News Briefs

  • 6/21/2023

    HITEC 2023 NEWS: Maestro PMS Enables Secure Online Payments with Integration to TransForm by b4

    screenshot of faces on a Zoom call

    Maestro PMS is making hotel payments easier than ever, thanks to the recent integration with b4’s online payment platform, TransForm. TransForm helps hotels fight fraud and win more chargebacks by ensuring raw credit card data stays hidden from everyone except the cardholder. By passing encrypted credit card data directly into the correct Maestro PMS ledger, hoteliers and their customers benefit from a process that is both more efficient and more secure.

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    “Hoteliers should always be looking for new ways to prevent fraud and mitigate losses,” said Steve Miles, COO at b4. “Paper-based credit-card forms are prone to human error and not PCI compliant. The TransForm and Maestro integration eliminates manual data entry, immediately lowering the risk of chargeback disputes. It also streamlines check-in and helps prevent front desk staff from unknowingly accepting fraudulent payments.”

    As the need to take card-not-present payments and authorizations continues to grow, various methods of credit card submission evolved. Some cards were collected over the phone and manually keyed in or written on paper. Some required forms to be faxed or emailed with card details in full sight. None of these collection methods are PCI compliant, as they put credit card details in plain view. This leaves the hotel at a higher risk for fraud and in a weaker position during chargeback disputes.

    “Guests expect secure and convenient technology when planning a trip,” said Warren Dehan, President of Maestro. “If you don’t enable customers to pay online with confidence that their credit card information is fully protected, they may decide to stay elsewhere. We partnered withb4 to reduce the risk associated with payment processing. When hotels implement best practices and PCI-compliant methods such as TransForm provides, there is a positive impact on the bottom line.”

    Additional benefits of this integration include:

    • Time saved for hotel staff responsible for billing reconciliation
    • Reduced errors through the elimination of re-keying card details from paper forms and emails
    • Having a card securely on file enables hotel staff to post additional charges or incidentals
    • More transactions attributed to an account give the hotel team more guest data for service personalization and enable more targeted packaging and promotional decisions

    “Since adopting TransForm from b4, our hotel’s payment processing has gone from labor-intensive to hands-off, set-it-and-forget-it,” said Nattika Wattanasuttiwong, Director of Operations at the Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in Madison, Wis. “This technology has been invaluable for maintaining success despite rising operations and labor costs, something Maestro readily acknowledges through its new integrations. In fact, we discovered TransForm during Maestro’s 2022 User Conference and signed with b4 shortly after. This adaptability to new technology, combined with Maestro’s excellent support team, has helped us improve operations where it matters most.”

    “Maestro’s integration to TransForm represents a sizeable shift for online payments by minimizing costs associated with chargebacks and lowering credit card processing fees,” says Dehan. “Through the use of recommended best practices and our joint technology, we will greatly reduce the problems surrounding chargebacks for our hoteliers.”

    For a hands-on look at the Maestro PMS / b4 integration, visit b4 in Booth 1232 or Maestro PMS in Booth 1225 at HITEC Toronto, June 27 to 29 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center – South Building.

  • 6/21/2023

    Shiji and IPORT Partner to Transform Hotel Restaurant Operations with All-in-One Tablet and Payment Device Solution

    Shiji teaser logo

    Shiji, a global hospitality technology innovator, has partnered with IPORT, an award-winning manufacturer known for enhancing the usability of iPads and iPhones, to introduce an all-in-one software solution for hotel restaurants. This collaboration will provide hoteliers with a seamless combination of a tablet and payment device to maximize their F&B operations.

    The integrated iOS and payment device solution simplifies guest service for hotel restaurant servers, providing them with an effortless tool to cater to their guests' needs. As a certified Apple partner, Shiji and IPORT guarantee exceptional performance and reliability. Hoteliers can choose from multiple device options, including iPad Pro, iPad Mini, and iPhone, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with their operations.

    “IPORT products are built around modularity and flexibility that empower our hospitality customers to do more with the iOS platform. We are thrilled to partner with a leading iPad and iPhone cloud PMS and POS platform provider like Shiji,” said Chris Lawson, Head of Partnerships, IPORT. “We look forward to innovating with Shiji in disrupting legacy, monolithic providers who have limited the industry from harnessing the power of iOS and mobility. The future is bright, and the possibilities are endless with IPORT, iOS, and Shiji.”

    "The partnership with IPORT is a significant milestone for Shiji in our commitment to provide innovative technology solutions for the hospitality industry," said Ryan King, Senior Vice President of Shiji in the Americas. "By combining our expertise with IPORT’s hardware solutions, we empower hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and deliver exceptional guest experiences. This collaboration represents another step forward in our dedication to driving success in the Americas, and globally."

