News Briefs

01/17/2023

Hotel Internet Services Ensures High-speed and Reliable WiFi Connectivity for Graduate Hotels

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Front Desk of Graduate Eugene Hotel

Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, announced the implementation of advanced guest WiFi networks at several Graduate Hotels locations across the United States. With its focus on providing an enjoyable and memorable stay near several of the country’s most renowned university campuses, Graduate Hotels can now also ensure that guest demands for modern, reliable and secure internet access are always fully met.    

In catering to a guest demographic that includes alumni, students and their family members, Graduate Hotels identified providing a high quality WiFi service as a priority in maintaining high satisfaction rates. This was due to many guests seeking a stable high-performance connection for entertainment, work, study or for staying in touch with family and friends. The decision to select HIS to upgrade the networks of several Graduate Hotels properties came from the brand recognizing HIS as a leading expert in WiFi technology for the hospitality market. With its years of dedicated experience and access to the latest in network technology including advanced Ruckus access points, HIS has established an industry-wide reputation in being able to ensure strong WiFi signal coverage over a wide area that can effortlessly accommodate a multitude of guest devices. Graduate Hotels locations able to provide guests with first-rate online connectivity by partnering with HIS include: 

  • Graduate Annapolis 
  • Graduate Athens  
  • Graduate Chapel Hill
  • Graduate Cincinnati
  • Graduate Columbia
  • Graduate Eugene
  • Graduate Lincoln
  • Graduate Madison
  • Graduate Minneapolis 

“A WiFi service that can be counted on to be fast and easily accessible is one of the first and most pressing demands made by today’s hotel guests, making it essential for us to work with a provider such as HIS that can ensure we meet this expectation fully and consistently,” said Benjamin Heiland, Vice President, Hotel Technology at Graduate Hotels. “Throughout each installation at our hotels, HIS has proven that they have the knowledge, technology and support services necessary to provide for a seamless upgrade that will continue to deliver high quality experiences for virtually any type of online guest need.”      

In addition to providing Graduate Hotels with the industry’s highest standard in internet connectivity, HIS will further equip property staff and guests with access to its 24/7 support services. By making its expert representatives readily available, HIS can ensure that any network performance or troubleshooting issues are swiftly identified and addressed before satisfaction rates are negatively impacted. This includes the ability to provide assistance with setting up VPN connections, overcoming login difficulties and many other types of troubleshooting issues that can frequently arise.      

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01/17/2023

Cvent and MeetingPackage Announce Global Integration Partnership

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cvent teaser logo

Cvent and MeetingPackage, two leading travel and hospitality technology companies, announced their partnership to give Cvent customers the ability to instantly book simple and small meetings with hotels and venues that are leveraging MeetingPackage. The integration, which is expected to launch later this year, will allow Cvent Supplier Network customers to book participating MeetingPackage hotels and venues globally directly on the Cvent platform.

The partnership delivers benefits on both sides of the meeting and event sales process.

  • Event planners: the more than 90,000* planners around the world that leverage Cvent to source their group hotels and venues and manage their events, will be able to quickly book meeting space and services at any hotel or venue that leverages MeetingPackage. The integration also addresses key sourcing questions instantly without planners needing to speak with a sales representative, including: Is the room available? Does it have the services I require for my meeting? And is it in my budget?
  • Hotels and venues: MeetingPackage hotels and venues will benefit from considerably improved efficiencies and broader reach and engagement through the Cvent Supplier Network, one of the largest venue sourcing marketplaces in the world. More than $18 billion was sourced through Cvent’s sourcing networks in 2019 (pre-pandemic).
  • Through the MeetingPackage product suite, venues and hotels can manage all their meetings and event sales, offline or online, direct or indirect. The software integrates with leading operational software solutions such as Oracle Opera or Amadeus Delphi. For smaller hotels and unique venues, MeetingPackage can be used as a self-service standalone software.
  • By leveraging the Cvent and MeetingPackage integration, small or simple meetings can be automated allowing for hotel and venue sales teams to focus on tailor made proposals for the larger, more complex events.

“We’re excited to partner with Cvent and launch this global integration between our two platforms,” said Joonas Ahola, CEO and Founder of MeetingPackage. “The subject of process automation and digitization has really come to the fore as venues realize that manual processes have become unsustainable. This integration facilitates greater automation for a more seamless venue sourcing process, ultimately helping both the hotelier and event planner increase group business revenue with minimal effort.”

