News Briefs


Interplay Learning Announces the Release of Hotel Maintenance Training Designed to Help Hotel Brands & Management Companies Train and Upskill Hotel Building Engineers

logo, interplay learning

Interplay Learning, a provider of online and virtual reality training for the essential skilled trades announced the release of its highly anticipated Hospitality catalog which helps hotel brands and hospitality management companies save time and money by streamlining operations and empowering them to deliver an exceptional guest experience across all properties.

With a growing catalog of expert-led training and hands-on 3D simulations in HVAC, plumbing, facilities maintenance, electrical, and workplace safety, Interplay Learning's Hospitality training gives building engineering leaders the flexibility to deliver a hands-on experience for skills training - anytime, anywhere, on any device including VR. With Interplay, teams can practice in a safe, risk-free environment and gain the critical knowledge necessary to get the job done right the first time.

Interplay's Hospitality catalog is packed with instructional courses and hands-on simulations that walk through scenarios for Custom Air Handling Unit Preventive & Service Maintenance, Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC) Maintenance, Plumbing Fixtures Installation as well as safety courses like Ladder and Fall Safety and Fire Prevention and Safety. What's more, Interplay applies the science behind how people learn best, equipping building engineers with both the knowledge and cognitive skills they need to become masters in preventive and seasonal maintenance.

"The skilled labor shortage is a problem that will only continue to grow - especially when it comes to hotel and facilities maintenance," said Doug Donovan, CEO of Interplay Learning. "When it comes to recruiting and retaining talent, Interplay's Hospitality catalog gives hotel brands and management companies a competitive edge - offering greater flexibility to build and upskill a high-performing team of building engineers. Our solution is comprehensive, scalable, and can be customized to fit the needs of an entire hotel maintenance team, helping managers save time and money by streamlining their training operations."

Interplay makes it easy for hotel brands and management companies to administer and manage their training program through one simple platform, giving them the resources they need to gain a clear understanding of the field-readiness of their staff. Managers are also able to utilize curated learning paths so building engineers are learning the right skills, in the right order, ultimately creating a career laddering program designed to improve engagement and reduce turnover. By offering a one-stop-shop for effective, efficient, and affordable skilled trades training, managers will be able to attract and retain the next generation of hotel building engineers.


Relay Robotics Adds Senior Product Leadership

logo, company name

Relay Robotics, Inc. a supplier of service robots to the hospitality, healthcare, and real estate industries, announced the addition of three key executives to its Product team. Matt Townsend joins as Vice President, Software Engineering; Eric Nguyen joins as Vice President, Product Management; and Jason Hu joins as Senior Designer.

"We're excited to add Matt, Eric, and Jason to our Product team just as we're experiencing rapid growth and interest from some of the largest customers in hospitality, healthcare and corporate locations," said Michael O'Donnell, Relay Robotics Chairman & CEO. "Their 50 plus years of collective experience designing and building award-winning software and hardware products will enhance our strong team and bring new levels of innovation and speed to market."

Before Relay, Matt Townsend held senior roles at Aspiration (VP, Engineering), Kollective Technology (VP, Engineering), Amazon (Software Development Manager, Amazon Lab126), Visual Concepts (Senior Lead Software Engineer) and Motorola (Software Engineer, Intern).

“Matt’s proven ability to grow and manage world-class engineering teams will help us meet the next set of challenges as we scale the business,” said Steve Cousins, Relay Robotics Founder & Chief Technology Officer.

Eric Nguyen brings 25 years of product management and operations experience from senior positions at Kollective Technology (Chief Product Officer), Jama Software (Vice President of Marketing and Sales Development), and Admax Network (Director of Products and Operations).

“Eric’s extensive experience designing and building award-winning software and hardware products will enhance our team and push us to new levels of innovation and customer satisfaction,” said O’Donnell.

Jason Hu brings years of industrial design and user experience work to bear on the unique challenges of fielding robots that work directly with the general public. At the Academy of Art in San Francisco he studied, among other things, Human Robot Interaction design, and has been working with Relay Robotics for years as a consultant.

“We are extremely happy to have Jason full-time on the team as we enter this new phase of Relay Robotics history. He has the background we need to continue Relay’s leadership in designing robots that continually delight people and support our clients in the service industry,” said Cousins.


SOCi's New Feature Offers Geographical View of Keyword Rankings

Google ads

Marketing platform SOCi Inc. released an enhancement to the platform’s Listings solution, SOCi GeoRank. SOCi GeoRank gives brands a complete picture of their local search performance through an easily consumable, visual map display of how a brand’s locations are ranking against top local competitors at the hyper-local or block level.

Rankings Matter

With one out of every two consumer searches now having local intent, how often a brand appears in Google's top three local search results is more important than ever, especially considering that 78% of local searches result in an offline conversion. 

“Multi-location brands need to be able to monitor how well their locations rank in local search results to create a successful localized SEO strategy. Securing a top ranking for your business locations not only requires good SEO know-how and persistence, but a sophisticated toolset as well,” said Alo Sarv, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, SOCi. “SOCi GeoRank provides multi-location businesses a scalable way to not just check, but keep track of their local business rankings through the ability to see ranking averages and changes over time by target keyword at the hyper-local, group, or corporate level.” 

