Wendy's and Google Cloud announced an expanded partnership to pilot an artificial intelligence (AI) solution,Wendy's FreshAI. The technology has the potential to transform Wendy's drive-thru food ordering experience with Google Cloud's generative AI and large language models (LLMs) technology.
Demand for Drive-Thru
With 75 to 80 percent of Wendy's customers choosing the drive-thru as their preferred ordering channel, delivering a seamless ordering experience using AI automation can be difficult due to the complexities of menu options, special requests, and ambient noise. For example, because customers can fully customize their orders and food is prepared when ordered at Wendy's, this presents billions of possible order combinations available on the Wendy's menu, leaving room for miscommunication or incorrect orders. Google Cloud's generative AI capabilities can now bring a new automated ordering experience to the drive-thru that is intended to enhance the experience that customers, employees and franchisees expect from Wendy's. As HT reported last month, one Wendy's franchise, Wenspoke, is expanding its use of AI in the drive-thrus.
"Wendy's introduced the first modern pick-up window in the industry more than 50 years ago, and we're thrilled to continue our work with Google Cloud to bring a new wave of innovation to the drive-thru experience," said Todd Penegor, President and CEO of the Dublin, Ohio-based QSR. "Google Cloud's generative AI technology creates a huge opportunity for us to deliver a truly differentiated, faster and frictionless experience for our customers, and allows our employees to continue focusing on making great food and building relationships with fans that keep them coming back time and again."
Pilot Near HQ
In June, Wendy's plans to launch its first pilot of Google Cloud's AI technology in a Columbus, Ohio-area, Company-operated restaurant, using those learnings to inform future expansions to more Wendy's drive-thrus. The pilot will include new generative AI offerings, such as Vertex AI and more, to have conversations with customers, the ability to understand made-to-order requests and generate responses to frequently asked questions.
This will all be powered by Google's foundational LLMs that have the data from Wendy's menu, established business rules and logic for conversation guardrails, and integration with restaurant hardware and the Point of Sale system. By leveraging generative AI, Wendy's seeks to take the complexity out of the ordering process so employees can focus on serving up fast, fresh-made, quality food and exceptional service.
Today's update builds upon Google Cloud's and Wendy's long standing partnership to enhance the Wendy's restaurant experience. Since 2021, Wendy's has leveraged Google Cloud's data analytics, AI, machine learning (ML), and hybrid cloud tools to make it faster, easier, and more convenient for customers to access the brand.
Radisson Hotel Group Unveils "Skip to Rewards" Campaign to Showcase Benefits of Its New Loyalty Program
Radisson Hotel Group's new loyalty campaign, "Skip to Rewards" addresses the typical challenges which customers face with traditional loyalty schemes. External and internal data suggest that two-thirds of members believe that traditional loyalty programs do not deliver what they promise, and only 22% of guests believe that loyalty program offers are relevant to their needs. Additionally, 78% of respondents preferred immediate access to benefits over accumulating points. The "Skip to Rewards" campaign features relatable situations which illustrate the challenges many customers face with traditional loyalty programs and highlights the unique features that make the new Radisson Rewards program more rewarding. The campaign's objective is to boost awareness of the loyalty program’s exclusive benefits such as free nights, guaranteed best rates, fast track to the next status level, and complimentary room upgrades.
The creative campaign was developed using a fun, relatable tone in which Radisson Rewards breaks away from the typical and formulaic loyalty program approach and highlights how the program offers loyalty members a fresh approach to redeem their benefits. The campaign features four characters who experience different challenges with traditional loyalty programs, which are subsequently solved by becoming a Radisson Rewards member.
The experience of the first featured character, Laura, pokes fun at how earning a free night from a typical loyalty scheme can literally take a lifetime. As a new Radisson Rewards member in the present, Laura is already enjoying a free night at her preferred hotel.
Max, the second character, is pushed to the limits in his endless and tiring search for the best hotel rate. After showing him lose his patience, the clip ends with Max enjoying one of the Radisson Rewards benefits – the guaranteed Member Only Rate.
Waiting to receive a room upgrade through a loyalty scheme can be frustrating, as the experience of the third character, Janet, confirms. After receiving a visit from the future, she is pleasantly surprised with the swift room upgrade she receives by becoming a Radisson Rewards member.
Robert, the final character, is experiencing a long journey to the top tier status level of his current loyalty program. So much so, that he turns to stone. Fortunately, Radisson Rewards offers the fastest tier progression in the hotel sector, and the video ends with Robert enjoying his VIP status with Radisson Rewards.
