News Briefs

01/24/2023

IHG Hotels & Resorts Donates $500,000 to AHLA Foundation Human Trafficking Survivor Fund

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No Room for Trafficking logo

The AHLA Foundation today announced a $500,000 donation from IHG Hotels & Resorts to support the No Room for Trafficking (NRFT) Survivor Fund as part of the hotel industry’s longstanding, united commitment to combat human trafficking.

With this donation, the Survivor Fund will build upon the industry’s ongoing commitment and work to end human trafficking and support the economic stability of human trafficking survivors. By funding community-based organizations, the NRFT Survivor Fund supports survivors’ immediate needs and long-term stability that will empower and equip survivors and their families to help prevent revictimization, including but not limited to emergency housing and career development support.

“IHG Hotels & Resorts is committed to eradicating human trafficking, and this support of the NRFT Survivor Fund underscores our long-standing effort to condemn this exploitation and help survivors,” said Elie Maalouf, CEO, Americas, IHG Hotels & Resorts. “The fund will play a crucial role in providing survivors with the support they need for future stability and success. Recognizing that our industry has a unique opportunity to fight human trafficking collectively, we proudly join our peers and AHLA Foundation in continuing to make impactful change.”

“With every donation we are able to further honor our mission to combatting human trafficking and supporting survivors,” said Anna Blue, president of the AHLA Foundation. “I am proud of our industry’s united efforts against human trafficking and extremely grateful for the generous donation by IHG Hotels & Resorts. These continued partnerships and investments are the very reason why NRFT and our Survivor Fund will continue to positively impact lives.”

Since its inception, the NRFT Survivor Fund has raised $2.5 million with contributions from Extended Stay America, G6 Hospitality, Hilton Global Foundation, Hyatt Hotels Foundation and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. The No Room for Trafficking program continues to build upon the hotel and lodging industry’s longstanding commitment to combat human trafficking by uniting the industry around collective anti-trafficking efforts that meet the needs of today’s hospitality employers, employees, and the communities they serve.

Learn more about NRFT here.

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01/24/2023

ROOMNET Launches Hotel Technology Innovation Lab in Oxfordshire, England

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logo, Roomnet Innovation Lab

ROOMNET, a provider of hotel technology solutions, announced the launch of its new innovation lab in Oxfordshire, England. The lab is dedicated to testing and integrating cutting-edge technology that will shape the hotels of the future.

Darren King, CEO of ROOMNET commented “There are many diverse technologies used in a hotel and all too often the decisions are made in isolation, without always considering or understanding the impact and compatibility with the other platforms being installed. A hotel doesn’t really know how solution A works with solution B,C,D,E etc until installation has been completed, when frankly it’s too late to turn back! Consequently, it’s rare that any hotel will ever experience 100% or even 75% of what it might have anticipated.”

The lab has been set up with a fully redundant Juniper Network as the core foundation for supporting the various technologies that will be imposed upon it. Lots of space, data & power has been provided to accept all kinds of systems – GRMS, BMS, PMS, POS, Energy management, IoT etc.

"We are excited to introduce this new testing & development facility, which will allow us to stay at the forefront of the rapidly-evolving hotel technology industry," said Darren King CEO of ROOMNET. "Our team of experts will be working tirelessly to identify and evaluate the latest trends and advancements in the industry, with a focus on identifying solutions that will have the greatest positive impact on the guest experience and provide efficiency gains for the hotel.”

ROOMNET is well known for innovating in the TV & WiFi space and is committed to providing innovative technology that enhances the guest experience, whilst also improving the efficiency of hotel operations. This new innovation lab in Oxfordshire, England is the latest step in that ongoing commitment.

The ROOMNET innovation lab is now open for collaboration and partnerships with hotels and/or hotel technology companies that are interested in creating hotels of the future.

01/24/2023

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

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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.

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01/24/2023

Relay Robotics Adds Senior Product Leadership

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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.

01/24/2023

SOCi's New Feature Offers Geographical View of Keyword Rankings

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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.

01/24/2023

PreciTaste Launches Line of Plug-and-Play Products

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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.