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  • 7/4/2024

    Travel Landscape Set for Transformation this Year, Says Cloudbeds

    Cloudbeds, the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for independent lodging businesses around the globe, has spotlighted key developments poised to reshape the travel industry this year.

    The findings, featured in Cloudbeds’ 2024 State of Independent Lodging Report, include new spins on experiential travel, the rising popularity of inflation-busting travel hacks, and a growing demand for new skills among next-generation hoteliers.

    Adam Harris, Co-Founder and CEO of Cloudbeds, said: “The economy seems poised to dodge a recession again this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s smooth sailing for hotels. Travel patterns are changing, travelers are more price-sensitive, and demand may soften. Under any market conditions, it’s the hoteliers who monitor the trends and data closely, act quickly to seize opportunities, and offer a distinctive guest experience that will outperform the market.”

    Here are some of the emerging trends set to shape the travel and hospitality landscape in 2024, as identified by Cloudbeds:

    • Travelers trade up. Travelers are finding creative ways to upgrade their travel experiences amid high inflation, by leveraging money-saving hacks, swapping popular destinations for more affordable ‘dupes’ (Expedia), and relying on ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ options (Atmosphere Research). Despite the rising cost of living, Skyscanner found 81% of travelers planned to travel the same or more in 2024 compared to 2023.
    • The experience IS the destination. After years of post-pandemic binge-buying, consumers are moving on from collecting stuff to collecting experiences. Almost 70% of travelers say they are more likely than ever to travel to a concert outside their hometown (Expedia), while 47% of US travelers have booked a destination purely to visit a specific restaurant (Skyscanner). Meanwhile, Booking.com found more than half of travelers are keen to book a surprise trip where everything down to the destination is unknown until arrival.
    • Next-gen hoteliers upgrade their skills. As technology transforms the hospitality industry, next-gen hoteliers must adapt by acquiring a blend of technical, analytical, and strategic skills to effectively leverage new tools and maintain a balance between automation and human interaction. The World Economic Forum suggests an estimated 42% of business tasks will be automated by 2027. In the hospitality sector, 91% of hotels globally use a PMS, 64% have a booking engine, and 33% have a channel manager (Skift).

    The new trends complement last year’s five key developments, which are set to continue this year: value-driven decision-making, the shift to virtual front desks, blended travel meeting hybrid hospitality, new technologies to disrupt travel search and inspiration, and a shift from focusing on amenities to guest experiences.

    For more trends and comprehensive global insights into the independent lodging landscape in 2024, download a free copy of Cloudbeds’ annual ‘State of Independent Lodging Report’ at https://www.cloudbeds.com/hospitality-industry-report.

  • 7/4/2024

    Like Magic and Häfele Announce Strategic Partnership to Develop Multifunctional Hotel Room Concept

    A smartphone key powered by Like Magic unlocks Häfele multi-functional furniture. Photo: Häfele
    Häfele, a provider of hardware solutions, electronic locking systems and lighting, has announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with employee and guest experience platform Like Magic to develop a pioneering new multifunctional hotel rooms concept. 
     
    The concept, dubbed ‘Work and Sleep’, will enable hotel operators to quickly adapt bedrooms into offices, meeting rooms and other functional spaces by using digitally-enabled furniture, fitting solutions and advanced software.
     
    The partnership will combine Like Magic’s comprehensive guest and employee experience platform with Häfele’s advanced hardware systems. The collaboration aims to introduce new revenue models by activating rooms that would otherwise remain vacant, all while reducing outfitting costs.
     
    'Work and Sleep' rooms allow for seamless room reconfiguration without additional costs. For example, electronic locking ensures that only night guests can access the integrated bed, while meeting tables remain only accessible to day guests who have booked it.
     
    Other cutting-edge innovations include lighting technology which automatically adjusts to the intended use of the room, from creating a relaxed atmosphere for hotel guests staying overnight to flicker-free lighting during the day for video conferences. 
     
