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  • 6/12/2024

    Cvent Unveils New AI Innovations for Hoteliers and Hospitality Professionals

    cvent teaser logo

    Cvent, a meetings, events and hospitality technology provider, shared several significant AI-driven enhancements during the company’s Hospitality Cloud Product Roadmap Session at Cvent CONNECT. The comprehensive product announcements, which are expected to be launched this year, illustrate Cvent’s commitment to empowering its customers with AI across its event and hospitality technology platform.

    “As a long-time leader in the event and hospitality space, we’re well positioned to capitalize on the AI opportunity in a way that makes the most sense for those who matter most: our customers,” said Jim Abramson, Vice President of Product Management at Cvent. “Our product development strategy prioritizes a practical application of AI across our platform that maximizes impact while minimizing the effort required from our users to access it. We plan to continue investing in new and innovative ways to combine the power of AI, with our decades of data-driven insights, to help hotel teams achieve even better group business results.”

    Cvent announced several planned AI-powered product offerings including:

    • Smarter prospecting with Planner Navigator: New AI capabilities within Planner Navigator will help sales teams to automatically match their hotel, venue or destination with planners who are sourcing over their need dates. AI will also power the creation of customized prospecting pitches. With a few clicks, hoteliers can create tailor-made pitches to more effectively attract and engage their target audience.
    • Improved planner engagement with natural language venue search: Cvent unveiled several new AI-powered solutions built directly within the Cvent Supplier Network (CSN), including natural language search, enabling planners to finetune their hotel and destination searches with conversational language. Planners can simply describe their key criteria (“Venue with a spa”, “adjacent to a golf course”, etc.) in the search box. AI-enabled matching surfaces the best-fit properties, which not only streamlines the sourcing process, but also helps deliver more qualified RFPs to hotels and venues.
    • Faster and more efficient RFP response with Custom Questions: New AI technology will reference a hotel or venue’s past RFP responses and leverage CSN profile information to generate answers to Custom Questions from planners instantly, dramatically reducing the time it takes for hotel sales teams to complete, and respond to, planner proposals.
    • Enhanced agenda creation for planners with RFP Agenda Builder: RFP Agenda Builder, built within the CSN, leverages AI to help planners build comprehensive agendas in seconds. This functionality improves the planner experience and helps to ensure hoteliers have the right information to deliver a successful event.
    • More efficient diagram design with AI Diagram Assistant: Using natural language functionality, AI Diagram Assistant empowers hotel operations teams with the ability to deliver precise, customized floorplans and room layouts within Cvent Event Diagramming in seconds.
  • 6/12/2024

    LG Business Solutions USA Launches LG Business Cloud

    LG logo

    LG Business Solutions USA has launched LG Business Cloud, a powerful web-application platform that puts the power of LG’s Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions under one roof.

    LG Business Cloud enables customers to establish a highly secure common point of access for their LG digital signage devices using a straightforward, one-time sign-up process. User privilege, access control and single sign-on (SSO), license management, site and location structure are all designed to be easy to use yet flexible for the largest deployment.

    “LG has long been a leader in providing intuitive, scalable software and platform solutions to help integrators and their customers remotely monitor and manage digital signage networks as well as distribute and customize content,” said LG Business Solutions USA Senior Vice President Michael Kosla. “Now, the launch of the LG Business Cloud puts all the tools they need to manage these services in one place, with clear value propositions and a consolidated platform experience.”

    Kosla added that the company’s focus on software and services, which supports LG’s global transformation into a Smart Life Solutions company beyond a hardware manufacturer, provides significant benefits to commercial display customers. The LG Business Cloud is a multi-service SaaS cloud platform that provides integrators and business owners simple access to the powerful capabilities of LG ConnectedCare, LG Pro:Centric Cloud, LG Pro:Centric Stay and LG SuperSign Cloud. By eliminating the need to install and manage on-site servers and software running on the servers, each service helps businesses further reduce up-front costs and long-term maintenance requirements

    LG SuperSign Cloud

    LG SuperSign Cloud is a powerful content management system (CMS) designed to boost a retailer’s digital signage campaigns by providing “anywhere, anytime” control of content, remote control of individual displays or the entire network of displays to set on/off scheduling and make real-time changes to content. The software enables easy uploading and distribution of content as well as expert-level editing tools, including music selection

    SuperSign Cloud users can also enhance their content creation using third-party design templates, digital art, and even live on-screen presentation of social media feeds. For example, the specialized DSmenu service allows users to easily create digital menu boards, while PosterMyWall helps users design eye-catching promotional materials -- each offering incredible value to retail and food establishments that require frequent updates. The ArtPlayer service grants access to an array of digital art, while Screenfeed enables companies to simply and cleanly display Instagram feeds through digital signage. Wantreez Music provides expertly curated playlists that harmonize with on-screen content to elevate ambiance in a variety of settings.

