News Briefs

01/18/2023

Optii Solutions Launches Data Analytics Team to Double Down on Advanced Predictive Technology

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Optii Solutions, the leading cloud-based hotel operations software, announced today an increased investment and focus on advanced technologies and analytics, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

By creating a formal data analytics team, Optii Solutions will ensure that its use of these advanced technologies will continue to play a key role in its product development strategy going forward. After extensive conversations with customers over the last 12 months, it is clear that AI and ML are central to the increases in operational performances at Optii customer hotels. It’s also one of the main drivers of differentiation for the company in a field of static task management systems it competes against.

Dino Pietropaolo, Chief Technology Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “When we look at our competitors, it is clear that hotel operations technology based on digitizing traditional ways of working has reached a point of diminishing returns. We see the rate of performance improvements fall off a cliff just a few months after implementation with these solutions. While AI and ML has been a part of Optii’s approach, we have an exciting runway in how we leverage these technologies. Soon, Optii will be able to make an impressive set of decisions and predictions that can make operations the most advanced part of the hotel. And it will never stop learning.”

Hotel operations have been traditionally labor intensive, and while this will never go away, those in operations positions at hotels will soon have access to tools that will dramatically change the operational decision-making process.

Katherine Grass, Chief Executive Officer, Optii Solutions, said: “The micro and macro challenges facing the hospitality industry are real, and it’s our job as technologists to put our best foot forward and help solve these challenges. In this case, we recognize that the use of advanced technologies is optimial and Optii’s strength. The efficiency and productivity gains Optii customers are seeing today are really just the beginning. With the use of Optii, I foresee hotel operations leaders pushing the boundaries in new ways, and their roles within their respective organizations being elevated. Their level of impact on the business as well as guest experience will reach new heights.“

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01/18/2023

Carnival Corporation Expands Next-Generation Wi-Fi Connectivity with SpaceX’s Starlink

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Carnival Corporation & plc announced an agreement for the next-generation of internet connectivity across its global fleet, the latest in a series of moves that have nearly tripled ship bandwidth since 2019. The company has signed a new agreement with SpaceX’s Starlink, the leader in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology, to provide faster service, greater capacity and more reliable Wi-Fi on a global scale.

Fleet roll-out of Starlink began in December 2022 with Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises ships, with plans to expand Starlink to several of the company’s other world-class cruise brands, which include Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.

Rivaling on-land connectivity experiences, Starlink greatly advances Carnival Corporation’s focus on providing the best available Wi-Fi experience for its guests to stay connected while on vacation, including sharing photos and videos, streaming movies and live sporting events, and enjoying other content onboard with a reliable connection at even faster speeds.

“For many of our guests, it has become more and more important to maintain the type of connectivity at sea that they’ve become accustomed to at home, and of course to share the unforgettable experiences of their cruise with friends and family,” said Josh Weinstein, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We are in the business of delivering happiness, and Starlink makes it as easy as possible for our guests to share all their great moments and memories, giving them even more joy out of their cruise vacation.”

According to Weinstein, “The added bandwidth will give the brands the capabilities and flexibility to introduce new guest services and features, as well as help boost operational functions like onboard equipment monitoring and real-time communications between ship and shore teams. And importantly, adding Starlink’s innovative technology to the company’s existing connectivity platform will also help our amazing crew stay in touch with friends and loved ones.”

“High-speed, low-latency broadband internet is critical in our modern age, and we’re excited to provide Carnival Cruise Line and AIDA’s guests an internet experience that makes their travel even more enjoyable,” said Jonathan Hofeller, vice president of Starlink sales for SpaceX. “In even the most remote waters, guests onboard Carnival Corporation ships will be able to share real-time updates with friends and family.”

Starlink agreement advances Carnival Corporation’s connectivity leadership strategy

Starlink joins a growing portfolio of world-class communications service, satellite and other technology providers that make up Carnival Corporation’s industry-leading, fleetwide connectivity ecosystem. As a global cruise company with nearly 100 ships visiting over 700 ports worldwide, Carnival Corporation’s innovative, multi-provider connectivity framework is designed to strategically route internet traffic to optimize network speeds across its fleet anywhere in the world.

