November 5, 2008
|In this issue…
People on the Move
Property Management Systems
Marketing / Management
Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning
Inventory / Purchasing
TOP O’ THE NEWS
- ISHC Conference highlights technology’s impact on all areas of the hospitality industry
We certainly live in interesting times. Last week’s annual conference of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants naturally took an in-depth look at all the major issues facing the industry. These ranged from declining occupancies, rates, asset values and financing availability to potential labor shortages and cost increases.
What I thought was particularly striking, however, was that almost every speaker on every topic brought up the importance of technology and how it affects the situation. From business intelligence for more-informed management decisions, CRM for better-targeted marketing, revenue management to maximize the value of the business, energy management systems for cost control and HR systems for labor recruiting and management, to the impact of “telepresence” video-conferencing on potential meetings business and the balance between guestroom technology’s cost and its ability to attract guests, the interest in technology was remarkably high.
All major decisions still need to be made by intelligent analysis of the options, of course, but there’s no doubt that awareness of technology’s value in providing essential tools is greater than ever.
Damn, we might almost be getting respectable.
- George Meshkov hired as Vice President of Sales at Blizzard Internet Marketing
- Michael Crain joins MSI in new position of Vice President of Success!
- Suzanne Child joins Onity as marketing manager for global operations
- Mark Hoare joins The Prism Partnership as a new Principle Partner
- Elizabeth Homewood promoted to VP of global support at SoftBrands
- Bob Coyne joins Megasys as a Sales/Marketing consultant
- Richard Reyer hired as Western Regional Sales Director at Vertical Systems, Inc. (VSi)
- Pegasus Solutions promotes Aaron Shepherd to CIO, Steve Lapekas to SVP corporate business development and CTO, Mark Dubrow to EVP and CFO, Mel Kemp to SVP global operations and service delivery, and Andrew Stringer to SVP human resources.
- Joff Romoff joins Amadeus North America as Vice President of Sales
George Meshkov has been hired as the new Vice President of Sales at Blizzard Internet Marketing. Mr. Meshkov brings more than 15 years hospitality industry experience, including positions at First Resort Software, ResortQuest, Infogenesis and Instant Software.
Michael Crain has joined MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) in the emphatically-named new position of Vice President of Success! Mr. Crain’s emphasis will be on improving MSI’s service performance; he brings several years consulting experiencing with clients such as Marriott, Harley Davidson, Liberty Mutual, Pfizer, US Airways and Chase Bank.
Suzanne Child has joined Onity as marketing manager for global operations, based at its headquarters in Atlanta. Ms. Child has over seven years of domestic and international marketing experience with a Fortune 500 company, and previously served as marketing manager for Pratt & Whitney Power Systems.
Mark Hoare has joined consulting firm The Prism Partnership as a new Principle Partner. Mr. Hoare has nearly 30 years experience in hospitality and hospitality technology, including hotel operations management for The Savoy Group, Sheraton ITT, Le Richemond Geneva, and Royal Classic Hotels Scandinavia. For the past 18 years he has specialized in hospitality technology product management with companies that include Hotel Information Systems, Disneyland Paris, Hilton International, Anasazi, Pegasus Solutions, Hotel Booking Solutions and IBS.
Elizabeth Homewood has been promoted to vice president of global support at SoftBrands. Ms. Homewood brings more than 15 years of experience in the professional services and support services field; she joined SoftBrands in March 2000, and was most recently director of global support for SoftBrands Manufacturing. Earlier in her career, Ms. Homewood worked as an independent technical consultant.
Industry veteran Bob Coyne has joined Megasys as a Sales/Marketing consultant, with a focus on the development of a Florida customer base. Mr. Coyne brings experience in consulting to many major hospitality brands, in systems selection and implementation project management, as a principal at Consulting firm Cyntercon and as a vice president at Chervenak, Keane & Co.
Richard Reyer has been hired as Western Regional Sales Director at Vertical Systems, Inc. (VSi). Mr. Reyer has over 30 years experience in selling technology and capital products to hotels, and has previously held senior sales positions at Zenith, Hitachi, Telematrix and Bittel USA.
Pegasus Solutions has named five industry veterans and corporate leaders to new management roles within the company.
