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News Briefs

  • 1/25/2023

    HotelPORT Announces Partnership with ComOps to Provide Advanced Contact Center Services for Hotels

    logo, hotel port

    HotelPORT announced a partnership with ComOps, a provider of multi-channel contact center solutions. The collaboration will provide hotels, restaurants, and spas with enhanced resources for guest services, restaurant reservations, and other contact center operations.

    Through this partnership, HotelPORT and ComOps will combine their expertise to offer a comprehensive suite of solutions designed to improve the guest experience and streamline operations. With HotelPORT’s advanced technology and deep understanding of the hospitality industry combined with ComOps contact center strategy and support, HotelPORT customers will have access to a range of solutions that are both innovative and tailored to their specific needs.

    "We are thrilled to be partnering with ComOps to provide our customers with cutting-edge solutions that will help them better serve their guests and streamline their operations," said Fred Bean, Founder & CEO of HotelPORT. "With ComOps, we have found a partner that shares our commitment to excellence and innovation in the hospitality industry and we are confident that this partnership will be a huge benefit to our customers."

    "We are excited to be working with HotelPORT to bring our solutions to the hospitality industry," said Robert Levine, CEO of ComOps. "HotelPORT's expertise in the industry and commitment to innovation make them the perfect partner for us. Together, we will be able to offer hotels, restaurants, and spas a range of solutions that will help them enhance their operations and improve the guest experience."

    The partnership between HotelPORT and ComOps is set to begin immediately, and customers can expect to see the benefits of the collaboration in the coming weeks and months.

  • 1/9/2023

    Focus Brands Accelerates Dual Branded Locations

    Foucs Brand dual branded Jamba Juice and Auntie Annes

    Focus Brands says dual branding is the future of QSR, and the parent company of Auntie Anne’s®, Carvel, Cinnabon, Jamba, McAlister’s Deli, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky’s, is leading the charge. Today, the Focus Brands portfolio boasts 175-plus open dual branded units with at least 65 more in various stages of development across the country. 

    Drive-Thru Convenience

    The Focus Brands portfolio brands have signed agreements to open more than 50 dual and tri-brand locations in the coming year, many of which include drive-thrus for added convenience as interest in dual branded franchise opportunities continues to surge.

    Flexible Store Formats

    Focus Brands is among the brands introducing new store formats, including Krystal, Jack-in-the-Box and Panera Bread, which opened its Panera To Go, solely offering Rapid Pick-Up and Delivery shelves where guests and delivery drivers can easily pick up orders.  

    Focus Brands has long pioneered the concept of dual branding, predominately in malls and non-traditional locations with Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon. Now, the company’s portfolio brands have found new opportunities with streetside dual branded units, which is paving the way for immense franchise growth. 

    “Dual branding is the future of our brands, especially on the specialty side of the business,” said Brian Krause, Chief Development Officer at Focus Brands. “There will always be a place in malls, but there is an immense amount of growth opportunity in streetside venues, and, by dual branding, there is more opportunity for enhanced revenue.”

    The company invested heavily in consumer research to identify how to create combinations of its iconic brands to resonate with consumers and meet them where they want to be met.

    Focus Brands has identified four dual-brand concepts:

    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon
    • Auntie Anne’s/Cinnabon/Carvel
    • Auntie Anne’s/Jamba
    • Cinnabon/Carvel – Cinnabon Swirl. 

    While key consumer benefits vary by dual-brand combination, one consistent benefit has been convenience. Having these brands together in one location makes them far more accessible than they are individually. This convenience also creates opportunity for franchisees, as co-branding leads to an expansive menu that drives enhanced unit-level volume. 

     

  • 1/14/2023

    Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux Invests in Tech Transformation

    Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is making its largest technological investment in brand history.

    Walk-On’s is implementing a systemwide aggregator to consolidate third party orders, partnering with Lunchbox to upgrade its online ordering platform and guest loyalty program, and introducing a partnership with Toast to level up its POS management system.

    71% say the ability to integrate with other systems is driving their POS purchase decisions, according to HT’s2 2023 POS Software Trends Report.

    Walk-On’s new loyalty program and app, designed by Lunchbox, are scheduled to launch in the first half of 2023 with an improved interface and back-end integration that will create a more seamless user experience for guests and operators alike. 

    Continuing with marked enhancements to the guest experience, Walk-On’s is also partnering with BOWEN to modernize the brand’s website presence and streamline the online ordering experience. 

    In addition to the upgraded Toast POS system, Walk-On’s is installing Toast Kitchen Display System, and rolling out Toast Go 2 mobile handheld POS devices for tableside and curbside use at current and future locations. 

    Walk-On’s will implement a phased rollout across all current locations throughout 2023 and begin immediate implementation at all new restaurants in their development pipeline. 

  • 1/25/2023

    MDO Releases Guide for More Accurate Hotel Forecasting in 2023

    screenshot of mdo 2023 report

    myDigitalOffice (MDO), the world's fastest-growing hotel data platform, today released an in-depth report uncovering hotel forecasting trends that gives owners and operators a better understanding of the dynamic demand environment in 2023.

    By gathering input from leading operators, MDO has created a free online resource that addresses emerging trends in the hotel industry that directly affect hotel forecasting, including changes in booking patterns, new types of travelers, and a shift in focus to the bottom line.

    What was once an annual process to determine the upcoming year’s budget, hoteliers today are updating their forecasts on a weekly and sometimes daily basis, plotting demand and financial goals more than a year in advance. Experts from Outrigger Hospitality Group, Remington Hotels, Sea Island Resort, Miraval Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Dragonfly Strategists lent their expertise to identify data and trends that are likely to affect a hotel's future business outlook.

