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About Diann Turner

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So far Diann Turner has created 27 entries.

HFTP Event: Taking Advantage of Cloud Technology in the Hospitality Industry

This week, the Greater Washington DC, Baltimore, MD, Northern Virginia Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is hosting a panel called “Taking Advantage of Cloud Technology in the Hospitality Industry” in Washington, D.C.

As cloud computing is a model for creating a convenient, ubiquitous, on-demand network, its power is tremendous for the hospitality sector.  For example, new cloud-based applications allow hoteliers to personalize offerings for guests, reinforcing strategies that create a completely Frictionless Guest Experience™.

NetLink Resource Group President Steve Short will provide unique insights into next-generation cloud-based applications for hospitality.   In addition, he will discuss how these applications can fully reinforce business goals, while also providing true differentiation in today’s competitive market.

In addition, the other panelists include Brad Hoover of M3 Accounting Services, Laura Calin of Micros-OPERA Global Services and Bill Wootton of C3 Integrated Solutions.

Be sure to RSVP for this panel, which is taking place on February 28th from 6-8 p.m. at the Dupont Circle Hotel in Washington, D.C.   We look forward to seeing you all there!

Chesapeake Regional Tech Council’s 5th Annual Holiday Mixer to Bring Holiday Cheer and Support for Toys for Tots

For the past five years, the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council has hosted its annual holiday mixer, which provides a wonderful opportunity for executives in our region to network, as well as enjoy good food and good times.

Of course, we are headed into a time of multiple holiday networking events, but the CRTC holiday mixer stands above the crowd and is worthy of attending.

In year’s past, more than 180 executives from the Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington DC triangle, have gathered to enjoy wine – and the wine raffle – as well as to donate toys to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

As the CRTC mixer co-chair, it has been a privilege for me to help bring this event to life.   This event is also special to use because NetLink Resource Group is proud to be a sponsor.

The Chesapeake Regional Tech Council plays a major role in promoting the business community in our region.  Being active on a number of CRTC committees provides me with a high level of both professional and personal satisfaction.

I highly recommend all technology businesses in the area consider joining this organization and attending the holiday mixer taking place at the Weston Annapolis on December 13th.

Season’s greetings to all and here’s to a prosperous 2013!

Using Data Analytics to Win and Keep Hospitality Guests

We are living in an era where ‘big data’ is driving key decisions and programs for multiple business sectors and even the federal government.  Thanks to new innovations for managing large volumes of data, as well as advances in algorithms and analytics, we are able to gain a complete snapshot of customers and end users.

The hospitality sector is also leading this new analytical approach for differentiating their guest offerings by mining into a deep well of data. Gary Loveman, President, Chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment, recently gave the keynote address at HITEC 2012 and discussed how smart customer data analytics drives the success of Caesars’ Total Rewards guest loyalty program.

Loveman said that competing on price alone for online booking engines is a losing bet for hotels. To help Caesars differentiate itself from other hospitality companies, he launched the Total Rewards program in 1998 using data collected on guest behavior to determine the potential value that a guest could be worth to the company. Although it’s important to give great service to all guests, it’s even more important to determine the potential value each guest could be worth to the company.

For example, it might not make sense to spend more on incentives for a customer who visits a casino only once, versus one who comes back again and again. The data analysis methods used in Total Rewards, though, pick up on more subtle cues to determine which customer would make the better investment.

Once Caesars decides to lure a guest, the Total Rewards program is designed to make that task easier by offering rewards that are actually useful to that particular customer.

In addition, offering benefits right away makes Total Rewards more attractive to customers because they will actually see a benefit from signing up. Total Rewards also uses its collected data to tailor offers to individual high-value customers, increasing the chance that they will sign up.

Gary Loveman clearly understands that data analytics can give a full picture on hotel guests. Thanks to his vision, the Total Rewards program has already yielded benefits to Caesars. In fact, over the 2000-2011 period, revenue per available room increased 20 percent, and the company outperformed the competition with +25 percent regional market wins per unit and +28 percent local market wins per unit.

 

Bisnow Lodging Investment Summit Brings Out Brightest Stars in Hospitality

Without a doubt, the Washington DC area has become the cornerstone for the hospitality industry — with Marriott, Hilton and Choice Hotels, as well as many lodging investment players, calling our region home.

So, it was no surprise that the folks at Bisnow Media were able to pull off a spectacular national event that drew together the “who’s who” of the hospitality sector at its Bisnow Lodging Investment Summit (BLIS) on May 9-10 at the Ritz Carlton in Tyson’s Corner.

We had the unique pleasure of attending BLIS, which brought together 500 industry players to hear 32 speakers discuss the future of the hospitality industry. Some of the highlights included Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s new CEO, providing his vision for doubling the hospitality provider’s overseas portfolio, as well as political pundit Tucker Carlson’s enlightening and entertaining speech on the state of politics and what to expect from the upcoming Presidential election.

