News Briefs

03/22/2023

World Cinema and ServiceNow Announce Collaboration

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World Cinema, a trusted provider of video, advanced connectivity and professional services to guest-centric properties worldwide, announced a collaboration with ServiceNow to deliver seamless customer experiences through automation, digital workflows, and unprecedented transparency. World Cinema will use ServiceNow to consolidate customer service inquiries onto a single platform for clear and consistent communication and fast time to resolution, while reducing costs.

“We are excited to work with ServiceNow to transform the customer experience,” said Robert Grosz, President at World Cinema. “Today more than ever, experiences are going to be remembered, and we are building a new category to create a unique platform for deploying and supporting all technology for guest-centric property owners. We are focused on staging experiences and delivering that experience every time, no exceptions.”

World Cinema will use ServiceNow Customer Service Management (CSM) and Field Service Management (FSM) to quickly respond to customer inquiries, such as WiFi connectivity issues at a hotel. ServiceNow will help streamline operations for customer service agents, field technicians, and customers, enable self-service across channels and empower agents with real-time information and intelligence. FSM will help ensure that when a technician is required on-site, the right person with the right certifications, tools, and resources required for installations, repairs, and maintenance, is sent to complete the job.

“World Cinema’s mission to deliver exceptional technology and service experiences to hotels worldwide aligns with ServiceNow’s commitment to simplify complex processes and connect people and systems on a single platform,” said John Ball, senior vice president and general manager, customer and industry workflows at ServiceNow. “Together, we will enable hotels to streamline their customer service operations, resolve issues quickly, and ultimately provide the connected and frictionless experiences that guests expect and deserve.”

World Cinema’s investment in transforming service reflects the company’s bold mission to be “of service” to empower technology solutions at every guest-centric property in the world. Through this journey, systems will be aligned to automate requests, proactively address issues, and deliver effortless experiences.

Technology and connectivity is a pervasive foundational component for today’s guest-centric environments. The complexities of the ever-changing, but commoditized, universe of property technologies must be simplified through well executed collaboration. Establishing omni-channel communications to provide transformational customer service and improved customer self-help tools will re-define what it means to be a critical solutions provider to these properties, allowing the delivery of a premium experience that property operators and owners covet. To learn more about World Cinema, visit www.wcitv.com.

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03/21/2023

Cendyn Adds CRM Analytics Reporting Feature to eInsight CRM

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Cendyn, a catalyst for digital transformation in the hospitality industry, is thrilled to announce the launch of CRM Analytics, a new reporting feature for Cendyn’s eInsight CRM. This innovative enhancement is designed to drive effective and impactful decision making for hoteliers at scale.

With the addition of CRM Analytics, eInsight CRM has simplified the process of transforming hotel organizations’ marketing data into actionable insights to help drive revenue, engagement, and direct channel share. By combining industry-leading business intelligence capabilities with CRM data, CRM Analytics delivers critical, transformational business insights in seconds. It enables decision-makers and hotel managers to track and visualize their KPIs and analyze hotel marketing data to get the deepest view of their campaign, sales, and customer data across all channels.

“CRM Analytics delivers a deep understanding of business-critical marketing data that empowers hotels to gain impactful, actionable intelligence about the interactions with each property’s unique brand and customer needs,” said Michael Bennett, President & Chief Marketing Officer at Cendyn. “This is just the latest enhancement in our ongoing mission to keep eInsight CRM at best-of-class level for our customers around the globe.” 

For more information, click here.

03/21/2023

UK-Based Serco Leisure Chooses Agilysys Property Management System and Point-of-sale Solutions to Optimise Customer Experience and Deliver High Return Hospitality

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Customer-centricity is at the heart of High Return Hospitality. Resort and leisure activity customers expect experiences that go above and beyond the norm to keep them returning for more.

In fact, Gallup reports that fully engaged customers — those who are 23% more likely to spend at a facility — expect property employees to know more than just their name. They crave easy-to-book rooms and activities, simple ordering and payment solutions and more emotional connections.

To create guest and staff champions at every touchpoint, from booking to re-engagement to referral, UK-based Serco Leisure Operating Limited has selected a suite of intuitive, integrable solutions from the Agilysys Hospitality Cloud™. Agilysys, Inc. is a global provider of next-generation SaaS hospitality software solutions and services that will empower Serco Leisure to optimise Return on Experience (ROE) for guests and staff so they can achieve High Return Hospitality. ROE measures how technology creates more engaged and empowered staff members as well as guests that return more often, spend more, and leave stronger reviews.

