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.
Sonesta Appoints Jeff Knowlton as Chief Information Officer
Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta), the 8th largest hotel company in the U.S., announced the appointment of Jeff Knowlton as Chief Information Officer.
“We welcome Jeff to Sonesta and look forward to leveraging his 25 years of experience leading IT teams and successfully implementing strategic initiatives within the hospitality industry,” said John Murray, President and CEO at Sonesta. “As an accomplished technology executive, Jeff has the comprehensive experience that we believe will fuel Sonesta’s growth and drive innovation in our business.”
Mr. Knowlton most recently served as Vice President of Information Technology at Pursuit Collection, a Denver-based hospitality and attractions company, where he built the IT department to support the company’s growth. Prior to Pursuit Collection, Mr. Knowlton was Vice President of Property Technology at Sage Hospitality, a hospitality management and investment company, where he played a vital role in developing and implementing the company’s IT strategy for both hotels and restaurants. Earlier in his career, Mr. Knowlton held a series of progressively senior IT roles at Vail Resorts and Marcus Hotels & Resorts.
“I am excited to join Sonesta during this period of tremendous growth,” said Jeff Knowlton, newly appointed CIO at Sonesta. “I look forward to supporting Sonesta’s continued growth by leveraging technology to contribute to creating unforgettable experiences for our guests and great value for our owners.”
Last year, Pace was acquired by FLYR. Ever since, both teams have been hard at work integrating and growing these platforms. Pace's transition to the FLYR umbrella is a testament to this joint effort.
"We are taking another important step in our journey as we become FLYR Hospitality,” said Jens Munch, CEO. “Since our founding, we have been on a mission to transform the hospitality industry with AI and machine learning. We are excited to take this to the next level under the broader FLYR brand."
Moving forward as FLYR Hospitality, the company will remain laser focused on delivering the best results for its customers and the best experience for its team. It will continue to accelerate its AI-first approach, as it delivers hospitality revenue optimization solution.
LivAway Suites Doubles Down on Tech-Forward Commitment with Virdee Partnership
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 Tennessee, Washington, and Utah, with many more markets to follow in the coming months.
With average U.S. hotel occupancy on track to reach 63.8% in 2023,1just 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.
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 andMargaritaville 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(762)
Upper Midscale/Midscale Extended Stay: Home2 Suites by Hilton (681)
Midscale: Tru by Hilton (708)
Economy: Americas Best Value Inn (637) andMicrotel 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.
Craftable, an SaaS platform, is proud to announce that it has partnered with Dallas, TX-based private equity firmGauge Capitalto 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.