November 5, 2013

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services


Communications / Infrastructure




  • Does a focus on the luxury market make brands vulnerable?

I’ve been thinking about the impact the luxury segment has on the rest of us mortals. It’s come up in several areas recently, and while I don’t begrudge anyone enjoying the fruits of their efforts (or even the rewards of the station in life they were born into) I do wonder if companies that bet on that end of the market balance their portfolios well enough to withstand a sudden drop in demand.
For example, in a recent interview Frits van Paasschen, Starwood’s CEO, said that Starwood is trying to position itself as the biggest luxury hotel group; one out of every seven hotels it has planned is a luxury property. That’s fine; clearly there’s a strong market for luxury, especially in emerging markets such as China, and that leaves six out of seven new properties for the rest of us. But he also said that about 2 percent of Starwood’s travelers account for about 30 percent of its profitability. Clearly the wealthy have a huge influence in how Starwood looks at its properties and amenities, but because we all use the whole range of facilities a hotel offers it seems that a lot of the extras they push for do trickle down to the rest of us, from WiFi coverage on.
It’s a similar situation with cars. Every brand seems to offer an ever-more amazing set of models at the very top of the market, trying to out-do each other in luxury and sheer performance. That requires more sophisticated engineering, electronic safety controls and many other dynamic attributes, but these can be amortized over the rest of the range to everyone’s benefit, whether or not we can afford to buy the absolute high-end models ourselves.
The airlines are a little different. I’m as partial as the next frequent traveler to the occasional first class upgrade, but the price discrepancy between economy and first class airfares can be startling, and hard to justify. Domestically it seems that first class fares are about twice those for coach, or maybe a little more, and for the extra comfort, amenities and attention that may be a decent trade-off. But when it rises to five times as much, and sometimes significantly more on trans-Atlantic routes, you begin to wonder what’s going on behind that curtain at the front of the plane that could possibly be worth the upgrade. And there’s no trickle-down benefit to the rest of us, in this case; I guess I should be grateful that a few high-rollers are to some extent subsidizing my own air fare to London, but that’s hard to keep in mind when you’re crammed into seat 52B for ten hours – and paid a pretty penny for that privilege yourself.
What happens when the appeal of your top-end products fades? When everyone is offering ever-changing versions of “the best”, is one brand really special anymore? Hotel brands have become notoriously interchangeable at all levels; I don’t think the very wealthy focus on frequent guest points, and are properties from Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula, St. Regis, Ritz Carlton, etc., really that different in what they offer? Similarly with cars; the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari or Bentley quickly loses its special cachet when it’s surpassed by next year’s model. The cars are certainly desirable individually but there’s less reason to invest in them when one year’s absolute pinnacle of sports car performance is quickly surpassed by the 2+2 family coupe a couple of years later. The experience isn’t quite so special anymore.
The airlines showed us in 2008 the vulnerability of a business model too strongly dependent on the luxury class. When bankers stopped buying first-class trans-Atlantic fares it wasn’t physically possibly to replace their seats with enough coach – or business – seats to make up the difference, and profits evaporated. The rich will always drive the market, but it both makes good business sense and appeals to everyone’s sense of fairness when you make sure the rest of us don’t fall too far behind. You just might need us.

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  • Stephen Burke appointed VP Connectivity and Enterprise Integration at eRevMax
  • Alfredo Moreno de la Santa hired by to lead European sales
  • Darrin Pinkham  joins Highgate Hotels as Chief Technology Officer
  • Jimmy Matthew is The SmarTV Company’s new Sales Director for SE USA
  • Mark Holzberg joins Hospitality Technical Services (HTS) as CEO

