October 19, 2010

In this issue…

People on the Move


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning


Guest Services

Back Office

Inventory / Purchasing





  • Data security: firewalls, anti-virus software are essential, but operational awareness is at least as important

There’s been a lot of publicity lately about how vulnerable hotels are to credit card fraud and data theft, especially as our industry seems to be by far the most popular (i.e. easiest) for criminals to attack. There’s a heightened awareness of the never-ending need to keep on top of security patches for hotel systems, servers and networks, as well as of maintaining up-to-date firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-phishing and other protective software. PCI compliance requirements have added another level of awareness of the problem.
But just as PCI compliance is no guarantee that your guests’ credit card data is bullet-proof secure, a recent article in InformationWeek (http://bit.ly/bNPapd) highlights that a blind reliance on firewalls and anti-virus software will also give a false sense of security. Today’s criminals are highly sophisticated and constantly come up with new ways of disguising their attack software to fool firewalls and other defenses. The security software vendors do a great job, but are always playing catch-up and can never provide 100% protection. This doesn’t mean that “resistance is futile”; it just means that every operation needs not only to have security software and devices in place and current but also, by staying aware of their limitations, to keep a constant watch for suspicious behavior by systems and by people.
Is an old PC in the corner that no-one’s used for years still on the network, is it secure and has it shown signs of activity lately? Have staff with no real need to do so been downloading unusually large files from the system recently or accessing unusual parts of the system? Have all external links to vendor support lines been put on an “activate only when needed” basis? Just as management systems are essential tools for any hospitality operation but won’t check in your guests for you, security software is an essential level of protection but won’t guarantee the safety of your data.
In the next couple of weeks HTNG will distribute a summary of the current challenges and an outline of three basic, simple steps that every single hotel can and needs to take. These are only a start, but given the current unprotected state of many, many properties implementing just these three actions will have a significant impact on reducing their vulnerability.

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  • David Sjolander joins Pegasus as VP Product Management Distribution Services
  • Larry Kutscher named Chief Executive Officer at TRAVELCLICK
  • Tia Hobgood joins InnPoints Worldwide as Director of Client Services
  • Steven Pofahl promoted to Senior Vice President/General Manager at LodgeNet
  • Derek White named President of LodgeNet’s Interactive & Media Networks
  • Bob Bansfield becomes Senior Executive Officer at MSI
  • Mark Loyd named as Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Development at MSI

David Sjolander has joined Pegasus Solutions as VP Product Management Distribution Services. With over 30 years of operational and technology experience in the hotel industry, he was most recently VP Strategy and Business Development at TRAVELCLICK, which he joined in 2008. For the previous 15 years Mr. Sjolander led the hotel technology team at Carlson Hospitality as Vice President Hotel Systems and functioned as its interim Chief Information Officer; he had earlier served in various systems, marketing and finance positions at HMS vendors Micor, HIS and Fidelio.
Larry Kutscher has been named Chief Executive Officer at TRAVELCLICK, replacing Robert Post. Prior to joining TRAVELCLICK, Mr. Kutscher served as CEO of Register.com until its sale in July 2010 to Web.com; he has also served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Small Business Group at Dun & Bradstreet, as Managing Director with Goldman Sachs Wealth Management and 12 years at American Express.
Tia Hobgood has been named Director of Client Services at InnPoints Worldwide. Ms. Hobgood most recently held the position of Director of Revenue Management for Heritage Hotels and Resorts in New Mexico; she brings over fifteen years experience in hotel electronic distribution and online marketing.
Steven R. Pofahl has been promoted to Senior Vice President/General Manager at LodgeNet Interactive. A 21-year LodgeNet veteran, Mr. Pofahl has held senior management responsibilities in most areas of the company’s hospitality operations including call center support, field service, installations and upgrades, project management, system production, quality assurance, technical training and content management.
Derek S. White has been named President of LodgeNet Interactive’s Interactive & Media Networks; he was previously President of The Hotel Networks (THN), which LodgeNet acquired in 2008. Before joining THN, Mr. White served as Executive Vice President of targeted media and marketing services provider Alloy, Inc., was President of 360 Youth Corp. (later acquired by Alloy), and served as Executive Vice President of MarketSource Corp., President of Graphic Connexions and Director for Computerware.
MSI (Multi-Systems, Inc.) announced its new leadership team, having completed its integration of REMco Software.
– Rick Munson, who founded MSI in 1989, continues as CEO.
– Robert Bansfield becomes Senior Executive Officer; he joined MSI last year as Chief Strategy Officer, after a career including 24 years with Hyatt culminating as VP IT.
– Maureen Kieffer continues as Chief Operating Officer, her role since joining MSI earlier this year; she has over 20 years of hospitality experience, gained in executive roles with companies including Pegasus, Best Western and Choice.
– Mark Loyd is promoted to Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Development; he was formerly President of REMco, which he joined in 1999.
– Ted Warring continues as Chief Scientist; he joined MSI in 1998.

