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Industry News - July 1st 2011



IHG Launches iPhone Booking Apps for Each of Its Seven Hotel Brands

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced the continuation of its mobile app strategy with iPhone booking apps for each of its seven brands – InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. These new apps provide customers with the functionality to find and book hotel rooms, check rates and view or cancel reservations.
The iPhone apps for each brand follow the release of the InterContinental Concierge Insider Guides app for iPad in December 2010; the Priority Club Rewards app for Android in July 2010; and the Priority Club Rewards app for iPhone in April 2010.
In just over a year, IHG has seen a nearly 1,000 percent increase in room night bookings from mobile devices. In the first five months of 2011, IHG has already surpassed its 2010 total number of room night bookings from mobile devices.
Most guests – 65 percent – who book through a mobile device are staying at IHG hotels the same night or within one day. To cater to this guest, the new booking apps for each of our seven brands include location aware capabilities to assist guests in booking hotels close to their location and navigating to the property.
"We are continuing to build on our mobile strategy by making our brands more accessible to today's travelers who seek solutions that assist them through every step of the travel planning process," says Michael Menis, vice president, Web and Interactive Marketing. "Our initial iPhone efforts were targeted at our Priority Club Rewards program, currently totaling 58 million members, and because our seven brands are at the heart of our business, we are building off that initial success by expanding our iPhone solutions to include apps for each of our seven brands."
The iPhone apps for each brand contain booking and reservation management features, including:
  • Search, compare and book at IHG properties – InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites
  • Plan arrival by accessing current reservations and quick access to maps, directions and hotel contact information
  • Securely store credit card information to expedite bookings
  • Enjoy "touch-to-call" access
  • Manage travel profiles
  • Receive communication about the latest promotions and offers
  • Priority Club Rewards members have the ability to earn points and redeem for stays
  • Enroll in Priority Club Rewards (membership is not required to use the apps)


Macau Properties Tap RFID to Track 125,000 Uniforms

The new Sheraton, Shangri-La, St. Regis and Traders branded properties plan on installing InvoTech Systems’ GIMS Uniform System leveraging RFID technology. InvoTech translated its GIMS system to the Mandarin language for easier use in Chinese markets.
When the new properties are implemented, InvoTech’s GIMS inventory control system will automatically track 125,000 uniforms for 10,500 employees who will serve the 6,000 new Sheraton, Shangri-La, St. Regis and Traders branded hotel rooms. GIMS Uniform Systems are already being used by the Venetian Macau Resort Hotel, MGM Grand Macau, Wynn Macau, Altira Macau, Four Seasons Macau, and Plaza Casino Macau.
GIMS was important to the success of the Venetian Macau’s grand opening in 2007 and its expansion in 2008, which included the Plaza Macau Casino and the Four Seasons Hotel. At these properties, the GIMS system tracks 165,000 uniforms for 14,000 employees as the apparel items move from uniform departments to employees and laundries.
The GIMS real-time tracking system promises to increase inventory accuracy and reduces manual labor through:
  • Durable RFID chips sewn into apparel items that enable the bulk scanning of uniforms; this tracks their movement without hand counting or single-piece barcode scans.
  • An interface with automated uniform conveyer systems, enabling employees to swipe their ID cards at pickup stations and, in a matter of seconds, automatically get their clean uniforms for each day’s work
  • GIMS also tracks purchase date, manufacturer, number of cleanings and cost for easy budgeting of replacement uniforms year to year.


Hyatt Regency New Orleans to Install Interactive TV

The Hyatt Regency New Orleans has signed an agreement with Roomlinx to provide its Interactive TV (iTV), Free-to-Guest TV programming, and High-Speed Internet Services to guests of the hotel, opening in October 2011. The installation includes 1,240 iTV systems, HD free-to guest television programming, and HSIA services covering all of the hotel's 1,193 rooms, meeting space and exhibit hall.
With Roomlinx's Interactive TV platform, Hyatt Regency New Orleans guests will have access, via the HDTV, to:
  • Internet Apps including Netflix, Pandora, Google Apps, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook
  • Room Service
  • Unrestricted internet
  • International and U.S. television programming on demand
  • Email and Email attachments
  • Documents, spreadsheets and presentation management
  • Printing
  • Local Directions and attractions (forwarded right to their smart phone)
  • Dinner reservations and restaurant reviews
Upon its planned opening on October 19, 2011, the 32-story hotel will offer: two 25,000-square-foot ballrooms, 64 versatile meeting and banquet rooms, 21 executive level meeting rooms, seven permanent boardrooms, and more than 80,000 square feet of exhibition space, highlighted by a new 50,000-square-foot exhibit hall.
Roomlinx will also be integrating their proprietary convention center App, allowing visiting companies to extend their reach beyond their exhibit booth and into each hotel room.
"At Hyatt, we have been extremely impressed with Roomlinx's ability to develop smart applications and deliver an interactive TV platform that allows our hotels to generate strong revenues beyond Video on Demand, while improving the guest experience," says Tom Smith, vice president, rooms, North America operations, for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. "They have been terrific to work with both on the Andaz 5th Avenue hotel and now Hyatt New Orleans."
"We are excited to provide this cutting edge technology solution," says Michael Smith, general manager, Hyatt Regency New Orleans. "This is a great example of the latest and greatest in technology that we will offer our guests."


Hackers Break into Computer System at Ann Arbor-Based Pub

The Detroit Free Press reports: Ann Arbor police say hackers broke into the computer system of a popular Irish restaurant, Conor O’Neill’s Restaurant, stealing numerous credit card and debit card numbers to make purchases. The case came to light after the credit and debit cards were fraudulently used in the state of Texas between April 22 and June 10.
“The banks were receiving information about these fraudulent transactions and did a little digging and discovered the common point of purchase between the cases was Conor O’Neill’s,” Ann Arbor Police Det. Sgt. Pat Hughes said.
According to police, the restaurants’ credit card processing computer was vulnerable to computer hackers, possibly from Europe, allowing them to infiltrate the system and gain access to all of the credit/debit card numbers that had been used at the business.
Police say it’s not yet known how many customers’ credit and debit cards were accessed. Because the charges have taken place in other states, Ann Arbor police don’t know the total number of fraudulent credit card purchases involved, Hughes said.


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