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HFTP DC Chapter Hosting State of Hospitality in the DC Metro Region Event

American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Leader to Provide Keynote Address

The Greater D.C. Hotel Chapter of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) is hosting an educational and networking event on the state of the hospitality sector in the D.C. metro region on April 21, 2016.

The event titled, “The State of the Hospitality Industry & Its Impact on the DC/VA/MD Region,” will feature a keynote address by Matt MacLaren, Esq., Senior Vice President of Member Relations at AH&LA.

The presentation will provide a preview of the upcoming AH&LA Legislative Action Summit, which aims to unite the lodging industry on the most impactful advocacy issues. These include moving the needle on technology and distribution issues, as well as leveling the playing field with short-term online rentals, and much more.

“The hospitality sector in the D.C. metro region is undergoing a significant transformation where the intersection of technology and increased demand is creating enhanced growth opportunities for area hotels,” said Diann Turner, President of the HFTP Washington, D.C. Chapter and Director of Business Development for Netlink Resource Group. “Matt’s insights will help regional hoteliers gain an understanding of legislative opportunities that will directly impact their businesses.”

The event will take place at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town, 1767 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on April 21, 2016. The cost to attend is $40 for members and $45 for non-members. To register email hftpdc@gmail.com.  Please RSVP by April 15, 2016.

HFTP is a global professional association for financial and technology personnel working in hotels, clubs, and other hospitality-related businesses. Founded in 1952, HFTP provides first-class educational events, networking, certifications and resources to over 5,000 members worldwide.

Headquartered in Washington D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry of more than 53,000 lodging properties.

Netlink Resource Group Helps National Institutes of Health Streamline Payment Processes

In an era of when meeting government mission goals requires new IT approaches, Netlink Resource Group (Netlink) recently developed a new web-based application that streamlines the process for compensation research volunteers and minimizes payment error for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As a result the agency moved away from cumbersome, manual-based payment processes and is now able to pay research volunteers in 3-5 days, whereas it previously took 7-10 days for dispersing compensation. In addition this new system allows NIH to be more effective in managing payment processes while also enhancing efficiencies and improving overall performance of agency financial staff.

The new Research Volunteer Payment System (RVPS) application is a completely customized, web-based payment solution that integrates with the NIH Business System (NBS). It also allows volunteers to seamlessly manage their own banking and address information.

Working with very aggressive deadlines for implementation, Netlink was able to create the new RVPS by leveraging existing systems that the company developed and currently supports for the NIH Office of Financial Management (OFM), such as the SREA Payment and Reporting System.

“In order to meet tight timelines for NIH, we took advantage of our existing solutions to create a new system that bridges a gap between three existing systems: a volunteer management system, the NBS, and the U.S. Treasury’s disbursing system,” said Christopher J. Hinkle, Senior Web Architect at Netlink. “Not only did the implementation of RVPS alleviate the need for manually keying in payment information for each volunteer, it also brought the existing processes into compliance with new government-mandated financial controls.”

Using the latest Microsoft .NET Framework the Netlink team built the complete and highly secure system within 5 months and integrated it with the NIH Secure Payee Registration System (SPRS) developed by Netlink in 2009. SPRS allows people receiving payments from NIH to register their information in one dashboard to receive electronic funds transfers or check payments.

The NBS is the central electronic business system of the NIH including the general ledger, finance, budget, procurement, supply, travel, and property management systems. NBS is aimed at improving data consolidation and financial reporting capabilities.

About Netlink Resource Group

At Netlink, we work with businesses to analyze opportunities, recommend technology strategies, and execute digital / mobile / web solutions that improve customer engagement, revenues, and operational efficiencies. We dissect complex business challenges, develop quick-to-market platforms that overcome them, and provide ongoing, professional support that allows you to focus on your business rather than managing multiple vendors. Our team delivers solutions that address hospitality, financial, workflow automation, and marketing needs. We serve a wide range of organizations, from SMBs to large companies in the private sector, as well as government and non-profits.

 

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Marriott International Launches New “Vacations By Marriott” Website with Support from Netlink Resource Group

To provide travelers with the most comprehensive online site for booking vacations, Marriott International and NetLink Resource Group has introduced the all-new “Vacations By Marriott” website, which offers vacation packages, travel deals, airfare discounts and more for Marriott destinations around the world.

NetLink provided the storefront for “Vacations By Marriott,” and implemented the underlying content management system (CMS) that allows Marriott to quickly and easily make updates based on the latest promotions and vacation package offers. In addition, NetLink built in search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities at the outset of the project, ensuring that Marriott is leveraging the latest capabilities for driving guests to the site.

