September 12, 2006

In this issue…

People on the Move

Property Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

F&B / POS

Spa/Golf/Leisure

Inventory / Purchasing


TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Thoughts on ROI for hotel technology

Return on investment in hotel technology is a perennially thorny issue. Some systems you simply have to have to run a hotel these days, such as a property management system; they’re just an essential part of the operation. Other factors are often added through market pressure, such as providing high-speed Internet access in the guestrooms; they may not make much (if any) additional revenue, but not having them is very likely to cost you bookings. Investments like these are the price of staying in the game.
There’s a third category of systems that are less visible since they run behind the scenes, but which generate real ROI through increased staff efficiency, higher levels of guest service or tighter cost controls. These are the ones that help you improve your game. Justifying ongoing investment in them is often more difficult, however, since once they’re in place and all is running well it’s easy to forget how badly things were before. Their value is often intuitively obvious, especially to those who use them in their daily tasks, but determining their financial return can be difficult unless you set up the right measuring practices. Better guest satisfaction survey scores or lower food costs when comparing before and after scenarios are obvious examples. It’s important to retain this data supporting their value, especially when it’s time to invest in upgrading them or in providing refresher training for their users.
All of this is easier for a multi-unit chain, of course, when pitching a system to a new owner. “We installed system X in property Y, very equivalent to your hotel, and saw GSS scores improve by Z” is a persuasive argument. It’s much harder for a vendor to convince the owner of a new-construction project. With no “before” problems for comparison, and especially when initial budgets are drawn up a year or more before opening, making the case that such a system is an important contributor to operational efficiency and should therefore be included in the IT budget from day one is much harder. But as staff labor costs continue to rise in parallel with the demand for higher standards of guest service, all hoteliers should be looking into every way to make the operation as effective as possible from the minute the doors open.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Carl Leander joins Turning Stone Software as Chief Technology Officer
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Scott Berman joins Cornell’s Research Advisory Board

Carl Leander has joined contract software developer Turning Stone Software as Chief Technology Officer. Mr. Leander was most recently Director of Development – Daylight Products at Newmarket International; he had earlier served as Vice President of Development at Daylight Software, which was acquired by Newmarket in March this year. Prior to his ten years with Daylight, he worked for Shaw Data Systems as an architect and developer of financial service software applications.
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Scott Berman, US Advisory leader of the Hospitality & Leisure Practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers and a principal in the Miami office, has joined the Cornell Hotel School’s Center for Hospitality Research Advisory Board.
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PROPERTY MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • Multi-Systems Inc. switches Customer Assistance Center to brand-focused model
  • Instant Software designates Shift4 as preferred payment vendor for V12.NET

Multi-Systems Inc. (MSI) has switched its Customer Assistance Center to a brand-focused model from a product-focused one. Beginning Sept. 18, each hotel chain or independent hotel will now be supported by one of five dedicated Brand Support Teams, initially covering Wyndham Hotel Group, Best Western International, Select Hotel Group-USFSI, Nova, and Independents. The new initiative will provide MSI’s technicians with intensive, brand-specific training on the system modules used by their respective groups. (www.msisolutions.com)
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Instant Software has designated Shift4 as the preferred payment processing vendor for its V12.NET vacation rental management software, which is scheduled for release at the end of September. (www.instantsoftware.com, www.shift4.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • KDS contracts with Pegasus for UltraDirect electronic distribution service
  • Boscolo contracts with Pegasus for Global Commission Services for 19 hotels
  • TRUST.WIZCOM adds secure credit card payment from Wirecard AG to Voyager CRS
  • AC Hotels renews agreement for TravelCLICK’s iHotelier CRS for 79 properties
  • Aquarius Hotels Group installs SensibleRez booking engine on web site
  • Rosewood expands relationship with SynXis to include private-label call center services
  • Sabre introduces Hotel upSell technology to the UK
  • Thomas Cook orders £20 million multi-channel reservation system from BlueSky Travel Systems

