November 19, 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

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications / Infrastructure

Security

NOVEMBER 6 – 19, 2013

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Wanted: better reporting and data analysis

Modern hospitality management systems are capable of recording an amazing amount of data, covering both guest activities/preferences and hotel operational statistics. Many even allow hotels to create their own user-defined fields in case the ones provided don’t quite cover their needs. So why is it so often so difficult to get at this data?
It’s a truism in this industry that every system comes with a library of at least 300 standard reports, but never the ones hotels actually need. They may have started out as useful sets of data when the system was first designed, but they usually haven’t kept pace with the proliferation of data elements, nor with the increasingly sophisticated and multi-dimensional ways hotels look at data to identify trends and exceptions that they need to act on. Consequently, this industry would just about grind to a halt without Excel to serve as a repository and analysis engine for data from the multiple different systems most hotels rely on.
Many vendors have added very useful filtering and sorting options to their standard reports, and some do provide report generators, all of which helps. Some have developed visually appealing dashboards to present key data in ways that highlight meaningful aspects of the business. But very few allow for the integration of data from other vendors’ products, requiring hotels to continue to export reports to Excel and to do their own reporting and visuals.
It’s surprising how many vendors can be highly protective of the data in “their” databases – which is really the hotel’s data, not theirs, of course. Even some that provide their own report generators don’t make all data elements searchable, restricting access to only the most commonly accessed tables, and often there are very strict boundaries drawn around the sharing of data elements with other systems.
This really needs to change. At a minimum vendors should make it possible for any of their reports to be exported to Excel with one click, retaining all formatting. I’d like to see them also be much more open and helpful about their database structures, too; even when they provide their clients with a data dictionary it’s not always easy to identify which of several similarly-named data elements would be the right ones to include in a particular analysis a hotel is looking for.
Existing BI vendors such as Datavision, Aptech, ProfitSword and newcomer Hotel IQ already do pull in data from multiple systems, and I’m not discounting the considerable work that needs to go into ensuring that data from different vendors systems is actually meaningful when combined. But I do think there’s a real need for more data access flexibility on the part of the management system vendors themselves, and a real market opportunity for someone to come up with an inexpensive, intuitive approach to cross-system reporting.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Alfonso Tasso promoted to CEO at Swisscom Hospitality
  • Adam Fractenberg hired as Director of Sales/North America, Canada and the Caribbean at ZDirect
  • Erik Browning joins Rainmaker as VP Business Consulting, Gaming/Hospitality Division

Alfonso Tasso has been promoted to CEO at Swisscom Hospitality, succeeding Leo Brand, who has led the company for the last 6 years. Mr. Tasso joined Swisscom Hospitality a decade ago and was most recently Executive VP for EMEA. He had earlier served four years with Comcast (Broadnet) as VP Corporate Development & Strategic Marketing, and as Deputy Editor & Marketing Manager, Europe for Associated Press (Television)
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Adam Fractenberg has been hired to serve as Director of Sales for North America, Canada and the Caribbean at ZDirect. Mr. Fractenberg most recently worked at the Knowland Group as a Strategic Accounts Manager, and has also served as director of sales for Cendyn and regional director of sales for Open Hospitality. He began his hospitality career at Orbitz/Lodging.com in several roles including director of strategic accounts.
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Erik Browning has joined The Rainmaker Group as Vice President of Business Consulting, Gaming/Hospitality Division.
Mr. Browning comes to Rainmaker after nearly twelve years with Hilton Worldwide as a revenue management executive. For the six years prior, he served with Winegardner & Hammons as Assistant General Manager and Director of Operations for numerous brands including Embassy Suites, Marriott and Holiday Inn.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • HTL chooses hetras
  • Marlin Apartments selects Guestline

HTL, the newest brand from Scandic, has chosen hetras as its hotel software platform.  HTL plans to open twenty hotels in major Nordic cities over the next five years, all running on hetras’ cloud software platform. The first hotel, a 275-room property in downtown Stockholm, is scheduled to open in May 2014. (www.scandichotels.com, www.hetras.com)
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Marlin Apartments has selected Guestline for integrated management software for its 700+ apartments in London, covering individual building management with central management reporting. Key functions include opening and closing channels, automatically managing rate strategies, implementing promotions, invoicing, servicing rooms and online booking & payment. Marlin Apartments will also use Guestline’s PCI Manager, which permits paid bookings to be automatically downloaded from the OTAs to the PMS at a Tier 1 compliance level. (www.marlinapartments.com, www.guestline.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Moran & Bewley’s Hotels selects Pegasus’ Connect+ Premium

Moran & Bewley’s Hotels of Ireland and the UK has selected Pegasus Solutions’ Connect+ Premium for connectivity and distribution services. The group consists of ten independently owned and operated hotels under the two Moran and Bewley’s brands. (www.moranhotels.com, www.bewleyshotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Vizergy receives two more design awards
  • Flip.to wins People’s Choice and Most Innovative Stand awards at 2013 World Travel Market
  • Navis launches Navis REACH data marketing CRM software
  • Radison releases Rad Hotel simulated-reality mobile game

