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Industry News - January 7th 2011

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Secure, Trouble-free Locks Create a Pleasant Wyndham Vacation Ownership Guest Experience

Hotel door locks and keys are unlikely to appear on anybody's list of popular resort amenities. Safety, security, and convenience, on the other hand, are top priorities for both vacationers and hospitality management companies. Recently, Wyndham Vacation Ownership began installing the  KABA Saflok Messenger online locking systems in its resorts.
A strong, trouble-free locking system is part of the infrastructure that makes for a pleasant stay. "KABA's Saflok Messenger models are durable and reliable and provide convenience for our owners," says Gary Byrd, Wyndham Vacation Ownership chief customer officer. The system offers the same security and convenience for master keys, says Byrd.
Wyndham Vacation Ownership began installing the Saflok Messenger mag-stripe system three years ago throughout guestrooms, offices and secure areas. The networked system is web-based and can be monitored and managed remotely. Other advantages include:
·         Messenger electronic locks may be interfaced to the property management system to control energy settings.
·         The software has a comprehensive selection of options that make the system easier for staff to manage.
·         The KABA locks are clutchless to minimize internal wear suffered by other systems.
·         Saflok provides a variety of lock styles to match property design and security needs and offer with customization options.
KABA's Saflok Messenger RFID locking technology is also used by Wyndham Vacation Ownership. The proximity RFID system provides convenient and easy access to owners by allowing them to unlock their doors by merely presenting the key in front of the lock reader. Operators can program the system to use keycards for owner identification as well as room access. RFID locks are easier to maintain because they contain fewer moving parts and because the sealed reader eliminates the need for continuous cleaning.

The Kimberly Hotel Unveils Interactive Concierge Corner

The Kimberly Hotel has launched a new online concierge corner, "Peter's Pick of the Week." The new program, accessible through Facebook, offers a variety of digital content containing the best tips for events and happenings in NYC.
With 13 years of concierge experience, Peter, the resident expert at The Kimberly Hotel, will provide guests with specialized tips to make the most of their trips. Each week Peter will provide his top "picks," (via an exclusive Facebook tab) sharing the top places to visit, must-see NYC attractions, special events and suggested itineraries.  
"We are very excited to introduce "Peter's Pick of the Week" to our loyal hotel guests, Facebook fans and travelers throughout NYC," says Mujo Perezic, general manager of The Kimberly Hotel. “Our goal is to provide guests with the best stay possible and with ‘Peter's Pick of the Week’ we provide travelers with great insider tips for exploring the city." 
"On behalf of The Kimberly Hotel, I am honored to share my recommendations," says Peter Johnson, chief concierge of The Kimberly Hotel. "The new online resource only helps to enforce our continuous goal of providing visitors with special and memorable trips to New York City."

Olga's Kitchen uses Strategic Wi-Fi to Build Guest Loyalty

Olga’s Kitchen has already been setting up the ground work to expand into new markets. This approach is centered on updated menus, modern stores away from big malls and also offering Wi-Fi as a modern amenity. But their Wi-Fi goes beyond just having a wireless signal; Olga’s Wi-Fi builds a deeper connection with their guests

“Offering free Wi-Fi is a proven way to build guest loyalty, but we wanted to go a step further. We wanted to use Wi-Fi as an opportunity to expand the relationship with our guests. For that we partnered with One WiFi.” says Chad Oliver, marketing director for Olga’s Kitchen. ”We were already utilizing social media marketing tools such as blogs, Twitter and Facebook. The One WiFi system allows us to cost effectively enhance those efforts each time a guest logs on.” 

One WiFi managed hotspots bundle in opt-in marketing, social media and location-based tools such as Foursquare. When a guest logs on to the free Wi-Fi network they are greeted and offered customized information based on that Olga’s Kitchen location. A customized content feed offers information on contests, fundraising programs for non-profits and career opportunities. The guest is also connected to Olga’s corporate website and social media sites while being invited to follow the restaurant online. 
“This is something that is certainly far more advanced than simply offering an open Wi-Fi connection.” says Oliver. “This gives us a chance to reach out to our guests while they are at a location and well after they have left. The mantra here at Olga’s Kitchen is very simple, “Every Guest Leaves Happy.” Offering guests a modern amenity like free Wi-Fi makes them happy. Offering free Wi-Fi and being able to communicate with them online makes us happy.”

