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News Briefs

  • 5/3/2023

    hihotels Announces Partnership with Hopper Travel App

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    hihotels by Hospitality International, a recognized leader in franchising of conversion and new build hotels for economy lodging, is pleased to announce a partnership with Hopper, the world’s fastest-growing travel app.

    With this new partnership, Hopper will have a direct connection with hihotels’ five distinct brands – Scottish Inns, Red Carpet Inn, Master Hosts Inns, Downtowner Inns and Passport Inn. These brands will benefit from Hopper’s proprietary suite of fintech products that drive conversion, repeat purchases and profitability. Featuring an award-winning booking experience, Hopper will also help hihotels expand its growing online presence and retain its customer base.

    “This strategic alliance with Hopper is yet another way of providing more revenue opportunities and increased exposure for our franchisees,” said hihotels Director of Operations Gary Gobin. “Hopper, previously known for its flights business, has rapidly expanded into hotels, homes and rental cars in recent years -- with hotels currently comprising more than half of the company's travel bookings. We like how they are strongly focused on social media marketing, which will improve exposure of our hotels to younger generations who prefer to spend money on experience, rather than higher-priced accommodations.”

    “At Hopper we strive to provide the best accommodation offerings in the same place that users are booking the rest of their travel,” said Lexi Caron, Head of Hotel Marketplace at Hopper. “This partnership brings new direct inventory to the Hopper app, which has been downloaded over 100 million times to date, and helps us deliver on our promise to offer customers the best price, selection and inventory available.”

  • 4/24/2023

    Denny's Launches Series of National Wellness, Mental Health Summits

    Dennys exterior of diner

    As part of a national effort to raise awareness and offer expert insights, Denny's is kicking off a series of summits focused on how companies and individuals can better manage and improve their mental health and wellness.

    The first summit is taking place on April 22 at the HPAC Theater in Spartanburg, S.C. The summit will be free to the public and attendees can participate in-person or virtually.

    "Denny's has always been committed to feeding people's bodies, minds, and souls, and this summit series perfectly aligns with our holistic approach to wellness," said Kelli Valade, CEO of Denny's. "The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the topics of mental health and personal well-being front and center. Now is the time to think about how we can bring our whole selves to all facets of our lives, including the workplace."

    The summit keynote speaker is Dr. Daniel E. Dawes, Senior Vice President for Global Health and Executive Director of the Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College. Dawes will discuss the importance of addressing mental health equity and the path forward to achieving a healthier society. Other nationally recognized panelists include:  

    • Dr. Shaneeta Johnson, a surgeon, clinician, educator, and researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine and Senior Fellow in Global Health Equity at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute
    • Dr. Monique May, a board-certified and licensed family physician best known as the "Physician in the Kitchen"
    • Dr. Bennie L. Harris, Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Upstate
    • Sharon Lykins, Denny's Vice President of Product Innovation

    "Mental health and wellness significantly impact the quality of life of individuals, families, and communities across the Upstate region and beyond," said USC Upstate Chancellor, Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. "We are thrilled to join forces with a global leader like Denny's to address one of the most critical public health issues of our time."

    Journalist Roland S. Martin will moderate two panels, "Mindful Eating," which will address the connection between food and wellness, and "Wellness at the Workplace," which focuses on mental health at work.

    A second mental health summit will be offered on October 10 in Nashville, Tennessee.

  • 5/3/2023

    Radisson Hotel Group to Participate in HRS’ Green Stay Initiative

    logo, company hrs

    HRS, a global corporate lodging and payment technology platform, announced the addition of Radisson Hotel Group its groundbreaking Green Stay Initiative (GSI). As more corporate hotel procurement leaders prioritize a hotel’s sustainability-related credentials during the bidding process, Radisson Hotel Group’s choice to participate in the global GSI program enhances their opportunities to win more corporate volume. Radisson Hotel Group’s 1,100+ properties across 95+ countries will gradually participate in GSI, beginning with an initial group of properties in Europe this quarter. 

