News Briefs


The J Collection Partners with Travel Outlook to Enhance Voice Revenue and Guest Satisfaction

travel outlook logo

Travel Outlook, The Premier Hotel Call Center, is pleased to announce that The J Collection, a group of 14 unique, locally owned and operated hotels and residences, has partnered with Travel Outlook to optimize voice revenue and improve guest satisfaction. Travel Outlook, known for its highly personalized, efficient and effective services, was chosen to provide training and superior salesmanship to enhance The J Collection’s cross-selling opportunities.

As the first and only call center certified by the Kennedy Training Network (KTN), Travel Outlook uses a specific sales approach developed exclusively by KTN to train their reservations specialists. Using this system, Travel Outlook closes up to 70% of the qualified reservations calls received. To ensure the highest level of performance, Travel Outlook hires KTN and Forbes to test-call their reservations specialists.

Travel Outlook will focus on developing sales and service strategies specific to each hotel's market segment, property type, revenue strategies, and operational needs to enable J Collection to generate additional revenue and improve customer service.

Mark S. Wilson, Area Director of Sales and Marketing for The J Collection, said, "We are excited to partner with Travel Outlook, a company that shares our commitment to delivering exceptional guest services. With their expertise, we expect to see a significant increase in our reservations conversion rate. The J Collection is looking forward to the new partnership with Travel Outlook and the benefits it will bring to their guests and revenue.”

Travel Outlook's President, John Smallwood, stated, "We are honored to partner with J Collection Hotels to deliver high-quality reservation services to their guests. Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible results and experience on every call, ensuring a clear and positive first impression of the hotel for guests."

Travel Outlook’s clients include some of the best hotels and resorts in the country that require specialized hotel call center services that function like their own. The list of must-haves includes a highly trained, US-based staff with a laser focus on hospitality clients, delivering exceptional guest service during each call.

In addition to providing world-class, hospitality call center services, Travel Outlook offers Annette, the first AI-powered virtual agent dedicated to hotel guest service. Annette offers best-in-class caller engagement, unrivaled flexibility for callers, and provides an engaging, on-brand experience. Annette’s technology allows your customers to lead the conversation, creating natural, human-like interactions and affordably answering up to 70% of the calls for the front desk team.



Reeco Raises $10M for AI Solution that Helps Hotels Tackle Systemic Procurement and Supply Chain Issues

corporate employees at reeco

Reeco, a marketplace that connects hospitality buyers and suppliers, announced the general availability of its solution and $10M in seed funding. Reeco provides a streamlined process for hotels and other hospitality buyers to order everything from food and beverage to cleaning supplies. The AI-powered marketplace offers near-perfect availability of products while substantially reducing costs. The funding round was led by Net Capital Ventures and Joule Ventures with participation from Eynat Guez, CEO of Papaya Global, and other high-profile angel investors.

Pandemic-related supply chain issues hit the hospitality industry hard, with 86% of hoteliers reporting that it impacted operations. As the industry recovers and demand strengthens, hotels continue to face challenges with procurement due to inflation and ongoing supply chain shortages. “If a hotel can’t get eggs to serve for breakfast, that negatively impacts a guest’s entire experience,” said Eyal Goldberger, former Area General Manager of AC Marriott and Element Brickell Miami hotels. “Shortages are becoming commonplace and up to 30% of the items on each order can’t be filled by suppliers. Getting items from an alternate supplier isn’t as easy as just walking into another shop — it’s a difficult process which is further complicated by the fact that most procurement is still being managed with pen and paper.“

Reeco offers a one-stop shop with thousands of products to choose from in an easy-to-use online store. Buyers select the products they need, and their order is automatically matched with the optimal supplier from hundreds of top local and national suppliers, based on price, availability, and delivery dates. Reeco has the unique ability to divide an order between as many as four suppliers to ensure full availability of products at the lowest prices, while allowing buyers to check out in one place and receive a single unified bill. This results in savings of 19% on average per order while cutting time spent on placing and receiving orders by 80%.

“Reeco was built for the unsung heroes of hospitality,” said Henrik Shimony, Reeco co-founder and CEO. “As a hotelier who has worked in every role, from the front desk to the back office, the purchasing department was always the most neglected. This makes no sense, considering hotels’ largest expenses originate there. Reeco helps mitigate supply chain issues and food waste by using AI-driven insights into purchasing habits.”

