News Briefs


RoomRaccoon Introduces Enhanced Native Payment Solution to 28 New Markets

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RoomRaccoon, a hotel management system, announced the expansion of its payment platform RaccoonPay.The expansion will see RoomRaccoon launch its fully integrated payment offering in 28 markets, including new destinations in Europe, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada.

The enhanced feature provides hoteliers with a unified approach to managing payments and meeting the demands of modern guests. The system is fully integrated with RoomRaccoon’s HMS and tracks all transactions in real-time on the RaccoonPay Dashboard to make payments for hoteliers easier, more affordable and more secure.

 With RaccoonPay’s enhanced payment processing, hoteliers can:

  • Adapt payment methods to the local needs of consumers and buyers. With RaccoonPay, hotels can benefit from a well-established system of payment methods, including local payment method preferences that their guests know and trust.
  • Increase conversions with frictionless payment experiences. Guests crave seamless online transactions. RaccoonPay enhances the guest experience by offering frictionless payment experiences at any point of the guest journey – online or at the front desk.
  • Save time and reduce errors with automation. RaccoonPay uses automation to help hoteliers process transactions, save time, and instantly reduce keying and invoicing mistakes.
  • Auto-charges VCCs from OTAs. RaccoonPay auto-charges VCCs on the morning of the effective payment date so that hotels never miss out on revenue.
  • Build confidence with secure PSD2 SCA and PCI-compliant payments that guests trust. RaccoonPay provides security that you and your guests can rely on. The system merges industry-leading security standards and automation to reduce the risk of fraud, identity theft, and illicit activities.

Frits Beyer, Payments Manager at RoomRaccoon, says: “The time for complex and manual payments processes is over. The expansion and enhancement of RaccoonPay is a significant milestone for the company. We’re excited to empower even more hoteliers around the world with personalised, flexible payment technology so they can create the best payment experience for guests, secure repeat business for their properties and save hoteliers money.”

RaccoonPay comes fully integrated with a card machine that completely automates front desk payments, saving hotel teams valuable time and providing a better guest experience with a quicker, more efficient check-out process.

“It is very convenient to have a card machine directly connecting to the system. We used to work with a separate card machine where we manually had to fill in the amount; now, everything is automated. We can also offer the guests the option to pay online before arrival or at the reception desk.” Kees Bierkens Owner of Den Heijkant, The Netherlands.


Smashburger Unveils Virtual Drive-Thru Design with Opening of New Location in Houston

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Smashburger, the leading fast-casual restaurant chain renowned for its smashed-to-order-burgers, today announced the launch of its first Virtual Drive-Thru located at the newest corporate-owned restaurant in Houston, Texas. An extension of the traditional drive-thru experience, the Virtual Drive-Thru allows customers to seamlessly place an order online or through the Smashburger app, then pull through the designated parking lane where their food will be delivered to the driver by a Smashburger team member. First introduced at the beginning of 2022, the Virtual Drive-Thru prototype, coupled with Smashburger’s refreshed kitchen design, reinforces the brand’s commitment to innovation and staying in lockstep with the increased consumer demand for convenience and accessibility.

“Smashburger has always been committed to providing our customers with the best possible experience. this is why we are thrilled to be introducing our new prototype offering a more convenient way for our customers to order their favorite burgers. Smashburger wants to meet our customers where they want to be met, and the increased use of mobile ordering has led us to this new Virtual Drive Thru design,” said Carl Bachman, President of Smashburger. “We understand consumers’ need for convenience, and speed of service as a result of ever-evolving dining habits stemming from the pandemic. This design provides both.  By adding this element, our franchisees have more flexibility in their site selection process, and assurance that guest demand is consistently being met. We are excited to partner with experienced operators to open additional Smashburger Virtual Drive-Thrus across the country.”

Smashburger’s Virtual Drive-Thru implements Curbit’s digital ordering system that gives guests an exact wait time for their order and ability to track the order accurately from start to finish. With the wait time reduction, the technology increases customer satisfaction with a 30% lift in customer repeat rate. The introduction of the Virtual Drive-Thru not only allows a streamlined operation, but also offers a more contactless experience. Additionally, the Virtual Drive-Thru is more environmentally friendly than the standard drive-thru, as it reduces traffic congestion and carbon emissions by minimizing the amount of time customers spend idling in the car. 

