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  • 5/7/2024

    Checkmate Acquires VoiceBite

    acquistion merger man hands holding blocks

    Checkmate, a restaurant ordering solutions provider, acquired VoiceBite, a voice AI company that automates the restaurant ordering process with a "better-than-human experience." Their solution is built from the ground up using advanced Large Language Models (LLMs) that power today’s AI solutions, giving them the ability to learn and iterate faster. VoiceBite says it has been able to handle over 95% of voice-ordering scenarios without human intervention.

    VoiceBite was designed to use the restaurant’s existing phone number, integrate with the POS, and get up and running in days. The plug-and-play setup requires zero staff training. As a part of the Checkmate platform, VoiceBite’s technology will help restaurants reduce operational expenses, expedite order fulfillment, and boost profit margins.

    Voice AI as a whole is still a relatively new technology, and many solutions on the market are built on older data models that aren’t designed to interact with customers naturally as humans would. By acquiring VoiceBite, Checkmate also removes a layer of friction, allowing brands to offer AI ordering experiences through a unified platform, making it easy to go live in days, not months, and instantly track customer data alongside other channels.

    Benefits

    • Seamless integration & implementation: Checkmate's expertise in menu management and POS integrations means adding voice AI is straightforward, so your staff can focus on more high-value tasks.
    • Smart upselling: VoiceBite's upselling engine suggests the perfect add-on item based on the customer’s order. The customizable feature is tailored for the highest conversion rate items, giving brands a reliable way to increase ticket size.
    • Context-aware: Intelligently interprets vague requests, like choosing the largest size of wings (as opposed to 100 wings) or recalling past preferences during a call, allowing customers to order as they normally would at the restaurant.
    • Multilingual human voices: Use voices with the friendly and engaging tone of your best employee with support for multiple languages to expand your reach. Gone are the days of robotic monotone voices and lifeless conversations.
    • Natural cadence: VoiceBite's AI seamlessly handles interruptions mid-conversation, addressing customers' immediate requests and continuing the order for an intuitive experience.
    • Text ordering & payment: This feature facilitates easy order placement and secure payments via text, adding another layer of convenience to make the ordering process even faster.
    • Hands-on support: With VoiceBite now part of Checkmate, you get the same reliable customer service and 24/7 support to answer questions, resolve issues, and keep operations running smoothly.

    "Acquiring VoiceBite allows us to provide a truly unified ordering experience for our restaurant partners," said Mike Bell, Checkmate's Chief of Strategy. "By integrating voice AI capabilities directly into our platform, restaurants can now offer seamless phone ordering and drive-thru (coming Q4 2024) alongside their other digital channels. This improves operational efficiency while delivering the exceptional service that keeps customers coming back."

    "We're thrilled to join Checkmate and combine our advanced voice AI ordering with their solutions and integrations," said Robert Nessler, Founder & CEO of VoiceBite. "After collaborating with their team, we realized coming together would allow us to deliver exponentially more value through seamless, conversational AI ordering across all channels. This unification will rapidly accelerate voice AI development for restaurants."

    With this acquisition, Checkmate further solidifies its position as an industry leader in the restaurant technology space. Restaurants using Checkmate gain access to an all-in-one platform powered by advanced voice AI, ensuring a consistent ordering experience no matter how their customers choose to engage. As the digital landscape evolves based on consumer demand and market forces, Checkmate will continue to expand its solutions to help brands grow their businesses however they choose.

    See Checkmate at NRA Booth 6767. 

  • 5/7/2024

    Home2 Suites Guests Enjoy Food Delivery Experience with Grubhub

    Grubhub

    Guests staying at Home2 Suites by Hilton now have access to seamless mobile ordering and delivery via Grubhub Onsite, available at nearly 600 properties nationwide. 

    Home2 Suites guests can order meals and convenience items from the Grubhub app via geolocation and QR codes around each property, directing them to Grubhub’s Marketplace. The hotel location and courier drop-off instructions automatically populate at checkout for convenience and ease. 

