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  • 6/23/2024

    HITEC 2024 NEWS: NEW Group Itinerary Builder Developed by UrVenue + Club Med to Debut at HITEC

    urvenue club med itinerary tool

    A new tool developed by  UrVenue and Club Med will be unveiled this week at HITEC, held now through June 27 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center. The innovative Group Itinerary Builder provides a centralized way for hoteliers to build itineraries for groups while providing travelers with a clear view of their itinerary the entire time.

    Demand for group events is on the rise, and along with that comes a desire among travelers for unique experiences, such as tennis, sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, snorkeling, and even flying trapeze,” said Tracee Nalewak, UrVenue Chief Growth Officer. “Based on our long-standing relationship with Club Med — pioneer of the all-inclusive concept — we collaborated on a tool that will empower group attendees to explore property activities and review their event schedules in one interactive guest portal complete with itinerary management capabilities. We cannot wait to showcase this joint technology at HITEC.”

    UrVenue pioneered the hospitality industry’s first Property Experience Management System (PXMS) in 2022 to enable commerce, operations, data insights and knowledge management for resort and entertainment experiences and bridges the fractured booking journey with its unified booking capabilities. Called UV Enterprise, the PXMS was built for nightclubs, dayclubs, restaurants, lounges, pools, resort beaches, sportsbooks, special events/shows, recreation, and more. Club Med was one of the first UV Enterprise users, and together they have a successful track record of advancing the all-inclusive market. In fact, Club Med and UrVenue were a Skift Idea Awards Finalist in 2022 for their joint technology submission.

    The Group Itinerary Builder launched in April 2024 at Club Med Cancún. More than 800 group attendees engaged with the solution, and feedback from users showed the tool exceeded expectations with comments such as “very user-friendly,” “it works perfectly,” “loved having all this information in the palm of my hand,” and “I’ve saved so much time with this new automation” confirming implementation success.

    Joint Technology Objectives

    The Group Itinerary Builder was designed as an efficient, centralized system for tracking guest itineraries. It gives group travelers more control over their experiences while empowering hotels with the tools they need to fulfill rising group expectations. The tool can be adjusted by hoteliers on the fly while allowing group members to track all of their planned group activities through a Guest Portal. This centralized system gives hoteliers an easy way to provide the best possible guest experience while giving travelers the widest possible control over their stay experience.

    Additionally, the Group Itinerary Builder . . .

    1.        Enhances the Guest Experience: Develop a digital itinerary builder/manager for group attendees to explore and manage resort experiences alongside pre-scheduled events combining work and leisure activities in one unified itinerary.  Provide groups with self-serve information, and operators with the ability to service itineraries on behalf-of-the-guest.

    2.        Provides Scalability: Create a new, globally scalable module within UrVenue’s PXMS (property experience management system) that displays group event schedules and activities in one unified itinerary. (PXMS introduced in Skift IDEA Award Submission 2021 - Resort World/UrVenue - Finalist)

    3.        Advances Group Communication:  Pre-Arrival: Generate an email invite for group attendees to access their personalized guest portal, showcasing their group itinerary and information regarding hotel activities during their leisure time. In-Stay: Enable real-time messaging by integrating live updates into the itinerary for group attendees.

    4.        Optimizes Operational Efficiency: Automate manual processes within Club Med’s Meetings & Event sales team and other interfacing resort departments. Additionally, provide coordination tools through the itinerary builder and manager for staff to assist group attendees.

    5.        Drives Incremental Revenue: Increase revenue through activities and extended stays (bleisure) by showcasing all hotel activities and excursions to group attendees.

    “Club Med has a long history of hospitality innovation, as the successful co-development and launch of this technology attests,” said Vikki Knudsen, Senior Director Sales Strategy - Meetings & Events, Club Med. “Group attendees are not as proactively managed by hotels as leisure/transient guests, despite being a significant part of the hotel's customer base. They often have to research the hotel themselves because someone else booked it on their behalf. They also are typically not included in pre-arrival communications that share property information, booking links, or a hotel app link. Until now, itinerary-building opportunities, especially those considering event schedules and other activities, simply did not exist.

    “Now that the Group Itinerary Builder has been successfully implemented and tested at Club Med Cancún, we can begin rolling it out to additional properties in our portfolio,” she said. “We are incredibly excited to start focusing on revenue generation by incorporating third-party excursion bookings and exploring ways to drive incremental room nights with group guests. What we’ve accomplished here at Club Med with our entire meeting and events industry is very exciting.  We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift in group attendee management, which will lead to more satisfied customers and significant financial gains for the hotel group segment.”