“With the new Virtual Drive-Thru prototype providing real-time updates on order status and estimated wait times, customers can make informed decisions about their time and schedule,” says Veronica Luna, Director of Digital Business Channels at Smashburger. “Although this new technology will work to streamline the customer experience, it will also provide significant benefits to our franchisees including increased speed of service, improved order accuracy, and reduced labor costs.”

Founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado, Smashburger is a better-burger brand known for its innovative approach to crafting delicious and high-quality burgers. From the way the burgers are cooked, to the unique flavors they offer, Smashburger is constantly pushing the boundaries of what a burger can be. With over 340 locations, across 38 states and nine countries, Smashburger is the quickest fast casual concept to hit the 200-restaurant milestone and has sustained consistent growth due to its ongoing menu innovation which helps drive store profitability and build guest loyalty. In February, Smashburger introduced its new limited time offer, the S’mac & Cheeseburger, and even added the fan favorite Scorchin’ Hot Crispy Chicken Sandwich as a permanent menu item in January. Smashburger has also made significant efforts to accommodate dietary restrictions with options like gluten-free buns and is currently testing the Plant-Based Classic Smash Burger made with a jackfruit patty from Jack & Annie’s in select markets for a limited time. This past year, Smashburger signed 3 new development agreements to add 21 new restaurants to its growth pipeline. Additionally, the brand has redefined its portfolio with the launch of a new restaurant design with some locations offering a full-service bar.


Smashburger is looking to expand within Southern California, North and South Carolina, as well as Florida. Smashburger provides franchise operators t site selection criteria, construction, decor, as well as opening support. Once open, the Smashburger team provides regular feedback on ways to increase sales, improve operations and monitor guest feedback. Prospective franchisees can also visit for the latest information regarding available opportunities. 


Aussie Entertainment Platform solution Surreal Launches in the UK

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Surreal, a global live entertainment operating system for the hospitality industry, is launching in the UK with a strategic partnership with the NTIA and a strong base of first clients. Founded in Australia, Surreal facilitates over 48,000 events annually (including in the UK) and pays £12M to entertainers annually through its proprietary software platform. Surreal's mission is to make going to live experiences as important as eating, drinking and exercise. The team of 18, like everyone else, experienced a world without live experiences during the pandemic. That deprivation motivated them to build a platform that makes organizing sustainable and profitable live entertainment as easy as possible.

Surreal has raised over AUD 5.5M from VCs and strategic investors, including RampersandInvestibleAlberts Impact Capital (The family office behind AC/DC), Unified Music GroupUntitled Group and the founders of Linktree. They are currently expanding globally in preparation for their Series A raise. Surreal has added to its existing UK-based sales and operations team as part of its expansion plans.

Surreal has partnered with the Night Time Industry Association to help grow the amount of live entertainment in the UK. The partnership centers around helping both venues and artists discover each other and manage their live entertainment in a more streamlined manner. Through Surreal, both venues and artists have a platform to grow their businesses through live entertainment. This growth is critical to the sustainability of the live entertainment industry.

According to Statista, the UK live entertainment industry generates GBP 1.1bn annually to the UK economy with an audience size of 29.8m. Surreal, however, believes there is a much richer cultural engagement and enrichment contribution. The Surreal platform is, therefore, not solely about live music but all live entertainment be it comedy, quiz nights, plays and performances across every town and city in the UK. 

"We're very excited to work with some of the industry's leading operators. The hospitality industry understands how technology can unlock growth," said Jeremiah Siemianow, CEO and co-founder of Surreal. "However, not many businesses have traditionally thought about how their entertainment, arguably one of the biggest footfall drivers, can be automated, leveraged and maximised via technology. The UK has one of the richest and most diverse live entertainment sectors. We want to make collaborating easier for artists, venues, agents and everyone in the ecosystem. Our customers understand the value of live entertainment for their venues and communities. Surreal allows them to leverage technology to take their entertainment to the next level. 

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, adds: "We have continued to champion new talent and the important role that businesses play in creating a platform for new talent to refine their craft. Our partnership with Surreal is the first step in supporting new music and talent coming into our industry by creating a seamless technology platform which has been hugely successful overseas and will similarly support UK-wide talent to bridge the talent pipeline gaps generated by the recent crises."

