Cashless vending takes off
Stakis has installed an integrated access system between bedrooms and vending machines in its newly opened 134-bedroom hotel at Edinburgh Airport.
With airport hotels' notorious reputation for high theft levels from in-room mini-bars, which require guest honesty, yet their greater need for around-the-clock service of drinks and snacks than hotels in other locations, Stakis has opted for cashless vending.
At check-in, guests receive a swipe card that is a room key as well as a means of taking food and drink from the vending machines.
The machines are linked to the central property management system and the cost of goods removed from the vending machine are charged immediately to the guest's account.
Schools on tracs
Northumberland Contracting, the in-house catering authority for schools in Northumberland, has installed a cashless system across 60 schools throughout the county.
The Tracs System from GTi Electronics is being rolled out on a phased basis in the next few months. When fully operational, it will be used by 24,000 pupils.
The system will have centralised auditing and be able to differentiate when an item is liable for VAT and when it is not. Going cashless gives schools better management control, cost control, anonymity for those receiving free school meals and helps prevent bullying when children are carrying cash.
Trials at crowne plazas
Holiday Inn is testing in-room multi-media facilities in German Crowne Plaza properties. The rooms are fitted with integrated computer software that offers CD-Rom, games, access to the Internet, faxes and voice mail.
The trials will last for six months and if commercially successful as well as useful to the guest, Holiday Inn plans to roll out similar packages across the world at high-traffic units.
In the near future, Holiday Inn is to test automated check-in and check-out, in-room billing and settlement, and on-demand videos.
One fax per guest
Marygreen Manor in Brentwood, Essex, best known for being the founding hotel in the Queens Moat Houses chain before it passed into private ownership two years ago, is installing fax machines in all 44 bedrooms next week.
It has opted for the Innfax system, which does not need a separate phoneline for each fax. Instead, the hotel's own phone system allocates a unique line number to every machine each time a new guest checks in.
The guest can have confidential faxes transmitted and can send out faxes. When the guest checks out, the number is destroyed to prevent unwanted faxes from continuing to arrive.
Paul Pearson, managing director of Marygreen Manor, said the decision to install in-room faxes had been taken to give the hotel an extra edge in the executive business market in which it specialises.
All systems go
London's Royal Garden Hotel, which is about to open after a two-year closedown and multi-million-pound refit, has installed a completed integrated computer management system.
Based on Windows and PCs, the system combines front office, conference and banqueting, stock control, point of sale (PoS), payroll, personnel, sales and marketing.
Restaurant and bar areas are using touch-screen PoS systems for ordering, billing and stock control. The whole package was supplied by HOST UK.
Don't analyse yourself
Analysing pricing and profitability is every operator's nightmare, having to identify the area of standard yield management plus food and beverage price management.
A software package to perform this function has been launched by Dutch-based Hospitality Efficiency and Control Projects.
Aimed particularly at the independent operator, the Windows-based system will work out break-even numbers from fixed and variable costs, give minimum numbers from a menu price to show profit, and work out menu item food costs. The system costs about £70.
HOSPITALITY EFFICIENCY AND CONTROL PROJECTS
0031 1043 69533