    The timing of this announcement aligns with the increasing number of government proclamations requiring corporations to report their progress on reducing carbon emissions. The most recent example is the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, adopted by the European Union parliament in November 2022. This EU-wide regulation, mandating “more detailed reporting,” begins in January 2024.  

    Launched just two years ago, HRS’ Green Stay Initiative has recorded impressive traction in the global corporate hospitality ecosystem. The technology enables corporate hotel procurement leaders to efficiently view and consider sustainability metrics and information amid other categories (i.e. room rates, cancellation policy, etc.) as they make preferred supplier decisions. More than 600 hotel brands across 170-plus nations participate in GSI today, including seven of the top 11 hotel chains in the world. Dozens of Fortune 500 corporations use the solution as part of their hotel procurement process, with some companies mandating hotels to use the technology in order to secure preferred supplier status

    Radisson Hotel Group: Early Leaders in Adopting Sustainable Practices 

    Radisson Hotel Group cares for people, communities and planet and airms to be Net Zero by 2050 based on the approved near-term Science Based Targets. With unique solutions such as 100% carbon neutral Radisson Meetings, the Group makes sustainable hotel stays easy. To faciliate sustainable travel choices, all Radisson Hotel Group hotels are becoming verified on Hotel Sustainability Basics. Dozens of individual properties have won green awards in recent years, and EcoVadis honored Radisson Hotel Group with the Silver award for sustainable supply chain paractices across its brands.

    “We continue to our Net Zero transition while delivering a unique sustainable lodging experience in our hotels worldwide with a combination of Hotel Sustainability Basics, recognized eco-labels and unique value propositions such as 100% carbon neutral Radisson Meetings,” said Gianni Di Fede, Senior Vice President Revenue Management, RevGen Analytics and Distribution at Radisson Hotel Group. “HRS’ Green Stay solution makes it easier for our properties to convey their green attributes to corporate procurement audiences. Using this technology simplifies RFP-related administrative processes with HRS corporate clients, which supports our hotels at a time when corporate transient and meeting volume ramps up in 2023.”

    “Radisson Hotel Group has always been a leader when it comes to adopting technologies that enhance services to all their guests. We’ve collaborated with Radisson Hotel Group on several automation-focused projects in recent years, so we’re pleased to move forward with GSI,” said HRS CEO Tobias Ragge. “Resource-challenged hotels gain from precisely this type of automation as they seek to compete for corporate room nights even as they tightly manage their sales-related expenses.” 

    Corporate hotel program leaders, hotel executives and media can learn more about the impact of sustainability-related trends in lodging procurement via this recent report from HRS

  • 5/3/2023

    Hostaway Becomes First PMS to Launch ChatGPT AI Tool

    hostaway logo

    Hostaway has become the first vacation rental property management software (PMS) to launch a ChatGPT-powered artificial intelligence tool within its platform. 

    From today, all PMS & channel manager clients will have the option to use AI within Hostaway to optimize their listings and increase bookings, without adding to their workloads.

    As rising guest expectations increase the demands on short term and vacation rental operators, data-driven automation is critical to achieving efficiencies while maintaining the highest standards required of professional managers and hosts.

    Hostaway’s new AI tool will transform listings to be more inviting and engaging. It will also match the tone of voice and professional style to each operators’ brand and audience — from formal to friendly and anything in between — creating brand consistency across listings. 

    This new technology not only saves time but increases the visibility of listings in a way that some managers may struggle to achieve by themselves.

    The launch of its first AI enhancement is just the latest improvement the Hostaway team has made to its award-winning platform in the past year. Last month, the company updated its Guest Portal, enabling property managers to upsell to guests before and during their stay, helping clients stay competitive, drive revenue and deliver best-in-class stays. 

    In 2022, Hostaway launched a website builder, fully-customizable rental agreements, and centralized financial reporting as well as integrations with nine booking channels, including Homes & Villas by Marriott International, Hopper, and Amadeus. Hostaway now have more than 150 integration partners. 

    Saber Kordestanchi, Co-Founder and COO at Hostaway said: “We are delighted to introduce this feature to our platform, easing the strain on our customers by giving them the tools they need to elevate their listing descriptions and increase bookings.