Vizergy has received two more design awards:
– a W³ Silver Award for a new Web site for The Allerton Hotel Chicago
– a WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development for The Joule Dallas
(www.vizergy.com)
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Flip.to won the People’s Choice and the Most Innovative Stand awards at the 2013 World Travel Market Conference in London. Flip,to was selected as the Most Innovative Stand for using a robot that allowed a remote team member to wander around the exhibition floor, communicate with attendees and direct people back to the booth. Flip.to was also the only company to win an award and be selected as one of the five finalists for the People’s Choice; the other four finalists were booths representing a country or region. (www.flip.to)
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Navis has launched its Navis REACH data marketing CRM software, which allows hoteliers to combine data from separate systems to create and execute targeted email campaigns, and to track the results in real time. The system captures guest information and lead data from multiple sources that include the guest management system, external lists, the NAVIS Narrowcast service and/or other sources. REACH cleans and de-dupes the names, removes pre-bookings and automatically groups people into households in real time; it then provides tools to generate lists from the combined data, execute email campaigns and track results. (www.navis.com)
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Radison has released a simulated-reality mobile game, Rad Hotel, allowing players to design and operate simulated hotels and use the brand’s Yes I Can! service culture to expand guest satisfaction and grow their business. Players are challenged to provide an exceptional guest experience through providing room placement for arriving guests, fulfilling guest requests with speed and efficiency and expanding the hotel by creating additional rooms, balancing all three factors to earn points. As players progress the level of difficulty rises; the number of arriving guests increases, complex issues arise, more construction is required and new challenges must be overcome. The game is available for iPhone or Android devices.
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • IDeaS integrates data from Brand Karma into RMS pricing
  • Baiyun Hotel Guangzhou selects EzRMS
  • SiteMinder celebrates 7th birthday, announces 10,000th customer

IDeaS Revenue Solutions is now integrating data from Brand Karma’s iO reputation analytics tool into its RMS pricing analysis along with rate and occupancy data, allowing for rate adjustment in the context of historical performance as well as current market perception. This Reputation Management Pricing feature will be available within IDeaS’ Best Available Rate (BAR) module; it is currently in beta, with general availability scheduled for mid-2014. (www.brand-karma.com, www.ideas.com)
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Baiyun Hotel Guangzhou has selected Infor’s EzRMS, including the EzRMS Core Module, EzQUOTE, EzBUDGET, EzCONTRACT and EzCOMPETE modules. (www.baiyunhotelguangzhou.com, www.infor.com)
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In the same month that SiteMinder celebrated its 7th birthday it also announced its 10,000th customer, at World Travel Market 2013. (www.siteminder.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • EIBTM announces 2013 Technology Watch awards

EIBTM, the global meeting and events expo held in Barcelona, has announced its 2013 Technology Watch awards for the meetings industry. The winner was GenieConnect’s MarketingConnect module, which tracks attendee/exhibitor registration data as well as actions and preferences made on mobile and web platforms before and during an event; it then uses these actions and those of similarly profiled users to target attendees with personalized content. The event host can set up automated campaigns using a combination of time and action-based triggers combined with highly configurable workflow rules.
Four Honorable Mentions were awarded to:
– Conferize, a global event content distribution platform that displays event videos, slides, photos and comments and has a strong social networking component.
– PollEverywhere, a mobile polling and engagement application which can be used with any phone and can simultaneously integrate votes made via text, tweets, and a mobile HTML5 web site, and integrates with PowerPoint to let a speaker start and stop a poll simply by advancing slides.
– Social Tables, a cloud-based event software system used to design floor plans, create seating arrangements, check guests in, and render event floor plans and set up in 3D.
– TapCrowd, a mobile market platform designed to increase networking and participant one-to-one communication, using technology such as geo-fencing, user profiling, context sensing and push notifications to increase relevance to the event attendees.
(www.eibtm.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Hotel Ella selects InfoGenesis
  • Akaryn selects InfoGenesis, Eatec for Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort and Spa
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The 48-room Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system. The hotel recently reopened following a multimillion dollar renovation.
Akaryn Hospitality Management Services has selected Agilysys’ InfoGenesis POS system and Eatec inventory and procurement system for its Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort and Spa in Thailand. The resort, which is currently undergoing a $2 million expansion, was already using Agilysys’ Visual One property management system.
(hotelella.com, www.aleenta.com/phuket/, www.agilysys.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Swissôtel Chicago implements Ghost Wall, mobile meeting app from Nervana Group
  • Aloft Hotels launches online platform with MTV Asia to promote local music talents
  • Sheraton updates brand standards for Link@Sheraton lobby computers with Eleven
  • Hotel WiFi Test announces hotel recommendation service based on tested speed of hotels’ WiFi connection
  • Hotel Technologies releases Timex self-adjusting alarm clock radios, plus iHome units with Bluetooth music streaming and multi-standard Apple, USB charging ports