    Dinner Delivered 

    More than 30% of travelers struggle with not knowing where to order food and 25% worry about not having access to a car to get around, according to a Grubhub survey. Further, nearly 50% of travelers said they’d use a delivery app to order forgotten items. With this integration, travelers don’t have to worry about food, transportation or these forgotten items since Grubhub and Home2 make it easy to order from local restaurants and find nearby convenience stores for delivery right to their Home2 Suites hotel.

    “With a keen focus on finding new, innovative ways to enhance the guest experience and the comforts of home, we are thrilled to add Grubhub delivery to boost our existing food and beverage offerings, providing guests with more consistency, choice and flexibility during their long stay at Home2 Suites,” said Talene Staab, brand leader of Home2 Suites by Hilton. “In addition to giving guests access to delicious dishes from nearby restaurants and eateries, this program also supports the business growth of local restauranters and the broader community.” 

    Following a rollout at 500 Homewood Suites properties, Home2 Suites by Hilton, an all-suite extended stay hotel, is the second Hilton brand to team up with Grubhub Onsite, a full-service technology solution for hotels and college campuses. 

    Home2 Suites joins Grubhub’s roster of hospitality partners, including Choice Privileges, Sonesta International Hotel Corporation, My Place Hotels, and fellow Hilton brand, Homewood Suites. Since the launch of the program in 2023, tens of thousands of guests have placed more than 150,000 orders.

    Survey Methodology: Grubhub partnered with Dynata to survey 1,057 adults between February 12 and 13th, 2024. 

  • 5/6/2024

    STUDY: How Technology, Creativity Impacting In-Restaurant Dining

    barista accepting payment

    The  2024 State of the Industry: Future of In-Restaurant Dining report by Incisiv in collaboration with Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions delves into the evolving dynamics of the restaurant industry and explores the trends and solutions needed to stay ahead in a competitive market. The report emphasizes the necessity for establishments to transcend beyond mere convenience to integrate wellness, gastronomy, and unforgettable memories into the dining experience. 

    "Dining is a fundamental part of our daily lives, deeply intertwined with emotion and connection," says Giri Agarwal, Chief Strategy Officer at Incisiv. "Restaurants must evolve from focusing solely on convenience to creating truly memorable experiences that bring people together. Smart investments in technology are key to realizing this vision, enabling personalized and engaging dining experiences that resonate deeply with diners." 

    Technology such as interactive digital menus, in-restaurant mobile apps, and augmented reality experiences are playing a vital role in empowering restaurants to stay relevant and meet the evolving needs and expectations of diners.  

    “Artificial intelligence (A.I.) is revolutionizing our world, and in the restaurant industry, it has the potential to unlock unparalleled opportunities for tailored experiences and operational efficiency,” said Fredrik Carlegren, VP and Head of Marketing and Communication at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. “For the consumer, this may look like a personalized menu recommendation based on individual tastes and dietary preferences or having A.I. integrated into proximity sensors that monitor dine-in, pick-up, and delivery logistics so diners receive their food quickly and efficiently. Operationally, A.I.’s predictive capabilities empower precise staff scheduling and optimize inventory management to ensure seamless kitchen operations while minimizing waste.”  

    Key highlights from the study include: 
     

    ·       Digital Technology Simplifying Group Dining: Group meals are being reimagined with digital technology to enhance enjoyable dining experiences and remove logistical hurdles. Only 13% of restaurants offer digital experiences to simplify group dining, such as easily splitting bills or streamlined ordering.  

    ·       Third-Party Delivery Platforms Dominate, but Direct Relationships are Underdeveloped: While 77% of restaurants utilize delivery platforms to expand their customer base, an astonishingly low 8% have successfully integrated their loyalty programs with these services, meaning there is a significant opportunity for restaurants to connect on a deeper level with repeat guests.  

