RezOvation GT – Preview of the Next Generation

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Our review of the current version of RezOvation GT was published January 24 (during the 2012 Innkeeping Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas). At the conference, RezOvation invited current users to see a preview of the upcoming release, and to provide feedback on some of the anticipated features. We attended that preview, spoke with some of the RezOvation staff, and have some notes to share here.

RezOvation GTAt the outset, the staff stated that the goal with this release was to give it a feel that would be very familiar to existing RezOvation GT users, while making it much more intuitive and much easier to use.

Overview

The first, and most obvious, change is that the new version, expected to be out later this year (2012), is a web-based product. Before you begin thinking that your desktop version will be obsolete, wait until you hear some of the good choices that have been made, to continue to keep the desktop usable.

We were told that this new release is seen as an upgrade, so there is not expected to be any additional cost to existing RezOvation GT users.

The new version is based on Microsoft’s Silverlight (if you’re not familiar with Silverlight, it is similar to Flash in many respects). According to the RezOvation staff, Silverlight will allow the new version to be run on Windows, Mac and Linux platforms (Linux users will need the free “Moonlight” version of Silverlight – which, according to online discussions, seems to have some incompatibilities). In essence, you’ll install a Silverlight plugin for your web browser, then when you log in to the RezOvation server, Silverlight will connect to the RezOvation database and provide a very familiar RezOvation GT look and feel.

The existing desktop version of RezOvation GT is intended to continue to function normally, synchronizing with the database used by the new version, so both will be kept up-to-date. If you create a new booking on your desktop, the web version will promptly reflect it. Likewise, if a booking is made on the web version, or via a booking engine, the desktop version will be kept up-to-date. The primary advantage will be that you can access the new version using a web browser from any location.

Let’s look at some of the new features that were demonstrated.

Calendar View

Several new menu items appear along the top of the Calendar View, allowing you to change settings, show or hide minimum stay requirements, rates, etc. with just a couple of clicks. There is a new wait list indicator by date, showing that someone is on the waiting list for that date (this is a really nice addition!).

There is a Special Events tab, that allows for Special Events to be displayed on the Calendar View.

The Out Of Service features a new drag-n-drop capability, allowing you to expand, contract, or move Out Of Service rooms directly from the Calendar View.

Notes have a Post-It-like pop-up, so they can be easily displayed.

Reservation Details

Clicking on a reservation to see its details invokes a Silverlight action, causing the section of the screen to flip – as if a 3×5 card was being turned over (this appears throughout the areas of the program). This is a cute visual signal that you are entering a new area, but we think people will get tired of waiting for the animation, just wishing it would open a window. We were not told whether or not you could turn this off.

The Reservation Detail shows dates of the reservation and a calendar to use for making changes. Packages and Extras are available in a pull-down menu, as are Gift Certificates and Discounts.

Reports

One of the strengths of RezOvation GT is the combination of a wide variety of standard reports, and the ability to customize them (currently using MS Word template editing, and a limited number of available fields by report). Reports will continue to be created in Rich Text Format (RTF) – used by MS Word and many other word processors, but will not require the use of MS Office (that is a welcome change!). Editing reports includes the ability to “auto-tag” the reports – the ability select a “tag” for a database value (such as Arrival Date, Balance Due, etc.) to appear in the report without typing it.

We submitted a request that all available tags be available to be used in any report (we have sometimes found that we would like to include a tag that is available for some reports, but not for the one we are using), just as we have mentioned previously.

Lists

The lists of guests (currently the “Show Customers” button) will allow custom filtering of the lists, and will allow you to filter based on several custom conditions, such as date range, location, etc. You will also be able to select the columns to display, and save your custom filters for future use.

Settings

The Settings area is to be reorganized, intending to make it easier to find the settings you desire to alter.

