News Briefs

  • 3/6/2024

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

    spoton sales and marketing software on a laptop computer

    SpotOn, the top-rated software and payments partner for restaurants, today 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.

  • 3/6/2024

    Tripleseat Solves The Large Party Reservation Problem for Restaurants and Their Guests

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    Tripleseat, the leading innovator in cloud-based sales and event management software for restaurants and hotels, launches a one-of-a-kind reservation solution to help consumers and restaurants reserve tables for large parties.

    Built on the TripleseatDirect platform, the new Large Party Reservations solution caters to large party reservations typically between 6-15 people.  Reservations of 6+ people are a challenge for both people looking to book a table and restaurants trying to accommodate them. For restaurants, large parties can be difficult to manage and staff resulting in poor service and lost revenue. For guests, it is a challenge to secure a table with restaurants causing frustration for everyone.

    Tripleseat’s new Large Party Reservations product solves the headaches of reserving and servicing large reservations by enabling the restaurant to offer online table availability, pre-ordering, and up-front payment. Armed with all the details for the reservation, the kitchen can prepare in advance and the venue can staff appropriately resulting in a positive and profitable reservation for everyone.

    “Tripleseat continues to develop solutions to tackle challenges that restaurants face every day and turn them into revenue opportunities,” says Jonathan Morse, CEO of Tripleseat. “The Large Party Reservations product solves a big problem for restaurants and addresses the needs of consumers by providing them with an easy and quick reservation capability.”

  • 3/6/2024

    WTTC Launches Roadmap To Guide Businesses Through the Jungle of Sustainability Reporting in Travel & Tourism

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    The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched a pioneering readiness roadmap, aiming to simplify sustainability reporting in the Travel & Tourism sector.

    Launched during ITB Berlin, WTTC and Oliver Wyman announced the Sustainability Reporting Readiness Roadmap, a strategic tool to guide businesses through sustainability frameworks, compliance timelines, and readiness assessments, simplifying the journey towards sustainable compliance.

    This roadmap is more than just a tool; it’s a strategic compass, enabling companies to decode sustainability reporting complexities, identify relevant compliance standards, and evaluate their sustainability data and platform maturity.

    The call to action is clear: governments must offer sector-specific guidance and phased requirements to ease companies into this new sustainability era.  This roadmap provides both the public and private sector the direction needed to begin their journey of sustainability reporting.

    Alongside the Roadmap, WTTC and Oliver Wyman also release a new report “Navigating the Sustainability Journey: The Impact of Mandatory Reporting on Travel & Tourism”, designed to tackle the sector´s unique sustainability challenges.

    The report explores the impact of the three most influential sustainability reporting frameworks on the sector – the Corporate Social Responsibility Directive (CSRD), the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Climate-Related Disclosures – and offers insights to navigate the changing regulatory landscape effectively.

    According to the report, some Travel & Tourism companies are unprepared for the imminent sustainability compliance standards, with urgent action needed, especially concerning complex supply chains and Scope 3 emissions reporting.

    Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, said: “Sustainability reporting is no longer negotiable for Travel & Tourism businesses. It is a challenge we must confront head-on.

    “Our Roadmap serves as the trusted navigator through the intricacies of sustainability reporting, acting as a guide and providing clarity. It is not merely about meeting regulatory requirements; it is about propelling businesses towards sustainable growth and resilience.”

    Dan Darcy, Principal with Oliver Wyman’s Transportation & Services practice, said: “Sustainability reporting requirements are a significant challenge for Travel & Tourism companies – cross-border organisations with broad value chains who have weathered a pandemic and subsequent resurgence in demand.

    “But these requirements are essential for protecting the destinations, ecosystems, and communities that inspire travellers. By setting ambitious goals and showing progress, we will prove our industry’s commitment to sustainability.” 

    As the sector embarks on this journey towards greater transparency and sustainability, the roadmap’s diagnostic tools enable companies to pinpoint their sustainability standing, bridge gaps, and chart a path towards compliance and a sustainable future.

  • 3/6/2024

    Jurny Launches New Crowdfunding Round to Fuel its Next Generation AI


    Jurny, an AI-powered property management solution for automating hotel and short-term rental operations, announced the launch of a new crowdfunding campaign on StartEngine. This move opens the doors to private individuals and customers to invest alongside top-tier venture capitalists in the booming AI sector and offers an early-stage entry point into Jurny's rapidly growing venture.

    Following a successful fundraising round last year, where Jurny secured $3 million from nearly 1,000 individual investors, the company is launching its next round as the investment market shows heightened interest in AI startups, but private investment opportunities are limited.

    “The decision to embark on another crowdfunding round was driven by the enthusiastic response from our community and our commitment to broadening participation,” said Luca Zambello, Founder and CEO of Jurny. “In a market hungry for AI companies, private investment avenues are limited. By reintroducing public investment opportunities, we not only accelerate Jurny's growth but also offer more individuals the chance to participate in the AI revolution that is reshaping industries worldwide.”

