News Briefs


Hôtel 71 Deploys GuestCast by HIS to Address Modern Guest Demands for Instantly Personalized In-room Entertainment

mobile app controlling television in guestroom

Hotel Internet Services (HIS), a full-service provider of internet services and solutions for the hospitality industry, has been credited with elevating the in-room entertainment experiences of guests staying at Hôtel 71 with the implementation of its innovative GuestCast content streaming platform. A high-end hotel attracting guests from around the world who wish to experience Quebec’s unique vibe and culture, Hôtel 71 with QuestCast can now ensure complete guest satisfaction and enjoyment while they remain onsite thanks to the ability to access virtually any streamed content of choice on guestroom TVs.

As a trendsetting property recognized for its chic and neoclassical design, Hôtel 71 strives to provide its guests with the latest modern comforts. While featuring enticing amenities such as an onsite expresso lounge, wine & spirits bar, a fitness center and fine Italian dining, the property recognized a need to update its in-room entertainment services to guarantee alignment with today’s preferences and expectations. After researching several competing solutions, Hôtel 71 ultimately selected GuestCast due to the platform’s hotel purpose-built features and its cost-effective price.

While many guests are now familiar with consumer-based streaming solutions, GuestCast’s user-friendly design and interface ensures instant ease-of-use regardless of a guest’s level of experience with the technology. With options to pair their personal devices with guestroom TVs that can be as effortless as scanning a QR code, GuestCast notably sidesteps complications that often leave guests feeling frustrated if unable to connect their device without requiring staff assistance. To ensure an enjoyable and fully personalized experience for each guest, Hôtel 71’s decision to adopt GuestCast also comes from the solution’s ability to provide instant compatibility with thousands of mobile streaming apps. This significantly means that each guest can always look forward to seamlessly accessing their favorite content no matter what streaming service they wish to use.

“Regardless of their age or personal background, guests now widely expect hotels to provide a modern streaming-based entertainment experience, which is especially the case for high-end properties such as Hôtel 71,” said Mathieu Savard, Assistant General Manager at Hôtel 71. “We therefore set ourselves the goal of identifying a streaming system with the best features at an affordable price, which is what ultimately led us to GuestCast. Since adopting the solution, we have been impressed by the ease and flexibility that it provides our guests in taking control of their TV-viewing experiences, and look forward to leveraging all of GuestCast’s capabilities in order to provide an in-room entertainment service that always exceeds expectations.”

GuestCast’s hotel purpose-built functionalities are importantly also designed to address potential guest concerns over data security and privacy. Unlike smart TVs, the platform never requires guests to enter-in sensitive streaming account login information which can lead to an increased risk of theft. Guest privacy at Hôtel 71 is further protected by GuestCast’s advanced device isolation capabilities. This feature notably prevents guests from accidently casting content to televisions located in other rooms, while also preventing those who may seek to maliciously take over another guest’s TV.

Hôtel 71 by adopting GuestCast also gains access to the solution’s data-rich Analytics Dashboard. Via a single interface, property staff can utilize the Dashboard to monitor individual GuestCast device health in real-time. The feature further allows the property to analyze GuestCast usage rates in order to measure the level of success of their in-room entertainment strategy. As a solution designed by an industry-leading provider of connectivity-based technologies, GuestCast’s Analytics Dashboard can even be used to analyze WiFi signal strength for each guestroom where the device is located. This importantly allows Hôtel 71 and other properties supported by GuestCast to instantly intensify any WiFi service issues and correct them before affecting guest satisfaction rates.


Cloud5 Earns Second Consecutive Win for Mitel’s Hospitality Partner of the Year

logo, company name

Cloud5 Communications, a provider of communications solutions for more than 5,000 hotels, MDUs, and commercial facilities across the Americas, today announced it has been named Mitel’s Hospitality Partner of the Year, Americas, for the second year in a row at Mitel’s 2023 Global Partner Awards Ceremony held earlier this month.

