November 27, 2012

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing

Communications / Infrastructure

NOVEMBER 14 – 27, 2012

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Keeping guest profile information current and accurate
  • More on the use of color in effective user interfaces

The spate of news items about mobile and guestroom-based guest services applications set me thinking again about how to make it easier for hoteliers to keep up with guests’ profiles and preferences. All of these systems allow a hotel to record what activities a guest looked at and/or booked and which service requests she made, but that’s only a single snapshot of data, accurate only for that moment. On her next visit her profile and preferences may be different, whether through marriage, being on vacation instead of on business, or simply through wanting to try something else. There’s no way for the hotel know whether the previous information is still accurate, and so it needs to tread warily when planning to “delight” her (do you hate that phrase as much as I do?) on her next visit.
This is only a subset of the general guest profile maintenance challenge, of course. Every hotel chain I’ve ever stayed with probably has a profile for me in its database, and I’ll wager that every one is different, inaccurate and incomplete. Even having me use my loyalty club ID when booking or staying doesn’t guarantee that I’ve taken the trouble to update my club profile with what interests me this month. So how can hotels be sure they’re reacting to me in the most appropriate, relevant and welcome manner?
This isn’t a new idea (and I don’t recall where I first heard it) but perhaps there’s a way we can use our phones as the source for hotels to check current profile and preference data; after all, we carry them everywhere and use them constantly for every aspect of our lives. I’m not suggesting that they be opened up to let hotels suck all the data off them, but it seems there could be a phone app that would let us define profile information we’re willing to share with others, and the terms on which we’re prepared to do so. It might also rank our social apps according to frequency of use; I have both Pandora and Spotify on my phone, for example, but haven’t listened to Pandora for months. Each hotel system could then interrogate the phone, ask for permission to update its profile on me and customize my visit accordingly. One thing, though; it would have to be considerably clearer to set up and configure than Facebook’s privacy settings, and define clear limits on what the hotel can do with the data.
What do you think? Drop me a line at jon@joninge.com with your comments.
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If you’re interested in following up my comments last time on the use of color to clarify data presentation, you might check out an article by Holly Finn in the Wall Street Journal for Saturday, November 17. Titled “The Rise of Iridescent Information,” it reports on a conference organized by Seattle-based visual analytics company Tableau. Good stuff.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Jonathan Seigle joins Technologent as Director of Casinos & Resorts / Director of Sales, Nevada
  • Matthew Sandvold joins KoolConnect as Executive Vice President – Customer Solutions

Jonathan Seigle has joined infrastructure vendor Technologent as Director of Casinos & Resorts / Director of Sales, Nevada. He was most recently VP Independent Hotels, Casinos & Resorts at Micros Systems, and had earlier held senior sales positions with Cisco, Seatadvisor, TouchStone Software, Technology’s Edge and Ingram Micro.
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Matthew Sandvold has joined KoolConnect as Executive Vice President – Customer Solutions, following a 13-year career at Lodgenet that culminated in responsibilities as Senior Director Professional Solutions.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • protel adds Web Booking Engine
  • Infor’s HMS receives Equip’Innov Award for innovation at Equip’ Hotel
  • Infor’s HMS listed as Champion, Trend Setter and Best Overall Value in Vendor Landscape reports from Info-Tech
  • Hetras announces new mapping technology to simplify data migration

protel has launched web-based versions of its on-premise hotel management software, adding a new protel Web Booking Engine to its existing protel Air hotel management software. (www.protel.net)
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Infor Hospitality’s HMS has received an Equip’Innov Award for one of the most innovative products in the technology category at the Equip’ Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition in Paris.   The system was cited for making significant strides in cloud, mobility and social network integration.
Infor Hospitality’s HMS has been listed as a Champion, Trend Setter and Best Overall Value in this year’s Vendor Landscape reports from the Info-Tech Research Group. The reports identify the outstanding vendors in particular IT market spaces, based on the strength of their offering and their strategy for the enterprise.  HMS received its Champion status for its combination of large company support and service resources and well architected and heavily developed software. The Trend Setter Award was given for HMS’ strides in integrating social media and mobile, pulling from sites such as Twitter and TripAdvisor to provide analytics on what guests are asking for.
(www.infotech.com, www.infor.com)
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Hetras has announced new mapping technology that allows for more complete data migration from older guest management systems. Configuration data, reservations, financial and historical data can now be migrated to the hetras cloud application automatically without retyping any relevant data, and will be visible in hetras’ advanced business intelligence system. (www.hetras.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Far East Hospitality picks Trust International for distribution and commission payment services
  • FastBooking extends Direct Link program to Kayak and Wego
  • Apptricity partners with GetThere to integrate expense management with travel booking