In 2022, the Tel Aviv, Israel-based company added Miami, Florida as its United States headquarters location. Among its customers, Reeco counts Playa Largo Resort - Autograph Collection, Hilton Aventura, The Even Hotel, hotel management company Shaner Hotel Group, as well as hotels from leading brands like Marriott and Ramada. 


Restaurant Operators Expect to Automate Up to 51% of Store Tasks by 2025

incisiv logo

The recent 2023 Connected Restaurant Experience Study by Incisiv, conducted in collaboration with Verizon Business and Cisco, shows that customers' rapid adoption of digital technologies is increasing the complexity of managing restaurant operations.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the adoption of digital ordering, and the change in customer behavior persists. Customers value the convenience and control digital ordering gives them. According to the study, 83% of customers plan to use mobile order-ahead when dining at a quick-service restaurant in 2023.

72% of restaurant operators believe it is becoming harder to meet customer expectations because of the increase in digital ordering. Only 52% of quick-service restaurants and 41% of full-service restaurants are satisfied with their restaurant’s digital experience. Brands recognize that they need to increase their technology investment to support the new normal.

Improving restaurant efficiency will be the primary driver of technology investments in 2023 and beyond. The top three areas where operators will invest are:

  • Supporting the fulfillment of digital orders
  • Improving kitchen operational efficiency
  • Improving checkout speed

"Restaurants need to prioritize digital execution to remain competitive," said Gaurav Pant, Chief Insights Officer of Incisiv. "Customers value the convenience and control provided by digital ordering, and the industry needs to invest in technologies to improve the end-to-end digital experience."

The move towards efficiency will also accelerate the adoption of automation. Automation of routine tasks is also imminent in the restaurant industry as quick-service restaurants expect 51% of tasks will be automated by 2025 and full-service restaurants expect to automate 27% of tasks. 

“As restaurants continue to expand their automation efforts, they need faster and more reliable connectivity, which can be achieved through the use of 5G, LTE, and fixed wireless access (FWA),” said Scott Lawrence, Senior Vice President Global Solutions, Verizon Business. “These types of networks are beneficial for restaurants as they eliminate the need for cables and manage their peak traffic more efficiently.”


Banyan Tree Management Relaunches as Aperture Hotels

aperture hotels logo

Officials of the former Banyan Tree Management today announced that the company has relaunched as Aperture Hotels. The new company will continue to provide hotel management services but with an eye on expanding its third-party management portfolio and possible management company M&A.

“Historically, we have been seen almost exclusively as an extension of Banyan Investment Group, providing services only for their portfolio,” said Charles Oswald, president and CEO, Aperture Hotels. “The truth of the matter, however, is that we actively and eagerly provide third-party operating services for all hotel owners, and we feel relaunching as a stand-alone entity helps clarify that. We’ve assembled a senior team that has collective experience operating over 400 hotels in every chain scale, from select-service to premium lifestyle, and we look forward to deploying that experience to help more owners achieve superior guest experience, team member engagement and improved bottom lines.”

Aperture currently operates more than 2,000 rooms across 15 hotels and resorts. The company’s diverse portfolio is comprised of branded and independent properties in urban, suburban and leisure destination markets throughout the United States. With 500-plus employees across its portfolio, Aperture has experience operating all the major brands, including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, Choice and Wyndham.

“Aperture is a one-stop solution for owners seeking services for the entire ownership cycle, from pre-opening through eventual sale,” Oswald added. “Our veteran team has provided these services through multiple economic cycles, from industry highs to industry lows. We have a proven record of value enhancement through portfolio-wide gains in market share, outperforming Gross Operating Profit margins, quick property turnarounds and engaged team members, producing outsized returns for our partners and investors. With a bright outlook for hotels ahead, we look forward to growing with the industry.”


Banyan Investment Group Rebrands as Satori Collective

Satori logo

Officials of the former Banyan Investment Group announced that the firm is rebranding as Satori Collective, an investment management firm focusing primarily on hotel property investment. Additionally, the company has spun off its property management platform to become Aperture Hotels, an independent, third-party hotel management company. Moving forward, Satori and Aperture will work independently of one another.