    ·       Unified Technology and Fast Service are Elevating Dining Experiences: To ensure a seamless flow from the kitchen to the table, 38% of restaurants are implementing POS systems that can handle in-store and online orders to streamline operations.  

    ·       Innovations in Operational Strategy Critical for Addressing Digital and Traditional Dining Demands: As restaurants strive to cater to both digital orders and in-restaurant diners, 57% have shown capability in managing multiple order types. Nevertheless, the integration of POS systems that equally support in-store and online orders stands at 38%, emphasizing the need for continued innovation in seamless operational integration.

    ·       Rapid Prototyping and AI Adoption Highlight Innovation Urgency Amidst Infrastructure Challenges: Despite 79% of restaurants prioritizing new dining experience prototyping, satisfaction with their technological infrastructure is notably low, at just 22%. This highlights a pressing need for enhanced, adaptable technology solutions to support ongoing innovation and efficiency improvements. 

    2024 could be a pivotal year for restaurants to overhaul their technology infrastructure, investing in adaptable, scalable solutions to support rapid innovation to meet evolving consumer expectations. Based on the findings from the study, restaurants will increasingly focus on creating more engaging, story-driven dining experiences, harnessing technology and community partnerships to deepen emotional connections with their guests. The report surveyed 127 restaurant executives across the U.S. and Canada and outlines how restaurants use integrated technology solutions to enhance customer experiences and connections.  

     

  • 5/6/2024

    STUDY: Property Managers Lean Into AI

    tablet with AI icon
    AI use among property managers and owners has climbed 63% since November, according to Hostaway’s AI Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of artificial intelligence adoption within the short-term rental STR industry.
     
    Other top findings include: 
     
    • Increased AI Adoption: A significant rise in AI usage has been noted, with 70% of respondents now using AI tools, up from 43% in November 2023. This marks a pivotal shift in the industry's approach to modern technological solutions.  This is inline with finding from HT's Lodging Technology Study 70% hoteliers say AI for predictive analytics  has moderate to major potential, 

    • Strategic AI Applications: Property managers are deploying AI for dynamic pricing (41%), enhancing guest experiences (30%), and improving marketing strategies (29%). These applications are proving essential for operational efficiency and competitive advantage.

    • Time and Cost Efficiency: While 31% of respondents have not observed a reduction in costs due to AI implementation, 35% reported substantial time savings, equivalent to four additional workdays per year. This figure increases to 47% among those managing over 26 properties.

    • Prevalent Tools and Concerns: The most widely used AI tools include both the paid and free versions of ChatGPT. Despite the advantages, 65% of participants expressed concerns about AI's ability to foster genuine human connections, and 54% were skeptical about AI handling complex guest issues.

    • Optimism About AI's Future: Overall, 75% of property managers and owners are optimistic about AI, with 61% recognizing it as a competitive edge in the marketplace.

    The report offers STR managers and owners a valuable perspective on how peers are leveraging AI to streamline operations, improve guest experience and enhance profitability. It addresses common concerns and highlights areas where AI may not fully replace human interaction, particularly in managing nuanced customer relations.
     
    Hostaway surveyed 500 property managers and owners, revealing critical data on the integration of AI technologies in their operations. 
     
    Saber Kordestanchi, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Hostaway, said: "Artificial Intelligence is rapidly transforming the short-term rental industry. Our latest survey not only tracks this evolution but also helps property managers understand the practical benefits and limitations of AI. As leaders across the vacation and short-term rental sector, we're committed to equipping our customers with the tools they need to succeed in a digitally driven market.”
     
    Hostaway is at the forefront of vacation rental management software, offering advanced solutions that integrate seamlessly with major platforms like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo. Known for its robust feature set and exceptional customer support, Hostaway remains dedicated to improving the efficiency and profitability of property managers worldwide.
     
    Download Hostaway’s 2024 AI Report here. 

