News Briefs

  • 9/7/2023

    Hotel Management Company Investments in Staffing, Maintenance and Renovations Reflected in Overall Guest Satisfaction, J.D. Power Finds

    source: J.D. Power, 2023 North America Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark,

    After several years of incredibly challenging business conditions, which caused much of the hospitality industry to scale back on capital expenditures, hotel management companies have started making serious investments in renovations, maintenance and staffing. According to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark,SM released today, those investments are paying off in the form of strong satisfaction scores for quality of the guest room and staff service.

    “In the span of a year, staffing has gone from being the biggest pain point for hotel management companies to one of the greatest strengths,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “Despite continuing labor shortages, this is a testament to the efforts of the industry to ramp up hiring and training during the past several months. Interactions with staff is one of the most important components of a hotel stay and guests are noticing that they are getting better service.”

    Following are additional key findings of the 2023 benchmark:

    • Anticipation is everything: The most important key performance indicator when it comes to guest interactions with hotel staff is anticipation of guest needs. Across all third-party hotel management companies evaluated, hotel staff met that goal in 82% of guest interactions.
    • Work still to be done on hotel lobbies/common areas: Hotel guests are looking for modern and unique design when it comes to hotel lobbies and common areas. Currently, just 13% of branded hotels evaluated are meeting these criteria.
    • EV charging emerging as important feature: While the most important technology features of a hotel are good quality Wi-Fi and plenty of USB ports for charging devices, availability of EV charging stations is also starting to influence hotel selection and satisfaction. Overall, 19% of hotel guests say they need to have an EV charging station at their hotel but only 6% say they’ve actually used hotel-provided EV charging.

    Benchmark Ranking

    Davidson Hospitality Group and Dimension Hospitality rank highest in a tie in overall guest satisfaction, each with a score of 725. This is the second consecutive year that Davidson Hospitality Group ranks highest. HEI Hotels and Resorts (714) ranks third.

    The North America Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark was redesigned for 2023. Now in its fourth year, the benchmark evaluates guest satisfaction with branded hotels that are operated by the largest third-party management companies. It is based on six factors (in alphabetical order): communications and connectivity; food and beverage; guest room; hotel facilities; staff service; and value for price. The benchmark includes third-party hotel operators with more than 14,000 branded hotel rooms under management and is based on 3,942 guest responses for branded hotel stays from May 2022 through May 2023.

    For more information about the North America Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/third-party-hotel-management-guest-satisfaction-benchmark.

     

    Image Source: J.D. Power's 2023 North America Third-Party Hotel Management Guest Satisfaction Benchmark Study

  • 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.

  • 9/1/2023

    GauVendi Takes Another Step Towards an Open, Feature-Based Inventory Platform

    logo, Gauvendi

    GauVendi is advancing its disruptive approach to rethinking inventory, which has already been successfully implemented in the GauVendi Sales Engine, towards an open, feature-based inventory platform.

    GauVendi started in 2020 with an innovative AI-driven booking experience that provides accommodation providers with a comprehensive solution for hyper-personalized sales and fulfillment automation. It was mainly deployed as a stand-alone solution. With this evolution, accommodation businesses and technology providers can now explore new avenues in sales, distribution, operational efficiency, and marketing of inventory. They benefit from highly automated processes without major system overhauls.

    "We aim to offer every operator the opportunity to distribute their inventory in a scalable manner, much like it was previously only possible through personal sales - and all of it fully automated," says Markus Müller, CEO, and co-founder of GauVendi. "With the open API interface, all technology providers can now sell relevant and customizable inventory through their platforms. Our solution acts as an additional layer integrated into the existing tech stack, enabling differentiated sales and automation without significant changes to the current system landscape," adds Müller.

    GauVendi's platform is the only one worldwide that provides a feature-based language and a dynamic product management system with its approach. The open API approach ensures seamless integration with other technology providers. Feature-based inventory can be transformed into relevant and tailored accommodation products using the AI recommendation model. The result is a transparent guest experience right from the booking process and significant time savings during reservations through intelligent and optimized room assignments.

