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  • 6/12/2024

    HFTP Announces Hospitality Code of Digital Responsibility

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    Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), the global spokes group for the industry’s hospitality technology segment and producers of the HITEC® brand, announced today a new project that will develop a code of digital responsibility for hospitality.

    Earlier this year, HFTP commissioned the University of Houston College of Global Hospitality Leadership to write a white paper on digital responsibility, which is featured in the inaugural issue of HFTP’s Tech+Fin Hospitality Magazine available at HITEC 2024 and on the association’s website (available June 24). Resulting from the paper’s conclusion and discussions with industry experts, it became clear that the industry needs some base guidelines or code of conduct for digital responsibility. Therefore, HFTP decided to adopt the project, beginning by convening a task force of industry experts and academics to develop the code.

    Task force members include:

    • Co-chair Scot Campbell, CHTP • Principal for Integrated Resort Advisors, HFTP Global Past President, and inductee to the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
    • Co-chair Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE, CHE, CHIA, CAHTA • Conrad N. Hilton Distinguished Chair at University of Houston and HFTP Global Past President
    • Mike Blake • Vice President of IT for Kemper Sports
    • Steven Bronken • Head of Global Hospitality for Ruckus Networks
    • Sanovnik Destang, CPA, CA, CFA • Executive Director for Bay Gardens Resorts
    • Florian Gallini • CEO at INTEREL
    • Thomas Hempel • Strategic Vice President of Sales and Partnerships at VENZA
    • Barry Thomas, CHTP • Vice President of Technology for Orient Express and Fairmont Hotels
    • Sherry Marek • Founder of Aiken Street Consulting and inductee to the HFTP International Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame
    • Shannon McCallum • Vice President of Hotel Operations at Resorts World Las Vegas,
    • Neal Patel • Managing Parter of Blue Chip Hotels
    • Andrew Rubinacci • Chief Advisory Officer for FLYR for Hospitality
    • Thomas Atzenhofer, CPA • Deputy CEO for HFTP

    “There are many good practices for digital responsibility throughout the industry, but these have never been aggregated, vetted and published as a compilation of the best practices in a uniform guide,” said Thomas Atzenhofer, HFTP Deputy CEO. “HFTP’s task force of global industry technology and business experts, has agreed to tackle the task and make the industry better for all segments… from small to large.”

    The first in a series of task force meetings will be held later this month at HITEC 2024 in Charlotte, N.C. Once a draft code is developed, it will be presented for industry feedback. Ultimately, a final code will be developed and hospitality enterprises who opt to follow the base guidelines will be awarded a compliance seal.

    “The advent of AI and digital responsibility is going to continue to be a growing concern to our customers” said Scot Campbell, Task Force Co-chair.  “Rather than have disparate governmental regulations by those who don’t understand our business, it is more prudent to have these guidelines developed for the industry by the industry.  None of us want to be able to have an unhappy customer whose digital information is accidentally used in a way they did not intend.”

    HFTP is accepting applications of interest for additional task force volunteers. Send a message of interest along with your LinkedIn profile to [email protected] by June 17, 2024. The target date for the release of the guidelines is Q4 2024.  HFTP will also publish code guidelines for the club industry in Q1 of 2025.

  • 6/12/2024

    Roomzzz Quadruples Automated Payments After Switching to RMS Cloud

    RMS logo new teaser
    UK-based aparthotel operator Roomzzz revealed that it has increased its automated payments by 300% while decentralizing a number of operational processes, considerably improving employee satisfaction.
     
    Established in Leeds in 2006, the serviced apartment brand has quickly grown to 11 properties across eight locations, and offers the quality and reliability of a hotel with the comfort of a home to guests predominantly looking for longer stays.
     
    Having quickly outgrown its previous PMS solution, Roomzzz selected RMS Cloud’s Property Management Software out of 20 other providers, for its multi-property capabilities, ability to automate operations and the flexibility and adaptability of the solution.
     
    Having previously automated only 10% of its payments, with reservation staff manually processing the rest, Roomzzz is now benefiting from 40% payment automation thanks to the solution’s ‘Pay by Link’ functionality and Guest Portal.
     