Serco Leisure is one of the UK’s leading national operators of leisure centres, destination venues, and elite sporting facilities. Founded in 1988, it is part of Serco’s UK Citizen Services business unit, which has 6,000-plus employees. Serco Leisure provides leisure services on behalf of Community Leisure Trusts, local authorities like Nottinghamshire County Council and the Wheelpower Trust, and Sport England. The organisation provides world-class facilities for elite athletes, supporting them with resources to help in their pursuit of becoming part of Olympic teams and/or perfecting their sport. The leisure properties are also open for use by the general public.

Agilysys will provide hospitality solutions that range from a cloud-based property management system (PMS) to a booking system to a sales and catering solution for Serco Leisure’s current 550-bed estate, which includes:

  • Holme Pierrepont Country Park, home of the UK’s National Water Sports Centre and base for amateur and world-class athletes in a variety of sports set on 270 acres.
  • Stoke Mandeville Stadium, known worldwide as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. It boasts on-site accommodations and catering, an air-conditioned gym, a 25-meter swimming pool, an outdoor track, floodlit tennis courts and more.
  • Lilleshall National Sports Centre and Lilleshall House & Gardens, the former of which is one of the UK’s National Sports facilities for elite and community sports and the latter of which is a stunning 19th-century stately home and an idyllic venue for weddings, events and private parties.
  • Bisham Abbey, which provides similar services as Lilleshall, plus accommodations, and was once home to Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The historic property sits on the borders of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Serco Leisure is investing in Agilysys’ intuitive and easy-to-use PMS and its latest modern point-of-sale (POS) system, which combines highly interactive terminal and tablet touchscreen applications supporting Windows, Android and iOS devices and includes strong information security for data protection. Its robust reporting and analysis features, extensive enterprise-grade menu and item configuration capabilities and multi-language support help drive service flexibility and increase operational efficiency. The company expects to scale up the cloud-based technology in other divisions in North America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, as well as the larger corporate organisation that includes Serco UL and Europe PLC.

Additionally, Serco Leisure will also adopt and implement three hospitality solutions from the Agilysys Experience Enhancers Collection:

  • a commission-free booking experience that encourages upselling unlimited amenities, such as room upgrades, and activity appointments — as part of an integrated itinerary that makes it easy for each customer to see and manage their trip details.
  • an Activities booking system for experiences that enhance revenue per guest while creating loyal enthusiasts.
  • a comprehensive sales and event management solution enabling an intelligent view of every group, event and attendee to optimise outcomes.

“Our previous system provided a less-than-ideal experience for customers and staff. Also, it did not integrate with other applications or provide proper reporting functionality,” said Steve Nelson, Operations Director of Serco Leisure’s National Sports Centres. “With Agilysys solutions, we’ll be able to deliver a more personalised service for our diverse range of customers, which includes Olympic and Paralympic athletes as well as members of the public. We’re looking forward to working with Agilysys, which will allow us to provide an end-to-end customer journey in a secure environment.”

“Serco Leisure understands the need to modernise its hospitality solutions to be the best in the market,” said Ben Curtis, Managing Director – EMEA for Agilysys. “We are grateful to help the company improve its offerings, which will attract more guests, customers and employees, enabling the company to maximise guest and staff experience and ultimately increase revenue.  

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03/20/2023

Laxman Narasimhan Takes Over as Starbucks CEO

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Effective today, Laxman Narasimhan has assumed the role of chief executive officer of Starbucks and will join the company’s board of directors.

Narasimhan was named incoming CEO on September 1, succeeding company founder and now former CEO Howard Schultz.

Starbucks Reveals Roadmap for Reinvention

Narasimhan joined the company as incoming ceo on October 1, 2022, bringing nearly 30 years of experience leading global consumer goods businesses and advising retail, grocery, restaurant and e-commerce companies. Over the past five months, he has embarked on a unique immersion experience, traveling to work with partners (employees) in over 30 stores, manufacturing plants and in support centers around the world, earning his barista certification along the way. He became immersed in the reinvention plans for the company led by Schultz who returned as interim ceo effective April 4, 2022.

Since Schultz returned last year, Starbucks unveiled a company-wide reinvention strategy and continued to deliver on more than $1 billion in investments in retail partners and stores for prioritized areas such as increased pay and sick time accrual, new financial well-being benefits, modernized training and collaboration, store innovation and equipment and the celebration of coffee. 

Schultz shared a letter to the company’s senior leadership team on the eve of the announcement – viewable here.

Narasimhan will lead Starbucks Annual Shareholder Meeting this Thursday, March 23.

03/20/2023

Operto Guest Technologies Raises US$25 Million in Series-B Financing, Led By Centana Growth Partners

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Operto Guest Technologies, a provider of automated solutions for 50 million-plus rooms in the global hospitality industry, announced that it secured US$25 million in a Series-B financing round. The financing was led by Centana Growth Partners, with participation from Thayer Ventures, FUSE, Blackpines Capital Partners and Derive Ventures.