Comments

During the presentation, the demo seemed to run very quickly (even though the internet connection at the conference facility was not the greatest or the most stable), and generally smoothly. At one point, however, it crashed and took quite some time to restore. Pre-release software does have a tendency to crash, so it is difficult to say whether that was caused by software that is not finished, by the internet connection’s instability, or by Silverlight.

While we were impressed with many of the changes being displayed for this version of RezOvation GT, much of the objective is to re-create the capabilities of the desktop version in a web-based version. Consequently, there were not a lot of major changes or “Gee, whiz!” features, and many other feature requests will not be implemented until a future release, if at all.

It is certainly understandable that RezOvation would choose to use Microsoft’s Silverlight product for this, as they are, after all, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, and it undoubtedly allows for easier development.

However, we question whether Silverlight is the best choice to work on all platforms for the future. Even if Silverlight works on Windows, Mac and Linux now, Apple has shown its hostility to Flash by not allowing its iPhones or iPads to use it, and Flash is now being discontinued by Adobe. Reports indicate that Silverlight does not work on the iPhone or iPad at present, or on most other smartphones or tablets. It seems unlikely that it will work on them in future. Can we be sure it will work on any Mac going forward? There were other alternatives that could have been used, but using them might have increased development costs and time, had RezOvation opted to use them. However, they are more likely to be usable on any platform, and not to be discontinued.

What do you think of the changes being proposed? Are you a current RezOvation GT user? Do you have suggestions for changes? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.

Comments

  • We currently use Rezovation GTO. I do like the fact that it’s online but I have issues with it closing down and losing the server quite often. I am thrilled that they are going with something more refined. After having computers crash or hard drives dying I will now use online versions whenever I can.
    I was not able to attend that class so I missed the unveiling. Thank you for explaining it a bit better.
    I was hoping it would be totally online and not something I’d have to download another program for. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if I like it when it comes out.
    I do love the reports that Rezovation is capable of producing.

  • Hi Tammy,

    I’ve heard similar comments about GTO, so I’m sure the new version will be a huge improvement.

    I didn’t mean to mislead anyone – when I said you must download Silverlight, I don’t mean that as if it is a new program – it is a browser plugin (like Flash or like a PDF reader plugin), rather than a full program. Just a helper to allow you to see content on the website that your browser couldn’t display otherwise.

    Scott

  • Thanks Scott, my misinterpretation. When I stopped by the booth to ask about the format, I was a bit disappointed that the new program would not come with an easy mobile piece. Which for booking a room on a mobile devise is a bit behind the times. But I guess we can’t have it all, maybe in the future.
    I do love the program so I will work with the quirks, hopefully the new one will be better.
    ~Tammy

  • I agree with this – it was stupid of them to implement Silverlight. I’d love to be able to whip out my iPad on a vacation or business trip or just from our back office and book rooms or answer guest questions. Unfortunately, this won’t be the case with RezO and their implementation of a proprietary system.

    One-third of our web traffic is iPhones – not smart phones, very specifically iPhones – and while Windows 8 and Windows Phone and most desktop platforms will have a Silverlight option, they should have looked beyond the immediate future and created a tool for the platforms that have a future. I’m not sure you’ll find Silverlight on any of those platforms that will become the norm in 1-3 years.

    I think the proverb about eggs and a singular choice of baskets has a lot of relevance here.

  • Thanks for the comment, Tony.

    I’ve been a big fan of standards-based systems for a long time, and no matter which way one’s “favorite vendor” may be heading, non-standard technology is rarely a good plan for the long term.

    Scott

  • Whew, all good posts and much to mull over. Tony (if it’s the Tony I’m thinking of in Cal.) there may be more i products being used in your area because of where Apple reigns supreme around here though Droids are more popular. I will be happy with whatever Rezovations uses as long as it is more stable for me. I just hope that the App I am using is still going to be a viable option for me looking up reservations. It came in really handy this past weekend when I was not able to get the online version to work on my laptop.
    I am anxious to actually see the new developments coming our way.

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