    Jurny is making significant strides in integrating AI into the operational fabric of the hospitality industry, helping short-term rental hosts and hotel property managers automate functions such as reservations, customer service, reputation management, in addition to a variety of other operational automations. In 2023, Jurny grew its customer base fivefold and processed over $35 million in bookings.

  • 3/6/2024

    BeCause Streamlines Carbon and Water Measurement for Hotels Around the World

    BeCause logo

    BeCause, a technology start-up transforming how the global hospitality, travel and tourism industries manage its sustainability data, has digitized the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance's (the Alliance) HCMI and HWMI methodologies.  

    The new feature, announced today during ITB Berlin, will enable hotels to leverage the Alliance's free industry measurement tools, the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI). The HCMI, based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, is used to calculate a hotel's carbon footprint, while the HWMI helps hotels calculate water usage on their properties; both are now available within the BeCause centralized hub.  

    HCMI, the only industry-recognized carbon calculation methodology for over a decade, applies to all hotels, large or small, regardless of the amenities offered. The methodology is used widely across the industry by over 30,000 hotels, including Hyatt, Marriott International, Radisson Hotel Group and Scandic. The use of HCMI is supported by leading industry organizations including the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). 

    Integrating HCMI and HWMI into BeCause's AI-powered sustainability data management platform enhances user experience by simplifying data collection, analysis, and reporting processes. The digitized methodologies will significantly reduce the time and cost hotels require to collect and communicate data related to their carbon and water usage and impact. The integration will also enable hotels worldwide to utilize HCMI/HWMI metrics for other sustainability certifications. 

    "We'd like to thank the team at BeCause for digitizing HCMI and HWMI which will enable more of the industry to access it and dramatically improve its usability. Digitizing this resource will greatly accelerate our shared goal of reaching Net Positive as a sector, together. We encourage more organizations to follow BeCause's lead to ensure a transparent and globally comparable approach to carbon, water and waste reporting," says Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of the Alliance. 

    Working Toward a Common Goal 

    The Danish start-up's AI-powered hub is a purpose-built platform that centralizes a hotel's sustainability data and automates the transmission of that data amongst different stakeholders, such as booking marketplaces and industry certifications like GreenKey. Additionally, once on the platform, any data that hotels input into BeCause can be upcycled and automatically mapped to many frameworks, ensuring maximum regulatory compliance and making qualifying for voluntary green certifications easier.   

    By working with the Alliance, BeCause is advancing its mission to build a more sustainable future for the tourism industry through data. "We all know that knowledge is power. With the new digitized version of HCMI, the Alliance members will gain the valuable insight they need to make decisions that benefit both their business and the planet," says Frederik Steensgaard, CEO and co-founder of BeCause.  

    In addition to digitizing the HCMI/HWMI methodologies, BeCause has also introduced user-friendly improvements to the workflows of hotel managers; for example, eliminating the need for hotels to review every question in a linear way (which could be several hundred), BeCause now shows them only what is relevant for them to answer. 

    "The Alliance has identified that collecting, coordinating and communicating sustainability data is a significant challenge for hotels. We are very confident that we will help remove those challenges and that together, we can push for meaningful change within the hospitality industry towards a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable future," Steensgaard adds.   

  • 3/6/2024

    Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel Enhances Service and Efficiency with Stayntouch PMS

    stayntouch and seacrest logos

    The 158-room Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel of Pismo Beach, CA, significantly enhanced operational efficiency and personalized the guest experience through its partnership with Stayntouch, a global leader in cloud-based hotel property management systems (PMS). 

    By leveraging Stayntouch’s cloud-native PMS, the Seacrest Oceanfront Hotels was able to streamline operations, empower staff, and elevate service and guest engagement. Seacrest Oceanfront benefits from Stayntouch’s: 

    • User-friendly and comprehensive platform that simplifies navigation through its full array of features, significantly cutting down on training time and onboarding expenses;
    • Flexible and open API architecture capable of connecting to unlimited third-party systems to further support hotel operations;
    • Robust automation in every facet of the platform to reduce repetitive busywork for staff while streamlining check-in for guests; and
    • Extensive reporting capabilities designed to keep operators informed on the status of their property and optimize performance across a range of metrics.

    Heidi Kamas, assistant general manager at the Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel, said, “Stayntouch has significantly enhanced our operations at Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel, providing us with a previously unattainable level of efficiency and agility. The user-friendly interface has empowered our staff to complete reservation requests in under three minutes, greatly streamlining our welcome experience. Through Stayntouch, our staff have all the information they need to provide exemplary service right at their fingertips, including availability, occupancy, ADR, and instant room updates. We also connected with an independent guest messaging system, allowing guests to instantly connect with staff from their favorite messaging platform.”

    Priya Rajamani, VP of implementations and support, Stayntouch said, “We are thrilled to have partnered with Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel to enhance their guest experience and streamline their operations. Our commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction drives us to continually provide cutting-edge solutions that empower hotels to thrive in today's dynamic hospitality landscape. Seacrest's success story is a testament to the power of our platform, and we look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow and elevate service."

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