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Industry News - December 17th 2010



Rancho La Puerta iPhone App Targets ‘On-the-go’ Spa Guests

Rancho La Puerta, a world-renowned fitness resort and spa in Baja California, has teamed up with MacroView Labs to develop a custom iPhone app that acts as a resort guide, social media hub, and fitness companion. The free app gives users a taste of the Rancho La Puerta experience right from their mobile phone, allowing them to view instructional fitness videos, recipes, photos, news, updates, social networking and more.
“The Rancho La Puerta app is an entertaining and simple way to engage our audience, encourage past guests to maintain their year-round fitness, and plan their next visit,” says Rancho La Puerta’s director of communications, Peter Jensen. “It is much more than just another hotel or resort app; in a way, it’s like having a Ranch fitness instructor at your beck and call.” An Android version of the application will be launched within a few months.
Application features
  • Activities and Entertainment Directory: Guests can access the Ranch’s schedule of speakers, presenters, classes, hikes, movies, games and more during any week.
  • Fitness Videos, Pictures and Descriptions: Guests can stay fit while away from the Ranch with exercise, healing and meditation videos taught by the Ranch’s expert and entertaining instructors.
  • People Directory: Guests can contact reservations, housekeeping or anyone else at the Ranch instantly.
  • Food Directory: Guests can browse through recipes, preview Rancho La Puerta’s cooking classes, watch videos from the Ranch’s nutritionist, or check out the latest images from Tres Estrellas, Rancho La Puerta’s 5-acre organic garden.
  • Travel Info: Guests can read up on everything from travel itinerary FAQ’s to making the most of their stays.
  • My Rancho La Puerta: Guests can bookmark a recipe, photo gallery, map or anything else for later viewing in a custom favorites folder.
  • Real Time Weather Updates: Guests can keep an eye on the sky with constant weather updates.
  • Private Content: Groups can create private, passcode-protected content.
  • Be Heard: Guests can take a feedback survey or rate content within the app.
  • Interactive Maps: Never get lost with an illustrated Ranch map and a satellite GPS map. The illustrated map highlights key locations around Rancho La Puerta, such as accommodations, trails, pools, and gyms. The GPS map allows users to find their exact location or get directions to the Ranch.
  • Memories: Guests can read about the history of the Ranch, or reconnect with old friends through live Twitter & Facebook pages.


L.A. JW Marriott Stops Guest Requests from Falling Through Concierge Desk ‘Cracks’

Since the JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE opened last February in downtown Los Angeles’ newest sports and entertainment complex, business has been booming. Tens of thousands of guests have already stayed at the 878-room property that shares space with two other hotels. For the concierge team at the Marriott, there is nonstop activity; a steady stream of guest requests that must be handled efficiently and professionally. Thanks to Web-based GoConcierge, a guest service operations system, the concierges are able to log and manage requests without even one falling through the cracks. GoConcierge is produced by Los Angeles-based GoConcierge.net.

“One of our key commitments at the JW Marriott is to create personalized experiences with attention to even the smallest details for every one of our guests,” says Javier Cano, general manager. “GoConcierge assists us in making this commitment a reality on a daily basis.”

From manual processes to an automated system 
Prior to implementing GoConcierge this fall, the concierge team at the property relied on binders, Post-it Notes and e-mail to track their daily tasks “Communication was inconsistent and it was not easy to confirm all the communication with our guests,” says Joey Battaglia, lead concierge.

Now, using GoConcierge’s online Guest Task Calendar, concierges at three stations in the main lobby and at the concierge desk in the Executive Lounge can log and track guest and other requests and tasks quickly and easily. With just a few clicks, these can be entered and located. The calendar is color coded, which makes it easy to highlight open, pending and closed tasks. Because a history of each guest’s request is stored in GoConcierge, it is easy to generate itineraries. These can be printed or e-mailed in a matter of seconds along with a personalized confirmation letter on stationery that includes the hotel’s logo. Point-to-point directions and maps also can be generated easily.

Customizable location database
A customized location database within GoConcierge allows concierges to quickly identify area restaurants and attractions. “We use it all of the time and love the ability to contribute new locations previously not in the system,” Battaglia says.

To communicate directly with guests who are not nearby, the concierge team utilizes GoConcierge’s text messaging feature. When guests respond to text messages sent to them, their messages appear in the Guest Task Calendar. Concierges and guests correspond about issues ranging from theater tickets to dinner reservations and transportation. “The text messaging option is great,” Battaglia says.“Guests are starting to use that more and more.”

Reports available within GoConcierge detail volume of reservations made for on-site and external restaurants and attractions. Reports also provide insight into staff productivity and scheduling.

A month after implementing GoConcierge, Battaglia says hotel management is considering introducing it to other departments. 


McDonald's Warns Customers of Data Theft

McDonald's says some of its customers' private information was exposed during a data breach.
The company said Monday that a third party was able to get past security measures and see into a database of its customer information that included e-mail, phone numbers, addresses, birthdates and other specifics that they provided when signing up for online promotions or other subscriptions to its websites.


T36 Percent of Biz Travelers Rethink Hotel When They Experience Bad Wi-Fi

iPass Inc., a provider of enterprise mobility services, has released survey findings that indicate hotels are potentially losing lucrative business travel customers with bad Wi-Fi offerings, whether it is a paid or free Wi-Fi service. 
While over 50 percent of business travelers inform the front desk when they have connectivity issues, the survey results show that for nearly 36 percent of business travel hotel guests —a bad experience affects whether they book that specific hotel. For a further 16 percent, a bad Wi-Fi experience influences their decision on whether to book with the same hotel chain again.
A report earlier this year from J.D Power & Associates indicated that Wi-Fi was a “top five ‘must-have’” amenity for hotel guests.  The iPass Hospitality survey findings are based on nearly 1,200 business travelers from around the globe. Forty-eight percent of respondents were surveyed in Europe and Asia while 47 percent of respondents were from North America. To access the report visit


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