December is now here. We are done with Black Friday, Cyber Monday and I bet many want to include Why-Did-I-Buy-That-Stuff Tuesday, What-Was-I-Thinking Wednesday and Regretful Thursday. Of course we should end the week with the traditional TGIF because that is very appropriate as we complete this week. Honestly, the shopping ads before last weekend are worse than the political ads we get nonstop before the presidential election. Since this is only in the first week of December I am guessing the ads will keep going.
Yes, it is December, the month where many of us want to reflect on the past year. I’m ready to reflect on an era that has past. I am showing my age, but do you remember when we made phone calls to catch up with someone or share something, especially if you wanted to get business done? Then slowly people stopped calling and everybody was emailing. Email for business makes sense as long as there are phone calls also. We were also sharing news with our family and friends via email and I could live with that, but again along with the occasional phone calls. When did everybody and their brother decide that all contact today should be via text? Thankfully not so much for business, but that is happening more also. I know people that all they do is text…text….text. Too often it isn’t even a simple text. Do they think I am going to write paragraphs via text to reply? I am not. I tend to drive friends crazy because I never respond right away unless a quick response is absolutely needed. Nine times out of 10 it is not that urgent. Ok, enough ranting about the advances in personal technology and how irritating I find some of it. I want to keep my holiday spirits sky high this year.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is kind of screwy this year with the holidays falling on Wednesday. I am guessing those who aren’t taking extended time off will be figuring out ways to have five day weekends. As for me, I love traveling somewhere around that time of year. Where should I go? When you tell people outside Georgia that you live in Roswell, Ga., the first comment is often about aliens. Sometimes I correct them that Area 51 where the aliens are is in Roswell, New Mexico. Have you ever been to Roswell, N.M.? I wonder if anybody in Roswell, Ga. has been to the other Roswell. Many, many years ago I went to Albuquerque and Santa Fe, but that has been the extent of my New Mexico adventures. This year I am flying into El Paso, Texas and driving up to Roswell, Ruidoso and any other cool place I can find in New Mexico. It is fun to go somewhere you have never been. I am betting that New Mexico will be great and it will be fun to tell people that I have been to both Roswells. As I am typing this I am now wondering if I am losing my mind. If you think I might be, let me know….just don’t text me.
One more business trip, I am off to Los Angeles for my favorite meeting of the year. It is the advisory board meeting where we plan for next year’s HITEC program. There will be near 20 industry technology leaders representing all different types of industry segments to discuss what is topical today and more importantly what will be in June. So much can change between now and then and flexibility is always the key. If you have any suggestions that I should bring up at the meeting email me right away. You never know unless you ask, right?
Here now is the real reason we are here, Jon Inge’s review of the technology happenings around the industry. I will see you at the end with this week’s attempt at you-know-what.
- Awards from HTNG, PhoCusWright recognize achievements in guest service -------------------------- The end-of-year technology award season continues, with both HTNG and PhoCusWright announcing the winners of their recognition programs. HTNG focused on hoteliers in the EMEA region, PhoCusWright on the vendors presenting at its Travel Innovation Summit. The common theme? Every one of these winners is focused on providing a better guest experience. There’s no clearer indication of where the focus lies today. ** Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) has given its EMEA Technology Innovators Awards to Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts (MH&R) and the Hotel Lugano Dante Center. - Mövenpick created a central Service Centre ticketing platform for hotels and offices to manage guest and staff requests and issues, following an IT call center model, based on Microsoft Sharepoint with a separate SQL database for ticket reporting data. The ticket application itself is a joint venture between five Zurich-based companies from different industries. It replaced a structure where each property had its own dedicated system, costs about 1/10 of the prior structure and requires less staff. Guest survey data with one hotel showed that guest satisfaction increased about three months after deployment of the tool, and interaction between departments improved. Next year Mövenpick plans to add a mobile app and look into integration with property management systems. - Hotel Lugano Dante Center developed its Happy Guest Relationship Management (HGRM) tool from the ground up. All staff have been issued iPhones® and iPads® since 2009 to allow for full engagement with the guest. Guests can receive personalized contact from reservation, confirmation, arrival, through the in-room experience and post departure. Guests can directly communicate with reception staff for any need (room temperature, pillow and bedding types, minibar beverages, amenities for children and more). Almost no paper is used by the property; almost every document that used to be printed is now available to staff online. Guests who use the system rate the hotel very positively in online ratings services, thus improving their brand reputation and earning the hotel the