Interface Newsletter - September 2011 - Vendor Edition
The content of articles on this page is best suited for Industry Partner members, aka Vendors. Hoteliers: Read this Version for content that is better for you.
- Our Freshly Overhauled Website is Designed for You
- Vendor Advisory Council Launched
- HTNG is Hiring
- FCS Joins the Ranks of Certified Solutions
- Now There is an Easy Way to Get Help From Industry Experts
- Welcome to our Newly Upgraded Members
- HTNG Launches Five New Workgroups
- 4th Software Forum Meeting in Denver this October
- Software Forum Chair Elections Start This Week
Members' Meetings and Events
- 6th European Members Meeting - Open to Non-Member Hoteliers!
- Asia-Pacific Members Meeting – Set Aside 6-8 February in Malaysia
- Events Calendar - Save These Dates
You may have noticed the major face-lift of our website in late August! The redesign provides a more polished look and, most important, makes it much easier to find the information you’re seeking. The new platform loads faster, is mobile-friendly, has consistent formatting, and will ultimately enable us to provide a wider range of services to our membership community. We’ve started the process of integrating it with our other systems as well.
There are more than 250 pages of content (most of it new), but you’ll find simple but effective navigation at the top for the most common needs: events/meetings, membership, collaboration (workgroups and forums), standards, and other resources. There’s also an excellent search function.
Please visit our new site at htng.org and tell us what you think and how we can improve the site. We are not done yet, so your feedback is important! Send us an email with any comments you have..
Please note that you may need to update any bookmarks or links to our site from your own website. Go to the end of this newsletter for some of our most common links and their new locations.
To ensure vendor neutrality, HTNG has always been governed by a board of directors which, under our by-laws must come exclusively from the community of hoteliers. At the same time, we recognize that without the extraordinary contribution and commitment by members from the vendor community, we could not be successful – and we need to meet their needs as well. Last year, our board and management enthusiastically endorsed an idea, originally proposed by ResortSuite President Frank Pitsikalis, to formalize a voice for the vendor community in a Vendor Advisory Council. We hope this will help us generate more and better ideas to help address the problems we all face, as well as to improve our responsiveness to the concerns of vendor members.
After a hotly contested vote from among 28 highly qualified senior vendor executives, HTNG is privileged to announce the election of 15 individuals who will serve as the initial Vendor Advisory Council. The following members were elected by their peers, and will serve terms ranging from one to three years, with one third being replaced each year.
- David Bankers, Senior VP, Product & Technology Development, LodgeNet Entertainment
- Micah Friedman, Director, Hospitality Industry, Oracle
- Inam Haider, Regional Director, TeleAdapt
- Akina Ho, VP of Strategy & Business Development, FCS Computer Systems
- Mark Hoare, Partner, The Prism Partnership
- Shawn McGowan, Chief Operating Officer, Newmarket International
- Daryl Page, Managing Director, Global Leader for Hospitality, Avaya
- Ray Pawley, Director, Head of Global IT Sales, Amadeus
- Boro Petrovic, Chief Technology Officer, MICROS Systems
- Frank Pitsikalis, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, ResortSuite
- Mark Poldervaart, General Manager Philips HotelTV, Philips Consumer Lifestyle
- Michael Schubach, Associate VP, Product Management, Agilysys
- Rick Sternitzke, VP Global Services & Chief Technology Officer, Swisscom
- Clive Taylor, VP Operations, Ez Revenue Management Solutions
- Ted Watson, Director, Global Hospitality Solutions, Ruckus Wireless
The Council held its first meeting in early September and identified several key issues, including three that appeared to have sufficient support for early projects:
- Alignment of the vendor community with needs of the hotels, including identifying the impediments and developing ideas for improvement
- Global consistency of product offerings
- Common hotel identifiers
Subcommittees will form to address these areas in coming months, and the Council plans to meet again before the year-end holidays.
Several new workgroups, as well as the addition of a fourth major conference in the Middle East and continued progress in adoption of our specifications, have led us to our first significant staff expansion since the recession. If you’re interested in joining our dynamic organization, visit the new Careers page on our website (now on the bottom right corner of every page) and see if you’ve got what it takes!