    Victoria Curley, Head of Commercial at Roomzzz said: “The integrated payment solution, RMS Pay, was a really big one for us. A large proportion of our clients need to pay for their accommodation a week before check-in and we had no way to securely facilitate that.
     
    “The RMS Cloud PMS automatically sends a Pay by Link seven days before the stay to securely take payment, then reconciles it against the booking on the system. This saves our team a huge amount of time and removes the risk of human error.
     
    “Since the integration of RMS Cloud, we have also been able to give back a number of processes to each property, something that wasn’t possible beforehand because the technology was too complicated. This decentralisation has meant that we have been able to restructure the reservations department allowing us to upskill our teams more than we ever have done before, considerably improving employee satisfaction.”
     
    The VAT drop is another cumbersome process that RMS Cloud has removed from Roomzzz’s internal workflow. Up to 60% of Roomzzz’ guests at any one time book for over 28 nights and the PMS’s automation has removed the need to manually drop the VAT on every night booked – a valuable functionality that other providers weren’t offering.
     
    RMS Cloud’s open API meant that transitioning from Roomzzz’s previous PMS was straight-forward. Roomzzz had already integrated third party operators into its tech stack and it was important that these partnerships were not affected. The flexibility and scalability of RMS Cloud’s PMS allowed providers to ‘plug and play’ into a future-proofed solution that will support the company’s planned growth.
     
    Roomzzz customer’s have also benefited from quicker communication with RMS Cloud’s triggered correspondence functionality providing instant responses throughout the booking process and guest journey. Previously guests were waiting up to 24 hours to receive booking confirmation, which now happens immediately, and automatic communication can now be sent to prompt check-in and update guests on their stay.
     
    Zen Valli, Managing Director of EMEA at RMS Cloud said: “Roomzzz has demonstrated what can be achieved when a hospitality provider chooses the right PMS to solve its pain points and improve its efficiencies. The increase in automation puts the guest front and centre and gives the team more time to ensure they have an excellent experience, while the PMS reliably handles operations, payments and reporting in the background. The guest experience must come first and all hospitality providers should be finding ways to make that possible.”
  • 6/12/2024

    Cvent Unveils New AI Innovations for Hoteliers and Hospitality Professionals

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    Cvent, a meetings, events and hospitality technology provider, shared several significant AI-driven enhancements during the company’s Hospitality Cloud Product Roadmap Session at Cvent CONNECT. The comprehensive product announcements, which are expected to be launched this year, illustrate Cvent’s commitment to empowering its customers with AI across its event and hospitality technology platform.

    “As a long-time leader in the event and hospitality space, we’re well positioned to capitalize on the AI opportunity in a way that makes the most sense for those who matter most: our customers,” said Jim Abramson, Vice President of Product Management at Cvent. “Our product development strategy prioritizes a practical application of AI across our platform that maximizes impact while minimizing the effort required from our users to access it. We plan to continue investing in new and innovative ways to combine the power of AI, with our decades of data-driven insights, to help hotel teams achieve even better group business results.”

    Cvent announced several planned AI-powered product offerings including:

    • Smarter prospecting with Planner Navigator: New AI capabilities within Planner Navigator will help sales teams to automatically match their hotel, venue or destination with planners who are sourcing over their need dates. AI will also power the creation of customized prospecting pitches. With a few clicks, hoteliers can create tailor-made pitches to more effectively attract and engage their target audience.
    • Improved planner engagement with natural language venue search: Cvent unveiled several new AI-powered solutions built directly within the Cvent Supplier Network (CSN), including natural language search, enabling planners to finetune their hotel and destination searches with conversational language. Planners can simply describe their key criteria (“Venue with a spa”, “adjacent to a golf course”, etc.) in the search box. AI-enabled matching surfaces the best-fit properties, which not only streamlines the sourcing process, but also helps deliver more qualified RFPs to hotels and venues.
    • Faster and more efficient RFP response with Custom Questions: New AI technology will reference a hotel or venue’s past RFP responses and leverage CSN profile information to generate answers to Custom Questions from planners instantly, dramatically reducing the time it takes for hotel sales teams to complete, and respond to, planner proposals.
    • Enhanced agenda creation for planners with RFP Agenda Builder: RFP Agenda Builder, built within the CSN, leverages AI to help planners build comprehensive agendas in seconds. This functionality improves the planner experience and helps to ensure hoteliers have the right information to deliver a successful event.
    • More efficient diagram design with AI Diagram Assistant: Using natural language functionality, AI Diagram Assistant empowers hotel operations teams with the ability to deliver precise, customized floorplans and room layouts within Cvent Event Diagramming in seconds.
  • 6/12/2024

    LG Business Solutions USA Launches LG Business Cloud

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    LG Business Solutions USA has launched LG Business Cloud, a powerful web-application platform that puts the power of LG’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions under one roof.

