News Briefs

  • 3/5/2024

    SpotOn Unveils First Automated, AI-Enabled Marketing Tool for Restaurants

    spoton logo
    SpotOn, a software and payments partner for restaurants, announced the introduction of SpotOn Marketing Assist. Designed to streamline the restaurant marketing process, SpotOn Marketing Assist is the first product of its kind to empower restaurants to drive guest visits and boost sales while eliminating the time and resources needed for self-serve marketing tools. 
    For restaurant operators, marketing often falls to the back burner when managing the daily challenges of rising labor costs, fluctuating food costs, and meeting guests' increasing expectations. Independent restaurants can barely cover the cost of their front and back-of-house staff, let alone a dedicated marketing resource. With 90% of restaurant operators reporting their customers are more value-conscious than they used to be, restaurants need to build their brand and drive guest loyalty with value-driven incentives.
    "SpotOn Marketing Assist is democratizing AI and automation technology for the independent restaurants who need it the most,” said Bryan Solar, Chief Product Officer at SpotOn. “Beyond empowering operators to set up automated campaigns, SpotOn is helping to drive repeat business while providing operators with data-driven insights they need to keep the momentum going and drive revenue all year long.”
    Customization Campaigns & Effortless Setup
    For busy restaurateurs, SpotOn Marketing Assist promises simplicity and effectiveness. Operators are prompted to answer a few quick questions about their business category, marketing objectives, deal preferences, time-based deals, and brand - all with the ability to change at any time. Business categories help provide marketing campaigns especially relevant to a restaurant's service type and guests, for instance, happy hours for Mexican restaurants.
    Operators can select from multiple marketing objectives to increase online orders, in-person visits, phone calls, reservations, or all of the above. In addition, operators specify limits for discounting and specific shoulder periods to ensure they’re controlling costs. SpotOn helps operators ensure their campaign is aligned with their brand with font and color options and photo upload and selection. Operators just need to connect their restaurant’s Facebook page and add their Google Business profile. 
    SpotOn Marketing Assist syncs with the SpotOn Restaurant POS to generate email lists from the restaurant's SpotOn Order and SpotOn Reserve customers. From there, SpotOn Marketing Assist takes over creating a marketing campaign tailored to that restaurant and its goals. SpotOn’s marketing campaigns focus on creating a sense of urgency and demand through discounts and promotions. Operators can view, edit, or delete scheduled campaigns in the dashboard anytime. 
    According to The National Restaurant Association’s State of the Industry Report, more than 8 in 10 adults would take advantage of discounted dining on slower days or off-peak times to save money. To help operators leverage this opportunity, SpotOn created a “Slow Day Boost” revenue-driving campaign that allows operators to input their slow days and meal periods for SpotOn Marketing Assist to auto-generate a campaign with a limited-time offer (LTO) for those shoulder periods the operator outlined. 
    AI-Powered Content & Automated Campaigns 
    SpotOn Marketing Assist campaigns save time and money, shifting a manual marketing process into an automated one, with users reporting an average of 3 - 5 hours per week saved. Powered by automation, SpotOn Marketing Assist defines marketing events each month and then creates and schedules campaigns for these events. Using AI, SpotOn Marketing Assist creates the marketing campaign content, while the imagery is selected using the restaurant images uploaded or stock photography; both are generated based on the restaurant's pre-determined category, business goals, and specific event. For example, a March Madness campaign is created for a pizza restaurant wanting to drive more online orders. 
    Once the campaigns are set up and approved, SpotOn Marketing Assist takes over seamlessly publishing the restaurant’s campaign across their email marketing and social media channels. SpotOn Marketing Assist significantly improved restaurant email performance by 23%, with automated emails reporting a 9.55% open rate, compared to manual emails with a 7.79% open rate.
    “Without SpotOn, I was doing marketing maybe once a month, sometimes skipping it completely when we were busy or short-staffed,” says Kim Dieu of Mi ‘N Tea. “Now it takes just 15 minutes, my customers are receiving relevant emails each week, and I’ve seen a significant increase in sales in recent months.”
    Data-Driven Insights
    As part of the SpotOn Restaurant ecosystem, SpotOn Marketing Assist’s deep integration with SpotOn Restaurant POS and SpotOn Order facilitates a seamless experience for guest redemption in person or online and provides operators with invaluable campaign performance data and customer insight. SpotOn Marketing Assist ties campaigns directly to revenue through the connection with SpotOn Restaurant, providing operators with a better understanding of their guest's preferences and marketing program performance. 
    In a review of early performance, SpotOn found that “Slow Day” deals are the top-performing redemptions, followed by “Happy Hour” deals and “Deal of the Month” campaigns, suggesting consumers are increasingly motivated and willing to change their dining times to save money.
  • 3/5/2024

    AHLA Announces Leadership Transition

    The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) announced today that William “Chip” Rogers resigned from his position as AHLA president & CEO last Friday to pursue other professional interests. The AHLA Board of Directors is in the process of forming a committee to identify and evaluate potential replacement candidates and will be retaining an executive search firm.

