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News Briefs

  • 7/22/2024

    Two Industry Vets to Join Denny's C-Suite

    Dennys logo s 2024

    Denny’s Inc. announced the appointment of two new executive leaders: Monigo G. Saygbay-Hallie, Ph.D. joins as executive vice president, chief people officer for Denny’s Corp. effective August 5, and Patty Trevino joins as Denny’s senior vice president, chief brand officer, effective August 12.  

    Celebrated human resources, talent manager and culture leader Monigo G. Saygbay-Hallie will serve as executive vice president, chief people officer for Denny’s at the enterprise level, leading people initiatives across Denny’s and Keke’s Breakfast Café. Saygbay-Hallie brings more than 20 years of restaurant and retail experience in leading teams and developing talent. She joins Denny’s, having most recently served as chief people officer at Checkers & Rally’s Drive-In restaurants. Before Checkers, she served in HR leadership roles at Sysco Corporation, and YUM! Brands. 

    “It is a tremendous opportunity to join a legacy brand like Denny’s and Keke’s as a growing brand. I’m most looking forward to helping to expand and elevate the culture and benefit the brand’s people,” said Saygbay-Hallie.  

    New Brand Leader

    The company also welcomes accomplished marketing and brand leader Patty Trevino as Denny’s senior vice president, chief brand officer. Trevino brings two decades of experience in the restaurant industry and most recently served as executive vice president, chief marketing officer at Red Lobster. She has also held marketing leadership roles at Carl’s, Jr., Bloomin’ Brands and Burger King. Trevino’s position focuses on Denny’s restaurants, overseeing all facets of branding including strategy, public relations, social and digital marketing, consumer experience and product innovation.  

    “Denny’s is THE iconic American restaurant brand. They are America’s diner. Being part of this stellar team, strengthening our guests' value proposition, delivering craveable food, and enhancing brand love and affinity will be a true honor,” said Trevino.  

    Both roles will report to Kelli Valade, Denny’s Inc. president and CEO. “Monigo and Patty are proven leaders who will contribute immediately to our company and brand strategies,” said Valade. “They both have invaluable experience that will provide a positive impact on our teams, franchisees and guests. We are giving them a warm welcome to the Denny’s family.”  

  • 7/22/2024

    Jon Gustin Appointed Vice President of Operations for Commonwealth Hotels

    Jon Gustin, VP of Operations, Commonwealth Hotels

    Commonwealth Hotels, a Covington, Kentucky-based hotel management company, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jon Gustin as vice president of operations. In his new role, Jon will oversee the operational excellence and strategic growth initiatives of Commonwealth Hotels, bringing with him a wealth of experience and a proven track record in the hospitality industry.

    Jon Gustin joins Commonwealth Hotels with a distinguished career spanning over 15 years in various senior leadership positions. Most recently, Jon served as the senior director of operations for Placemakr, where he was instrumental in driving operational efficiencies and growing the company from a start-up. Prior to that, he held key roles including director of hotel division for Blue Water Development, regional director for Dimension Development, and area general manager for TPG Hotels and Resorts. Jon has also held various leadership positions with White Lodging, contributing significantly to their operational success.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Jon Gustin to the Commonwealth Hotels family," said Jennifer Porter, president of Commonwealth Hotels. "His extensive background in hotel operations, coupled with his strategic vision and leadership skills, make him an ideal fit for this pivotal role. We are confident that Jon will play a key role in driving our continued growth and delivering exceptional experiences for our guests."

    Jon Gustin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hospitality Business from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctorate from Texas Southern University. His unique blend of hospitality expertise and legal acumen will further strengthen Commonwealth Hotels' commitment to operation excellence and guest satisfaction.

    "I'm excited to join Commonwealth Hotels and work alongside such a talented team," said Jon Gustin. "I look forward to leveraging my experience to drive operations efficiencies, enhance guest experiences, and contribute to the overall success and growth of the organization."

  • 7/23/2024

    Guestline Integrates ResDiary and AI to Boost Sales of Ancillary Products via Guest Portal

    Guestline logo

    Guestline, part of Access Group, has introduced a host of self-service options to its GuestStay offering, incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to further reduce pressure on hotel staff while empowering guests.