    The tablet and payment device solution seamlessly integrates with multiple payment gateways, allowing hoteliers to choose the system that best suits their needs. By simplifying the payment process, it reduces operational complexities, minimizes errors, and saves valuable time and resources for hoteliers.

  • 6/1/2023

    Tim Hortons Expands EV Charging Stations

    EV charging

    For electric vehicle owners in British Columbia, Tim Hortons is now fueling road trips in more ways than one.  The company has announced the expansion of its electric vehicle charging station pilot launched earlier this year in Oakville, Ontario, by unveiling six new charging stations at restaurants throughout  British Columbia.

    Tim Hortons announced the pilot in February in an effort to study the technology, its usage and opportunities.

    "We have been thrilled with the results of the pilot so far.  Usage of the charging station in Oakville has surpassed our expectations and we received many calls with requests to expand the pilot," said Paulo Ferreira, Senior Director, International Strategic Restaurant Design and Building Standards, Tim Hortons. "With more than 3,300 eligible restaurants across the country, we continue to look for opportunities to expand the pilot and contribute to the EV infrastructure."

    The BC expansion, supported by the Province of BC's Community Charging Infrastructure Fund and Koben Systems Inc. (KSI), placed charging stations strategically in Nanaimo, Langford, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Abbotsford and Coquitlam to create paths within the province, allowing guests to travel from restaurant to restaurant strictly on electric power.

    Tim Hortons offers charging stations as a courtesy to guests at six locations.  As of March 31st, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,288 system-wide restaurants, including 3,453 in Canada, 808 in the United States and 27 in the Gulf Cooperation Council. 

  • 6/21/2023

    VENZA Releases VENZA System

    Venza Logo

    Delivering on the promise of better visibility, VENZA announced the release of the VENZA System—a new platform that centralizes several of its industry-leading data protection functions. The VENZA System will be capable of generating even more impactful results, greater precision in reporting, and an ultra-smooth user experience.

    Beginning soon, VENZA will offer one combined node that turns VENZA Learning™ and VENZA Phishing™ into a unified instrument with customizable reports. The platform, developed in-house and tailored to the needs of the hospitality industry, updates dynamically in real-time. Users will be able to select data by type and filter by level, from organizational, to individual properties, down to work groups. With this, VENZA will now more than ever produce the information you need when you need it.

    “We are constantly working to produce new tools, as well as enhancements to our existing ones, that respond to ever-growing cybersecurity threats and regulatory compliance needs,” said Barbara Espinosa, Product Manager at VENZA. “Our platform will be a step-change in capability and responsiveness. We’re very pleased to deliver this product to our clients but also extremely excited about how this platform can evolve the VENZA system moving forward. We have big plans for 2024, so it is a great time for early movers to experience it and get the opportunity to participate in its design.”

    Further additions to the VENZA system are under development. A range of governance, risk management, and compliance features will be rolled out in further stages over the coming year. This will include products that provide automatic vendor risk assessments, SAQ and audit functions, tasking and project management, and more. The user experience will also become simpler with mobile support and support for single sign-on (SSO) log-in.

    Ultimately, VENZA will offer a wholistic governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) platform with an open API that allows users to plug in their own data and fully customize the system to their needs.

  • 6/21/2023

    HITEC 2023 NEWS: Airvine to Introduce New Wireless Broadband Connectivity Solution for the Hospitality Sector at HITEC in Toronto

    airvine logo

    Airvine has developed a multi-Gigabit-speed wireless backhaul system for indoor connectivity, is introducing its WaveTunnel product line to the hospitality sector at the HITEC conference and exposition in Toronto, June 26 – 29th.  HITEC is the leading technology solutions event for the hospitality industry. 

    Hotels, conference centers and related facilities need higher-bandwidth backbone networks to support higher-speed Wi-Fi for guest rooms, growing IoT systems (including security cameras) and new entertainment platforms with more HD and on-demand options.  This means upgrading the existing wired indoor infrastructure, which to date has meant laying new cables or swapping out new for old (such as Ethernet CAT 5 cable).  This process can result in lengthy construction projects, which result in lost revenue while blocks of rooms, or even entire floors, are out of service during this time.  In addition, these projects are inconvenient for hotel guests as well.  

    The Airvine WaveTunnel represents a significantly faster and less expensive option, as the shoebox-sized modules are mounted on ceilings and other interior high points to provide multi-Gigabit links that pass through walls, down corridors and around corners with minimal construction and personnel. 