Yet another vendor has certified its products to HTNG specifications! HTNG congratulates FCS Computer Systems, which recently achieved certification for its FCS UBIS product to both the HTNG Guest & Room Status Messaging Specification and the HTNG Single Guest Itinerary specification. Certification is a powerful step for any vendor, and HTNG members appreciate the dedication of FCS to meet those standards. This certification helps assure buyers that the UBIS technology will conform to the standard, thus enabling easier integration of the product into their hotel systems. Only HTNG-certified vendors have agreed to submit disputes to an HTNG-mediated resolution process if there is ever a question about their compliance.
HTNG operates the only Branding and Certification Program for hotel technology. The "HTNG Certified" logo on a technology product gives buyers the assurance that a vendor's promises of interoperability are backed up by specific conformance to industry-defined norms.
HTNG tracks product and service providers who are working to deploy technologies to HTNG standards on our Specifications Adoption Tracker. This lengthy chart identifies companies who have shared their technologies’ status along the path to certification. For a list of the fully certified technologies and to view conformance statements, visit our Certification Register.
If you are interested in seeking certification to any of the 20 HTNG standards for which certification is available, visit the How to Certify page of our website for process outlines and details.
Do you have questions about implementing HTNG specs? Maybe you are looking for an expert opinion on other technology deployment issues? Perhaps you have a question about HTNG policies or activities? HTNG now has a resource to help you tap the expert knowledge and experience across the HTNG community, the HTNG Discussion Board. This social media resource can further enrich and enhance the sharing of knowledge throughout the global HTNG community and expand to fill a number of collaborative needs. The three main subject areas of the board right now focus on providing:
- Functional and technical assistance to developers looking to implement HTNG specifications
- Topic-specific discussion areas for issues applicable to hospitality technology
- An inquiry vehicle for individuals interested in learning more about HTNG
We encourage members to visit the site and ask questions about any topics for which you have a nagging question or share your expertise in any of the topic areas.
Current HTNG members can access the site by using the current username and password for the HTNG Member Services web site. If you have never accessed the HTNG Member Services web site, you can request access by visiting our Enroll Under an Existing Corporate Membership page. If you have misplaced or forgot your username and/or password, you can have a reminder email sent to you by visiting our Retrieve Password page.
If you are not an HTNG Member, but would like to register for guest access to this site, you may obtain a username and password by visiting our Create New Profile page.
We encourage everyone to visit, bookmark, browse and contribute to the Discussion Board. As with any community-contributed platform, the more content that is available, the more valuable it will be to all members.
Several members of HTNG recently upgraded their memberships to provide additional support for our cause. We would like to acknowledge and thank these vendors for upgrading. Their commitment allows us to expand our ability to support all HTNG members and the hotel community at large. These upgrades mean that HTNG now has 7 Benefactor members and 23 Platinum members.
AT&T and Oracle have both upgraded from Platinum to the Benefactor level, which provides maximum visibility with the top decision-makers in our industry, as well as funds that have enabled us to rapidly grow our workgroup activities to address more industry challenges. To get an idea of what HTNG is able to do with this advanced level of support for the organization, see the first article in the Workgroups and Forums section below about our five new workgroups.
In addition, after a brief absence, we welcome back and offer our appreciation to our newest Platinum level member, POST Integrations.
Last but not least, we welcome Best Western International and Delaware North Companies as new full corporate hospitality members. Both companies had previously held individual memberships.
Please be sure to thank your peers from our member community for their significant support. If you are able to consider a premium membership and wish to know more, visit one of these pages of our website: Benefits for Benefactors or Benefits for Platinum Members.
|Workgroup and Forum Updates
Workgroup activity at HTNG is on the rise. Over the past several weeks, our board of directors approved the charters of five new workgroups to address pressing industry issues. These groups are now in their early formation stages, which is the best time to get involved. If any of these are relevant to your business, see the options at the end of the article for how you can contribute and benefit!
It’s no secret that the hotel CIO’s biggest nightmare is getting a phone call saying that one of their systems has been hacked by credit-card thieves. HTNG, in conjunction with top IT security executives at more than a dozen hotel companies – including all of the majors – intends to solve that problem once and for all. The solution entails defining a framework that will enable hotels to concentrate the storage of sensitive card data in a single system, managed securely by a vendor or the hotel company. The objective is to get every other hotel system out of the scope of PCI by shielding it from real credit card numbers.
The Secure Payments Framework Workgroup is the result of several calls on which most of the major hotel groups participated, which made clear that there is widespread agreement on the nature of a secure framework that would meet our unique industry needs, and also agreement that key elements of the solution must be interoperable across the entire industry: brands, franchisees, owners, vendors, OTAs, and payment service providers. A credit-card transaction may pass through several companies and systems between initial reservation and final check-out, so securing it means cooperation.