Stephen Burke has been appointed Vice President, Connectivity and Enterprise Integration at eRevMax, based in Prague, Czech Republic. He continues as CTO of Paris-based Taxeo, and had earlier served for over three years as VP Product Development for Knowcross Solutions, and for five years at HBSI as VP Product Development and Director of Systems Integrations.
Alfredo Moreno de la Santa has been hired by to lead its European sales efforts. Mr. Moreno de la Santa had previously led the sales effort for EZ Yield in Southern Europe.
Darrin Pinkham has joined Highgate Hotels as Chief Technology Officer. With 25 years of hospitality technology experience, Mr. Pinkham was most recently VP Information Technology for Benchmark Hospitality. Earlier he had held positions as CTO for theWit hotel, VP Hospitality Technology at Ginn Resorts, CTO for Loews Hotels at Universal, Orlando, Regional Director of Technology for Boca Resorts and Director of Technology at Hershey Resorts. He started his career as F&B Controller/MIS Manager at the Scanticon Denver.
Jimmy Matthew is The SmarTV Company’s new Sales Director for the USA’s Southeast Region. Bringing over 22 years of experience, he most recently served with Quadriga Americas as VP Sales for the Northeastern USA. Prior to Quadriga, Mr. Matthew spent many years with LodgeNet Interactive (now Sonifi) and was also responsible for US Sales with Apple TV distributor Square [ i ].
Mark Holzberg has joined network/HSIA services vendor Hospitality Technical Services (HTS) as CEO. Mr. Holzberg brings extensive experience in this field, most recently as VP Americas for Swisscom Hospitality. He had earlier served as VP for AGC Networks, Managing Director of XETA Hospitality, CEO of Lorica Solutions, President/The Americas at Bartech, CFO at TravelClick and CEO of AlphaNet Hospitality Systems.

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  • NORTHWIND announces orders for Maestro from 9 properties in 3Q
  • Choice updates user interface for choiceADVANTAGE
  • SkyTouch offers interface with Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET
  • Conrad adds pre check-in functions to Conrad Concierge mobile app
  • Roomzzz  migrates protel Multi-Property Edition to Xn’s data center

NORTHWIND has announced that 6 independent hotel companies selected Maestro Property Management for 9 properties in 3Q 2013:
– Summit Lodge & Spa in British Columbia
– Mere Hotel in Winnipeg
– an independent Ontario, Canada multi-property group will implement Maestro in three hotels.
– MCM Hotels added Maestro PMS to another 2 properties.
– The Listel Hospitality Group selected Maestro for its Whistler property
– Jay Peak in Vermont installed Maestro at its new Stateside Baselodge and Hotel.
Choice Hotels International has deployed a new user interface for its choiceADVANTAGE guest management system. Upgrades include new mobile-native user interfaces for housekeeping and property managers. Housekeepers can now use a smartphone to manage room assignments, report room status in real-time, and flag maintenance, inventory or other room needs; managers can monitor hotel operations from their mobile devices. The new interface was developed by Choice’s SkyTouch Technology division. (
SkyTouch Technology is now offering an interface with Shift4’s DOLLARS ON THE NET payment service for its cloud-based Hotel OS. (,
Conrad Hotels & Resorts has added pre check-in functions to its Conrad Concierge mobile application, including:
– Guests can pre check-in through the app and provide their estimated time of arrival.
– Users can update Facebook and Twitter directly from the app.
– Users can log-in with their Hilton HHonors username/password.
– Users can opt-in to receive SMS notifications regarding their personal service requests and needs directly to their mobile phone.
– Several enhancements to the landing pages and subsequent screens to improve user functionality and delivery content.
Roomzzz has migrated its protel Multi-Property Edition PMS from its own infrastructure to Xn’s Tier 3, co-located data center in Manchester. Xn will also host fileserver space, Microsoft Office and email for the group. Roomzzz operates aparthotels across 5 locations in Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, UK. (,

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  • Las Cruces CVB to use Regatta booking engine
  • Cheeca Lodge & Spa implements B4Checkin’s booking engine
  • Marriott International signs long-term distribution agreement extension with Sabre

The Las Cruces CVB has signed an agreement to use Regatta Travel Solutions’ booking engine on its official website. (,
The 214-room Cheeca Lodge & Spa in the Florida Keys has implemented B4Checkin’s booking engine, with a seamless interface with the property’s existing PMS. (,
Marriott International has signed a long-term distribution agreement extension with Sabre. (,

