News Briefs

  • 6/14/2023

    Breezeway Launches 24/7 Guest Support— Delivered by People but Powered by AI for in-depth Personalization

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    Breezeway, the property operations platform, has launched 24/7 guest support, allowing hosts and property managers to deliver memorable hospitality experiences in person, knowing that comprehensive guest assistance is readily available around the clock. 

    The team at Breezeway Assist recognizes the importance of the human touch in hospitality, answering phone calls and text messages 24/7, 365 days a year. Breezeway leverages AI technology to gather accurate information and promptly deliver personalized responses to guests within a few minutes. 

    Breezeway Assist uses data from guest reservations, messaging, property guide, and operational tasks to respond to guests. Property managers and hosts can choose to use Assist whenever they want — as an after-hours service, handling all guest interactions, or as a way of taking the pressure off in peak season. 

    When guests reach out, the Breezeway Assist staff will address guest questions and create tasks in property managers’ workflow so they can see what interactions have taken place, even escalating urgent issues when necessary. 

    The idea for Assist was borne out of the knowledge that guests who feel taken care of are far more likely to leave positive reviews, make referrals, and even book a return visit. The vast majority (95%) also prefer text rather than voice communication, opening up an incredible opportunity to leverage data stored on Breezeway’s platform to provide premium customer support at scale.

    Breezeway Assist is the embodiment of People Powered AI, helping small businesses operate more efficiently and freeing up valuable time so teams can do more. Early results are incredibly promising. In fact, one Breezeway customer enjoyed a 78% improvement in guest sentiment after implementing Breezeway Assist. "We are getting 10X the value compared to a generic after-hours answering service,” stated Jacqueline Wilson, President of Biloxi Biloxi Beach Resort Rentals. “I trust Breezeway. They understand the industry, and onboarding with Breezeway Assist was seamless."

    Jeremy Gall, CEO and Founder of Breezeway, explains: "Assist represents the continued expansion of Breezeway’s operations platform; another example of how hosts and managers can leverage operational data and workflows to drive more consistent hospitality experiences.” 

    To learn more about Breezeway, visit https://www.breezeway.io/assist-demo

  • 6/1/2023

    Tim Hortons Expands EV Charging Stations

    EV charging

    For electric vehicle owners in British Columbia, Tim Hortons is now fueling road trips in more ways than one.  The company has announced the expansion of its electric vehicle charging station pilot launched earlier this year in Oakville, Ontario, by unveiling six new charging stations at restaurants throughout  British Columbia.

    Tim Hortons announced the pilot in February in an effort to study the technology, its usage and opportunities.

    "We have been thrilled with the results of the pilot so far.  Usage of the charging station in Oakville has surpassed our expectations and we received many calls with requests to expand the pilot," said Paulo Ferreira, Senior Director, International Strategic Restaurant Design and Building Standards, Tim Hortons. "With more than 3,300 eligible restaurants across the country, we continue to look for opportunities to expand the pilot and contribute to the EV infrastructure."

    The BC expansion, supported by the Province of BC's Community Charging Infrastructure Fund and Koben Systems Inc. (KSI), placed charging stations strategically in Nanaimo, Langford, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Abbotsford and Coquitlam to create paths within the province, allowing guests to travel from restaurant to restaurant strictly on electric power.

    Tim Hortons offers charging stations as a courtesy to guests at six locations.  As of March 31st, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,288 system-wide restaurants, including 3,453 in Canada, 808 in the United States and 27 in the Gulf Cooperation Council. 

  • 6/14/2023

    After Raising $445M, Zume Shuts Down

    a pizza sitting on top of a wooden cutting board

    Zume, a company that raised $445 million from investors to for pizza-making robots before switching to developing sustainable packaging in 2020, has shut down, The Information reported.

    Launched in 2015, the startup promised to remake traditional pizza delivery with pie-making robots. Its Doughbot was said "to make each pizza crust five times faster than before while improving the quality of work for staff and speed of delivery for customers."  

    "SoftBank’s $375 million investment symbolized the huge checks investors were spending on startups attempting to reinvent conventional businesses with technology," stated The Information.

  • 6/14/2023

    Knowland Now Available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace

    oracle and knowland logos

    Knowland, a provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality and a member of the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), announced the Knowland platform is available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace and will enable integration with the Oracle Hospitality OPERA Sales and Event Management sales and catering management application. Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a centralized repository of enterprise applications offered by Oracle and Oracle partners.

    The Knowland Platform enables high-level operations and sales benefits by integrating data from the Oracle Hospitality OPERA Sales and Event Management application with Knowland's world-class meetings and events database for Knowland customers.

    Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a one-stop shop for Oracle customers seeking trusted business applications offering unique business solutions, including ones that extend Oracle Cloud Applications. Oracle Cloud is an enterprise cloud that delivers massive, non-variable performance and next-generation security across a comprehensive portfolio of services, including SaaS, application development, application hosting, and business analytics. Customers get access to leading compute, storage, data management, security, integration, HPC, artificial intelligence (AI), and Blockchain services to augment and modernize their critical workloads. Oracle Cloud runs Oracle Autonomous Database, the industry's first and only self-driving database.