Jim Abramson, Cvent Vice President of Product Management commented on the partnership, “We’re thrilled to announce this integration with MeetingPackage, which benefits our mutual customers around the world. As a leader in the hospitality technology space, we’re proud to partner with leading organizations like MeetingPackage to expand our platform and enable deeper collaboration between meeting planners and hotels and venues.”

MeetingPackage software is already in use by venues in over 100 countries and it’s powering the booking journey for many well-known hotel chains such as Radisson Hotel Group, Nordic Choice Hotels, Clermont Hotel Group and Leonardo Hotels.

*As of December 31, 2021

01/17/2023

Atlanta Restaurant Goes All In with LG's CLOi ServeBot

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LG's CLOi ServeBot

At Arirang K, a beloved Korean barbeque hotspot in Johns Creek, Georgia, robots offer diners a uniquely futuristic experience and lighten the load on servers during peak business hours. Since June 2022, four “LG CLOi ServeBot” robotic assistants from LG Business Solutions USA have been assisting wait staff by accompanying them to guests’ tables while carrying multiple dishes at once.

“We’ve been serving gourmet Korean barbecue and sushi for just over three years now, and we are always looking for ways to improve the guest experience and provide better service without increasing costs,” said Miok Kim, general manager of Arirang K. “LG is one of South Korea’s most respected technology companies, so we were excited about the chance to try out their brand-new robot. Its cutting-edge sensors and programming accurately deliver food to customers and assist wait staff by reducing kitchen runs. Everybody liked the first two so much that we upgraded to four LG ServeBots to maximize service levels and guarantee that every customer gets to see the robots in action. The customer experience is also very important to us, and having the ServeBots move around the restaurant is a new and exciting experience for virtually all our customers.”

As expected, guests quickly fell in love with the friendly-looking LG ServeBots that help deliver their delicious food. Social media mentions quickly grew as patrons posted photos and videos, and staff were constantly greeted by wide-eyed guests talking about how cool it was to finally see real functional robots in their daily life.

The LG CLOi ServeBot used at Arirang K (Model LDLIM21) includes three shelves that can each hold up to 22 pounds, and they automatically follow commands to travel to specific tables or back to the kitchen, so kitchen and wait staff can load and unload food from its shelves. This cuts down on the number of times servers have to go into the kitchen, allowing them more time for attending to customers.

According to server Taylor Robinson, the ServeBots at Arirang K boost server efficiency and customer relations, in addition to generating excitement for patrons young and old alike.

“If you’ve ever been in a restaurant with Korean dishes, you know there’s often a lot of plates on the table, so I was definitely excited about using the LG ServeBots just because there’s so many things to carry,” Robinson explained. “The main dishes that come out are mostly hot and can be dangerous, so the LG ServeBots are able to help us by bringing those dishes out, and all we have to do is hand it off at the table. They take a lot off my shoulders, literally off my hands. I’m able to meet the customer at the table and hand the food off without any problems. Not to mention that customers just like seeing the robots in general, especially kids, who get really excited about them.”

Offering up to 11 hours of operation on a single charge, the LG CLOi ServeBot can be programmed for a variety of floor plans, enabling multi-point deliveries ranging from restaurants to office complexes.

"The LG CLOi ServeBot is already delivering major benefits for customers and workers at Arirang K, and it’s perfectly positioned to elevate experiences and efficiency in retail stores and hotels as well," said Jeffrey Weiland, B2B robotics team leader at LG Business Solutions USA.

As the first commercial service robot to receive UL certification for safe operation in consumer environments, the CLOi ServeBot's semi-autonomous operation offers businesses a plethora of immediate benefits, including the added attention and grassroots promotional value gained through customers’ social media sharing, Weiland explained.

According to Aaron Kim of Bravo E Tech, who introduced Arirang K to LG CLOi ServeBots, this successful implementation may well represent the future of food service.

“As a company that promotes new technologies to benefit the hospitality industry and its customers, we are always excited when we can show business owners how a new tool or product can captivate guests, encourage multiple visits and result in positive social media mentions,” Kim said. “While the owners of Arirang K weren’t sure how the robots would perform or fit in with their daily operations, they understood the value of being the first place their customers would experience a robotic wait staff assistant. After just two weeks, the first two LG ServeBots had already proved to be a hit among guests and staff, so they ordered two more. I think that speaks for itself.”