    Guests can also use Like Magic’s web-based app to independently access extra amenities. For example, they can unlock a coffee machine cabinet with Häfele electronic locks and access upgrades like additional cabinet spaces, sports equipment and clothes steamers using a smartphone key powered by Like Magic.
     
    Like Magic and Häfele are taking their partnership to boutique concept and conventional hotels, such as the ibis Styles hotel in Nagold, Germany, which has incorporated the platform’s smartphone-enabled keyless room technology. Powered by Like Magic, future guests will be offered more personalized services such as regional culinary recommendations, cultural excursions, and sporting activities, alongside traditional services like late check-out.
     
    Gregor Riekena, CEO of Häfele, said: “Our goal is to lead the way in hotel industry innovation with our forward-thinking concepts. We are currently testing these new ideas at the ibis Styles Hotel in Nagold, Germany, which serves as a valuable proving ground for our initiatives. 
     
    “This innovation not only allows us to gather essential insights and refine our concepts, but also demonstrates our commitment to pushing the boundaries of what modern hotels can offer. By continuously evolving and enhancing our solutions, we aim to set new standards for guest experience and operational efficiency.”
     
    Markus Feller, CEO of Like Magic, said: “By combining our comprehensive digital platform with Häfele's advanced hardware solutions, we are creating a best-in-class blueprint for the future of hospitality.
     
    “Digitization can solve the hospitality industry’s most pressing issues and increase profitability. When used strategically, digital solutions can alleviate skills shortages by reducing the pressure on employees, allowing them more time to interact with guests, and ultimately making their jobs more appealing. This allows staff to enhance the industry's core objective which is to deliver tailored and high-quality experiences to guests.”
     
    Like Magic’s platform brings a booking engine, guest platform, employee interface and monitoring tools all into one place, creating a center of operations for hotel management. This unlocks a completely digital guest journey for guests if they prefer. 
     
    In addition to enabling staff to perform 80% of their daily tasks from one single system, Like Magic also allows guests to carry out a range of actions without staff assistance. 
     
    These range from checking in, ordering food, requesting additional linen or pillows, and creating keyless room passes – requiring only a smartphone. 
     
    The platform allows staff to run operations using a traffic light system of notifications and recommended actions, making the whole process of customer service and property management much more automated. 
     
    IMAGE CAPTION: A smartphone key powered by Like Magic unlocks Häfele multi-functional furniture. Photo: Häfele
  • 7/4/2024

    AHLA Workforce Report: Hotels Add 700 Jobs in June

    U.S. hotels added 700 jobs to their payrolls in June, according to the latest government data that shows the nationwide workforce shortage continues to make it difficult for hotels to fill open jobs.

    Total hotel employment stands at about 1.92 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That’s more than 196,000 fewer workers in the industry than in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit, a shortfall that reflects the scarcity of available employees.

    BLS also revised down the total number of hotel jobs in the country, which eliminated job gains for the industry that were reported in prior months.

    “Halfway through 2024, the hotel industry is behind where it needs to be when it comes to hiring staff, despite near-record high wages and expanding workplace benefits and flexibility. The reason is the nationwide workforce shortage, which is preventing hoteliers from meeting their full potential as demand for travel remains strong,” said AHLA Interim President & CEO Kevin Carey. “Both Congress and the administration can provide relief to our members, many of whom are small business owners, and AHLA will continue to call for action to expand the pool of available workers.”

    Hotel workforce overview

    Hotels continue to offer increased wages, benefits, and workplace flexibility to attract and retain workers in the face of a nationwide workforce shortage:

    Nationwide workforce overview

    AHLA workforce policy priorities

    AHLA is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to expand the workforce by making available nearly 65,000 additional H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas as soon as possible, under authority Congress gave it as part of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.