Swissôtel Chicago has implemented a Ghost Wall and mobile meeting app from Nervana Group. The 10 foot by 8 foot Starfire glass panel features a 60-inch interactive and transparent touch screen which serves as a digital concierge and tour guide for guests. Nervana’s new Bonfire events management app will track schedules, flights and presentations, connect guests via a social site and send alerts for any changes in scheduling. A new tool for the convention services and catering team communicates with event planners to send messages, assign due dates and reminders for automatic follow-up. The convention services team is also now using a new iPad content management app called Xcite. Nervana also created an iPad menu app for the new Amuse dining outlet, including alternate views that allow guests to see recommendations based on Facebook, Yelp and the most frequently ordered items. (www.swissotel.com/hotels/chicago/?, www.nervanagroup.com)
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Aloft Hotels has launched an online platform in partnership with MTV Asia to help promote local up-and-coming music talents performing at Aloft Hotels’ W XYZ bars across China, India, Malaysia, and Thailand. The site also features an image and video gallery of past events, bios of artists, an events calendar and a platform for travelers to share their personal concert experiences via video uploads and social media channels. (www.starwoodhotels.com/alofthotels/, www.mtvasia.com/aloftlive)
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Sheraton Hotels and Resorts has updated the brand standards for its Link@Sheraton lobby computers, in partnership with Eleven. The upgrade includes the migration to Windows 8, deployment of Lenovo touch-screen computers, customization with Sheraton- selected applications and a new desktop design. Eleven has been Sheraton’s preferred provider since 2005. (starwoodhotels.com/sheraton, elevenwireless.com)
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Hotel WiFi Test has announced a hotel recommendation service based on the tested speed of the hotels’ WiFi connection. Information is currently available for hotels in more than 100 cities worldwide. (hotelwifitest.com)
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Hotel Technologies has released its latest Timex alarm clock radios, which feature both a USB port and MP3 player auxiliary input and automatically update themselves for Daylight Savings and Leap Year.
Hotel Technologies has introduced two new iHome devices, the HBN20 FM Stereo Alarm Clock Radio with NFC Bluetooth and USB Charging, and the iBN26 NFC Bluetooth Stereo Speaker System with Speakerphone and USB Charging.
Hotel Technologies has released its new iHome HDL99, which offers USB charging for virtually all smartphones and tablets, plus a Lightning connector for the iPhone 5 and newer generation iPads and a 30-Pin connector for older iPhone/iPad devices.
(www.hoteltechnologies.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Trump implements Unifocus’ Labor Management System, Operational Budgeting Software

The Trump Hotel Collection has implemented Unifocus’ Labor Management System (LMS) and Operational Budgeting Software package at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and the Trump National Doral Miami, and is implementing these systems for its entire portfolio. (www.trumphotelcollection.com, www.unifocus.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Akaryn selects Eatec, InfoGenesis for Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort and Spa

Akaryn Hospitality Management Services has selected Agilysys’ Eatec inventory and procurement system and InfoGenesis POS system for its Aleenta Phuket-Phang Nga Resort and Spa in Thailand. The resort, which is currently undergoing a $2 million expansion, was already using Agilysys’ Visual One property management system.
(www.aleenta.com/phuket/, www.agilysys.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Zhone Technologies releases wall-plate profile Active Ethernet and GPON ONTs
  • Grand by Lakeview opens with Guest-tek’s OneView for voice/video/data plus iACT cloud-based PBX
  • Shangri-La migrates online IT infrastructure and assets to Verizon cloud
  • PhoneSuite installs its 4,000th hotel telephone system

Zhone Technologies has released its Zhone 2800 Series FiberJACK Active Ethernet ONTs and GPON ONTs, which offer full residential gateway functionality in a low-profile wall-plate design. The devices can be used for both Service Provider Access and Passive Optical LAN, and are available for both AC and DC power. (www.zhone.com)
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The new 101-room Grand by Lakeview hotel, Winnipeg, has opened with Guest-tek’s OneView platform for voice, video and data on a single converged network. The hotel also features Guest-tek’s new iACT cloud-based PBX system.
The property also provides an iPad in each room for guests to access a city guide and order room service or request an in-room amenity. (www.lakeviewhotels.com, www.guest-tek.com)
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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has centralized and migrated its online IT infrastructure and assets to Verizon’s cloud computing service. The Hong Kong-based company has more than 80 hotels. (www.shangri-la.com, www.verizonwireless.com)
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PhoneSuite has installed its 4,000th hotel telephone system, at the new 104-room Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites Phoenix North-Scottsdale. (www.phonesuite.com)
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SECURITY

  • Fairfield New York Brooklyn installs Vingcard Signature RFID locks and VISION software
  • Kaba announces new Wi-Fi backbone for Saflok online locks
  • European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) installs ILCO 790 RFID lock system for its 3 hotels

The recently opened 133-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn has installed Signature RFID locks and VISION software from VingCard Elsafe. (www.brooklynfairfieldinn.com, www.vingcardelsafe.com)
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Kaba has announced a new Wi-Fi communications backbone for its Saflok online hotel locks, using Zigbee communication from the locks and Wi-Fi communication from Kaba’s Messenger gateways.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, has installed Kaba’s ILCO 790 RFID lock system for its 3 hotels and 40 staff and common-area access points.
(cern.ch, www.kaba.com)
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