  • 6/23/2024

    HITEC 2024 NEWS: Silverware Pay to Debut at HITEC; Handheld Device Keeps POS Functionality at Servers’ Fingertips

    mobile pos

    This week at HITEC, Silverware will showcase its commitment to innovation with the debut of Silverware Pay, an embedded payment-processing solution that’s deeply integrated into the company’s point-of-sale ecosystem. Silverware Pay enables food-and-beverage staff to manage the entire guest experience from a single handheld device regardless of on-property location or chip-reader type.

    Silverware Pay will be on display June 25 to 27 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center in Booth 626.

    “Hoteliers have been asking us for an embedded payment solution for some time, and we cannot wait to reveal what we have developed,” said Michael Thalassinos, Silverware Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales. “With Silverware Pay, operators can choose from multiple Android devices and support functionality – such as mobile ordering, pay-at-table, incremental authorization, and more – all with industry-leading store-and-forward technology for off-line safekeeping.”

    Silverware Pay provides an ideal solution for hospitality businesses ranging from stand-alone restaurants (whether full-service or counter service) to properties featuring multiple dining and retail concepts all with unique chip readers within a larger environment. Scalability allows the application to grow with client enterprises.

    “From poolside to terraces, golf courses, and other environments where mobility is a priority, F&B staff can leverage our handheld devices to place orders, print checks, accept payment, post to rooms, and manage the entire guest experience from that single handheld device,” Thalassinos said. “Similarly, accepting credit-card payments directly within our POS expedites check-in and checkout, boosting guest satisfaction and loyalty.”

    Unlike systems with separate ordering tablets and credit-card readers, Silverware Pay fuels productivity, efficiency, and cost savings. Consolidating payment processing within the POS reduces the need for manual reconciliation and administration. Real-time transaction data and reports support informed decision-making with insights into revenue streams and financial performance as they’re happening.

    “From a security perspective,” Thalassinos said, “you’re not managing two devices. Instead, you’re able to handle everything from one device rather than having to go back and forth between devices.” Moreover, Silverware Pay uses state-of-the-art encryption and tokenization technologies to protect payment data and guard against fraud.

    Silverware’s end-to-end solution replaces older POS equipment seamlessly. “And there’s not much change or training needed for an operator to deploy the technology,” he said. “Once live, onboarding new seasonal staff, for example, will take half the time that it has traditionally taken with other point-of-sale solutions.”

    Enterprise-wide, Silverware continues to prioritize its connection with clients. “We truly share the same common goal, which is to elevate the guest experience,” said Thalassinos. “Together we are invested in the success of the operation, and our primary focus is the guest. That means we are very hands-on with how we implement, deploy, train, and support.”

    Silverware offers 24-7 support worldwide. “We do not close,” he said. “Clients call us directly, and we answer the phone live, even after hours. Clients are not asked to open a ticket, fill out a form, or chat with a bot first. They’re getting directly to our support team.” In fact, the company answers more than 92% of inbound calls immediately. In the rare instances where clients must wait, it’s only for two minutes on average.

    Just as Silverware Pay resides within the Silverware ecosystem, the company considers itself an integral element of clients’ operations. “We are actually in the hospitality industry,” Thalassinos said. “So, we’re much more than a tech company – we’re a partner in providing a guest experience using the Silverware ecosystem.”

    Additional innovations on display at the Silverware booth include:

    • Admin Center – This revamped restaurant management tool enables users to manage menu offerings, dynamic pricing, and more. Cloud-based and mobile-friendly, Admin Center supports full system audits and robust permission sets.

    • Order Notification – SMS integration with Twilio allows guests to place orders with a staff member or through their own mobile devices and receive text messages when orders are ready.

    • Announcer Kitchen Management System – Full-service restaurant-focused kitchen display technology helps operators manage individual seat preferences, dietary restrictions, and allergies, with visibility of all courses ordered by each guest.

  • 6/23/2024

    HITEC 2024 NEWS: HCN to Debut its ‘AI Concierge’ on In-Room Tablets at HITEC Charlotte

    AIme from HCN

    At HITEC, Hotel Communication Network (HCN) will reveal a new AI-powered in-room tablet that will radically change the way hotel guests request services, communicate their needs, place F&B orders from local restaurants and more via voice commands in multiple languages. AiMe, an AI Concierge, will be on display June 25 to 27 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Booth #3836.

    AiMe uses natural language processing to respond to guests’ unstructured requests and creates actionable tasks that can be relayed from the tablet to the hotel’s service system and then to staff.

                AiMe:                “Hello Mr. Stevens. I’m AiMe. How can I be of service?”

                Mr. Stevens:     “I’d like to order lunch.”

    An ordering screen appears.

               AiMe:                “May I verbally take your order or would you like to see the menu?”

               Mr. Stevens:     “Yes, please take my order. I’ll have . . .”'

    The meal is delivered to the room or a location specified by the guest.

     

    “Leveraging technology to order room service and fulfill service requests is nothing new; hoteliers have been partnering with suppliers for decades to streamline two-way guest communications,” said Neil Schubert, HCN Product Officer and former Advisory Board member of Hotel Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). “But most of the existing communication solutions on the market have their shortcomings. That’s why we developed AiMe.

