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:
Benchmark founder named FIU Foundation chairman
Burt Cabañas, founder and chairman of Benchmark, a global hospitality company, has been named chairman of the Florida International University (FIU) Foundation. A 1976 graduate of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Cabañas served on FIU’s Chaplin School Industry Advisory Board from 2002-2014 and in the role of chairman from 2009-2014. He joined the FIU Foundation board in 2014, serving as vice chair from 2018-2020, and becoming chairman this year.
Cabañas was instrumental in launching the FIU Chaplin School’s Rocco M. Angelo Leadership Endowment, which provides scholarship support, prospective student engagement, alumni engagement efforts, mentoring programs, career services and student enrichment opportunities. Along with former chairman of Wyndham Worldwide, Eric E. Pfeffer, former member of the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management Dean’s Advisory Council; Regynald Washington, member of the school’s Executive Advisory Board; and Michael Cheng, dean of FIU’s Chaplin School, major gifts were made to launch the funding of the endowment, and Angelo himself has supported the effort. The Rocco M. Angelo Leadership Endowment has recently surpassed $1 million, and Cabañas has active plans for continued growth to benefit future FIU students.
Cabañas has a solid foundation of leadership experience to draw on for his new role as chairman of the FIU Foundation, having founded Benchmark Global Hospitality in 1980, which is today recognized as a global leader in the management and marketing of conference centers, hotels and resorts. The company has grown to 80 luxury properties in the U.S. and internationally. He began his hospitality career as a teenager, working as a lifeguard for Miami Beach’s Shelborne Hotel, having immigrated from Cuba with his mother just a few years prior.
LG Air Conditioning Technologies debuts new Connectivity Suite
LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA has unveiled a Connectivity Suite with new integration capabilities that offers hoteliers and building owners the flexibility to use their preferred hotel thermostat brand when installing LG variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems. This enables direct, seamless integration of data with control options that are compatible with LG’s HVAC systems.
Expanding integration to the most preferred hospitality thermostats available, LG delivers a control solution that is compatible with the company’s highly efficient VRF systems. LG’s VRF technology minimizes efficiency losses, provides sustainable energy savings and offers flexible design options, along with the ability to deliver simultaneous heating and cooling. LG’s new intelligent integration provides greater access to the efficiencies of LG VRF technology without sacrificing flexibility, preference or performance. Connectivity Suite was designed to meet the commercial needs of customers in a variety of sectors like hospitality, as well as long-term care, retirement communities and military housing.
By expanding integration options, the LG Connectivity Suite offers better operation and management of the individual occupant space, enabling building operators to offer guests the convenience of adjusting their room comfort preferences via hotel loyalty program smartphone apps or in-room thermostats. Additionally, it gives property managers the ability to pre-set preferences for occupants to maximize the guest experience or control the temperature and humidity of unoccupied rooms for their own cost benefit.
Midas Hospitality celebrates 15th anniversary
Hotel development, management and investment firm Midas Hospitality recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Cofounded by J.T. Norville and David Robert, the company currently owns and manages 43 hotels in 13 states located in the Midwest and Southern states.
In 2020, the company opened its first owned and operated bar—the rooftop Upbar—at its Element St. Louis Midtown, the brand’s only property in the Missouri city. Last year, Midas Hospitality also made its debut into the restaurant industry. For the first time in its 17-year history, Wasabi Sushi Bar partnered with Midas on its seventh restaurant located in the Cortex tech district. The new Wasabi restaurant is next to the Midas owned and managed Aloft Hotel by Marriott.
Virdee becomes Assa Abloy certified partner
Virdee, a SaaS company serving the lodging, multifamily and commercial real estate industries, has entered into the Certified Partner program by Assa Abloy Global Solutions to deliver a robust contactless check-in and Mobile Access solution to joint hospitality customers and third-party integrators.
Virdee’s secure, contactless check-in flow allows ID-verified users to obtain keys for building access either at an in-lobby check-in station and/or digitally through its mobile app. By equipping properties with Visionline’s access management technology, Assa Abloy provides properties with the ability to manage both offline or online-based locks. The integration of this leading manufacturer’s access solutions into Virdee’s virtual reception platform provides customers, and their guests, the efficiency of a self-service check-in experience.
Knowland introduces GroupAdvantage 2021
Group business continues to be a key driver for profitability in the hospitality industry, especially in this year of unprecedented challenges. To empower hoteliers, Knowland, which provides AI-powered meetings and events data for hospitality, has launched Knowland GroupAdvantage 2021, a program that brings together the core prospecting and sales training tools needed to help hoteliers win emerging group business.
Knowland GroupAdvantage 2021 is designed, in particular, for hoteliers having to do more with less due to staff and budget restrictions. Powered by the largest database of historic events, Knowland’s enhanced platform enables users to target prospects that match a hotel’s specific needs quickly and easily with actionable, immediate results. By leveraging the system’s unique insights including account booking history, account preferences, past meeting dates and more, sales teams become more productive. Industry experts from Knowland’s account management and customer success teams help guide sales prospecting efforts. By leveraging their personalized and consultative approach to proactive selling, hotels can take advantage of this knowledge at a time when they are being forced to do more with less.