News Briefs

  • 2/5/2024

    RoomRaccoon Expands Global Distribution Channels Connectivity with New Reconline Integration

    RoomRaccoon and Reconline logos

     RoomRaccoon, a leading Hotel Management System for independent hotels, has announced its strategic partnership with Reconline, a renowned hotel distribution and connectivity solution. The partnership offers RoomRaccoon users a seamless connection to some of the industry's most influential Global Distribution Systems (GDS), including Sabre, Amadeus, Galileo, and Worldspan.

    The integration empowers RoomRaccoon users with a powerful yet affordable way to manage their online distribution. By establishing a real-time connection with major Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), RoomRaccoon users can reach over 450,000 travel agents all over the world and showcase their properties to a wider audience of potential guests. This, in turn, can help them to increase their revenue. 

    "As a partner, we are delighted that RoomRaccoon is leveraging our best-in-class GDS hotel distribution technology to provide its hotel customers with the opportunity to tap into new streams of revenue in this growing market segment," said Markus Maissen, Managing Director, reconline AG.

    “As we continue to expand our hotel distribution connectivity marketplace, we are excited to partner with Reconline and grant our users access to their extensive distribution network,” says Steven Reffin, Head of Partnerships at RoomRaccoon. “Thanks to enhanced distribution, our hotels can showcase their properties to a global audience, driving increased bookings and revenue.” 

    Hotels can now automate their room reservation process with the help of RoomRaccoon and Reconline. With RoomRaccoon's Channel Manager, the hotel's property management system can efficiently send real-time information to the distribution system. This ensures that travel agents have access to the most accurate data regarding room availability and rates.

    The RoomRaccoon and Reconline integration is available to hoteliers worldwide. 

  • 2/5/2024

    Danté Restaurant Adds AI Phone Solution

    voice ai soundwaves

    Voicify, the market leader in conversational AI, today announced it has been selected as the Conversational Voice AI provider for 

    Danté Restaurant and Bar has selected Voicify AI Answering to service customers who call its New York City locations.

    High Volume Calls

    Danté's use of voice AI frees up staff to serve in-person guests and fulfill orders while extending a high-touch, high-end experience to customers who call. 

    Each Danté location fields 1,500 customer calls per month. 

    "We were named #1 World's Best Bar in 2019 and Best Bar in America for both 2019 and 2020, so we have a reputation to guard," said Linden Pride, Owner of Danté. "As a result, we're highly selective when it comes to customer-facing technologies. Among conversational AI providers, Voicify was the obvious choice because of their deep expertise and superior technology. Voicify automates aspects of our front-line service to free up human employees to focus on the personal, face-to-face guest service that has won Danté a top spot in the hearts and minds of so many New Yorkers for more than a hundred years."

    Before Voicify, these calls were answered by onsite staff or went to voicemail. Voicify is answering calls even when the venues are closed.

    Guests can ask basic questions that are answered by Voicify AI Voice Assistants. Questions include 'What hours are you open?'; 'Do you deliver?'; 'Tell me about your menu'; and 'May I place an order?'. With AI acting as a front-line automated assistant, restaurant staff spend less time on the phone and more time serving in-person guests and fulfilling orders. 

    An Intelligent Option

    Danté  is among a growing number of restaurant operators adding Voice AI to help with operations. Recently, Jersey Mike’s added Voice AI Phone Ordering.  Checkers & Rally's, Panera, CKE Restaurants and Good Times are using – or piloting the use of AI – in the drive-thru to help automate the ordering process so that staff can focus on other tasks such as customer service and food production.  

    Voicify is optimized to handle natural human speech. This means that Danté customers can speak their questions or requests without modifying their speech at all. As part of the conversational flow, Voicify AI assists phone customers using the most appropriate messaging method. For example, the AI assistant can automatically send an SMS text with a link to restaurant location directions or the restaurant's online ordering platform. Voicify assistants continually learn and improve based on customer interactions. As needed or at customer request, the AI assistant can connect the guest with human staff.

    Designed to deploy quickly and integrate directly with existing phone, POS, kiosk and other restaurant technologies, Voicify AI sets the standard for conversational AI by learning quickly and delivering intelligent and reliable performance for any situation.  