Mark Dubrow has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer, and maintains his current role as president of Pegasus Financial Services. He has been in the hospitality industry for 25 years, and the finance industry for 20.
Mel Kemp, a 25-year industry veteran, was appointed senior vice president, global operations and service delivery.
Steve Lapekas has been promoted to senior vice president, corporate business development and chief technology officer. With nine years experience in technology, Mr. Lapekas also has five years experience in the U.S. Army.
Aaron Shepherd, who joined Pegasus following its acquisition of GuestClick in 2007, has been appointed chief information officer. He brings 25 years experience in technology and 20 years hospitality to his new position.
Andrew Stringer has been named senior vice president, human resources.
Joff Romoff has joined Amadeus North America as Vice President of Sales. Mr. Romoff brings 16 years of travel industry experience; he was most recently Vice President, Americas for Expedia, and earlier served in senior sales and strategy roles with companies including Air Canada, The Loyalty Management Group and American Airlines.
- Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg orders Agilysys’ LMS
- NORTHWIND consolidating training, support and development in new corporate offices
- MSI releases Web-Booking Engine for its PMSs
- Golden Tulip Jaipur becomes first Amadeus PMS customer in India
- Guestline releases direct connection between Roomlynx and both Venere.com and hotel.info
The Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg, Miss. has ordered Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS), to be integrated with its applications for casino management and player tracking. The project includes an 80-room hotel, two restaurants, a VIP club, a large meeting and events center and 27,000 square feet of gaming space, and is due to open this Fall. (www.riverwalkvicksburg.com, www.agilysys.com)
NORTHWIND-Maestro PMS is relocating its corporate global headquarters to expanded facilities, and will consolidate its Training Center, Maestro Support Call Center and systems development division under one roof. (www.maestropms.com)
MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) has released a Real-Time Web-Booking Engine for its property management systems. (www.msisolutions.com)
The Golden Tulip Jaipur has ordered Amadeus’ Property Management Solution, becoming the first Amadeus PMS customer in India. (www.goldentulipjaipur.com, www.amadeus.com)
UK-based Guestline has released a direct connection between its Roomlynx channel management system and both Venere.com and hotel.info, the international brand of hotel.de AG. The interfaces allow hotels to manage online rates, inventory and availability directly from their Guestline or Rezlynx PMS and receive reservations from Venere and hotel.info directly into their PMS. (www.venere.com, www.hotel.de, www.guestline.com)
- Relais & Châteaux picks SynXis’ RedX for 482 member properties
- SynXis certifies direct booking connections to Qunar.com and Wego.com
- American Express Business Travel launches BTX online community for corporate travel
- Warwick contracts with Pegasus for commission processing for 40+ hotels
- Travelport GDS offers discounted Pegasus commission processing to Apollo and Galileo-connected travel agencies
- Microsoft and Travelport partnering to develop integrated travel services
- Dolphin Dynamics integrates Microsoft Virtual Earth to map-based search tool
- STA Travel rolls out Dolphin Dynamics’ booking management software to 32 sites in Germany
- Trust International releases direct interface with Priceline’s Booking.com portal
- Amadeus certifies FCm Travel Solutions as a Global Reseller
Relais & Châteaux has selected SynXis’ RedX distribution management system for its 482 member properties, which are located in more than 50 countries and have an average room capacity of 29. RedX will provide GDS connectivity, website booking and Voice Agent technology for R&C’s 14 call centres around the world.
SynXis has certified direct booking connections to Asian Pacific meta-search engines Qunar.com and Wego.com (formerly Bezurk.com) which can now display hotel rates pulled directly from the RedX Distribution Management System.
American Express Business Travel has launched BusinessTravelConneXion.com (BTX), an online community for the corporate travel industry. BTX aims to enable its community members to offer a wide variety of perspectives, share best practices, build relationships and stay up to date on current research and industry news; over 950 industry members have pre-registered. (corp.americanexpress.com)
Paris-based Warwick International Hotels has contracted with Pegasus Solutions for Global Commission Processing for its 40+ hotels. Warwick already uses Pegasus’ Utell representation service.
