For electric vehicle owners in British Columbia, Tim Hortons is now fueling road trips in more ways than one. The company has announced the expansion of its electric vehicle charging station pilot launched earlier this year in Oakville, Ontario, by unveiling six new charging stations at restaurants throughout British Columbia.
Tim Hortons announced the pilot in February in an effort to study the technology, its usage and opportunities.
"We have been thrilled with the results of the pilot so far. Usage of the charging station in Oakville has surpassed our expectations and we received many calls with requests to expand the pilot," said Paulo Ferreira, Senior Director, International Strategic Restaurant Design and Building Standards, Tim Hortons. "With more than 3,300 eligible restaurants across the country, we continue to look for opportunities to expand the pilot and contribute to the EV infrastructure."
The BC expansion, supported by the Province of BC's Community Charging Infrastructure Fund and Koben Systems Inc. (KSI), placed charging stations strategically in Nanaimo, Langford, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Abbotsford and Coquitlam to create paths within the province, allowing guests to travel from restaurant to restaurant strictly on electric power.
Tim Hortons offers charging stations as a courtesy to guests at six locations. As of March 31st, 2013, Tim Hortons had 4,288 system-wide restaurants, including 3,453 in Canada, 808 in the United States and 27 in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
Clootrack Analysis Reveals Hotel Guests’ Biggest Concerns
Clootrack, an intelligent customer experience analytics platform, has released an extensive study analyzing 35k customer reviews of 29 leading four-star and five-star US hotels.
According to the study, the biggest concern for hotel guests is the pricing and the possibility of hidden charges. The study found that many hotel guests are concerned that they may be charged for things they did not use or want, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction. These hidden charges can include fees for in-room amenities, additional services, and even taxes and resort fees.
The study highlights the importance of transparent pricing practices and clear communication about fees and charges. Hoteliers can benefit greatly from addressing these concerns and ensuring their pricing policies are fair and transparent, providing a more positive guest experience.
Parking is also highlighted as a significant source of frustration for hotel guests in the study. The key concerns that US hotel guests have regarding parking include a shortage of spaces, vehicles parked in non-designated areas, high parking fees, difficulty finding a parking spot, and inadequate instructions upon check-in. Guests have also reported being unable to drop off their luggage at the lobby due to parked cars and have criticized the high prices for street parking. Interestingly, parking was a bigger concern for guests in four-star hotels than those in five-star properties.
Clootrack's analysis revealed that hotels in different US cities have varying guest experiences. Hotels in New York and San Diego scored lower for staff behavior and cleanliness than those in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.
The study delved into the experiences of popular customer profiles and found some interesting trends. According to the study, group customers are more satisfied with hotel services than other customer profiles. In fact, they were found to be more optimistic about food standards and restaurant service than other customers. Interestingly, the study also found that a "good breakfast" influenced group customers the most compared to other profiles.
Clootrack's study provides valuable insights into the preferences and trends shaping the US hospitality industry. The report concludes that maintaining pricing transparency, attention to detail throughout the guest experience, and implementing best practices from other high-performing hotels are vital for delivering exceptional customer experiences.
Hotels mentioned by customers in the Clootrack study include Hilton, Hyatt Regency, Paris Las Vegas, Omni, Rio, Hyatt Grand, InterContinental, Marriott Marquis, Sheraton, Loews, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Royal Sonesta, DoubleTree, Marriott, Four Seasons, The Ritz-Carlton, Pendry, The Westin, JW Marriott, Hyatt Centric, The Langham, Renaissance, Sonesta ES Suites, Harrah's Sonesta, Thompson, Conard, and W Miami.
Oaky, the hyper-personalized hotel upselling solution, is pleased to announce its collaboration with Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, a vibrant and expanding collection of 90+ fiercely independent small brands, lifestyle hotels, and resorts spread across the United States. By coming together, Curator members can maintain the distinct identity of each property while harnessing the power of scale.
Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, renowned for its quality and variety of independent hotels, embarked on a meticulous selection process to identify a partner that could meet their rigorous criteria for automation, innovation, integration, and overall excellence. Oaky's unwavering commitment to these values and its proven track record as the top hotel upselling software, as recognized by Hotel Tech Report for 6 years in a row, made it a stand-out in the competitive landscape. Continuous innovation such as the integration with leading RMS provider Duetto - also a preferred vendor for Curator- was also a deciding factor. In this collaboration, Curator Hotel & Resort Collection will recommend Oaky as a preferred upselling tool for their members.