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  • UniTravel announces stand-alone mobile website
  • Rotana moves to Trust International CRS for 70 properties
  • Mandarin Oriental releases mobile application using TripCraft’s mobile infrastructure
  • Golden Tulip launches Goldres 3 CRS based, on Pegasus’ Rezview NG
  • Drury Hotels signs CRS renewal with Pegasus , migrating 130 hotels to RezView NG
  • Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) makes GuestCentric e-Commerce available to members
  • Signature Flight Support rolling out Global Crew Logistics’ HotelTrak web-based hotel reservations application
  • Availpro expanding into UK and Ireland

Venice, Italy-based ne hotel distribution vendor UniTravel has announced a stand-alone mobile version of its website enabling travelers to search and book hotels from their mobile phones. The site is compatible with all web-enabled phones and optimized for the iPhone and Android devices. (www.unitravel.com)
Rotana has moved to a new central reservation system from Trust International for the 70 properties it manages across the Middle East and North Africa. New properties are also currently under development in Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and UAE. (www.rotana.com, www.trustinternational.com)
Mandarin Oriental has launched its new mobile application using TripCraft’s mobile infrastructure approach. The app is available for the iPhone/iPod Touch, with iPad and Android versions due in the coming months; it allows for complete booking capabilities from within the app and includes a “Cities by MO” travel guide with content from Wcities. (www.mandarinoriental.com, www.TripCraft.com)
Golden Tulip has launched Goldres 3, its Web-based “next generation” central reservations and distribution platform based on Pegasus Solutions’s Rezview NG.
Drury Hotels has signed a five-year central reservation system (CRS) renewal with Pegasus Solutions, which will also include migration of the chain’s 130 hotels to Pegasus’ RezView NG platform. Drury has been a Pegasus CRS customer since 1999.
(www.goldentulip.com, www.druryhotels.com, www.pegs.com)
The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) is making GuestCentric Systems’ integrated e-Commerce platform available to member properties to help optimize online bookings. (www.boutiquelodgingassociation.org, www.guestcentric.com)
Aviation industry corporate travel management company Global Crew Logistics (GCL) has launched a new web-based hotel reservations application (HotelTrak). Launch customer Signature Flight Support, the world’s largest fixed-base operation (FBO) for business and general aviation, has now implemented HotelTrak at its 58 U.S.-based FBOs, and is rolling it out to its international sites. Signature, which used to arrange hotel accommodations manually for flight crews and passengers traveling through its FBOs, will now use HotelTrak to book them through the Sabre reservation system, allowing better control and chain-wide discount negotiations. (www.globalcrewlogistics.com, www.signatureflight.com)
France-based online booking vendor Availpro is expanding into the UK and Ireland, targeting independent hotel owners, hotel chains and residences wanting to manage and sell their accommodation online through a white label booking engine or Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager. Availpro’s booking engine includes secure online payment, two-way connectivity with more than 150 Internet distributors (including Booking.com and Expedia) and partnerships with representation companies such as Navarino and RHN. (www.availpro.com)

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  • Alexis Park All Suite Resort signs with Open Hospitality for online marketing services
  • Open Hospitality adds suite of social media services for hotels
  • Lodging Interactive wins two site development awards in WMA’s 14th annual WebAwards
  • Libra OnDemand integrates Chatter business networking into hospitality CRM application
  • Pegasus signs with Amadeus for travel agency advertising on Amadeus Media Platform
  • d2o celebrates 10th anniversary, announces AI-based advice for Performance Management Intelligence suite
  • Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) receives one Gold, two Silver Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