    The newly established inventory management platform and the associated new products and solutions were developed based on experiences gained from implementing the Sales Engine with existing hotel customers, their achieved results, and the acquired data. The new data structure enables the introduction of advanced automation possibilities, including dynamically optimized and intelligent room assignments using AI (Reinforcement Loops), going far beyond the largely manual and limited assignments used until now.

    In today's era of personalization, the data structure in the form of categories for inventory management has proven to be inadequate. It lacks information about individual room features in data formats, making it challenging for operators to fulfill guest requests without significant manual and operational efforts. Any inquiry about specific room characteristics is handled offline and requires manual processing. Monetizing these features is also not possible, and the lack of personalization reduces the competitiveness of accommodation businesses compared to others.

    Müller adds, "These problems are a thing of the past with the use of GauVendi. The results our customers achieve with our current solution validate this: significant increases in room revenue, considerable time savings through new automation features, a reduction in phone and email inquiries, and better guest reviews and check-in experiences."

  • 9/7/2023

    Trustwave SpiderLabs Release New Hospitality Cybersecurity Report

    The Trustwave SpiderLabs team said it conducted a multi-month investigation into the cyber threats facing the hospitality industry worldwide and has released a detailed report displaying how threat actors conduct attacks, methodologies used, and what organizations can do to protect themselves from specific types of attacks.

    The report, "2023 Hospitality Sector Threat Landscape: Trustwave Threat Intelligence Briefing and Mitigation Strategies," takes a multi-step approach to break down threat actor trends and techniques. For example, in the Emerging Trends section the threat is analyzed, there is a discussion on how it can affect an organization, Trustwave SpiderLabs insights are revealed, and mitigations to reduce the threat are introduced.

    “In an industry where guest satisfaction and reputation are paramount, staying secure while offering cutting-edge technology is a delicate balancing act,” said Trustwave Chief Information Security Officer Kory Daniels. “Our latest threat briefing is a valuable resource for security leaders within the hospitality sector, providing a comprehensive view of the threats observed by our SpiderLabs team, along with specific mitigation strategies to bolster defenses.” 

    The report discusses in depth the factors that make the hospitality sector unique when it comes to cybersecurity. These points include often having a seasonal and less security-sophisticated workforce, constant user/customer turnover, dirty networks, physical security concerns, and often operating under a franchise model.

    When these industry-centric factors are combined with emerging and prominent trends that are appearing, such as generative AI and Large Language Models, contactless technology, and third-party risk, it’s obvious the hospitality sector must bring its “A Game” when it comes to cybersecurity.

    How Threat Actors are Gaining Access

    SpiderLabs found a long list of threat actors operating against hospitality organizations. These include the well-known LockBit, Hive, Ragnar, and BlackBasta, among many others.

    These groups have an arsenal of weapons and techniques at their disposal including, malware like Emotet and Qakbot, phishing, fake order and extortion scams, business email compromise, brute forcing credentials, and using vulnerabilities like MOVEit RCE (CVE-2023-34362).

    Why This Report Matters

    The 2023 Hospitality Sector Threat Landscape: Trustwave Threat Intelligence Briefing and Mitigation Strategies report is not a simple laundry list of threats and issues, but instead offers concrete actions hospitality organizations can immediately take to better secure their operations.

    Ensuring critical business and customer data is secure should be a paramount concern to those tasked with protecting these organizations. It is clear from the current activity being tracked that threat groups show no indication of slacking off in their efforts to pry this information away from its rightful owners.

    Attackers will continue to use traditional methods such as phishing, exploiting known vulnerabilities, and compromising third-party vendors continue to pose significant threats. Additionally, threat actors will continue to find innovative ways to outpace defenses that are instituted.

  • 9/7/2023

    W South Beach Announces $6M Meeting Space Renovation with 360-Degree Immersive Mapping Tech

    W South Beach hotel debuts new tech that transforms the 4,300-square-foot blank canvas into any setting

    W South Beach unveils its $6 million ballroom and meeting space renovation. Equipped with innovative 360 projection technology, the space, a first-of-its-kind for a hotel in North America, can recreate virtually any ambiance and experience – from a fully immersive underwater oceanic moment to the backdrop of any city around the world – ushering in a new era of elevated events and experiences.

