News Briefs

  • 8/29/2023

    Choice Hotels International Announces Executive Appointments and Organizational Structure Evolution

    Choice Hotels Logo

    Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced key executive appointments that position the company for continued future growth following its acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas and the successful integration of its nine brands onto Choice's world-class central reservation system.

    "Choice has always been a growth company, and that growth is now accelerating," said Choice Hotels International President and CEO Patrick Pacious. "We are a stronger company than we were just a year ago. Choice's increased scope and the breadth of our portfolio give us new avenues for growth and an opportunity to expand and improve the services we provide to our franchisees, our guests, and our travel partners."

    Choice has a robust portfolio of brands that range from full-service upper upscale to midscale, extended stay, and economy. As part of an evolution to a more flexible and agile organizational structure, Dominic Dragisich, who joined the company as Chief Financial Officer in 2017, will be promoted to Executive Vice President, Operations and Chief Global Brand Officer. Mr. Dragisich will oversee all of Choice's brand segments, brand development, segment services, and corporate development. During his tenure as CFO, Mr. Dragisich successfully enhanced and streamlined the company's budgeting, forecasting and capital allocation processes and led several major initiatives to support the company's continued growth. Recently, he was instrumental in the acquisition of the Radisson Americas business and will continue to lead corporate development efforts. "Dominic is a talented leader who excelled as CFO and has a deep understanding of the operational drivers of our business," said Mr. Pacious. "I'm confident he will help drive our growth and performance to the next level in this important new role."

    Scott Oaksmith will be promoted from Senior Vice President and Deputy Chief Financial Officer to Chief Financial Officer. In this role, he will lead Choice's overall financial strategy and corporate growth initiatives to drive ongoing expansion across major markets and maximize shareholder value. A more than 20-year veteran with Choice, Mr. Oaksmith has worked closely with key stakeholders to identify opportunities to grow the company's core business and adjacent lines of business, streamlined financial operations, enhanced capital allocation strategies, and utilized advanced analytics to drive strategic and operating decisions in support of the company's goals. "Scott has been an integral part of Choice's success for over two decades," said Mr. Pacious. "He is the ideal person to lead our financial strategy during this crucial time for the company and well into the future."

    Raul Ramirez will be promoted from Chief Strategy and International Operations Officer to Chief Segment and International Operations Officer with responsibility for Choice's upscale, extended stay and core midscale and economy brands as well as the International Division. Since he joined Choice in 2017, Mr. Ramirez has led the integration of the Radisson Americas brands and WoodSpring Suites, launched an enterprise strategic planning process to help define and support long-term business and financial goals, and spearheaded the transformation and expansion of the company's International Division. "Raul is a transformational leader who has his finger on the pulse of our franchisees," said Mr. Pacious. "I can't think of a better, more qualified individual for this role as we work to grow our brands and expand our international footprint."

    Anna Scozzafava will be promoted from Senior Vice President and General Manager, Extended Stay Brands to Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President, Technology, overseeing Choice's corporate strategy, business analytics and technology functions. Ms. Scozzafava has been with the company since 2012 and, most recently, drove the growth and expansion of Choice's extended stay portfolio, helping to establish the company as a clear leader in the fast-growing, high-performing segment. She will continue to lead the segment through a transition period. "Anna's leadership is a big part of the reason Choice is a leader in extended stay," said Mr. Pacious. "I'm excited to now have her lead the development of strategies to propel the entire company forward."

  • 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.

  • 8/29/2023

    VAI Resort Taps Hapi and Salesforce to Deliver Hyper-Personalized Guest Experiences

    Pool at Vai Resort

    VAI Resort, a $1 billion, 60-acre oasis featuring a 1,100-room luxury hotel scheduled to open in 2024 in Glendale, Arizona, has partnered with Hapi and Salesforce to personalize and differentiate guest service across the entire resort.

    The VAI operating team has selected Hapi Guest, a suite of hospitality-ready tools and configurations built for Salesforce CRM, to power a groundbreaking 360-degree personalized guest experience when the hotel opens next year.

    VAI Resort located in Glendale, Arizona less than 20 minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and less than 1,000 feet from State Farm Stadium, will be the largest resort in Arizona and a premier daylife, nightlife, and entertainment destination in the U.S. At its core, a $40 million, state-of-the-art VAI Amphitheater concert stage is combined with a hotel tower that transforms into premium concert viewing from room balconies. Other amenities include:

    • Konos Island, a 52,000-square-foot beach paradise and the largest party island in the U.S., featuring cabana service, DJ booth, and aerial bar.
    • 5-acre swimming oasis with temperature-controlled clear blue water and white sand beaches.
    • 12 elevated dining opportunities featuring a range of international cuisines.
    • 80,000 square feet of high-end retail shopping and 40 luxury retail destinations.
    • 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space.
    • 20,000-square-foot luxury spa and fitness center.
    • The world’s first Mattel Adventure Park.

    VAI Resort will turn to Hapi and Salesforce to deliver elevated, connected and memorable experiences that are orchestrated from booking to arrival and throughout the guest’s stay. Differentiated guest experiences start with guest data and the ability to action the data across all channels. Hapi Guest will seamlessly connect property systems in real time to Salesforce, providing rich, unified guest profiles that can be personalized with intelligence.

