News Briefs

  • 1/31/2023

    Charlestowne Hotels Year in Review

    Deer Path Inn

    Charlestowne Hotels, a hospitality management company known for its customized, owner-centric approach, closed out 2022 with significant additions to its portfolio and a new leadership structure to support the company’s strategic growth plan.

    “In 2022, we expanded our reach into three new markets, including California, Connecticut, and Maine. We also continued to hone our expertise in managing unique assets with the takeover of Hotel Marcel, which is expected to be the country’s first sustainable net-zero hotel,” says Kyle Hughey, CEO of Charlestowne Hotels. “It was a year of major firsts for us as well, thanks to the opening of Gingerline, Charlestowne’s first standalone restaurant concept, and the takeover of the Inn at Aspen, our first ski-in, ski-out property.”

    Charlestowne Hotels recorded its second consecutive banner year, a major milestone in the company’s 40 year history. While many hospitality markets sought to return to 2019 revenue numbers, Charlestowne set out to improve against 2021, and achieved a 20% portfolio wide RevPAR increase. The management company’s RevPAR is up 26% to 2019, more than double the national average (8.1%) over the same time period. This success was supported by Charlestowne’s strategic revenue management & marketing tactics, a growing number of properties located in sought-after leisure markets, and the steady return of corporate business travel. 

    To accommodate portfolio growth and provide advancement opportunities for team members, Charlestowne introduced nine new Vice President and Director roles to the corporate office, established a new food and beverage support team, and added three operational roles to provide direct guidance to hotels at the property level.

    “Over the last year, we focused on resource realignment, market diversity, and team member growth,” Hughey continues. We’re proud of the leadership opportunities we’ve created for our team members and the advancements we’ve made to fully support every hotel in our portfolio.”  

    HOTEL OPENINGS, TAKEOVERS AND NEW DEVELOPMENT

    In 2022, Charlestowne Hotels opened or took over six hotel properties and five corresponding dining outlets. The management company has also announced two new development projects for the year ahead, with more to be shared in the coming months. 

    OPENINGS:

    • Lockwood Hotel (Waterville, ME): Charlestowne’s eleventh opening in a collegiate market, which includes overseeing the property’s 53 rooms & suites and on-site restaurant, Front & Main.
    • Hotel One75 (Hamilton, NY): The newly-refurbished 94-room hotel, located one mile from Colgate University’s campus, is Charlestowne’s second property in the Hamilton area and twelfth hotel in a collegiate market.

    TAKEOVERS:

    • Hotel Marcel (New Haven, CT): Part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, the hotel is an adaptive reuse project that opened in May 2022, and is expected to become the country’s first sustainable net-zero energy hotel. Charlestowne is overseeing the management of this 165-room distinctive property, along with its on-site restaurant, BLDG.
    • The Darling Hotel (Visalia, CA): Charlestowne’s first property in California is an adaptive reuse project that features 32 charming guest rooms and suites, along with Elderwood rooftop restaurant, which Charlestowne will also manage.
    • The Inn at Aspen (Aspen, CO): The only hotel at Buttermilk Mountain, and home of ESPN’s Iconic X Games, the 122-room condo hotel is Charlestowne’s first ski-in, ski-out resort and first in Aspen. 
    • The Memphian (Memphis, TN): Part of the Tribute Portfolio by Marriott, the hotel is located in the city’s Overton Square. Charlestowne is proud to manage the 106-room property and its two eclectic dining concepts, Complicated Pilgrim and Tiger and Peacock.

    NEW DEVELOPMENT:

    • Hotel Verdant (Racine, WI): An 80-room adaptive reuse project that will be a pillar of the Racine, WI community. The boutique hotel will feature two unique restaurants and a robust beverage program.
    • A Tapestry Collection Hotel by Hilton (Pensacola, FL): A stunning 144-room hotel in Pensacola, FL with a fantastic location in downtown Pensacola’s newest master planned mixed-use development project, The East Garden District. The property will feature four event spaces, two intriguing dining concepts and Charlestowne’s signature guest-facing creative programming.

    FOOD AND BEVERAGE   

    Charlestowne solidified its place as a leader in the food and beverage space with the opening of its first standalone restaurant concept, Gingerline, in the summer of 2022. The Charleston, SC based restaurant features lively cocktails and coastal cuisine. Gingerline was fully conceptualized, opened and managed by Charlestowne Hotels, with the aim of filling a culinary gap in the downtown dining market.

    In addition to Gingerline, Charlestowne opened or took over management of five new hotel restaurant concepts in markets ranging from Tennessee to California. The in-house food & beverage team is responsible for leading all front and back-of-house operations for every restaurant it manages, which has resulted in acclaim from local diners and hotel guests. For instance, since Charlestowne assumed management, Front & Main at Lockwood Hotel has become the #1 restaurant in the local market on Yelp and OpenTable.

