News Briefs

  • 7/5/2023

    Marriott Vacations Worldwide Names Raman Bukkapatnam to its Executive Leadership Team as Chief Information Officer

    Raman Bukkapatnam

    Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (the “Company”) announced that Raman Bukkapatnam will join the Company as Chief Information Officer, effective July 10, 2023. As a member of the Company’s Executive Committee, Bukkapatnam will report directly to John Geller, President and Chief Executive Officer. In his role, Bukkapatnam will be responsible for leading the enterprise’s global technology strategy, transformation, and modernization.

    Bukkapatnam is a strategic leader with over 25 years of experience in technology consulting, retail, consumer products, manufacturing, media, and supply chain.

    He brings to the Company a strong background of foundational enterprise platforms, digital customer experience solutions, vendor partnership strategies, change management, enterprise architecture, cloud migration, data engineering, integrations, automation and more.

    Prior to joining the Company, he served as Vice President, Global Technology at Nike, Inc., where he played a critical role in reshaping digital retail, improving enterprise resource planning and supply chain platforms, and making significant contributions to productivity, growth, and margin improvements. Under his leadership, Nike successfully migrated to a cloud global enterprise resource planning application to allow for scale, performance, and operational efficiencies. Bukkapatnam was also responsible for leading the company’s retail store technology footprint, sustainability technology initiatives and digital connectivity with manufacturing factories and suppliers.

    Prior to Nike, Bukkapatnam had a more than 20 year-career at Starbucks serving in multiple leadership roles. As a Global Vice President at Starbucks, he was responsible for overseeing and leading critical functions like global supply chain and finance technologies, data engineering and analytics, and store development. He led a number of digital transformation initiatives impacting the company’s technological landscape, including Starbucks’ introduction of customer mobile applications.

    “I am thrilled to add Raman to our executive team given his experience with some of the world’s most iconic brands and his knowledge in navigating large scale hybrid technology landscapes to deliver solutions that make the customer experience easier and more intuitive,” said John Geller, president & chief executive officer. “With Raman’s leadership, I am confident that we’ll be able to quickly and effectively deliver technology solutions for the next generation of travelers who seek flexibility and access, personalization, and simplified, seamless digital experiences when vacationing.”

    In his new role, Bukkapatnam will lead the Company’s efforts to modernize the technology footprint across global sites and resorts, improve processes to maximize productivity for associates, drive adoption of automation, and deliver new digital tools to improve the vacation experience for Owners, members, and guests.

    “This is an incredibly exciting time to join the leadership team at Marriott Vacations Worldwide and be part of the growth strategy for the future,” said Bukkapatnam. “I understand that a priority for the Company is a strong, agile technology infrastructure to power us forward as a leader in the leisure travel space. I’m happy to be part of building how digital will change what the future of vacation looks like for all of our stakeholders.”

  • 6/21/2023

    Shiji and IPORT Partner to Transform Hotel Restaurant Operations with All-in-One Tablet and Payment Device Solution

    Shiji teaser logo

    Shiji, a global hospitality technology innovator, has partnered with IPORT, an award-winning manufacturer known for enhancing the usability of iPads and iPhones, to introduce an all-in-one software solution for hotel restaurants. This collaboration will provide hoteliers with a seamless combination of a tablet and payment device to maximize their F&B operations.

    The integrated iOS and payment device solution simplifies guest service for hotel restaurant servers, providing them with an effortless tool to cater to their guests' needs. As a certified Apple partner, Shiji and IPORT guarantee exceptional performance and reliability. Hoteliers can choose from multiple device options, including iPad Pro, iPad Mini, and iPhone, ensuring flexibility and compatibility with their operations.

    “IPORT products are built around modularity and flexibility that empower our hospitality customers to do more with the iOS platform. We are thrilled to partner with a leading iPad and iPhone cloud PMS and POS platform provider like Shiji,” said Chris Lawson, Head of Partnerships, IPORT. “We look forward to innovating with Shiji in disrupting legacy, monolithic providers who have limited the industry from harnessing the power of iOS and mobility. The future is bright, and the possibilities are endless with IPORT, iOS, and Shiji.”

    "The partnership with IPORT is a significant milestone for Shiji in our commitment to provide innovative technology solutions for the hospitality industry," said Ryan King, Senior Vice President of Shiji in the Americas. "By combining our expertise with IPORT’s hardware solutions, we empower hoteliers to streamline restaurant operations and deliver exceptional guest experiences. This collaboration represents another step forward in our dedication to driving success in the Americas, and globally."

    The tablet and payment device solution seamlessly integrates with multiple payment gateways, allowing hoteliers to choose the system that best suits their needs. By simplifying the payment process, it reduces operational complexities, minimizes errors, and saves valuable time and resources for hoteliers.