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  • Doyle Collection contracts with FastBooking for multi-lingual website for 8 properties
  • TravelClick receives 14 W3 Awards
  • nSight expands into global market, reveals search/booking statistics for London market
  • HF Hotéis Fénix renews contract with ReviewPro
  • Skyware launches Skyware Interactive interactive marketing division
  • Milestone Internet Marketing ranked #32 among Silicon Valley’s fastest growing private companies
  • Principal Hayley Group signs with Nor1 for 23 hotels

The Doyle Collection has contracted with FastBooking for a multi-lingual website for its eight properties in the UK, Ireland and North America. The website, integrated with the FastBooking Engine, is aimed at markets speaking French, Italian, Spanish and German; FastBooking will manage SEM in these languages. (,
TravelClick has received 14 W3 Awards for creativity and excellence in website design, one Gold and 13 Silver, for the following Web sites:
– Sanctuary Hotel New York (
– Crown Metropol Melbourne Hotel
– De Vere at the Ricoh Arena Hotel
– Destination Kennebunkport
– Grand Hotel Minerva
– Hotel Puente Romano
– Lan Kwai Fong Hotel
– Palau Pacific Resort
– Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort & Spa
– Ritz-Carlton Montreal
– Santa Clara Urban Hotel & Spa
– The Inn at Dos Brisas
– The Inn at Stonecliffe
– The Strand Hotel NY
nSight has announced its expansion into the global market, and revealed some search and booking statistics for the London market from its international database. Highlights include:
– Online search with intent to travel to London represents 5.5% of total global searches.
– Actual bookings for London are slightly lower at 4.7% of global online bookings.
– Average search-to-book window (or the “marketing window”) for London is 23 days while the book-to-stay window is 21 days.
– “Adventure Seekers” are the top searchers for London at 25.9% of global searches, while “Self Seekers” book at the highest rate with 27.9% of London bookings.
– The “Bucket Lister” traveler is twice as likely as a “Dream Tripper” to book a trip to London.
HF Hotéis Fénix has renewed its contract with ReviewPro for guest feedback on its seven hotels in Oporto and Lisbon. (,
Skyware Hospitality Solutions has launched Skyware Interactive, an interactive marketing division offering web, social media and mobile marketing services to its system clients. Skyware Interactive will deliver Responsive Web and Mobile Design, Customized Application Development, E-marketing Solutions, Search Engine Optimization / Marketing (SEO/SEM), and Social Media Consulting. (
Milestone Internet Marketing was ranked #32 among Silicon Valley’s fastest growing private companies for 2013 by Silicon Valley Business Journal, up 35 places from last year. (
Principal Hayley Group (PH Hotels) has signed with Nor1 to deliver personalized upgrade offers to guests at the brand’s 23 hotels. All properties are now utilizing Nor1’s eStandby Upgrade service; a number will also soon deploy Nor1’s FrontDesk Upsell service through an integration with Micros OPERA, allowing front desk agents to present upsell and cross-sell offers for guests at check-in.  (,

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  • RoomKey’s Web Booking Engine now supports TripAdvisor’s TripConnect
  • Chickasaw Nation implements Rainmaker’s GuestREV at three properties
  • Hoteles Catalonia selects SiteMinder’s Channel Manager for 60 hotels
  • SiteMinder  certified as a Premium Partner for TripAdvisor’s TripConnect
  • IDeaS certifies integration with Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager
  • IDeaS’ RMS  listed as a “Champion” in Info-Tech Research Group’s 2013 RMS Vendor Landscape
  • Prologic First releases uni?ed eDistribution software for WISH PMS
  • Marriott names RateGain as a preferred technology partner for channel management