Presented during the Mitel Next partner conference, Cloud5 was honored for its exceptional performance as a Mitel partner over the past year, including delivering substantial revenue and seat growth. Cloud5 was also recognized for its strong commitment to customer experience by consistently going above and beyond to provide organizations with world-class business communications solutions that drive modernization in a fast-changing world.

“Telecommunications technology is a crucial component to hotel operations, and once again, we are deeply honored to be recognized by Mitel for our expertise in this area,” said Mark Holzberg, CEO of Cloud5 Communications. “As Mitel’s leading hospitality partner, we look forward to further building upon our collaboration and helping more hotel businesses experience the seamless communications and reliability that are hallmarks of the Mitel and Cloud5 brands.”

Cloud5 is the top revenue-producing hospitality reseller of Mitel solutions. Additionally, Cloud5 has passed every certification available under Mitel’s hospitality designation, earning the company the distinctive “Gold Partner” and “Mitel Hospitality Expert” status. These designations underscore Cloud5’s commitment to developing the most knowledgeable, experienced voice personnel in the industry, and help to distinguish it from other hospitality partners in the industry.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Cloud5’s outstanding performance over the past year,” said Frank Skiffington, senior vice-president, Americas sales at Mitel. “At Mitel, we are committed to delivering flexible and future-proof UC solutions that support organizations across key verticals, as well as providing a world-leading customer lifecycle management approach. Our partners play a critical role in achieving this with their deep understanding of end customers’ evolving needs. Working together, we are well positioned for further growth and success by ensuring the organizations we serve have the right communications solutions to thrive, regardless of which path—on-prem, hybrid, or cloud—they take.”


Gervasi Vineyard Uncorks Exceptional Guest Experiences with Oracle Cloud

Gervasi Vineyard wine barrels sign

Gervasi Vineyard Resort & Spa, a luxury destination in Canton, Ohio is expanding its business with Oracle Cloud. Using Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud Property Management System (PMS) and MICROS Simphony Cloud Point-of-Sale (POS), Gervasi has consolidated its operations on a single cloud platform. With streamlined tools and better access to data – from the spa and restaurant to guest rooms and wedding venues, staff and managements are able to save while providing the personalized service guest expect.

“Gervasi has expanded well beyond our vineyard and as our operations became more complex so did managing our disparate systems,” said Scott Swaldo, CEO and General Manager of Gervasi Vineyard. “With the recent openings of The Cave and The Spa, we knew we needed a system that could provide better visibility across our entire operation. Only Oracle offered the connected, modern hotel, event, and restaurant systems we needed to look at our business holistically to better manage revenue and deliver personalized guest experiences.”

Transforming business to create world-class experiences

Born from a family dream nearly 13 years ago, the sprawling 55-acre Ohio estate has become an established destination for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. By implementing Oracle, Gervasi has been able to unify its services, while also increasing its financial and operational efficiencies. The real-time analytics and reporting in OPERA Cloud provide management the insights to meet the changing demands of their customers, and manage their seasonal offerings such as their Summer Musica Concert Series. In tandem, Oracle Hospitality OPERA Sales and Event Management enable staff to maximize revenue by providing real time detailed information on hotel rooms and event spaces, including functional-space availability, room availability, menus, package, and pricing options.

By leveraging the Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform, Gervasi was also able to quickly add Book4Time to manage reservations and ancillary revenue operations at its new spa, enabling guests to book appointments online. Combined with MICROS Simphony POS and OPERA PMS, Gervasi has centralized billing, reservation, and reporting systems. Now, all guest charges across the property, including hotel, dining, and wine purchases, are managed through a single bill to their room.

“With Oracle’s comprehensive hospitality cloud platform, Gervasi has been able to streamline its operations to give our staff more time to offer the exemplary services their guests expect,” said Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Hospitality. “By moving its restaurant, hotel, and spa services to the cloud, Gervasi has the intelligence and tools it needs to better manage and optimize all elements of its operations.”