  • 6/24/2023

    Steak n Shake Adds New Way to Pay

    Steak n Shake exterior in Indy

    Steak n Shake will offer PopID Check In and PopPay on its self-ordering kiosks in select locations in the Orlando market, with plans to expand to more than 300 corporate locations. PopID Check In is an opt-in service that enables consumers to scan their face to automatically sign into their loyalty reward account and see their past orders, making the ordering process as convenient as possible. When a guest checks in with PopID, they also have the option to use PopPay to automatically complete their payment.

    “Our partnership with PopID is a key part of our effort to provide guests with a fast and seamless ordering experience," said Keith Correia, Chief Information Officer. "When using PopID Check In, a guest does not need to use their phone or take out their wallet as part of the ordering process. They will automatically be checked in for loyalty rewards, and they can choose to make an automated payment with PopPay. A guest can even see their past orders and quickly reorder their favorite menu items. Ordering at Steak n Shake has never been easier or more convenient.”

    In addition to enhancing the guest experience and improving order throughput, PopPay helps to reduce fraud and offers lower payment processing fees.

  • 7/5/2023

    Luxury Skistar Lodge Hotel Brings Off-Piste Entertainment Experiences into Guest Rooms with 286x Chromecast Built-in Philips MediaSuite TVs from PPDS

    Exterior shot of Skistar Lodge Hotel

    PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips professional displays, is pleased to announce the installation of 286x Chromecast built-in, Netflix-ready, Philips MediaSuite TVs inside the new SkiStar Lodge Hundfjället – one of Sweden’s most popular and picturesque ski resort hotels – providing guests with complete and unrivalled control of their in-room digital entertainment experience.

    Located in the village of Salen, and surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains, the SkiStar Lodge – operated by SkiStar, the biggest ski resort operator in Scandinavia – is a popular destination for families, skiers and snowboarders from around the world, boasting more than 45 kilometers of slopes to suit all levels, from beginners to professionals.

    Just 10 minutes from the Scandinavian Mountains Airport, the SkiStar Lodge has been built with comfort and relaxation in mind, featuring two world class restaurants, a large lounge bar with fireplace seating, sauna, gymnasium, and conferencing facilities, all set within a warm, cosy, rustic, yet airy atmosphere.

    With meticulous attention to detail across the entire lodge and its facilities, SkiStar Lodge Hundfjället wanted to complete it’s offering of excellence right down to their guest rooms, with the role of the TV playing a crucial role in its ambitions.

    Housing 153 rooms and apartments (over 780 beds), the SkiStar Lodge turned to Nonius and PPDS to create and deliver a tailored, all inclusive ‘state-of-the-art’ AV solution to accommodate all current (and future) viewing needs and preferences – such as streaming – for the ultimate home-away-from-home experience.

    In total, 286 next generation 4K Philips MediaSuite TVs were selected and installed throughout the Lodge’s full suite of apartments. A key factor in the decision making, Philips MediaSuite TVs remain the only dedicated hospitality TV solution to feature Chromecast built-in™. Providing significant cost savings to the hotel, Chromecast built-in™ allows guests to seamlessly and effortlessly cast their favourite content from their preferred streaming services, directly onto the TV, from their own personal device – whatever their mobile operating system.

    Philips MediaSuite TVs also come with Netflix ready, securely linking directly to a guest’s account, and they offer an extensive range of games and apps available via the Google Play store.

    A personal touch

    Using the Nonius HUB connected to PPDS’ exclusive display management platform and the resort’s Effectsoft property management system, each guest can be welcomed with a personalised message in their native language as soon as they turn on their TV.

    With security of paramount importance, a secure WiFi connection is made between each guest’s personal device and the TV via an intuitive QR code. Upon checkout, the guest’s account credentials are automatically cleared from the room to ensure absolute data privacy.

    Filip Hector, Managing Director, Nonius Nordics commented: “I’m pleased to start our partnership with SkiStar on this amazing property in Sälen, SkiStar Lodge Hundfjället, providing them with a seamless casting experience and next generation 4K TV sets from the leading brand Philips, adding information and streaming apps to please the guests at the hotel.” 

    Nils Brovold, Nordic Sales Manager at PPDS, added: “For hotels, meeting the needs of your guests, from the reception, through the facilities, in the dining areas and in their rooms, is paramount for delivering a memorable experience and achieving positive reviews, recommendations, and return business. A growing part of that is the in-room TV experience and providing the ability for guests to cast content from their own device – whether Apple, Android, or any other – is key. That’s something Philips MediaSuite offers above and beyond, with Chromecast built in.