Travelport GDS has signed Pegasus to an agreement offering its Apollo and Galileo-connected travel agencies a discounted price on commission processing services.
Microsoft and Travelport are partnering to develop integrated travel services intended to offer revenue and cost reduction opportunities, broader distribution reach, and improved customer satisfaction and loyalty through better identification of travelers and satisfaction of their preferences and needs. The services are slated for Q1 2009. Microsoft and Travelport previously collaborated on Travelport’s e-Pricing shopping technology, originally developed for Expedia, and Travelport Cache Control. Travelport also provides the Microsoft corporate travel booking solution.
(www.warwickhotels.com, www.travelport.com, www.pegs.com, www.microsoft.com)
Dolphin Dynamics has integrated Microsoft Virtual Earth technology into its new map-based accommodation search tool, to allow Dolphin users and online users to identify the precise location of available hotels and their proximity to local landmarks and other points of interest.
Germany’s STA Travel has begun its rollout of Dolphin Dynamics’ booking management software to 32 retail branches, call centre and wholesale businesses. STA Travel already uses Dolphin in its UK, US, Australian and New Zealand divisions. Several product enhancements were incorporated to meet local market needs, including interfaces with the Hitchiker Fares database and the TOMA system which provides access to German tour operators, and localization of payment and documentation processes. Dolphin will be rolled out to STA Travel’s Austrian and Swiss branches in 2009.
(www.statravel.com , www.dolphind.com)
Trust International has released a direct interface with Priceline’s Booking.com portal, enabling hotels to relay updated booking information directly to Booking.com and receive reservations received directly into the hotel system. (www.booking.com, www.trustinternational.com)
Amadeus has certified FCm Travel Solutions as a Global Reseller of Amadeus e-Travel Management, which helps increase business travel program compliance, reduce total travel spend and drive online adoption. e-Travel Management will integrate with FCm’s applications. (www.fcm.travel , www.amadeus.com)
- VFM Interactive acquires Leonardo Media
- Americas Best Value Inn picks VFM Interactive for rich content production and distribution
- Sheraton Atlanta implements Express-Way guest spoken-comment feedback system
- The Tides Inn selects HeBS as exclusive Internet marketing provider
- Hostmark Hospitality Group orders Standing Dog Interactive’s ReviewAnalyst
- Utell signs for Rate Tiger’s Market Insight tools
- Cherokee Nation Enterprises signs with Market Metrix for employee surveys
- Prima Hotel Group picks TravelCLICK for website redesign and marketing for five hotels
- Feathers Hotel and Catering signs with TravelCLICK for website booking engine and merchandising services
VFM Interactive Inc. has acquired Leonardo Media. The combined entity, VFM Leonardo Inc., will host over one million digital photographs, videos and 360° virtual tours for 80,000 hotels and resorts worldwide and distribute this content to the GDSs, Pegasus Solutions and over 30,000 travel websites. All contact information and image access protocols remain unchanged.
Americas Best Value Inn (ABVI) has selected VFM Interactive as its exclusive provider of hotel rich visual content production and distribution services for all of its nearly 800 inns, hotels, and suites throughout North America. VFM will produce and distribute still images, 360 degree ‘virtual tour’ images and PhotoFlicks videos for use on the ABVI website as well as VFM’s network of more than 25,000 travel sites and electronic distribution channels. ABVI will also use VFM’s Vscape to store, manage and distribute the media.
(www.leonardo.com, www.AmericasBestValueInn.com, www.vfmii.com)
The Sheraton Atlanta has implemented VOC Systems’ Express-Way guest feedback system, which captures guests’ spoken feedback during their stay via the in-room phones (by dialing an extension) or touch screen kiosks throughout the hotel, and distributes full text versions within minutes. (www.sheratonatlantahotel.com, www.vocsys.com)
The Tides Inn has selected Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) as its exclusive Internet marketing provider, to design a custom website for the hotel and implement an online distribution strategy, including search engine marketing and strategic linking. (www.tidesinn.com)
Hostmark Hospitality Group (HHG) has ordered Standing Dog Interactive’s ReviewAnalyst to manage social media content. ReviewAnalyst collects hotel reviews, blog entries, videos and photos from travel and social media sites, provides guidance on how to respond to both positive and negative content, and offers rating and ranking comparisons with a hotel’s top competitors. (www.hostmark.com, www.standingdog.com)
Utell Hotels & Resorts has signed for Rate Tiger’s Market Insight tools, including MarketCompare to benchmark rates against peers, MarketUpdate to update rates, availability and restrictions across multiple channels through one interface. (www.utell.com, www.ratetiger.com/us)
Cherokee Nation Enterprises (CNE) has signed with Market Metrix to conduct employee engagement surveys and deliver online results for employee development and service improvement at seven casino operations. (www.marketmetrix.com)
The Prima Hotel Group has contracted with TravelCLICK to redesign its group and property websites and extend the hotels’ online presence for its five hotels in England and Scotland.
