News Briefs

  • 4/17/2023

    Customers Give Hotels ‘5 Stars’ as Guest Satisfaction With the Industry Surges, ACSI Data Show

    ACSI travel infographic

    Good news for the travel industry: Not only are folks giving in to wanderlust again, but they’re enjoying all the accommodations along the way.

    According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Travel Study 2022-2023, satisfaction across all four industries measured — airlines, hotels, car rentals, and online travel agencies — is up. The outlook is especially cozy for hotels.

    “After two years of decline, a sweeping surge in guest satisfaction with hotels could signal that the industry is moving past the pandemic,” says Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI. “Concurrent with a wave of pent-up demand, the positive momentum is widespread as all hoteliers increase satisfaction year over year.”

    [Click here for a high res version of the infographic.]

    Hyatt helps guests rest easy

    Overall guest satisfaction with hotels climbs 6% to an ACSI score of 75, with Hyatt skyrocketing 10% to tie Marriott (up 3%) atop the industry standings at 80. Both Hilton (up 4% to 79) and IHG (up 3% to 76) experience valuable gains.

    Despite sitting at the bottom of the industry, the large group of small hotels sees the most significant bump, ascending 11% to a score of 72. Wyndham, up 4%, sits in a tie with the smaller hotels.

    Despite facing ongoing challenges such as staffing shortages and supply chain issues, hotels show strong signs of improvement across multiple elements of the guest experience. Moreover, guests feel they are getting more value for their stays, and extras like hotel amenities (76) and food services (74) receive much higher ratings than in years past. In short, the ACSI results are cause for optimism for the hotel industry at large.

    Alaska flies past the competition

    It’s no secret that the airlines had a turbulent holiday season. Widespread cancellations in December 2022 left thousands of passengers stranded, while staffing shortages and other operational issues impeded airlines’ ability to get travelers to their intended destinations.

    Customer satisfaction, unsurprisingly, suffered, plunged 8% in January 2023 compared to December 2022, reflecting passenger sentiment from year-end travel experiences. During that time, call center satisfaction received particularly low marks, along with in-flight service and cabin cleanliness.

    And yet, the plummet seems to have been a brief blip in an otherwise positive year. Overall passenger satisfaction with the airline industry increased 1% year over year to an ACSI score of 76. The outlook for the coming months may be even rosier, as passenger satisfaction rebounded substantially in February, regaining about two-thirds of the ground lost from the end of 2022.

    Alaska ranks best in customer satisfaction, taking over the top spot after soaring 8% to an ACSI score of 81. Meanwhile, Delta (down 1%) and JetBlue (down 4%) at 76 apiece are the only airlines to see satisfaction move in the wrong direction. Despite its struggles during the holidays, Southwest ties American for second place, both with a 1% improvement to 78.

    Alamo still leads car rentals, but Avis is in hot pursuit

    Satisfaction with the car rental industry increases 1% to an ACSI score of 76.

    Alamo remains in the pole position, up 5% to 83, but Avis zooms into second place after surging 8% to 80. Enterprise takes third following a 4% improvement to 79, while Budget gets a 6% bump to 76.

    Newcomer Sixt starts near the bottom of the industry with an ACSI score of 72, but outpaces the group of smaller car rental companies, which finishes last with a steady mark of 71.

    While the industry’s satisfaction surge was slight, car rental companies didn’t exactly sit in neutral. They were able to restock their fleets after a big dip in 2020 and used their time wisely to up their game in everything from reservations technology to staffing. ACSI data show that customers were much happier with vehicle variety (78) and appearance (82), as well as pick-up (80) and drop-off (81) locations, compared to a year ago.

    Expedia gives smaller online travel agencies some competition

    User satisfaction with online travel agencies overall inches up 1% to an ACSI score of 76.

    Despite improving 3% to 79, the group of smaller online travel sites no longer have sole possession of the top spot. Expedia rises 8% to earn a share of the lead. Expedia’s Travelocity makes strides as well, improving 3% to 75.

    Orbitz, in contrast, flounders, falling 7% into last place with an ACSI score of 71.

    The ACSI Travel Study 2022-2023 on airlines, hotels, car rentals, and online travel agencies is based on interviews with 10,588 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between April 2022 and March 2023. Download the study, and follow the ACSI on LinkedIn and Twitter at @theACSI.

    No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the data and information in this release without the express prior written consent of ACSI LLC.

