News Briefs

01/17/2023

Starbucks to Deliver Nationwide

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Starbucks coffee drinks red DoorDash bag

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. 

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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. 

01/17/2023

Accor Appoints Omer Acar as CEO Raffles & Orient Express

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Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express

Accor announced that Omer Acar has been appointed as CEO Raffles & Orient Express. His appointment will be effective March 1st, 2023.

An eminent specialist in luxury hospitality, Omer is a respected leader with high standards and an in-depth knowledge of the world of luxury. He will be bringing to Accor his strong expertise as well as his overall passion for brands and will help Raffles and Orient Express shine ever brighter around the world and further expand.

Omer will be based in New York. He will be reporting directly to Sébastien Bazin on the Luxury & Lifestyle Executive Committee and will work closely alongside the other brand CEOs of the division. To enhance the Group’s reach and recognition in the United States, Omer will also assume responsibility for representing Accor on the North American market.

Omer Acar holds degrees from Hotel Institute Montreux and Hawaii Pacific University, and a certificate from Cornell University. He started his career at Four Seasons in various operational positions at several hotels in the United States and Egypt. He moved to Harrods in England as Group Director of Food & Beverage in 2005, was appointed General Manager of the Ritz in Paris in 2006, then moved to Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris in the same capacity in 2011. He joined Katara Hospitality in 2014 as Managing Director for Europe and the Americas, where he supervised 18 hotels including The Plaza in New York, Peninsula in Paris, Carlton in Cannes, Excelsior in Rome, Grosvenor House and The Savoy in London.

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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.      

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.