Best Western Expands Mobile Travel Tools with New iPad Application
Best Western International has launched a free iPad application, “Best Western Go.” Travelers using the iPad application can not only find and book reservations at more than 4,000 Best Western hotels worldwide, but may also share travel experiences and pictures with loved ones and friends along the way via e-mail or Facebook.
Additionally, "Best Western to Go" users can create itineraries to help with travel planning by inputting addresses of attractions and restaurants nearby and using the GPS-enabled map to navigate through the area. The app's trip saver tool allows users to save past or future trips, including favorite locations visited traveling—from a shopping venue to a convenient parking spot.
Other "Best Western to Go" features include:
  • Photo and Description Capabilities: Users can add pictures and additional information to help remember and share details about saved locations
  • Organization: Users can categorize and sort saved locations by city, trip name, location type to easily reference in the future
  • Visibility: The increased screen size allows for more location icons to be displayed on the map, allowing for additional ease of navigation and planning
"Ensuring the iPad 'Best Western to Go' application consistently meets the needs of travelers on-the-go and is available on the devices they use most is a central part of our efforts to expand brand awareness and grow loyalty," says Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western International.
The "Best Western to Go" application is also available for Android users, with similar, but more limited features than the iPad application. In addition to the application, which first launched for the iPhone in December 2009, the corresponding mobile website, www.BestWestern2Go.com, offers the ability to search and book any Best Western hotel on all web enabled devices. The free "Best Western to Go" application for iPad and iPhone can be downloaded at the iTunes store.

Margaritaville Beach Hotel Attributes Relaxed Atmosphere to 'Hard-working Technology'

The new 162-room Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach, Florida delivers a relaxed tropical vacation experience without a flight to the Caribbean. Behind the scenes Maestro resort software technology is a big reason why guests find it so easy to enjoy themselves at Florida’s Jimmy Buffett-themed destination.   
“What makes Margaritaville unique is that people come here expecting a big party, but find themselves drifting to a hammock on the beach with a cool drink,” says Joe McCay, operations manager of the Margaritaville Beach Hotel. “This is a true vacation destination. Guests forget their troubles and find time to relax and have fun.” Part of the property’s secret for relaxed fun is hard working NORTHWIND resort hotel software technology. NORTHWIND’s Maestro Property Management System automates the hotel’s entire front office and reservations operation to generate upsell revenue, create a high-touch guest service environment, and drive direct bookings from the property’s ResWave online booking engine. Maestro resort hotel software even makes it easy for guests to charge to their folio anywhere on property with the convenient Margaritaville ID card.
With swimwear the dress code for the property’s laid-back beach scene, the front desk caters to pocket-free guests with a special mag-stripe ID card on a Margaritaville Beach lanyard. This branded card simplifies a guest’s stay by serving as both the room entry keycard and charge card.  The card carries an extra magnetic stripe that Maestro codes with each guest’s account information so no one needs a wallet to charge food and drinks from Margaritaville’s Land Shark Landing beach bar, the Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Café, or the Everything but Sand gift shop. 
“This is a great vacation destination because we give guests a fun, uncomplicated experience,” says McCay. “Maestro’s boutique hotel software is a secret of our success. The system is solid and easy to use, so our people can focus on building relationships with guests and providing a personalized experience. The technology does the rest.  Maestro goes above and beyond PMS by delivering specialized tools and expert services that enable us to maximize revenue and keep guests coming back.” 
The Maestro Front Office System is fully integrated with Margaritaville’s ResWave booking engine so availability on the website is always accurate and making a reservation is as easy as a walk on the beach.  Maestro is also networked with the property’s outlets so all guest activities from reservations to check-out are captured and stored in Maestro’s guest database for targeted follow-on marketing and 360-degree high touch service on future visits. 

Dulles Doubletree Facilitates Stress-free Trip Planning with Eco-Flight Boards

The Doubletree Hotel Dulles Airport Sterling provides guests with dynamically updated flight information with the Eco-Flight Board, a digital flight board technology from Noventri.
Traveling guests stay abreast of departure times, delays, or cancellations before leaving for the airport as they view Doubletree’s Eco-Flight Board located in the hotel’s lobby. The screen provides a direct airport feed from Dulles Airport.
The digital flight board screen uses the Eco-Series SF-100e, a ‘green,’ non-PC-based digital signage player manufactured by Noventri. Using less than four watts of power per screen, the Eco-Flight Board keeps energy consumption minimal. And since the Eco-Flight Board is a non-PC technology, it requires no maintenance, is easy to install and eliminates excessive wires, unsightly boxes and ventilation worries.
“Providing amenities that specifically address our guests’ needs is a priority,” says Ken Hilbert, general manager at the Doubletree Dulles. “And with the Eco-Flight Board and direct data feed from Dulles Airport we can provide updated departures, delays and cancellations allowing guests to plan their trip accordingly. If there are cancellations and delays this allows the guests to wait out their time at the hotel, if necessary, rather then sitting needlessly in the airport.”
The Eco-Flight Board is a packaged digital signage product that comes with the choice of LCD screen size, the Eco-Series SF-100e digital signage player, screen wall mount and necessary cables for easy installation.

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