Bravo E Tech’s main business is producing and selling commercial-grade golf simulators, and its relationship with LG’s commercial display business led to conversations about how using the new LG CLOi ServeBot would fit perfectly with their business model, add a new revenue stream and help enlarge their industry reputation for injecting novel entertainment and technology experiences into restaurants.

Following the product’s initial success at Arirang K, the owners expressed great interest in using LG CLOi ServeBots in another upcoming restaurant, while Bravo E Tech plans to promote the technology to other partner businesses and may even recommend the robots for its franchisees and corporate Bravo E Tech locations.

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01/16/2023

Star Micronics Breaks into 2023 with Next-Level Solutions at NRF

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logo, company name

Star Micronics, a manufacturer of mobile, point-of-sale (POS), and customer engagement technologies, is excited to present its latest POS hardware and technology at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) 2023 conference, held in New York City from January 15th to January 17th, at the Javits Convention Center. 

NRF 2023: Retail’s Big Show is the prime opportunity for those in the retail industry to cultivate thriving and rewarding business relationships with hardware manufacturers and software solution providers.

Star has launched a variety of modern POS and self-service solutions since the last NRF conference and will be showcasing:

  • The new mC-Label3 with the faster SteadyLAN+, CloudPRNT, & brand-new TetherLAN capabilities – an optimized label and receipt printing solution that does the work of multiple printers in one.

  • Brand new high-resolution barcode scanners.

  • The latest mPOP® (mobile point-of-purchase) with direct iOS MFi connectivity; power and data transfer for all-day use.

  • The acclaimed TSP143IV in two models; the TSP143IVUE with Android Open Accessory (AOA) support and a USB/LAN dual interface, and the TSP143IVUW with USB-C and dual-band WiFi connectivity.

  • A kiosk printing solution that uses repositionable linerless label paper, the SK1-311 SK.

  • The mG-T series of POS scales: the mG-T30 & mG-T60 models; ideal for shops, grocery stores, and farmer’s markets.

  • The extensive new line of mUnite modern tablet display stands and mounts.

  • New WiFi-loving models of the popular mC-Print2 & mC-Print3 series; two thermal printing solutions from the state-of-the-art mCollection®.

  • A wide variety of popular accessories, consumables, and portable thermal printers.

Want to see Star outside of the tradeshow floor? Star hosts a Sunday night reception on January 15th, from 8 – 11 pm: Star’s Rooftop Soiree against the breathtaking NYC skyline! 

“Star Micronics has been investing in several areas to help channel partners succeed. Following our ‘Always Leading, Always Innovating’ decree, this includes diversifying and expanding our product offerings and bolstering our supply chain operations and sourcing,” said Mike Hanson, Executive Vice President of Star Micronics America. “Globally, Star has been strategic, expanding manufacturing capacity aggressively… Star is dedicated to providing our channel partners with a full solution suite.”

01/16/2023

Uber Eats, Visa Partner for Greener Restaurant Packaging

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logo, visa and uber eats

Uber and Visa announced a new program designed to support small-and medium-sized businesses in their transition to green and sustainable packaging solutions, as part of a broader year-long effort to support SMBs who use Uber Eats to grow their businesses. 

Together, the two companies will make $1 million accessible to qualifying Uber Eats restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Madrid to be used towards funding sustainable packaging solutions to help transition to a greener future, which hospitality industry research indicates is a top priority for 2023.

Uber and Visa have launched this new initiative in Davos, Switzerland, where the companies are highlighting impact from their shared 2022 Grants for Growth program that has supported US small business owners still recovering from the pandemic and other unexpected events. Merchants received microgrants of $10,000, used for payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors, upgrading payment technology infrastructure, and other immediate operational costs.

SUSTAINABILITY FOR THE PLANET

Sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. Two out of three (66%) consumers surveyed feel it’s important that restaurants are open about their practices to limit food wasteAccording to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.