The initial goal of this workgroup, which is limited strictly to hoteliers for the initial phase, is to document the framework so that all hotels can present it to their preferred vendors and partners as their vision of the path forward. The group has set an ambitious goal of producing this document within four months. Subsequent phases or spin-off workgroups will develop or update HTNG standards that will be needed to complete the solution.
Our Board just approved the charter for this workgroup as this edition of our newsletter was published. A 30-day open signup period for hoteliers only will be announced soon, and an initial teleconference meeting will be held on Tuesday, 1 November from 11:00am to 12:00 noon EDT. Visit the Secure Payments Framework wiki page for more information or to view the workgroup’s charter, or see the links below to sign up for this or any workgroup. A copy of the press release about this effort is available on our website.
If your systems have been hampered by the inability to share detailed data from guest folios, you are not alone. HTNG members have just launched the Folio Detail Exchange Workgroup to address the many systems and service improvements that hotels can gain by making folio data accessible to analytical and external systems.
An important goal of the workgroup is to create an invoice dematerialization solution. Invoice dematerialization is a replacement for paper invoicing where two parties agree that the transfer of electronically tagged XML invoices can replace the paper copy. This, amongst other things, will facilitate rapid settlement between hoteliers and travel agencies/tour operators, especially for hotel companies that use multiple PMSs, or vendors offering analytics, loyalty, corporate expense reporting, or other products across multiple PMSs. It will also support electronic reporting of VAT to corporate clients, a major issue for hotels and corporate travel departments doing business in Europe in particular.
The workgroup meets weekly on Thursdays from 10:00am to 11:00am EDT. The open enrollment period is now closed, meaning that new workgroup participants will require approval of the workgroup members. Visit the workgroup’s wiki site for more information or to view the workgroup’s charter, or see the links below to sign up for this or any workgroup.
HTNG’s new Customer Profile Workgroup is working towards standardizing the many definitions of customer profile in use today across hotel systems. This effort will enable a single view for each guest in which all of the hotel’s systems can participate. OpenTravel Alliance recently completed work on a basic specification to meet some of this need, so this workgroup is looking at creating enhancements and/or extensions to the OpenTravel specification. Having a standard view will also help to eliminate the loss of important guest information as profiles move among systems.
The Customer Profile Workgroup has been working through some of its initial deliverables and recently met face-to-face in McLean, Virginia (thanks to Hilton for hosting!) to create and detail a use case inventory. This is an important workgroup deliverable and will determine much of the direction of the effort. Meeting details can be found on the group's collaboration site (login required).
The workgroup is now meeting every Friday at 2:00pm EDT via teleconference. The open enrollment period is now closed, and new workgroup participants will require approval of the workgroup members. Visit the workgroup’s wiki page for more information or to view the workgroup’s charter, or see the links at the end of this section to sign up for this or any workgroup.
Does your technology generate RFPs that need to get into hotel sales and catering systems? Or is it a sales and catering system that needs to receive RFPs from external sites? Could your product benefit from the speed and accuracy of having a standardized, automated way to enter the data into the system?
This newly chartered workgroup, the Event RFP Submission Workgroup will hold its kickoff teleconference later this month to address these issues. The group is targeting the automated delivery of RFPs from meeting planners, through intermediary systems, and directly into hotel sales and catering systems.
Once this workgroup completes its efforts, hotels should be able to purchase or acquire modules that support the submission of an eRFP for group and catering sales systems, resulting in improved automation, cost reduction, and improved response times to the customer. Most of the major sales and catering systems in use by the hotel community are supporting this effort. Hoteliers, ensure that your needs are met – join today!
The workgroup’s kickoff teleconference will take place on Friday, 30 September from 10:00am to 11:00am EDT. The workgroup will have a 30-day open enrollment period in which anyone participating in the Software Forum can join the workgroup. After 30 days, new workgroup participants will require approval of a majority of the voting workgroup members. Visit the workgroup’s wiki site for more information or to view the workgroup’s charter, or see the links at the end of this section to sign up for this or any workgroup.
Are you wrestling with how to capture manually entered credit card details within hospitality systems without exposing them to PA-DSS requirements? Many systems such as CRSs and booking websites need to capture and tokenize credit card information, but don’t actually need to use the information; they simply pass it on. The new Hosted Payment Capture Systems Workgroup is now meeting to create a standard that will enable hotels to accomplish that goal while implementing a single solution that connects to the wide array of gateways used by hotels in different world regions. This will enable payment gateways to offer a single solution that any hotel can use out-of-the-box while keeping from having to expose their system to PA-DSS requirements.