“Satori is a Buddhist term meaning ‘awakening and deep understanding,’ which is how our team approaches commercial real estate investment,” said Andy Chopra, co-founder and managing partner, Satori. “With more than 140 years of combined investment experience in virtually all markets and segments, our team has an unparalleled understanding of both the environment and the marketplace. We realized that our true, core business is real estate investment, so we have renewed and doubled our focus on raising and deploying capital in pursuit of consistent, risk adjusted returns while allowing our former management platform to stand on its own and pursue additional third-party management business opportunities.”

Satori focuses on investment into select-service, upper select-service extended-stay and lifestyle hotel properties. The company concentrates on investment in growth corridors located in top MSAs across the United States which have established hotel demand generators such as tourism, corporate group travel, state capitals, Power Five conference universities, healthcare, heavy manufacturing and military.

“We have a rigorous underwriting process and employ conservative leverage structures to ensure a higher probability of investment success,” Chopra added. “Over the past decade, we’ve evolved into an institutional quality firm. Our investment edge is our resilience and the depth of our operational expertise combined with a sophisticated understanding of asset management, deal structuring, capital markets and economic cycles. We’ve assembled a best-in-class team focused on driving investment returns without compromising our core values of transparency, integrity, humility and resiliency.”

“Since our original founding 14 years ago, we have made 24 hotel investments utilizing four investment vehicles totaling $477 million in assets under management, and we look forward to improving upon our successful track record in the coming years,” said Rakesh Chauhan, co-founder and managing partner, Satori. “Our investments feature the standard hallmarks of being in growing submarkets with substantial drivers of commercial real estate demand. We view investments through the lens of risk adjusted returns and focus on properties which offer value add potential while still providing current cash flow with room for growth.”


ItsaCheckmate Acquires Open Tender, a First-Party Ordering Platform For Restaurants

Itsacheckmate logo teaser

ItsaCheckmate, the center of a restaurant’s digital ordering business, announces the acquisition of Open Tender, a first-party digital ordering and guest engagement platform that provides highly customizable and engaging designs for branded websites, mobile apps, and kiosks.

Open Tender sets a new standard for branded private label digital ordering and guest loyalty, giving restaurants and chains unprecedented control over design and user experience, either with or without a developer. Open Tender is an open-source program built for the food service industry, supporting unique and highly customizable loyalty programs, while having the ability to go live in just a few days. This eliminates the need for restaurants to wait for weeks or months to onboard, deploy, or update inefficient and clunky solutions.

As a market disruptor, this acquisition finally brings a meaningful choice and alternative to legacy first-party vendors. ItsaCheckmate’s established third-party ordering and management, combined with Open Tender’s first-party ordering and loyalty, is a superior solution for operators ranging from the largest enterprise chains to mid market operators who are seeking a customizable and integrated tech stack that doesn’t require painful long term contracts.

“Since the beginning we have held that first-party and third-party channels are not an either-or conversation, but should work together to benefit restaurants,” said Vishal Agarwal, Founder and CEO of ItsaCheckmate. “With the acquisition of Open Tender, we have expanded our third-party ordering platform to include elegant, seamless and scalable first-party ordering and guest engagement products to help restaurant operators become truly proficient in omni-channel digital ordering. This solution now enables the customers to manage their first-party and third-party channels through a single login.”

“We are excited to be moving to Open Tender’s first-party digital ordering and guest engagement to unify and synergize our tech stack with ItsaCheckmate,” said Neil Hershman, CEO and owner of 16 Handles. “As a NYC-based frozen yogurt and dessert franchise with over 35 locations and plans to expand coast to coast, we prioritize digital ordering and measure success by our loyalty retention, check size, and overall guest satisfaction. We have already begun testing the combined solution of ItsaCheckmate and Open Tender and can’t wait to roll out the seamless user experience to all of our customers and catering clients soon!”

The combined Open Tender and ItsaCheckmate solution is immediately available to ItsaCheckmate’s 20,000+ existing customer locations. Additionally, new customers who are looking for alternatives to their existing digital solutions can apply to the program now. To learn more about Open Tender, visit