     
  • 5/6/2024

    Hospitable, Breezeway Partner to Help Self-Managed Properties

    new product box
    Self-managers are getting the chance to bring their property operations in line with the biggest management companies as a result of a partnership between vacation rental management platform Hospitable and property operations specialist Breezeway
     
    This is the first time that Breezeway has integrated with a Property Management Software (PMS) specifically dedicated to owners managing rentals themselves, without the help of a third-party property manager.
     
    Hosts leveraging Breezeway’s tools can now seamlessly sync reservation and listing data from Hospitable’s PMS directly into the operations platform, allowing for effortless real-time management of their rentals. By plugging booking data into Breezeway’s powerful suite of tools, which automate and optimize tasks like maintenance coordination, cleaning scheduling, and guest communication, hosts can maintain and run properties more efficiently. 
     
    The partnership aims to level the playing field for those who might have limited resources or struggle to exceed the industry standards expected of bigger rental companies. By allowing self-managers to sync their PMS data with a cutting-edge operations platform, hosts are equipped with the tools needed to streamline their operations and drive higher quality stays. 
     
    Hospitable’s PMS is designed from the ground up with the unique needs of self-managers in mind. With a solid foundation in core technology solutions and a strong focus on community support, Hospitable empowers the growing segment of vacation rental investors who choose to manage their properties independently.
     
    Pierre-Camille Hamana, Founder & CEO of Hospitable, said: “Self-managers are the backbone of the vacation rental industry, but they often struggle to professionalize their business and services simply because they don’t have the resources to compete with larger rental managers.
     
    “Through our integration with Breezeway, hosts can sync their data with professional-grade operational tools, boosting the ease and efficiency of their day-to-day management. Such a big part of running a rental is managing back-of-house operations, which can be time-consuming and expensive if you’re a solo host with limited resources. Giving self-managers the option to automate their operations, from organizing cleaners to scheduling maintenance, is going to be a game-changer.” 
     
    Jeremy Gall, Founder & CEO of Breezeway, said: “Every stay, whether it’s managed by a property management company or singular host, should offer the highest standards of quality and cleanliness. It also shouldn’t be a total headache to manage a rental by yourself.
     
    “Partnering with a PMS that champions self-managers means we’re bringing operational tools to the fingertips of so many hosts who have previously lacked the resources to drive the same level of quality, through their operations, as the larger property managers. We believe hosts should have access to the tools they need to efficiently manage their operations whether they own one rental or 20. Raising the standards and elevating the quality will drive the entire industry forward for guests, hosts and property managers.”
     
    Founded in 2016, Hospitable is a vacation rental software provider offering a suite of tools that empower hosts to automate the most time-consuming elements of hosting. 
     
    Breezeway, a platform for managing all the work of maintaining and cleaning short-term rental homes, has helped thousands of hosts and managers deliver the highest quality hospitality experiences for millions of guests – across more than 250,000 homes in 80 countries. 
     
    To find out more, visit www.hospitable.com and www.breezeway.io
  • 5/6/2024

    Ooma AirDial Now Available in Canada

    voip phone call center

    Ooma, Inc., a smart communications platform for businesses and consumers,   announced that Ooma AirDial, a solution for Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) replacement, is now available in Canada. 

    POTS is being rapidly phased out in all Canadian provinces. The two dominant providers of POTS service – Bell Canada and TELUS – have both announced plans for copper network decommissioning.

    This impending “copper sunset” is a challenge for businesses with mission-critical equipment such as fire alarm panels, elevator phones, building entry systems and industrial controls that rely on POTS lines. Even before copper lines are shut down, businesses face significant hikes in monthly rates as legacy carriers encourage their customers to move away from POTS.

    Ooma AirDial delivers turnkey replacement for POTS lines through an analog-to-digital phone service that is built specifically for compatibility with business equipment and life-safety devices, and is designed with regulatory compliance in mind. A fully integrated solution, AirDial provides hardware, software, wireless connectivity and remote management – all from a single vendor.

    Ooma has been providing cloud-based telecommunications solutions in Canada since 2005 and currently maintains an office in Vancouver for software engineering, product development, customer support and research.

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