Sparkling Hill Resort Dazzles Guests Via Maestro PMS and PurpleCloud Technologies Integration

sparkling hill resort dining room

It’s difficult to imagine that anything could be more amazing than 3.5 million Swarovski crystals adorning the walls, ceilings, fireplaces and light fixtures at Sparkling Hill Resort & Spa in Vernon, British Columbia. Yet, communication between guests and staff at the European-style wellness retreat is shining even brighter, thanks to a recent integration partnership between Maestro PMS and PurpleCloud Technologies.

When the privately-owned resort opened its doors in 2010, Maestro PMS was there to power the property’s front-desk, spa, and sales-and-catering operations and provide modules to manage analytics, club & spa, digital registration card, express check-out, gift card, Maestro OBE, SMS messaging, workorders, WebPro and yield management. Then, the resort deployed the PurpleCloud Service Optimization Platform to increase productivity and decrease labor costs, especially in the housekeeping department. Soon Maestro PMS and PurpleCloud teamed up to connect the two solutions with the goal of easing communication between the front desk and housekeeping to boost guest satisfaction and add more transparency to the room-turn process.

“We knew from the onset that Maestro was the preferred choice for property-management technology,” said Glorija Toplak, Sparkling Hill Resort Assistant General Manager. “Their PMS is built specifically to manage the needs of independent hotels and luxury resorts, and the company has a beyond-stellar reputation for customer service. We began searching for a way to boost productivity among our housekeepers and maintenance staff and make tasks more enjoyable for everyone involved. We compared many service-optimization solutions in the market and found PurpleCloud to be the most user friendly and efficient. It provides quick visibility into employee productivity, insight into trends, and the missing transparency we were looking for in housekeeping.

“Because Maestro PMS has an open API, we knew it would be easy for them to integrate with PurpleCloud,” she said. “The joint solution lets the front desk know the status of each room in the make-ready and inspection process and how long it will be before the room is ready for guests. Being able to share that information with people who have checked in and are waiting to get into their rooms is critical to their loyalty and satisfaction. The integration also provides transparency into the workorder process and whether or not tasks have been completed or are still pending. The result is a more fulfilling workday for staff and a better overall experience for guests.”

Soon, Sparkling Hill Resort will add the “gamification” feature of PurpleCloud. Gamification is a strategic approach to improving a business’ operations, efficiency, and worker satisfaction by drawing on natural inclination to complete tasks that can be tracked and subsequently rewarded. For example, when rooms are cleaned and ready by a set time, associate room inspection scores improve. As work orders are completed and reported in real time, employees are audibly notified via their mobile device and reward points are calculated and assigned. Managers can leverage the PurpleCloud point system to keep track of employee productivity and convert points to prizes.

“The Housekeeping Module inside PurpleCloud tracks real-time check-ins and check-outs to create an efficient schedule based on true clean times and shares that information with Maestro PMS,” said Adria Levtchenko, PurpleCloud Co-Founder and CEO. “Together with Maestro, we are eliminating inefficiencies in housekeeping and improving communications across the board. Today Sparking Hill is detecting and managing early arrivals, late checkouts and stay-over services better through the joint platform. Once the property goes live with gamification, it will keep their team members more engaged, working efficiently and feeling recognized. Over time this increases job satisfaction and reduces turnover.”

Warren Dehan, president of Maestro PMS, had this to say: “Maestro’s integration to PurpleCloud Technologies showcases our dedication to helping hotels deliver frictionless staff and guest experiences. Back-of-house employees need the right tools to do their jobs effectively and stay motivated, helping to boost morale and make their jobs more fulfilling. Our industry cannot afford to ignore the critical role these tools play in employee satisfaction. By connecting Maestro PMS and PurpleCloud, we are bringing hotels into the digital age where communication easily flows two ways. Employees are much happier, and in turn, guests are too.”

Decadent Opulence

Sparkling Hill Resort sits atop a secluded viewpoint between Lake Country and Vernon in the Okanagan. The heart of the resort is the 40,000-square-foot European-inspired KurSpa, which offers more than 100 treatments and therapies, including North America’s first Cryo Cold Sauna (–110°C). The resort features 149 guest rooms, a fitness center, movement studio, serenity rooms, tearoom, uniquely themed steams and saunas area and the infinity pool with its beautiful sweeping views of Okanagan Lake.


