News Briefs


SoundHound Voice AI Now Available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace

voice ai soundwaves

SoundHound for Restaurants voice AI technology is available for integration with Oracle MICROS Simphony Point-of-Sale for Restaurants. 

SoundHound for Restaurants’ Smart Ordering voice AI integrates with Oracle MICROS Simphony POS to help any restaurant to accept voice orders from customers over the phone, via menu kiosk, or at the drive-thru, and transmit them directly to the platform. SoundHound’s voice technology intelligently learns a restaurant’s menu and can answer questions, accept modifications, and even upsell – helping restaurant staff maximize the number of orders they can process with greater speed and efficiency.

Even during peak hours, Smart Ordering empowers restaurants to never miss an order, and is able to deal with many customers simultaneously, helping to avoid frustration and order abandonment. The voice technology can also answer questions about restaurant location, business hours, and other FAQs, allowing employees to focus on making food and serving customers. 

Importantly, SoundHound’s advanced conversational AI allows restaurant customers to speak naturally when placing an order – just as if they were speaking to a human. It is capable of capturing selections accurately and in real-time, making it a reliable and cost-effective way for restaurants to deal with the increased demand for takeout amid recent labor shortages. 

Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a one-stop shop for Oracle customers seeking business applications offering unique business solutions, including ones that extend Oracle Cloud Applications.

SoundHound’s voice AI is the result of nearly two decades of innovation, including providing voice AI solutions to a range of world-class brands, including Hyundai, Pandora, Snap, VIZIO, LG and Mercedes-Benz. Through SoundHound, each of these companies offer voice technology that is built from the ground up and optimized for human speech. 


Nemacolin Turns to Hapi for Salesforce CRM Deployment

aerial shot of the Nemacolin

Nemacolin, an award-winning, luxury destination resort nestled within 2,200-acres in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, has partnered with Hapi and Salesforce to roll out high-touch, personalized service across its entire campus, which includes lodging, restaurants and activities.

In addition to two championship golf courses and a casino, Nemacolin features a salon, shops, an award-winning spa and a holistic healing center. Dining options include four high-end restaurants and six casual dining options, as well as seven bars and lounges. Accommodations include two luxury hotels, a Tudor-style lodge, two-bedroom townhouses and high-end private homes.

During the COVID lockdown, Nemacolin was forced to transition from mainly group business to placing a high emphasis on leisure travel and the leisure guest experience. As such, leadership today is focused on personalized guest experiences that will drive customer service scores and repeat leisure business.

To ‘wow’ guests with personalized touches throughout their stay, Nemacolin has turned to Salesforce for their Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Analytics products. Together, these tools will provide a central, unified view of each guest and a platform for staff members across the property to access and action guest profile details.

“Historically, our strategy was to get people to book rooms, and if they want to do something else while on property, we expected them to call us back,” says Dan Swanson, Director of Revenue Strategy at Nemacolin. “Now, we've started to implement a high-touch experience by looking beyond bookings and really understanding our guests – who they are, what their preferences are, what they’ve spent money on, and what their satisfaction scores are. Now we can proactively help them make those appointments.”

While Salesforce is widely recognized as a leader in Customer Relationship Management across many industries, leadership at Nemacolin wanted a partner with deep hospitality expertise to help setup and deploy the Salesforce ecosystem, including integrating the multitude of operating systems across the property and ensuring normalized data was flowing properly. They turned to Hapi Guest, the only solution to securely integrate hotel data into Salesforce Cloud environments in real time.

“Hospitality is a finicky business that takes a while to learn. Hapi understands it, and that's the experience we were looking to take advantage of,” Swanson says. “The plug and play nature of what Hapi brings from an interface perspective is exciting, meaning if we need to unplug any of our systems, we can plug a new one in the next day.”

Hapi Guest will help extract and organize all the data that is collected by different sources across the expansive Nemacolin property. Data will be normalized to ensure a single guest profile and then sent to the Salesforce ecosystem via a single feed.

“Hapi Guest is enabling hotels like Nemacolin to use Salesforce to create traveler personalization at scale, reinventing guest journeys across all channels,” says Luis Segredo, CEO of Hapi. “We’re proud of this partnership with one of the world’s most unique luxury resorts and look forward to helping them access and action their guest data.”


hihotels Announces Partnership with Hopper Travel App

hihotels logo

hihotels by Hospitality International, a recognized leader in franchising of conversion and new build hotels for economy lodging, is pleased to announce a partnership with Hopper, the world’s fastest-growing travel app.

With this new partnership, Hopper will have a direct connection with hihotels’ five distinct brands – Scottish Inns, Red Carpet Inn, Master Hosts Inns, Downtowner Inns and Passport Inn. These brands will benefit from Hopper’s proprietary suite of fintech products that drive conversion, repeat purchases and profitability. Featuring an award-winning booking experience, Hopper will also help hihotels expand its growing online presence and retain its customer base.

“This strategic alliance with Hopper is yet another way of providing more revenue opportunities and increased exposure for our franchisees,” said hihotels Director of Operations Gary Gobin. “Hopper, previously known for its flights business, has rapidly expanded into hotels, homes and rental cars in recent years -- with hotels currently comprising more than half of the company's travel bookings. We like how they are strongly focused on social media marketing, which will improve exposure of our hotels to younger generations who prefer to spend money on experience, rather than higher-priced accommodations.”