RoomKey announced that its Web Booking Engine now supports TripAdvisor’s TripConnect, helping smaller properties gain more prominent placement on TripAdvisor pages. A TripConnect Plus Partner, RoomKey also offers an automated Review Express service, to request traveler reviews for property listings on TripAdvisor. (,
The Chickasaw Nation has completed implementation of The Rainmaker Group’s GuestREV revenue management system at its three properties, WinStar World Casino and Resort, the Inn at WinStar in Thackerville, Okla., and the Artesian Hotel, Casino & Spa in Sulphur, Okla. (www.WinStarWorld,
Hoteles Catalonia has selected SiteMinder’s Channel Manager for enterprise connectivity for its 60 hotels, partly for its integration with their Indra TMS SAP-based guest management system. The full 2-way integration was built and certified within 60 days.
SiteMinder has been certified as a Premium Partner for TripAdvisor’s TripConnect advertising bidding tool. TripConnect enables hoteliers to bid for a higher price position within their hotel’s page and will allow potential guests to book directly through their hotel’s website.
IDeaS Revenue Solutions has announced certified integration between its IDeaS RMS and Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager. Daily Best Available Rate (BAR) decisions will be made by IDeaS RMS; once approved these rates will be pushed to Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager and Booking Engine, and consequently forwarded on to online travel agencies and to hotel website. Hotel Bristol, in Geneva, Switzerland, has installed the interface.
IDeaS’ RMS has been listed as a “Champion” in Info-Tech Research Group’s 2013 Revenue Management Systems Vendor Landscape, which assesses systems by eight criteria: features, usability, integration, architecture, viability, strategy, reach and partnership.
Prologic First has released its uni?ed eDistribution software for its WISH PMS, suitable for independent hotels or multi-property chains. The channel manager automatically publishes availability and rates from the WISH PMS database to multiple OTAs; new reservations, amendments and cancellations are written directly to the PMS. Additional features include the ability to view availability & rates at multiple hotels within a single page, query reservations across hotels and to issue a single con?rmation for bookings at multiple hotels, all from the CRO or anywhere else, using the Internet. Prologic First also o?ers an interface with Pegasus’ reservations service for GDS connectivity. (
Marriott International has named RateGain as one of its preferred technology partners for channel management .  (,

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  • Bellagio integrates Passkey GroupMAX, Micros Opera and Virtuoso proprietary Event Management System
  • MileNorth Hotel, Chicago, implements Keywest Technology’s Breeze digital signage

The Bellagio Resort & Casino has integrated its Passkey GroupMAX and Micros Opera systems on Micros’ OXI platform, and linked Passkey’s RegLink Open API registration integration tool with the proprietary Event Management System (EMS) used by Virtuoso for its 25th Annual Virtuoso Travel Week. This effort allowed EMS to seamlessly deliver the many details of each guest’s stay to GroupMAX, which handled the complex business and billing rules and transfer of data to OPERA, eliminating the previous need for the Bellagio team to manually touch each of the 2,580 reservations associated with the event. (,,,
MileNorth Hotel in downtown Chicago has implemented Keywest Technology’s cloud-based Breeze digital signage system, in a joint project with hotel signage vendor RB Industries. The key display is a double-sided 55-inch interactive digital concierge sign (using two ViewSonic 55-inch LED displays). One side is used for promotional messages, while the other supports fully interactive guest information including hotel amenities, meeting room information, airport flight information, local attractions, restaurants and sports events with wayfinding & QR codes, and nearby shopping destinations. The screen also provides time, date and weather info. The installation also includes three 42-inch digital signs to provide event names, times and dates. All screens can be managed through a Web browser. (,

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  • JTECH appoints Discover Systems A/S its new master distributor for EAME

Micros’ JTECH Communications has appointed Discover Systems A/S as its new master distributor for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EAME). Based in Odense, Denmark, and with offices in Sweden and Germany, Discover Systems will sell and support JTECH throughout the EAME region through both direct and indirect distribution channels, initially in Restaurants, Healthcare, Retail and other key vertical market segments. (,

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  • WaiverSign releases digital waiver system

WaiverSign has released its digital waiver system for activity providers, physical fitness instructors and facilities, equipment rental businesses, education facilities, etc. WaiverSign allows companies to create and execute digital liability waivers, release forms and rental agreements that participants can read and sign online pre-arrival, by using a desktop computer, tablet or phone, or on location using a kiosk. Participants are emailed a copy of their signed document, helping build an email marketing database.  (

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  • Pullman Brussels Midi Hotel deploys “Connectivity by Pullman” Quadriga PMN-based guest-services app
  • Thomas Cook developing 10 high-tech resorts under the SunConnect brand
  • Mandarin Oriental to offer free high-speed internet service to all guests with an online profile and booking published rates on its website
  • InterContinental Montreal Hotel deploys multi-lingual version of ElevenGC guest computing service
  • Guest-tek to distribute iACT cloud-based PBXs
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago implements NewspaperDirect’s PressReader HotZone 