Feathers Hotel and Catering Group has also signed with TravelCLICK for website booking engine and merchandising services for its eight three- and four-star hotels in the Northwest of England. The Feathers Group uses both TravelCLICK’s Internet Marketing Solutions and its iHotelier central reservation system
- Foxwoods Resort Casino installs The Rainmaker Group’s revolution
Foxwoods Resort Casino has installed The Rainmaker Group’s revolution system to optimize revenue for its 2,200+ hotel rooms in four hotels, the 806-room Grand Pequot Tower, 312-room Great Cedar Hotel, the 280 room Two Trees Inn and the 825-room MGM Grand at Foxwoods. Foxwoods also features more than 55,000 square feet of meeting space and 25 conference rooms. (www.foxwoods.com, www.letitrain.com)
- Cvent upgrades Event Management, Supplier Network, and Web Survey products
- Choice Hotels deploying Sonoma Partners’ Franchise Management system
- MICEpoint launches MICEpoint.com event planner web portal
- MeetingMatrix announces MeetingMatrix LIVE! packaged services
- Starwood makes small meeting rooms available for real-time booking at www.worktopia.com
- Newmarket launches regional certification program
- Libra OnDemand releases salesforce.com-based Libra OnDemand CRM
Cvent has upgraded its Event Management, Supplier Network, and Web Survey products. Event Management now includes planner dashboards for an overview across events, an improved HTML editor, the ability to charge taxes and service fees at point of sale, more flexibility to customize web pages, registration links and event fields and new functionality for volume discounts with group registration. The Supplier Network has improved usability, more ways to filter search results, manage personal contacts, add multiple suppliers to RFPs at one time, view meeting space measurements in both English and metric units and specify the type of currency used in their RFPs. Enhancements to the Web Survey tool include integration with statistical reporting tools that extend analytical reach, increased opportunities to customize surveys to meet branding and/or look and feel requirements, custom dashboards to monitor key metrics, and improved workflow and permission settings. (www.cvent.com)
Choice Hotels is deploying Sonoma Partners’ Franchise Management application for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to track the full lifespan of its relationship with franchisees, which include over 5,700 properties. The Franchise Management system will initially be integrated with Choice Hotels’ existing SalesLogix system and two proprietary applications until these can be phased out as deployment proceeds. (www.choicehotels.com, www.sonomapartners.com)
MICEpoint has launched its MICEpoint.com web portal to help event managers of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events find qualified meeting industry suppliers around the globe. Over 1000 suppliers in over 80 countries are currently listed. (www.micepoint.com)
MeetingMatrix International has announced MeetingMatrix LIVE!, a packaged collection of services that makes MeetingMatrix Certified Room Diagrams accessible online through several portals (including industry websites such as www.pcma.org), provides on-site hosting and allows meeting planners to download diagrams and automated MeetingMessenger Electronic Leads. It can also distribute a single version of the MeetingMatrix software, free of charge, to its planners, receive instantaneous leads when planners download diagrams, complete with meeting planner contact information, and facilitate the planning and email exchange of setup diagrams.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is now making an inventory of small meeting rooms available for real-time booking at www.worktopia.com, starting with 63 properties in Starwood’s Southeastern U.S. Region.