  • 4/1/2023

    QSR Automations Recognized for Excellence in Customer Service

    QSR Automations customer service team

    QSR Automations earned recognition for excellence in customer service and support.

    At MURTEC, QSR Automations’ VP of Hardware Solutions and Support, Kathi Klein, received fHospitality Technology ’s 2023 Top Women in Technology Lifetime Achievement Award. 

    During her more than 30 years in the restaurant technology industry – half of those at QSR Automations–Klein has amassed incomparable knowledge in understanding and troubleshooting kitchen display, front-of-house, and the associated hardware and networking platforms needed to run them. 

    But what truly sets Klein apart is her natural ability to nurture relationships and foster talent, which has made her an effective leader in QSR Automations’ Support Services Team. During her long tenure at QSR Automations, Klein has built one of the industry’s strongest and most effective support teams. In fact, under Klein’s guidance, the team has received a 99 percent satisfaction rate from customers in 2021, and last year handled more than 16,000 inbound and outbound calls, which earned them a bronze award for Excellence in Customer Service from the 2022 Stevie Awards. 

    This was the third bronze Stevie award for the team, as last fall, Klein accepted two additional bronze awards from the Stevie Women in Business Awards on behalf of QSR Automations–one for excellence in customer service, and the other for growth. QSR Automations was selected for these honors from more than 1,500 nominations from around the world.

    “Just as our technology is the heart of a restaurant kitchen, our people are truly the heart of this business,” said Angela Leet, CEO of QSR Automations. “My colleagues are passionate about innovation both in and out of the office, and it’s immensely gratifying to see them recognized for these achievements.”

    QSR Automations, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., with offices in the United Kingdom, is a global industry leader in kitchen automation and guest management services.

  • 2/6/2023

    Salad and Go Expands in Texas

    Salad and Go  salad and iced tea

    Up and coming QSR  Salad and Go  is expanding in Texas with three new locations opening in February in the Houston markets of Katy, Richmond and League City.

    The Katy store located opened February 1, the Richmond location at  is set to open February 17, and the League City store plans to open its doors on February 22. These new locations will mark the start of rapid brand expansion across the Greater Houston area.

    These suburbs were strategically selected as ideal markets for Salad and Go as some of the fastest growing communities in the region. Conveniently located in some of Houston's most popular suburbs, the new locations will provide fresh, high-quality meals with quick and easy convenience at an affordable price.

    As Salad and Go continues growing its national presence with a strong focus on Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, and Nevada, the brand's expansive growth has it on a positive trajectory to provide fresh and affordable food to communities in more than 125 locations by the end of 2023. Houston is the next step in the brand's expansion across Texas with plans to open additional stores in the market throughout the new year.

    Salad and Go's chef-curated menu provides guests with food for any time of the day by offering a variety of delicious and healthy items including salads, wraps, breakfast burritos and soup as well as beverages including hand-crafted lemonades, teas and cold brew coffees.

    Salad and Go ensures each meal contains fresh, quality ingredients while keeping prices low by vertically integrating operations and distribution, and sourcing ingredients directly from high-quality local farmers and suppliers whenever possible. The brand's mission to make fresh, nutritious food convenient and affordable for ALL extends beyond its stores and is demonstrated in the work the brand does to donate 4,000 meals every week to those in need, as well as in partnerships with nonprofits to support and fundraise for various worthy causes.

  • 4/17/2023

    sweetgreen Shares Progress on ESG Goals

    sweetgreen sustainability report cover man in field

    sweetgreen released its first 2022 Impact Report, detailing the company’s ongoing initiatives to build a sustainable food system and responsible business.

    The report highlights sweetgreen’s Fiscal Year 2022 progress towards their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, including their commitments to becoming carbon neutral by 2027 and broadening workforce representation across all levels by the end of 2025.

    Sustainability Matters

    Sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food waste. According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.   Just last week, Chipotle revealed its new sustainable restaurant design.

    sweetgreen's Progress

    •  Together with  Watershed, sweetgreen calculated the emissions of their menu items and published the emissions data and methodology on their website.
    • Introducing carbon-friendly items: The Hummus Crunch Salad at 0.3 kg CO2e is their lowest carbon meal to date.
    • Reducing emissions intensity: Since announcing its commitment to becoming carbon neutral in February 2021, sweetgreen has decreased emissions intensity by 12% from their 2019 baseline while maintaining company growth.
    • Investing in clean energy: 100% of operations are powered by clean electricity purchased from solar farms in North Carolina certified by Watershed, reducing their Scope 2 emissions to zero.
    • Mitigating environmental impacts: 79% of waste was composted or recycled based on restaurants where their partner, Rubicon, manages landfill, compost, and recycling streams.