The Pullman Brussels Midi Hotel has deployed “Connectivity by Pullman”, a guest-services app based on Quadriga’s Personal Media Network. Accor’s Pullman Hotels and Resorts brand selected Quadriga’s PMN earlier this year as a new brand standard. “Connectivity by Pullman” is now installed on the TV in all 237 guest rooms at the Pullman Brussels Midi, and is also available on tablets in the 26 suites and executive rooms. It can currently be downloaded for Apple devices; an Android version will be released by year-end. (,
Thomas Cook is developing 10 high-tech resorts under the SunConnect brand, scheduled to be available from summer 2014. The properties will feature online gaming areas, activity booking through smartphones or tablets and free resort Wi-Fi, with support from a ConnectScout, a staff member who will arrange digital activities for families such as geocaching or Xbox gaming. (
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced that it will offer its high-speed internet service on a complimentary basis to all guests who create an online profile and book published rates through its website. (
The InterContinental Montreal Hotel has deployed the multi-lingual version of Eleven’s  ElevenGC guest computing service on two iMac computers in hotel’s business center. The guest’s language selection (English or French-Canadian) applies to the login screens, the full desktop experience, operating system and select applications that support multi-lingual functionality. (,
Guest-tek has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with iACT for its line of communication products. GFuestTek’s new OneView Voice iACT Solution offers hotels a hospitality-focused cloud-based PBX system using a fan-less/disk-less central call processor which reduces energy consumption at the hotel property. (
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago has implemented NewspaperDirect’s PressReader HotZone, which provides guests with access to over 2,000 media titles from around the world on their personal digital devices. The property is also offering PressReader to visitors attending corporate meetings and events at the hotel. (,

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  • Carlson Rezidor starts energy-saving program in partnership with Siemens

Carlson Rezidor has started an energy-saving program in its European Radisson Blu and Park Inn by Radisson hotels, in partnership with Siemens Building Technologies Division and aiming to achieve 25 percent savings in five years. The pilot project at the Radisson Blu Hotel Amsterdam focuses on guestroom controls, optimization of the Siemens building management system, LED lamps and other measures. Siemens’ energy optimization program includes an on-site audit, determining individual measurement criteria and optimizing the building management systems and processes according to these criteria. Once completed, the energy consumption data will be continuously monitored and optimized remotely by Siemens energy experts. The Amsterdam implementation is part of Rezidor’s Think Planet energy saving program, which is based on five approaches: investment in energy saving solutions, smart energy habits in operations, energy saving tools such as motion sensors, an LED lighting retrofit across all hotels and integrating strict Think Planet standards in newly built hotels and major renovations. Siemens has implemented the energy efficiency program in 20 of its own production facilities. (,

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  • Guest-tek to distribute iACT cloud-based PBXs

Guest-tek has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with iACT for its line of communication products. GFuestTek’s new OneView Voice iACT Solution offers hotels a hospitality-focused cloud-based PBX system using a fan-less/disk-less central call processor which reduces energy consumption at the hotel property. (

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  • iclub by Regal Sheung Wan Hotel in Hong Kong to install Kaba Saflok RT RFID locks with Mobile Key by OpenWays
  • FelCor Lodging Trust installing Saflok Quantum RFID locks and System 6000 central access control in five properties

The iclub by Regal Sheung Wan Hotel in Hong Kong, due to open in early 2014, is installing Kaba Saflok RT RFID locks with Mobile Key by OpenWays built in. The implementation is being managed by DOCOMO InterTouch, OpenWays’ reseller in the Asia-Pacific region. (,,
FelCor Lodging Trust will install Saflok Quantum RFID locks and System 6000 central access control in five properties in California, Florida, and Louisiana; it recently standardized on these products for all property renovations. The installations at the Embassy Suites Waterfront in Burlingame, CA, Wyndham New Orleans French Quarter in Louisiana, Embassy Suites in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California, and the Wyndham San Diego are scheduled for 4Q 2013 and 1Q 2014. (,

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