    “Rather than sending a text message blindly through the hotel app, a guest needing clean washcloths can now walk over to the in-room tablet and simply ask AiMe for whatever he or she wants in whatever language they prefer,” Schubert said. “No more going through the front desk or hotel operator and waiting for the request to be re-entered into the correct system to get to the right department. The data is sent from the tablet to the hotel’s service system and then to the housekeeper or floor supervisor – depending on who is equipped with a mobile device. AiMe can create and close work orders, summon the bell captain, remind guests of important meeting or event times, activate room controls and much more.”

    At HITEC, HCN will discuss how AiMe can or will:

    • Interpret the tone of a guest message and identify key words spoken so if a hotel guest is frustrated, for example, the request can be escalated to a hotel manager.
    • Provide granular information to pinpoint the exact location of a housekeeper in distress when integrated with panic button platforms.
    • Update room status. By accessing a tablet’s back-office mode (which is integrated with the hotel’s PMS), housekeepers or room supervisors can speak or type updates rather than using room phones with dial codes.
    • Replace in-room electronics, including inconvenient and time-consuming TV applications, costly voice solutions, outdated alarm clocks, and rarely used bedside phones.
    • Personalize experiences and drive loyalty by providing added conveniences, like speaking natural language commands to the AI Concierge or touching icons on the tablet to control room temperature, lights, do not disturb status, make up room and more.
    • Broaden adoption of brand apps. With only 20% of travelers having downloaded the brand app, brands can promote use of their brand app using a device that reaches 100% of hotel guests.  Operators can replace loss-leaders like room services with a digital ordering platform that brings food and beverage to guests from local restaurants. Better yet, it’s all managed by the AI-powered tablet provider.
    • Eliminate room clutter from printed compendiums and QR code table tents and inconveniently placed and easily damaged stickers promoting marketing messages and digital tipping.

    Tablets are Trending!

    The communication platform making the most traction today is the interactive guestroom tablet. HCN’s 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 solutions.

    Features of the AI-Powered 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 to draw 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 the room environment by voice command.

    “We hope everyone stops by HCN Booth 3836 at HITEC to see AiMe in action,” Schubert said. “This AI-powered tablet is making it possible to achieve a 100% reach to hotel guests and drive better customer engagement.”

  • 6/24/2024

    HITEC 2024 NEWS: Nomadix Showcases its Cloud, Software and Networking Technology Suite

    logo, nomadix

    ​​Nomadix® Inc​., bringing connected experiences to life, today announced the company will demonstrate its newest suite of cloud, software and networking solutions at HITEC Charlotte, June 24-28, 2024, in booth #1445. The company will also showcase its TV Casting, Cloud Telephony, Staff Safety Buttons, Passpoint, Payments Gateway and Voice Assistants, and will discuss its expansion into additional vertical markets. 

    “We’re thrilled to be meeting with customers, partners and colleagues at HITEC Charlotte where we’ll be demonstrating the latest releases of our 12 product lines,” said Speleos Dravillas, chief revenue officer at Nomadix. “This year our theme is ‘Nomadix can take you further’ with more solutions, vertical markets and revenue opportunities than in the history of the company.”

    Nomadix continues to enhance its position as the trusted single-source manufacturer of complete cloud, software and hardware Wi-Fi solutions. The latest technology enhancements include:  

    Cloud Monitor & Controller for Nomadix Networks: Nomadix enables IT teams or MSPs to centrally manage all LAN and WLAN equipment, configuration, security, alarms and in-depth analytics.

    TV Casting Support for Chromecast v4 and Netflix: Responding to the two latest critical TV casting challenges in the hospitality sector, we now support Google TV (Chromecast v4), as well as the ability to continue using Netflix in a hotel in spite of their updated account sharing policy. The purpose-built hospitality solution enables guests to watch their own content through a branded, user-friendly and secure in-room entertainment experience. Effortlessly connect smartphones or tablets to televisions and enjoy media from over 2,000 apps, without leaving personal credentials behind. 

    Cloud Telephony Solution: A disruptively priced telephony solution for the hospitality market, offered as a feature on the Nomadix suite of internet gateways and designed for properties of all sizes, now has an advanced wake-up feature desired by full service and 5-star hotels.

    Payments Processing: For the segment of Aparthotels, private branded residences and long-stay properties that are gaining popularity with the brands, Nomadix will be demonstrating the recently announced capability to collect credit card payments instantly on behalf of operators who don’t have this option in-house.  

    Security Enhancements: As part of the company's internet gateway portfolio, the company recently announced security enhancements for its built-in firewall with any-to-any policy-based routing capabilities, which includes separate configurations for guest and staff traffic. Combined with granular VLAN creation, advanced Syslogs for monitoring, and interface flexibility, it gives properties the option to leverage Nomadix’s technology without adding separate routers and firewalls.

     Nomadix Cloud Updates: A single-pane-of-glass platform provides partners and property managers enhanced visibility, intelligence, management and monitoring capabilities for Nomadix solutions at no additional cost. Enhancements include bulk gateway provisioning, added custom filters and support for multi-organization management.

  • 6/20/2024

    HITEC 2024 NEWS: CallTek Introduces Technology as a Service

    CallTek Logo

    CallTek, Inc., a provider of white-label technical support services, is excited to announce its new Technology as a Service (TaaS) program. This innovative offering delivers a comprehensive technology solution, including third-party financing for on-site implementation, 24/7 remote support, and essential professional services. Covering infrastructure, licensing, and a diverse array of IT and medical devices, TaaS represents a significant advancement in technology integration.

    TaaS will make its debut at two major technology events for the hospitality industry: the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC) and the Technology Investment Conference, hosted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals, during the week of June 24 in Charlotte, NC.

    "CallTek’s TaaS approach offers technology integrators a competitive edge by providing immediate access to innovative solutions through a streamlined financial model. This method not only conserves working capital but also boosts operational efficiency," said Tony Espinoza, CEO of CallTek. "The TaaS model ensures integrators receive vital installation and support services, and state-of-the-art equipment, all bundled into a single finance package without any initial capital outlay. Our program is designed to help integrators secure more business while enabling hotels and businesses to meet their technology needs and obligations to guests and customers."

    This program is available to technology integrators and operators across North America, including the hospitality, healthcare, education, and multi-family dwelling sectors

  • 6/20/2024

    SoundHound AI Acquires Ordering Platform Allset to Fast-Track Its Vision of a Voice Commerce Ecosystem

    soundhound ai logo

    SoundHound AI, Inc., a provider of voice artificial intelligence, announced the acquisition of key assets from Allset, an online ordering platform that connects restaurants and local customers. As part of the acquisition, Allset’s team will be joining SoundHound, further strengthening the company’s capabilities and commitment to innovation.

    The closing of the acquisition will bring additional restaurant relationships, engineering skills, and marketplace know-how to SoundHound AI as it builds towards its vision of a voice commerce ecosystem that enables consumers to access goods and services through natural conversation. This includes plans to facilitate voice-enabled food and drink ordering across millions of cars, TVs, and smart devices.

    Founded in 2015, Allset is a food ordering platform designed for local pick-up, providing a seamless, cost-effective dining experience that allows both consumers and restaurants to bypass the high fees charged by delivery apps. The business received backing from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, and has amassed nearly 7,000 restaurant partners nationwide, including Joe & The Juice and Charleys Cheesesteaks.

    Alongside continuing the services provided by Allset, all of the platform’s current restaurant partners – as well as all new signups to Allset – will now have full access to a suite of SoundHound’s voice AI products to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and drive sales.

    The Allset leadership team, including Co-Founders Stas Matviyenko and Anna Polishchuk, will also apply their extensive marketplace experience to accelerating SoundHound’s first-of-its-kind voice monetization platform. The move mobilizes a key part of the company’s growth strategy, enabling consumers to use conversational voice AI to effortlessly order food from their vehicles or a voice-enabled device, like a TV.

    Today, SoundHound is a market leader for restaurant voice AI solutions, working with over 10,000 restaurant locations. The company’s fast, accurate voice ordering technology can be deployed across multiple channels, including via phone, drive-thru, kiosk, and mobile app. The system can seamlessly pick-up customer orders, understand speech in a range of major languages, learn any restaurant’s menu, process orders directly to the POS, answer customer FAQs, and even upsell add-ons and offer special promotions.

    SoundHound also works with world class clients across a range of other sectors, including smart devices, TVs, and automotive – where SoundHound’s solutions are in millions of units around the world today.

    “As a business, Allset will help SoundHound bring voice AI solutions to even more restaurants looking to improve operational efficiency. At the same time, the Allset team brings a wealth of marketplace experience and knowledge that will make our bigger vision of a voice commerce ecosystem a reality,” said Keyvan Mohajer, CEO and Co-Founder of SoundHound AI. “Together, we plan to provide dynamic and convenient ways for people to order food and complete a range of other transactions just by speaking naturally.”

    "We are thrilled to join forces with SoundHound to combine our established partnerships and marketplace expertise with SoundHound’s class-leading voice AI solutions and capabilities," said Stas Matviyenko, CEO and Co-Founder of Allset. "From the beginning, we realized that we share the same vision for the voice commerce ecosystem that elevates the consumer experience. This team-up will accelerate our progress toward the next exciting phase of AI-powered ordering convenience."

    Learn more about SoundHound AI’s vision for a voice commerce ecosystem here.

     

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