News Briefs


Steak n Shake Adds New Way to Pay

Steak n Shake exterior in Indy

Steak n Shake will offer PopID Check In and PopPay on its self-ordering kiosks in select locations in the Orlando market, with plans to expand to more than 300 corporate locations. PopID Check In is an opt-in service that enables consumers to scan their face to automatically sign into their loyalty reward account and see their past orders, making the ordering process as convenient as possible. When a guest checks in with PopID, they also have the option to use PopPay to automatically complete their payment.

“Our partnership with PopID is a key part of our effort to provide guests with a fast and seamless ordering experience," said Keith Correia, Chief Information Officer. "When using PopID Check In, a guest does not need to use their phone or take out their wallet as part of the ordering process. They will automatically be checked in for loyalty rewards, and they can choose to make an automated payment with PopPay. A guest can even see their past orders and quickly reorder their favorite menu items. Ordering at Steak n Shake has never been easier or more convenient.”

In addition to enhancing the guest experience and improving order throughput, PopPay helps to reduce fraud and offers lower payment processing fees.


LivAway Suites Doubles Down on Tech-Forward Commitment with Virdee Partnership

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LivAway Suites™, the developer-centric, economy-extended stay hotel brand, has announced a partnership with software-as-a-service company, Virdee, to strengthen their technology-forward brand standards for guests.    

The collaboration with Virdee will implement a variety of user-friendly technologies in order to enhance and streamline the overall guest experience. These technologies include self-serve check-in, around-the-clock virtual reception, and pre-check-in options, as well as other web, mobile, and kiosk services. Through the digital guest engagement platform, customers will enjoy 24/7 touchless check-ins and digital room keys all from the palm of their hand. 

For developers, this partnership will provide a competitive advantage, operational efficiencies, and the ability to drive more revenue through cross-sale opportunities within the check-in process and add-ons available through the app.

"Contactless technology is a boon for our industry, and our partnership with Virdee provides a seamless digital guest service solution through mobile, kiosk and online - at the same time offering additional revenue streams and reducing operational costs at each LivAway Suites hotel," remarked Kevin Dailey, Chief Operating Officer of LivAway Suites. "Our partnership with Virdee doubles down on our commitment of being the most tech-forward brand in our segment 'because our guest deserves better™.'" 

"LivAway Suites' technology-centered, developer-focused approach makes them an ideal hospitality partner for Virdee", said Branigan Mulcahy, Co-Founder of Virdee.  "Leveraging the operational efficiencies that Virdee offers, gives LivAway Suites an innovative leg up on their competition in the extended stay segment."  

LivAway Suites, created "for developers, by developers™," currently has over 25 locations in various phases of development across the United States. Over the past few months, LivAway Suites has broken ground on locations in metro areas of TennesseeWashington, and Utah, with many more markets to follow in the coming months.   

To learn more about LivAway Suites, visit  


Hotel Hiring Spree Pays Dividends in Customer Satisfaction, J.D. Power Finds

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With average U.S. hotel occupancy on track to reach 63.8% in 2023,1 just shy of the pre-pandemic level of 65.9%, business and leisure travelers are packing into hotels throughout North America for a second consecutive year. Hotels have risen to the challenge by ratcheting up staffing and doubling down on customer service. According to the J.D. Power 2023 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study,SM released today, staff service garners the highest level of satisfaction among all guest experience factors measured. Driven in large part by a hiring surge in the leisure and hospitality sector during the past 12 months, new and returning hospitality workers are providing a generally positive hotel stay experience.

“Hotel hiring continues to increase, and leisure and hospitality is the ‘rock star’ among industries reported in monthly U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment figures,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. “This boost in hotel staffing is showing up in the form of high customer satisfaction scores. Staff service is now the highest-scoring factor in this study across all hotel segments from economy to luxury, underscoring the critical role that frontline staff play in defining the guest experience.”