“It was important that we developed an online product that was fully SEO-enhanced and offered a CMS system that allowed us to be extremely flexible and nimble,” said Todd Castor, Senior Director, Vacation Package Product Strategy & Sales, Marriott International. “NetLink took a highly iterative approach to building the site, which we found to be very effective in bringing dozens of worldwide leisure destinations to life. We look forward to continued site enhancements to provide complete support of Marriott’s growing global presence.”

As a platform that provides a unique alternative to online travel agencies, “Vacations By Marriott” enables a guest to easily book any kind of vacation package that includes hotels and resorts, rental cars, flights, tours, tickets and activities. The website also offers theme-oriented vacation package recommendations and ideas, whether the guest is planning a romantic getaway or a family beach vacation.

“We are very excited to help Marriott enhance a web presence that was built to grow revenue from guests looking to book complete, end-to-end vacations,” said Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group. “This project is a great example of the agile thinking and execution that occurs when marketing, sales and technology come to the table and align Marriott’s business goals with the marketplace.”

NetLink built the fully customized CMS using the latest Microsoft .NET Framework and SQL Server, which allows Marriott to create their own landing pages and make real-time updates to content as needed.

About NetLink Resource Group

At NetLink, we work with businesses to analyze opportunities, recommend technology strategies, and execute digital / mobile / web solutions that improve customer engagement, revenues, and operational efficiencies. We dissect complex business challenges, develop quick-to-market platforms that overcome them, and provide ongoing, professional support that allows you to focus on your business rather than managing multiple vendors. Our team delivers solutions that address hospitality, financial, workflow automation, and marketing needs. We serve a wide range of organizations, from SMBs to large companies in the private sector, as well as government and non-profits.

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Striking a Balance Between Selling on Price and Advancing Your Brand

It is no surprise that many potential guests base their travel bookings on price alone.  In this highly competitive marketplace, price can be a true differentiator, but it can also cause friction for hoteliers who are looking to enhance their brands with new innovations.

For example, with the rise of mobility, there has been an increase in mobile apps that are geared towards providing last-minute bookings at the right price.  Of course, these mobile apps help hoteliers fill rooms that may be vacant, but it could also contribute to compromising a hotel’s brand.

Most forward-thinking hospitality providers know that these mobile apps and other online travel agencies (OTA) fill a major void when it comes to helping with guest lead generation.  However, the challenge is that many OTAs and mobile apps have the potential to erode a hotelier’s profit margins and one cannot rely on price as the dominating factor for the brand.

“Hoteliers struggle to find a balance between selling on price and differentiating the brand based on key innovations,” said Tobias Bray, Innovation Strategist at NetLink Resource Group. “The key is being able to create brand loyalty that will last even if a hotel is not the most cost-effective option available on the web or on a mobile app.”

As we have highlighted before, it is all too easy for hoteliers to fall into the trap of viewing guests and customers as being ‘transactions.’  We believe that the world of data that is available at any hotelier’s fingertips provides unique ways for influencing potential guests in ways that extend way beyond price alone.

Selling on price certainly works when developing last minute deals in partnership with OTAs and new mobile apps.  Filling up surplus rooms at any given time is a good thing.  Though by focusing on price alone, many hoteliers are missing out on the opportunity to establish long-term brand loyalty that will supersede price – and innovation can be the driver of this effort.

Pushing Innovation and Role of IT to Forefront of the Hotel Industry

In every industry sector, we are seeing the pace of innovation moving at fast speeds. Fully leveraging all of the mobile- and cloud-based solutions – in ways to help organizations stay fully ahead of the curve – can be tremendously challenging.

The hospitality sector is going through its own information revolution where new innovations make it possible to not only mine guest data more effectively, but also serve up offerings that please guests in highly individualized ways.

This is all very exciting, but how can large hospitality providers keep up with the pace of innovation?

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, the new ‘digital title wave’ should cause organizations to move the function of IT from the ‘back of the bus to the front seat.’   The article also underscored how this hypothetical bus is moving very fast.

For many years, we have believed and supported client projects that only provide direct business value to an organization.  This new fast-paced digital frontier reinforces our long-held philosophy about IT being a business catalyst, but takes it to the next level.

Rather than just pushing for IT to have a seat the management table, it is time for this role to be the ‘bus driver.’ This requires IT professionals to have a strong business knowledge base, along with the ability to embrace and procure the most bleeding-edge innovations.  Simply put; IT leaders needs to wear many hats – some that will push them out of their comfort zones.

This is no small challenge for hotel IT professionals.  The stakes have become much higher for technology and everyday we are seeing new examples of how it can be the foundation for true business differentiation.