    “SkiStar wanted a solution that truly raises the bar for in-room entertainment and, after seeing and experiencing the benefits for both the guests and for the hotel itself, Philips MediaSuite was the standout choice to meet and fulfil their high ambitions. We’re proud to have supported SkiStar on this exciting project.”

    Benefits at a glance:

    • Versatile connectivity: PPDS’ in-house management platform enables an effortless connection with the Nonius HUB and the Lodge’s PMS for quick deployment and easy upgrades of new features as they are needed.
    • Chromecast built-in: Guests can stream their personal content to the big screen without extra hardware or software configurations, ensuring easy content streaming, device security, and cost-effective maintenance.
    • Dynamic information: Guests can be greeted with custom messaging in their native language, and can use the displays to view lodge facility information.
    • Netflix: Integrated Netflix enables secure, intuitive, wireless access to guests’ own accounts, allowing them to pick up their favourite movies and programs, exactly where they left them.
    • Inherently secure: Guest log-in credentials are automatically cleared upon check out.

     

     

    Project at a glance:

    • Client: SkiStar
    • Location: Sälen, Sweden
    • Project: SkiStar Lodge Hundfjället brings off-piste entertainment experiences into guest rooms with Philips MediaSuite
    • Products: Philips MediaSuite 50” 50HFL5114U /12 (286 units)
    • Partners: Nonius
  • 7/4/2023

    TrustYou Unveils responseAI: Revolutionizing Review Management for Hospitality

    TrustYou ResponseAI

    TrustYou, a renowned industry leader in guest feedback solutions, is taking review management to new heights with the exciting release of responseAI. This innovative feature, launched in parallel with the updated Review and Survey Inbox, leverages artificial intelligence technology to generate automated responses to guest reviews. By using AI to craft personalized and contextually relevant responses, hoteliers can now provide timely feedback to guests across a wide range of topics, significantly improving the guest experience. responseAI eliminates the arduous task of creating responses from scratch, offering a greater variety of responses while reducing the effort and time required to craft unique replies by up to 75%. 

    The combined power of the New Inbox and responseAI unlocks numerous benefits for hoteliers. The efficient and streamlined workflow provided by the New Inbox ensures that hoteliers can quickly access relevant reviews and respond promptly, leading to increased guest satisfaction and loyalty. This technology recognizes positive and negative sentiments and will craft a response accordingly, even incorporating the guest's name as well as the name of the hotel to add a personal touch. TrustYou’s responseAI features translating capabilities to provide easy access in multiple languages.

    "We are delighted to introduce the New Inbox and responseAI, marking a significant milestone in our commitment to innovation and empowering hoteliers," said Ben Jost, Co-founder & CEO at TrustYou. "These groundbreaking solutions have been designed to revolutionize the way hoteliers manage reviews, save time, and enhance guest satisfaction. Empowering hoteliers to respond swiftly while still maintaining a human touch will revolutionize the way hoteliers manage reviews, and save tremendous amounts of time and money while enhancing the guest experience at the same time.”

  • 7/4/2023

    Denny's Launches Gamified Rewards Program

    Dennys exterior of diner

    Denny's has launched its revamped Denny's Rewards program, providing guests valuable monthly offers and introducing personalized challenges. Once members join at Dennys.com or with the Denny's App, their digital wallet will hold offers, fun challenges, and keep track of rewards so they can easily redeem them for their Denny's favorites.

    "Denny's provides an incredible bang for your buck, and now our rewards challenges take value to a whole new level," said John Dillon, Denny's President. "At a time when guests place a premium on value, we are excited about this game-changing summer launch. The fact that it's also fun is the icing on the proverbial pancake."

    Personalized challenges will be offered to Denny's Rewards members, and once they select a challenge, it is simple to follow one's progress to achieve the reward. The challenges allow for any type of dining experience: dine-in, take-out or delivery. For example, four visits to a Denny's before the end of July will land guests a free Grand Slam breakfast. Denny's is launching the program with two introductory challenges, and the program will feature new challenges and rewards each month.

    "What better time to become a Denny's Rewards member than right now," said Sherri Landry, Denny's Chief Marketing Officer.  Landry shared her marketing expertise at MURTEC 2022.  "Not only is this a new and fun program with lots of exciting challenges and personalized rewards, but with the return of Baconalia, our Rewards members get two free pieces of HORMEL® BLACK LABEL® Premium Cherrywood Bacon.* What could be better than free bacon?"

    Existing members will see an automatic update to their program, so no action is necessary. Denny's rewards members receive the latest news about delicious menu additions and exclusive offers, including that much-heralded free breakfast on their birthday. To sign up, download the Denny's App from the App Store, Google Play or by visiting Dennys.com/rewards.

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