The workgroup meets bi-weekly on Thursdays from 2:00pm to 3:00pm EDT. The open enrollment period is now over, so applicants to the workgroup require approval of a majority of the voting workgroup members. Visit the workgroup’s wiki site for more information and to view the workgroup’s charter.
There are three ways in which members can participate in these workgroup efforts. If you would like to join as a full participant, please sign up now using this Join a Workgroup form and checking the box by the name(s) of the workgroup(s) that are of interest to you.
Alternatively, if you are a hotelier or consultant, and have limited time and/or technical expertise, but would like to help define the deliverables and review the proposed solutions, you can register to become a Business Advisor to the workgroup by completing the Provide Direction to a Workgroup form and selecting the appropriate workgroup. In this role, you will be asked to provide input and review the workgroup’s direction and progress about four times annually.
If you just want to keep aware of workgroup progress, you can subscribe to the workgroup’s mailing list by completing the Monitor Progress form. You will receive all correspondence sent to workgroup members, including meeting agendas and minutes, technical documents, and e-mail discussions among members.
The Software Forum will hold its fourth face-to-face meeting in Denver, Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday, 5-6 October to discuss a wide range of topics and to provide face time for workgroups.
Jim Stapleton from Isis will present an overview of their new mobile wallet technology and its relevance to the hotel industry. Isis, which is a joint effort of AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, is setting a new standard for mobile payments.
The forum meeting will include an overview of each of HTNG’s newest workgroup efforts and a discussion regarding potential issues that HTNG could help address. Other discussions will include a review of the updated specification template, a new process for updating older specifications, and an overview of the new HTNG website and tools. Please visit the event listing on our Collaboration site and review the meeting’s agenda for more details.
Six workgroups are currently planning to meet while in Denver, including three new efforts, each of which is working on use cases:
- Folio Detail Exchange Workgroup – Wednesday 5 October, 2:30pm -5:00pm MDT
- Hosted Payment Capture Systems Workgroup – Wednesday 5 October, 2:30pm -5:00pm MDT
- Customer Profile Workgroup – Thursday 6 October, 10:00am-12:00am MDT
Additionally, two long-standing workgroups, as well as the Governance Council, plan to meet:
- Guest & Room Status Messaging Workgroup – Thursday 6 October, 10:00am -11:30am MDT
- Reference Architecture Workgroup – Thursday 6 October, 10:00am-12:00am & 3:00pm-5:00pm MDT
- Governance Council – Thursday 6 October, 9:00am-10:00am MDT
This event is open to all Software Forum members, and each corporate member and each hotel company may send one participant at no cost. If your company is not currently part of the Software Forum and these events are of interest to you, please consider joining this forum. Please email our workgroup facilitators to sign up and join in the discussions!
Software Forum members, watch your e-mail for a reminder to be sure to review our talented list of candidates for our open forum co-chair seat. Talk with your company peers about your choice, and be sure that the voting member of your company knows who is your top choice.
|Members' Meetings and Events
It’s time to register to attend one or more of the meetings included in HTNG’s European Members’ Meeting Week. Newly restructured to help hoteliers attend at a fraction of prior years’ cost, we expect the biggest turnout ever at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, Germany. A full week of activities and meetings from 14-18 November includes the Hotel IT Directors’ Roundtable on Monday afternoon, the main Conference and exhibits from Monday evening through Wednesday, and then the Infrastructure and Device Forum face-to-face meeting on Thursday and Friday. Registration is now open for each of these meetings.
For the main conference, topics planned include:
• State of the global tourism industry
• PCI Compliance in European Hotels
• Guest Experience Management and Customer Profiles
• Above-Property Systems and Network Management
• The Impact of Mobile Devices on the Hotel Wireless Network
• Challenges and Opportunities in Guest Entertainment
• Cloud Telephony: The PBX in the Sky
• Real-World Converged Network Deployments
• Open-Source Computing
• Shopping Behavior in the Evolving Search World
We are still finalizing the exact agenda for this year’s Conference, but the line-up of speakers will, as always, be top notch. We have confirmed the following speakers, and are in final discussions with other great speakers, so check back on the event web page frequently for updates and a full agenda.