“The challenge for every business is to look across the enterprise to see how silo-based operations are impacting the guest experience,” said Tobias Bray, Innovation Strategist at NetLink Resource Group.  “Guest expectations are being shaped by the efficiency and innovation they find in personalized interactions on mobile platforms outside hospitality.  Brands are making the transformation, but have to walk carefully around the deep cultural expectation of high-touch services that are common today.”

We believe that this is one of the most exciting times in technology.  Yes, things are moving very fast, but it’s time for all of us to adapt and take a ‘smart, fast’ approach to implementing the most cutting-edge innovations.

NetLink’s Director of Business Development Named Chair of CRTC’S Ambassador Committee

NetLink Resource Group, Inc., a leading provider of custom web application solutions, today announced that Diann Turner, Director, Business Development, has been named Chair of the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council’s (CRTC) Ambassador Committee.

In this role, she will be helping the Ambassador Committee ensure that CRTC members are fully connected to the organization and are reaping the benefit of their membership. The CRTC Ambassador Committee’s mission is to enhance recruitment and retention of CRTC members, and provide opportunities for members to be fully connected with the organization and other members.

“Our region is full of many forward-thinking companies that are breaking the bounds of innovation and the CRTC serves as the hub for this vibrant business community,” said Turner. “ I am very excited about my new role in the CRTC and I look forward to helping advance the mission of this great organization.”

The CRTC Ambassador Committee is comprised of 13 executives from multiple business disciplines who meet monthly to develop programs for both growing membership and expanding opportunities for current members. The CRTC also recently announced the winners of its TechAwards 2012, which honored the region’s rising tech companies, outstanding innovators and regional tech leaders.

About Chesapeake Regional Tech Council

Founded in 1992, the Chesapeake Regional Tech Council (CRTC) energizes and propels the advancement of technologies with the exchange of ideas, expertise and business and partnership opportunities. The CRTC is a resource for visibility, connections, knowledge and education for technology companies in and around the Annapolis-Washington-Baltimore area, attracting new technology companies to the region and helping emerging technology companies grow and prosper in this increasingly dynamic environment. The CRTC is a non-profit membership organization supported by a grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (MD DBED) and a grant from the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) and enabled by membership and annual sustaining sponsorship. More than 250 businesses from the Annapolis-Washington-Baltimore area are members of the council, including many of the area’s well-known leading technology companies. For more information go to http://www.chesapeaketech.org.

About NetLink Resource Group

At NetLink, we work with businesses to analyze opportunities, recommend technology strategies, and execute digital / mobile / web solutions that improve customer engagement, revenues, and operational efficiencies. We dissect complex business challenges, develop quick-to-market platforms that overcome them, and provide ongoing, professional support that allows you to focus on your business rather than managing multiple vendors. Our team delivers solutions that address hospitality, financial, workflow automation, and marketing needs. We serve a wide range of organizations, from SMBs to large companies in the private sector, as well as government and non-profits.

 

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NetLink Supports “Telework Week” Again in 2012

Productivity is paramount to the success of any business. For many area workers, a big part of the day is often spent commuting to and from work –causing a drain on productivity and even sapping their creativity.

On top of this, having so many cars on the Beltway is causing undue stress on the environment. This is why NetLink Resource Group is an avid participant in Telework Week, hosted by the Telework Exchange.

Telework Week is a national effort to get companies and organizations to telework during the week of March 5th. Since we are already a distributed organization with many working from home, we decided to do the online savings and environmental calculations provided by Telework Exchange, and here’s what we found:

During Telework Week, NetLink employees will save:

  • $1,030.95 – Total amount saved
  • 1,370 – Number of pounds of pollutants saved
  • 0.653 – Number of tons of pollutants saved

And, since our employees telework essentially all the time, each year we collectively save:

  • $51,547.50 – Total amount saved
  • 68,513 – Number of pounds of pollutants saved
  • 32.625 – Number of tons of pollutants saved

Saving money and helping the environment is certainly laudable. But, let’s not forget about how teleworking will aid in employee wellbeing and productivity. Along those lines, we did a blog post last year about technology being the true enabler for distributed organizations to be truly productive – no matter where employees, clients and partners are located.

With the Washington DC region often being ranked #1 for worst traffic, it is time for local companies to consider a new, more progressive way of doing business. We need to re-think the whole “clocking in” for work at a centralized office and focus on giving employees the flexibility they need to get things done.

Kudos to the Telework Exchange for all if its great efforts. We urge all businesses to embrace teleworking. It could only lead to happier and more productive employees, which will enhance the bottom-line.

NetLink’s Diann Turner Named Vice Chair of NVTC Business Development, Sales and Marketing Committee

ALEXANDRIA, VA – NetLink Resource Group, Inc., a leading provider of custom web application solutions, today announced that Diann Turner, Director of Business Development, has been named Vice Chair of the Northern Virginia Tech Council’s (NVTC) Business Development, Sales and Marketing Committee.