    PORTFOLIO ACCOLADES

    Charlestowne’s individualized management style, which encompasses highly personalized operations, marketing, and revenue management strategies, has helped the company’s newest and longstanding assets secure the industry’s most notable accolades.

    In 2022, The Loutrel was named the #2 Hotel in the U.S., the #20 Hotel in the World and the #1 Hotel in Charleston in Travel and Leisure’s World Best Awards. Deer Path Inn was voted the #1 Resort Hotel in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year and The Spectator Hotel was again voted one of the Top 10 Hotels in Charleston. Hotel Marcel was awarded the DOCOMOMO US Award of Excellence and Metropolis Positive Planet Award for its exceptional preservation practices.

    LEADERSHIP SUPPORT STRUCTURE & LOOKING AHEAD

    This past year, Charlestowne completed the final phase of a realignment plan for its corporate team. The company made 19 strategic new hires and introduced a new leadership structure to provide more property support and career advancement opportunities for internal team members. 

    “As we look ahead to 2023, we’re planning to focus on more advancements in the evolving hospitality tech space,” Hughey says. “To further cater to guest trends, we’re also inspiring our on-site teams to become even more creative with guest programming, packages, and amenities. We have the structure in place to continue our intentional growth plan and are primed for success in the year ahead at the corporate level as well as providing our owners financial success.”

       

    For more information about Charlestowne Hotels and their innovative approach to management, visit CharlestowneHotels.com.    

  • 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. 

  • 1/31/2023

    Chowly Acquires Koala

    handshake partnership

    Chowly, a restaurant technology company that integrates third-party delivery marketplaces with point-of-sale (POS) systems, has acquired Koala, a guest experience platform that empowers established and emerging restaurant brands to elevate their digital ordering experience across web, app and kiosk to drive immediate results. The combined business will represent over 16,000 restaurant locations on the platform, integrating over 350,000 orders per day across the US.

    “We’re thrilled to welcome Koala to the Chowly team,” said Sterling Douglass, co-founder and CEO, Chowly. “Merging these two businesses together represents a major leap forward in the mission of both organizations as we help restaurants navigate today’s complicated digital world. Koala’s open platform meshes perfectly with Chowly’s, while also giving restaurants a simpler experience for their off-premise strategies. We plan on bringing Koala’s best-in-class, enterprise-grade ordering to the SMB restaurant space and blend our partnership ecosystems while continuing to support their success in the enterprise restaurant space.”

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

    SMB and independent restaurant owners will soon gain access to a more sophisticated and holistic solution, including enterprise-grade online ordering, advanced data analytics, and proven machine learning recommendation engines for increasing basket sizes. Sophisticated native iOS apps, open platforms, and multi-platform support have long been relegated to the largest of enterprises, but are now being democratized for the independent restaurateur.

    The leadership team at Koala, Walter Beller-Morales, Melanie Norton and Brett Spiegel will play a critical role in integrating the two companies’ solutions in conjunction with Chowly’s leadership. Koala’s CEO Nat Trienens will remain temporarily to help shepherd the integration of the two companies.

    Chowly brings significant scale to the expanded organization, representing more than 12,000 locations and 3,000 brands. The company has delivered a consistent record of product innovation, best-in-class implementation time and POS integrations, and a strong value-driven sales team. By adding Koala’s strengths with product-leading features such as top tier conversion rates, enterprise-grade stability, a highly-customizable user experience and a machine learning engine for recommendations to maximize basket size, the combined company will be positioned for significant growth as a market leader.

  • 1/31/2023

    Hostaway to Expand Its Reach Using Amadeus as a New Global Distribution Channel for Short-Term Rentals

    A person packing for a trip

    Hostaway, a vacation rental management software company, has partnered with global travel technology provider Amadeus to distribute short-term rental properties worldwide.

    This partnership supports a growing interest in alternative accommodations within the travel industry, both from leisure travelers and business travelers craving more flexibility and choice. As the number of remote workers increases, ‘blended’ travel combining work and leisure time has firmly rooted itself in corporate culture. As such, travelers and their agents are looking for properties that can satisfy their unique needs more than ever before.

    Now Hostaway property managers looking to expand their distribution networks have the option to connect with Amadeus and distribute their own content thanks to LinkHotel technology. This not only adds to the wide variety of accommodations available in the Amadeus Travel Platform but allows Hostaway users to reach Amadeus’ vast network of travel agents to unlock new revenue. 

    Marcus Räder, CEO & Co-Founder of Hostaway, said: “Short-term rentals have always attracted a dedicated customer base of leisure travelers. Over the last two years, they have also proved their value to business travelers who want more flexibility. We wanted our property managers to be able to reach these guests and connecting with Amadeus was by far the best way of achieving this on a large scale. We’re proud to reveal it today.”

