News Feature | July 16, 2014

Restaurant And Hospitality IT News For VARs — July 16, 2014

By Christine Kern

Tablet In A Restaurant

In the news this week, vending machines are going gourmet, offering upscale items in unexpected places, while more and more restaurateurs are adopting technology to boost their customer satisfaction ratings.  Also, new software helps double online apartment bookings for SACO, and hotel brands are finding that they need to readjust their methods of responding to customer service needs. 

Vending Machines Are Going Gourmet

As this article from the LA Times demonstrates, high-tech versions of vending machines are popping up at gas stations and shopping malls, peddling restaurant-quality edibles and specialty, high-ticket items. Some offer free Wi-Fi and touch screens that entertain shoppers while they wait. Many accept credit or debit cards. All of this is being driven by consumers with increasingly picky tastes who still want convenience on the go. The boom in mobile and Web-based shopping also has trained customers to browse and buy with no help from salespeople or waiters.

Restaurateurs Are Serving Up A Side Order Of Technology

This article from the Dallas News looks at efforts by Chili’s, Olive Garden, and Applebee’s are jumping on the technology bandwagon.  From tabletop tablets to smartphone apps, they are unveiling new tricks to help bring new customers into their restaurants and keep existing ones happy.  In April, Dallas-based Chili’s Grill & Bar became the largest casual dining chain to roll out tabletop technology. Olive Garden also is working with Ziosk to launch a test in four markets, including Dallas, with the pilot expected to begin around August.

Guestline Software Doubles Online Apartment Bookings

Since installing an integrated suite of property management solutions at SACO — The Serviced Apartment Company — online bookings have doubled in the last twelve months, according to this article from Hospitality.net.  A market leading vendor with over 30,000 stylish, serviced apartments worldwide, SACO has reported that Rezlynx PMS has helped them maximize revenue streams in this competitive market.

42% Of Consumers Expect A Response Within One Hour

According to this article from Hotelnewsresource, a number of recent studies into consumer’s social media habits show that many reach out to brands anticipating a nearly instantaneous response, regardless of the time of day or day of the week, something few brands are prepared to handle. Thus, hotel brands need to respond to a changing model of how consumers reach out for customer service care by implementing “proactive listening” on social media channels, specifically Twitter, in order to find and respond in the timeframe and manner that meets guests’ expectations. This article proposes one way to speed up that response time to consumers. 

Hospitality IT Talking Points

STR Global’s Annual Profitability Data for 2013, covering 50 countries outside North America, revealed that the Middle East/Africa achieved the strongest growth (+5.4 percent)  in gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR), when measured in U.S. dollars, while Asia Pacific reported a slight decline (-0.5 percent). Europe reported declines in total revenue per available room (TrevPAR) by 0.6 percent in Euros; however, GOPPAR grew by 1.4 percent in 2013 due to lower departmental and undistributed operating expenses compared to 2012.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Hospitality Tech Center.

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