  • 2/4/2024

    McDreams Future-Proofs its Property Management Platform as it Targets 100% Growth in 5 Years

    McDreams Logo
    German budget hotel operator McDreams Hotels is taking automation of its property management to another level as part of its bid to double in size in five years. 
    Founded in 2009, the family-run hotel group already has an extremely lean, low-cost model but is now fulfilling its original vision for fully automated hotels by adopting an API-first hospitality platform rather than a traditional PMS.
    With the help of open hospitality platform Apaleo, the business has been able to introduce a string of new tools to support a digital-first guest journey. API-first platforms allow operators to plug in a huge array of third-party, best-of-breed applications, ensuring constant customisation and modernisation. This also means operators who make the switch can continue to work with the top-tier solutions they already integrate with. 
    For McDreams, a key partner has been LIKE MAGIC, the operations and guest experience specialist that connects guests and staff in one user-centric platform. LIKE MAGIC continues to form a cornerstone of the operator’s new tech stack, which includes new property management tools, a new digital guest journey and a comprehensive employee solution. The way McDreams has evolved its tech stack illustrates how API-first platforms allow operators to choose exactly the right mix of tools for their business — something that’s often referred to as ‘composable hospitality’.
    Christoph Klein, Director of Marketing and Communications at McDreams, said: “We’re seeing the biggest change ever in the hospitality industry right now. It’s exploding and everybody wants to reinvent the future. With technology like Apaleo & LIKE MAGIC, we have the chance to redefine the future of hospitality, even as a small budget hotel chain.
    “There are new possibilities in connectivity and AI is going to be a fundamental part of what we do as it’s very quickly changing everything. That’s why we decided we needed a completely new tech stack. With our old technology, we wouldn’t be able to be part of the future. It was limiting what we could do in terms of the guest journey and data management. We needed something ‘open API-first’, and it needed to be smart and holistic so we could create something seamless for the future.”
    McDreams’ use of technology has always enabled it to keep prices down, with nightly rates starting from just €29.99, making it extremely popular. Its hotels, which attract 200,000 guests a year, offer keyless rooms and online check-in for contact-free stays.
    All eight McDreams hotels are leased assets close to prime retail sites and transport links, and use 100% renewable energy. The company focuses relentlessly on its staff-light, low-cost model. For example, if other businesses nearby can offer guests breakfast, it won’t try to compete with them. 
    “We’re almost creating a new body,” added Christoph. “In the old days, when you wanted to add a tool there would be an extra cost, and the development would take a minimum of one year. That’s why it makes sense to choose an API-first platform because you don’t have to do any development and you can just plug these new, modern tools in. 
    “We want to give the customer a more personalized, individual experience, even though there is no one in particular taking care of them. AI chatbots can work seamlessly behind the scenes, leveraging guest data to provide the best customer experience without human resources. 
    “LIKE MAGIC already knows whether a guest has read our messages or not, and what their preferred communication channel is. It can automatically send them a reminder by their preferred channel. The system always knows where in the whole guest journey they are and whether they’ve completed all the necessary steps to just enter their room with their smartphone. In the near future, we would like to talk to guests by AI call, which isn’t perfected as a technology but it’s not far off. AI can handle 200,000 phone calls at the same time and makes no errors. Intelligent AI-supported guest journeys don’t exist yet, but our vision is that AI will interact and analyse guest data throughout the journey, right from the search to post-stay. Everything will be connected.” 
    This technology will reduce reliance on staff amid rising labour costs and staff shortages, and make it easier to onboard new employees.
    Dominik Klein, Managing Director at McDreams Hotels, added: “In the future, we just want one host at each location, checking where guests are in the guest journey, helping walk-ins and providing restaurant recommendations to provide a bit of personality. 
    “We already have some hotels without staff. The rest have two people to manage the surge in check-ins we see between 5pm and 9pm each day. No one in the industry needs fewer human resources than we do but Apaleo & LIKE MAGIC are going to allow us to go even further. Becoming more efficient is a big part of our growth plans. We want to double our footprint in the next five years.” 
  • 2/4/2024

    Cloudbeds Reveals Highest Revenue-Generating OTAs for Independent Properties

    Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for independent lodging businesses around the globe, has today revealed rankings of the highest revenue-generating Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) worldwide, as well as by various countries and regions.