    Mirja Sickel, VP Hospitality Distribution, Amadeus, said: “As global travel resumes, it’s important we continue to grow our network with a wide range of properties suited to today’s life and travel-styles. By selecting Amadeus’ LinkHotel, Hostaway property owners are empowered to update and send information to a global network of travel agencies instantly with complete control over changes to inventory, rates, and availability.”  

    Property managers can learn more about the Amadeus connection by visiting the Hostaway marketplace at hostaway.com

  • 1/31/2023

    Twenty-Year Marriott Technology Strategist to Lead HCN Product Development in 2023

    Neil Schubert

    Forty-year hospitality industry technologist Neil Schubert has joined Canada-based Hotel Communication Network (HCN) as Chief Product Officer. With 20 of those years spent spearheading the technology initiatives for Marriott International, Schubert brings to HCN a wealth of knowledge in application development, product management, systems integration, financial systems management, infrastructure, IT architecture, and field service. His goal is to strategically transform HCN into a global hospitality communications brand. HCN’s Navigator tablets are quickly gaining traction in hotels as a two-way communication device that easily and efficiently replaces in-room phones, alarm clocks, voice assistants and other electronics. Schubert will perform this role from his office in Wilmington, N.C.

    “Neil has a keen understanding of hotel technology and how to balance the bleeding edge with a leading edge approach for effective adoption of new and emerging solutions,” said Kevin Bidner, HCN president. “We first met Neil while still with Marriott, as we installed our tablet and DineIN solutions at a 1,500 room Marriott property which was a great success. When Neil left Marriott, he joined HCN’s Advisory Board. We were always impressed with his passion for innovation and we feel greatly honored that he has decided to join us to provide his visionary leadership to the HCN guest communication platform. Driving ADR and reaching new heights in guest satisfaction are the missions we know Neil can help us evolve in our continuing quest to be the industry's innovation leader."

    Serving Those who Serve

    Serving on Advisory Boards is not new to Schubert. He has been recruited by several universities and leading hospitality associations to lend his expertise. Advisory posts include president of the University of Delaware Technology Advisory Committee, a member of the Penn State University Technology Advisory Committee, Advisory Board member of Hotel Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), and workgroup and forum chairman for Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG). Schubert also served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Delaware educating graduate students on hotel technologies.

    Prior to joining Marriott — where he held such prestigious titles as Vice President IT Business Partnership & Planning, Vice President IT Strategy, Western Regional Vice President (IR Global Field Services), Senior Director (International Financial Systems), and IT Director — Schubert served as Senior Director of Renaissance Hotels International, responsible for managing all IT functions at the company inception when it spun off from Ramada International. His hospitality career began in 1986 where he served as a Systems Manager for Sheraton Hotels. Immediately following his exit from Marriott, Schubert worked as Senior Vice President Global Product Management, Exceptional Innovation. More recently, he served as Senior Vice President of Product Management and Development for Cloud5 Hospitality. Prior to joining HCN, Schubert and his wife, Anna, took a year-long RV trip visiting 43 states across 33,000 miles spanning the U.S. and Alaska.

    Turning Tech Noise into a Symphony

    “One thing hoteliers are challenged with today is giving travelers a digital experience equal to – or better than – what they experience at home,” Schubert said. “Unfortunately, operators are getting hit with too much technology noise; I’m talking about spot solutions and micro applications that are taking over the guestroom. HCN’s Navigator tablets don’t just turn down the noise, they turn it into a symphony. Their tablets with audio docking stations replace most peripheral solutions and does it with an ROI that is not capital intensive. More importantly, it’s affordable for luxury brands and economy properties alike. Navigator not only transforms how guests interact with the hotel, the city, and their room, but it’s an interactive in-room two-way communication platform allowing guests to send and receive information, make purchases, order room service, report problems, and control their room with just a touch or voice command.

    “Wi-Fi has matured to a point where hotels have a reliable wireless footprint today,” he said. “That was not always the case; wireless in rooms started out with very spotty coverage and made it nearly impossible for tablet providers to connect guests to the hotel. Those early adopters did not have the digital platform adeptness that HCN is putting into rooms today. Navigator is supporting brands’ desires to drive guests to their own apps using personalized marketing. Quick messages to guests via the tablet is proving to be a strong business case for improving the guest experience. HCN’s innovative approach to tablet technology and their team’s ability to look at applications through a unique lens is what made me eager to join the company. I look forward to helping them grow.”

    To learn more about HCN and its Navigator Tablets, visit www.hcn-inc.com.

  • Show MoreShow More
X
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds