News Briefs


Little Caesars Pizza's New CFO

Leigh Burnside

Leigh Burnside will take over the role of chief financial officer for  Little Caesars. She was most recently senior vice president, chief accounting officer and chief financial officer - U.S. at The Wendy's Company.

Burnside will be supporting the continued strategic global growth of the Little Caesars brand and serve as a key member of the organization's senior leadership team. She will replace outgoing CFO Darrell Snygg, who recently retired after 34 years of dedicated service, and will work closely with newly named senior vice president of accounting, Allison Bieri.  Bieri, an industry veteran who most recently served as vice president of accounting at Little Caesars, will spearhead the development and expansion of the brand's existing first-class accounting team.  Little Caesars will also add several new leadership roles in finance and accounting, as well as across the organization, to support recent international and domestic growth.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor's degree in accounting, Leigh has served on the board of directors for The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and is on the Board of Advisors of the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland-College Park. She will be based at the Little Caesars Global Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan.


Punchh Recognizes Top 7 Customer Loyalty Programs

loyalty buttons

Punchh recently presented its fourth-annual Customer Awards. This recognition spotlights seven clients who excel at using the Punchh platform for customized loyalty program management, omnichannel engagement, digital campaigns, personalized offers and more.

This year, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery was named Digital Innovator for its development, in partnership with Punchh, of the MySnooze Bennyfits mobile rewards program, which has leveraged in-person visits with 51% of its members advancing from their 2nd to 3rd visits. Named Top International CustomerJoe’s Garage, who has affectionately dubbed its loyalty members “Regular Joes,” earned more than 20% year-over-year participation rate in the loyalty app. As Rookie of the YearZippy’s, a Hawaii-based brand, partnered with Punchh in mid-2022 to develop their Zipster Rewards platform, which has earned a 25% participation rate and a 45% increase in visitation.

The next award, Campaign Hotshot, went to Tropical Smoothie Café. In 2022, the brand hosted Tropic Fan Fest, its first-ever member appreciation week, and saw a 46% increase in loyalty transactions, and 22% of guests trying one of the products for the first time. Last year’s Rookie of the Year and the new Retention RockstarHTeaO launched new flavors to new cup sizes to its loyalty members, creating timely retention campaigns. HTeaO has achieved a 49% growth from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022, and an annual participation rate of 33% in 2022.

As this year’s C-Store ChampionCasey’s General Store provide its over 5 million Casey’s Rewards members the opportunity to earn points and redeem them for Casey’s cash, fuel discounts or a donation to a local school. Through these donations, over 71,000 local schools received benefits, and Casey’s was able to achieve 43 million redemptions and keep a 70% quarter-on-quarter retention rate in 2022.

Finally, the 2022 Punchh Customer Award’s All-Star went to Taco Bell, who provided its most passionate fans the ability to access exclusive events and be the first to try favorites like the Mexican Pizza. Fans earn points on qualifying purchases made in-store, drive-thru, kiosks, online and the Taco Bell app, giving them more opportunities to receive rewards and participate in exclusive experiences. The Taco Bell reward program is a crucial factor in the brand’s digital growth, where they aim to reach 100% of digital sales.

“We love recognizing our clients who fully embrace and utilize the Punchh platform,” said PAR President & CEO Savneet Singh. “These brands aren’t afraid to embrace new technology to create a better customer experience, and it pays dividends in loyalty program engagement, customer feedback and more.”

The winners are selected from Punchh’s customer base of more than 250 global brands, which were evaluated on quantitative and qualitative metrics such as innovative usage, strategic results and platform adoption.



Sage Hospitality Group Recognizes Leadership

generic award trophy with gold stars

Operational and commercial leaders from across Sage Hospitality Group’s portfolio of more than 110 hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues came together to get energized for what lies ahead in 2023 while celebrating an incredibly successful 2022.

The Sage Leadership Festival and Commercial Leadership Festival, which happened in Austin, Texas, at Hotel Van Zandt and in Denver, respectively, gave leaders the opportunity to hear from company executives, network with colleagues and volunteer hundreds of man-hours in local communities.


At the Sage Leadership Festival, operational leaders and properties were honored with the following awards that were based on feedback and submissions from their peers:

  • The company’s top individual award, the Eagle Award, is given to a leader who exhibits overall outstanding leadership and impact, which is felt throughout the company and not just at any one property where they work. This year, the award was given to Tiffany Owen, General Manager of The Rally Hotel and The Maven. Owen, who started with the company more than 8 years ago as a front desk manager, is a true embodiment of what it means to enrich lives, one experience at a time.
  • As a surprise, a second, honorary Eagle Award was given to Sage’s Co-Founder and CEO Walter Isenberg in recognition of the incredible fortitude and perseverance he showed in leading the company through the depths of the pandemic and successfully to the other side. It was an incredible moment to honor the man who has led the company with heart, empathy and love for his associates for nearly 40 years.
  • The General Manager of the Year award is given annually to one hotel general manager and one restaurant general manager who exhibit outstanding overall leadership, meaningful impact at their location, a deep commitment to growing their team members, a strong presence in their community and strong owner relationships. This year, the winners were Joseph Steiskal, General Manager of Embassy Suites Boulder and Hilton Garden Inn Boulder, and Lisa DeRosa, General Manager of The Corner Office.
  • Courtney Griffith, General Manager of Catbird, was the recipient of the Perseverance and Courage Award, honoring her tenacity and positive attitude in the face of various challenges that came her way over the course of that property’s first year in operation. The award was also given to John McCarroll, General Manager of Cambria New Orleans, having managed his property through a hurricane within his first week, and never missing a beat despite that challenge.
  • Celebrating placemaking and Sage’s commitment to creating places that people go to, not through, the Artful Hospitality Award was given to Ed Blair, General Manager of The Crawford Hotel and The Oxford Hotel, recognizing the way he and his team bring a truly exceptional guest experience to life in Denver’s most historic hotel.
  • Rookie of the Year recognizes a new hotel or restaurant GM who has been employed by Sage for less than a year and demonstrates an unwavering commitment to Sage’s core values and purpose. The award was given to two recipients this year: Giuseppe de Santis, General Manager of Homewood Suites Boulder, and David Friday, General Manager of Mercat a la Planxa.
  • The Spirit of Innovation Award was given to Nathan Ayers, General Manager of Urban Farmer Philadelphia for his creative and innovative approach to creating memorable guest experiences resulting in positive business outcomes for the restaurant.
  • Kim CorriganVice President of the Sage Independent Hotel Collection, a 15-year veteran of the company who has served across numerous properties and the Sage Home Office, was awarded Mentor of the Year for her relentless support and impact on the individuals she leads and her incredible ability to nurture and grow impactful leaders.
  • Associate of the Year is awarded each year to two passionate, hard-working property associates who embody the true spirit of hospitality and Sage’s purpose of enriching lives, one experience at a time. This year’s winners were Scott Hainey, Restaurant Server from The Corner Office in Denver, and Sam Degefu, Lead Front Desk Agent at The Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria.
  • Manager of the Year also recognizes two individuals who have an exceptional impact on both guests and the associates they lead every day. The award was given to Demelza Quinn, General Manager at Urban Farmer Portland and Departure Portland, as well as James Pack, Director of Facilities at The Curtis Hotel.
  • Hotel of the Year is based on more than just metrics and is given to a property that truly represents overall excellence in everything they do and the embodiment of Sage’s core values. The honor was given this year to Perry Lane Hotel.
  • The award for Restaurant of the Year went to Urban Farmer Portland in recognition of their incredible work throughout the year to drive excellent performance in addition to creating incredible guest experiences for their diners.
  • The Community Service Award was presented to the team from Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel, who demonstrated outstanding community service efforts that had an impact on their community, in addition to their support of Sage’s company giving programs, Dollars for Dreams and Hungry to Help.
  • The teams from both Springhill Suites Oceanside & Hello Betty and The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago were honored as the Service Excellence Team of the Year, showcasing not only strong guest satisfaction scores but a commitment to providing an outstanding guest service experience at their properties.

Commercial Leadership Festival Award Winners

The Commercial Leadership Festival, which brought together Marketing, Sales and Revenue leaders from across the portfolio and the Home Office, similarly celebrated the success of 2022 with numerous metric-based and nominated awards.

  • The event’s top award, the Torch Bearer Award, recognizes a leader who exemplifies Sage’s core values while driving sales performance for their property. The honor was given to Jessica Bauer, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Logan, recognizing her selfless leadership, unwavering advocacy for her team and the way she navigates every challenge with absolute grace.
  • Angela Blackstock, Director of Sales and Marketing for Embassy Suites Boulder and Hilton Garden Inn Boulder, was honored as Mentor of the Year for her dedicated leadership and team-first mentality through the difficult years of the pandemic and as the business has ramped back up.

·Dan McGarry, Area Director of Revenue Management, was named the Rising Star, recognizing his ability to successfully manage changing assets in his portfolio and bring unique solutions to the table while remaining calm under pressure.

  • The team from The Curtis was honored with the Triumph Award for how they overcame adversity in the last year, truly showing guests and colleagues how to “Stay Happy” through the creative ways they drove results when the odds weren’t in their favor.
  • Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel was honored as this year’s Trend Setter, honoring the way that the team there created a new business strategy in order to outperform their comp set.
  • Community service is central to Sage’s ethos, and the Spirit of Engagement award recognizes a property commercial team that took time to give back and support Sage’s charitable initiatives outside of their day-to-day work. This year, the honor was given to the complex team from the AC Hotel Portland Downtown and Courtyard Portland City Center.




Visual Matrix Partners with Prestige Hotels & Resorts in Their Transition to WorldHotels Collection, With Continued Technology Enhancements

Prestige Hotels & Resorts

Visual Matrix, a provider of advanced technology solutions for the hospitality industry, expanded the number of cloud-supported hotels on its platform by more than 80% in 2022 in addition to growing industrywide adoption of its product suite, including the expansion of its solutions across Prestige Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio of 15 distinctive hotels and resorts in British Columbia. Many of Prestige’s properties are part of the WorldHotels Collection owned by Best Western; Visual Matrix is a provider of property management systems and the largest provider to Best Western, with more than 1,600 Best Western properties worldwide on the Visual Matrix platform.

Georgine Muntz, CEO of Visual Matrix, said, “2022 was a year of unparalleled growth for Visual Matrix, as we both expanded our product suite and substantially increased the number of hotels on our cloud platform. Prestige Hotels & Resorts is a valued client, and we are thrilled they have expanded their use of our cloud platform to drive the efficient, effective management of property operations. We are deeply appreciative of their partnership.”

She concluded, “Our solutions are now helping hoteliers at more than 3,000 hotels representing 300,000+ rooms in North America, Europe, and Asia and we anticipate more growth in 2023 as hoteliers battle labor challenges and seek automation.”

Also in 2022, Visual Matrix launched EmpowerU, a new learning tool designed directly by the company, as well as integrations with VenueLytics, among others. The company now supports more than 50% of its customers using fully cloud-based services. The company also integrated its Mobile Operating Platform (MOP) to ensure Visual Matrix users can easily manage housekeeping and maintenance tasks from anywhere. This integration leveraged the HTNG Express PMS protocol that allows hoteliers to increase access to MOP and other operation tools that improve the guest experience.

“Visual Matrix is a responsive, adaptive technology partner that is capable of providing individual support to each of our properties as it meets the needs of our growing organization,” said Tanya Stroinig, Chief Operating Officer at Prestige Hotels & Resorts. “They understand the support each of our one-of-a-kind properties requires and they continue to evolve their offerings to offer innovative solutions, including back-of-the-house support and guest engagement tools, allowing us to continue our growth as a market leader. We are delighted with our long-standing partnership with them.”

Visual Matrix has partnered with Prestige Hotels for nearly 20 years, and in 2021 expanded its partnership to include cloud-based services and daily rate management to help the company navigate the challenges of a rapidly changing lodging environment.

Visual Matrix is leveraging its 2022 momentum to further expand its suite of services in 2023, including a new user interface to its system, guest texting enhancements, and more. To learn more about its new capabilities, visit


Repay Debuts Integrated AP Automation for HelloGM

handshake partnership

Repay Holdings Corp. announced a new integration with HelloGM, an analytics and automation platform that centralizes hospitality performance data and operations from property management, accounting, and labor services as well as guest review sites. The integration will enable hospitality operators, owners and executives that use HelloGM to streamline accounts payable processes and securely pay vendors and suppliers for multiple properties.