    Effective immediately, AHLA Senior Executive Vice President & COO Kevin Carey will also serve as AHLA’s interim president & CEO. He will report directly to the Board until a permanent president & CEO is selected and onboarded.

    “We have been able to build one of America’s most effective associations over the last five years. As I move on to my next chapter, I am truly thankful for the opportunity I had to lead this incredible team and work alongside the industry's best leaders,” said Rogers.

    AHLA Board Chair Kevin Jacobs stated, “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Chip for his service to AHLA. We now begin a search for a new CEO to lead AHLA during this exciting time for both our industry and our association. The board and I look forward to working with the next CEO to advance our mission well into the future.”

    More information regarding AHLA’s open president & CEO position will be available on the AHLA website in the coming weeks.

  • 3/5/2024

    Grazzy Selected as an IHG Hotels & Resorts Approved Digital Tipping Partner

    Grazzy logo and tip screen

    Grazzy is now an approved partner for the IHG Hotels & Resorts properties. Grazzy’s ability to quickly and securely scale across large multi-brand portfolios has earned the company status as the go-to platform for cashless payments for hotel and service operators.

    Because the major brands determined that Grazzy meets stringent software security and brand experience standards, large operators like Hotel Equities, Crestline Hotels, Dimension Hospitality, and many others have in turn tapped Grazzy to support rapidly-scaling digital tipping programs. Grazzy’s ability to fully launch digital tipping programs in about 30 days, then optimize program performance down to the level of individual locations, makes the company a valuable partner as operators expand digital payment options for guests.

    The digital tipping platform provides hotel guests a simple way to tip without cash and without requiring an app download or account setup. Available payment methods range from credit card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or even charge-to-room options. Guests also have the option to provide real-time feedback that can be connected to User Generated Content travel review websites.

    “The stage is set for digital tipping to become commonplace in 2024. Hotels and many other types of service-focused businesses recognize the importance of tips as a competitive tool in a tight labor market,” said Russ Lemmer, Grazzy CEO. “But these businesses also need simple tools to help allocate earnings, automate tax preparation and manage the success of digital tipping solutions within their businesses. Grazzy has approached the hospitality market as a collaborative disruptor, maximizing the value that Grazzy provides to hourly team members, operators, and the guest.” 

    By making cashless tips simple for guests, Grazzy helps guest-facing employees earn as much as $1-2 more per hour. They can then access their earnings instantly with Grazzy Direct, a same-day payout option that allows employees to move money and begin spending the very same day.

    In the back office, Grazzy provides IRS tip income-compliant reporting that is kept continually up-to-date, simplifying payroll processes for complex businesses. The platform also provides detailed program performance metrics to help hotel brands, operators and individual locations maximize the value their guests and employees get from digital tipping.

  • 3/5/2024

    Tripleseat Introduces the Next Evolution of Tickets with Tripleseat Tickets

    logo, company name

    Tripleseat, the leading innovator in cloud-based sales and event management software for the hospitality industry, proudly unveils Tripleseat Tickets today, delivering a powerful event registration and ticketing solution designed specifically for restaurants, hotels, and unique venues. This exciting new product empowers restaurants and hotels to create and promote their events and experiences with a cohesive platform, that will drive revenue.

    “With Tripleseat Tickets, we address the unique needs of venues that do events like live music, wine tastings, chef tables, and reservations. We developed a robust all-in-one ticketing solution that is a total game changer," comments Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat. "Restaurants, unique venues, and hotels can now easily sell tickets and promote their events with elevated branded landing pages and email marketing, resulting in increased sales and revenue.”

    Tripleseat Tickets also seamlessly integrates directly with the Tripleseat Sales and Event Management platform for added functionality. As a Tripleseat user, creating a ticketed event and reporting on ticket sales, marketing data, and payments will all be in one application. Say goodbye to disjointed and siloed ticket events data.

  • 3/5/2024

    Guestcentric Debutes RezLock to Boost Ancillary Revenue for Hotels

    giant ice cube with frozen price inside

    In a significant move to empower hotels with more agile and autonomous business management tools, Guestcentric has announced the debut of RezLock and several other innovative features within its HyperCommerce suite. Building on the suite’s successful launch in 2023, these enhancements are designed to streamline the reservation process and simplify the guest journey, showcasing Guestcentric’s commitment to evolving hotelier needs.