“At Hopper we strive to provide the best accommodation offerings in the same place that users are booking the rest of their travel,” said Lexi Caron, Head of Hotel Marketplace at Hopper. “This partnership brings new direct inventory to the Hopper app, which has been downloaded over 100 million times to date, and helps us deliver on our promise to offer customers the best price, selection and inventory available.”


REPORT: Women Growing Among Hospitality Leadership

AHLA Foundation Logo

Representation of women within hospitality leadership continues to increase, with women gaining some ground at the CEO and president levels, according to a new report commissioned by the AHLA Foundation and conducted by Penn State’s School of Hospitality Management.

The AHLA Foundation is a philanthropic organization that aims to inspire, support, and advance the hospitality workforce. The 2023 “Women in Hospitality” research report focuses on evaluating the state of women’s representation in leadership in the hotel industry.

The findings indicate that in 2022 the hospitality industry made steady, incremental progress toward women’s advancement to executive leadership roles, while underscoring areas of opportunity to further diversify representation across industry fields.

Key findings include:

  • Women now hold one in four of all chief-level positions at hotel companies, although mostly in human resources and sales/marketing roles.
  • At the director level, women now occupy an equal number of positions as men. Women have experienced gains in leadership positions in hospitality investment and development since 2019, going from one woman for every 10 men to one woman for every 7.9 men.
  • Women held 24% of the podium spots at hotel investment conferences, up from 16% in 2017.
    • On the main stage, 37% of prime speaking spots in 2022 went to women – up from 22% just a year earlier in 2021.

This is the sixth annual benchmark report commissioned by the AHLA Foundation. Researchers under the direction of Phillip Jolly, PhD, assistant professor of hospitality management at Penn State, reviewed publicly available data spanning more than 6,000 individuals from 701 companies and more than 7,000 hotel investment conference attendees.

“We want to see equity for women at the leadership level and across the hotel industry, and this progress is encouraging,” said AHLA Foundation President Anna Blue. “Representation is only the first step. We see growing efforts by our members to prioritize intersectional leadership, inclusion, and belonging for women in the industry.”

“Although we must continue to increase representation of women leaders in hospitality, it’s encouraging that the hotel industry is steadfastly working together to address longstanding inequities. This report shows that change is possible,” said Donna Quadri, PhD, Marvin Ashner director of the Penn State University School of Hospitality Management.

Click here to view the full report.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association and the AHLA Foundation are part of the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance.


DeliverThat Introduces Smart Catering Dashboard

delivery guy with arms

DeliverThat, a catering delivery company, introduced a smart dashboard that directly integrates with other catering channels like Olo.

"We love the increased flexibility with editing submissions as well as the ability for restaurants to have a clearer view of their individual deliveries," said Megan Welcome, Director of Catering for One Table Restaurant Brands.

Regardless of order source, the dashboard provides timestamps, set-up photos and real-time updates on delivery and driver statuses, allowing for full transparency across all channels.

"The enhanced dashboard is a game changer: effective, sleek, intelligent. Our catering team instantly sees orders placed from our native site and can track drivers in real time with only a few clicks. The setup pictures are an added plus," said Wes Patrick, Vice President, Ops Excellence and Off-Premise Performance for Tijuana Flats.

The dashboard is creating efficiencies and streamlining driver schedules. It is helping brands save money, by ensuring their restaurants have the food ready and on time for pickup. This alone is driving catering comps down from over 2% to .3%.


Valyant AI Secures Fifth US Patent for Conversational AI

patent approved

Valyant AI, an artificial intelligence company focused on customer service in the restaurant industry, received its fifth patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Patent No. 11,594,223.

Valyant AI patents cover AI-based drive-thru order automation. 

The patent protects Valyant AI’s proprietary method for positioning a hardware ordering device on a restaurant site, capturing multiple audio streams and leveraging an artificial intelligence engine to conduct automated ordering processes for several different customers to complete orders. The AI-driven solution eases labor shortages with order automation.

“A critical milestone in our strategy to scale up and develop the world’s best conversational AI platform for the QSR industry, this patent allows us to further redefine how customers interact with AI to place their orders at the drive-thru,” said Rob Carpenter, CEO and founder of Valyant AI. “With a significant majority of QSR sales happening at the drive-thru window, restaurant owners need an innovative solution like ours that delivers industry-leading cost savings, increased upsells, reduced wait times and enhanced operational efficiencies.”

One of the world’s first commercial retail deployments of conversational AI for the enterprise, Valyant AI’s platform is used by four leading restaurant brands and integrates into existing point-of-sale, headset and order confirmation boards to streamline the customer experience, improve employee efficiency and help address labor shortages. By boosting average ticket sizes, diminishing customer service wait times and reducing operational costs via the ability to backfill key employee positions and reduce turnover, Valyant AI’s conversational AI platform delivers up to a 20% increase in top-line revenue. 

The platform also features custom voices, further transforming the drive-thru experience by allowing guests to interact with local heroes, celebrities, mascots, voices with accents and other characters when placing orders. More than simply transactional, custom voice experiences create excitement that guests look forward to and keep them returning. This new functionality is expected to help the Valyant platform boost sales, enhance brand loyalty, and raise customer satisfaction at QSRs across the country. 

This most recent patent is related to Valyant AI’s conversational AI technology patents asserted in its patent infringement lawsuit filed 18 months ago.