NATIONAL REPORT—Whether it’s celebrating an anniversary, receiving an award, earning a certification, debuting a new product or expanding the business, hotel companies and vendors achieve new milestones on a daily basis. Here’s a look at recent accomplishments:
Hotel Whitcomb Partners with Hotel Internet Services
Hotel Internet Services (HIS) has upgraded guest WiFi services at the Hotel Whitcomb.
A 110-year-old San Francisco landmark that once served as the location of City Hall, Hotel Whitcomb has more recently undergone an extensive refurbishment project to provide its guests with a unique combination of elegance and modernity. Yet fully understanding the online connectivity needs of today’s guests, hotel leadership also prioritized the need to update its WiFi abilities in order to provide the signal strength, speed and reliability that travelers now demand.
As a building constructed shortly after one of the city’s most catastrophic earthquakes, Hotel Whitcomb is well designed to withstand future seismic activity with thick concrete walls and steel. Yet the same infrastructure had been responsible for a significant weakening of the property’s WiFi signal, affecting guest satisfaction as a result. Yet by partnering with HIS, the property was able to overcome such issues with a planning phase lasting a couple of weeks and an installation process consisting of only a couple of days. Using Ruckus wireless equipment strategically placed throughout the property, HIS has ensured that all 459 guestrooms and public spaces can now consistently receive a strong enough signal that can cater to multiple devices and any online need.
“Any hotelier nowadays understands that their clientele carries multiple devices and expects to be able to connect to a hotel’s internet in order to access the same sort of online activities that they find at home,” said John Trudeau, GM, Highgate Hotels. “With our pre-existing WiFi services needing a substantial update to meet such needs, we decided to partner with HIS as the company enjoys a strong reputation throughout our area. Their team members were able to meticulously map out and plan everything, and consequently the signal strength throughout our building is now outstanding.”
The HIS WiFi enhancement also equips Hotel Whitcomb with the ability to create dedicated and private networks for guest groups such as business travelers or those attending a meeting. With the HIS propriety dashboard also implemented, Hotel Whitcomb staff can further view and maintain direct control over network health. Features include the ability to analyze vital data, such as the number of users online, support tickets, revenue generated through Wi-Fi purchases, the amount of broadband being utilized or the operational status of each segment of a property’s network.
Angie Hospitality Streamlines Guest Communications and Efficiency
Angie Hospitality has integrated its newly expanded line of Angie devices with hotel IP-PBX systems, eliminating the need for hoteliers to make additional and often costly guestroom equipment purchases.
Compatible with IP-PBX systems used by many hoteliers today, the Angie device serves as an in-room SIP (Standard Initiation Protocol) device, giving guests the ability to either make offsite calls or connect with hotel personnel in various departments using Angie’s built-in voice control or high-resolution touchscreen. This advanced telephone functionality significantly augments Angie’s multi-purpose platform, which provides hotel guests with a wide range of conveniences through its award-winning virtual assistant technology platform.
By functioning as a plug-and-play SIP device, Angie is able to instantly connect with virtually any IP-PBX system without the need for complex integrations. This seamless integration with digital telephone systems provides a range of benefits for hoteliers, including a significant reduction in hardware and maintenance costs that are frequently attributed to legacy analog systems. Hoteliers can also reclaim valuable space that bulky analog servers typically take up in a property’s server room. With Angie’s telephone features utilizing state-of-the-art Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, guests are also able to enjoy HD voice quality, which provides a much clearer and crisper phone conversation experience.
“Today’s increasingly tech-savvy guests rightfully expect the same level of technological convenience they enjoy at home and on their mobile devices from hotel offered amenities—including the guestroom telephone,” said Ted Helvey, CEO, Angie Hospitality. “With Angie, we have taken into account that the communication needs of each guest are different, so guests are able to either pick up a handset and dial an extension or outside number, or if they prefer simply say ‘Hey Angie,’ and ask to be instantly connected to the desired individual or department. Angie can also connect to guest’s mobile device via Bluetooth to enable cellular calls or streaming music.”
While both Angie Luxe and Angie Luxe+ models are able to serve as a guestroom telephone, Angie Luxe+ is also equipped with a telephone handset for guests that prefer a more traditional experience. Alternatively, guests may enjoy touch-free convenience by simply asking Angie to connect them with a particular hotel department using voice command. Angie’s touchscreen interface further provides speed dial options for departments such as the front desk or housekeeping. Angie is also capable of fully replacing guest room IP- based telephones and saving hoteliers the expense of purchasing additional equipment by being emergency call compliant. Using an Ethernet connection, Angie can ensure that hotels can conform to state requirements for call stability, as well as other 911 emergency call needs.
Once implemented, Angie’s telephone functionalities have been attributed with significantly streamlining guest communications. For example, nearly half of guests all guests choose to leverage Angie’s telephone abilities to make calls and to communicate with reception.
