-based locking system targeting the vacation ownership and property management sectors. Mr. Clements becomes Director of Business Development for CodePro; he has been with Onity for the last 9 years, most recently as National Sales Manager for hospitality field sales. Mr. Hohne becomes Field Sales Manager for CodePro, managing its national direct sales efforts. He joined Onity in 1998.
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Darin McAuliffe has joined Pegasus Solutions as Vice President of Distribution Solutions. He was most recently President and a member of the Board of Directors of Hotel Booking Solutions (HBSi), which he co-founded in 2002. Mr. McAuliffe had earlier co-founded Turbotrip.com, an online travel booking engine, and NewOrleans.com, a travel portal.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • MSI announces The Helm centralized guest/corporate profile and data analysis system
  • Northwind launches online Condo and Timeshare Owner Management
  • Stay Systems looking for beta test sites for StayManager online/hosted PMS
  • Paseo Del Sol installs OwnerRelations Technology’s on-line applications
  • Boyd Gaming picks Agilysys’ LMS for three Las Vegas hotel-casinos
  • Springer-Miller releases two-way interface between SMS|Host PMS and EzRMS

MSI has announced The Helm, a centralized guest/corporate profile and data analysis system intended to consolidate and report on information from multiple different PMSs. Negotiated rates, direct bill approvals and both individual and group preferences entered at the corporate office will be available to all connected properties; the central profiles manage past, current and future reservation activity. Comparative reports and real time statistics include drill down capability to transactional detail at the property level, including folio details. (www.msisolutions.com)
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Northwind has launched its online Condo and Timeshare Owner Management system, part of its Web Connection package of online modules. The new online Condo and Timeshare Owner Management + Web module allows owners to view their unit information and performance online, check their unit’s availability any time, reserve it for their own use and view their owner statements online. Launch properties were the 257-unit Prince Resort at Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach, North Carolina and the 360-unit Jay Peak resort in North Troy, Vermont. (www.princeresortonline.com, www.jaypeakresort.com, www.maestro.com)
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Stay Systems is looking for beta test sites for its StayManager system, an online/hosted PMS for small hotels, including bed & breakfasts and boutique properties. StayManager.com includes online booking, reservations, front desk, accounting, administration and credit card processing (via PayPal), all with multi-language support. (www.staysystems.com)
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The 65-unit Paseo Del Sol fractional condominium hotel in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico has installed OwnerRelations Technology’s Owner Website Experience and Owner Accounting applications. The modules generate monthly accounting statements with on-line look-up for each rental owner, and include online documents, messaging, owner reservation requests, FAQ’s and an Owner Concierge function. (www.paseodelsolcondos.com, www.ownerrelations.com)
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Boyd Gaming Corp. has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS) for three Las Vegas hotel-casinos: Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, The Orleans Hotel and Casino and Suncoast Hotel and Casino. In addition to the PMS< Boyd will implement the ARTS activities reservations tracking module, CASH credit authorization and settlements handling and ResNet on-line reservations. (www.boydgaming.com, www.agilysys.com)
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PAR Springer-Miller Systems has released a two-way interface between its SMS|Host PMS and EasyRMS’ EzRMS revenue management system. (www.springermiller.com, www.ezrms.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Priceline.com acquires Asian discount booking specialist Agoda
  • Venere.com expanding into China through partnership with DerbySoft
  • Sandman Hotels picks SynXis GDS/IDS connectivity for 35+ properties
  • India’s Lemon Tree Hotels switching to SynXis’ for GDS/IDS representation
  • VISTA Inns implements InnLink’s central reservation services for 17 properties
  • Most companies miss significant savings by not integrating self booking tools with expense management systems, per Amadeus survey.