    The 3D-mapping technology combines the art of storytelling, visual and audio effects, and technical precision to transform the 4,300-square-foot blank canvas ballroom into any setting, allowing guests to embark on a captivating journey, likened to L’Atelier des Lumiéres in Paris.

    “Imagine stepping into the ballroom and being instantly transported to the streets of London, the beaches in Rio, or the enchanting gardens of Kyoto,” said Rick Ueno, General Manager of W South Beach. “For a decade, we’ve been the social center of Miami’s major cultural events – Art Basel, Miami Swim Week and others – so it was time to up the ante and transform the way events and meetings are conducted on the beach.”

    The built-in projection system requires light only – no complicated sets, heat, or UV emissions – and is fully customizable with pre-set color scenes and also offers a digital library of stills and video displays fit for weddings, parties, meetings and corporate gatherings including abstract digital art, lush green foliage, sunny beaches, still wallpaper effects, and celebratory party effects.

    Technical Highlights

    The ballroom space is more than 4,300 square feet and has the capacity to hold up to 250 people. It can be divided into two spaces for those looking for a more intimate setting. Customizable LED lighting is built into 12 ceiling coves and six wall arches, creating an energy efficient system that bypasses traditional venue-specific limitations to make the projection mapping come to life.

    Four presentation projectors are built into the ceiling and can be used simultaneously with environment projectors. 24 built-in microphones (12 for each room) are affixed to the ceiling and provide state-of-the-art speech reinforcement and recording, allowing for seamless presentations. 32 audio speakers (16 for each room) offer a discrete design, premium aesthetics, and ultimate high performance. Each of the 52 pin spots (26 for each room) have an adjustable 6’ radius beam that is easily controlled and programmed to provide an elevated performance for the projection mapping.

    W South Beach also offers three renovated studios that can each hold up to 60 people. The studios are equipped with 75” LCD monitors, wireless internet and HDMI connectivity, Ensenio Hotel TV channel for leisure viewing, and dimmable soft white LED and recess lighting. The three studios can be combined into one larger space as needed.

    Known for its timeless allure on Collins Ave., W South Beach opened its doors in 2009, and quickly set the hospitality standard in Miami with the largest guest rooms on South Beach, each with balconies and expansive ocean views. Over the course of the decade, the hotel established itself as a celebrity magnet, played host to countless events for global brands and became a second home to the most discerning travelers from around the world. In November 2020, a $30 million renovation infused its 357 guest suites and best-in-class Away Spa, with a sense of calm that feels in-tune with Miami’s evolution. The hotel’s two iconic swimming pools, WET and Mini WET were refinished with the renovation with refreshed poolside cabanas.

    The transformation also birthed a new guest experience that thoughtfully infuses the essence of Miami through curated programming. Programming includes weekly cigar tastings with General Manager Rick Ueno, cocktail and cooking workshops, live music, fitness offerings by NYC celebrity gym DOGPOUND and Ahana Yoga who host wellness workshops covering chakra balancing & activation, breathwork, ayurveda, sound healing, and new/full moon ceremonies. For the tennis and basketball lovers, the hotel has South Beach’s only rooftop basketball court and tennis court, SWISH & SWING.

    Hotel guests receive complimentary access to Bass Museum, one of South Florida’s most prestigious art institutions. Each guest at W South Beach receives access to a dedicated W Insider, available 24/7, who will take care of whatever, whenever during their stay.

    In the food and beverage space, W South Beach is home to South Beach’s most innovative bars and restaurants. RWSB (Restaurant W South Beach), one of Miami’s most authentic Italian restaurants is run by Italian Chef Vincenzo Borriello. The indoor-outdoor restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily and offers an array of classic dishes with local produce, fresh fish and signature pastas. The hotel’s outdoor craft cocktail outpost, IRMA’s was given a new look by Urban Robot in 2017 with reclaimed materials by Hurricane Irma. One of Miami’s favorite after-dinner bars, LIVING ROOM BAR offers an impressive mixology program run by Lucas Winkler. For those looking for authentic Beijing cuisine, the opulent MR CHOW is a must, off the hotel’s lobby.

