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  • 7/19/2024

    Choice Hotels Partners with Entegra

    choice hotels logo

    Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging franchisors, announced today it has signed an agreement with Entegra, the world’s largest food group purchasing organization. Choice branded hotel owners will now have access to over 3,000 suppliers worldwide on Entegra’s digital group purchasing organization platform. This agreement will help hotel owners make food purchasing decisions with confidence, all while potentially saving money and improving their overall business performance.

    “Entegra is proud to partner with Choice Hotels, one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world,” said Entegra Global CEO Damien Calderini. “Through this program, our powerful suite of data and digital tools, procurement solutions, and supply-chain expertise will help Choice Hotels deliver opportunities for their franchisees to create memorable hospitality experiences for hotel visitors.”

    “Through this agreement with Entegra, we’re looking forward to bringing even more value to our brands and franchisees, who may see better pricing on products and greater day-to-day operational support,” said Choice Hotels VP of Procurement Anya Kroupnik. “This will enable us to continue delivering on Choice’s promise of providing opportunities to reduce the total cost of hotel ownership and enhance guest satisfaction.”

    “Clients choose Entegra for a wide range of products and services and stay with us because we offer more ways for them to be competitive and thrive,” said Jeff Porterfield, Entegra Senior Vice President of Client Services. “In addition to savings, we’re excited to provide Choice franchisees with dedicated service and support, as well as access to our innovative technology platform to enable greater business intelligence and operational efficiency.”

  • 7/18/2024

    Aescape Makes Its Hospitality Debut with Lotte New York Palace

    aescape logo teaser

    Today, Aescape, the first commercially available, fully automated AI massage experience, announced its hotel debut at ila Only Spa, located at Lotte New York Palace. Aescape has partnered with ila Only Spa to deliver premium, customizable massage to guests and visitors.

    Wellness travel is on the rise, with the global wellness tourism market expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2027. ila Only Spa at Lotte New York Palace is meeting travelers where they are, ushering in the future of on-demand, tech-enhanced wellness experiences. 

    “It’s clear that more people wish to maintain and increase their sense of wellbeing when traveling, and they’re looking for the resources available to support this when choosing hotels. Aescape’s innovative approach to massage is adding to our wellness-forward amenities, and we look forward to bringing our guests a completely new massage experience,” said Joe Rose, Owner of ila Only Spa.

    Aescape emerged from stealth earlier this year after seven years in research and development by some of the brightest minds in connected hardware and fitness. Alumni hail from Amazon, Apple, FitBit, MakerBot, Uber, Peloton, Tonal, and more. The automated massage uses advanced AI technology to create a 3D computational model of each user before delivering a completely personalized massage experience, tailored uniquely to their body. 

    “The Lotte New York Palace is iconic, maintaining its storied elegance while evolving to keep guests happy,” said Aescape Founder and CEO, Eric Litman. “We share a mission to bring customers and guests a wellness-forward experience designed to meet their needs. As a New York startup, we’re honored to make our hospitality debut at this landmark New York hotel.”

    The partnership news marks Aescape’s entrance into market, ahead of its launch with Equinox in select locations throughout New York City this month. Since launching its Early Access Program with PRESS Modern Massage Union Square, the company has generated a growing waitlist of New Yorkers eager to experience this first-of-its-kind massage. Aescape is set to announce partnerships with global  industry leaders across hospitality, professional sports, corporate offices and luxury real estate over the next year. 

  • 7/17/2024

    Norwegian Convention Center Uses RMS Cloud to Automate Bookings

    Oslofjord Convention Center in Norway
    Europe’s largest event village, Oslofjord Convention Center in Norway, has chosen property management software specialist RMS Cloud to automate over 30,000 bookings per year and simplify its upselling capabilities.
     
    Oslofjord Convention Centre, a large-scale venue that hosts conferences and events throughout the year, accommodates up to 12,000 guests across a range of inventory from cabins and cottages to hotel rooms and suites. 
     
    As well as independent lodgings, the site comprises 10 separate hotel buildings, a state-of-the-art conference centre, five large arenas, several restaurants and various indoor and outdoor co-working spaces.
     
    Prior to using RMS Cloud’s PMS, the large data sets were being managed and imported manually, a lengthy process that took a lot of time, and was open to human error.
     
    The implementation of RMS Cloud’s PMS in February has now automated the bookings process and given the team an easy-to-use system that allows staff to offer guests extra services during their stay.
     
    Hans Øyvind Haga, Chief Digital Officer at Oslofjord Convention Center, said: “We needed a robust PMS that could streamline our booking process and ensure it was one hundred percent correct, every time. Having researched a total of 15 vendors and receiving proposals from five, RMS Cloud had the best functionality at the most competitive price point.
     