    WaveTunnel operates in the interference-free 60 GHz band, where there is also plenty of spectrum to provide on first release a multi-Gb/s backbone connectivity capability.  Furthermore, 60 GHz systems operate on a line-of-sight (LOS) basis. WaveTunnel, however, can penetrate most indoor walls as well as ”beam steer” around corners, making it a true non-LOS 60GHz system. This breakthrough capability greatly simplifies and expedites network set-up and operational readiness.

    “We’ve met with many of our MSP partners in the hospitality sector over the last year and they hear a common theme from their hoteliers – they need to upgrade their broadband connectivity, and at the same time need to keep rooms open to maintain revenue and make up for money lost during the Covid lockdowns,” Zach Hubeck, Executive Vice President of Marketing for WAV, an Airvine partner and a leading distributor of end-to-end broadband network systems who is also participating at HITEC. “The Airvine WaveTunnel is a great way to create a multi-Gigabit, interior backbone network with minimal disruption to hotel operations.” 

  • 6/21/2023

    HITEC 2023 NEWS: Aptech to Unveil NEW Solution Upgrades & Financial Reconciliation Integration at HITEC Toronto

    aptech booth at HITEC

    Next week at HITEC® TorontoAptech will reveal a series of upgrades to its three innovative financial-management solutions, PVNG, Execuvue, and Targetvue. Produced by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), this premier hotel technology tradeshow is the ideal forum to shop for the latest in financial-management software designed to help operators cut costs and improve their bottom lines. Aptech’s 100% hospitality focused, customizable solutions enable hoteliers to access, view, compare, and analyze performance data of a single hotel or a multi-property/multi-brand enterprise.

    Aptech will showcase its Enterprise Accounting, Business Intelligence and Budgeting/Forecasting solutions in Booth 1301 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center – South Building, June 27 to 29.

    NEW Enterprise Accounting

    PVNG version 1.7 was released to Aptech customers this week. PVNG features the Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Statistics, Financials, and Bank Reconciliation that today’s hotel operators are seeking with much-needed browser navigation. Its OCR invoice processing, myriad of payment options, drill-down capabilities in financial statements and reports, ability to handle single or multi-property accounting, and the fact that it can be deployed as a hosted service, explains why this accounting solution is in such high demand.

    PVNG V 1.7 enhancements to be on display at HITEC include:

    • Invoice Automation
    • New drill down capabilities
    • Plus, a myriad of client requested enhancements to improve efficiency and reporting

    Also NEW at HITEC, Aptech will reveal an integration with one of the world’s leading data networks powering the digital financial ecosystem. By connecting Aptech’s PVNG enterprise accounting solution to the platform, hotels will achieve seamless and secure access to thousands of financial accounts for financial reconciliation. Now properties running on PVNG can leverage their security measures and minimize the risk associated with handling sensitive financial information.

    NEW Business Intelligence

    Execuvue was upgraded to IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 with Watson AI and released to customers on June 1, 2023. Execuvue is an IBM Cognos-based ASP BI application that features a dashboard platform that delivers stunning images of financial and operational data that hotel accounting teams can act upon. Leveraging AI-powered analytics, Execuvue is helping operators make smarter business decisions and respond to commands, such as “Show Me Room Revenues by State and by Property.” The AI tool links relevant data elements (number of rooms rented, ADR, RevPAR, occupancy, rooms out of order, etc.) with a list of properties or brands to analyze the information in visually compelling ways. It also configures data regionally, giving hoteliers a performance snapshot portfolio wide, as well as by region, brand, and property.

    Execuvue + IBM Cognos Analytics 11.2.4 with Watson AI enhancements on display at HITEC include:

    • New and enhanced visualizations
    • Cascading Filters
    • New Analytics panel to view forecasting and Narrative Insights features

    NEW Budgeting & Forecasting

    Targetvue provides hotel accounting teams with “one version of the truth.” It consolidates reports, identifies trends, and eliminates the maintenance and distribution of Excel spreadsheets throughout the organization. Automated forecast snapshots offers users ad-hoc capabilities to previous and future performance projections. 

    Targetvue enhancements to be on display at HITEC include:

    • New release of Targetvue cloud with predictive analysis
    • Additional data source integrations
    • Enhanced audit log – who did what when

    “Aptech is known industrywide for our willingness to listen to our customers and quickly develop new features to meet their specific needs,” said Aptech Vice President Cam Troutman. “The recent enhancements to PVNG, Execuvue and Targetvue that will be seen for the first time at HITEC are proof of our ability to develop on demand. In addition, our new data network integration will give Aptech users the financial reconciliation they have been asking for. We are eager to see everyone in Toronto.”

    For more information on Aptech solutions, visit them at HITEC Toronto. To pre-schedule a booth appointment, reach out to Kim Sieminski by clicking here.

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