  • 9/7/2023

    Cloud5 Launches Dedicated Managed Services Division Catering to the Needs of the Hospitality Industry

    logo, company name

    Cloud5 Communications, a provider of communications and technology solutions for more than 5,000 hotels, MDUs, and commercial facilities across the Americas, announced the launch of its new Managed Services division. Designed to support the IT needs and challenges of the hospitality industry, as well as adjacent markets including MDU, senior living and student housing, this division will help properties better manage technology infrastructure, IT operations, projects, and security initiatives.

    As a Managed Services Provider (MSP), Cloud5 will continue to build upon its commitment to delivering world-class solutions and support to hotel brands, management companies, ownership groups and independent/boutique properties.

    “Our team has built a reputation for expertise and service excellence – it’s something we’ve invested deeply in and, as a result, we have great client partnerships and some of the most knowledgeable, dedicated people in the business working at Cloud5,” said Mark Holzberg, President, and CEO of Cloud5 Communications. “A managed services division is a natural extension of our service-driven, technology-focused business, and will enable us to provide the industry with a more consultative approach to the provisioning of services.”

    Cloud5’s new 24/7 Managed Services division will offer a comprehensive suite of services specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of the hospitality sector, including:

    Managed Service Desk Support – Provide a wide range of service support including help desk, asset monitoring and management, vendor management and more.

    Managed Infrastructure Services and Support - Ensure the availability and reliability of IT infrastructure components by configuring, deploying, maintaining, and managing servers, workstations, and other hardware.

    Managed Network Support - Design, deploy, manage, and monitor wired and wireless networks and devices for seamless connectivity, network security and compliance with industry standards.

    Managed Cybersecurity Services - Implement robust cybersecurity measures including Antivirus services, firewalls configuration and management and cybersecurity training to protect guest and financial data.

    Managed Data Backup and Recovery - Prevent loss with thorough data backup configuration and management.

    Professional Services – Operate as an extension of a company’s IT department to handle everything from annual IT budget development and hotel transitions / openings to project management and customized property initiatives.

    To lead this venture, Cloud5 has welcomed two distinguished industry veterans with a wealth of experience and knowledge:

    Heide Werthamer, an accomplished leader in the hospitality space, has joined Cloud5 as the Vice President of Managed Services Operations. With more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Werthamer has deep expertise in all aspects of hotel management, emerging technology development and start-up design, development, and implementation. Most recently, Werthamer oversaw the day-to-day operations of Edge Communications, focusing strongly on the support desk and project deployment teams and building a reputation for superior service delivery. As part of the Cloud5 operations team led by SVP of Operations, Marc Vaughn, Werthamer will spearhead the development and implementation of all managed services operational resources and components, ensuring that Cloud5 is at the forefront of service delivery and industry innovation.

    Marina Willis, an esteemed figure in the hospitality landscape, joins Cloud5 in the role of Vice President of Strategic Accounts. Willis is a proven sales leader with more than 25 years of experience optimizing profitability, improving client engagement and satisfaction, and driving all stages of the sales process including the renewal and expansion of long-term partnerships. She too comes to Cloud5 from Edge Communications, where she served as VP of Strategic Accounts since 2018. In this new role, Willis will spearhead sales and account management for the managed service business, working in coordination with Mark Speck, Cloud5’s Vice President of Sales, and the rest of the Cloud5 organization to deliver service excellence and facilitate growth. Willis will report to Cloud5’s CEO, Mark Holzberg.

    “We’re thrilled to welcome Heide and Marina to the Cloud5 family,” said Holzberg. “Developing a comprehensive managed services operation is something we’ve been working toward for a long time, and with this team in place, I look forward to delivering even greater value and strategic direction for our clients.”

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