Newmarket International has launched a regional certification program for hospitality professionals, based on the course conducted at its annual user conference this year. The training helps students customize the Delphi system best suited for their property’s or organization’s business processes, maintain the health of the database and produce better reports. (www.newmarketinc.com)
Libra OnDemand, a salesforce.com ISV, has released Libra OnDemand CRM, a hospitality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Events Management solution offered exclusively on Software as a Service (SaaS) basis. Libra OnDemand CRM consolidates guest, company and travel agency information across single or multiple properties to provide a complete view of each, allows hoteliers to track guest preferences, web site feedback and comment cards, manage loyalty rewards programs, conduct targeted email marketing campaigns and drive repeat business. The built-in Events Management module provides an interactive graphical functions map and intuitive “drag and drop” functionality to manage meeting space availability and banquet event orders. (www.libraondemand.com)
- Fontainebleau Miami Beach orders ResortSuite for Lapis spa
Fontainebleau Resorts has ordered Enablez Inc.’s ResortSuite for the Lapis spa at its Miami Beach property, linked to its Micros Opera hotel PMS to provide a single guest itinerary. (www.fontainebleau.com, www.enablez.com)
- Algonquin Hotel loaning Amazon Kindles to guests
- Le Meurice Hotel installs iHome alarm clock/radio/iPod docks in 160 guestrooms
- Walt Disney World designates Hotel Technologies exclusive alarm clock radios supplier
- DOCOMO interTouch shows hYspace prototype guestroom controller for guests’ touch screen phones
- DOCOMO interTouch to offer Wi-Fi SmartPhone video chat service
- Affinia Manhattan adds self-service fax/copier/scanner from TTI Technologies
- Crowne Plaza Glen Ellyn, IL opens with Roomlinx in all 119 rooms
- KoolConnect introduces Intrigue 3.0, third-generation HD system
- Swissôtel Zurich rolls-out Knowcross’ TRITON guest request management system
- TripIt and LinkedIn partner to encourage contacts to meet on the road
- Flyte Systems signs 14 property contracts in past 60 days
- Destination Hotels & Resorts now has GoConcierge at six properties
- ekit announces pre-paid data service plans for mobile data and online activity
- BNS launches turnkey in-room entertainment, room control and A/V system based on IPTV
- Royal Resorts implements high-performance wireless at two properties on St. Maarten
- Starwood launches SPG Mobile for preferred guests to access member Web site from phones
- LodgeNet’s The Hotel Networks (THN) launches FreeViews ad-supported long-form Video On Demand (VOD) content
New York City’s Algonquin Hotel now loans Amazon Kindles to its guests, pre-loaded with books written by the famous authors who lunched there for years in the 1920s as the Algonquin Round Table, plus a variety of other best-sellers and modern titles. Additional digital books can be downloaded upon guest request. The Kindles are loaned on a first-come, first-served basis for use in the hotel lobby or guestrooms. (www.algonquinhotel.com)
Le Meurice Hotel in Paris has installed Hotel Technologies’ iHome digital alarm clock radio/iPod docking station in 160 guestrooms and suites, via Hotel Technologies’ French distributor, Comtrade.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Properties has designated Hotel Technologies as its exclusive supplier of in-room digital alarm clock radios for approximately 26 Disney resorts representing 27,000 guestrooms. The iHome alarm clock/radio/iPod dock has been specified for all Disney Deluxe properties, and the Timex model T1233BA unit for Disney’s Value and Moderate properties.
(www.lemeurice.com, www.DisneyWorld.com, www.ihomeaudio.com)
DOCOMO interTouch will show its hYspace prototype at Equip’Hotel in Paris this month. hYspace (not the product’s final name) enables hotel guests to use their mobile touch screen phones to control room lighting, temperature and television channels, similar to the recently-released Runtriz’ Hotel Evolution product for the iPhone or iPod Touch. DOCOMO interTouch plans to develop hYspace to serve as an electronic concierge, support multimedia (instant music and video streaming), gaming, messaging and advertisements.
DOCOMO interTouch is also unveiling a joint project with parent company NTT DOCOMO in the form of a Wi-Fi SmartPhone video chat service for hotel guests, allowing them to make video chat calls by paying only an Internet access fee.