    While Salesforce is recognized as the global leader in enterprise digital engagement and marketing across many industries, leadership at VAI wanted a partner with deep hospitality expertise to help setup and deploy the Salesforce ecosystem. This includes the many one and two-way integrations to VAI’s operational systems and enhanced hospitality functionality for Salesforce found only in Hapi Guest.

    “The epitome of delivering exceptional guest experiences resides in accessible, superior data strategically harnessed by hoteliers.  VAI Resort, as a uniquely integrated entertainment and resort destination, selected Hapi and Salesforce to seamlessly unify diverse experiences, empowering our team to curate impactful memories at each guest touchpoint,” Grant Fisher, President and CEO of VAI Global Development. “These tools enable a cohesive and personalized guest journey, consistent across every area of the resort.”

    “We’re proud to be one of the sought after technology partners for what will certainly be an incredibly innovative destination,” adds Luis Segredo, CEO of Hapi. “We look forward to helping the VAI team push the boundaries for providing the most elevated guest experiences across the entire guest lifecycle, leveraging data across all systems.”

  • 8/29/2023

    Jurny's Nia AI Unleashes New Era of Efficiency for Hospitality Businesses


    Jurny, a vertically integrated, AI-powered property management solution, has achieved yet another industry milestone with its advanced artificial intelligence, Nia. Specifically designed to address the complex pain points of the hospitality industry, Nia has yielded exceptional results, boasting a 640% increase in accuracy, and users have reported remarkable improvements of up to 80% in guest communication efficiency.

    “Nia is not simply another AI chatbot; it’s a revolutionary AI system designed to address and overcome the complexities and billions of dollars in inefficiencies that plague the hospitality sector,” said Luca Zambello, Founder and CEO of Jurny. “With Nia, we are establishing new standards, providing a level of customization, control and efficiency unparalleled in the industry.”

    By projecting a significant cost reduction of up to 30% industry-wide, Jurny’s technology has the potential to reshape the sector’s financial landscape. Nia utilizes cutting-edge machine learning algorithms and leverages Jurny’s unique, vertically integrated platform design, which unifies a myriad of tools under a single, intuitive dashboard. This allows for unprecedented control and automation of traditionally fragmented and inefficient processes.

    Nia’s capabilities will soon encompass:

    • Effortlessly confirming, altering and updating reservations
    • Skillfully upselling services without human intervention
    • Quickly troubleshooting smart devices
    • Seamlessly delivering personalized guest experiences in virtually any language
    • Continuously learning and adapting to every host and property preferences
    • And much more!

    "We've always aimed to equip the industry with technology surpassing human capabilities," affirmed Jurny's CEO. "Nia is fulfilling this commitment, empowering hosts with AI capabilities that excel far beyond industry standards."

    To discover more about Jurny and to invest as little as $250 in the future of AI in hospitality, visit before it's too late.

  • 8/29/2023

    Cendyn Reinforces Commitment to Driving Profitable Revenue Through WIHP Acquisition

    cendyn logo

    Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, proudly announces the strategic acquisition of WIHP, an industry leader in hotel digital marketing services and technology. The acquisition signifies a key milestone in Cendyn's quest to facilitate profitable revenue growth for the hospitality industry through continued investment in driving direct bookings.

    For close to 30 years, Cendyn has established itself as a pioneer in empowering people to excel in hospitality through world-class technology and services. This commitment enables hoteliers to foster deeper guest relationships, increase direct bookings, and enhance overall bottom-line results.

    The merger between Cendyn and WIHP represents a leap for Cendyn, reinforcing its EMEA and global footprint at a time when the industry is focused on driving more profitable revenue. By joining forces, the two entities create a digital ecosystem that empowers clients of both Cendyn and WIHP to generate profitable revenue growth driven through their direct booking channels.

    "We are thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with WIHP," said Jack Blaha, CEO at Cendyn, "The synergy between both companies is remarkable, and with WIHP's metasearch prowess, this merger reaffirms our commitment to driving more demand for our customers' most profitable direct booking channel."

    "At the core of this transformative acquisition lies two true digital leaders in the industry," said Vincent Ramelli, CEO at WIHP. "Marrying Cendyn's rich heritage with WIHP's state-of-the-art metasearch expertise establishes a new epoch in the hospitality industry. We are incredibly excited to see what we can achieve together for our industry."

    As Cendyn and WIHP unite under this acquisition, hoteliers can expect a revolutionized approach to hotel digital marketing services, setting an elevated standard for the future of hospitality technology.

  • 8/28/2023

    Del Taco Opens Drive-Thru Only Location

    Del Taco debuted its new  Fresh Flex  Drive-Thru Only location in Albuquerque, N.M.  The location’s small footprint spans just 1,200 square feet.

    “Our Fresh Flex design offers a modern, sleek look that is aligned with our Del Taco ® Better Mex  brand promise – better quality, better value,” said Tim Linderman, Chief Development Officer. “This design allows us to reduce the overall footprint of the building which creates more real estate flexibility and the potential to reduce total buildout costs which will allow us to further accelerate the growth of our brand.”

    In addition to the drive-thru lane, the new design features a walk-up window for ordering and pick-up. Also, to increase drive-thru efficiency, it provides pick-up lockers for orders placed via the Del Taco mobile app and third-party delivery service providers, allowing guests and delivery drivers to skip the line.

    The Del Taco Fresh Flex store designs feature a “Menu of Venues” ranging from the drive-thru-only model to free standing, end cap and conversion locations, giving Del Taco franchisees maximum flexibility and options.

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