"Building on the success of our shared support for small and medium-sized businesses, I'm very happy to be turning our efforts with Visa towards how we can help restaurant owners reduce packaging waste and contribute to the fight against climate change," says Pierre-Dmitri Gore-Coty, SVP and Global Head of Delivery for Uber. "Single-use packaging is used in nearly every takeout order worldwide—with Visa and our restaurant partners we can work towards reducing waste and helping small businesses thrive."

"With consumers continuing to express desires to live more sustainably, businesses across sectors have a notable opportunity to adopt more sustainable practices to meet this demand," said Douglas Sabo, Chief Sustainability Officer, Visa Inc. "Visa is excited to expand on our partnership with Uber Eats to help small businesses to not be left out of the sustainable business transformations this moment requires."

A 2022 study by the US National Restaurant Association indicates that while the transition to sustainable packaging is a priority to many restaurants, the cost—and continued supply chain issues faced by the hospitality industry—make it difficult. It's the hope of Uber Eats and Visa that this new program is a small step in a positive direction for small business owners. Details of the new partnership, including how restaurants can qualify and apply for funding will be shared here in the coming months.

In 2020, Uber made the ambitious commitment to be a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040. To learn more, visit https://www.uber.com/us/en/about/sustainability/. Visa has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, and in 2020 achieved carbon neutrality and transitioned to 100% renewable electricity across its operations. To learn more, visit https://www.visa.com/esg.

01/16/2023

PopID and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions Partner to Deliver Biometric Enabled Point-of-Sale and Self-Checkout Systems

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PopID's PopPay

PopID, a biometric fintech company, and Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, retail's first choice for unified commerce solutions, have announced a partnership to integrate PopPay into Toshiba's front-end point-of-sale and self-service solutions running its ELERA Commerce Platform. PopPay enables consumers to authenticate their identity for payment and/or loyalty using artificial intelligence-based facial verification software. Toshiba will distribute the integrated solutions to the restaurant, quick service restaurant (QSR), convenience stores (C-store), grocery and other retail segments.

One of the first fully integrated solutions will feature PopPay biometric cameras incorporated with the Toshiba Pro-X Hybrid Kiosk and will be showcased at NRF 2023 in New York, on January 15-17, 2023. Customers who opt-in can scan items using the Pro-X scanner and then tender the transaction by selecting the on-screen PopPay button to have their face scanned. PopPay then authenticates loyalty and payment without requiring a card or phone.

"Whether at restaurants, convenience stores, or in other retail segments, consumer interest in non-traditional payment methods is growing exponentially across the globe with regions previously dominated by cash leapfrogging card transactions into mobile payments," says Rance Poehler, President and CEO of Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. "Even in the U.S., where card payments showed strong acceptance, the adoption of non-traditional payments has seen an uptick. We know the market is ready with Gen Z and Millennials trending in this direction."

Younger consumers have learned from prior generations that revolving credit debt is risky therefore driving them to pay via debit, electronic funds transfer, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) because there are no interest fees. MX reports that reduced consumer confidence has many Gen Z respondents supporting the growing interest in mobile payments. The same report cites that most respondents (73%) have connected mobile payment apps to their financial accounts. In addition to their aversion to credit, Millennials and Gen Z also seek more convenience in their retail interactions. The Food Industry Association reports that 53% of Gen Z and 55% of millennial shoppers want greater convenience in their future grocery shopping experience.

"With nearly a quarter of America's consumer spending running through Toshiba's point-of-sale solutions, Toshiba is the largest retail-focused solutions company in the U.S. and globally," said John Miller, CEO of PopID and Chairman of the investment company, Cali Group. "This partnership will enable Toshiba's customers to use our technology to increase revenue, drive loyalty engagement, improve operations, and lower costs while enhancing the overall customer experience."

"We are excited to partner with PopID to deliver speed, ease of use, and convenience to retailers and their shoppers," continued Poehler. "We look forward to implementing PopPay in new industries to meet growing demand across retail segments."

ELERA and its suite of solutions help free retailers from legacy technology constraints. With more control over store operations, retailers can enhance efficiency and productivity at scale. Integration of PopPay for automatic payments offers the retailer offers numerous benefits like faster transactions, higher throughput, reduced stress at checkout for the shopper leading to larger ticket size, increased loyalty participation driven by automation, and lower payment processing fees when integrated into point-of-sale systems, self-ordering kiosks, and drive-thru systems at QSR chains.