In this new role, Turner will support the committee’s mission of creating opportunities for sales and marketing leaders in the Northern Virginia region to share best practices, form partnerships and collaborate on business opportunities.   In addition, she will assist in developing content and programs for networking events that help meet this mission.

“The NVTC is the premier organization for the viable and vibrant technology community in Northern Virginia,” said Turner.  “I am very excited to work with the brightest sales and marketing minds on the committee, and I look forward to advancing the goals and mission of this great organization.”

Since 2002, Turner has been the Director of Business Development at NetLink Resource Group, where she has played a critical role in expanding the company’s growth in the areas of hospitality, government agencies, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies.

Turner is also heavily involved in a number of other business and technology organizations in the region including the Chesapeake Regional Technology Council (CRTC), Women in Lodging (WiL), American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP), the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), the BWI Business Partnership, the Ft. Meade Alliance, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and AFCEA-Central Maryland Chapter.

 

About NetLink Resource Group

At NetLink, we work with businesses to analyze opportunities, recommend technology strategies, and execute digital / mobile / web solutions that improve customer engagement, revenues, and operational efficiencies. We dissect complex business challenges, develop quick-to-market platforms that overcome them, and provide ongoing, professional support that allows you to focus on your business rather than managing multiple vendors. Our team delivers solutions that address hospitality, financial, workflow automation, and marketing needs. We serve a wide range of organizations, from SMBs to large companies in the private sector, as well as government and non-profits.

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NetLink Sponsors BWI Partnership Breakfast Featuring David Marriott of Marriott International

One of the most important aspects of business development is networking and finding the right events to sponsor and attend. As members of the BWI Business Partnership, we often like to promote and sponsor key events that benefit the business community and expand brand awareness for NetLink Resource Group.

One BWI Business Partnership event certainly caught our attention: The January Signature Breakfast featuring a keynote address by David Marriott, COO of Americas Eastern Region, Marriott International. A Fortune 500 global lodging company that has more than 3,200 properties in the U.S. and 66 other countries, Marriott is by far one of the most significant businesses in our region.

Hearing business and operational insights from a member of the esteemed Marriott family will be worth the price of admission. We believe so much so that we are sponsoring the event. And to top it off, we will be hosting a raffle for a $200 Marriott Gift Card.

Be sure to mark your calendars for January 25th at 7:45 a.m., and here’s the link to register. See you on the 25th!

TSS Taps Into NetLink Resource Group for Development of Marketing Site for “TitleSphere”

ALEXANDRIA, VA – NetLink Resource Group, Inc., a leading provider of custom web application solutions, today announced that it developed the marketing site to support “TitleSphere,” a 100 percent Web-based HUD-1 solution for use by realtors, mortgage lenders, title agents and closing attorneys nationwide, created by Annapolis-based TSS Software Corporation.

A key component of promoting the new Web-based solution, NetLink Resource Group developed and designed the online marketing site aimed at driving additional TitleSphere sales leads for TSS Software Corporation.  The website can be accessed at www.TitleSphere.com.

“We required a partner who understood the value of developing a marketing site for our cloud-based application,” said Barbara Miller, TSS president and chief operating officer. “As such, NetLink was the ideal partner to provide the development skills and insights required to build out a website that raises awareness of this industry-leading solution.”

A unique cloud computing offering for the real estate market, TitleSphere offers complete Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1 preparation, along with document, contact, and calendar management.  The easy-to-use solution can be accessed anytime from any computer with a reliable Internet connection, and multiple team members and colleagues can access data from any location.

“We were excited to have the opportunity to promote an industry-leading solution that uses cloud computing like TitleSphere,” said Steve Short, President, NetLink Resource Group.  “TitleSphere is a prime example of a Web application that addresses unique market needs that offers complete flexibility and is easy to use – and we are confident the marketing site will help with market penetration.”

About TSS Software Corporation

TSS Software Corporation is an independent provider of software and services for the real estate title and settlement industry, with more than 18,000 users nationwide. To learn more about TSS’s industry-leading solutions, visit www.iwantTSS.com or call 443-321-5600.

About NetLink Resource Group

At NetLink, we work with businesses to analyze opportunities, recommend technology strategies, and execute digital / mobile / web solutions that improve customer engagement, revenues, and operational efficiencies. We dissect complex business challenges, develop quick-to-market platforms that overcome them, and provide ongoing, professional support that allows you to focus on your business rather than managing multiple vendors. Our team delivers solutions that address hospitality, financial, workflow automation, and marketing needs. We serve a wide range of organizations, from SMBs to large companies in the private sector, as well as government and non-profits.

 

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