The 496-room Alexis Park All Suite Resort, Las Vegas, has signed with Open Hospitality for online marketing services, following a complete renovation.
Open Hospitality has added a suite of social media services for hotels, to help them create an effective Facebook presence and to manage Facebook and Twitter updates and comment follow up.
(www.alexispark.com, www.openhospitality.com)
Lodging Interactive has won two Web site development awards in the Web Marketing Association’s 14th annual WebAwards Competition, for its redesign of www.flatotel.com and www.thewilshiregrandhotel.com. (www.LodgingInteractive.com)
Libra OnDemand announced the integration of salesforce.com’s Chatter business networking platform into its cloud-based hospitality CRM application. Featuring an interface similar to that Twitter and Facebook, Chatter includes user profiles, status notifications, commenting capability and groups; it allows users to follow the people, documents and applications most relevant to them, with the option of receiving updates whenever edits are made or statuses are changed. Chatter also lets marketers and salespeople run measurable Twitter campaigns and interact with prospective clients on the external sites. (www.libraondemand.com)
Pegasus Solutions has contracted with Amadeus for travel agency advertising on the Amadeus Media Platform for its reservations and representation services customers. (www.pegs.com)
Norway-based d2o, “deadline 2 online,” is celebrating its 10th anniversary. D2o is developer of the web-based Performance Management Intelligence (PMI) suite that helps hotel and resort department heads to manage their daily costs and labor forecasts. It also announced development of enhanced management tools designed to offer integrated suggestions for adjustments based on each manager’s goals and operating style. (www.d2o.biz)
Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) has received one Gold and two Silver Travel Weekly Magellan Awards, which recognize the industry’s creative marketing companies and staff. HeBS received a Gold Magellan Award in Hotels and Resorts | Web Marketing/Advertising for its work with Indian Wells Scavenger Hunt, and Silver awards for projects with the JW Marriott Indianapolis 30-Day Giveaway for Meeting Planners, and Shell Vacations Hospitality Ultimate Summer Vacation Sweepstakes. (travelweeklyawards.com, www.hospitalityebusiness.com)

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  • eRevMax develops RTSuite Review reputation management tool
  • IDeaS, RaspberrySky launch Revenue Optimization Insight consulting service
  • IDeaS releases version 5.1 of v5i revenue management system
  • EZYield.com signs connectivity agreement with HotelTravel.com
  • RateGain upgrades ChannelGain channel and inventory distribution application
  • Accor rolls-out EasyRMS’ SaaS Product Suite to 80 hotels in UK
  • Holland Residential picks Rainmaker’s LRO system, implements at 54 apartment communities in 60 days
  • Rainmaker signs agreements with seven multifamily housing companies for LRO, totaling 100,000+ units
  • HBSi and Genares add GDS and Internet/mobile booking engine services to connectivity offering

eRevMax has developed RTSuite Review, a reputation management tool to provide hotel owners with an overview of their properties’ appearance on review sites and the ability to respond to feedback. Users can sort and filter the data by parameters including facilities, food, customer service and cleanliness, and can benchmark their performance against a peer group. (www.erevmax.com)
IDeaS and UK-based distribution consultants RaspberrySky have launched Revenue Optimization Insight, a revenue management, pricing and distribution consulting service for the hospitality industry. The services are offered in three stages (detailed on-site process audit, remote distribution audit and an optional performance data analysis) which lead to a Revenue Roadmap of findings and recommendations.

IDeaS has released version 5.1 of its v5i revenue management system. Enhancements include:
– Campaign Management, including promotion and campaign-based data to help identify the right offers for the right customers to help to generate demand during off-peak periods.
– Enhanced Reporting, outlining specific differences between group and transient business, providing more insight into data volatility and displaying transient benefits by day.
– A multi-day Best Available Rate (BAR) Pace Report that can be viewed for multiple days, lengths of stay or filtered by rate plan.
– An enhanced Forecast Comparison Report with an option to recognize forecast trends for a user-defined date range and analysis period.
– Chinese language support.
(www.RaspberrySky.com, www.ideas.com)
EZYield.com has signed a connectivity agreement to let its clients post availability, rates, and inventory with HotelTravel.com. Hoteliers using HotelTravel.com can also use EZYield.com’s channel management system to maximize their online exposure. (www.HotelTravel.com, www.ezyield.com)
India-based RateGain has upgraded its channel and inventory distribution application, ChannelGain, with its CPI (Common Pool of Inventory) and Booking Fetch features. CPI creates a common pool of inventory allocated to the channels supported and automatically reduces or cuts off allocations based on rooms sold by those channels. Booking Fetch uses the reservation confirmation number to fetch details such as location of the hotel, check-in and checkout dates, room types, rates, which channel it’s been booked from, number of guests and other guest details. This data is then routed to CPI to balance & distribute the remaining inventory accordingly on all the supported channels. (www.rategain.com)
Accor has completed the roll-out of Easy (Ez) Revenue Management Solutions’ (EasyRMS’) SaaS Product Suite to 80 hotels across three brands in the UK, comprising 28 Novotel, 26 Mercure and 26 Ibis hotels. (www.accor.com, www.EasyRMS.com)
Holland Residential has selected The Rainmaker Group’s LRO revenue management system for its apartment communities, and has implemented it at 54 of its 67 properties in 60 days.
The Rainmaker Group has signed agreements with seven multifamily housing companies for its LRO lease rate optimization system. The agreements represent more than 100,000 units and include First Choice Property Management, Switzenbaum & Associates, and Holland Residential.
(www.hollandresidential.com, www.letitrain.com)
HBSi and Genares have expanded their relationship to add GDS and Internet/mobile booking engine services to their connectivity offering. HBSi’s iDemand Gateway platform now provides hotel companies with connectivity through Genares to their electronic segments: the GDSs, their own booking engines and key online travel websites. (www.genares.com, www.hbsconnect.com)