01/18/2023

Deliverect, MarginEdge Joins Toast Partner Ecosystem

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MarginEdge

Deliverect and MarginEdge have joined the Toast  Partner Ecosystem. The MarginEdge integration will allow Toast restaurants to have another direct connection for daily sales and labor data and product mix information while the  Deliverect integration allows a restaurant to integrate all online orders to the POS.  

MarginEdge restaurant management system automates tedious processes, connecting Toast to a restaurant's accounting system and helps to streamline key activities like inventory, bill pay and ordering. This integration will allow restaurant owners and operators to streamline processes and reduce the time it takes to complete their back-office paperwork. This allows them to make immediate data-driven decisions to optimize their bottom line.

Tighter integrations with other operating systems is driving 46% of restaurants’ POS upgrades, according to HT's 2022 POS Software Trends report

Deliverect removes the need to manually rekey orders from various channels, so businesses can increase operational efficiency, save time and money, and ramp up customer satisfaction. 

Toast is a cloud-based, all-in-one digital technology platform purpose-built for the entire restaurant community. It works with integration partners in its Toast Partner Ecosystem, a curated portfolio of more than 180 partners who deliver specialized technology and services to help restaurant operators increase sales, engage guests and keep employees happy.

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01/18/2023

How Big Boy Improves Cost, Efficiency

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Big Boy restaurant mascot

American restaurant brand Big Boy Restaurant Group LLC has partnered with Oracle to modernize its systems. With MICROS Simphony Cloud Point of Sale (POS) and Oracle Payment Cloud Service, the chain will be able to streamline its ordering and payment processing across the entire system, while also better using data to manage inventory and new opportunities such as ghost kitchens. 

"As our brand continues to evolve, we needed an enterprise-grade solution that could meet our changing demands and become our forever POS," said Matthew Gilmour, Director of Information Technology at Big Boy Restaurant Group, LLC. "For us, one of the key benefits of Oracle Payment Cloud is its ability to help reduce credit card processing rates. By leveraging the latest technologies and industry-leading security measures, Oracle Payment Cloud enables us to process transactions more efficiently and securely, which will ultimately lead to lower fees and increased savings. Oracle made the entire process from sales to implementation a seamless and effortless experience."

64% of restaurants surveyed say enabling new payment options are drivers impacting POS upgrades decisions in 2022, according to HT's 2022 POS Software Trends report

Home to the original Big Boy Burger, Slim Jim, and its Classic Blockbuster Breakfast, Big Boy has been a mainstay in American history since 1936.

With Oracle, the brand will be able to continue to modernize its operations and customer service while preparing for the future. For example, Big Boy plans to leverage the comprehensive analytics and reporting and mobile order entry, table management, smart cash, and real-time inventory management capabilities in Oracle's restaurant commerce platform to increase efficiency across it business and reduce waste. And with the addition of Payment Cloud Service, the brand can offer diners a range of order and payment options, including contactless and mobile, at a fraction of the costs of traditional payment processing. Combined, these capabilities make for a more efficient, flexible, and convenient guest experience, increasing customer and staff satisfaction levels across Big Boy's restaurant footprint.

Big Boy's also plans to leverage the platform's open API and partner integrations to support its delivery and marketing efforts. By leveraging these solutions, Big Boy can increase sales by effectively promoting its brand and offerings, as well as simplify the third-party ordering and fulfillment process across delivery services such as DoorDash and GrubHub. Future integration plans include considering drive-thru, self-checkout kiosks, and QR code ordering. Oracle's kitchen displays with priority ordering not only streamline operations for Big Boy's ghost kitchens, but also provide a valuable revenue boost by enabling efficient fulfillment of orders for multiple brands.

01/17/2023

Starbucks to Deliver Nationwide

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Starbucks Coffee Company and DoorDash Inc. announced the expansion of their partnership with new delivery service launching today in Northern California, Texas, Georgia, Florida and other select markets. Starbucks delivery with DoorDash will expand to additional markets over the coming months, with full nationwide availability anticipated in all 50 states by March 2023.   

