September 9, 2014

In this issue…

People on the Move

Guest Management Systems

Reservations

Marketing / Management

Revenue Management

Sales & Catering, Meeting Planning

F&B / POS

Spa / Golf / Leisure Activities

Guest Services

Back Office

Communications / Infrastructure

AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 9, 2014

TOP O’ THE NEWS

  • Security is everyone’s problem and everyone’s responsibility
  • Technovation adds four new partners to Las Vegas technology integration showcase

It was a great CIO Summit last week, well-attended and in perfect weather that allowed us to enjoy Milwaukee and its many attractions to the full. And I don’t mean just the beer… although that _was_ excellent! Many congratulations to Rich and Charlotte for putting on an outstanding event from every viewpoint.
One topic high on most CIOs’ agendas is data security, of course, and this came up both during the CEO Panel discussion and at the all-attendee round table that closed the conference. (A very worthwhile innovation, Rich; this should be the cornerstone of every such conference.) The three CEOs on the panel showed an enlightened view of the complexities of data security, but from the round table and other discussions during the week it seems that not all CEOs accept the fundamental nature of security challenges. A few ownership companies, especially, are reportedly of the opinion that security is someone else’s problem, sometimes stating a belief that a franchise brand should ensure and be responsible for all data security at its franchisees’ properties.
This is clearly unrealistic. As several participants commented, with the never-ending escalation of threats and counter-measures always in favor of the former it’s only a question of “when” a security breach occurs, not “if”. Taking even elementary precautions reduces the risk significantly (it’s amazing how many network access points are still in use with their default passwords, something that costs nothing but a few minutes of effort to change), but it’s everyone’s responsibility to be aware of data security and contribute to it.
Yes, the systems that franchisors mandate for their properties to use must be well-written, kept secure behind appropriate firewalls and anti-malware programs and protected with regular security updates. But it’s the property’s and owner’s responsibility to apply the same standards to systems they buy for themselves, to provide the funds to upgrade all equipment as needed (implementing tokenization at all POS workstations, for example) and to ensure that the hotel GM instills a security-minded attitude among her staff with regular refresher training.
Nevertheless, the only thing that’s completely secure is a system that doesn’t communicate with anything and which no-one can use. In the real world breaches will occur, and every property and every corporate IT department must have a regularly-reviewed and regularly-practiced action plan in place covering what to do when one is discovered – which may be several months after it occurred. Choosing what countermeasures to put in place is always an exercise in risk assessment and cost/benefit analysis, and it’s one that needs to involve everyone up to the GM and the owner. Sharing awareness of the trade-offs shares the risk, encourages a team mentality and is the only true way to provide an effective defense and an effective response.
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Technovation Solutions’ technology integration showcase center has signed four new members:
– Cenium (hospitality enterprise resource planning (ERP) software)
– EventPoint (cloud-based event management software)
– Evolve Controls (SaaS-based guest experience software)
– Genesis Gaming Solutions (hardware and software for casino pit and poker room management and player tracking)
Technovation moved its headquarters to a bigger space earlier this year near the heart of Las Vegas. Existing partners include Microsoft, Cisco, NEC, Rainmaker, Red Rock Software, Skywire and Nevotek.
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PEOPLE ON THE MOVE

  • Mike Webster to lead Micros; Peter Altabeff to step down
  • Eric Wong joins Infor as VP Infor Hospitality, Asia Pacific
  • Sofya McIntosh hired by The Rainmaker Group as Director, Sales

Mike Webster will be the new President and CEO of Micros, succeeding Peter Altabeff who is leaving upon the completion of Oracle’s acquisition of Micros. Mr. Webster is currently SVP and General Manager of Oracle’s retail division; he previously served ten years with NCR Corp in various senior POS leadership roles, and was earlier Area Director with Teradata for five years.
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Eric Wong has joined Infor as Vice President of Infor Hospitality, Asia Pacific. Mr. Wong brings almost 20 years of experience in business consulting and hospitality in Asia and North America, most recently as Director of Mobile Strategy for AJB Software Design. He earlier served as Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Agilysys from 2007-2012.
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Sofya McIntosh has been hired by The Rainmaker Group as Director, Sales. Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Ms. McIntosh’s 16-year hospitality career includes positions with Ritz-Carlton/Marriott, Interstate Hotels and Resorts and, most recently, with TravelClick, where she held various positions including Enterprise Director of Sales.
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GUEST MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