    Jeff Bzdawka, CEO, Knowland, said: “Expanding Knowland’s data-as-a-service platform with rich data sources like the Oracle OPERA Sales and Event Management application is a key focus for us to deliver increasingly valuable sales insights that fuel hotel growth and profitability. Knowland’s participation in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace further extends our commitment to the Oracle community and enables our common customers to easily reap the benefits of rich, actionable data. We look forward to leveraging the power of the Oracle Cloud to enhance data access for the global hospitality industry.”

    This collaboration will deliver sales efficiency and performance benefits to the hospitality industry in these areas:

    • Increase data volume and quality using electronic data collection through an approved API. Enables the delivery of sales and event data from the Oracle Cloud directly into the robust Knowland database. Event information is quickly available to supplement market data and enhance account profiles, informing sales teams and thereby improving decision-making outcomes.
    • Accelerate revenue velocity across hospitality businesses by taking advantage of the strong growth in meetings and events. Increase and maintain revenue base when other segments, such as business travel, are less steady.
    • Improve efficiency and enhance sales productivity by providing accurate, timely access to market data. The Knowland and Oracle partnership enables customers to enroll in automated data contribution, thereby streamlining their reporting processes and providing timely insights to fuel sales decisions by leveraging the two powerful platforms together.
  • 6/14/2023

    NYC Establishes Minimum Pay Rate for Restaurant Delivery Drivers

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    The City of New York has set a minimum pay rate for app-based restaurant delivery workers.

    Starting July 12, app-based restaurant delivery workers in New York City will be paid $17.96 per hour, approximately 30 cents per minute before tips.  The hourly rate will increase to $19.96 when it is fully phased-in on April 1, 2025, and will be adjusted annually for inflation.

    Restaurant delivery apps will also have flexibility in how they pay the gig workers the new minimum rate. According to the statement, apps have the option to pay delivery workers per trip, per hour worked, or develop their own formulas, as long as their workers make the minimum pay rate of $19.96, on average. Apps that pay workers for all the time a worker is connected to the app. Apps that only pay for trip time (the time from accepting a delivery offer to dropping off the delivery) must pay at least approximately 50 cents per minute of trip time in 2023, not including tips.

    According to a statement by the NY Mayor's Office, the city's estimated 60,000 delivery drivers make an average of $7.09 per hour.  Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP)  considered all comments submitted during the public comment period. For more information visit DCWP's website.

  • 6/14/2023

    SevenRooms Consumer Data Unveils How Guests Are Discovering and Booking Restaurants

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    SevenRooms, a guest experience and retention platform for the hospitality industry, released its latest consumer report, “2023 Dining Discovery & Booking Report,” highlighting how guests discover new restaurants and book reservations. One thing is clear – diners are utilizing many channels for discovery - from word of mouth to a variety of online channels. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of diners hear about or discover new restaurants from friends, family and co-workers, followed by 33% using Google, 29% searching social media for restaurant profiles and 22% discovering through social media influencers or trusted sources. Only a small percentage use third-party platforms such as OpenTable (9%) and Resy (3%) to discover new restaurants.

    “Coming out of the pandemic, operators are navigating an entirely new landscape which includes how diners are discovering and booking reservations,” said Joel Montaniel, CEO & Co-Founder of SevenRooms. “In this new world three things are clear: being everywhere diners are online is table stakes, diners prefer to book directly as opposed to using a third-party app, and while third-party apps are still important, Google is quickly becoming one of the preferred destinations for diners when they don't go direct to the restaurant.”

    Defining today’s restaurant guest

    In the United States, today’s guests expect more than just a meal, and creating opportunities to build loyalty will set restaurants apart. Each experience can turn a one-time diner into a loyal guest – but it must include personalized touches from start to finish. It is critical for operators to own their data to create a relationship with each guest based on preferences, past visits and upcoming special occasions noted when booking direct. By building this relationship, operators are able to be more proactive with their guests, personalize dining experiences and use the data they collect to curate experiences that will ultimately drive more revenue. 

    The beauty of a direct booking platform is the ability to capture that data; for example, asking the guest when they are booking if they are celebrating anything special, or noting dietary preferences. Guests are also willing to make that extra step to make sure they have an excellent experience - nearly half (45%) of diners will call the restaurant directly to book a reservation, and 35% will book through the restaurant's website. Twenty-nine percent of diners also say that they receive better experiences at the restaurant when they book direct, and more than 1 in 4 (27%) feel restaurants prioritize their reservation when doing so. 

    Similar to how today’s diners are catching on to the experiential benefits of booking direct, they are also realizing that third-party platforms are not actually in the best interest of the restaurant. Sixty-one percent believe that making reservations directly with the restaurant, rather than with a third-party reservation platform, is better for the restaurant. Additionally: 

    • 29% of respondents want to do all they can to directly support restaurants
    • 17% of respondents noted that third-party reservation platforms charge too much in fees to the restaurant, and guests would rather not have the restaurant incur that cost

    “As the expectation for incredible experiences grows, third-party reservation platforms are losing market share as diners prefer to book directly with restaurants to ensure they get the best experience,” said Montaniel. “SevenRooms has always been dedicated and focused on empowering operators to deliver the most personalized guest experiences. Our omnichannel approach, enabling restaurants to meet guests wherever they are, whether through global discovery and booking channels or a restaurant's own website, helps operators serve diners in this new world while helping them operate more sustainable and profitable businesses.

    To learn more about SevenRooms, please visit www.sevenrooms.com.

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