Radisson Rewards, the most streamlined loyalty program in the hospitality sector, offers three tiers (Club, Premium, and VIP) to make earning and redeeming points easier than ever before. The new Discount Booster allows members to boost their discount by reducing the number of points they earn, a unique feature that sets Radisson Rewards apart from other industry loyalty programs.
Personalization is at the core of Radisson Rewards. Each loyalty member’s preferences and previous requests are incorporated into the member’s comprehensive profile to customize their benefits for each booking. Members also have access to an enhanced digital experience, including a private member online profile and app, which provide quick access to useful information such as their history of previous bookings, invoices, favorite hotels, and more.
Cristina Serra, Global Senior Vice President Brand & Experience, Customer & Marketing Strategy at Radisson Hotel Group, is thrilled about the launch of "Skip to Rewards", saying, "This campaign is a milestone for our loyalty program as it enables us to communicate to our customers the program's benefits, such as fastest tier progression in the industry, Member Only Rate and to make sure that Every Moment Matters when members stay with Radisson Hotel Group. Moreover, I am convinced that the variety of exclusive benefits Radisson Rewards offers will encourage even more new members to join the program and be rewarded right from day one”.
Radisson Rewards is aligned with Radisson Hotel Group's pioneering responsible business commitment and allows members to offset the carbon footprint of each stay by redeeming 325 points per day, making their stay 100% carbon neutral.
OTA Insight Expands Business Intelligence Product Suite and Launches Spider in EMEA
OTA Insight, the global leader in cloud-based hospitality business intelligence, today announced the expansion of its business intelligence (BI) product suite with the launch of Spider in the Europe, Middle East and Africa markets. This launch builds on the acquisition of Kriya RevGen in 2022 and marks another step in OTA Insight's strategy to empower revenue managers with the best tools in the industry.
Since 2022, OTA Insight has operated two BI products: Revenue Insight under the OTA Insight brand and Spider under the Kriya brand. Starting today, both BI solutions will be available under the OTA Insight umbrella, with Spider now being made available in the EMEA market. Spider has provided U.S.-based hotels and management companies with a comprehensive business intelligence solution for over five years, and will now enable EMEA hotel partners to quickly and easily monitor their portfolio.
Spider addresses the key challenges faced by revenue managers who oversee multiple hotels under various brands. By unifying and standardising data from diverse sources across different hotel systems, it streamlines revenue management processes and reporting. Spider eliminates the need for time-consuming manual reporting and ensures that decisions are driven by data, providing a comprehensive and coherent view for better decision-making.
"Spider has already made a significant impact in the US hospitality market, and we're thrilled to bring this powerful solution to hoteliers in EMEA," said Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of OTA Insight. "Our goal is to ensure that all of our customers have access to the most advanced, innovative and reliable tools to help them make data-driven decisions and grow their businesses, wherever they’re located.”
"Spider isn't just for one department, it's an invaluable solution for our operations, sales, and revenue management team,” said Donna Paraliticci, Regional Director of Sales & Revenue Management at Mid-Continent Hospitality. “It doesn't just provide information, it offers invaluable insights that we all tap into. Spider gives us the data we need exactly when we need it, without missing a beat. It’s quick, accurate, and makes us more efficient.”
Spider is designed for advanced revenue managers, management companies, and hotel owners and groups with diverse revenue management systems, and provides a complete BI offering. Spider aggregates information into a single BI solution, improving efficiency and expanding revenue management capabilities.
The number of hotels in North America adopting Spider has tripled over the past year, demonstrating the platform's powerful and positive impact on hotel commercial decision-making. OTA Insight plans to make Spider available in the APAC market by the end of the year, further expanding its global reach.
Olga's Kitchen has expanded its partnership with VOICEplug AI, a provider of voice-AI solutions, to enhance its customer experience through AI enabled ordering. The partnership has helped Olga’s Kitchen improve efficiency, allowing employees in the restaurant to focus on bringing an elevated level of guest service.
The 50-year-old Detroit restaurant has a loyal customer base that is used to ordering food from their nearest Olga’s Kitchen several times a month. It was important for the Olga’s Kitchen team to have calls answered promptly, orders taken accurately and pushed to the POS and kitchen for immediate processing. With VOICEplug’s AI, every call is picked up on the first ring, customers are uniquely identified using their voice signature and conversations are personalized to the customer’s profile to ensure a pleasant customer experience. Orders are captured accurately even when there is background noise like the radio in the car or kids screaming. The AI system is fully conversational, allowing customers to interact naturally without having to follow a defined script.