  • EVEN Hotels deploy PDC’s Smart Band RFID Wristbands
  • Sabre integrates CheckMate into TripCase
  • Mews Systems announces Commander mobile GMS for hotels, apartments, B&Bs and hostels
  • Best Western certifies MSI’s CloudPM for general release
  • Joie De Vivre deploys StayNTouch at Galleria Park Hotel
  • Menin Hospitality selects Ve-Go Technologies’ RoomKey mobile app for Gale South Beach

InterContinental Hotels Group’s new EVEN Hotels brand has deployed PDC’s Smart Band RFID Wristband System for guest use as an RFID keycard and POS charge device.  If they wish, guest can purchase the wristbands to take with them for use on future visits to any EVEN hotel. Two EVEN Hotels opened in June in Rockville, Maryland and Norwalk, Connecticut; three additional locations in the pipeline, two in midtown Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, N.Y. (www.evenhotels.com, www.pdcorp.com)
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Sabre has integrated CheckMate’s mobile check-in platform into its TripCase itinerary management tool, allowing TripCase users to check-in pre-arrival, upgrade their rooms, accept special offers, enter contact and payment information, update preferences and more. When their room is ready, they are notified of where they can then pick up their pre-programmed keys. (www.tripcase.com, www.checkmate.io)
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Mews Systems, based in the Czech Republic, has announced its Commander mobile GMS for hotels, apartments, B&Bs and hostels, covering reservations, front desk, housekeeping and maintenance functions from any smartphone/tablet with an Internet browser.  A dashboard shows the status of checked-in/out rooms, housekeeping, a 7-day occupancy forecast, the hotel’s TripAdvisor ranking and several reports. The system allows for direct payment entry, and can e-mail bills to customers. Current interfaces include Channel Managements Solutions, Septim (POS), Braintree (Credit Cards) and Reliance (Facility Management). (mewssystems.com)
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Best Western International has certified Multi-Systems, Inc.’s (MSI’s) CloudPM for general release to its hotel properties. (www.bestwestern.com, www.msisolutions.com)
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Joie De Vivre Hotels has deployed StayNTouch’s mobile platform at a fourth hotel, the Galleria Park Hotel in San Francisco. The property implemented three StayNTouch modules:
– Rover FrontOffice, an overlay on top of the Micros Opera PMS that presents front office functionality on a mobile/tablet in a touch/graphic UI and includes remote key encoding & secure credit card swipe.
– Zest Web, which sends guests e-mail invitations to check-in and check-out via a smart phone or desktop.
– Rover Housekeeping, offering a phone/tablet touch-optimized UI for rooms-to-clean lists, room status, guest information and room status updates.
(www.galleriapark.com, www.jdvhotels.com, www.stayntouch.com)
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Menin Hospitality has selected Ve-Go Technologies’ RoomKey mobile app at its Gale South Beach property. Integrated with the hotel’s Micros Opera GMS, RoomKey lets guests book a room, select a specific room, check-in and control their stay from their mobile devices. (meninhospitality.com, www.ve-go.com)
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RESERVATIONS

  • Hotel Casa Blanca adopts Busy Rooms
  • RoomActually  announces off-campus student housing platform
  • Expedia releases tablet app to shop for both hotels and flights at same time
  • Sun-n-Sand Group renews technology agreement with Sabre
  • Sonata Software acquires Rezopia, XYKA
  • Roomlia releases mobile hotel booking app focusing on rooms available in next seven days
  • Skyscanner adds hotel search engine to flight search application

The 270-room Hotel Casa Blanca in Mexico City has adopted Busy Rooms’ Internet booking engine, links with social media platforms, meta-search, GDSs, channel management and peer group pricing information, as well as live reporting of online reputation data across multiple guest review websites. (www.hotel-casablanca.com.mx, www.busy-rooms.com)
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RoomActually has announced an off-campus student housing platform with an AirBnB-like approach. The New York-based company has already launched the system in Europe. (www.roomactually.com)
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Expedia.com has released a new app for tablets that allows travelers to shop for both hotels and flights on one screen by entering or selecting a destination. Entering a city name, landmark, or airport code will present relevant hotels and flights without requiring dates or other specific details. (www.expedia.com)
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India’s Sun-n-Sand Group has renewed its technology agreement with Sabre for distribution services and the SynXis CRS. (www.sunnsandhotel.com, www.sabre.com)
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IT services company Sonata Software has acquired a controlling stake in cloud-based travel management platform Rezopia, which helps travel companies manage their end-to-end reservation process, contracts, operations and distribution systems. Rezopia’s customers include Queensland Rail, DiscoverBranson, and Resortime.
Sonata Software also acquired XYKA (owned by the same founders of Rezopia), Rezopia’s primary IT services company with customers including STA Travel, Houseoftours, Adventurelink and Blueskytours.
(www.rezopia.com, www.xyka.com, www.sonata-software.com)
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Roomlia has released a mobile hotel booking app for Apple iOS devices, focusing on hotel rooms available in the next seven days.  Roomlia links the traveler directly with the chosen hotel at the moment of booking, rather than negotiating rates and payments through the hotel site and the hotel itself. Initial coverage includes New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Miami, Orlando, and the Florida Keys, and is planned for short-term expansion into Atlantic City, New Orleans, Seattle, Boston, and Washington, D.C. An Android version is planned for September. (www.roomlia.com)
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Skyscanner has added a hotel search engine to its flight search application for Apple iOS devices, a year after acquiring Barcelona-based Fogg. (www.skyscanner.com)
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MARKETING / MANAGEMENT