Surreal has been working with existing UK operators for the last twelve months. Clients who are benefiting from Surreal's technology include Metropolitan Pub Company, Eclectic Clubs and BarsDirty BonesEast London Pub CompanyVauxhall Comedy Club and Boxpark

Ben McLauglin, COO of Boxpark, said, "We're excited to be partnering with Surreal across our BOXPARK and BOXHALL estate to bring all of our entertainment scheduling and invoicing into one place. The flexibility and simplicity of Surreal add another level to our business, allowing our team greater visibility of bookings and a streamlining of our payment processes ensuring more robust programming and saving valuable time for both the events teams and the artists. Our business is rapidly expanding, and Surreal will allow us to scale easily, ensuring our talent pool grows with us."

Built by a world-class team consisting of Facebook, Eventbrite, Etsy and DICE alums, Surreal is an entertainment booking system built for speed and optimisation. On average, it saves general managers 338 hours a year.

Surreal's central platform improves cross-team collaboration, automates daily tasks across operations, marketing and finance and collates entertainment data to integrate into your tech stack. From comedy to quizzes to live music and everything in between, Surreal is an all-encompassing entertainment booking and management platform that allows venues to create better experiences. Surreal also has a unique approach to others in the market - it works alongside agents rather than replacing them. 

Jeremiah summarises: "Our system is built for collaboration to achieve the best outcome and return on entertainment for the venues and entertainers." 


Palladium Hotel Group and Juyo Analytics Partner on Hospitality Data Platform

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Palladium Hotel Group, a Spanish hotel brandand Juyo Analytics, a provider of hotel analytics and business intelligence solutions, announced that Palladium Hotel Group will start using Juyo’s new Data Platform technology across its organization. This new Juyo product helps large hotel chains and asset management organizations with a hotel portfolio to get more value out of their data.

The Juyo Analytics Data Platform will enable hotel companies to gain breakthrough insights and drive their profitability. This includes analytics to help better manage distribution costs, as well as to monitor and maximize the output from their sales and marketing budgetsWithin the Juyo Data Platform, after ingestion of data, Net RevPAR is determined at reservation level and enhanced beyond just the elementary level of deducting acquisition costs, such as commission. Additional layers, including total revenue contribution, marketing costs, and even commercial payroll by geography, will create a deeper understanding of which bookings contribute the most to the bottom-line. Better understanding profitability by customer is a key objective which the Juyo Data Platform helps to achieve.

Thanks to Juyo’s Artificial Intelligence engine, aptly named Kassandra, Palladium Hotel Group will be able to interpret their data beyond levels otherwise available. For example, how Cancellation Propensity across many dimensions influences the performance of a hotel. Kassandra also automatically aggregates duplicated company and agency profiles across the entire group for easier analysis, saving hotel commercial teams valuable time.

Palladium Hotel Group’s implementation of this platform is in line with the hotel group’s enthusiasm to innovate and incorporate cutting-edge tools that help to transform the business. From a global perspective and with a clear commitment to a better understanding and management of data, in recent years, the company has implemented innovative new methodologies to improve its processes and services, both at an operational level and in terms of sales and marketing actions. Thus, the group is ensuring it is efficient and agile when achieving objectives from a brand, business and customer experience perspective.

Palladium Hotel Group began implementing the Juyo Data Platform this March 2023.

Vassilis Syropoulos, Founder and CEO of Juyo Analytics said: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Palladium Hotel Group on this innovative project. Palladium Hotel Group is leading in the Revenue Management discipline in Europe in terms of vision 

and the Spanish hotel company will soon be reaping the benefits of next-curve insights. The Juyo Data Platform will enable us to bring our data processing, enhancement capabilities and expertise to large hotel groups and asset management companies who are using their own visualization front-end.

These companies tend to operate an organization beyond just hotels and generally struggle with unorganized data coming from multiple internal or external systems structured in different ways. Sharing standardized and enriched data from the Juyo Data Platform to third party visualization tools such as PowerBI or Tableau will allow these clients to aggregate data across the board.

We are grateful for the support and trust of Palladium Hotel Group and for being able to work on such a game-changer for the hospitality industry.”