In addition to serving as a telephone, Angie provides each guest with the ability to access hotel and local information or make service requests using either voice interaction or the device’s built-in touchscreen. Other features include the ability to serve as a nightlight, Bluetooth speaker, USB charging station and a private in-room WiFi network. Leveraging an integration with Hotspot 2.0 by GlobalReach Technology, Angie can further provide guest devices with a seamless one-time internet connection process that mirrors today’s cell phone experiences. While capable of serving as a standalone solution, Angie can also integrate with an array of disparate hotel systems to provide guests with voice- and touchscreen-based control over amenities such as televisions, thermostats, lighting and drapes.
Sandman Hotel Group Teams with Duetto for Revenue Decisions
Sandman Hotel Group has officially partnered with Duetto to maximize profitability across its entire portfolio of hotels, resorts and inns.
Sandman, which operates The Sutton Place Hotels, Sandman Signature Hotels & Resorts, and Sandman Hotels, Inns & Suites, is implementing the technology firm’s pricing application, GameChanger; its solution for intelligent reporting, ScoreBoard; and its groups business application, BlockBuster.
With more than 50 hotels, resorts, inns and suites, from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, the U.S., and the U.K., and with several properties under development, Sandman is Canada’s fastest-growing, privately-owned hospitality company.
Duetto’s revenue strategy platform brings together core technologies and data to make them accessible through multi-tenant cloud architecture, powering a suite of applications delivering a holistic revenue strategy that increases organizational efficiency, revenue and profitability.
Sandman will use ScoreBoard to quickly and efficiently produce and share multi-property reports such as financial forecasts and budgets, leading to more accurate reporting and streamlined operations.
With GameChanger, the company plans to yield rates independently by property and stay date, room type, booking channel and customer segment, driving increased revenue, profit and efficiency. Using BlockBuster will help Sandman bring together sales and revenue management to effectively yield group bookings and optimize contracted business.
“We were looking for a modern application to enable innovative strategies throughout the organization,” said Michael McNames, director of revenue, Sandman Hotel Group. “We are confident in Duetto’s best-in-class technology, but perhaps more importantly, it was a cultural fit for an agile company proving to be cutting-edge market leaders.”
“Sandman Hotel Group is an innovative industry leader eager to empower their teams with the right resources,” said Patrick Bosworth, CEO/ co-founder, Duetto. “We’re excited to help them along a journey of making more informed decisions to maximize opportunities.”
Beekeeper Raises $45M
Beekeeper has closed on $45 million Series B financing.
The round was co-led by Thayer Ventures and Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank, with participation from prior investors including Atomico, Alpana Ventures, Edenred Capital Partners, Fyrfly, Hammer Team, investiere, HighSage Ventures, Keen Venture Partners, Samsung NEXT, Swiss Post and Swisscom.
The funding comes as Beekeeper accelerates the adoption of its platform, designed for organizations with more than 50% of its workforce who are not otherwise connected on email or company devices, including Hyatt Hotels, Dollar General, Domino’s Pizza and SeaBoard Foods. Client companies on the platform have realized significant savings and efficiencies on labor within months of activation.
With more than 1.7 billion non-desk workers globally unconnected or poorly connected by a patchwork of consumer and enterprise applications, Beekeeper’s solution integrates multiple channels in one secure hub that is accessible by employers and employees from both desktop and mobile devices. The result: A more productive and efficient workforce.
“Given the pace of workplace digitization and the unique demands of frontline workers, businesses have struggled to find a mobile-first platform built specifically to meet the complexities of a non-desk workforce,” said Dr. Cristian Grossmann, co-founder/CEO, Beekeeper. “Consumer apps are not the answer, and knowledge-worker apps such as those offered by Slack and Microsoft don’t cover the needs of frontline workers. Beekeeper provides a purpose-built one-stop platform to help organizations streamline business processes and collaboration with their frontline employees across shifts, locations, and languages. We are grateful to Thayer Ventures, Swisscanto Invest and our other investors for fueling Beekeeper’s continued exponential growth—to benefit operational efficiencies, employees and companies across the globe.”
Ice-O-Matic Makes Changes to Sales Team
Organizational changes have been made at Ice-O-Matic’s sales team.
Scott Meyer has moved from his former role as regional manager for Colorado to become director of sales. Meyer will continue to manage national accounts development, manage Ice-O-Matic’s global business with Starbucks, and will also be responsible for running Ice-O-Matic’s business in Asia and certain other international markets.
Prior to Ice-O-Matic, Meyer served in a key strategic role with the global sales division at Pentair.
Dolly Fiedelman is moving from Ice-O-Matic’s finance department to the new position of regional manager for the lower Midwest markets. She will cover Oklahoma; Arkansas; Kansas; Missouri; Nebraska; and Memphis, TN markets. Fiedelman will also work with Meyer to continue the development of Ice-O-Matic’s national accounts and chain business.
Brittany Stanley, CFSP, will assume the role of regional manager for Colorado. She will continue to support Ice-O-Matic’s buying group partners and will also continue managing Ice-O-Matic’s Logistics Partner program.