  • TrustYou releases app for Sabre’s Red App store
  • SmartDepart adds TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews to hotel booking engine
  • Chamberlain West Hollywood implements Flip.to
  • Drury Hotels selects Leonardo’s VScape

TrustYou has released a Sabre Red App, allowing Sabre-connected travel agents worldwide to see TrustYou’s TrustScores and Meta-Reviews for more than 125,000 hotels around the world. The Sabre Red App Centre B2B app store, offers more than 100 Red Apps.
SmartDepart has added TrustYou’s Meta-Reviews to its hotel booking engine.
(www.sabre.com, www.smartdepart.com, www.trustyou.com)
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The 114-room Chamberlain West Hollywood has implemented Flip.to. (www.chamberlainwesthollywood.com)
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Drury Hotels has selected Leonardo Worldwide’s VScape digital asset management system for its 130+ hotels. (www.druryhotels.com, www.leonardo.com)
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REVENUE MANAGEMENT

  • iRates introduces group management module
  • Oakwood Managed Properties selects eRevMax’s RateTiger Channel Management for 12 properties

iRates has introduced a group management module to help limited service hotels manage group reservations and pricing, using automated displacement analysis calculations. (www.i-rates.com)
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Oakwood Managed Properties has selected eRevMax’s RateTiger Channel Management for twelve of its 28 properties.  (www.OakwoodAsia.com, www.erevmax.com)
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SALES & CATERING, MEETING PLANNING

  • The Sanctuary Hotel New York selects Groupize

The Sanctuary Hotel New York has selected Groupize Solutions’ Group Booking Engine. (www.sanctuaryhotelnyc.com, www.groupize.com)
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F&B/POINT OF SALE

  • Isis Wallet rebrands to Softcard
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Isis Wallet has announced that it will rebrand to Softcard. (www.gosoftcard.com)
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SPA/GOLF/LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • ResortSuite receives ISPA Innovate Award

ResortSuite has been recognized by the International SPA Association (ISPA) with an ISPA Innovate Award for its spa guest check-in and questionnaire tablet app. (www.resortsuite.com)
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GUEST SERVICES

  • Select-TV adds TransGaming’s GameTree TV on-demand gaming service to guest channels
  • EVEN Hotels deploys PDC’s Smart Band RFID Wristband System

Select-TV has added TransGaming’s GameTree TV on-demand gaming service to its guest channels. The service launched in Montreal at the Holiday Inn (Pointe-Claire). (www.transgaming.com, www.selectv.co)
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InterContinental Hotels Group’s new EVEN Hotels brand has deployed PDC’s Smart Band RFID Wristband System for guest use as an RFID keycard and POS charge device.  If they wish, guest can purchase the wristbands to take with them for use on future visits to any EVEN hotel. Two EVEN Hotels opened in June in Rockville, Maryland and Norwalk, Connecticut; three additional locations in the pipeline, two in midtown Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, N.Y. (www.evenhotels.com, www.pdcorp.com)
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BACK OFFICE

  • Park Hyatt New York opens with InvoTech System’s UHF-RFID Uniform System

The 210-room Park Hyatt New York has opened with InvoTech System’s UHF-RFID Uniform System to manage its 4,000 uniforms, in conjunction with a White Conveyors U-Pick-It System that automates uniform distribution. (www.newyork.park.hyatt.com, www.invotech.com)
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COMMUNICATIONS/INFRASTRUCTURE

  • TheWit Hotel completes refresh of converged network

TheWit Hotel in Chicago has completed a refresh of its converged network, using Hospitality Technical Services (HTS). The property’s Internet connection was upgraded from a 45Mbps T3 Internet circuit to a 100 Mbps circuit; 2.4 GHz/54 Mbps access points were replaced with “dual mode” units supporting both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands with 300 Mbps of bandwidth per access point, and one access point for every three guestrooms. (www.thewithotel.com, www.htsnow.com)
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