“At Palladium Hotel Group, we have a well-defined vision for our revenue strategy. We have been working hard to develop a strong revenue strategy and the next step will be transforming our revenue scope to Profitability Vision. We chose the product and team at Juyo because of their deep understanding of our industry and their forward-thinking approach to solving challenges. We are always searching for ways to improve profitability and partnering with Juyo is the perfect opportunity to continue on that path.” said Diego Fernandez Perez de Ponga, Corporate Senior Director of Revenue Management at Palladium Hotel Group.


Sertifi Releases Hospitality Survey, Discovering New Ways the Hospitality Industry Can Automate Processes

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Sertifi, developers of a complete agreements platform designed for hospitality and travel companies, partnered with Women Leading Travel & Hospitalityto survey more than 100 hotels, venues, and travel advisors and evaluate how they’re finalizing agreements and payments for events and group travel.

The survey, conducted by NAPCO Research, identified several opportunities to make processes more efficient and secure. For example:

  • Nearly 50% of respondents are getting back scanned contracts with handwritten signatures.
  • 57% of respondents are conducting credit card authorizations manually.
  • Over 50% of respondents claim there’s a substantial opportunity to create more mobile and global friendly experiences.

“With continued staff shortages and a higher demand for convenience from customers, now’s the time to fully embrace technology in event and group travel bookings,” said Nick Stojka, co-founder of Sertifi. “Digital solutions can quickly automate tasks and make it easier to share information securely.”

The use of manual steps in agreements varies by segment with hotels having the biggest opportunity to increase efficiencies. For example, only 58% of hotel respondents stated they receive an e-signature or digital signature through a secure platform – the lowest response rate of the four segments, with tourism at 81%, events at 72%, and travel at 60%.

Hotel and travel respondents can also streamline their payment processes, which should be a top target considering the importance of keeping customers’ payment information secure. Approximately one third of hotel and travel respondents stated that customers still provide their credit card information via fax, mail, email, or phone.

“We’re excited to partner with Sertifi and shed light on ways to increase efficiency and security beyond today’s status quo,” said Nathan Safran, vice president of research at NAPCO Media. “There’s no shortage of ways hospitality businesses can create better experiences not just for themselves but for their customers.”

To read the full report, click here.


IDeaS Launches Automated Configuration Feature for G3 RMS

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IDeaS, a SAS company and a provider of hospitality revenue management software and services, announced the launch of Automated Configuration for its G3 revenue management system (RMS), decreasing the initial configuration of G3 from weeks to as little as one day, depending on client needs and requirements.

By leveraging data science, IDeaS delivers a feature to help its clients realize returns on their technology investment almost immediately. Clients will save time by reducing the amount of manual setup and training required, gain confidence in system settings and decisions by replacing guesswork with optimal settings based on science, and achieve a faster ROI with a system that delivers revenue-enhancing decisions from day one.

Automated Configuration for G3 RMS completes the following modules to ensure confidence in a property’s system settings and outputs:  

  • Rooms configuration — Automatically groups room types that have similar pricing and demand into room classes to maximize room performance with optimal pricing decisions, Last Room Value, and overbooking controls.
  • Market segment and rate codes— Assigns guest behavior-based attributes to market segments and combines rate codes of similar behaviors to create forecast groups that drive superior optimization and better revenue performance.
  • Pricing configuration Defines the pricing strategy for a property’s primary product and ensures G3 RMS produces optimal data-driven pricing. G3 picks room types and suggests floor and ceiling price points for each room class.
  • Rate shopping configuration — Determines the optimal competitive configuration, including which competitors’ prices impact pricing decisions and which channels and competitor information is shown in G3. This data allows hoteliers to take full advantage of market data to inform their own pricing and auto-assign competitive room types to similarly priced room classes.

Christian Boerger, vice president of revenue strategy Oxford Collection, said: “We implemented G3 RMS at 17 hotels, and IDeaS’ new automated configuration process has been fantastic. This has been our fastest implementation; the amount of time and effort saved is mind-blowing.”

Marci Garcia, CRME, director of revenue strategies – Revenue Matters, working with The Guest House at Graceland, said: “Automated configuration for G3 RMS allows us to capture more revenue right away, with minimal ramp-up time. It’s like having another revenue manager on the team, analyzing the data 24/7.”

Jason Barnett, product manager, IDeaS, said: “Our development team continually works to make our system more efficient and easier to use. This innovation and commitment to our client success initiatives set IDeaS apart from our competition. We will continue to listen to our customers to provide intuitive solutions that streamline their processes and ensures a path to decrease time to value.”