The resort also offers gourmet dining in the PeakFine Restaurant, casual snacks in the coffee and wine bar lounge, Barrique & Java, and traditional Austrian fare in the newest addition to the property, the 435-year old Gerni’s Farmhouse, which was brought over from Austria. There are plenty of things to do around Sparkling Hill, including 25km of hiking trails to explore, wine, spirit and brewery tours, golfing, cycling, skiing, helicopter touring, water activities and much more.


Papa Johns Hires Industry Vet Mark Shambura as Chief Marketing Officer

Mark Shambura Papa Johns

Papa John’s International Inc. has hired industry vet Mark Shambura to serve as Chief Marketing Officer, effective May 8.  Shambura  most recently worked as CMO for MOD Pizza.   is a brand marketing leader with deep expertise in growing multi-unit restaurant brands. He will oversee brand and advertising; media and field activation; menu strategy and product innovation; and the digital customer experience, including Papa Johns owned channels, loyalty program and aggregator partnerships.

“... He’s delivered impactful marketing strategies with a digital-first, analytics-led approach,” said Rob Lynch, President and CEO of Papa Johns. “Mark’s consumer-centric mindset will be critical as we continue to enhance every single touchpoint of the customer experience – from our digital channels to our menu to our brand – to drive engagement and growth.”

At MOD Pizza he transformed the marketing organization and drove growth by scaling digital and product innovation and further ignited brand engagement across advertising, paid, social, loyalty and field marketing. Prior to MOD Pizza, he served as Executive Director of Marketing at Chipotle Mexican Grill where he helped spearhead the “Real Ingredients” brand strategy and integrated campaign execution.

Shambura will report to Mr. Lynch and serve on the Papa Johns Executive Leadership Team. He replaces Anne Fischer, who departed earlier in the year.



Joe Tenczar Joins Sky Zone as CIO

Joe Tenczar

Indoor active entertainment company Sky Zone added three executives to its leadership team, including Joe Tenczar as Chief Information Officer. The appointment of Debbie Dizon Lauber as Chief People Officer and General Counsel, Eric Taylor as Chief Development Officer, along with Tenczar, will support Sky Zone's ongoing expansion and continued success.

"Sky Zone has grown rapidly over the past eighteen months, and we are excited to have Debbie, Joe and Eric join our leadership team," said Elizabeth Blair, CEO of Sky Zone. "Each of them brings decades of multi-unit operating experience to Sky Zone, which will further accelerate both our owned and franchised park growth."

  • Tenczar, a member of HT's Advisory Board and Restaurant Technology Network's (RTN)'s Board of Governors, will oversee Sky Zone's distributed technology team, focusing on the strategic alignment of technology with the business to support the progress and ongoing success of the company's innovative systems. Having spent the last several decades leading the IT function at multi-unit brands such as Hard Rock International, Ripley's Entertainment, Marriott Vacation Club and Sonny's BBQ, Tenczar was a founding partner of Restaurant CIOs, one of the top restaurant technology advisory firms in the U.S.  Tenczar and Brian Pearson, from Mendocino Market, shared their years of expertise during the MURTEC session, POS Software Trends: A Buyer's Guide.
  • As General Counsel and Chief People Officer, Lauber will focus on optimizing organizational performance, building out the legal, people and enterprise risk management teams' infrastructure and expanding these critical business enabling functions to best support the continued growth of Sky Zone. 
  • For Sky Zone, Taylor, who has over 20 years of experience in real estate and franchise development, will be responsible for concept development, leasing, design, construction and facilities, as well as franchisee real estate support. In this role, he will spearhead Sky Zone's growth into new markets as well as strengthen the brand's presence in key U.S. cities. Taylor previously served as VP of Real Estate and Development at Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex, with over 120 locations.