The event also showcased some of the challenges that the industry faces, such as what will happen to RevPAR as consumer confidence continues to decline, as well as managing growth in a global economy that is still in a state of turmoil.

At NetLink, we have always believed that the best way to enhance growth, in even the most challenging of economic climates, is to ensure that all IT investments support business growth. For example, be sure to check out this case study about how Marriott International developed its online gift card effort, which resulted in $35 million in additional revenue.

As the lodging sector continues to move forward, it is exciting to see that the industry is coming up with unique strategies for business growth. And, plenty of opportunities still abound for those selling solutions to hospitality providers.

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

HFTP Promotes Innovative IT Approaches for Enhancing Guest Experiences

 

Recently, the DC Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) hosted a roundtable that highlighted new innovations in the area of guestroom technologies. Industry leaders gathered to share their perspectives on technology as it relates to the “guest” experience, as well as what leading edge hotels are doing to improve this experience.

Some of the emerging trends that were discussed included:

  • The ability to check-in to a room prior to arrival by using a smartphone, tablet or guest loyalty card
  • Interacting with guests via multiple channels including email, text, in person or an app
  • Knowing guest room preferences — including the temperature of the room, the number of towels, food and beverages, movies that were rented — and having the room ready upon arrival
  • Using a smartphone or tablet to control the TV

It is exciting to see the hospitality sector embracing new forms of customer service that will enhance profit during a time when leisure travel is down. It would seem that hotels could achieve a competitive advantage by implementing these types of solutions.

And, kudos to HFTP for promoting these innovative solutions. As the hospitality sector continues to embrace new innovations that enhance customer loyalty, we will continue to shine a light on hoteliers that are moving the needle when it comes to implementing IT solutions that provide true business value.

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

AH&LA Legislative Action Summit Brings Value of Customer Service to Light

This year, I had the privilege of attending the AH&LA’s Legislative Action Summit (LAS), which brought together key leadership from the lodging sector to make the industry’s voice heard on Capitol Hill.

Some of the major issues tackled at the LAS were the ability to foster growth and job creation in the lodging arena, the need to have online travel companies pay their fair share of taxes from online bookings, as well as removing burdensome visa processes that keep international travelers from coming to the U.S.

These are all serious issues that have major implications on the growth of the lodging sector. It was incredibly enlightening to be in the same room as the brightest legislative affairs executives who play a major role in providing an environment for true business growth for the hospitality industry.

Not only is the hospitality industry tied to the economic growth of the nation, it is also the mainstay of many local communities around the country. By easing some restrictions for travelers coming into the country, the hospitality industry has the potential to add 1.3 million jobs in 2012.

I did have one major epiphany during the LAS, and ironically, it did not come from participating in the sessions and networking events. Each night, when I went back to my hotel (JW Marriott), I was greeted with an unprecedented level of customer service. And, when I was leaving — and had to keep my bags with the bellman because of an 8 a.m. check out – I had five Marriot employees taking care of me. From loading my luggage into my 11-year-old SUV and beyond, it was a prime example of how the lodging industry needs to continue focusing on one thing: making the guests happy.

Clearly, attending the LAS was an illuminating experience for me, but I was really reminded that customer service is the cornerstone of business success by the JW Marriott employees themselves. When that belief trickles down to all staff positions, hoteliers can’t help but attract and retain more guests!

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

 

NetLink Proud to Sponsor CRTC’s TechAwards 2012

As we have highlighted before, we see tremendous value in taking advantage of pretty much every business-networking event in the region. For NetLink Resource Group, this extends beyond just showing up at the events. We actually show our support by sponsoring numerous events and awards programs, including the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council’s (CRTC) TechAwards 2012.

The CRTC’s TechAwards 2012 will showcase the region’s rising technology companies, innovators and leaders. The CRTC received nearly 40 submissions in five categories from a variety of accomplished technology businesses throughout the Annapolis-Washington-Baltimore region that demonstrated impressive growth, innovation and community service. And, this year’s finalists are clearly some of the true movers-and-shakers and up-and-comers in our region.

Be sure to mark you calendars for the CRTC “Meet the Finalists” InfoMixer, as well as the main event: the actual award ceremony.

See you all then and congratulations to all the CRTC TechAwards finalists!

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

Fort Meade Alliance Chooses NetLink to Participate in Business Mentor Program

We are excited to announce that Fort Meade Alliance’s Meade Business Connect (MBC) has selected NetLink Resource Group to be a part of its MBC Mentorship Program, which will help us expand business opportunities in the unique Fort Meade government-contracting environment.