    LG Pro:Centric Stay

    With the new LG Pro:Centric Stay platform, LG offers short-term rental property managers and owners a powerful cloud-based TV content distribution and management solution, using powerful tools to create personalized guest experiences for on-premise TVs. The platform makes these powerful capabilities available to virtually any size short-term rental hosts to multinational ”staycation” businesses. It’s easy to create welcome pages, local guides and custom content through Pro:Centric’s familiar drag-and-drop interface that includes widgets such as weather, maps, flight information and more.

    LG ConnectedCare

    LG ConnectedCare is a network manager’s best friend, offering extremely powerful tools to ensure consistent operation of the entire network of displays regardless of deployment size or variety of displays. This is an active monitoring service that automatically sends alert emails to preset recipients for more than 20 common operations errors, and enables remote adjustments to resolve issues and fine tune device settings.

    The main selling point is the ability to eliminate or greatly reduce screen down time, which can directly affect a property’s revenue and customer satisfaction. Furthermore, the ability to manage multiple devices at once reduces labor time and boosts efficiency when enacting changes or updates.

    “Each of these cloud-based services provides high-value functions, efficiency gains and up-front cost savings to help businesses maximize guest experiences, revenues and communication opportunities,” Kosla said. “With the new consolidated user experience unveiled at InfoComm, the LG Business Cloud can be a game-changer for commercial integrators and their customers.”

  • 6/11/2024

    Boxxtech Iaunches Alcohol Vending Machine

    Boxxtech alcohol vending

    Boxxtech announces the launch of their second alcohol vending machine at Progressive Field, the home stadium of Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Guardians. Ballgame attendees can skip long lines and purchase beer and pre-packaged cocktails from the refrigerated The Boxx machine.

    “We are excited to be among the first companies to make unattended alcohol sales safe and effective by embedding ID authentication directly into the machine,” said Boxxtech CEO, Lauren Smee. “For busy environments like stadiums and festivals, The Boxx is an ideal way to keep lines down for pre-packaged products, and reduce staffing costs while still serving the same amount of product.” Boxxtech first demo’d the technology at SuperBowl LVIII, where more than 1,000 beverages were dispensed before and during the game, generating more than $68 every minute it was operational. 

    Unattended retail has previously been challenged to sell 21+ products due to ID verification. Boxxtech integrates IDScan.net Age Restricted Vending package, which includes best-in-class ID authentication, capable of rapidly confirming customer age, and detecting up to 95% of fake IDs. The tech also includes face matching, ensuring that the customer in front of the machine matches the photo on a valid ID or drivers license. This technology replaces visual ID checks that would normally be performed by bartenders or event staff.

    “IDScan.net ID verification technology was the clear winner among the three services we tested for integration into The Boxx. Not only does it successfully catch all fake IDs, keeping minors from accessing products inside the machine, but it was easy to set up without complicated business logic, providing us a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on every verification,” said BoxxTech CTO Chris Davis.

    Boxxtech machines have served more than 27,000 customers since launch in April 2024. Two The Boxx machines are currently operational, with an additional 50 planned for rollout by the end of 2024, including at least one in a major league sports stadium, and a fleet for placement in a major hotel chain that is looking to sell beer in their lobbies without adding additional staff. The Phoenix-based company has already won several major awards, including the AZ Fire Inno Award by the Phoenix Business Journal, and the 2024 Female Founder Venture Madness Award. Additionally, Boxxtech has been awarded with the coveted Innovation Award for NFL Legends, and counts former Oakland Raider Lamarr Houston as its President. They are a Techstars portfolio company, with additional backing from the founder of RetailMeNot. 

  • 6/11/2024

    Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken Donates 150,000 Meals Through GiftAMeal

    Lee's Famous Recipe packaging

    GiftAMeal, the innovative cause-marketing program that turns customer photos into meals for local families in need, announces a significant milestone in donated meals with restaurant partner Lee’s Famous Recipe  Chicken.  As of June, Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken has donated 150,000 meals to families in need through GiftAMeal’s charitable partnership. In 2023, GiftAMeal was named one of HT’s Industry Heroes  for its solution.

    Customers of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken will soon notice something special about their orders – packaging – from drink cups to side boxes – will feature its involvement in GiftAMeal, along with information on how guests can participate in making a difference in their community. This creative initiative not only serves as a platform to raise awareness for the cause but also invites customers to join in supporting food banks across the country. The co-branded packaging will be available at locations nationwide, ensuring that every customer has the chance to fight local hunger. 