Priceline.com has acquired Bangkok- and Singapore-based Agoda Company, an online travel company specializing in hotel discount bookings throughout Asia, retaining Agoda’s current management team who will continue to manage its operations independently. (www.agoda.com)
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European hotel booking specialist Venere.com is expanding into China through a partnership with DerbySoft, which operates China’s hotel switch and provides software to hotels and travel agencies there. DerbySoft’s switch supports groups such as IHG, Hilton, Nikko and Jinling, as well as over 700 independent properties. (www.derbysoft.com, www.venere.com)
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Sandman Hotels has selected SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System for connectivity to the GDSs and third party travel sites for its more than 35 properties, and for on-line booking at its own website.
India’s Lemon Tree Hotels chain is switching to SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System for GDS/IDS representation, and will use SynXis’ Guest Connect booking engine to integrate data between RedX and property management and revenue management systems.
(www.sandmanhotels.com, www.lemontreehotels.com, www.synxis.com)
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VISTA Inns has implemented InnLink’s central reservation services for its 17 properties in the USA and Canada. VISTA will use InnLink’s eLINK to connect to GDS and internet channels, as well as its iLINK booking engine and vLink voice reservation service, and each property will have InnLink Revenue Management for inventory and channel distribution management. (www.vista-inns.com, www.innlink.com)
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Most companies using a self booking tool (SBT) are missing significant savings by not integrating it with their expense management systems, according to an Amadeus survey undertaken by the Business Travel Research Centre at Cranfield University and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). The online survey, which covered 168 ACTE members and nine companies, reported that while 45% had integrated an SBT with their corporate intranet and 32% with their HR database, only 9% had integrated it with an expense management system, with another 13% just starting to do so. Productivity benefits from this integration were reported to be significant, arising from improved data accuracy and consistency, reduction of time spent on reporting travel expenses, automatic transfer of data and traveler profile information updates and reduced need for manual input.
This supports the findings of a recent Aberdeen Group study, which found that the cost of processing expense reports in companies where the process was fully automated was $15.10, compared to $31.40 where expenses reconciliation was a fully manual process.
(www.amadeus.com/corporations/integrationWP)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • MSI announces The Helm centralized guest/corporate profile and data analysis system
  • SECURE-RES renames itself Vizergy
  • Warwick International signs with OPEN Interactive for Web design, Internet marketing services
  • Interstate designates Avalon Report as preferred vendor for web content management services
  • Sabre Travel Network and Travelocity sign with VFM Interactive

MSI has announced The Helm, a centralized guest/corporate profile and data analysis system intended to consolidate and report on information from multiple different PMSs. Negotiated rates, direct bill approvals and both individual and group preferences entered at the corporate office will be available to all connected properties; the central profiles manage past, current and future reservation activity. Comparative reports and real time statistics include drill down capability to transactional detail at the property level, including folio details. (www.msisolutions.com)
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Internet marketing provider SECURE-RES renames itself as Vizergy. (www.vizergy.com)
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Warwick International Hotels has signed a multi-year agreement with OPEN Hospitality’s new OPEN Interactive division. Services to be provided include all Web design, development and hosting needs as well as email marketing, search engine optimization and customer integration into existing platforms. (www.warwickhotels.com, www.openhospitality.com)
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Interstate Hotels & Resorts has designated Avalon Report Corp as a preferred vendor for web content management services. Subscribing Interstate hotels will receive traveler reviews and ratings, traveler-generated photos and video, competitor reviews, express web audits for hotel generated content and photography, and a keyword tracking search feature. Report data is available in dashboard formats for dissemination to all levels of hotel staff. (www.avalonreport.com, www.ihrco.com)
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Sabre Travel Network and Travelocity have signed a multi-year agreement with VFM Interactive for the sourcing, management and distribution of hotel photos, videos, virtual tours and other hotel rich media. Sabre partner hotels will also be able to access VFM’s Vscape Lite digital still image management and distribution solution, a web-based tool that allows hotels to upload and distribute up to 10 digital still images per property to Sabre connected agency customers worldwide (including Travelocity) and to thousands of other VFM distribution partners, including major travel websites and travel intermediaries. (www.sabretravelnetwork.com, www.vfmii.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Royal Orchid Hotels picks IDeaS for nine properties
  • Firmdale Hotels installs fourth IDeaS V5i system this year, at the Haymarket Hotel, London
  • SoftBrands adds Karyon to distributor Libra Hospitality’s range for Russia and eastern Europe
  • EasyRMS releases two-way interface between EzRMS and Springer-Miller Systems’ SMS|Host

Royal Orchid Hotels has picked IDeaS ASP-based Revenue Optimization system for deployment to nine properties in Bangalore, Mysore, Pune, Jaipur & Hyderabad. Royal Orchid plans to have a nationwide presence by 2010 with additional properties in Delhi, Chennai, Goa & Mumbai.
London-based boutique hotelier Firmdale Hotels has installed IDeaS V5i on-demand revenue management system at the Haymarket Hotel, its fourth installation this year.
(www.royalorchidhotels.com,www.firmdale.com, www.ideas.com)
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SoftBrands has extended its agreement with Libra Hospitality, its distributor for Russia and eastern Europe, to include its Karyon distribution products and services. (www.librahospitality.com, www.softbrands.com)
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EasyRMS has released a two-way interface between its EzRMS system and PAR Springer-Miller Systems’ SMS|Host PMS. (www.springermiller.com, www.ezrms.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • PSAV relocates Dallas equipment warehouse and showroom to new facility in Coppell, Texas
  • Sunstone Hotel Properties deploying Passkey at twelve properties
  • Gleneagles Hotel selects Newmarket International’s Sales Advantage suite
  • Newmarket launches on-line NICE certification program
  • Newmarket receives four CustomerSat Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) awards