With SOCi GeoRank, multi-location marketers can dive deeper into ranking insights to see competitors’ total reviews, average review scores, and Google Business Profile categories to further investigate how to make informed SEO decisions. To assist in making and acting on these decisions, SOCi provides professional services.


PreciTaste Launches Line of Plug-and-Play Products

PreciHub tech solution

PreciTaste, a provider of smart software automation for restaurant operations management, is launching a line of off-the-shelf products that support the crew: Prep AssistantPlanner Assistant, and Station Assistant.

PreciHub is the central platform that houses and delivers PreciTaste's restaurant solutions, providing clear visibility for managers to better direct individual crew members and precise guidance for crews to streamline their daily tasks. The Prep Assistant uses information from each operation to predict demand and then accurately guides crews on how much to prep per day. The Planner Assistant uses quantity forecasts to produce an automated production schedule to guide crews to make the right quantity at the right time. 

As more data is collected, PreciHub can evolve into a complete Vision AI cooking system, the Station Assistant, which uses demand prediction, inventory sensing, and deep learning recommendations to provide constant guidance to crews at each food station.

With nearly 2,000 food AI systems deployed in some of the largest food chains over the past two years, PreciTaste is a proven platform that now expands its restaurant operations management solutions to a breadth of food services, ranging in different sizes, offerings, and operational needs.


Jack in the Box Taps Advanced Location Intelligence

handshake partnership

Jack in the Box and SiteZeus, an A.I.-powered location intelligence platform, recently announced a partnership designed to bring technology to the restaurant brand's site-selection and market-analysis process.

Data-Driven Decisions

The partnership came from SiteZeus' comprehensive solutions suite and Jack in the Box's need for a more robust market-planning tool. With data, real-time insights, white-space analysis, sales forecasting, and more, SiteZeus will support the brand's approach to portfolio expansion and optimization.

"The key selling points for us were the speed with which SiteZeus was able to create and validate a model and the ability to update that model as often as we'd like," says Jason Scarbrough, Lead Financial Analyst at Jack in the Box.

Jack in the Box sees an opportunity to expand its footprint by strategically entering new markets and pursuing infill growth in core markets. The brand's real estate team is implementing SiteZeus' white-space analysis solution to identify areas across the country where consumers are most likely to visit a Jack in the Box restaurant.

"SiteZeus' white-space analysis will help us prioritize growth opportunities and quickly enable us to guide franchisees toward the best opportunities," says Tim Linderman, SVP, Chief Development Officer.

The Accuracy of A.I.

The team is also using the software's data modeling to better understand the factors driving each store's success and develop regional strategies. The platform's sales forecasts have helped the brand quickly pinpoint promising sites to outpace competitors in the fight for prime real estate.

"SiteZeus allows us to focus on strategic growth in new and existing markets by harnessing all the power that A.I has to offer," says Linderman.

About SiteZeus

SiteZeus is a location intelligence company using fast, accurate predictive models to help emerging and established multi-unit brands enhance their market planning. Companies across multiple industries utilize the platform to confidently expand and optimize their portfolios for maximum revenue.


Digital Tip Platform Raises $4M

person giving a tip to a hotel employee via digital app

Grazzy, a next-gen employee payments platform, announces $4.25MM in Seed funding from Next Coast Ventures and Tuesday Capital to fuel the rapid expansion and growth of its digital tipping, same-day pay, and better, more inclusive banking capabilities. The completion of the Seed round brings Grazzy's total Seed funding to $6.8MM.

Grazzy helps hotels, bars, restaurants and more improve employee retention and recruiting by increasing wages, unlocking instant access to same-day earnings, and offering more inclusive financial wellness for hourly employees. By putting employee satisfaction at the center of the experience, Grazzy creates happier employees who stay in their roles longer and provide better guest experiences.

BWH Hotel Group Partners with eTip and Visa to Offer Digital Tipping in the U.S. and Canada

The Grazzy platform offers the modern familiarity of a P2P payments experience that guests love, but with the enterprise-level branding, compliance and reporting that's required to successfully deliver ROI at scale.

  • Digital tipping: Guests utilize QR codes to instantly tip staff in less than 10 seconds, with no app required. The guest interface is property-branded and can also be integrated with any existing guest applications. 
  • Same Day Pay: The flexible platform offers multiple payout options for tips, including Grazzy Direct, which allows staff to access their tips instantly. Same day access to earnings provides a powerful competitive advantage for businesses to both keep and recruit hourly employees.
  • Low fees
  • Built for operational scale: Businesses can meet tax compliance, and measure effective wage increases, retention improvement, and overall guest satisfaction all on a single screen.

Today, several of the world's biggest and most beloved hotel brands are leveraging the Grazzy platform to enable digital tipping, same-day pay, and in-the-moment positive feedback for their team members. Grazzy offers these customers digital tipping enablement at no cost and low fees.

This latest infusion of capital will be used to accelerate growth across large hotel brands and operating groups, restaurant groups, and salons looking for modern ways to improve the employee experience, while reducing costs. Additionally, this funding will support the continuation of seamless integrations between the Grazzy platform and the major systems (PMS, HMA, and POS) that most hospitality and service businesses rely on to run their operations.