October 2, 2007

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems


Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Guest Services

Back Office




  • International issues can affect us all; HTNG’s second European conference addresses key topics
  • AH&LA merges two technology committees

Keeping on top of technology issues in other parts of the world is almost essential these days. It’s not just important for international hotel chains; given the interconnectedness of everything we do, policy restrictions and operational challenges in one part of the world can affect the rest remarkably quickly. The ongoing debate around guest data privacy is just one example, since the tougher European standards could well be reflected in US needs before long.
One of the best places to catch up on current issues is HTNG’s second annual European Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, from October 8-10. In addition to updates on its systems integration workgroups HTNG’s conferences are known for their thought leadership sessions, with outside experts covering new developments in general-interest topics. This year’s presentations include software security, data privacy, how Gen Y travelers are driving social media, RFID/near-field communications, and real-world discussions on installing converged networks in hotels and on achieving multi-vendor cooperation for complex systems implementations.
Attend if you possibly can; last year’s conference was one of the best I attended, and you’ll be sure to learn a lot and make some great contacts. And it would be hard to find a more beautiful location for a tech conference than the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) campus in the hills above Lake Geneva.
Speaking of the interconnectedness of everything, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) has merged its Technology and E-Business committees. Co-chairs of the combined group are Daniel Connolly, Associate Professor of Information Technology at the University of Denver’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management, and Clay Dickinson, Vice President and Client Industry Executive for EDS Global Travel and Hospitality. **

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  • Travelport announces new management team for GDS businesses

Travelport has appointed a new management team to lead its GDS businesses, which include the Galileo and Worldspan GDSs, Shepherd Systems travel industry intelligence services, aiRES internal airline IT products and THOR distribution and marketing services.
– Gordon Wilson will head the GDS business as president and CEO.
– Sue Powers becomes Chief Information Officer, based in Atlanta, USA, having been CIO of Worldspan since 2002. Ms. Powers began her career at Apollo; prior to joining Worldspan, she held executive positions with major travel and transportation corporations, including Northwest Airlines.
– Dave Lauderdale becomes Chief Technology Officer for the GDS business, based in Atlanta, USA. He joined Worldspan in 1991 and has been CTO since 2002; he had earlier served as manager of Technical Services for the PARS Service Partnership.
– Bob Coggin will serve as Vice-Chairman of Travelport GDS, based in Atlanta, USA. Mr. Coggin joined Cendant in 2002 and held positions as Vice Chairman of Galileo and Vice Chairman of Travelport Airline Services.
– Philip Emery will serve as Chief Financial Officer, based in Langley, UK. Mr. Emery joined Galileo as CFO in September 2006; he was previously an Entrepreneur in Residence with Warburg Pincus.
– Kevin Mooney will serve as Chief Commercial Officer, based in Atlanta, USA; he has been CFO of Worldspan since 2005, and previously held executive positions with Cincinnati Bell.
– Keith Woodcock will be Senior Vice-President, New Business Incubation, based in Denver, USA. Mr. Woodcock joined Galileo in January 2006 as CIO; he was previously CIO for Travelport’s Business Group in EMEA, Asia & Pacific.

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  • CheckinWiz Web-based service allows guests to notify hotel of arrival time and check in from a BlackBerry or web-enabled phone
  • RSI International Systems positions centrally-hosted RoomKey PMS as “Carbon Free”
  • Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center picks Agilysys’ Lodging Management System
  • Mount Airy Casino Resort selects Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS)
  • Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri implements Northwind’s Maestro suite
  • Preston Robert Tisch Center at New York University receives donated SoftBrands systems
  • Mainsail Management Group selects SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS for its hotels
  • Great Wolf Resorts picks MICROS OPERA and 9700 for 10 resort properties

CheckinWiz announced a Web-based service that allows pre-booked guests to notify the hotel of their arrival time and check in using a PDA such as a BlackBerry or web-enabled phone. After making a reservation, the traveler logs in to CheckinWiz and creates a notifier. Shortly before arrival s/he clicks on a “Be there in” link in the notifier e-mail to send the hotel a message including time of arrival, preferences and special requests. The hotel can then assign a room, prepare keys and confirm the room number by return e-mail. A trial version of the service is currently being offered at several Ottawa hotels; the public launch is scheduled for 2008. (www.checkinwiz.com)
RSI International Systems is positioning its RoomKey PMS as “Carbon Free” through a carbon emission offset partnership with Carbonfund.org. RSI states that, as a Web-based and centrally hosted system, RoomKey can reduce the average annual consumption of electricity for each property using it by up to 4,500 KwH, saving hundreds of dollars per year and preventing the annual emission of approximately 3.3 tonnes of CO2. (www.welcometorsi.com)
The 2,000-room Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD will implement Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS) when it opens in April 2008. Modules to be installed include the PMS, ResNet Web-booking engine, Guest eMarketing (GeM) correspondence and marketing management, DataMagine document management and InfoGenesis POS.
The Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono, PA has selected Agilysys’ Lodging Management System (LMS). Currently under renovation, the resort is scheduled to re-open in October 2007 with 188 guestrooms, a 68,000-square-foot gaming area, four restaurants, an entertainment lounge, spa, salon, retail shops, conference space and a golf course. Phase II construction will include an expanded casino, an additional 212 hotel rooms and an indoor pool. Agilysys modules to be implemented include the PMS, ARTS Activities reservation and ticketing module, Guest Express self-service kiosks, ResNet Web booking engine, Materials Management System (MMS) and InfoGenesis POS.
The 190-room Lodge of the Ozarks in Branson, Missouri has implemented Northwind’s Maestro suite, including PMS, Sales and Catering, POS and Work Order Scheduling. Maestro’s spa module will be installed when the property’s new Spa is completed. (www.lodgeoftheozarks.com, www.maestropms.com)
The Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at New York University has received a donation of hotel systems from SoftBrands, including the Epitome PMS, Core Central Reservation Solution and Mosaik Business Intelligence system.
The Mainsail Management Group has selected SoftBrands’ Epitome PMS for its hotels, which include the 360-room Mainsail Suites Hotel Tampa and the newly-renovated Mainsail South Residences, a 300+ unit apartment complex in South Tampa. Mainsail is also currently building the Scrub Island Resort & Marina resort and estates in the British Virgin Islands, expected to open in summer 2008.
(www.scps.nyu.edu/tischcenter, www.mainsailhotels.com, www.softbrands.com)
Great Wolf Resorts has selected MICROS Systems’ OPERA Enterprise Solution and 9700 Hospitality Management System (HMS) for its 10 resort properties. Deployment to the 8 existing properties is complete; the two properties under construction are scheduled for deployment in 2009. Great Wolf’s central reservation office in Madison, Wisconsin, uses OPERA Reservation Systems (ORS) and Customer Information System (OCIS); plus OPERA Web Services (OWS) for web connectivity. Modules installed at the properties include the OPERA PMS, Sales & Catering, Vacation Ownership System, Activities Scheduler and MICROS 9700 HMS POS. (www.greatwolf.com, www.micros.com)

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  • Oberoi renews agreement with Trust International for 32 hotels and cruisers
  • NYLO Hotels selects SynXis’ RedX
  • Select Hotels & Resorts International contracts with TravelCLICK for distribution services
  • TravelWorm acquires travel technology assets of nPorta
  • Manotel adopts FastBooking’s GDS/IDS system
  • Starwood launches StarwoodPro search programme for travel professionals
  • StarCite contracts with Pegasus Solutions for UltraDirect distribution technology