This expansion follows on the heels of positive feedback from a successful pilot in Atlanta, Houston, and Sacramento, and additional market expansion in Seattle, Portland and New York City last year. Through the partnership and as the largest local commerce platform in the country, DoorDash provides a delivery platform to enable increased, convenient access to Starbucks nationwide.  

Starbucks Reveals Roadmap for Reinvention

“As customer behaviors evolve, we continue to innovate the Starbucks Experience to connect with them through meaningful and valuable digital experiences.   Our partnership with DoorDash allows us to provide our customers with another convenient way to enjoy Starbucks wherever they are, said Brooke O’Berry, Starbucks senior vice president of digital experiences. “Delivery continues to represent a significant growth opportunity for Starbucks, and we’re excited to reach more customers by partnering with DoorDash, a company known for their best in-class service.”  

“Our partnership with Starbucks connects even more neighborhoods across the United States with their favorite beverages and bites,” said Sanjay Kotte, DoorDash head of strategic partnerships. “When you combine the exceptional quality of Starbucks handcrafted beverages and food with the logistics power and geographic scale of DoorDash, the result is extraordinary for coffee lovers nationwide.” 

Convenience for Customers   

In the U.S., customers will be able to access Starbucks delivery via DoorDash on iOS and Android devices, in addition to DoorDash.com. Key features of the delivery program include:  

New Packaging Solutions: Starbucks has developed packaging solutions to help ensure the quality of hot and cold menu items including stickers for beverages to avoid spilling, tamper-evident packaging, and delivery-specific cup holders. 

Customization: Starbucks will offer approximately 95% of its core menu items on DoorDash, and just as they would at Starbucks, customers can customize their orders within the DoorDash app.

72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z adults say purchasing takeout or delivery is now essential to the way they live.

DashPass, DoorDash’s monthly membership program, provides customers ordering from Starbucks on DoorDash with $0 delivery fees and the lowest service fees available on each order of $12 or more. Standard delivery and service fees apply to all other orders. 

01/17/2023

The Water Tower Inn Upgrades to the Latest in RFID Security Access Technology by ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions

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The Water Tower Inn

ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions, a provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, announced a successful upgrade of its VingCard Classic door locks at The Water Tower Inn to VingCard Classic RFID. A member of the Best Western Premier Collection and benefitting from the technology expertise of ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions for approximately 20 years, The Water Tower Inn with its recent lock upgrade can now ensure enhanced guest peace of mind and the ability to keep pace with evolving security solution trends.  

By upgrading to VingCard Classic RFID, the property is notably able to eliminate keycard demagnetization issues that result in guest frustration and additional work for hotel staff. Switching to RFID-supported VingCard locks also significantly boosts hotel guest and staff safety by minimizing the risk of keycard cloning. Utilizing advanced data encryption protocols, VingCard Classic RFID ensures that only those with hotel authorization can ever gain access to a room. Should a security access related issue ever arise, staff at The Water Tower Inn can instantly review an event log in order to determine who entered a specific onsite area and at what time.  

“ASSA ABLOY Global Solutions has always proven to be professional, responsive and ahead of the latest hotel security needs, so working with them again to update our property’s security capabilities was a simple decision to make,” said Beverley Barber, Assistant General Manager at The Water Tower Inn. “Both the installation and training provided was painless and straightforward, and we are now fully confident in our ability to provide our guests with a stay experience that is always completely safe and stress-free.” 

Supported at the hotel by the Visionline access management system, VingCard Classic RFID can simultaneously maximize property security and efficiency while still ensuring a convenient and seamless experience for authorized guests. For example, guests can use the same keycard or a key wristband to access the hotel swimming pool or gym during designated hours. For hotel staff and visiting vendors, the property can instantly grant access to specific areas for a predetermined time period, ensuring that necessary tasks can still be completed while preventing any potential lapses in hotel safety. 

Another benefit now available to The Water Tower Inn is VingCard Classic RFID’s future-proof upgradability to Mobile Access. If and when property leadership identifies interest from guests for the feature, no replacement of existing lock hardware is required in order to activate Mobile Access. With just the addition of a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) reader, VingCard Classic RFID can offer guests the enhanced convenience of being able to use personal devices as a secure digital room key.