    The findings, featured in Cloudbeds’ 2023 ‘Big Book of OTAs’, underscore the robust resurgence of OTAs, with the highest revenue-generating platforms experiencing a remarkable hold in the market. Meanwhile, regional OTAs across Asia have been rising in popularity, signaling the return of Asian travelers to the market.

    The analysis follows extensive research by Cloudbeds involving tens of thousands of independent properties globally, including hotels, inns, motels, hostels, short-term rentals, and serviced apartments.

    Sebastien Leitner, VP of Partnerships at Cloudbeds, said: “Based on data gathered from thousands of customers’ independent properties between 2021 and 2023, we’ve witnessed a remarkable pace of recovery for Online Travel Agencies. While top OTAs like, Expedia, and Airbnb have held onto their spots as the top revenue generators, we’ve also seen China’s climbing two spots.

    “For independent properties, building a comprehensive channel mix is integral to securing a steady stream of reservations, yet navigating the complex world of OTAs is no easy feat. That’s why our team at Cloudbeds analyzes booking data from tens of thousands of independent properties each year, offering insights into which OTAs dominate globally, regionally, and across different property types.”

    Below are the ten highest revenue-generating OTAs globally in 2023, according to data from Cloudbeds’ independent customer properties:

    2. Expedia
    3. Airbnb
    4. Hostelworld
    5. Agoda
    7. Hotelbeds
    8. Vrbo
    9. Traveloka
    10. Despegar / Decolar

    The new rankings from Cloudbeds also highlighted the OTAs that drove the highest revenue for its customers in leading travel destinations across North America, LATAM, Europe, and the APAC region.

    While, Expedia, and Airbnb consistently ranked among the five highest revenue-generating OTAs in all 11 countries, Cloudbeds observed the return of Asian travelers as Agoda and rose in North America and made their debut on Latin American lists.

    Meanwhile, Hostelworld climbed the ranks in multiple countries, notably leaping five spots in Thailand and the Philippines, demonstrating a renewed demand for hostels, shared accommodations, and experiences.

    In line with previous years, Cloudbeds’ data consistently shows that independent properties of all sizes experience a boost in revenue when additional OTA channels are added, with six channels being the magic number.

    For a comprehensive overview of the top distribution channels worldwide – including a breakdown by many regions and countries – download a free copy of Cloudbeds’ second annual “Big Book of OTAs: A Hotelier’s Guide to Top Distribution Channels” at

  • 2/4/2024

    HotelREZ Outpaces Market at 52% Growth

    hotelrez team 2024

    HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts, one of the world’s leading hotel representation companies, has outpaced the market with 52% revenue growth with reservations up by over 42% in the past 12-months.

    Now with over 2,500 independent hotels, apartments and hotel groups across 100 countries, the HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts portfolio has grown more than 20% in 2023.

    Furthermore, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts’ reach has expanded to new markets including Australia, South Africa and UAE - making it the 15th largest hotel company worldwide.

    With new customers including The Social Hub, World Hospitality Solutions, Countrywide Hotels, Ethiopian Airlines Group, Danat Hotels & Resorts and Roomzzz Aparthotels, the consultancy services and technology business has been enjoying huge success as hoteliers and accommodation providers look to diversify their distribution mix and simultaneously reduce their cost of sales. As a result, the British company has expanded its team in the UK and Europe.

    Through a multichannel approach, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts has enabled its hotel clients to increase reservations through the booking engine by 31%*, while driving valuable business through the GDS (+44%*) and Direct Connects (+50%*).

    In addition, two renowned soft brands part of the HotelREZ family have experienced gains, Best Loved Hotels®, a collection of unique global individual properties, achieving 11% uptick in sales and World Rainbow Hotels®, the world’s only GDS enabled LGBTQ+ global hotel consortia, increasing reservations by 22%. 

    “We’re ecstatic to see such phenomenal growth results, we’ve totally exceeded our expectations this past year,” said Daniel Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts. “Not only are hotels joining us to represent them with third party channels, but they’ve been adopting our Web Services products to drive more direct business - this is a real testament to the investment we’re making in our consultancy team twinned with our technology.”

