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Industry News - May 13th 2011



Trump Property Banks on Mobile Promotions to Drive Revenue

The Trump International Hotel Las Vegas now leverages an SMS text marketing solution (developed by Cendyn) that reaches guests wherever they are with promotional offers to increase revenue. The Mobile Alert application is another marketing channel integrated into Cendyn’s eInsight system. 

“We are excited about the launch of a new medium for communicating with our guests. We are now able to send an SMS greeting to our guests following check-in, and introduce them to one of our fantastic hotel amenities with a personalized offer instantly,” says Jason Demuth, marketing manager, Trump International Hotel Las Vegas. Trump Las Vegas promotes the Mobile Alerts program with graphics at the front desk and on the hotel’s Facebook page.

eInsight is Cendyn’s turnkey solution for database marketing that gives management the ability to send the right message to the right customers at the right time. The solution is ideal for loyalty programs and multi-channel marketing management.


Aloft Hotels Expands 'Smart Check-In' Program

Starwood’s Aloft Hotels is expanding its expanding its 'Smart Check In' program to include the Aloft Harlem, Aloft Brooklyn, Aloft Dallas Downtown, Aloft Jacksonville Tapestry Park, and Aloft London by the end of 2011. Running on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Smart Check-In caters to a new generation of guests on the go who are more interested in high-tech than high-touch service.
Here's how Smart Check-In works: Select Starwood Preferred Guest(R) (SPG) members who opt to participate receive a new enhanced SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard. On the day of a planned stay, a text message is sent to the guest's mobile device with their room number. Once at the hotel, guests can skip the check-in line and go straight to their room, where their keycard will unlock the door - giving guests control of their check-in experience in the palms of their hands.
"Aloft guests never settle for a traditional hotel experience, and they've embraced the Smart Check-In revolution with tremendous enthusiasm," says Brian McGuinness, senior vice president, specialty select brands for Starwood. "For our associates, freedom from traditional check-in procedures means they can spend more time engaging with guests and enhancing the social atmosphere that's made Aloft such a huge hit."
The SPG / Aloft-branded RFID keycard may eventually act as an all-access pass throughout the Aloft stay, allowing guests to purchase cocktails and bites at the hotel's buzzing w xyz(R) bar, sundries at there:stock retail kiosk and snacks at re:fuel by aloftSM, the Aloft brand's deli-style, grab-and-go pantry. The pilot program partner is VingCard Elsafe. Smart Check-In made its debut at Aloft Lexington (MA) last year.


Do You Have the Smartest Bar?

NTN Buzztime, Inc., a social entertainment and integrated marketing platform for bars and restaurants, is launching a bi-national campaign beginning in June and culminating in November to crown the Smartest Bar. Buzztime’s nearly 3,900 bar and restaurant customers will compete against each other to see how their guests’ combined ‘brain power’ fares against that of their peers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Buzztime’s Smartest Bar regional competitions, in both countries, will take place each Wednesday night at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT in June and September. In November, locations that qualified through the regional rounds will be invited to participate in the Smartest Bar finals, where the winning bar will be crowned. This bar promotion is the latest in a long line of programs in which Buzztime is helping its bar and restaurant customers increase their guest visits and create an event during slower weeknights.
Participants will be quizzed to see if they can provide the right answers to questions in the following categories: The Sciences, The World, The Shows, The Past, The Games and the Arts. Bars with the top three scores will advance to the November finals – the top scores will be determined by the location’s average of the top five player’s scores. In addition, Buzztime will award a ‘Wildcard’ spot for each of the 10 regions to those bars that have the highest participation or cumulative total points. 
Prize packages:
Regional’s First Place
  • Smartest Bar Trophy
  • A Buzztime Hosted Party ($250 value)
  • Prize Packs for the location’s customers
Regional’s 2nd, 3rd and Wildcard Winners
  • Smartest Bar Trophy
  • Prize Packs for the location’s customers
National Final’s Winners
  • Trip to Vegas ($2,000 value)
  • Smartest Bar Champion Trophy
  • A Buzztime Hosted Party ($500 value)
  • Banner designating the location as Buzztime’s Smartest Bar for 2011
National Finals 2nd and 3rd Place Winners
  • $500 Gift Certificate
  • Smartest Bar Runner Up Trophy
  • A Buzztime Hosted Party ($250 value)
  • Banners designating these locations the 2011 Smartest Bar Runner Ups


Customers Seek Convenience, Control when Ordering Online

A recent Cornell University study of U.S. consumers found that nearly half of them have ordered food online, but the telephone call remains the number-one way to order in. The study, “Customer Perceptions of Electronic Food Ordering,” was written by Cornell Professor Sheryl E. Kimes with research support by Nation’s Restaurant News.
“There’s no question that electronic ordering is growing,” says Kimes. “This study’s respondents said that they place just under 40 percent of their orders online or by mobile apps. We’ll see further increases in those numbers. Restaurant operators especially need to note that the people who order electronically tend to be younger and patronize restaurants more than those who don’t.”
Perceived control and convenience are key to customer use of online ordering. Consequently, restaurateurs must ensure that their ordering systems give users perceptions of control and also be convenient.
The study found that the major factor that inhibits those who have not ordered via an electronic channel is a desire for interaction with a restaurant employee, although discomfort with technology is also a factor. 


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