"We are honored to have been chosen by Curator Hotel & Resort Collection," said Erik Tengen, co-founder and CEO at Oaky. "Having been vetted as a preferred upsell software demonstrates the trust Curator has placed in us to deliver outstanding guest experiences while maximizing operational efficiency. We are proud to be part of Curator's vision for curating hotels, curating unique experiences, and now curating a cutting-edge tech stack."
“Curator is focused on providing our members with the most innovative tech solutions and operational opportunities to grow revenue and service their guests,” said Brent Hayhurst, Director of Program Development at Curator. “Oaky has proven to be a prominent player in the upsell solution category. Solution enhancements such as the integration with revenue management systems, like Duetto, and the recent launch of a front desk upsell product is expected to add incremental value to member hotels that choose to adopt Oaky as part of their guest journey.”
Furthermore, Oaky's strategic alliance with Curator opens up new avenues for business growth, particularly in the United States market. With a strong network that includes renowned industry players such as Sage Hospitality Group, Davidson Hospitality Group, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, and other esteemed partners, Curator Hotel & Resort Collection is well-positioned to amplify the exposure and visibility of Oaky to independent hotels across the United States.
As a testament to the mutual benefits of this alliance, Oaky and Curator have formed a preferred agreement that provides substantial cost savings for member properties when they opt in for the comprehensive solutions offered by Oaky.
Nomadix Introduces its Next Generation Nomadix Cloud
Nomadix® Inc., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the next generation of its Nomadix Cloud platform, giving partners and property managers more visibility and management capabilities for their Nomadix solutions. The expanded Nomadix Cloud leverages a “better together” approach, whereby users can view their entire fleet of Nomadix equipment and solutions across all of their properties, via a single pane of glass. It offers increased intelligence, management and monitoring capabilities, as well as improved functionality to not only understand the health of the network but also take proactive measures to ensure that solutions have the latest software releases, firmware upgrades and license updates.
The next generation Nomadix Cloud is in response to the addition of several new solutions brought to market by the company in the last 12-18 months. To provide property managers and managed service providers a full picture on one centralized platform for their entire technology estate, Nomadix Cloud encompasses internet gateways, Nomadix Networks (wireless access points, controllers, and switches), Cloud Telephony, PMS integration, TV Casting, Nomadix Passpoint, Angie e-concierge and Nomadix Alerts. Nomadix Cloud provides an organized management view and APIs to make support and development more cost-effective for partners and property managers.
“As Nomadix brings connected experiences to life across industries such as hospitality and multi-tenant communities, we are focused on creating reliable technology solutions and tools to increase value and reduce support costs for partners and customers,” said David Hulse, chief technical officer for cloud products at Nomadix. “Our ‘better together’ approach for the next generation of the Nomadix Cloud will become an essential management component for service providers to help them effectively support one to thousands of properties and technology assets around the globe.”
The Nomadix Cloud also includes new features:
Single Sign On: Easily log into products in the Nomadix portfolio through the Nomadix Cloud.
License Management: See the status of licenses across the whole fleet of Nomadix products so properties or groups of properties can always ensure everything is up to date.
Gateway status: View the current connectivity status, firmware version and feature licensing for each gateway in the fleet.
Gateway backup to the cloud: Back up the gateway flash file system securely to the cloud on a regular schedule or as required.
APIs: For service providers and properties working with technology outside of Nomadix, APIs can connect those products, creating overarching control over all property technology.
For more information and live demonstrations, visit booth #419 at The Hospitality Show in Las Vegas and booth #231 at HITEC Toronto.
HITEC 2023 NEWS: HCN Bringing NEW In-Room Tablet with Modern UI & Mobile Phone Mirroring to HITEC Toronto
Next week at HITEC® Toronto, Hotel Communication Network will showcase its re-engineered in-room tablet with two-way guest communications at the core. The NEW Navigator 2.0 gives guests and staff more control over the stay experience. Guests have everything they need from individual/group messaging, food ordering, check out, and service requests to choosing when they want their rooms clean, where they want food delivered onsite, and how they can explore the local community. Navigator 2.0 with real-time language translation makes two-way communication effortless and operators can easily update and self-manage content as often as needed throughout the day.