The 12-session mentorship program with experienced executives will broaden our footprint in the defense contracting sector in the region. We will also present our capabilities to experienced contractors, as well as enjoy the benefit of networking opportunities and events, business forums and capability matching sessions.

Thirteen other companies were chosen to participate, which include: Alpha Omega Technologies, Inc., AttivaSoft, LLC, Bluemont Technology & Research, Inc., Columbia Technology Partners, Inc., Computer Essentials Quick, Inc., Delta Resources, Inc., Envision Innovative Solutions, Inc., ITIC Corporation, Jovian Concepts, Inc., Miller, Moll and Associates, PathSensors, Inc., System & Software Designers, Inc., and The Nasir Group, Inc.

It goes without saying that we are very excited about this opportunity. The Fort Meade Alliance is a catalyst for business opportunities in the region and this further expands NetLink as a key provider of IT solutions to the defense sector.

We would like to thank the Fort Meade Business Alliance for choosing us!

 

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

2012 is the Year of Networking and Opportunity

While nobody really has a crystal ball that predicts how the economic winds will change in the near future, one thing is for certain: judging by the number of networking events happening in early 2012, there are plenty of business opportunities.

As establishing solid relationships with peers, customers and partners always leads to business growth and development, I highly recommend that everyone doing business in our region dust off their business cards and expand their business horizons by attending these events:

  • Maryland Chamber of Commerce Congressional Delegation Dinner: During this town hall meeting-style event, Maryland’s congressional delegation and Maryland Chamber members will discuss important federal business issues, like the economy, transportation funding, business and environmental regulation, and much more.
  • GovCon Symposium — Driving Innovation in an Uncertain Environment: The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce and more than 500 members of the government contracting community will be gathering for a half-day symposium on driving innovation in an uncertain budgetary environment on February 7th.
  • CRTC Mustang Alley’s (Bowling) Networking Mixer: Combining networking with a little dose of fun, the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council is hosting a mixer at Mustang’s Alley on February 7th in Baltimore. 
  • BWI Partnership Signature Breakfast and Transportation Forum: On February 15th, Beverley Swaim-Staley, Secretary, Maryland Department of Transportation, will be speaking at the BWI Partnership’s Signature Breakfast and Transportation Forum at the BWI Marriott.

Of course, this is merely a snapshot of events that are happening in the next four weeks in our region. The DC-Baltimore metro area has a thriving business community that gathers in some shape or form almost every night of the week.

So, yes 2012 is the year of opportunity, but you have to be willing to go out and make the right connections to make business growth happen.

See you all at these events!

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group

Intelligence Community Embracing New Solutions for Increased Efficiencies and Effectiveness

One of the core differentiators of NetLink Resource Group is that we only focus on developing solutions that support overall business goals and provide tangible return-on-investment for our clients.  In the business world, this makes complete sense.  Corporations often have less IT resources these days and therefore require solutions that enhance the bottom line.

For the Intelligence Community (IC) and the Department of Defense (DoD), a similar dynamic is playing out as we speak – with budgets being tightened and an ongoing need to provide the highest level of security for our nation.  Clearly this is no easy task and I have highlighted a number of stories that showcase steps that the IC and DoD are taking to ensure the most effective returns on their IT investments.

  • Army Sets Tone for Government’s Mobile Enterprise with Android: The Defense Department is now leading the way in the federal government’s campaign to deploy mobile devices. Although there are security challenges that come with using mobile applications, the DoD is making tremendous strides in ensuring that the warfighter is always up-to-date with key intelligence – while also ensuring cost savings.  Check out more from Defense Systems here.

 

  • For Government, Cost-Cutting is Mobile’s Real Killer App: Paul McCloskey, editor-in-chief of Government Computer News, offers this insightful commentary on how mobile apps will provide tremendous cost savings for the government.  He also highlights how the “trillion dollars” in potential budget cuts has created the push for the use of mobile by the DoD.

 

  • DoD to Build Enhanced Cloud Capabilities: This Defense Systems story showcases how virtually all defense organizations and intelligence agencies are turning toward cloud computing for everything from satellite imagery to telecom traffic to Web content. The core focus is building private cloud systems that can cost effectively store and efficiently distribute multiple petabytes of data to endpoints worldwide.

 

  • The Defense Information Systems Agency Announces Streamlined Plan for 2012: According to Federal Computer Week, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is taking on the Defense Department’s fragmented IT services by making enterprise services its number one priority for 2012.

As the reality of budget cuts come to life for the IC and DoD, we will surely be seeing more stories about the use of key technology innovations to keep costs down, while maintaining the highest level of security.   The government is clearly entering an era of “doing more with less.”

And, as we always say, all IT investments need to provide real business value.  It seems that this mindset clearly holds true for the government as well.

 

 

Posted by: Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, NetLink Resource Group