News Briefs

  • 12/13/2023

    SPB Hospitality Promotes Kristen Hohl to VP of Marketing

    SPB Hospitality logo

    SPB Hospitality, an operator and franchisor of full-service dining restaurants, recently announced the promotion of Kristen Hohl to Vice President of Marketing. Hohl previously served as Senior Director of Marketing for the organization. She is a career restaurant professional with extensive experience in marketing and operations.

    “Kristen has been vital in our growth over the past five years, and we are proud to have her take on this new leadership role to further expand the presence and relevance of our brands,” said Josh Kern, CEO of SPB Hospitality. “She consistently demonstrates exceptional leadership, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of our industry. Her dedication and expertise make her the ideal candidate to lead our marketing efforts as we move forward.”

    Kristen Hohl joined Logan’s Roadhouse in 2018 as Marketing Manager and in 2020 continued with SPB Hospitality as Marketing Director. She was promoted to Senior Director of Marketing in 2022 before taking on her current role as Vice President of Marketing. In this capacity, she will oversee all aspects of marketing strategies and initiatives to ensure marketing efforts align with the company’s long-term objectives and provide support to franchise partners. Hohl will be responsible for the marketing and brand development of the diverse portfolio of SPB Hospitality including J. Alexander’s Stoney River Steakhouse, Logan’s Roadhouse, Krystal Restaurants, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, ChopHouse & Brewery, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, AIA Ale Works Restaurant & Taproom, Ragtime Tavern Seafood & Grill, and Seven Bridges Grille & Brewery.

    A graduate of Ohio State University, Hohl has dedicated her career to restaurants.  Having previously served as Marketing Manager for O’Charley’s Restaurant & Bar, and Local Store Marketing for Claim Jumper Restaurants, Kristen has gained a reputation for bridging the gap between operations and marketing.

    Hohl launched her career in restaurant operations in 2002 when she joined Thomas and King (Applebee’s) as a Corporate Trainer. It was here that she gained an understanding of every role in the restaurant and how to develop strong teams for the organization. She also served as Kitchen Manager for Thomas and King, where she continued to train staff while also successfully managing budgets and food costs.

    “I am incredibly honored to step into this new role with SPB Hospitality,” said Kristen Hohl, Vice President of Marketing for SPB Hospitality. “These are very exciting times for our exceptional brands and our team is poised to enter this new era of marketing and support the growth of our restaurants.”

    For more information about SPB Hospitality, visit

  • 12/13/2023

    Wingstop's New CIO

    Wingstop  named Chris Fallon as SVP, Chief Information Officer, charged with leading the brand's enterprise and restaurant technology solutions, IT infrastructure and information security.

    Fallon is an experienced technology leader, where his responsibilities spanned retail back-of-house, corporate, licensed stores and CPG technologies at Starbucks over his 14-year tenure. Most recently, Chris served as Chief Information Officer at Fortune Brands Water Innovations, overseeing the Moen and House of Rohl businesses.

    "Wingstop's category of one position is further strengthened by our tech-forward strategy and vision to digitize every transaction," said Wingstop's President & CEO, Michael Skipworth. "Having Chris onboard will build on our strong foundation, and take our enterprise and restaurant technology solutions to the next level."

    Chris joins Wingstop on the heels of Q3 earnings, reporting 66.9% digital sales, and a system-wide sales increase of 26.5%. 

  • 12/13/2023

    Trump International Beach Resort Selects Aptech for Financial Management

    Trump International Beach Resort in Miami

    Trump International Beach Resort in Miami announced that it has selected Aptech to gain access to the financial information it needs to make effective business decisions. The luxury destination is leveraging the complete portfolio of Aptech solutions – PVNG, Execuvue, and Targetvue – to streamline all enterprise accounting, business intelligence and budgeting and forecasting processes, making the property more financially efficient than ever before.

    “Aptech is bringing a new chapter of optimization to our finance operations,” said Danny Williams, TIBR managing director. “Simplifying manual processes while producing accounting information and executive reports on the go is essential – and multiple database integration is the icing on the cake. By adding this trifecta of solutions, we can extract data more seamlessly from both internal departments and outside sources, such as STR and TripAdvisor.

    “These combined solutions enable us to consolidate amounts reflected on the P&L and Balance Sheet, explore individual transactions included in the General Ledgers, and minimize the extra time it used to take to open multiple files and create individual manual reports to review information,” Williams said. “We couldn’t be more pleased to partner with Aptech.”

    50+ Years of Hospitality Service
    Aptech – a finalist in the "2023 Hotel Tech Awards" by Hotel Tech Report in the category of "Best Finance & Hotel Accounting Software," has been a pioneer of hospitality software technology for more than 50 years. The company is focused on connecting people with computers and information to solve significant problems in the hospitality and service industries.