    Topics in the report include:

    • New booking patterns to shape a hotel forecast
    • Emerging segments of travelers that will affect your forecast
    • Shifting forecasting focus to the bottom line
    • Determining the most accurate data for your forecast
    • Aligning operational departments with uniform data

    “When you think of forward-looking data as only the competitor benchmarking tools, you’re missing your own internal dynamics,” says Mike Medsker, Product Head at MDO. “It’s great to see the market is up 5%, but you need to understand the trends behind the numbers and how they are going to impact your business internally.”

    Download the free report here.

  • 1/25/2023

    Q4 2022 Meeting Volume Outperforms Knowland Meeting Recovery Forecast by 8.4 Percent

    logo, company name

    Knowland, the world’s leading provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, released the quarterly update to its U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast (MRF) and associated Top 25 U.S. Meetings Recovery Forecast (MRF25) realizing strong performance ending 2022 on a high note and shifting 2023 higher than the Q3 forecast. Click here to view the most current forecasts.

    Kristi White, chief product officer, Knowland, said: “The fourth quarter outperformed the Knowland forecast by 8.4 percent, driven by top market growth. Additionally, both November and December exceeded 2019 numbers. This is the first time this has happened since the pandemic began. 2023 is poised to be a growth year, and hotels should be focused on optimizing demand and profitability.

    Knowland’s forecasts provide an overview of how the U.S. as a whole and the Top 25 Markets, specifically, will move through recovery. A breakdown of the details is below:

    • U.S. Markets Recovery Forecast update – 2022 outperformed in Q4, raising the year-end capture to 77.8 percent from the October 2022 forecast of 73.1 percent recovery. Compared to 2019, the updated 2023 and 2024 forecasts are:
      • 2023 Recovery Forecast: 110.2 percent (106.4 percent in October forecast)
      • 2024 Recovery Forecast: 133.3 percent (129.2 percent in October forecast)
    • Top 25 Markets Recovery Forecast update – Four markets (Dallas, Nashville, Phoenix, and Tampa) ended 2022 fully recovered to 2019 levels. Twelve markets outperformed the October forecast, including Anaheim, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oahu Island, Orlando, San Diego, Seattle, and St. Louis.
      • Recovery by the end of 2023: Thirteen markets are forecasted to achieve full recovery: Anaheim, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oahu Island, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis. Four markets (Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York) will end the year between 90 and 100 percent. The remaining four markets (Chicago, Las Vegas Philadelphia, and Washington, DC) will be under 90 percent.
      • Back to normal in 2024: All but two markets (Boston and Chicago) will be back to normal growth.
         

    Knowland hosts a webinar featuring the final roll-up of 2022 recovery data as well as the forecast for 2023 today at 1:00PM ET. Register here.

    Knowland will continue to host quarterly webinars reporting on the state of the industry, highlighting regional trends and booking disruptors. 

    About the MRF and associated MRF25: The MRF demonstrates projected industry recovery patterns and is based on Knowland’s proprietary data and regression models leveraging almost 20 million global events over the last 15 years. The MRF25 was added in February 2022 to provide the capability to search industry recovery patterns for the Top 25 U.S. Markets. The forecast uses a natural recovery model, assuming historic seasonal patterns without major market disruption, to index the recapture of meeting activity compared to baseline levels from 2019. By comparing past data to evolving data trends, hoteliers can better understand market-relevant changes–and their implications–as individual markets move into 2022 and beyond.

     

    Top 25 Markets: Anaheim, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Oahu Island, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington DC.

  • 1/24/2023

    Cybersecurity Budgets Increase for Retail & Hospitality Industry

    RHISAC benchmark survey logo

    Information security teams have always had to do more with less, but 2023 might be the year when they are able to do more with more. Riding a three-year trend, 70% of CISOs expect their budgets to increase again this year, while 60% also expect more FTEs, according to the CISO Benchmark Report released by the Retail & Hospitality Information Sharing and Analysis Center (RH-ISAC).

    The annual report surveys cybersecurity leaders from consumer-facing industries to assess data about budgets, personnel, and organizational priorities.

    The increase in budget and personnel reflects how cybersecurity has grown as a critical part of business operations in many organizations. This year, business disruption emerged as a top 10 (No. 7) risk that organizations currently face, up seven spots from No. 14 in 2021. Similarly, 50% of CISOs now have business continuity/disaster recovery as part of their core responsibilities, an increase of 11 percentage points since last year.

    Surprisingly, although fraud in its many forms greatly impacts the bottom line, and continues to be a top risk for organizations, very few CISOs have fraud as part of their core responsibilities, according to the report.  

    New this year is an additional benchmark report from RH-ISAC that survey cybersecurity practitioners to understand the challenges and priorities staff have in executing daily job functions.

    Key insights from the Practitioner Benchmark Report include:

    • 83% serve more than one job function, which means that employees have a valuable and diverse skill set across security operations (76%), threat intelligence (66%), and risk management (66%)
    • 93% believe they have the necessary skill sets to perform their job effectively

    “The retail and hospitality industries are constantly evolving, and so are the cybersecurity challenges they face,” said Suzie Squier, president of RH-ISAC. “The RH-ISAC Benchmark Reports provide valuable insights and actionable information for CISOs and other information security professionals to stay informed about trends and resource allocation among infosec teams.”

    The companies represented in the surveys include retail, restaurants, hospitality, travel, and consumer packaged goods/manufacturing companies, and reflect more than 718,000 total locations, 3.4 million corporate employees, and $2.3 trillion in annual sales.

    The full reports are available to RH-ISAC members, and summary versions of each report are available to download:

    CISO Benchmark Report

    Practitioner Benchmark Report

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