News Briefs


STUDY: How Customer Expectations for Travel is Changing

travel smartphone map

How will we travel in 2033? A global research study – Traveler Tribes 2033 –identifies four Traveler Tribes that will develop in the next 10 years.

The report commissioned by travel technology company Amadeus and administered by global research firm Northstar Research Partners defines the four new traveler profiles. It does so by examining the future forces of change transforming travel, alongside emerging traveler traits, behaviors and preferences, to understand exactly what it is that travelers will want a decade from now. 

It suggests many travelers will be open to new and emerging technologies and will want to travel in more sustainable ways. But with some travelers concerned about the proliferation of technology and the increasing need for cyber-security and data privacy, the industry must work together to ensure all travelers benefit from technological advances. 

91% of guests say free Wi-Fi is an important factor when selecting a hotel, according to HT's 2022 Customer Engagement Technology Study

Moving beyond the limitations of traditional segmentation, this psychographic approach identifies four key Traveler Tribes likely to be dominant in 2033: 

·         Excited Experientialists – this group has a ‘try it and see’ approach to life and travel. 44% are without children and have a mid- to high-income job with flexible working options, which enables them to readily explore the world. They have a you only live once (YOLO) approach. They are more likely than other travelers to act on instinct, making them 2033s ‘anti-planners’, favoring less predictable and more exciting accommodation experiences. They are also open to technology that helps them ‘speed up’ certain aspects of their journey, with many expecting to use artificial intelligence (AI) in the airport environment.

·         Memory Makers – this group takes a more simplified approach to travel: to make memories and visit places. 44% are aged 42 and over and are habitual in their travel behaviors. The future can be a daunting prospect for them. They put people first and place less value on technology and sustainability, reassured by existing methods. However, despite their skepticism about technology, they are excited about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) preview tours with the majority expected to use VR tours before purchasing a trip.

·         Travel Tech-fluencers – this group includes today’s young business travelers with a forward-looking perspective on life. 48% of the group are under the age of 32 and their perspective is symbolized by how much technology they own. However, there is a discord when it comes to what excites and concerns them around the future of technology and travel. While many want to travel sustainably, it seems they are more conscious about sustainability options around their method of travel, rather than where they’ll be staying. 

·         Pioneering Pathfinders – individuals in this group live a fast-paced life, always looking for their next adventure. Their life is in full swing with 82% between the ages of 23 and 41. They like to plan but are not afraid of risk and are open to new experiences. This group is more willing than others to let sustainability influence their decisions. They will also be very comfortable using all forms of alternative payment methods in 2033, whether via cryptocurrency or within a virtual reality environment.

Jack Miles, Lead Researcher and Senior Director, Northstar: “Future predictions are difficult, especially in travel. This is because travel is about humans and how they think and behave – all of which are complex as people aren’t always rational. However, using extensive traveler research based on behavioral science and consumer psychology, expert insight from diverse fields like forecasting, technology and academia, and data-analytics, this study has uncovered many insights to help understand travelers and predict their future behavior. From the importance and challenge of sustainability to the need to reassure travelers about the changing role of technology, one thing is clear, travel will continue to play a vital role in enriching our lives as we head towards 2033.”

Traveler Tribes 2033 –is  the third in a series that launched in 2007. To read more about the research and identified Traveler Tribes,  visit



River Cree Resort and Casino Modernizes Security, Surveillance

Cree Casino

River Cree Resort and Casino modernized security, surveillance and compliance with a unified solution based on Genetec Security Center.

As the resort and casino’s analog video system and access control systems aged over the years, surveillance and security teams faced recurring device failures and performance issues that took time away from protecting, securing and surveilling operations. As they sought a solution that could evolve alongside new business objectives, they opted for a fully IP-based video surveillance system with Genetec Omnicast, and migrated their access control system to the platform as well, with Genetec Synergis.

Bob McDonald, Director of Surveillance and Compliance at River Cree Resort and Casino, said, “An open platform has been key for us. The flexibility and openness helped us reduce initial upgrade costs and transition to IP over time. With Security Center, we know that no matter what we’re looking to do, we’ll have options for new features, built-in modules, cloud solutions, and third-party integrations that will serve our needs.”

Today, River Cree Casino uses Genetec Security Center to manage over 1150 cameras and 150 doors. They have also connected their fire alarm system and 25 DMP panic buttons within the unified platform. Now, both surveillance and security operators work from a unified view of the casino and resort, from a central command center. Not only does this help them see what’s happening across the entire 49-acre property, they can also quickly respond to alarms with all information at hand.

The casino has implemented a number of additional features and capabilities to simplify operations and enhance community collaboration. Genetec Plan Manager, the map-based interface of Security Center, plots all cameras, doors, and sensors on a map of the property, enabling operators to quickly locate where alarm notifications are coming from. The KiwiVision People Counter helps with public health compliance, as a backup system to vet numbers from existing people counting solutions. And deploying the Genetec Genetec Clearance™ digital evidence management system simplifies and secures the process of sharing footage with law enforcement, insurance partners, and legal teams while protecting personal privacy. Clearance also helps streamline yearly gaming commission audits.

River Cree Casino continues to build on the capabilities of its unified security platform, with plans to expand the access control system to simplify the tracking of all staff cardholder privileges and special access requests. 

Read the full story of the River Cree Resort & Casino’s unified security solution here.



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