    • PVNG features the Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Ledger, Statistics, Financials, and Bank Reconciliation that today’s hotel operators are seeking with much-needed browser navigation. Its OCR invoice processing, myriad of payment options, drill-down capabilities in financial statements and reports, ability to handle single or multi-property accounting, and the fact that it can be deployed as a hosted service, explains why this accounting solution is in such high demand.

    • Execuvue features a dashboard platform that delivers stunning images of financial and operational data that hoteliers can act upon. Leveraging AI-powered analytics, Execuvue helps operators make smarter business decisions and configure data regionally, giving operators a performance snapshot portfolio wide, as well as by region, brand, and property.

    • Targetvue provides accounting teams with “one version of the truth.” It consolidates reports, identifies trends, and eliminates the maintenance and distribution of Excel spreadsheets throughout the organization. Automated forecast snapshots offers users ad-hoc capabilities to previous and future performance projections.  

    Sam Costa, Aptech Director of Client Success, said all three Aptech solutions continually achieve high marks across the board for ease of use, ROI, implementation and customer support.

    Trump Hails Aptech’s ‘Outstanding’ Customer Service & Support

    Out of the gate, Williams said the accounting team was greatly impressed by Aptech’s customer service culture. Whenever questions arise, he said, team members always receive prompt responses from live agents in minutes.

    “The Aptech team is very professional, candid, and respectful,” Williams said. “They are also great listeners with a vast knowledge of the hotel industry. At a moment’s notice they are willing to develop new reporting tools to help us increase productivity, and they work with us daily on integrating their solutions with multiple peripheral property systems. In a word, Aptech’s customer service and support is ‘outstanding.’ We have not received a negative answer and never once heard ‘we can’t do it.’ This speaks volumes to their core values and how they treat customers.”

    Aptech’s Costa had this to say: “Amazing comments from customers are not foreign to Aptech. But when properties like the Trump International Beach Resort sing your praises and boast about our support department, it speaks volumes to our customer commitment. We appreciate the unbiased reviews from hoteliers – people whom we consider family and the reason we have been in business for more than five decades.”

    For more information on Aptech solutions, visit

  • 12/13/2023

    Amadeus: 46% of Travel Companies to Increase ESG Investment in 2024

    sustainable earth friendly  green globe

    Alongside global targets, travelers are increasingly demanding that travel experiences align with their values and expectations when it comes to sustainability.

    Against this backdrop, Amadeus commissioned research among 896 senior sustainability decision makers across nine markets and seven segments of the travel industry to gain insight on ESG ambitions, priorities, and challenges.

    The study revealed optimism for the global travel industry about hitting the UNWTO-proposed goal to reach net zero by 2050. 89% of ESG decision makers believe the industry can reach its target. Of that 89%, 36% believe it is possible to reach without any adjustments, while 53% believe it is possible, but progress needs to be accelerated urgently.

    Key to this is a focus on action. 90% of those surveyed have a step-by-step strategy in place to help them achieve environmental sustainability objectives or are planning to implement one in 2024. 94% of respondents are either currently active or plan to be actively involved in social sustainability initiatives that impact beyond their organization. This commitment was matched by increased investment, with 46% of respondents anticipating investing more in 2024 than last year.

    Despite the optimism, the study identified barriers to delivering on environment, social and governance initiatives:

    • 40% cited cost as the biggest barrier for environmental commitments, followed by lack of technology and knowledge (30%) as well as C-suite buy-in (25%).
    • For social initiatives, the biggest barriers include lack of technology (32%), cost (31%), lack of knowledge (28%) and C-suite buy-in (27%).
    • For governance initiatives, the barriers highlighted include lack of knowledge (31%), cost (31%), lack of technology (29%) and C-suite buy-in (25%).  

    Notably, the study highlighted a clear and recognized role for technology to help the industry reach its ambitions. 92% of respondents indicated technology is important to help organizations achieve environmental sustainability objectives, with 91% saying the same for social objectives. Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality were particularly important:

    • 33% of respondents highlighted generative AI initiatives as the technology with the highest potential to accelerate environmental sustainability as it can guide travelers to more sustainable options across the traveler journey.
    • 31% said technologies that generate operational efficiency improvements as well as access to data for true personalization would be important.
    • 38% said they can help to drive social progress by improving access to travel through integrated accessibility technology on public transport, at the airport or on a flight.

     Ultimately, there is work still to be done for the industry to deliver on its sustainability ambitions; 37% of ESG decision makers recognized that more access to technological solutions is needed. Those that felt it was unlikely they would meet their targets within the timeframe set highlighted the need for further collaboration across the industry (33%).

     “As the travel industry continues to navigate the complexity of delivering on ESG targets, I’m encouraged by the optimism and the commitments being put in place – from investments to strategic planning to technological solutions. At Amadeus, we’re working to embed ESG at the core of our business, supporting travel players on their journey to becoming more efficient and enabling travelers to make more informed choices. Together, we can make travel more sustainable,” says Jackson Pek, SVP and Group General Counsel, Amadeus.