    A standout addition, RezLock, promises to transform how hotels manage bookings and engage with potential guests. This feature allows guests to secure a locked-in rate for future stays for a nominal fee, mirroring the flexibility often seen in airline reservations. This not only provides guests with the assurance of a guaranteed price but also opens a new revenue stream for hotels. In cases where a booking does not materialize, the hotel retains the fee, adding a layer of financial security to the reservation process.

    With rising prices and high website abandonment rates at the booking stage, RezLock emerges as a critical solution. This innovative feature addresses the common hesitation guests face, offering them increased flexibility should they feel uncertain about finalizing a booking on the spot. For hoteliers, RezLock is designed for effortless set up and management with just a few clicks. Hotels can customize the fee for locking rates, specify the timeframe for which the locked rate is valid before booking, and set the duration for which the offer stands. This not only assures guests of their booking decisions but also significantly improves direct booking conversions by providing a tangible solution to the indecision that leads to booking abandonment.

    RezLock, as well as the other features deployed within HyperCommerce have been meticulously crafted to empower hotels with simplified business management solutions, placing both the hotel and its guests at the heart of this innovation. These new features are built to ensure hoteliers can quickly respond to guest needs with minimal technical intervention, making it easier than ever for hotels to learn, use, and master the platform. This approach not only enhances operational efficiency but also significantly enriches the guest experience by providing swift, seamless service.

    Sérgio Serra, CTO at Guestcentric, highlighted the technical ingenuity behind RezLock and other developments, saying: “Rezlock is the latest component in the transformation that HyperCommerce brings to the direct channel. This functionality is inspired by the aviation companies, but at the same time is somehow disruptive as this is not the kind of thing we are used to see in hotel reservations. The hotelier only has to define which are the conditions where this should be offered to the potential guests and the technology does the rest: payments, reservation confirmation or revocation. It’s a simplified tool to capture reservations and also an ancillary source of revenue.”

    Pedro Colaco, CEO of Guestcentric, emphasized the broader vision: “Our continuous innovation, exemplified by RezLock and the new HyperCommerce features, reaffirms our dedication to elevating hotel businesses. By providing tools that simplify operations and enrich the guest experience, we’re helping hoteliers not just to survive but thrive in a rapidly evolving industry.”

    As Guestcentric looks to the future, the latest HyperCommerce enhancements, including RezLock, are set to redefine how hotels manage their operations and interact with guests. These developments promise a more streamlined, flexible, and profitable path forward for the hospitality sector.

    Hoteliers interested in exploring the full range of HyperCommerce’s new features and how they can transform their business can learn more about the new features here.

  • 3/5/2024

    IDeaS Unveils Portfolio Navigator for Multi-Property Revenue Management Automation

    ideas G3 RMS Portfolio Navigator

    IDeaS, an SAS company and a provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, announced the release of G3 RMS Portfolio Navigator, the next innovation in multi-property revenue management. Portfolio Navigator provides powerful automation to identify, prioritize, and act on the most important revenue-impacting decisions. This reduces execution costs by enabling multi-property and corporate revenue leaders to deploy and manage revenue strategy quickly, confidently, and consistently at scale. 

    Multi-property revenue management teams are often challenged to understand and act quickly upon critical revenue management decisions. They often use multiple tools and data sources to identify trends, changes in pickup, forecasts, pricing, and market position. These methods do not scale and fail to answer the most important questions for multi-property revenue leaders. Portfolio Navigator solves these issues by boosting the power of G3 RMS to help them gain answers to their most important questions.

    • Quickly detect business anomalies and receive automated solutions – Portfolio Navigator analyzes business and market movement to highlight revenue opportunities and the corresponding action items needed to capitalize on them. This removes the laborious need to decide on a new strategy and action on one property at a time while enabling quick responses to business or market changes to generate optimal revenues. 
    • Deploy revenue strategies to multiple properties from a single platform – Portfolio Navigator provides a centralized view of all properties’ performance and serves as a single point of deployment for revenue management decisions and system configuration changes. This time-saving capability eliminates the need for tedious adjustments to individual properties’ revenue management systems. 
    • Centralize property and team member key performance indicators on a single dashboard – With centralized property performance metrics in a single view; it’s easier than ever for corporate or cluster users to gain a quick, real-time overview of their portfolio’s business health and individual team member performance. This saves time from manual data consolidation and enables better revenue decision-making for the entire estate and revenue team. 

    Sanjay Nagalia, co-founder, chief operating officer & chief technology officer, IDeaS, said: “IDeaS is committed to ensuring our customers, regardless of size, have the tools they need to become more efficient and productive. The addition of Portfolio Navigator to our flagship product, G3 RMS, is a game changer for multi-property revenue management. It helps teams highlight suboptimal business or system conditions by property, prioritize tasks with the highest revenue impact, display outstanding revenue tasks by individual property, and scale revenue operations and brand contribution. This functionality helps revenue management leaders turn insights into impactful commercial actions at scale.” 

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