Following are additional key findings of the 2023 study:

  • High scores for hotel staff linked to low problem incidence: Overall satisfaction with hotel staff is 701 (on a 1,000-point scale), making it the single highest-scoring factor in this year’s study. Hotel staff play a key role in avoiding and resolving problems, with 86% of hotel guests saying they experienced no problems during their stay.
  • Creating a perfect lobby: Guests’ experience with hotel lobbies/common areas can positively affect overall satisfaction, but it plays out differently in various hotel segments. Among luxury hotel guests, for example, it is important to have a lobby that is modern and unique. In upscale hotels, particularly upscale extended stay hotels, guests are looking for a lobby that is welcoming and inviting.
  • Value remains crucial to satisfaction: Value for price paid given quality and service received is still top of mind for hotel guests. Overall satisfaction among guests who rate the value for price paid of their guest room as excellent or perfect (on a scale of poor to perfect) is 302 points higher than among guests who do not.

Study Rankings

The following hotel brands rank highest in guest satisfaction in their respective segments:
Luxury: Waldorf Astoria (788) 
Upper Upscale: Hard Rock Hotels (723) for a third consecutive year and 
Margaritaville Hotels & Resorts (723), in a tie
Upscale: Cambria Hotels & Suites (738)

Upscale Extended Stay: Hyatt House (729) (for a second consecutive year)
Upper Midscale: Trademark Collection by Wyndham 

Upper Midscale/Midscale Extended Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton (681)
Midscale: Tru by Hilton (708)
Economy: Americas Best Value Inn (637) and 
Microtel by Wyndham (637) in a tie

Economy Extended Stay: WoodSpring Suites (609)

The North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study was redesigned for 2023. Now in its 27th year, the study measures overall customer satisfaction based on performance in six factors (in alphabetical order): communications and connectivity; food and beverage; guest room; hotel facility; staff service; and value for price. The study benchmarks the performance of 102 brands across nine market segments and is based on responses from 33,754 hotel guests for stays between May 2022 and May 2023.

For more information about the North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index (NAGSI) Study, visit


Hospitality SaaS Platform Craftable Announces Strategic Investment from Private Equity Firm Gauge Capital

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Craftable, an SaaS platform, is proud to announce that it has partnered with Dallas, TX-based private equity firm Gauge Capital to provide growth funding and capitalize on industry opportunities. This strategic investment further enhances Craftable’s position at the forefront of cutting-edge technology shaping the hospitality industry. 
“We are excited to partner with Gauge for the next chapter of Craftable’s growth. We look forward to leveraging the resources and support from an investment partner with significant enterprise software expertise while maintaining our relentless focus on the customer experience that has always been at the core of Craftable’s success,” said Samuel Zats, Co-Founder and CEO of Craftable. “Gauge’s growth investment in the business and aligned focus on supporting our customers will help us to accelerate our product innovation, execute our sales strategy and further build our impact in the market.”
Craftable’s innovative technology solutions equip restaurant, bar, hotel and hospitality operators with intuitive and easy-to-use tools that can help them make strategic decisions based on real-time data to drive sales and reduce costs. Its leading hospitality management SaaS platform allows for seamless back-of-house automation and management. By providing operators with procurement, inventory tracking, recipe cost management, accounts payable automation, scheduling and analytics solutions, they can use this critical data to boost revenue while successfully lowering pour costs by 3-5% and food costs by 2-3%. Today, Craftable has over 50,000 monthly active users, with more onboarding every day. Craftable serves thousands of hospitality industry operators and partners with some of the most prominent names in hospitality.
“Craftable has a distinguished reputation in the hospitality sector, enterprise-grade capabilities, and a highly scalable technology platform,” said Tom McKelvey, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Gauge Capital. “We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the Craftable team to realize our shared vision for the future of hospitality innovation.”
As part of the investment, Tom McKelvey, Garrett Fair, and Sam Yang from Gauge Capital have joined Craftable’s Board of Directors. TI Partners served as financial advisor on the transaction.

Cvent Unveils Innovative Event Marketing & Video Hub with Launch of "Cvent Events+"

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Cvent, an industry-leading meetings, events and hospitality technology provider, today unveiled its new Cvent Events+ solution at Cvent CONNECT in Las Vegas. As an innovative component of Cvent’s leading event marketing and management platform, Events+ enables year-round engagement with event audiences and empowers users to capitalize on the power of video to facilitate a more effective event marketing strategy.

Events+ is built to leverage existing event content in a fully branded, on-demand video library, enabling event organizers to better engage audiences and generate interest for future events.