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  • TThe Living Hotels chooses Nexus as preferred partner for handling negotiated rates
  • Marathon Tours & Travel signs with Passkey for marathon event accommodation on-line booking

German extended-stay operator The Living Hotels has chosen Nexus as its preferred partner for handling negotiated rates, starting with the 2011 rate season. (www. nexusworldservices.com)
Marathon Tours & Travel, a travel agency specializing in arrangements for marathon runners and their companions, has signed with Passkey for on-line booking of marathon event accommodation, and will launch its new Passkey GroupMAX-powered online booking system for the 2011 Boston Marathon to be held on April 18, 2011. Runners and their guests will be able to choose from multiple room types, extended stays and upgrade options, with different attendee types such as qualified runners, spectators and sponsors assigned to different hotel sub-blocks. (www.passkey.com)

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  • DataWorks releases SmartSpoke fourth generation Point-of-Sale (POS) interface
  • Menusoft picks Socket Mobile’s SoMo 650 as recommended handheld device for Digital Dining POS

DataWorks has released its SmartSpoke fourth generation Point-of-Sale (POS) interface application for its NeXT inventory control software. SmartSpoke adds a communication layer, picking up prepared batches of encrypted inventory and price changes to be downloaded to multiple stores and pushing new sales or customer information up from the field. SmartSpoke will initially be shipped integrated to Microsoft’s Dynamics Retail Management System, which will be followed by full integration to MICROS’ 9700 point-of-sale system. The SmartSpoke interface features full customer database integration allowing NeXT enterprise system users to perform localized and global marketing as well as global customer management. (www.dataworksinc.com)
Menusoft Systems Corp has selected Socket Mobile’s SoMo 650 handheld computer as a recommended device for use as a Handheld POS unit for its Digital Dining POS system. (www.socketmobile.com, www.digitaldining.com)

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  • Jumby Bay, Antigua equips all 40 units with Control4 system
  • Free Wi-Fi definitely attracts visitors, per In-Stat study
  • Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV voted best product of the year by Top Hotel magazine
  • Taj Hotel Cape Town completes installation of iBAHN ETVi, wired/wireless broadband
  • Heathman Hotel, Portland, Ore. implements GBCblue’s ORION hotel-services portal
  • Marriott’s Renaissance New York Hotel 57 installs business center from TTI Technologies
  • Fairmont approves Safemark as designated supplier of guest room safes worldwide
  • Prime Group picks Roomlinx for HD TV, Free-to-Guest programming for new 610-room Chicago hotel

Jumby Bay, a Rosewood Resort in Antigua, West Indies, has equipped all 40 guestrooms, suites and villas with a Control4 system for guests to control the television, NXTV system, Bose sound system, DVD player and iPod docking station. (www.jumbybayresort.com, www.control4.com)
Offering free Wi-Fi does attract visitors, according to Wi-Fi Hotspot research by In-Stat. Nearly two-thirds of respondents stated that free Wi-Fi influences their choice of venue to visit – airports, cafés/restaurants/bars, convention centers, hotels, retail, marinas, outdoor hospitality and public areas – with an additional 31% indicating that free access may influence their choice. Only 5% said that it has no influence over venue choice. While revenue may not always result directly from a hotspot offering, free Wi-Fi seems to have significant value in bringing customers to a venue. (www.in-stat.com)
Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV has been voted best product of the year by the readers of German hotel magazine Top Hotel, whose STAR AWARD identifies new products which best support hoteliers in providing superior guest service. Swisscom’s ConnectedHotel TV secured the top score in the non-food category, one of seven categories; launched this summer, it has been installed at Steigenberger and nH hotels in Germany and Spain. ConnectedHotel TV provides wired and wireless Internet access, HD television, video-on-demand and web-based services through a custom-designed LG TV screen, does not require a set-top box, additional hardware or HDMI cabling, and runs on a hotel’s existing cable infrastructure, whether Coax, Cat-3 or Cat-5. (www.swisscom.com/hospitality)
The Taj Hotel Cape Town has completed its installation of iBAHN’s converged ETVi and wired and wireless broadband service, the first iBAHN installation in the country. The recently-opened hotel now offers IPTV and broadband over fiber in guestrooms with Lobby PCs for the Business Centre. (www.tajhotels.com, www.ibahn.com)
The 150-room Heathman Hotel in Downtown Portland, Ore. has implemented GBCblue’s ORION hotel-services portal, allowing guests to use their laptop, smart phone or a branded Heathman Hotel application downloaded to their iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to order room service, purchase an amenity, schedule a spa appointment, request valet service and more. (www.Heathman4Starservice.com, www.GBCblue.com)
Marriott’s Renaissance New York Hotel 57 has installed a new business center from TTI Technologies. In a hybrid model, guests each receive 15 minutes of free internet access within a 24-hour time period while printing is charged from page one. (www.marriott.com, www.ttitel.com)
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has approved Safemark Systems as its designated supplier of guest room safes worldwide. The agreement also covers Fairmont’s Raffles Hotels & Resorts and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts brands. (www.fairmont.com, www.safemark.com)
An affiliate of The Prime Group has contracted with Roomlinx for Interactive HD TV (iTV) and Free-to-Guest TV programming for a new 610-room hotel scheduled to open in downtown Chicago in November. The lower 12 floors of a historic Chicago landmark property are being converted into a 5-star hotel with high-end retail space. (www.primegroupinc.com, www.roomlinx.com)

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  • HFTP announces PCI Compliance Task Force and Roundtable to clarify impact on industry

HFTP has announced an initiative to assist the hospitality industry with payment card industry (PCI) compliance. The initiative — a PCI Compliance Task Force and Roundtable — is intended to produce a best practices document to help industry professionals and credit card companies understand the impact of PCI compliance on the industry and to bring about dialogue between all parties. The task force panel will comprise CFOs, CIOs and Security Data Experts from hotel enterprises and experts from credit card companies; it will produce a draft document for discussion at an HFTP-sponsored Roundtable later this year. Following the Roundtable, a final document will be published and presented to the industry.

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  • The Inn at Palmetto Bluff implements Yellow Dog Software’s inventory application for all retail outlets
  • DataWorks releases SmartSpoke POS interface for NeXT inventory control software

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff , Bluffton, SC has selected Yellow Dog Software’s back office inventory application to manage all of its retail operations, which include a golf pro shop, spa, boutique, tennis pro shop and convenience store. The property went live with the complete inventory solution in September 2010. (www.palmettobluffresort.com, www.yellowdogsoftware.com)
DataWorks has released its SmartSpoke fourth generation Point-of-Sale (POS) interface application for its NeXT inventory control software. SmartSpoke adds a communication layer, picking up prepared batches of encrypted inventory and price changes to be downloaded to multiple stores and pushing new sales or customer information up from the field. SmartSpoke will initially be shipped integrated to Microsoft’s Dynamics Retail Management System, which will be followed by full integration to MICROS’ 9700 point-of-sale system. The SmartSpoke interface features full customer database integration allowing NeXT enterprise system users to perform localized and global marketing as well as global customer management. (www.dataworksinc.com)

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  • Premier Hospitality Management implements MTech’s PMWorks across all 17 hotels

Premier Hospitality Management has implemented MTech’s PMWorks preventive maintenance application across all its 17 hotels in the central United States. Premier’s properties operate under flags from Marriott, InterContinental (Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express), Hilton (Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn), Choice (Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites), and Best Western. (www.premierhotels.us, www.m-tech.com)

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  • Ramada Limited, Santa Barbara, CA completes installation of Onity’s ADVANCE RFID electronic locks

The 126-room Ramada Limited hotel in Santa Barbara, CA has completed installation of Onity’s ADVANCE RFID electronic locks. The property was recently recognized at the Wyndham Worldwide Global Conference as one of the top 25 Ramada properties in the United States. (www.sbramada.com, www.onity.com)

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