    LG Business Cloud enables customers to establish a highly secure common point of access for their LG digital signage devices using a straightforward, one-time sign-up process. User privilege, access control and single sign-on (SSO), license management, site and location structure are all designed to be easy to use yet flexible for the largest deployment.

    “LG has long been a leader in providing intuitive, scalable software and platform solutions to help integrators and their customers remotely monitor and manage digital signage networks as well as distribute and customize content,” said LG Business Solutions USA Senior Vice President Michael Kosla. “Now, the launch of the LG Business Cloud puts all the tools they need to manage these services in one place, with clear value propositions and a consolidated platform experience.”

    Kosla added that the company’s focus on software and services, which supports LG’s global transformation into a Smart Life Solutions company beyond a hardware manufacturer, provides significant benefits to commercial display customers. The LG Business Cloud is a multi-service SaaS cloud platform that provides integrators and business owners simple access to the powerful capabilities of LG ConnectedCare, LG Pro:Centric Cloud, LG Pro:Centric Stay and LG SuperSign Cloud. By eliminating the need to install and manage on-site servers and software running on the servers, each service helps businesses further reduce up-front costs and long-term maintenance requirements

    LG SuperSign Cloud

    LG SuperSign Cloud is a powerful content management system (CMS) designed to boost a retailer’s digital signage campaigns by providing “anywhere, anytime” control of content, remote control of individual displays or the entire network of displays to set on/off scheduling and make real-time changes to content. The software enables easy uploading and distribution of content as well as expert-level editing tools, including music selection

    SuperSign Cloud users can also enhance their content creation using third-party design templates, digital art, and even live on-screen presentation of social media feeds. For example, the specialized DSmenu service allows users to easily create digital menu boards, while PosterMyWall helps users design eye-catching promotional materials -- each offering incredible value to retail and food establishments that require frequent updates. The ArtPlayer service grants access to an array of digital art, while Screenfeed enables companies to simply and cleanly display Instagram feeds through digital signage. Wantreez Music provides expertly curated playlists that harmonize with on-screen content to elevate ambiance in a variety of settings.

    LG Pro:Centric Stay

    With the new LG Pro:Centric Stay platform, LG offers short-term rental property managers and owners a powerful cloud-based TV content distribution and management solution, using powerful tools to create personalized guest experiences for on-premise TVs. The platform makes these powerful capabilities available to virtually any size short-term rental hosts to multinational ”staycation” businesses. It’s easy to create welcome pages, local guides and custom content through Pro:Centric’s familiar drag-and-drop interface that includes widgets such as weather, maps, flight information and more.

    LG ConnectedCare

    LG ConnectedCare is a network manager’s best friend, offering extremely powerful tools to ensure consistent operation of the entire network of displays regardless of deployment size or variety of displays. This is an active monitoring service that automatically sends alert emails to preset recipients for more than 20 common operations errors, and enables remote adjustments to resolve issues and fine tune device settings.

    The main selling point is the ability to eliminate or greatly reduce screen down time, which can directly affect a property’s revenue and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, the ability to manage multiple devices at once reduces labor time and boosts efficiency when enacting changes or updates.

    “Each of these cloud-based services provides high-value functions, efficiency gains and up-front cost savings to help businesses maximize guest experiences, revenues and communication opportunities,” Kosla said. “With the new consolidated user experience unveiled at InfoComm, the LG Business Cloud can be a game-changer for commercial integrators and their customers.”

  • 6/11/2024

    Boxxtech Iaunches Alcohol Vending Machine

    Boxxtech alcohol vending

    Boxxtech announces the launch of their second alcohol vending machine at Progressive Field, the home stadium of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians. Ballgame attendees can skip long lines and purchase beer and pre-packaged cocktails from the refrigerated The Boxx machine.