HCN’s Navigator 2.0 will be on display in Booth 1237 at HITEC® Toronto, June 27 to 30 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center – South Building. To pre-schedule a booth visit, click here: https://hcn-inc.com/index.php/contact-us/.
“Tablets are making a resurgence in hotels in a BIG way – but don’t just take my word for it,” said Kevin Bidner, HCN President. “Operators are coming to us saying their guests are demanding new, more convenient ways to connect with the hotel and its surroundings. Because travelers are bringing tablets with them everywhere, it makes sense that we extend that familiar mobile experience to the room, uploaded with tools to personalize their experience while driving added revenue to the bottom line. Those who have recently adopted Navigator 2.0 say it has everything they need and traveler’s want. To find out ‘who’ those operators are that have recently adopted this innovative platform, meet with us in Booth 1237 at HITEC.”
Navigator 2.0 is a rich, modern approach to guest engagement and revenue enhancement. The cloud-based platform is built on the latest technology stack leapfrogging traditional guest-facing tablet solutions.
Features of the Navigator 2.0 tablet platform include:
An elegant look and feel with a Netflix-inspired user interface that appeals to the masses.
Compelling content in any language the hotel chooses that draws people in to click around, discover on-premises services and amenities, and spend more money on site.
Hotel staff can now easily and immediately update content to the guest room devices. No need to rely on a service provider to deliver costly content management resources.
A Bluetooth pairable speaker base with high-quality sound, USB A&C charging points, and stunning HD graphics. The speaker base also serves as a voice assistant, enabling guests to request services and amenities, report problems, plus control lights, thermostat, and blinds by voice command.
At HITEC Toronto, HCN will demonstrate how Navigator 2.0 will quickly become a hotel’s newest source of revenue and cost reduction. For example, their DineIN program has proven to increase revenues by 20% to 30% (a net gain above $10 per room per month in incremental revenue from f&b upsell opportunities) while Guest Choice reduces labor costs by 5% (between $15 - $30 per room) with each opt-out of room cleaning. Also, digitalizing the compendium saves printing costs while digital marketing earns thousands of dollars in advertising, spa, golf, tours, extended stays/late check-out fees, rebooking, and group branding and sponsorships. More importantly, the device enables brands to drive membership in their loyalty programs and increase mobile app use.
Industry Expert Endorses Navigator 2.0
Neil Schubert, HCN Product Officer, former Advisory Board member of Hotel Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), and a 40-year hospitality industry technologist (with 20 of those years spent spearheading the technology initiatives for Marriott International), said the communication platform making the most traction today is the interactive guestroom tablet.
“A guestroom tablet is truly the only effective, unobtrusive tool to achieve a 100% reach to hotel guests and it can be used as a platform to drive better customer engagement with the brand apps and text messaging channels,” Schubert said. “Tablets can also replace most peripheral in-room equipment, like the phone, TV remote, and clock/radio. And they can be used to push surveys, optimize room cleaning, and promote revenue-generating late check-out. I encourage all my industry friends and colleagues to stop by Booth 1237 at HITEC Toronto to come see what they’ve been missing with Navigator 2.0.”
Deloitte: The Future of Restaurants Continues to Evolve, Fed by Consumer Demand for Convenience and Frictionless Digital Experiences
Restaurant dining has returned to pre-pandemic levels, and the future of the industry will be shaped by consumer demand for convenience and frictionless digital experiences. This is according to Deloitte’s new survey, “The Future of Restaurants: The New Normal and Beyond."
Deloitte leveraged its Future of the Consumer Industry analysis to examine implications brought on by forces changing the industry across markets, models, and mechanics in the restaurant sector. This analysis, coupled with the results of a survey of 750 respondents fielded in March 2023 who had ordered from a restaurant within the last three months, formed the basis of this paper.
Key takeaways from Deloitte’s Future of Restaurants Survey
Restaurant dining rebounds as more than half of consumers (55%) say they are dining in restaurants as much or more than before the pandemic.