    The new packaging will complement a digital effort announced earlier this year in which Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken revamped its mobile application and added a GiftAMeal button on the home page that allows customers to engage directly and effortlessly with the GiftAMeal program. By simply clicking the button and uploading a photo of their dining experience, customers trigger a restaurant-funded donation to a local food bank to help provide a meal to a family in need.

    "By integrating GiftAMeal directly onto their packaging and mobile app, Lee’s has transformed each dining experience into a catalyst for change. Our partnership showcases how technology and collaboration can unite us in a shared mission to nourish those in need, and we are thrilled to continue this journey together," says Andrew Glantz, CEO and Founder of GiftAMeal.

    With 130 restaurant locations participating in GiftAMeal, Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken is one of GiftAMeal's larger partners.

    "The integration of GiftAMeal on our brand-wide packaging reflects our deep-rooted commitment to community engagement and enhances the impact we can make, all with no extra effort for our franchisees,” says Dan Sokolik, VP of Marketing at Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken. “Reaching 150,000 meals highlights the tangible difference we and our guests are making in the lives of local families in need.”

    As GiftAMeal continues to expand its network of restaurant partners, the potential to combat food insecurity grows exponentially. Each new partnership amplifies the collective impact, enabling more families to receive the nourishment they need.

    To learn more about GiftAMeal, visit www.giftameal.com. Restaurants interested in joining can visit  giftameal.com/partner to schedule a free demo today.

  • 6/13/2024

    LuxUrban Hotels Names Robert Arigo Chief Executive Officer

    Luxurban Hotels logo

    LuxUrban Hotels Inc. (“LuxUrban” or the “Company”), a hospitality company which leases entire existing hotels on a long-term basis and rents rooms in its hotels to business and vacation travelers, today announced that its Board of Directors (the “Board”) has appointed hotel and hospitality industry veteran Robert Arigo as its Chief Executive Officer, effective June 10, 2024. Mr. Arigo, who joined LuxUrban in March 2024 as Chief Operating Officer, is an accomplished industry executive who brings more than 35 years of relevant experience to his new role.

    “In his short time here, Rob has distinguished himself as a thoughtful, skilled and experienced leader with a focus on improving experiences for owners and guests as part of the Company’s ongoing efforts to enhance performance,” said Elan Blutinger, Chairman of the Board. “Rob has held leadership positions at some of the most well-known and well-respected hospitality brands in the industry and his appointment is consistent with the Board’s commitment to add and strengthen industry representation and experience in key leadership roles. He has a track record of success in operations and asset management for large-scale turnaround initiatives, and possesses management experience at the franchise, independent and third-party levels. We are confident that Rob is the right person to assume the role of CEO at this critical time in the Company’s evolution.”

    “I am excited and honored to become CEO at this pivotal time of opportunity for LuxUrban,” said Mr. Arigo. “Although we have much work to do, I remain convinced that we operate a unique business model that holds great promise. I look forward to collaborating with our team and lending my experience in pursuit of creating a foundation that can deliver on LuxUrban’s full potential.”

    Mr. Arigo succeeds Shanoop Kothari as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Arigo’s responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer will be absorbed throughout the organization and the Company will assess filling the role at a later time.

    “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Shanoop for his dedication and commitment to LuxUrban at the early stages of our existence as a public company,” continued Mr. Blutinger. “We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”

    About Robert M. Arigo

    Mr. Arigo joined LuxUrban in March 2024 from M&R Hotel Management, which provides hospitality development, turnaround, and management services to a portfolio of hotels throughout the United States, where he served as Vice President beginning in 2018. Prior to this, Mr. Arigo was Senior Director of Operations at Hersha Hospitality Management (HHM), a hotel management company that operates over 240 properties, including luxury and lifestyle properties, across the United States and Canada. Prior to joining HHM, Mr. Arigo served as the Chief Operating Officer of Widewaters Hotels, a leading developer and owner of branded and independent hotels and extended stay properties, in which position he was integral in shaping that company's growth and operational efficiency. Mr. Arigo’s executive experience also includes Highgate Hotels, Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa, Crestline Hotels, Interstate Hotels Corporations, and Marriott. Mr. Arigo’s work has been recognized with awards that included “Hotel Region of the Year,” “Financial Leadership Award,” “Hotel of the Year,” and “Award of Excellence.”