    AHLA also urges Congress to pass the following bills to help expand the workforce so hoteliers can maintain and expand their operations:

    • The Closing the Workforce Gap Act of 2024 (H.R. 7574) would replace the arbitrary annual cap of 66,000 H-2B guestworker visas with a new, needs-based system for allocating visas.
    • The H-2 Improvements to Relieve Employers (HIRE) Act (H.R. 4708) 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. By growing the pool of seasonal workers, the bill would give seasonal small business hotels critical staffing relief and facilitate the hotel industry’s continued recovery.
    • The Asylum Seeker Work Authorization Act (S.255/H.R.1325) would allow people seeking asylum at ports of entry to be eligible for work authorizations starting 30 days after they apply for asylum, provided their applications are not frivolous; they are not detained; their identities have been verified; and their names are run through the federal government’s terrorist watch lists. This change would help hotels address critical staffing needs by allowing certain asylum seekers to work as soon as 30 days after applying for asylum. Current law prevents them from legally working for at least six months, forcing them to rely on assistance from local governments and communities.

    AHLA Foundation workforce policy priorities

    To help hotels fill open jobs and raise awareness of the hotel industry’s 200+ career pathways, the AHLA Foundation remains focused on growing and retaining the industry’s talent pipeline through workforce development initiatives.

    • The Foundation’s No Room For Trafficking Survivor Fund and Empowering Youth Program (EYP) support community-based organizations that provide workforce readiness and hospitality training and access to employment opportunities for human trafficking survivors and Opportunity Youth (ages 16-24 who are not currently in school or employed), respectively.
    • The Registered Apprenticeship Program is a Department of Labor-funded initiative that combines on-the-job training with classroom education for in-demand occupations. The program supports hospitality industry programs for cooks, lodging managers, and maintenance workers.
  • 7/2/2024

    Mews Sponsors Hotelschool The Hague’s Sustainable Hospitality Challenge for Greener Travel

    Mews Logo and Hotelschool The Hague’s Sustainable Hospitality Challenge logo

    Mews, a hospitality cloud, is an official sponsor for Hotelschool The Hague’s Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, an initiative that aims to champion the evolution of eco-friendly hospitality.

    The Sustainable Hospitality Challenge (SHC) is in its 10th year and has evolved into a global knowledge-based initiative. Targeted at future-thinking students around the world, it aims to stimulate and create investment in innovative, sustainable solutions that will have a tangible impact on the industry.

    “It’s a real privilege to support an event that has such an important message, and it’s heartening to see such passionate and brilliant engagement from the future generation of hospitality professionals,” said Matt Welle, CEO at Mews. “I can’t wait to see the ideas the challenge generates.”

    SHC is the biggest student challenge within hospitality. Students from over 75 of the world’s top universities present products and solutions to a ‘Shark Tank’ of industry leaders, including support from the likes of UN Tourism, Accor, Hilton and Marriott.

    “We are incredibly excited to have Mews on board as a sponsor of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge,” said Paul Griep, Director of Alumni & Industry Relations at Hotelschool The Hague and founder of SHC. “Mews brings a fresh and innovative perspective to the challenge with their expertise in hospitality technology. Their commitment to sustainability will inspire our students to think outside the box and explore new dimensions of hospitality innovation. Their involvement not only elevates the prestige of the challenge but also broadens the horizons of what sustainable solutions can be in our industry.”

    Hotelschool The Hague, is the proud founder of the Sustainable Hospitality Challenge, provides high-quality education and cutting-edge research in the field of international hospitality management, with an emphasis on the transformation of sustainability and digitalization. Ultimately, developing students into sought-after hospitality graduates who excel in leadership roles worldwide.

    The sponsorship is the latest in a long series of actions by Mews that advocate for more eco-conscious travel. A unique partnership and integration with Hotels for Trees has seen over 40,000 trees planted in place of housekeeping turnovers, saving 20,000 hours of housekeeping services. Mews has also published many materials to encourage hoteliers to act more sustainably – including a guide to the Green Hotel of the Future – and a dedicated internal committee on climate action.

  • 7/5/2024

    Starbucks Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy Cross-Promote Loyalty Programs

    Starbucks Marriott partnership

    The first Marriott Bonvoy Week kicks off for Starbucks Rewards members July 8-14.

    Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International’s award-winning travel program and marketplace, and Starbucks announced a new collaboration offering distinctive benefits to loyalty members last month. Marriott Bonvoy members and Starbucks Rewards U.S. members who link loyalty accounts will have the opportunity to earn more Stars toward free beverages, food and more at Starbucks, and Marriott Bonvoy points that can be redeemed at Marriott Bonvoy’s more than 30 brands and 10,000 global destinations as well as for Marriott Bonvoy Moments experiences.  

    • This is the first Marriott Bonvoy Weeks  planned since the program was announced last month. Throughout the year, during any designated Marriott Bonvoy Week, Starbucks Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy members will earn 100 Marriott Bonvoy points when they make three qualifying transactions at participating Starbucks locations. 
    • Double Stars During Stays: Marriott Bonvoy and Starbucks Rewards members can earn Double Stars on qualifying transactions at participating Starbucks locations through the duration of their eligible stay at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy. 
    • Eligible members enrolled in both programs can easily link their accounts by visiting Starbucks.com/MarriottBonvoy. Once linked, Starbucks Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy members can begin to earn these new benefits from both programs.

    Aligning Loyalty

    “I love my regular morning cup of Starbucks coffee, and find I enjoy it even more when traveling. So, Marriott Bonvoy’s collaboration with Starbucks makes perfect sense,” said David Flueck, Global Head of Loyalty, Cards & Enterprise Partnerships, Marriott International. “We will truly satisfy our members’ passions for coffee and travel with the opportunity to earn more points and Stars while traveling and at home, and later this year by bringing those passions together when we introduce exclusive coffee- and travel-themed experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments.” 

    “Marriott Bonvoy’s commitment to enriching moments for their customers aligns with Starbucks customer promise to uplift the everyday, making them the perfect loyalty partner,” said Kyndra Russell, senior vice president, North America chief marketing officer, Starbucks. “We’re continuing to develop our Starbucks Rewards program, and through this new collaboration, we are excited to offer members even more value and enhanced benefits through travel experiences.”  

    Starbucks Reserve locations in Seattle, Chicago and New York are also introducing the Starbucks Reserve Siciliano for Marriott Bonvoy to celebrate the launch. The cocktail, inspired by the brands’ mutual love for travel, coffee and connection, blends Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew with traditional Italian spirits, including Amaro Averna and Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth, finished with Scrappy's Orange Bitters, sparkling water and an orange swath. For a limited time, Starbucks Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy members with linked accounts can enjoy this exclusive global-inspired cocktail at U.S. Starbucks Reserve® Roasteries and the Starbucks Reserve Store at Empire State Building®.  

  • 7/2/2024

    Redberry Restaurants' New Vice President of Marketing

    Chelsea Kellock

    Redberry Restaurants, a leading operator of quick-service restaurants in Canada, announces the appointment of Chelsea Kellock as the new Vice President of Marketing, effective immediately.

    Plans for Expansion

    Redberry has ambitious plans to open over 600 new Burger King, Taco Bell and Jersey Mike's locations across Canada in the next decade. To support this unprecedented expansion the company has created an executive role dedicated to overseeing its marketing initiatives. This strategic move aligns with Redberry's vision to become the largest and fastest-growing quick-service restaurant (QSR) franchisee in the country.

    Kellock joins Redberry with extensive experience in leading business strategy and executing cross-functional initiatives within the Canadian restaurant industry. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a proven track record of success in senior-level marketing and operational leadership roles, particularly within well-established Canadian QSR and casual dining brands.

    "Our brand partners increasingly look to Team Redberry for long-term brand strategy and activation," said Chris Racine, Chief Operations Officer. "Chelsea's appointment is a testament to our commitment to evolving from tactical marketing to strategic brand leadership at the executive level. Her expertise and leadership will be pivotal as we continue to grow and achieve new milestones."

    Founded in 2005, Redberry is one of Canada's largest QSR restaurant Franchisees. Redberry owns and operates 190-plus restaurants across the country operating under the BURGER KING®, Taco Bell and Jersey Mike's Subs brands.

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