    “As an event destination, we have a unique set of challenges. We recruit and manage a lot of temporary staff according to how many guests are on site and it fluctuates dramatically – some days we have 300 and others 10,000. We don’t have the luxury of spending time training staff on our systems so it was essential that the software we chose was extremely user-friendly. Our team has already reported that RMS Cloud’s PMS is very easy and intuitive to work with.
     
    “Adopting this new system has given our staff the tools they need to easily sell extras from reception such as an extra night or more towels. Before the implementation of RMS Cloud’s PMS, this was something that was difficult to facilitate. Obviously, we want to make upselling as easy as possible for our team, so this is a huge benefit.”
     
    Oslofjord Convention Center is located in Vestfold, south of Oslo, and hosts large corporate events, conferences, sports events and organisations that want to gather and experience the togetherness by hosting an event with everything at one place. Accommodation for thousands of people, sports arena, two convention centres and large outdoor areas including a beach area. Oslofjord is also a sustainable venue with 95% of energy used on site harvested from renewable sources. 
     
    Zen Valli, Managing Director of EMEA at RMS Cloud, said: “Oslofjord’s adoption of our software clearly demonstrates the scalability and reliability of the PMS. The size and complexity of the site’s booking demands is unmatched by any other property on the continent and our software is delivering. 
     
    “It’s an accolade to have Europe’s biggest convention village as a customer and the results they are seeing in just four months is an indicator of how the PMS will continue to support their business.”
  • 7/17/2024

    Beef 'O' Brady's Rolls Out Voice AI Ordering System

    Beef O Bradys SoundHound AI

    Beef 'O' Brady's, the family sports bar and grill chain is colloaborating with SoundHoundAI to enable customers to place phone orders for pickup. The popular restaurant chain operates in more than 20 states across the US.

    Initially live in all corporate locations — and now available for integration into franchises — SoundHound’s voice AI technology is trained on Beef 'O’Brady’s extensive menu and designed to understand regular human speech so that customers can order by speaking naturally.

    The system is highly accurate, and even during busy periods the AI answers 100% of calls — including taking multiple orders simultaneously — allowing Beef 'O' Brady's staff to concentrate on preparing delicious meals and providing excellent service to in-store patrons.

    Now, as the nation gears up for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Beef 'O' Brady's customers can enjoy the convenience of ordering their favorite meals seamlessly using SoundHound's automated AI ordering system. Whether hosting a viewing party at home, or enjoying the games with family, fans can be confident their phone orders will be captured and processed quickly and accurately.

    Beyond taking orders, SoundHound’s AI technology can answer a variety of menu-related questions, provide information about specials and promotions, and handle inquiries about opening times, parking, allergens, and other frequently asked questions.

    “At Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, we’re committed to innovation and customer satisfaction,” said Jason Saposnik, VP of Information Technology at Beef 'O' Brady's. “With SoundHound, we’re integrating cutting-edge AI technology to make ordering food as simple and natural as possible, allowing our staff to focus on what they do best — serving great food and experiences. We’re ensuring that every interaction with Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is smooth and enjoyable.”

    SoundHound AI continues to expand its footprint in the restaurant industry, supported by a recent consumer study, commissioned by the company, revealing that nearly 80% of regular diners in the U.S. believe that AI voice assistants will handle most food ordering in the next few years. SoundHound’s voice AI solutions are already deployed in over 10,000 restaurant locations, with solutions for phone, drive-thru, kiosk, headset, and other devices. SoundHound also recently acquired Allset, an online ordering platform that connects restaurants and local customers, to further increase the company's restaurant industry relationships and reach.

    “As consumer preferences shift towards convenience, optimizing the ordering experience is essential for restaurants,” said James Hom, Chief Product Officer at SoundHound AI. “Beef 'O' Brady's is leading the way in embracing AI technology, enhancing customer interactions throughout their journey. We are thrilled to partner with them to advance the dynamic restaurant landscape, and to continue to expand our footprint in the restaurant space.”

    For more information about SoundHound AI’s restaurant solutions, visit www.soundhound.com.

  • 7/17/2024

    Freddy’s Leverages Analytics, Insights

    Freddys exterior of new protoype

    Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is leveraging Domo’s Data Science Suite to gain further insights into the restaurant’s data, giving franchisees the ability to optimize pricing and model menu mix.

    Founded in 2002 with a single restaurant in Wichita, Kansas, and franchised in 2004, Freddy’s has more than 500 locations in 36 states. 

    Freddy's Data Science Journey

    When the restaurant chain first began its data science journey, it not only struggled with a lack of technology but also a lack of perspective. The path of incorporating Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the business wasn’t well conceived, so its first pilot engagement with another platform did not successfully extract value or return on investment.