    In the past year, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts has launched a number of new products as part of its Web Services portfolio including digital advertising for Paid Ads and Metasearch, website design, and a number of tools and widgets for its booking engine to boost conversion. 

    “Independent hotels and accommodation providers recognise the value and benefits of working with an experienced team to better enable their sales and revenue performance,” said Mark Lewis, CEO, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts. “It’s allowing them to focus on the hospitality experience and operations to service their guests without being distracted by the day-to-day need to source business. We live and breathe hotels to produce high-rated revenue from the most suitable target markets at an attractive cost of sale that allow our customers to truly thrive.”

    On looking at how 2024 is expected to perform, Simmons commented: “We are seeing the domestic market remain strong, though strikes and weather will continue to have an impact on consumer booking decisions. For business travel, independent hotels are becoming more popular with agencies, especially aparthotels and pubs with rooms – two key accommodation sectors on the GDS. Furthermore, the GDS stands resilient and continues to grow especially with the increase in SME corporate clients. 

    Founded in 2004, HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts will soon be celebrating two decades in business with Mark Lewis at the helm. 


    Notes to editors

    Data from 01 January 2023 - 31 December 2023

    * Data shown is the average performance across HotelREZ’s portfolio

  • 2/4/2024

    67% of Surveyed Hotels Report Staffing Shortages

    As more than two thirds of hotels continue to experience staffing shortages, hoteliers are offering more pay and a host of incentives in order to attract and retain talent, according to a new survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).

    Over the last six months, 82% percent of respondents have increased wages, which hit a record high average for hotels in December 2023. In addition, 59% are offering greater flexibility with hours, and 33% are expanding benefits. Nonetheless, 72% say they are still unable to fill open positions.

    Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents said they are experiencing a staffing shortage, and 12% said they are “severely understaffed,” meaning the shortage is affecting their ability to operate. The most critical staffing need is housekeeping, with 48% ranking it as their top hiring need.

    These numbers are an improvement from May 2023, when 82% of survey respondents indicated they were experiencing a staffing shortage.

    Respondents to the most recent survey are attempting to fill an average of nine positions per property, nearly unchanged from May 2023 but up from the seven vacancies per property average in January 2023.

    Ongoing staffing challenges are resulting in historic career opportunities for hotel employees. There are more than 70,000 hotel jobs currently open across the nation, according to Indeed, and as of December 2023, national average hotel wages were at an all-time high of $23.91 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Additionally, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy since the pandemic, and hotel benefits and flexibility are better than ever.

    “The hotel workforce situation is slowly improving thanks to record-high average wages and better benefits and upward mobility than ever before,” said AHLA President & CEO Chip Rogers. “But nationwide labor shortages are preventing hoteliers from filling tens of thousands of jobs, and that problem will weigh heavily on our members until Congress takes action. We urge lawmakers to address this urgent issue by creating an H-2B returning worker exemption, passing the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act, and passing the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act.”

    As of December, the United States had 9 million job openings, but only 6.3 million unemployed people to fill them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Congress can help hoteliers address workforce shortages by taking the following actions:

    • Expanding and streamlining the legal H-2B guestworker program. The H-2B program is vital to helping independent hotels and resorts in remote vacation destinations fill seasonal roles, but the program is capped at 66,000 visas each year. Exempting returning workers from this inadequate cap would help hoteliers hire employees who can provide critical staffing relief for seasonal small business hotels and help rebuild the post-pandemic economy.
    • Cosponsor and pass the Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (S. 255/H.R.1325). A historic number of asylum seekers are already housed in hotels across America. They are awaiting court dates and are following the legal process. Unfortunately, current law prevents them from legally working for at least six months, forcing them to rely on assistance from local governments and communities. This bipartisan legislation would help hotels address critical staffing needs by allowing asylum seekers to work as soon as 30 days after applying for asylum.
    • Cosponsor and pass the H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act. This bill would expand the H-2A/H-2B labor certification period to three years and permanently authorize the waiver of in-person interviews for returning workers. The HIRE Act would make it easier for qualified workers to secure jobs in fields that are struggling to recruit and retain enough employees to meet demand.



    AHLA’s Front Desk Feedback survey of 408 hoteliers was conducted Jan. 8-18, 2024.

  • Show MoreShow More
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds