News Briefs

04/25/2023

Hoteliers Are Leveraging 3D Maps from UrVenue to Advance Hospitality Commerce

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Encore Beach Club at Wynn Resort

UrVenue, pioneer of hospitality’s first property experience management system (PXMS), has developed a 3D mapping feature to enable discriminating guests to visualize unique experiences before they book. UrVenue’s 3D Maps help venue operators showcase bookable locations (unspecified locations, by section, or by individual inventory such as a cabana or chaise lounge) in virtual detail to drive additional bookings across multiple experiences and layer them into a cross-booking itinerary builder. This gives guests more choice in how they experience the hotel or resort, plus it drives sales through higher-value bookings and ultimately improves guest satisfaction.

Here are six locations where Interactive 3D Maps are changing the game for experiential property outlets and independent venues around the world:

  1. Pools — Pools are one of the most common on-property experiences that hotel operators are eager to showcase and provide their guests with an elevated experience (especially at properties with multiple pools, pools with multiple experiences, or pools with multiple sections). Most guests prefer the freedom of choice in finding a spot that works best for them, whether by the water, under a large umbrella, or in a spacious cabana with a big group. Interactive 3D Maps make it easier for guests to navigate these nuanced booking choices and avoid throwing their towel on a chair to “reserve” their seat at 8:00 a.m. 3D maps also help guests better understand what add-ons and packages are available, from sunscreen and extra towels to picnic baskets and champagne.
  2. Nightclubs, Dayclubs, & Lounges — Location is everything in nightclubs, dayclubs, and lounges, which means that some sections are inherently more valuable than others.  Clubs and lounges are leveraging 3D maps to upsell guests on sections that are within arm’s reach of the DJ/entertainment or that accommodate large groups in more private areas.  Giving guests a clear visual helps them book with a much higher degree of confidence, as these types of bookings often require large deposits and/or F&B minimums.
  3. Restaurants — High-value seating areas in restaurants, including private dining rooms, chef’s tables, and premium table locations, are some of the most underutilized assets in the hospitality industry.  They are the most exclusive, impeccably designed assets, but guests often go through a cumbersome process to book them. 3D maps provide guests with a clearer and more visually engaging way to understand the restaurant’s options, by showcasing the design and ambiance of each space and allowing guests to get a feel for the atmosphere. Eliminating time-consuming phone calls or email exchanges enables guests to book their desired space with just a few clicks.
  4. Mixed-Use Food & Beverage Environments — Mixed use food-and-beverage environments are not new, but being able to book multiple experiences in a singular shopping cart that leverages a 3D map is new – from restaurant reservations to pool table rentals and beyond.  Because these mixed-use environments can be larger than traditional restaurants, 3D maps give customers the lay of the land and help them understand what experiences are available and where they can be found. Outside of a full restaurant, mixed-use food & beverage environments may include a karaoke room, golf suites, a parlor room with its own bowling alley, and a hidden speakeasy lounge.
  5. Sportsbooks — Interactive 3D Maps are a game-changer for sportsbook operators looking to showcase their unique seating options and VIP experience packages. Strategically connecting 3D maps can also unlock additional sales and operational benefits, such as including experiences from multiple outlets for a game-day package. From bleacher seats to owner's boxes, locations can be displayed in both static and engaging 360-degree views that allow guests to preview their seating area and overall distance to the big screen.
  6. Theaters and Concert Venues — 2D maps with dots for seats is the industry standard, but not every seat should be minimized that way. Opera boxes, VIP sections, cabaret-style tables, and other unique seating options are showcased in all their glory, helping to upsell the uniqueness of the experience and value of the upgrade.

What about other types of spaces?

UrVenue’s Interactive 3D Maps can be fully customized to fit the unique needs of any property, venue, or outlet, providing on-demand information and booking capabilities across all digital channels, and displaying beautifully on any mobile device, computer, TV, tablet, or kiosk. Request a demo today to see how we can help your guests learn, explore, and book more with our Interactive 3D Maps.

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04/25/2023

AHLA, HSMAI Americas Announce Partnership to Advance Hospitality Industry

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The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Americas announced a new strategic partnership that will more closely align the two hospitality industry associations to benefit their respective members and advance the hospitality industry.

The partnership will create linkages to the industry’s sales, marketing, and revenue optimization professionals for AHLA while expanding HSMAI’s organizational reach by aligning it with America’s largest hotel association.

The new agreement, effective April 25, 2023, includes the following areas of collaboration:

  • AHLA will provide HSMAI with opportunities to participate in AHLA’s On the Road events, and HSMAI will promote the events to its members and local chapters.
  • AHLA and HSMAI will promote each other’s events, campaigns, and education and certification programs, and have reciprocal participation in distribution-focused committees.
  • AHLA and HSMAI will also explore opportunities to align the work of both organizations’ foundations to address industry-wide initiatives on workforce and promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
  • AHLA and HSMAI leadership will meet regularly to discuss and coordinate key strategic industry issues and shared objectives.

The AHLA-HSMAI partnership expands upon a relationship the two organizations started early last year, when HSMAI became a content partner for AHLA’s On The Road state hotel conference series, offering innovative and exclusive revenue generation insights at On The Road events.

“This partnership is a big win for AHLA, HSMAI, and our respective members,” said AHLA Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Carey. “HSMAI is the leading organization of hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization professionals, and AHLA members will now have more exposure and access to HSMAI’s insights and capabilities. We are always strongest as an industry when we speak with ‘one voice’ and support each other. This relationship advances that objective significantly.”

“We look forward to working with AHLA to enhance the value we provide our members in the United States and the industry,” said HSMAI President and CEO Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA. “As HSMAI approaches its 100thanniversary, we welcome the many opportunities we have together with AHLA to move the industry forward with a shared commitment to grow business for hotels and their partners.”

The agreement announced today is one in a series of recent AHLA partnerships that are enabling the organization to better serve its members and keep the hotel industry moving forward. Other examples include:

  • AHLA’s partnership with Questex to produce the industry-leading technology and operations trade show, The Hospitality Show
  • AHLA’s 10-year agreement with HFTP to produce the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (USALI)
  • AHLA’s partnership with the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) to grow the hotel and hospitality industry workforce
04/24/2023

sweetgreen Debuts New Loyalty Program

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Sweegreen loyalty program

sweetgreen announced the launch of Sweetpass, its first loyalty program in two years. Developed as a two-tiered model, customers can choose which membership level works best for them, for a personalized experience that rewards them with free sweetgreen and more.

Over the last year, sweetgreen tested various loyalty initiatives with their customers and found they wanted new ways to earn menu discounts, as well as access to lifestyle-driven experiences with the brand. These learnings shaped the program launching nationwide today, which offers personalized benefits through Sweetpass or Sweetpass+.

  • Sweetpass offers customers the ability to earn sweetgreen by opting in to personalized “challenges” as well as access to new menu items and limited edition merch drops that will be exclusively available to sweetpass members.
  • Sweetpass+ is a $10 per month membership that rewards loyalists with $3 off daily sweetgreen orders, priority sweetgreen support, delivery perks, premier access to merch drops, and exclusive sweetgreen experiences. Sweetgreen ran a pilot of this program in January 2022 and based on strong customer demand and feedback, they are officially making it part of the program.

As a lifestyle component to the program, sweetgreen is also launching its new online merch store called “The Market,” debuting apparel, accessories and gear. Sweetgreen will release its first collection in a series of weekly drops, with a new item joining The Market each week. 

Sustainability in Mind

With sustainability in mind, Sweetpass+ members will also be given the opportunity to redeem a Friends of Earth perk, inviting them to help select a carbon reduction partner. At the end of the year, sweetgreen will take into account these submissions when choosing an organization to donate to. Earlier this month, the brand released its first-ever Impact Report, showing progress towards reaching its carbon neutrality goal by 2027. 

sweetgreen's move comes as sustainability matters to today's consumers and restaurant operators. According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Culinary Forecast, sustainability will continue to influence menus and how restaurants make decisions.

Customers will be able to access Sweetpass and Sweetpass+ through a dedicated section in the sweetgreen app and through sweetgreen’s website, where rewards can be redeemed upon checkout when applicable. 

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04/24/2023

Breezeway Launches Assist AI

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Breezeway announced its next evolution of automation, incorporating generative AI into the Breezeway platform with the launch of Assist AI.

Assist AI is a new series of automation features within the Breezeway platform that combines deep property profiles with the generative AI power of ChatGPT. The first of these Assist AI features is Suggested Replies which launches today.

ChatGPT will read Breezeway property profile, reservation, and Breezeway Guide data, along with context from guest messages, to create suggested replies to guests within the Breezeway messaging product, saving property owners and managers crucial time and reducing repetitive work. 

Data includes WiFi instructions, house rules, property manager standards, directions, local restaurant recommendations, parking availability, and anything related to the millions of tasks completed on the Breezeway platform. 

Property managers can access Assist AI Suggested Replies within the Breezeway guest messaging tool. It slashes managers’ time responding to guests by allowing them to reply with accurate, helpful, and timely responses. Users can generate suggested responses, edit the answers if needed, and hit send.

As rising guest expectations increase the workload faced by short-term and vacation rental operators, data-driven automation is critical to achieving efficiencies while still providing guests with the personal service they value. Despite this operational pressure, hospitality service should feel personal and match the standards of the manager and host. Breezeway is building this personalization into each Assist AI feature.

Managers can set their tone and professional style to match their brand and audience. From formal to friendly and anything in between, short-term rental companies add their own voice to Assist AI and create brand consistency across guest interactions.  

Breezeway is one of the first in the short-term rental space to use AI to enhance its product offering and build additional solutions for property managers. 

Breezeway customers can turn on Assist AI Suggested replies within their Breezeway Labs settings, where customers access all the latest features and updates.

 

Jeremy Gall, CEO and Founder of Breezeway, said: “We’re thrilled to announce our first AI enhancement and excited by its potential to improve not only the day-to-day lives of our customers and their guests but also the properties they service. Our goal has always been to streamline the experience for both the property manager and the guest. A notoriously time-consuming aspect of vacation rental property management is accounting for the unique nature of each home and then communicating back and forth with guests.

 

“Using AI combined with property profile data and task history will greatly reduce the time spent crafting messages and replies, freeing up managers' time to focus on other areas of business. As a result, guests can expect quicker and more accurate replies.” 

04/24/2023

accesso Acquires Ski Technology Provider Paradocs

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accesso logo teaser

accesso Technology Group, a technology solutions provider for attractions and venues worldwide, announced its acquisition of Paradocs Mountain Software (“Paradocs”) – a Canadian-based provider of software solutions specifically for the ski industry. Paradocs’ all-in-one mountain management solution – MtnOS – is now accesso Paradox, adding to accesso’s portfolio of technology.

Paradocs was established in 2001 to help operators maximize the mountain experience for their visitors. The hosted, all-in-one mountain management solution, MtnOS – now accesso Paradox – is considered one of the most powerful ski-specific operating systems on the market, currently leveraged by 48 Canadian and 2 U.S.-based resorts to optimize both operations and the guest experience. The flexible, integrated solution empowers ski areas to take full control of their operations across ticketing and passes, snow school, retail and equipment rental, food & beverage, administration and online sales.

“Accesso is passionate about serving the ski industry, and incorporating Paradocs’ specific expertise and experience into our offering is a powerful step forward in addressing the unique and evolving technology demands of the burgeoning ski market,” said Steve Brown, accesso CEO. “Adding this contemporary and powerful solution to our offering supports Accesso’s long-standing commitment to serving as the industry’s premier ski solutions provider.”

This acquisition demonstrates accesso’s longstanding commitment to ski and snowsports by unlocking an even more powerful, flexible and innovative array of available technology options for operators worldwide to enhance the guest experience.

“We are thrilled to join forces with Accesso – a truly like-minded innovator that shares Paradocs’ dedication to ski and snowsports with a customer-first approach,” said Paradocs CEO and Founder Nicolas Dubé. “Our team at Paradocs is excited to play an expanded role in the overall advancement of our beloved industry, and we look forward to continued success with Accesso.”

“We greatly admire the Paradocs team’s approach to partnership and their development of a solution that directly addresses the unique needs of the ski industry,” said Andrew Jacobs, accesso CCO. “We’re excited to further expand the reach of Accesso Paradox across the ski industry and to help our clients truly maximize the solution’s potential.”

Under the terms of the deal, Paradocs’ 38-person team of ski technology professionals will continue working under the accesso umbrella. Dubé will remain available to the accesso team in a consultative capacity.

04/24/2023

AHLA Announces Technology Acceleration Award

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The American Hotel & Lodging Association and its technology committee, HTNG, announced the inaugural AHLA Technology Acceleration Award, a new program to recognize companies that are advancing innovation in hospitality technology.

The award program will be held annually, and winners of this year’s event will be announced at The Hospitality Show, which takes place June 27-29 at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas.

Each year, the AHLA Technology Acceleration Award will recognize companies that have taken specific steps to further advance innovation in hospitality. This year, the award will showcase companies that have adopted HTNG Express, a new solution that shortens the process for post-booking hotel property management system integrations from months to just days.

To qualify for the award, companies must implement HTNG Express, submit an award application by June 1, and provide a virtual demonstration. Those interested in submitting an application may do so here.

“AHLA’s Technology Acceleration Award will do more than just recognize and celebrate hospitality innovation. The award will help drive industry advancement year after year,” said AHLA Chief Technology Officer Mike Blake. “Given that The Hospitality Show is our industry’s premier technology and operations event, there is no better forum in which to recognize this year’s winners.”