Far East Hospitality has selected Trust International for worldwide distribution and centralized commission payment services. Far East Hospitality’s portfolio includes hotels and serviced residences in Singapore and residences in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, operated under its four brands of Oasia, Quincy, Village and Far East Collection. (www.stayfareast.com, www.trustinternational.com)
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FastBooking has extended its Direct Link program to include metasearch engines Kayak and Wego, allowing its hoitel partners t extent their visibility in the Asian and North American markets. Kayak and Wego will now link to dedicated landing pages on hotels’ official websites using XML connectivity. (www.fastbooking.net)
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Apptricity Corp has partnered with GetThere to offer advanced business travel booking and expense management, allowing Apptricity customers to book hotels, air travel and car rentals, manage pre-trip authorizations and automatically create expense reports from travel booking data. Customers can also create travel itineraries or add trip details to an integrated calendar, accessible online or through mobile devices. Apptricity Expense Management ensures that booked purchases conform to corporate policies and provides managers with a consolidated view of employee travel booking and expense activity. (www.apptricity.com, www.getthere.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • HeBS Digital receives five Davey Awards from IAVA
  • TravelClick received 63 awards in 2012 for website design
  • NAVIS acquires LMG Data Mining
  • Lodging Interactive launches HotelWebShows custom HD videos
  • PhoCusWright study of TripAdvisor users emphasizes importance and influence of reviews

HeBS Digital has received five Davey Awards in website design, online advertising and social media from the International Academy of Visual Arts, a Gold Award for the Revere Hotel website and four Silver Awards for the Casa Moderna Miami website, Le Parc Suite Hotel website, Shell Vacations Hospitality Black Friday mini-site and the BNP Paribas Facebook Sweepstakes. (www.HeBSDigital.com)
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TravelClick announced that in 2012 it received 63 awards for website design in hotel and lodging categories from the IMA Awards (6 Best in Class, 15 Outstanding Achievement), WebAwards (6 Outstanding Websites, 13 Standard of Excellence), W3 Awards (3 Gold, 12 Silver) and Adrian Awards (4 Silver, 2 Bronze) in 2012. (www.TravelClick.com)
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NAVIS has acquired LMG Data Mining, and will integrate its hospitality data gathering and reporting expertise into a more powerful, web-based Business Intelligence system that builds guest profiles and produces actionable marketing data.  LMG’s turnkey Data Mining products and Returnity automated email marketing system will continue to be offered and supported. (www.lmgdata.com, http://welcome.thenavisway.com)
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Lodging Interactive has partnered with a video production company to launch HotelWebShows, custom HD videos of all types covering hotel profiles, guest testimonials, scripted ads, video news releases, event coverage and feature stories. All videos will be 1080i quality, available in TV, Web and Mobile formats in 30, 60 and 90 second lengths, and will include music and graphics. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
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In a PhoCusWright study of TripAdvisor users carried out for the company, more than half of the respondents stated that they won’t book a hotel if it has no reviews. The great majority (87%) feel more confident in their decision when they read reviews and 98% say they find them ‘accurate of the actual experience’. Apparently invoking the wisdom of the crowd, 59% said that they ignore extreme comments and only 5% say they focus on negative reviews. Emphasizing the importance of hotel management keeping on top of comments in a professional and genuine way, respondents stated that an appropriate response from hotel management is more likely to make them book (57%), improves their overall impression (84%) and makes them feel the hotel cares (78%), while an aggressive response from the hotel makes 64% of them less likely to book. (www.phocuswright.com, www.tripadvisor.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • IDS NEXT launches RezNext distribution company

