Israel restores its hotel ratings system, 18 hikers get into trouble with their smartphones while hiking in Scotland, and other travel tech news that Tnooz is following for 15 August.
IKEA will build budget hotels!
The world's largest furniture seller, IKEA is scouting for hotel locations across Europe says the Financial Times. The precise location of the first hotel, apparently in Germany, will be revealed by September.
Hotels.com re-ups with EPAM
Hotels.com has renewed its five-year contract with EPAM Systems, which outsources travel agency software product engineering to coders in Central Europe. EPAM basically powers Hotel.com's loyalty program, as this case study illustrates.
In related news, EPAM joined the OpenTravel Alliance a few weeks ago to help develop standards for electronic messaging structures.
Scramjet test results may predict the future of hypersonic plane travel
Today the US military is expected to announce the result of its Pacific test flight of the Boeing X-51 WaveRider, which is designed to reach speeds of 3,600 mph. The best background article on the WaveRider is from the Los Angeles Times. "Hypersonic" flights can reach five times the speed of sound.
Vital court ruling to come today on American Airlines
Today a U.S. bankruptcy judge will rule on American's request to throw out its contract with the pilots union and impose American's terms. The judge says he will delay his ruling on the flight attendants union contract until 19 August. If both rulings favor American, a tie-up with US Airways by this autumn seems likely, says the FT. The purchase of a stake by IAG also would then be likely.
Fifteen Digital scores social media coup with Best Western, Holiday Inn hotels in the UK
Three international chains hired online marketing specialist Fifteen Digital to handle all social media for Best Western, Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels in the UK in a five-figure deal for 33 hotels managed by QMH Group in the UK.
American hotels embrace technology
Key statistic from the 2012 Lodging Surveyby the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA): 11,960 properties already offer a mobile app for hotel services.
Delta Airlines brings its vacation package operation to Atlanta
MLT Vacations, which runs Delta Vacations, United Vacations, Aeromexico Vacations and Worry-Free Vacations, is being relocated to from Minneapolis to Atlanta. Delta Airlines wants to grow the arm's profits by 30% next year, says the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Israel restores its hotel-ratings system
After a 20-year hiatus, Israel will spend $1 million to bring back its one- to five- star hotel rating system, with 270 criteria that mirrors Europe's Hotelstars for criteria, says Haaretz.
Big GDS move in China
Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), the global business travel services company, has a China division, which has picked TravelSky Technology as sole GDS provider for the next five years via its BlueSky platform.
The backstory: Most travel agents in China still use manual processes, and TravelSky, which calls itself the "dominant provider of information technology solutions for China's air travel and tourism industries," increasingly looks positioned to become the Sabre of the country by converting agencies to its platforms.
Pop quiz: Which airport has the greatest distance between its entrance and its most distant gate?
Beijing has the dubious honor of making passengers walk 2 miles/3.2 kilometers between the entrance of Terminal 3 and its most distant gate, says a survey done by Direct Line insurance. The next-worst offenders were Atlanta and Zurich, at nearly as far distances. Note: walking is not always necessary.
Smartphones get hikers into trouble
On four consecutive nights over the weekend, there were four rescue operations in the Cairngorm Mountains of Scotland. In all cases, the hikers, 18 in total, were overly reliant on their smart phones for navigation, which rescue workers told the London Times was "unsuitable for the terrain the groups were crossing."
NORTHWIND-Maestro touts its reservation systems for non-chain hotels
Case in point: Lodging Hospitality Management manages hotel properties for a variety of chains, such as Holiday Inn and Sheraton. But it also owns non-chain hotels, mostly in the midwestern US, and for those it favors reservation solutions from NORTHWIND-Maestro.