     

  • 4/17/2023

    The Other House Empowers Customer Experience with Sage Intacct and Percipient

    sage intacct logo

    Business software consultancy, Percipient, announced that hospitality start-up, The Other House, has deployed Sage Intacct. As well as providing intelligence to support the customer experience, track profitability, and expedite operational processes, the platform will facilitate greater transparency around energy consumption and costs, while scaling to support ambitious growth plans for the company. 

    The Other House initially used Xero for its accounting needs. However, as it geared up to launch, the executive team needed a platform which would integrate with all key systems, deliver high-level business insights, and support the lifestyle brand’s plans to open 15 sites in the next few years. Having conducted an extensive review process, The Other House selected Sage Intacct based on the fact it was the best system on the market and could efficiently integrate with other best-in-class systems.

    Now live, The Other House is benefitting from automation across the entire business. Because of the impressive integration via APIs, business users can view pretty much anything via an easy-to-navigate dashboard, daily, weekly, monthly, or by any other configuration they choose. This unprecedented level of speed and intelligence means that the team is able to distil key data in minutes rather than days.

    “Crucially, Sage Intacct can be used by anyone, not just finance, which promotes transparency and allows intelligence to be applied where relevant,” comments Tom Haley, CFO at The Other House. “Our quarter-end accounts are produced at a click of a button and we are able to plot and compare any insight we need to create a comprehensive picture, so that when viewing, say, profit and loss, we can look at the numerous variables associated with that. Sage Intacct delivers truly end-to-end finance, but in reality, it does so much more than that. It allows us to have a high-level business conversation based on statistical insights, which in turn, give us an in-depth understanding and control of our numbers in real-time.”

     

    “Digital is, without doubt, a crucial aspect of any modern hospitality business, and we see it as a competitive advantage. While our app will play a significant role in helping to deliver the Resident experience, it’s all of the intelligence generated in the back office, powered by Sage Intacct, which ultimately delivers the magic.”

     

  • 4/17/2023

    New Attensi Whitepaper Reveals Leadership Delta Is Largest Challenge Facing Hospitality

    attensi logo

    Attensi, a global training tech provider, launched a new insight paper, 'The Leadership Delta: How challenging the norm is helping the hospitality & retail industry to train exceptional leaders.' The paper reveals three of the most common and fundamental leadership ‘deltas,’ which they believe are the most difficult to solve using traditional training methods.

    Frontline organizations in the hospitality & retail sector have had to face big challenges head on over the last three years, from global shut down to high consumer demand and financial crisis. But according to Attensi, one of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the ‘leadership delta’.

    What does Attensi mean by leadership delta?

    A leadership delta is a vast gap in knowledge and capability that is exposed when individual contributors are promoted into senior roles where they have responsibility for overseeing multiple areas of the business. One of the reasons this happens is because many of those leading teams within the sector are promoted because they are great at their ‘day job’ -- they are amazing baristas, superstar bar tenders or fantastic store assistants -- but now they find themselves with a new set of expectations and responsibilities. The step up is a giant skills leap. With so much responsibility at the hands of these leaders, Attensi is challenging the industry to look at how leaders are trained within the sector and asking the question: Are you challenging training tradition to develop exceptional leaders and beat the leadership delta?

    With a global outlook, the whitepaper identifies three key leadership ‘deltas’ the sector should address:

    • Coaching for performance
    • Having difficult conversations
    • Effectively communicating culture

    Greg Hull SVP Commercial Operations US and Global Head of Hospitality & Leisure, said: “In this paper we explore the leadership delta in detail and discuss how organizations can challenge traditional learning methods to give leaders the opportunity to drive performance and become exceptional.

    “For every frontline organization, fighting against a backdrop of challenges, understanding and addressing the ‘leadership delta’ in their organization and defining the skills gap they need to close to set leaders up for success is now critical for sustained success.

    “There are key takeaways that every organization can take from the learnings of these global organizations, firstly to take the time to better understand the real-life impact and effectiveness of your training, secondly to explore how your team feel about your approach to training and its effectiveness for them as individuals and finally to rethink and reimagine your approach to traditional leadership training. Learning strategies must continuously evolve.”

    To find out more, download Attensi’s whitepaper: Whitepaper | Hospitality Industry | Attensi

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