The Oberoi Group has renewed its service agreement with Travelport’s Trust International for its 32 hotels and cruisers. Oberoi has used Voyager CRS as its distribution platform since 1996; recent enhancements have included interfacing its Property Management IDeaS Revenue Management System with Trust Voyager. (www.oberoihotels.com, www.trustinternational.com)
NYLO Hotels has selected SynXis’ RedX (interfaced to its SoftBrands PMS) as its distribution platform for all channels, including GDSs and online travel sites, and will use SynXis’ Website booking engine and private label call center services. NYLO’s first property debuts in December in Plano, near Dallas; its second hotel is scheduled to open next summer in Warwick, Rhode Island, and the company aims to have 50 properties nationwide by 2010. (www.nylohotels.com, www.synxis.com)
Select Hotels & Resorts International has contracted with TravelCLICK for central reservations and Internet distribution for its Select Member properties. Select will use the iHotelier central reservations system (CRS) for website reservations and GDS connectivity. Select represents 44 luxury properties and two New Zealand-based cruise vessels. (www.selecthotels.com, www.travelclick.net)
Web booking site TravelWorm, which specializes in casino and leisure travel within the United States, has acquired the travel technology assets of nPorta. These include the TravelASP internet booking engine, a newly developed hotel booking module and FareQuest.com, a meta search platform.
Swiss hotel group Manotel has adopted FastBooking’s GDS/IDS system, bringing FastBooking’s portfolio to 500 hotels across the world. (www.fastbooking.org)
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. has launched StarwoodPro, a global programme “that offers travel professionals a differentiated and enhanced experience when conducting business with Starwood”. Access to the booking site requires a valid industry ID number such as IATA, CLIA, TIDS, or Travelsellers number, and allows cross-brand searches by destination, airport or traveler’s interests. Agents will be able to search by criteria including brand, city, hotel amenity and special interests such as skiing or golf. (www.starwoodhotels.com)
StarCite has contracted with Pegasus Solutions for its UltraDirect distribution technology, to link it electronically to hotel reservation systems covering Pegasus’ portfolio of 78,000+ hotel properties. (www.pegs.com, www.starcite.com)

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  • Ocean Properties signs with ICE Portal for rich media management
  • ICE implements multi-language feature for online digital brochures
  • SoftBrands has released Mosaik CRM, partners with Serenata
  • Market Metrix announces Customer Metrix 3.0 for Casinos
  • Travel Sciences releases OpenTravel CRM product for travel agents
  • TravelCLICK wins nine awards for website design excellence

Ocean Properties has signed with ICE Portal to produce, manage, and distribute its rich media to travel websites. Ocean Properties operates over 100 hotels across the US and Canada, primarily under the AmeriSuites, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott, and Sheraton brands, and also owns Atlific Hotels and Resorts.
ICE has implemented a multi-language feature for its online digital brochures, available in eight languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. ICE plans to include the option of adding real time subtitles to any video in any of the eight languages.
(www.oplhotels.com, www.iceportal.com)
SoftBrands has released Mosaik CRM, a set of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to help hotels manage guest, travel agent and company profiles centrally and communicate across multiple properties. Mosaik CRM includes sales force automation, campaign management and loyalty program administration, and is closely integrated with SoftBrands’ Epitome .NET PMS and Core CRS. Mosaik CRM is result of a partnership between SoftBrands and Munich-based Serenata Intraware, which specializes in ,Net-based hotel CRM solutions. SoftBrands has now integrated Serenata’s NetHotel applications with its Epitome and Core products. (www.serenata.com, www.softbrands.com)
Market Metrix has announced Customer Metrix 3.0 for Casinos, a real-time, hosted web-based system offering multi-channel survey, analysis and service improvement tools and benchmarking data for the casino industry. (www.marketmetrix.com)
Travel Sciences has released its OpenTravel CRM product, a free, Web-based customer relationship management and back office business solution for travel agents which includes e-marketing, trip planning, custom itineraries, commission tracking and reporting, and accounting interface functions. It is positioned as an advertising medium for travel suppliers to communicate their offers, and includes an integrated RSS reader, instant messaging and online presence monitoring, Skype and interactive mapping. Online community networking technologies such as integrated blogging, publishing and online forums also included. (www.travelsciences.com)
TravelCLICK has won nine awards for website design excellence in the Web Marketing Association’s 2007 International WebAward competition. Sites awarded Outstanding Website for Hotel and Lodging or Travel include Napili Kai Beach Resort (www.napilikai.com), ARAMARK Harrison Lodging ( www.aramarkharrisonlodging.com), Elegant Hotels Group (www.eleganthotels.com), and Ultimate Resort ( www.ultimateresort.com). Sites awarded Hotel and Lodging Standard of Excellence Awards include Aqua Hotels & Resorts (www.aquaresorts.com ), Carlton Hotel Group (www.carlton.nl), Chandris Hotels & Resorts (www.chandris.gr), The Tides Inn ( www.tidesinn.com), and Malibu Beach Inn (www.malibubeachinn.com). (www.travelclick.net)