Hospitality groups and property management companies that utilize the HelloGM data analytics platform will have access to Repay’s payment solution with accounts payable automation capabilities. By streamlining outbound vendor payments, hoteliers can seamlessly pay suppliers across multiple properties without the stress or risk associated with traditional paper checks and manual processing of payments. Additionally, they can significantly reduce their exposure to fraud in multiple ways, including by utilizing virtual cards which are designated for single use and loaded with the exact amount of money needed for payment.

The integrated payment solution provides a key function within HelloGM’s recently launched Accounts Payable feature, enabling subscribers to define and manage a seamless workflow through HelloGM.

As the centralized data analytics and automation platform for more than 1,000 U.S. hotels, HelloGM empowers hospitality operators and executives to automate time-consuming tasks, eliminate human error and maximize profitability through one platform. 


Hyatt Completes Dream Hotel Group Acquisition

Dream Hotel Group Nashville

Hyatt Hotels Corporation announced the completion of the Dream Hotel Group lifestyle hotel brand and management platform acquisition, bringing a vibrant portfolio of lifestyle hotel brands – including Dream Hotels, The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels – into the Hyatt portfolio. The asset-light acquisition includes 12 lifestyle hotels (nine managed and three licensed), with another 24 signed long-term management agreements for hotels expected to open in the future.

Dream Hotel Group properties are known for their progressive design and vibrant dining and nightlife that are the soul of each hotel. They boast unique and authentic hospitality experiences built on inventive activations and design-savvy spaces that inspire creativity and act as social hubs for guests as well as local communities.

The acquisition welcomes more than 600 new colleagues into the Hyatt family, bringing deep expertise in experiential hospitality to Hyatt’s global portfolio of lifestyle offerings and extending Hyatt’s brand footprint in strategic destinations including Nashville, Hollywood, Las Vegas, South Beach, Saint Lucia, Doha and several new locations new in New York City. It will also include new markets such as the Catskills in New York and Valle de Guadalupe in Mexico.

“Hyatt’s acquisition of Dream Hotel Group represents an exciting chapter in our asset-light growth as we expand our lifestyle offerings, providing global travelers with an increased number of elevated experiences – now, and in the future,” said Mark Hoplamazian, president and chief executive officer, Hyatt. “Together, we will carefully preserve the spirit and individual identities of the sought-after Dream Hotel Group hotels while adding the commercial strength of Hyatt’s marketing and sales channels, all united under the World of Hyatt loyalty program.”

Dream Hotel Group founder Sant Singh Chatwal will continue his commitment as an owner of four open and two future hotels that are expected to join the Hyatt portfolio.

“Hyatt has a proven track record of preserving what makes lifestyle hotels special and is the ideal new home for our growing Dream Hotel Group brands,” said Sant Singh Chatwal, chairman and founder, Dream Hotel Group. “As an owner of Dream Hotel Group properties, I look forward to the next part of our journey, and I am confident there is a bright future ahead for our hotels, owners, guests and team members as part of the Hyatt family.”

Former Dream Hotel Group CEO Jay Stein is joining Hyatt as Head of Dream Hotels to guide the integration of Dream Hotel Group brands into the Hyatt portfolio; former Dream Hotel Group Chief Development Officer David Kuperberg is joining Hyatt as Head of Development – Dream Hotels; and former Chief Operating Officer Michael Lindenbaum is joining Hyatt as Head of Operations – Dream Hotels.

Dream Hotels will join as a brand within Hyatt’s Boundless Collection. The Chatwal and Unscripted Hotels brands will be welcomed into Hyatt’s Independent Collection, joining The Unbound Collection by Hyatt and JdV by Hyatt brands, respectively.

To learn more about these new properties, visit On January 19, 2023, The Chatwal, a hotel in New York City, joined the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Stay tuned for when and how other Dream Hotel Group properties will participate in World of Hyatt.

The term “Hyatt” is used in this release for convenience to refer to Hyatt Hotels Corporation and/or one or more of its affiliates.