    “We take pride in responding quickly to developments in technology and the wider travel industry. AI is going to transform the experience of property managers as well as guests and this is just the first of many enhancements we expect to make.”

  • 5/3/2023

    Mews Partners with Saira Hospitality to Launch Five New Hospitality Schools and Develop an Online Training Solution

    saira and mews logos

    Mews has partnered with pop-up hospitality school pioneers Saira Hospitality to transform education in the hospitality industry and help with ongoing staffing shortages. 

    “Our two companies are passionate about challenging the status quo and innovation, Mews with technology and Saira with people and education,” said Harsha L’Acqua, Founder and CEO at Saira Hospitality. “After just one discussion, it became clear that our graduates would benefit immensely from harnessing Mews’ tech platform to elevate hospitality training and service and ultimately re-inspire the industry.” 

    There are two elements to the new partnership: first, five new hospitality schools will be created around the world, using Saira’s innovative curriculum and expertise in creating cutting-edge training program to create a skilled, dedicated workforce. The first school will open in London in June 2023 and will be followed by a pop-up in Amsterdam later in the year. 

    Saira Hospitality specializes in sourcing undiscovered talent that may otherwise have been overlooked by the hospitality industry. Their global curriculum specializes in life skills development that equip students with essential hospitality skills including leadership, communication and emotional intelligence. After completing the program, graduates will then be employed at properties running on Mews. 

    Secondly, work will begin on migrating the key parts of Saira’s curriculum online to the Mews University platform. This will offer Mews customers and the wider industry access to digital life skill sessions, aimed at upskilling global workforces and making Saira’s training more accessible. 

    Saira Hospitality’s programs have a proven positive impact on team engagement and happiness, as well as significantly reducing staff turnover for hotels. The non-profit organization has been operating since 2015, partnering with the world’s leading hotel brands to support their talent search, whilst redefining how operators can connect and support local communities.  

    “Hospitality isn’t just about business; it also has a key role to play in education and building local communities,” said Paul Mooney, Chief Customer Officer at Mews. “What’s so exciting about this partnership is that it can make a real difference to individuals while also helping our industry to create a new, enthused talent pool.” 

    The Mews and Saira Hospitality partnership will last for an initial period of 18 months. To learn more about the collaboration and the direct impacts of Saira Hospitality’s program, watch the Power of People session from Mews Unfold 2023

  • 5/3/2023

    SoundHound Voice AI Now Available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace

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    SoundHound for Restaurants voice AI technology is available for integration with Oracle MICROS Simphony Point-of-Sale for Restaurants. 

    SoundHound for Restaurants’ Smart Ordering voice AI integrates with Oracle MICROS Simphony POS to help any restaurant to accept voice orders from customers over the phone, via menu kiosk, or at the drive-thru, and transmit them directly to the platform. SoundHound’s voice technology intelligently learns a restaurant’s menu and can answer questions, accept modifications, and even upsell – helping restaurant staff maximize the number of orders they can process with greater speed and efficiency.

    Even during peak hours, Smart Ordering empowers restaurants to never miss an order, and is able to deal with many customers simultaneously, helping to avoid frustration and order abandonment. The voice technology can also answer questions about restaurant location, business hours, and other FAQs, allowing employees to focus on making food and serving customers. 

    Importantly, SoundHound’s advanced conversational AI allows restaurant customers to speak naturally when placing an order – just as if they were speaking to a human. It is capable of capturing selections accurately and in real-time, making it a reliable and cost-effective way for restaurants to deal with the increased demand for takeout amid recent labor shortages. 

    Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a one-stop shop for Oracle customers seeking business applications offering unique business solutions, including ones that extend Oracle Cloud Applications.

    SoundHound’s voice AI is the result of nearly two decades of innovation, including providing voice AI solutions to a range of world-class brands, including Hyundai, Pandora, Snap, VIZIO, LG and Mercedes-Benz. Through SoundHound, each of these companies offer voice technology that is built from the ground up and optimized for human speech. 

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