greatest number of online guest comments in Switzerland. ** PhoCusWright announced the award winners of The Travel Innovation Summit in each of five categories: startup, emerging, established, B2B and B2C. Conference attendees determined the People's Choice Award winner. This year, Brand USA awarded the first Travel Marketing Innovation Award, and one company was selected to win the $250,000 General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation. Winners include: - The General Catalyst Award for Travel Innovation: SafelyStay (verified vacation rentals) - The Brand USA Award for Travel Marketing Innovation: Mygola Inc. (curated custom itineraries) - The 2013 Travel Innovation Summit People's Choice Award: Peek (experience-based travel planning) - The Most Innovative Startup Company: VerbalizeIt (translation services) - The Most Innovative Emerging Company: Groupize (group booking) - The Most Innovative Established Company: Sociomantic Labs (personalized ad display) - The Most Innovative Business to Business Company: Sociomantic Labs - The Most Innovative Business to Consumer Company: MakeMyTrip.com Pvt. Ltd. (travel booking) **
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
- Jeff Welles promoted to president at InvoTech - Samir Abi Frem joins HTNG’s Board of Governors - Andrew Sanders joins RoamingAround as COO - John Seaton promoted to VP sales/EMEA and APAC at eRevMax --------------------------
- Marriott expands mobile check-in into international arena - House of Fisher selects protel’s MPE from Xn Hotel Systems - Dunes Hotel Apartments picks Prologic First’s WISH for chain of hotel apartments in Dubai - Prologic First upgrades Club Central application to multiproperty enterprise level --------------------------
- B4Checkin certified by TripAdvisor for TripConnect access - Genares partners with TrustYou -------------------------- B4Checkin has been certified by TripAdvisor for TripConnect access, allowing its hotel clients to route prospective guests directly to their own websites from listings on TripAdvisor. http://www.b4checkin.com ** Genares Worldwide Reservations Services has partnered with TrustYou to provide its hotel clients with reputation management tools to analyze online reviews and social media content. The toolset allows hoteliers to understand what is said, increase reviews, distribute content and strategically market a property's reputation. http://www.genares.com, http://www.trustyou.com **
- Lodging Interactive announces HotelWebPages.com copywriting service for better match with new Google algorithm - TravelClick receives 11 HSMAI Adrian Awards - Fourwinds Resort and Marina selects UniFocus’ GUESTScope - Genares partners with TrustYou - Blynk announces new guest feedback application - Blynk releases mobile apps for nine new properties - CMS Hospitality updates G-Phone and G-Pad mobile BI apps - MGM Resorts International selects Medallia for guest feedback management at 15 resorts - HeBS Digital receives eight HSMAI Adrian Awards - Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson launch social media campaign with Otrum --------------------------
- Flora Hospitality Group implements IDeaS RMS in Flora Grand Hotel - Citymax Hotels switches to IDeaS’ RMS for UAE properties - ProfilHotels adopts PowerYourRoom’s PriceYourRoom pricing recommendation software --------------------------
- Groupize unveils Planner Relationship Manager - PSAV acquires Visual Aids Electronics -------------------------- Groupize has unveiled its Groupize Planner Relationship Manager (PRM), a cloud-based sales and catering system to help hotels manage their online and offline demand for groups and meetings. The PRM centralizes all leads and all groups in a single dashboard, can manage automated group bookings and RFPs from multiple channels, groups’ business intelligence and sales automation. PRM is fully integrated with the Groupize Live white label application that powers group bookings on hotel and travel websites, and includes an automated quoting engine, a quote and proposal generator, business rules and the ability to communicate directly with the group planner including notes, attachments and action-triggered emails. http://www.groupize.com ** PSAV has acquired Visual Aids Electronics (VAE), and plans to merge the two companies into one entity as PSAV. VAE has been providing audiovisual services since 1968 through regional warehouses in Richmond, Cincinnati and Phoenix, and smaller warehouses in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. http://www.psav.com **
- IBS and Brett Darrow announce Play18 Solutions -------------------------- IBS and Quick18 founder Brett Darrow have announced Play18 Solutions, an integrated marketing company that allows semi-private, resort and daily fee golf courses to drive rounds and revenue while retaining control of their pricing structure and customer data. Play18 utilizes a combination of IBS’ newly acquired T-Links cloud-based reservation system, IBS POS and online business intelligence coupled with Quick18’s digital marketing tools to capture customer and sales data and produce targeted marketing campaigns. Play18 Solutions replaces the barter system with a performance-based pricing structure, allowing courses to keep their pricing structure intact. http://www.play18solutions.com **
- Holiday Inn Express New Orleans Airport installs RoamingAround’s RoamBoost - FCS signs Valued Business Partnership with India’s Enkay Technologies - Roadtrippers.com launches Android app, upgrades iPhone® app - Westin Atlanta Airport contracts with Bags to offer free airline check-in/bag check from the hotel - Bulk TV & Internet recognized as one of 50 fastest growing private companies in Raleigh-Durham area --------------------------
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