More than one-third (37%) of dine-in guests and 40% of takeout guests want less expensive options alongside promotions and discounts.
When placing a delivery or takeout order, 40% of customers prefer to do so directly through a restaurant’s app or website, compared to 13% who prefer third-party apps or websites.
Consumers age 18-38 are more likely to return to restaurants that use automation technologies than those age 39+, signaling that these technologies are likely to continue to be adopted over time.
Markets: Diners crave value from the restaurant experience
While consumers continue to have an appetite for the restaurant experience, financial concerns are driving even greater demand for high-quality food at reasonable prices. To address the market demand for value amid shifting needs and preferences, restaurants should tailor targeted discount and marketing campaigns, diversified offerings, and channel-specific offerings to drive growth.
Despite concerns that restaurants might not recover from the pandemic, more than half of consumers (55%) reported they dined in restaurants with equal or greater frequency than before the disruption.
A surprising 69% of consumers ordered food for takeout or delivery at the same rate or more frequently than pre-pandemic.
As an incentive to order from restaurants more frequently, 37% of dine-in guests and 40% of takeout guests want less expensive options alongside promotions and discounts. Higher quality products are less of a driver than value, resonating with only 19% of dine-in guests and 15% of takeout guests.
“The restaurant industry is emerging from the pandemic with a menu full of opportunities to serve its customers, both in the dining room and off-premise. With large-scale changes on the horizon, driven by advanced technologies and ongoing shifts in consumer demands and preferences, we can expect restaurants to look dramatically different in 10 years. As a result, restaurants should consider implementing various offerings that enable consumers to maximize the dining experience and set up their operations for long-term growth.”
Jean Chick, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and U.S. restaurant and food service leader
Models: Delivery and takeout take over
The rise of third-party delivery apps drove a surge in off-premise dining over the last 10 years, a trend in the restaurant sector that intensified during the pandemic. Restaurants are increasingly catering to the demand for delivery and takeout by dedicating space on-premise for pickup orders and separate lines for takeout orders, ultimately reducing the need for dining room space. As a result, customers are likely to patronize restaurants that enable a more frictionless digital experience to place and manage their delivery and takeout orders.
While 13% of customers use third-party apps or websites to place a delivery or takeout order, 40% of customers prefer to order through the restaurant’s app or website, demonstrating the importance of a restaurant owning its own digital experience.
Regardless of how an order is placed, most customers (87%) believe a delivery fee of $5 or less is fair for the convenience it brings.
As ghost kitchens, which only offer takeout and delivery, continue to become more prevalent, more than half of consumers (52%) indicated they would order from such an establishment.
Quality counts: 60% of consumers said they are unlikely to accept lesser quality when ordering takeout food.
Most patrons prefer to use the phone to address complaints, however its use has declined, from 63% in 2021 to 55% in 2023. During the same time period, customer preference for mobile chat and text increased from 20% to 27%.
Mechanics: Consumers have an appetite for advanced technology
Amid shifting customer preferences and economic conditions, advanced technologies are expected to shape the mechanics of restaurant operations and staffing over the next 10 years. According to the study, most guests are not deterred by automation and other emerging technologies and would continue to patronize restaurants that leverage such innovations.
Consumers aged 18-38 are 16 percentage points more likely to return to restaurants that use automation technologies than those 39 years and over (58% for 18-38 group versus 42% for 39+ group). This indicates these technologies are likely to continue to be adopted over time.
Contactless delivery has maintained prominence since the pandemic, enabling faster deliveries: 53% of respondents receive contactless delivery more than half the time.
Nearly half (47%) of customers would order from a restaurant that offers delivery via drones and driverless vehicles, up from 44% in 2021.
A majority of consumers said they are at least somewhat likely to use voice automated ordering systems, including 79% for drive-thru, 74% for phone systems, and 70% for dine-in.
Acceptance of kitchen automation is on the rise: 60% of consumers noted they are somewhat likely to order from a kitchen that prepares food, at least in part, through robotic technologies, up from 54% in 2021.
Although only 19% of those surveyed had experience with a cashier-less restaurant, 62% said they would be somewhat likely to order from one if given the opportunity.