VOICEplug's AI technology has enabled Olga's Kitchen to achieve an order to call conversion rate of more than 95% on average. “We are thrilled to partner with VOICEplug AI to streamline our operations and provide our customers with an enhanced and personalized ordering experience," said Ryan Jones, Vice President of Operations for Olga's Kitchen. "The implementation of Voice-AI technology has helped us improve efficiency, while also enabling us to offer our customers more convenient and efficient ways to place orders."
VOICEplug’s approach is to build AI for restaurant brands using real audio conversations between the customers and the restaurant brand. This allows the AI to deliver highly accurate output and adopt to the customer’s style of conversing with the brand rather than the customers having to adopt to the AI.
IRIS announces new technology investment program with the launch of IRIS TECH VENTURES
IRIS, a global leader in digital F&B ordering and concierge services for the hospitality industry, today announces the launch of its new investment program IRIS TECH VENTURES.
Targeting travel and hospitality technology start-ups it will deliver significant growth opportunities for those companies with a keen ambition to enhance the guest experience working alongside IRIS’ existing portfolio of solutions and partners.
IRIS TECH VENTURES is a global program, open to start-ups worldwide and will be overseen by IRIS CEO Mark Horne.
The new program represents a significant investment by IRIS at a time when demand for technology, and in particular mobile ordering technology by both operators and guests, is at an all-time high. Many predict a continued and significant increase in the adoption of mobile-first, on demand technology that delivers a more personalized, autonomous experience for both the guest and operators. Coupled with the maturation of the internet-first Generation Z, there is an unprecedented wealth of opportunity for new technology companies to work in closer alliance with hospitality operators to support operations and drive efficiencies and revenue.
IRIS has invested significantly in growing its network of integration partners in recent years. The launch of IRIS TECH VENTURES signifies the next step in the company cementing its ongoing commitment to retaining its technical leadership in both its service and product offering, as well as its customer service.
Mark Horne, CEO, IRIS, comments: “Since IRIS first launched we have invested heavily to maintain our status as technology pioneers for the hospitality industry. We are committed to developing and enhancing our suite of solutions for clients to ensure we continue to lead the market.
“IRIS TECH VENTURES is the next important step and as part of this investment strategy we will work with partners and acquire technology where necessary to focus on the rapidly evolving needs of both the hotel guests, management companies and owners.
“We are operating in an incredibly dynamic and diversified market and our ambition as part of this new strategy and programme is to build a holistic hospitality technology ecosystem with a host of revenue-generating and resource saving software solutions.
“Investing in the next generation of hospitality technology and playing an active role in elevating the guest experience through these technologies is incredibly exciting, for us, our clients and our clients’ guests.”
BEONx, a hospitality revenue management service provider, announced its Revenue Management System is available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace, and can be integrated with the Oracle Hospitality Integration Platform (OHIP). Oracle Cloud Marketplace is as centralized repository of enterprise applications offered by Oracle and Oracle partners.
Among the BEONx solutions available on Oracle Cloud Marketplace is the BEONx Sustainable Profit Platform (SPP), providing hoteliers a fresh perspective on revenue management.
SPP offers automated, integrated, and digital solutions to optimize costs, revenue generation, and guest retention using cutting-edge AI and machine-learning technology. The platform includes a powerful revenue management system as well as a carefully curated selection of partner applications, allowing hotels to analyze and optimize all revenue streams, from parking and restaurant services to room revenue.
Rubén Sánchez, CEO at BEONx said: “The participation of BEONx in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace further extends our commitment to the Oracle community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of our RMS. We look forward to leveraging the power of the Oracle Cloud to help us achieve our business goals and helping Oracle’s independent hoteliers, global and regional chains become more efficient – empowering their staff to perform at their best.
“The BEONx RMS optimizes pricing and distribution based on consumer preferences and buying patterns, leveraging the Hotel Quality Index (HQI™), the only index in the hotel market that measures overall hotel quality. With a double segmentation by channel and market, hotels are equipped with the information they need to make informed decisions to maximize their profits” added Rubén.
Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a one-stop shop for Oracle customers seeking trusted business applications that offer unique business solutions, including ones that extend Oracle Cloud Applications. Oracle Cloud is an enterprise cloud that delivers massive, non-variable performance and next generation security across a comprehensive portfolio of services, including SaaS, application development, application hosting, and business analytics. Customers get access to leading compute, storage, data management, security, integration, HPC, artificial intelligence (AI), and Blockchain services to augment and modernize their critical workloads. Oracle Cloud runs Oracle Autonomous Database, the industry's first and only self-driving database.