Events+ works seamlessly with Cvent Registration, the Cvent Attendee Hub, and Cvent Webinar, and its robust cross-promotion tools help increase visibility, registrations and attendance across an entire event program. It also includes an innovative feature allowing logged in guests to see who from their prior event connections are planning to attend upcoming events.

"Many of today’s event organizers and marketers are hosting more events – across more formats – than ever before, which can make it challenging to capitalize on all the incredible content and leverage it to increase brand awareness and drive attendees to their upcoming events,” said Cvent Chief Marketing Officer, Patrick Smith. “Events+ acts as a digital extension of an organization’s event program where attendees will go to binge on curated ‘best of’ on-demand event video content and easily find and register for upcoming events. We’re excited to unveil this new solution to help organizations engage with their audiences year-round, while giving event marketers and planners more opportunities to extend the life of their events and maximize attendance for their event and webinar programs.”

Cvent Events+ addresses many of the top event planner and marketer pain points by:



Increasing awareness for upcoming events and webinars


Most organizations host multiple events and webinars but struggle to establish an effective cross-promotion strategy to maximize attendance at these events. The event calendar within Events+ displays and promotes upcoming events, allowing Events+ visitors to explore details of each event and easily register. This continuous interaction establishes anticipation for upcoming events, increases general interest in the community, and ultimately leads to higher attendance and brand engagement.





Driving attendee engagement in between marquee experiences


Events+ offers a dynamic way to capture the essence and key moments of your gatherings, allowing attendees to relive the best experiences on-demand. Events+ also serves as a valuable resource for those who couldn't attend in-person, providing them with a unique opportunity to experience event highlights and gain insights through educational session content, which expands your event's reach and overall impact.





Enhancing use of event video content and session recordings post-event


With many organizations hosting a mix of in-person, virtual, and hybrid events and webinars, marketers and planners have access to more event video content than ever before. Events+ offers an easy way to edit, curate, repurpose and promote that content beyond event dates to drive further engagement and attendee interest.





Mitigating complex, costly, or ineffective online video hosting platforms


Common online video hosting platforms can be cost prohibitive, don’t provide content discovery options – and often include distracting advertising – making for a sub-par viewing experience. Events+ offers a fully branded online video hosting service, giving the power back to event planners and marketers.


Shiny Releases 2023 Tipping and Beyond: Data Driven Tactics to Address Hospitality Staffing Challenges Report

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Shiny, a provider of associate engagement and retention services, released its inaugural report on tipping for the hospitality industry. Entitled “Tipping and Beyond: Data-Driven Tactics to Address Hospitality Staffing Challenges,” the report draws on 2023 sources to both provide insights and solutions to vexing labor shortage issues.

“Even before the pandemic, the three top issues most affecting hotels were labor acquisition, labor productivity and labor retention,” said Rebecca Robinson, co-founder, Shiny. “That problem was only exacerbated by COVID, and now more than ever, employers are looking for ways to attract and retain the best talent out there. This report illuminates current tipping trends and provides insights to hire and keep staff more effectively, ultimately aiding in resolving the prevailing labor shortages.”

The study utilized tipping records gathered from 28 hotels across the U.S., including select- and full-service branded and independent hotels using Shiny’s tipping software, each providing at least six months’ worth of tipping data. The dataset, comprising 594 tipped employees, including housekeepers, valets, lounge staff, breakfast servers and others, provided intriguing patterns such as the most popular day to leave a tip, a finding that can help hoteliers create improved operational strategies and work schedules.

Highlights of the report include:

  1. Guests are most likely to leave gratuities for hotel associates on a Sunday. Tuesday is the least likely day (by a factor of two).
  2. $10.60 is the average tip amount received across departments (housekeeping, valet, dining, lounge, front desk, etc.)
  3. 80% of tips are left at check-out.
  4. Loyalty program members are twice as likely to leave a tip.

“It seems rather obvious on the surface that more money will make for happier employees, but we found that isn’t the one-size-fits-all silver bullet solution that some owners and operators think it is,” Robinson added. “By speaking directly with general managers and hotel level associates, we were able to devise multiple strategies to help reduce turnover, ranging from implementing more streamlined tipping solutions to providing employees with transparent scheduling to give them more control over their time and simplify the process for managers to create schedules and communicate changes. Identifying and recognizing trends is important, but we wanted to go the extra step with this report to provide useful solutions to the issues uncovered.”

To download a copy of the report, please visit