IDS NEXT has launched its RezNext division, a real time B2B distribution company to link a hotel’s reservation system and online booking channels. Services offered through a single control panel will include Rate, Channel and Revenue Management (including competitor rate reporting), Reputation Management (including loyalty and feedback management), Website design, Web and Facebook Booking Engines, Mobile platform, Central Reservation System and a two-way Guest Management System (GMS) interface. (www.idsfortune.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Conrad Hotels & Resorts announces Conrad Concierge personal-service application, developed by Intelity
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim installs Intelity’s ICE Touch on iPads in all 377 rooms
  • Otrum launches Otrum Touch applications for smart devices and Smart TVs
  • Otrum launches Enterprise Smart application to integrate Otrum Enterprise directly into Smart TV hardware
  • Hoteligence launches cloud-based guest services and entertainment product in Middle East
  • Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel implements Runtriz’ mobile app for guest services

Conrad Hotels & Resorts announced its personal-service Conrad Concierge application, developed by Intelity. Available in 13 languages for Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, the app allows guests to customize the details of their hotel stay before, during and after each visit. Guests can choose from three lines of bath amenities, specify their preferred pillows from the pillow menu and pre-order dinner through room service, as well as manage transportation, local attractions, spa appointments, housekeeping requests, wakeup calls and more.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, has installed Intelity’s ICE (Interactive Customer Experience) Touch on iPads in all 377 rooms, and made it available for download to guests’ personal iPads or iPhones. Statistics from the first three months of usage report that 65% percent of total guests used the iPads, with more than half making service requests such as for housekeeping. Other uses recorded were for accessing the Internet (14%), controlling the lights and drapes (5%), and dining requests (7%).
(www.conradhotels.com, www.fairmont.com/pacificrim, www.intelitycorp.com)
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Otrum has launched Otrum Touch, its first hospitality application for smart devices and Smart TVs. Touch Housekeeping allows hotel staff to report and monitor hotel room status, maintenance tasks and minibar consumption on Android, iPad and smartphones; it is available both as an add-on feature to Otrum Enterprise and as a stand-alone product with Otrum Start.
Otrum’s new Enterprise Smart application integrates Otrum Enterprise directly into Smart TV hardware, removes the need for a set-top box. Initially offered for LG’s LT760H screen series, other vendors’ products are in development. Otrum has adopted HTML5 as the engine for its Graphical User Interfaces.
(www.otrum.com)
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Sweden-based Hoteligence has chosen the Middle East to launch its new guest services and entertainment product. A cloud-based software platform (not a downloadable app), Hoteligence runs on televisions (using a wireless “Wii-style” remote), Apple and Android mobile devices as well as laptops. It allows users to order room service, buy products, play popular games such as Angry Birds, connect to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Skype, run music services such as Spotify and set up personalized profiles. A partnership with US content aggregators aioTV provides multiple sources of content including VOD, licensed and Internet-delivered programming. A management dashboard allows for the analysis of sales, orders and guest feedback. (www.hoteligence.tv)
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The XV Beacon Hotel in Boston has implemented Runtriz’ mobile app for guest services. The customized app is available via smartphones, tablets and computers, inside or away from the property, and offers guests access to hotel services and amenities, to the concierge team and to dynamic recommendations regarding the best restaurants and attractions in town. Guests may also extend their stay or book future stays directly via the app. (www.xvbeacon.com, www.runtriz.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Apptricity partners with GetThere to integrate expense management with travel booking

Apptricity Corp has partnered with GetThere to offer advanced business travel booking and expense management, allowing Apptricity customers to book hotels, air travel and car rentals, manage pre-trip authorizations and automatically create expense reports from travel booking data. Customers can also create travel itineraries or add trip details to an integrated calendar, accessible online or through mobile devices. Apptricity Expense Management ensures that booked purchases conform to corporate policies and provides managers with a consolidated view of employee travel booking and expense activity. (www.apptricity.com, www.getthere.com)
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • RedPrairie merging with JDA Software

RedPrairie is merging with JDA Software, combining JDA’s experience in supply chain planning, merchandising and pricing with RedPrairie’s focus on warehousing, workforce management, store operations and e-commerce. JDA’s President and Chief Executive Officer Hamish Brewer is expected to lead the combined company as CEO; RedPrairie’s CEO, Michael Mayoras, will remain on the board of the combined company. (www.redprairie.com, www.jda.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • Swisscom appoints SMARTEQ as partner for Russian market

Swisscom Hospitality Services has appointed SMARTEQ as its exclusive channel partner for the Russian market. SMARTEQ will sell, install and support Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV, high-speed Internet access, Voice over IP, smart room controls and other guest technologies. (www.smarteq.ru, www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
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