  • 6/13/2024

    eTip Selected by Schulte Hospitality Group for Portfolio-Wide Digital Tipping

    eTip logo

    eTip, the digital tipping and financial benefits platform tailored to service sector businesses, is now the chosen digital tipping provider of Schulte Hospitality Group. This partnership enables associates across Schulte’s renowned portfolio of more than 200 properties worldwide to access eTip's modern contactless tipping technology. This partnership empowers Schulte's diverse range of properties, including Marriott, Hilton, IHG, and Hyatt brands, to offer guests a seamless and secure cashless tipping experience, enabling them to express gratitude to hotel staff easily and conveniently. Powered by eTip and exclusively available through the Visa network, this innovative solution aims to enhance the guest experience while promoting greater staff satisfaction.

    In recent years, certain industries, like restaurants, have seen substantial benefits from digital tipping as customers continue to embrace the practice through easy-to-integrate point-of-sale systems. Until now, the hotel industry faced challenges in providing cashless tipping options to guests. Despite this, nearly 95 percent of guests in a recent survey conducted by eTip reported they would have left a tip for hotel staff during their last stay if there had been a digital option for them to do so. These trends underscore a dual- demand in the industry – not only for increased travel and entertainment but also for hotel stays that prioritize convenience and seamless integration with the technologies guests use daily (ex. contactless check-in). eTip addresses this issue by offering a user-friendly, fast, and seamlessly integrated digital platform that aligns with each hotel's unique brand.

    “At Schulte, the foundation of our success is our team of associates,” says Jason Jackson, VP Operational Strategy & Integrations, Schulte Hospitality Group. “Recognition and feedback are critical to a more motivated workforce and in elevating our service and product, of which our team takes great pride. In today’s digital world, there is an increasingly cashless trend amongst travelers. Therefore, we sought out the platform that best fit our needs, enabling me to curate a charismatic digital tipping program across the portfolio. After exploring a variety of platforms, eTip thoroughly impressed us with their unwavering commitment to success and dedication to innovation. In the spirit of the aforementioned recognition and feedback, I want to sincerely offer appreciation to Robert and the phenomenal eTip Partnership Success Team for their professionalism, incredible contributions, talent, and unending support. Through our collaboration, this initiative was able to become a reality.”

    The eTip solution requires no mobile app download or login credentials. Guests can simply scan a QR code using their mobile phone's camera, tap the banner that appears on their screen, and securely tip using their preferred payment method. Additionally, eTip offers a "tap to tip" feature, enabling users to pay through an NFC-enabled QR code. By tapping their smartphone on the QR code, the guest's preferred associate or department's profile opens, allowing for quick and hassle-free tipping. The tips are swiftly delivered to associates' bank accounts through Visa Direct, eliminating any waiting periods associated with weekly or bi-weekly payroll processes. eTip streamlines the digital tipping process, making it faster and more convenient for guests and associates alike.

    “We are seeing an increase in market demand for a fast, reliable, and fully digitized tipping experience for hotel guests and employees in the hospitality industry,” said Yanilsa Gonzalez-Ore, Head of Money Movement Solutions, North America, Visa. “eTip now offers a digital tipping solution, enabled by Visa Direct, to Schulte Hospitality Group, helping to modernize that process for their guests and employees.”

    Key Capabilities of eTip:

    • No app required: Guests can access eTip directly through their phone's browser, eliminating the need for additional app downloads.
    • Flexible and secure payment options: Guests can tip using their preferred methods, including debit/credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
    • Automatic tip disbursements: eTip's partnership with Visa allows for real-time1 tip disbursements to eligible bank accounts with Visa cards through Visa Direct.
    • Individual and/or pooled tipping: Managers can allocate tips to individual associates or pool tips by team/department.
    • White labeling: The white label design enables seamless integration with each hotel's brand image.
    • Easy to use: eTip handles onboarding, payment processing, tip payouts, and reporting, making the entire process hassle-free for everyone involved.

    “It’s an absolute privilege to deliver eTip’s proven impact within a portfolio as premiere as that of Schulte Hospitality Group, which also employs many of the most hardworking, innovative, and lovely associates we’ve had the pleasure to welcome into the eTip network,” says Robert Petteruti, Co-Founder of eTip. “We’re thrilled they’ve entrusted eTip as the enabler of the enterprise-grade technology that will bring guests’ tipping experiences into the modern era while also meaningfully empowering deserving teams. I’d also be remiss to not sincerely thank the expertise of Jason Jackson and his team, who from a corporate level devised and sorted the many logistics to make such a broad rollout possible. This partnership is a truly special one, and I’m so excited to see it evolve across the many use cases as we continue to build eTip in service of every Schulte property.”

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