The Affinia Manhattan has added a self-service fax/copier/scanner from TTI Technologies International to its four TTI self-service business center workstations. (www.affinia.comwww.ttitel.com)
The Crowne Plaza in Glen Ellyn, IL has opened with Roomlinx interactive in-room media, entertainment & business applications with wired and wireless high-speed Internet access in all 119 rooms. (www.roomlinx.com)
KoolConnect Technologies has introduced Intrigue 3.0, its third-generation HD system with improved functionality and lower costs than its first versions. (www.koolconnect.com)
Swissôtel has rolled-out Knowcross’ TRITON guest request management system at its 347-room property in Zurich. The system tracks guest requests, complaints and back-of-house related jobs, is linked to the property’s Alcatel DECT Phone System version 4760, and includes escalation alerts if jobs aren’t completed within pre-set times. (www.swissotel.com/zurich, www.knowcross.com)
TripIt and LinkedIn have partnered to let LinkedIn members see where designated contacts are traveling on TripIt-coordinated itineraries and potentially set up meetings. (www.tripit.com, www.linkedin.com)
Flyte Systems announced that 14 properties signed contracts to install its FlyteBoard, FlytePass or FlyteChannel airline travel information products in the past 60 days. Flyte Systems currently has more than 100 subscribers in 34 cities. (www.flytesystems.com)
Destination Hotels & Resorts has now installed GoConcierge at six of its properties. (www.destinationhotels.com, www.goconcierge.net)
ekit has announced pre-paid data service plans to cover travelers’ costs for mobile data and online activity from wireless devices. Basic services are available in 71 countries, and are available with the purchase of either a Passport, Passport Lite and/or Passport Plus SIM card. Pre-paid 3G data services will be available in 2009 in 10 countries. (www.ekit.com)
Asia’s BNS has launched a turnkey in-room entertainment, room control and A/V system for hotels and multi dwelling unit (MDU) operations, based on carrier class IPTV. The BNS system includes SD and HD video, room automation (lighting, temperature and ambience) and A/V facility design and installation, based on IP delivery. (www.bnsltd.com)
The Royal Resorts Group has implemented high-performance broadband wireless from BelAir Networks at its Pelican Marina Residences and Pelican Resort Club properties on St. Maarten. The wireless network is configured to support the resort’s point of sale (POS) system as well as guest access, corporate administration, sales, POS and security cameras, remotely managed via SNMP from the head office in Cancun, Mexico. (www.royalresortsvacations.com, www.belairnetworks.com)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has launched SPG Mobile, powered by Usablenet, to let Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) access all features on the member Web site from any mobile device’s browser, including booking hotel reservations, managing their profiles, contacting customer care and reading The Lobby blog. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
LodgeNet’s The Hotel Networks (THN) has launched FreeViews, ad-supported long-form Video On Demand (VOD) content. FreeViews allows brands to feature their own long-form video content or have THN source content that they would like to associate with (e.g. golf tips, music concerts, web shows, etc.), allowing the advertiser to appear as the exclusive sponsor. (www.lodgenet.com)
- Vail Resorts upgrades to latest version of Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System
Vail Resorts has upgraded to the latest version of Agilysys’ Stratton Warren System (SWS) inventory and procurement solution. Improvements include centralized item master functionality, better scalability, point-and-click functionality, routing purchase requisitions for approval via e-mail or personal digital assistant (PDA) and multiple par level functionality. (www.vailresorts.com, www.agilysys.com)
- Columbia Sussex equips 3 properties with Telkonet’s SmartEnergy
Columbia Sussex has equipped approximately 1,300 guestrooms at the Doubletree Rochester, New York, the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center, and the Westin St. Maarten with Telkonet’s SmartEnergy energy management system. Additional properties are scheduled for TSE implementation by the end of the year. (www.columbiasussex.com, www.telkonet.com)
- PhoneSuite centralizes sales and support operations at Broomfield, CO
- Shangri-La Vancouver to open in January 2009 with Nortel’s Unified Communications
PhoneSuite has centralized its sales and support operations at its headquarters in Broomfield, CO. (www.PhoneSuite.com)
Shangri-La’s 119-room Vancouver, Canada, property will open in January 2009 with Nortel’s Unified Communications system to integrate voice, data and mobility services. (www.shangri-la.com, www.nortel.com/uc)