    The survey was conducted from September to October 2023 by strategic insight company Opinium Research. The findings are based on 896 senior decision makers responsible for sustainability and ESG across travel sellers, hotels, mobility companies, airports, airlines, DMOs and corporations in markets including Australia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, the UK, and the US.

  • 12/13/2023

    Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia Enjoys a 24% Increase in F&B Revenue Thanks to Mobile Dining

    Exterior view of Le Meridien Pasadena

    Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia, part of Aimbridge Hospitality, has embraced evolving customer preferences and technological advancements by implementing IRIS' mobile dining app, resulting in a transformation of their F&B operations and guest experience.

    IRIS, a provider of digital F&B and guest experience platforms, was chosen by Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia to provide guests with a modern, digital F&B ordering experience and maximize F&B orders from leisure and corporate guests, especially during peak occupancy.

    With 233 hotel rooms and over 14,000 square feet of stylish event space, the four-star hotel has subsequently increased F&B revenue by 24% year-on-year through IRIS’ mobile dining app, with digital orders surging by 18%. 

    Tes Deregla, Director of Food & Beverage at Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia added, “Mobile dining is not only time-saving for both guests and staff, but also combines the best of both worlds in terms of efficiency, customization and convenience.

    The digital ordering app has significantly elevated our F&B revenue and enhanced guest satisfaction. The streamlined QR code process and user-friendly app ensures swift and convenient navigation for guests - akin to UberEats, but with shorter wait times and a fresher, superior culinary experience!”

    Committed to sustainability and streamlined resources, the hotel aimed for a paperless, efficient F&B ordering system. The mobile dining app aligns with this vision, offering a modern, digital alternative to traditional paper menus, and empowering the hotel to allocate resources based on demand, enhancing operational flexibility.

    Graham Rushin, VP Sales and Marketing at IRIS commented, “In the dynamic landscape of the hospitality industry, Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia's success story with IRIS' mobile dining app serves as an inspiring example of how embracing technology can revolutionize F&B operations, drive ancillary revenue, and elevate the overall guest experience. 

    The seamless digital ordering experience has become a guest favorite, creating a win-win for both the hotel and their valued guests."

    Guest satisfaction and average spend has also improved. Guests can now customize and personalize their orders, add messages to the chef and enjoy a quicker, more accurate delivery with customer wait times being halved. Guests are more comfortable ordering online in their own time, from the comfort of their own devices – they don’t feel judged, they can order as much as they like and can add a range of additional items and condiments to their order thereby boosting spend.

    It's evident that guests have readily adopted this streamlined approach, making the most of the convenience offered by digital ordering.

    Read more on the IRIS and Le Méridien Pasadena Arcadia's success story here.

  • 12/13/2023

    London Hotels Improves Spa Bookings with Tech

    Pool at the InterContinental London - The O2

    InterContinental London - The O2 has increased the performance of its spa by improving its digital booking system with the integration of Premier Software and onejourney.

    Since implementing the new booking flow, the hotel has seen a 30% increase in average products per booking, 38% increase in appointment value with a 60% increase in package deposits over six months.

    Within walking distance of one of London’s top entertainment venues, the InterContinental London - The O2 is a destination hotel and spa on the River Thames. Its luxurious spa includes swimming pools, sauna, steam room and a relaxation room, alongside a wide range of wellness and beauty treatments and spa packages.

    In a competitive market such as London, the spa team needed to boost efficiency in the back office and allow its reception and therapist teams to focus on enhancing the five-star luxury spa experience for its visitors.

    With the Premier spa system encoded in the hotel’s DNA, the marketing team was focused on driving increased numbers of bookings for their luxurious packages and treatments. It was important to remove the friction in booking which was a slow, manual task for both the customer and reception team.

    In October 2022, the hotel installed a new booking flow to make it easier for guests,  “With onejourney, booking is much easier, it flows,” said Stephanie Romero, Marketing Executive, InterContinental London - The O2, citing improvements to the customer booking experience and overall customer journey since installing the booking platform.

    The integration of online retail platform onejourney with its existing Premier Software makes it simple for the spa’s team to create new packages or treatments, including easy ordering display to prioritize what is shown to online users and support the business’ need periods. With 60% of bookings now via mobile website it has helped the booking experience.

    Said Romero: “Premier Software and onejourney’s direct connection is amazing. The systems’ integration has massively improved our operations and customer service. Premier also integrates easily with our PMS, providing a wide range of reports which we can adapt to any of our departmental needs.” 

    Continued Romero: “It’s made our life much easier. It’s good to understand how the numbers are going, what packages are popular, booking behaviors - this information helps us support the business and understand where to focus for improvement.”

    For the spa at InterContinental London - The O2, the improved technology stack is helping it maximize its understanding of spa users, streamline booking and administrative processes, and rejuvenating its business by freeing the team to focus on in-person engagement, maximizing revenue from each booking, and sourcing new clientele.

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