    The self-service portal from Guestline, part of the GuestStay product, enables guests to manage their hotel reservation with options to modify or update dates, rate plan or room type, and to pre-order additional products and services like breakfast or parking in advance of their stay. With greater automation embedded, AI identifies, categorises, and creates actionable requests in the Property Management System (PMS), saving valuable time administering each booking and ensuring guests’ needs are recognised and fulfilled more efficiently.

    In addition to managing their stay, guests can secure a restaurant booking through ResDiary, a leading provider of bookings and table management software to clients in the hospitality sector and also part of Access Group, which is now fully integrated with the portal to offer a seamless experience for table reservations. 

    Chris Jones, Senior Product Manager at Guestline, said: “By empowering the guest to manage their own stay, our hotel partners are not only liberated from administrative tasks, they also benefit from faster access to more accurate first-party data, which can drive better efficiency and personalisation. With AI we can provide even further automation to support hotel teams. This means staff can focus on what’s most important - providing guests with a memorable, engaging experience. In trials, the self-service has proven particularly popular with corporate travellers who appreciate the ability to make amendments in a few clicks and to make specific requests ahead of their arrival.”

    Through the guest self-service portal, hotels are able to surface more of their F&B offering and wider ancillary products and services throughout the digital guest journey to secure demand and drive increased TRevPAR while delivering an enhanced guest experience. This is especially relevant for online travel agent (OTA) bookings, where bookings are often room only.

    Jones said: “As well as happier guests and refocused staff, hotels using the guest portal see increases in restaurant bookings thanks to the integration with ResDiary. We are already seeing properties with around 25% of their table bookings now coming via the GuestStay portal, with even more upsell options to the portal to drive additional revenue already in development.  At a time when room-only margins are tight, every little uplift on guest spend counts - and with staffing issues still prevailing in hospitality, reducing ‘zombie jobs’ and creating more autonomy for guests is a vital part of our vision for GuestStay and the portal.”  

    As well as guest self-service, the portal enables hoteliers to prompt guests to complete admin processes from their own devices in their own time, such as pre-arrival digital registration, checking their spend during stay, and settling their bill and checking out on the day of departure.   

    Hundreds of Guestline customers are already benefiting from these tools, with the company continuing to innovate and invest in improving guest communications. With digital registration completion averaging 31%, staff and guests alike enjoy much faster check-ins. By collecting up to 100% more real guest email addresses, hotels are also driving more repeat business through their direct channels rather than via online travel agencies (OTAs).  

    Additional functionality and features are planned for later in 2024, enabling hoteliers to further improve the visibility of its wider ancillary services and F&B offering and grow revenues through automating upsells and upgrades.

  • 7/21/2024

    Bottle Rocket Adds Olo Integration to Digital Platform

    handshake partnership

    Bottle Rocket has a new strategic partnership with Olo. This collaboration aims to redefine the digital guest experience by combining Bottle Rocket's application design and development solutions with Olo's robust digital ordering platform trusted by over 700 restaurant brands.

    Bottle Rocket has created impressive business-changing outcomes and results for Chick-fil-A, Southwest Airlines, Starwood Hotels & Resorts (since acquired by Marriott), Albertsons, MoneyGram, Dave & Busters, Inspire Brands, McKesson, Bloomin' Brands, and Verizon, among others. 

    The company has launched its latest innovation in the form of a digital accelerator for restaurant brands called Ignite. Ignite is a custom digital platform designed to enhance digital growth, loyalty, and retention for restaurants. Based on a comparison of thousands of customer engagements, Ignite allows restaurant brands to create a fully custom mobile and/or web solution in up to 40% less time and with less investment. Ignite was created with a pre-built Olo integration and is purposefully designed to support various restaurant brands. Bottle Rocket's Ignite and Olo provide a flexible foundation to build differentiated, custom experiences across iOS, Android, and web, unlocking valuable KPIs and scalable innovation.

    "A culmination of over a decade of work in the industry, Ignite is an innovative solution that allows restaurant brands an attainable way to create a differentiated brand experience with the added flexibility and scalability that white-label solutions cannot provide," says Andrew Sevin, Bottle Rocket's President. "Through Ignite and our strategic partnership with Olo, we are able to help restaurant brands better serve their customers through a fully tailored brand experience that is unique to every brand."

    Bottle Rocket's depth of experience in the restaurant space, coupled with the creation of the Ignite digital accelerator platform and the integration with Olo, is perfectly suited for restaurant brands wanting to create a new digital ordering experience designed for greater scalability, flexibility, and continued growth.

    To learn more about this partnership or to contact Bottle Rocket for more info, please visit: https://partners.olo.com/partners/bottle-rocket   

  • 7/19/2024

    Choice Hotels Partners with Entegra

    choice hotels logo

    Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging franchisors, announced today it has signed an agreement with Entegra, the world’s largest food group purchasing organization. Choice branded hotel owners will now have access to over 3,000 suppliers worldwide on Entegra’s digital group purchasing organization platform. This agreement will help hotel owners make food purchasing decisions with confidence, all while potentially saving money and improving their overall business performance.

    “Entegra is proud to partner with Choice Hotels, one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world,” said Entegra Global CEO Damien Calderini. “Through this program, our powerful suite of data and digital tools, procurement solutions, and supply-chain expertise will help Choice Hotels deliver opportunities for their franchisees to create memorable hospitality experiences for hotel visitors.”

    “Through this agreement with Entegra, we’re looking forward to bringing even more value to our brands and franchisees, who may see better pricing on products and greater day-to-day operational support,” said Choice Hotels VP of Procurement Anya Kroupnik. “This will enable us to continue delivering on Choice’s promise of providing opportunities to reduce the total cost of hotel ownership and enhance guest satisfaction.”

    “Clients choose Entegra for a wide range of products and services and stay with us because we offer more ways for them to be competitive and thrive,” said Jeff Porterfield, Entegra Senior Vice President of Client Services. “In addition to savings, we’re excited to provide Choice franchisees with dedicated service and support, as well as access to our innovative technology platform to enable greater business intelligence and operational efficiency.”

  • 7/18/2024

    Aescape Makes Its Hospitality Debut with Lotte New York Palace

    aescape logo teaser

    Today, Aescape, the first commercially available, fully automated AI massage experience, announced its hotel debut at ila Only Spa, located at Lotte New York Palace. Aescape has partnered with ila Only Spa to deliver premium, customizable massage to guests and visitors.

    Wellness travel is on the rise, with the global wellness tourism market expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027. ila Only Spa at Lotte New York Palace is meeting travelers where they are, ushering in the future of on-demand, tech-enhanced wellness experiences. 

    “It’s clear that more people wish to maintain and increase their sense of wellbeing when traveling, and they’re looking for the resources available to support this when choosing hotels. Aescape’s innovative approach to massage is adding to our wellness-forward amenities, and we look forward to bringing our guests a completely new massage experience,” said Joe Rose, Owner of ila Only Spa.

    Aescape emerged from stealth earlier this year after seven years in research and development by some of the brightest minds in connected hardware and fitness. Alumni hail from Amazon, Apple, FitBit, MakerBot, Uber, Peloton, Tonal, and more. The automated massage uses advanced AI technology to create a 3D computational model of each user before delivering a completely personalized massage experience, tailored uniquely to their body. 

    “The Lotte New York Palace is iconic, maintaining its storied elegance while evolving to keep guests happy,” said Aescape Founder and CEO, Eric Litman. “We share a mission to bring customers and guests a wellness-forward experience designed to meet their needs. As a New York startup, we’re honored to make our hospitality debut at this landmark New York hotel.”

    The partnership news marks Aescape’s entrance into market, ahead of its launch with Equinox in select locations throughout New York City this month. Since launching its Early Access Program with PRESS Modern Massage Union Square, the company has generated a growing waitlist of New Yorkers eager to experience this first-of-its-kind massage. Aescape is set to announce partnerships with global  industry leaders across hospitality, professional sports, corporate offices and luxury real estate over the next year. 

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