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  • Haven Holidays orders JDA’s Tour Revenue Optimizer
  • Rainmaker extends agreement to market JDA software to non-gaming hospitality industry

Haven Holidays, part of the Bourne Leisure Group has contracted with JDA Software Group to implement JDA’s Tour Revenue Optimizer for demand forecasts and automated revenue management and pricing.
The Rainmaker Group has extended its partnership agreement to market and sublicense JDA’s hospitality revenue management software in the non-gaming hospitality industry, matching JDA’s expertise in enterprise forecasting and pricing optimization with Rainmaker’s knowledge of the casino gaming segment and customer value-based hospitality Revenue Management.
(www.bourneleisuresales.co.uk, www.letitrain.com, www.jda.com)

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  • Westin Boston Waterfront installs FlyteBoard’s airline information display system
  • Sheraton announces “Scene @ Sheraton” in-room entertainment program
  • Grand Hyatt DFW introduces iTASTE and The Virtual Menu guest programs
  • Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago orders NxTV IPVOD, IPTV and interactive entertainment
  • TTI Technologies announces Concierge on Demand kiosk/PC-based guest service

The Westin Boston Waterfront has installed FlyteBoard’s airline information display system in its lobby, to display real-time flight departure information from Logan International Airport. (www.westin.com/boston, www.flytesystems.com)
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announced “Scene @ Sheraton”, an in-room entertainment program offering guests access to special entertainment content. The content has four main on-demand categories: Sneak Previews of Showtime original programs, Sports programming through DIRECTV Sports from LodgeNet’s Hotel SportsNet service, Music from Sony BMG Music Entertainment channel, and Always Something Good to Watch, a suite of up to 30 highly-regarded former television programs. Sheraton is working with Lodgenet Entertainment to provide programming support for Scene @ Sheraton. (www.sheraton.com)
The Grand Hyatt DFW has introduced its iTASTE and The Virtual Menu guest programs. For a fee guests may check out an iPod containing an iTASTE video podcast that guides them through a cheese, wine or chocolate tasting in the Grand Hyatt’s MOKA coffee bar. Guests dining in the hotel’s Grand Met restaurant can use The Virtual Menu touch-screen device to explore detailed menu item descriptions and recommended food and wine pairings. The programs were developed in conjunction with AVT Communique and The Creative Effort, divisions of Hospitality Partners LLC. (www.hyatt.com, www.avt.com)
The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, scheduled to open in December 2007, has ordered Internet Protocol Video on Demand (IPVOD), IPTV and interactive digital IP-based in-room entertainment and technology from NxTV for all 339 hotel rooms. (www.trumpintl.com, www.nxtv.com)
TTI Technologies International announced its Concierge on Demand kiosk/PC-based guest service. The system allows guests to view and book tours, buy show tickets via Telecharge, book transportation, etc. directly from a lobby kiosk or PC workstation. Vouchers are printed immediately from the terminal. The 147-room Portland Square Hotel in New York’s Broadway District is the first hotel to install Concierge on Demand. (www.ttitel.com)

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  • UniFocus now offering ITCS’ Watson Time and Attendance

UniFocus is now offering the Watson Time and Attendance Web-based workforce time and attendance system developed with its partner, ITCS. Watson was originally built in 1996 as a software solution, but was re-launched in 2004 as a Web-based product. (www.unifocus.com)

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  • Mintek is hospitality industry winner in Vertical Systems Reseller (VSR) magazine’s All-Star Awards

Mintek Mobile Data Solutions has been selected as the hospitality industry winner in Vertical Systems Reseller (VSR) magazine’s third annual All-Star Awards. Winners in each of VSR’s vertical markets were judged on use of state-of-the-art technology, the VAR’s commitment to its vertical market, the benefit to the end user’s business, and the potential for future growth/benefits. (www.mintek.com)

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