    After evaluating their experience with the pilot engagement, the restaurant chain knew it would need a different partner and approach to sell the initiative to the leadership team. As a long-time Domo customer, Freddy’s turned to Domo for the restaurant’s next attempt at data science. Freddy’s started working with Domo’s experienced data science consultants and set out to better understand its restaurant quality data so it could become more easily consumable.

    “Before selecting Domo for our Data Science needs, we were too focused on accomplishing a goal and not on the quality of the journey. When we took a step back, we realized that the solution was right there in front of us: Domo has delivered great value for Freddy’s, and our C-suite trusted Domo with our data and business, so the Domo Data Science Suite was an easy choice,” said Sean Thompson, Vice President of IT at Freddy’s. “Our major takeaway from this experience is our invaluable, lasting partnership with Domo. When making these kinds of business decisions, we have to make sure we’re working with someone that not only has the data science chops but is willing to go along the journey with us and understands the importance of education and sharing.”

    With Domo, Freddy’s quickly achieved several immediate wins and launched and optimized a new guest loyalty program to effectively incentivize its most high-value guests. In addition, the restaurant chain gained the ability to accurately score locations so it could conduct A/B testing initiatives like price optimization and menu mix modeling.

    “Freddy’s saw the value of Domo when they first became a customer in 2015, but when they came to us for more data science needs, we were excited to support and give the talented team the confidence they needed to power data science insights,” said Mark Maughan, chief analytics officer and SVP of customer success at Domo. “With the number of guests Freddy’s serves daily, it’s important that they have the training and solutions they need to understand and leverage data at every Freddy’s location, and we are proud that they are using Domo as a critical part of that solution.”

    To learn more about how innovative organizations like Freddy’s are using Domo to put data to work for everyone, visit www.domo.com/customers.

  • 7/17/2024

    Olo Launches Loyalty for 'Borderless' Accounts

    Olo Inc. logo blue

    Olo Inc. announced Loyalty for Borderless Accounts, a new feature that allows guests to earn, redeem, and use rewards from a brand’s existing loyalty program through Olo’s seamless, passwordless guest checkout solution. Additional product capabilities are now available across all three solution suites: Order, Pay and Engage. 

    Simplifying the Checkout Process 

    Olo customers leveraging Borderless functionality can now make the checkout process even more enjoyable for guests with new capabilities that allow guests to create and link new or existing loyalty accounts directly to a new or existing Borderless account. Borderless simplifies the checkout process for guests by eliminating the need to remember a password or manually enter credit card information at every purchase across any participating Olo brand, helping restaurants meaningfully increase basket conversion, guest retention, and visit frequency while gaining valuable guest data.

    “At Olo, we innovate to both anticipate and meet the needs of our restaurant customers, with the goal to help them drive sales and make every guest feel like a regular,” said Jo Lambert, Chief Operating Officer at Olo. “Loyalty for Borderless accounts allows our customers and their guests to take advantage of our exceptionally convenient checkout process while unifying rewards from their loyalty provider that keep them coming back for more. This feature and the 18 other cutting-edge capabilities launched this quarter further enhance Olo’s three solution suites designed to seamlessly work together as part of a larger flywheel to accelerate hospitality and business growth.”

    More Product Enhancements 

    Additional product enhancements introduced this quarter include Marketing A/B Testing for Email Campaigns, Catering+ Order Management, Order with Google Enhanced Redirect, and POS Menu Builder for brands using Toast.

    • Olo Engage customers leveraging its Marketing solution can develop Marketing A/B Testing for Email Campaigns to seamlessly trial variations in subject lines or body content and ensure the best-converting messaging is deployed for guest engagement initiatives.
    • Designed to retain high-value guests, Catering+ Enhanced Order Management empowers select customers using its intuitive phone order management tool, Switchboard, to apply a subtotal discount to catering orders in an effort to surprise and delight valuable guests and grow long-term loyalty. In addition, this functionality streamlines the payment process for delivery orders by allowing guests to pay using their personal device rather than verbally over the phone.
    • Following Google transitioning its embedded ordering experience to redirected third-party providers, Olo created Order with Google Enhanced Redirect. This integration provides Google real-time location and menu updates, conversion tokens, and action links to help brands drive more direct orders, generate higher revenue, improve guest experiences, and gather more actionable, first-party guest data.
    • Available to brands using Toast, Olo’s POS Menu Builder imports digital menus into the Olo platform in less than a day, accelerating the onboarding process for new customers while reducing the pain points that often come with switching online ordering platforms. It also allows existing customers to quickly launch new menu items across multiple owned and third-party ordering platforms.

     

    To learn more about the features announced during Olo’s Summer Release event visit: https://www.olo.com/quarterly-release/summer-2024 and request a demo here: https://www.olo.com/contact/sales.

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