Audiovisual and event technology supplier PSAV Presentation Services has relocated its Dallas equipment warehouse and showroom to a new 87,000 square-foot facility in Coppell, Texas. (www.psav.com)
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Interstate’s Sunstone Hotel Properties subsidiary is deploying Passkey as a complimentary service for meeting planners arranging events at twelve of its North American properties, ranging from 199 to 472 guest rooms. Group reservations typically generate between 20-50% of total revenue at each of SHP’s hotels. (www.sunstonehotels.com, www.passkey.com)
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The Gleneagles Hotel has selected Newmarket International’s Sales Advantage suite, including its Delphi sales and catering system and Diagrams customized floor plan/setup drawing tool. Gleneagles will also use eProposal to generate multi-media proposals when responding to customer inquiries received via Newmarket’s MeetingBroker online lead management tool.
Newmarket has launched its Newmarket International Certified Engineer (NICE) certification program in an online eLearning model as well as the previous instructor-led format. The NICE program teaches hoteliers’ IT staff how to maximize Delphi’s performance via a two-module course with a total of 12 lessons.
Newmarket has received four CustomerSat Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) awards, two for the second consecutive year in the areas of support and project management and two for the first time for Platinum Support and Worldwide Support.
(www.gleneagles.com, www.customersat.com, www.newmarketinc.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Royal River Casino & Hotel installs InfoGenesis POS system

The Royal River Casino & Hotel, Flandreau, S.D. has installed Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system. The 120-room property, owned and operated by the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, includes 17,000 square feet of gaming space, two restaurants, a gift shop, swimming pool, meeting facilities and a full-service RV park. (www.royalrivercasino.com, www.agilysys.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Swisscom implementing network upgrades at all 240 partner locations in Italy
  • Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead switches to GoConcierge
  • TTI partners with Shubert Organization to sell theater tickets via ConciergeOnDemand

Swisscom and its Fastweb subsidiary are implementing substantial network upgrades at all 240 Swisscom partner locations in Italy by February 2008 with a scalable IP platform. Fastweb’s IP network, based on fiber optic and xDSL broadband technology, spans 10 million potential residential customers and thousands of enterprises in Italy. The upgrade will enhance speed at the guest room and facilitate the fast deployment of more “bandwidth-hungry” conference services, with each partner location having dedicated bandwidth of at least 10 Mbps in fiber-optic cabled areas and up to 8 Mbps in areas covered by DSL technology. (www.fastweb.it, www.swisscom.com)
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The 438-room Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead has implemented GoConcierge’s Web-based guest service operations application, replacing an earlier system. (http://grandatlanta.hyatt.com, www.goconcierge.net)
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TTI Technologies International has partnered with The Shubert Organization’s Telecharge.com division to sell theater tickets via its ConciergeOnDemand unit. ConciergeonDemand allows guests to view and book tours, buy show tickets, book transportation, etc. directly from a lobby kiosk or PC workstation. The Shubert Organization owns or operates 19 Broadway and Off Broadway venues in New York, plus additional theaters in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. (www.shubertorganization.com, www.ttitel.com)
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ENGINEERING

  • Xanterra to install one megawatt photovoltaic (PV) system in Death Valley National Park

Xanterra Parks & Resorts plans to install a one megawatt photovoltaic (PV) system for its properties in Death Valley National Park, one of the largest solar energy systems in the country. The system, being installed by SPG Solar Inc. of Novato, CA, will generate more than one-third of the annual electricity needs for Xanterra’s operations there, which include the Furnace Creek Inn, Ranch and golf course and employee offices and housing. Xanterra will fully own the system and the energy the system produces, and expects it to be operational by March 2008. (www.xanterra.com)
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SECURITY

  • The Plaza installs VingCard Signature RFID electronic locks in all 282 guestrooms
  • Delta Chelsea Hotel installing TimeLox’ wireless DC-ONLINE lock system in all 1590 rooms
  • VingCard to offer SARGENT, Yale and Corbin Russwin lever ranges with its Signature lock

The Plaza Hotel in New York, which is scheduled to reopen by the end of 2007, has installed VingCard Signature RFID electronic locks in all 282 guestrooms. The locks allow for contactless guest room entry and are compatible with next-generation Near Field Communication (NFC) cell phones. Prior to arrival guests with NFC-compatible phones will receive an encrypted SMS message containing a booking confirmation number, room number and room key access code, allowing them to go straight to the room and unlock the door with the phone.
The Delta Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto, Canada’s largest hotel, is installing TimeLox’ wireless DC-ONLINE system by the end of the year in all 1590 rooms. The system uses bi-directional RF communications to eliminate the need to travel to each guestroom to reprogram individual locks or retrieve audit trail, and to let hotel operators remotely identify locks with low batteries or cancel cards without reprogramming the locks. The property will use TimeLox’ DC-One dual card system, which combines magnetic card and smart card technology. DC-ONLINE is built on the ZigBee standard ISO 802.15.4 platform.
VingCard has partnered with fellow ASSA ABLOY brands SARGENT, Yale and Corbin Russwin to offer each brand’s decorative lever range with its Signature by VingCard sectional trim lock.
(www.fairmont.com/theplaza, www.deltachelsea.com, www.vingcard.com, www.timelox.com)
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