Business travel management vendor KDS has contracted with Pegasus Solutions to use its UltraDirect electronic distribution service for direct access 60,000+ hotels worldwide.
Boscolo Hotels has contracted with Pegasus for Global Commission Services for its 19 four- and five-star hotels across Europe, and renewed its agreement for the RezView CRS and NetBooker Internet booking engine.
(www.kds.com, www.boscolohotels.com, www.pegs.com)
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TRUST.WIZCOM has added secure online credit card payment from Germany’s Wirecard AG to its Voyager CRS. (www.wirecard.com, www.trustwizcom.com)
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AC Hotels, with 79 properties in Spain, Italy, and Portugal, has renewed its agreement to use TravelCLICK’s iHotelier CRS as its booking engine for web connectivity. AC Hotels has used iHotelier since 2004. (www.travelclick.net)
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The UK’s Aquarius Hotels Group has installed Sensible IT’s SensibleRez web booking engine on the Web site, which serves its properties in London, Hertford and Letchworth. Aquarius has also implemented SensibleRez’ Preferred Partner Module to allow corporate travelers to book at their contracted rate. (www.aquariushotels.co.uk, www.makeitsensible.com)
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Rosewood Hotels and Resorts has expanded its relationship with Sabre’s SynXis to include private-label call center services for its twenty properties worldwide. Rosewood will now manage all channels through SynXis’ RedX Distribution Management System, including GDS, IDS, CRO, and website bookings.
Sabre has introduced its Hotel upSell technology to the UK, making it easier for hoteliers to offer upgrades automatically when travel agents book hotel rooms via Sabre. As the agent completes a hotel booking an upgrade message appears on the booking screen, prompting the agent to either accept or decline the upgrade.
(www.rosewoodhotels.com, www.synxis.com, www.sabretravelnetwork.com)
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Thomas Cook has placed a contract with Manchester-based BlueSky Travel Systems to provide a £20 million new multi-channel reservation system across Europe, to allow all of the group’s tour operating brands to sell and distribute via multiple channels including websites, television, call-centres and travel agents. The new system, code name GLOBE, will be phased in brand by brand over two years, and will enable Thomas Cook to distribute traditional package holidays, dynamically packaged and priced holidays and trips made up of individual components.
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • Kor signs with Clairvoyix for Guest Intelligence and Knowledge Factory
  • Travelport signs with VRX Studios for hotel and cruise rich-media content

Kor Hotel Group has signed with Clairvoyix for its Guest Intelligence and Knowledge Factory applications. Kor currently manages eleven hotels, with five more planned. Clairvoyix will import guest data from the hotels’ property-management systems, augment it from third party data providers and provide automation tools for e-mail marketing and direct mail campaigns. (www.korhotelgroup.com, www.clairvoyix.com)
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Travelport Operations has signed a one year licensing agreement for VRX Studios to provide hotel and cruise rich-media content to Orbitz.com, Cheaptickets.com and eBookers.com. (www.travelport.com, www.vrxstudios.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • Classical Hotels installing IDeaS v5i at several city hotels
  • InterContinental deploys Hotel Booking Solutions (HBSI) Demand Management suite

Classical Hotels, the 14-property city hotel group within Grecotel, Greece’s largest hotel chain, is installing IDeaS v5i ASP-based revenue optimization application at several of its city hotels including locations in Athens, Thessaloniki and Sofia. The IDeaS system will work with Classical’s existing Protel environment. (www.grecotel.com, www.ideas.com)
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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is deploying Hotel Booking Solutions (HBSI) Demand Management suite to expand the number of online distribution channels and third-party interfaces available to IHG properties worldwide. (www.ichotelsgroup.com, www.hotelbookingsolutions.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Ireland’s Rebel Bar Group implements MICROS’ RES 3000 at 15 locations

Ireland’s Rebel Bar Group is implementing MICROS’ Restaurant Enterprise Series (RES 3000), which includes MICROS 3700 Point-of-Sale (POS), Enterprise Management, mymicros.net and myinventory, across its 15 locations. The RES 3000 suite will replace the group’s dependent till systems. (www.rebelbargroup.com, www.micros.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE

  • Demand for spa services at high-end properties still increasing

Emphasizing guests’ continued demand for spa experiences at luxury and upper-upscale lodging hotels and resorts, a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Smith Travel Research and the International Spa Association reports that approximately 40 percent of US development projects in this tier have spa facilities and services, compared to 27 percent of existing sites. But it’s still a high-end market; among US hotels in all categories, 1.9 percent of planned projects have spa facilities and services compared to 0.6 percent of existing hotels.
According to the International Spa Association, resort/hotel spas are the second largest category of spas after day spas, but are disproportionately larger and more profitable. They account for 14 percent of spa locations but 37 percent of the total industry square footage and 41 percent of revenues.
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INVENTORY/PURCHASING

  • Beverly Hills Hotel orders Agilysys’ Materials Management System

The 204-room Beverly Hills Hotel has ordered Agilysys’ Materials Management System (MMS) inventory and procurement application, including the MMS Menu/Recipe Analysis and MMS Bar Coding modules. (www.thebeverlyhillshotel.com, www.agilysys.com)
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