Proceeds from the round will be used to further fuel Operto’s aggressive expansion in the global short-term rental and hotel markets, where it already works exclusively with Accor Hotels to power its global digital key program. This includes luxury hotel brands such Fairmont and Raffles, where Operto’s revolutionary contactless digital solutions can be leveraged to remove common friction points in the guest journey, while lowering operating costs and driving new sources of revenue for the hotel.

"We are delighted to announce our B-Round funding, which will enable us to build upon our exceptional company growth over the past 3 years. It will accelerate our company mission to build cutting-edge technology solutions that drive amazing guest experiences, across the entire accommodation spectrum. In addition, our solutions will continue to deliver huge operational efficiencies for property owners and hosts by lowering costs and driving additional in-stay guest revenues, which is becoming increasingly important in today’s macroeconomic environment.” said Operto CEO Steve Davis. “Hospitality is one of the last major industries to be disrupted by technology, and we believe there is a significant opportunity to bring the benefits of simple, affordable automation to the sector. We are excited about the future, and we look forward to making a real difference to the accommodation industry."

“Operto is leading the digital transformation of the hospitality industry by creating a seamless, automated check-in and check-out experience for its customers,” said Eric Byunn, co-founder and partner at Centana Growth Partners. “Centana has been following the digitization of the hospitality industry closely, and we are very excited about this sort of innovative disruption streamlining the experience of owners, hosts, and guests. We will leverage our expertise in the payments and commerce ecosystem to work with Operto as they continue to innovate in an industry with such enormous potential.”  

In addition to the funding announcement, Operto is pleased to announce that Sam Shank has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Shank, who was previously CEO and founder of HotelTonight and former head of Airbnb’s Commercial Team, brings a wealth of hospitality and travel industry experience to Operto. "Operto's cutting-edge technology solutions are reshaping the hospitality industry, and I am excited to be a part of the journey,” said Shank. “I look forward to working with the team to help drive growth and innovation."

Operto’s automated, customizable platform enables hotels, property managers and others to remotely provide access as well as monitor and control a wide range of devices and systems, including smartphone-enabled guest verification, security deposit and payment, electronic elevator and room access. By providing property managers with real-time data and insights, Operto helps streamline operations, reduce costs and enhance the guest experience.

Operto Guest Technologies is well-positioned to continue its rapid growth and expansion into new markets. The company is committed to delivering innovative solutions that help property managers improve efficiency, reduce costs and provide a better experience for their guests.

03/20/2023

Aimbridge Hospitality Acquires Terrapin Hospitality Management Portfolio

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Aimbridge Hospitality, a global hospitality company, has assumed management of 71 hotels previously operated by Houston-based Terrapin Hospitality. With over 8,100 rooms in 21 states, the diverse portfolio is national in scope with representation in the upper midscale and upscale segments across all major brand companies.

Joining Aimbridge Hospitality’s Select Service Division, these hotels will benefit from the impact of the industry leader’s deep bench of industry talent, a specialized operational approach that maximizes value, and a path toward continued global growth and industry-leading innovation.

As part of the transaction, Aimbridge Hospitality will build on its existing relationships with Waramaug Hospitality and Terrapin Investments—two large-scale hotel owners in the Terrapin Hospitality portfolio and active investors in the hospitality space. The portfolio Aimbridge Hospitality manages on behalf of Waramaug and Terrapin Investments will increase to 42 hotels from 12 prior to the transaction, and the parties have concurrently entered into a long-term strategic development relationship that is anticipated to generate incremental unit growth as early as the first half of 2023.

“We are pleased to welcome these new properties and owners into the Aimbridge Hospitality family,” said Michael J. Deitemeyer, Aimbridge Hospitality President & CEO. “We are already applying our expertise and operating acumen to the Terrapin Hospitality portfolio, and we look forward to a long-term relationship where we can generate meaningful results and chart a path to future success."

“The strategic relationship with Aimbridge Hospitality will allow our properties to benefit from the scale and experience of the number one management company in our industry,” said Tony Sherman, Terrapin Hospitality Founder & CEO. “It was critical we found the right partner for my portfolio and my clients. Aimbridge Hospitality has best-in-class talent, management approach and resources to ensure our assets will continue to grow their profitability and our team members will be valued.”

Sherman will continue to serve as an operating partner to Aimbridge Hospitality moving forward. The introduction of these properties to Aimbridge Hospitality’s robust portfolio and expanding Select Service division is another step forward for Aimbridge Hospitality as it continues to commit and invest in providing an unparalleled management experience for owners.

To learn more about Aimbridge Hospitality, visit aimbridgehospitality.com.