• Richard Barnes, Editor-in-Chief, Cleverdis
• Geoffrey Breeze, Marketing Director, World Travel and Tourism Council
• Mark Campbell, CIO, Dorchester Collection
• Tom Duke, CTO, iBAHN
• Micah Friedman, Director, Hospitality Industry, Oracle
• Bryan Hammer, Director of IT, EAME, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
• Monika Nerger, CIO, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
• Christian Palomino, IT Operations, Network & Security Director, Meliá International Hotels
• Mark Regensberg, Director of IT, extrabold Hotel Management
• Riko van Santen, VP Distribution, Louvre Hotels
This year’s event will be even more of a must-attend for hoteliers and vendors. For the first time in history, the meeting will be open to senior hotel IT managers who are not (yet!) members of HTNG, and at just a nominal cost of EUR 100. We want more hoteliers to experience this event, to see why members come back year after year. (As of late September, the number of hotelier attendees has already surpassed last year's event.) Vendors will still need to be HTNG members to attend, and will still pay registration fees similar to prior years, but will benefit from the greater number of hoteliers expected to attend.
Infrastructure and Device Forum Meeting
The main conference will be followed by a meeting of the European Infrastructure and Device Forum members on Thursday and Friday. Forum meetings, which are open only to HTNG members, are smaller, interactive, attended by top buyers and technical experts, and are oriented toward problem-solving. Hotel IT executives have described forum meetings as “the place I go to learn a lot of things from really smart people that make me more successful when I go back to the office;” vendors find them valuable for the insights they provide into shared needs of hotel companies. This meeting will include some face-to-face meetings of active workgroups, general forum meetings, and a social event on Thursday evening. You can find registration information on our website.
A Few Sponsor and Exhibit Opportunities Remain: So vendors, if you are interested in getting the attention of the hoteliers throughout Europe and beyond, this is probably the best year ever to be part of our meeting. We’ve sold many of our exhibits and most of the sponsorships, but a few of each still remain. Join the team that is bringing this popular event for hoteliers back to Berlin by signing up to sponsor or exhibit today! Even if you are unable to sponsor or exhibit this year, you will still want to attend one of the best networking opportunities for hotel technologists on the continent.. Register today.
If you work in the Asia-Pacific region, or if you have business interests there, be sure that you set aside 6-8 February 2012 for our 4th Annual Asia-Pacific Members’ Meeting. We’re finalizing details for the event, which will be held at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. We expect it to be another beneficial event for networking, thought leadership and collaboration on hotel technology issues for the region.
Vendors, sponsorship and exhibit information will be going out to member marketing contacts in the next few weeks – watch your e-mail for details. If you would like to join our list of marketing contacts for your company, please complete the Event Interest Form on our website.
- 5 - 6 October 2011 – Software Forum, Denver, Colorado, USA. See article above.
- 14-18 November, 2011 – European Members’ Meeting Week, Berlin, Germany.
- 14 November – IT Directors’ Roundtable. Registration open.
- 14-16 November – Sixth annual European Members’ Meeting. Registration is open and sponsorship and exhibit opportunities are now available.
- 17-18 November – Infrastructure and Device Forum, EMEA Face-to-Face Meeting. Registration information.
- TBA January 2012 – Infrastructure and Device Forum, North American Face-to-Face Meeting
- 6-8 February, 2012 – Fourth annual Asia-Pacific Members’ Meeting and IT Directors’ Roundtable, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Early 2Q 2012 – Eighth annual North American Members’ Meeting, TBD, United States
- Late 2Q 2012 – Second annual Middle Eastern Members’ Meeting, TBD
Note that only members of forums and workgroups are automatically entitled to attend forum/workgroup meetings, but we can often accommodate other members who wish to attend (please contact our workgroups mailbox if you would like more information). All other meetings are open to all HTNG members unless indicated otherwise.
|Commonly Used Resources on HTNG's Website|
Member Services – Update your Contact Info, Register for an Event
Meeting and Event Calendar
Join a Workgroup
Monitor Workgroup Progress by Subscribing to a Workgroup Mailing List
Provide Direction by Becoming a Business Advisor to a Workgroup
Register Interest in a Prospective Workgroup
Register for Access to Collaboration Site (Enroll under an existing corporate membership)
Workgroup Current Status
Workgroup Organization Chart
Workgroup Business Level Description – (Note: We will post an updated version in early October)
Specification Adoption Tracker
Board of Directors
Do you have HTNG Interface newsletter feedback or ideas? Email Brian Larson