    “We are excited to be among the first companies to make unattended alcohol sales safe and effective by embedding ID authentication directly into the machine,” said Boxxtech CEO, Lauren Smee. “For busy environments like stadiums and festivals, The Boxx is an ideal way to keep lines down for pre-packaged products, and reduce staffing costs while still serving the same amount of product.” Boxxtech first demo’d the technology at SuperBowl LVIII, where more than 1,000 beverages were dispensed before and during the game, generating more than $68 every minute it was operational. 

    Unattended retail has previously been challenged to sell 21+ products due to ID verification. Boxxtech integrates IDScan.net Age Restricted Vending package, which includes best-in-class ID authentication, capable of rapidly confirming customer age, and detecting up to 95% of fake IDs. The tech also includes face matching, ensuring that the customer in front of the machine matches the photo on a valid ID or drivers license. This technology replaces visual ID checks that would normally be performed by bartenders or event staff.

    “IDScan.net ID verification technology was the clear winner among the three services we tested for integration into The Boxx. Not only does it successfully catch all fake IDs, keeping minors from accessing products inside the machine, but it was easy to set up without complicated business logic, providing us a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on every verification,” said BoxxTech CTO Chris Davis.

    Boxxtech machines have served more than 27,000 customers since launch in April 2024. Two The Boxx machines are currently operational, with an additional 50 planned for rollout by the end of 2024, including at least one in a major league sports stadium, and a fleet for placement in a major hotel chain that is looking to sell beer in their lobbies without adding additional staff. The Phoenix-based company has already won several major awards, including the AZ Fire Inno Award by the Phoenix Business Journal, and the 2024 Female Founder Venture Madness Award. Additionally, Boxxtech has been awarded with the coveted Innovation Award for NFL Legends, and counts former Oakland Raider Lamarr Houston as its President. They are a Techstars portfolio company, with additional backing from the founder of RetailMeNot. 

  • 6/11/2024

    Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken Donates 150,000 Meals Through GiftAMeal

    Lee's Famous Recipe packaging

    GiftAMeal, the innovative cause-marketing program that turns customer photos into meals for local families in need, announces a significant milestone in donated meals with restaurant partner Lee’s Famous Recipe  Chicken.  As of June, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken has donated 150,000 meals to families in need through GiftAMeal’s charitable partnership. In 2023, GiftAMeal was named one of HT’s Industry Heroes  for its solution.

    Customers of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken will soon notice something special about their orders – packaging – from drink cups to side boxes – will feature its involvement in GiftAMeal, along with information on how guests can participate in making a difference in their community. This creative initiative not only serves as a platform to raise awareness for the cause but also invites customers to join in supporting food banks across the country. The co-branded packaging will be available at locations nationwide, ensuring that every customer has the chance to fight local hunger. 

    The new packaging will complement a digital effort announced earlier this year in which Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken revamped its mobile application and added a GiftAMeal button on the home page that allows customers to engage directly and effortlessly with the GiftAMeal program. By simply clicking the button and uploading a photo of their dining experience, customers trigger a restaurant-funded donation to a local food bank to help provide a meal to a family in need.

    "By integrating GiftAMeal directly onto their packaging and mobile app, Lee’s has transformed each dining experience into a catalyst for change. Our partnership showcases how technology and collaboration can unite us in a shared mission to nourish those in need, and we are thrilled to continue this journey together," says Andrew Glantz, CEO and Founder of GiftAMeal.

    With 130 restaurant locations participating in GiftAMeal, Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken is one of GiftAMeal's larger partners.

    "The integration of GiftAMeal on our brand-wide packaging reflects our deep-rooted commitment to community engagement and enhances the impact we can make, all with no extra effort for our franchisees,” says Dan Sokolik, VP of Marketing at Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken. “Reaching 150,000 meals highlights the tangible difference we and our guests are making in the lives of local families in need.”

    As GiftAMeal continues to expand its network of restaurant partners, the potential to combat food insecurity grows exponentially. Each new partnership amplifies the collective impact, enabling more families to receive the nourishment they need.

    To learn more about GiftAMeal, visit www.giftameal.com. Restaurants interested in joining can visit  giftameal.com/partner to schedule a free demo today.

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