Posts

Top Wedding Venues Are Winning with This Hot Tech

The wedding venue tech and services industry is a 50 billion dollar a year industry within the United States and is expected to increase by 11% in the next year. Aside from flowers, music, and photography, couples spend an average of $10,500 just on their event space. These event spaces do more than host the happy couple and their guests. They typically work closely with other vendors while also catering the event and serving beverages. Implementing Sestra’s TapWise beverage dispensing allows your venue to provide one touch beverage dispensing, can add additional points of service as needed depending on the size of the reception, and provide efficient service that keeps drinks in hand and everyone happy.

Cocktails on Tap

Signature cocktails are very popular at weddings. Cocktails on tap put a streamlined spin on the newlyweds’ specialty drinks. By mixing and kegging cocktails ahead of time, bartenders are able to quickly and accurately serve the same drink every time, without guests having to wait for servers to measure and mix ingredients. Sestra’s platform connects to your Point of Sale system, allowing your team to easily track beverages dispensed and consumed. In addition to streamlining actual beverage service, this connectivity also streamlines beverage invoicing at the end of the reception. 

Mobile Bars

Offering cocktails, beer, or wine on tap, mobile bars make beverages more accessible to guests. Whether your venue accommodates large parties of hundreds of guests, more intimate affairs, or you are flexible in your capacity, mobile bars allow your venue to add points of service as needed based on the size of the reception. For example, if your venue has five mobile bars onsite to maximize the efficiency of your largest events, the easily cleaned, maintained, and stored units can be kept out of sight when not needed and pulled out individually when needed, depending on the size of the event. 

Mobile bars can also help alleviate congestion in otherwise busy corners of your venue, and can be set up outdoors when conditions allow. 

One Touch, Touchless Dispensing, and Self-Serve

One touch self-serve beverages on tap increase efficiency, allowing staff to accommodate other needs of your guests. In addition to alleviating existing staff, the need for fewer staff to run the reception allows your venue to reduce costs, a savings that you can share with your hosts. Not only will your customers appreciate the savings, they’ll be thankful for the seamless service that allows them to enjoy their special evening.

Advertise Your Wedding Venue Tech

Ensure potential customers know what sets your venue apart from competitors. Update your website, incorporate your reception services to your social media strategy, and share successful celebrations with your community. Sestra works with customers to provide ongoing support, maintenance, and training. Part of that support is promoting your events, offerings, and successes across our own LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. We encourage your venue to reshare these posts or compose your own communications sharing your event space services.

 

The wedding industry, like the hospitality industry, is constantly growing and evolving, creating opportunities for businesses to innovate and grow. Sestra not only evolves with your venue, it allows you to offer quick, clean, and frictionless service to wedding parties and their guests on one of the biggest days of their lives. Whether your venue already offers reception services or you’re interested in launching an event space, contact us today to learn more about how Sestra can help you book out your wedding venue. 

 

Sestra’s Self Serve Dispensing Integration with CLEAR Debuts

As the industry leader in smart, cloud-connected beverage dispensing, Sestra partnered with CLEAR, the secure identity platform, to deliver on Marriott International’s vision for innovation in guest services at The Americas Lodging Investment Summit. Sestra and CLEAR demonstrated their joint solutions to provide menus, ordering, age verification, payments, and dispensing for an easy to use self-service lobby bar. 

Held earlier this year, attendees at the 2022 Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS), at the JW Marriott in Los Angeles, had the opportunity to see the power of Sestra’s self-serve technology and CLEAR’s opt-in age verification capability together and showcased within the Marriott brand area. The innovative solution received positive interest from hotel investors and owners. 

Thanks to Smart Dispensing, it is easy for guests to pour themselves beer, wine, cocktails, cold brew, and more. The intuitive self-serve capabilities create increased efficiency and maximize revenue while creating a frictionless guest experience with faster speed of service.

Self-service bars and kiosks offer different ways to provide guest amenities, create new revenue opportunities and can play a significant role in overcoming labor challenges for beverage sales. Smart Dispensing also drives service efficiencies, freeing up staff to focus on other areas of the business.  

Interested in learning how Sestra’s integration with CLEAR can benefit your venue? Contact us today or check out https://www.sestrasystems.com/how-it-works/.

Your Technology Backed Solution to the Labor Shortage

The labor shortage is an increasingly credible threat to the hospitality industry. While consumers are headed back to hospitality businesses in droves, workers are not. The U.S. Labor Department reported 1,378,000 unfilled jobs at restaurants at the end of September of 2021. The quit rate in accommodations and food services was at 6.6%, over double the average rate across all industries. While Insider reports that restaurants are raising prices, cutting opening hours, and even closing down for good, there is another solution. Internet of Things (IoT) Technology. Implementing technology, automations, and controls through Smart Dispensing for beverages can help hospitality businesses cut down on labor needs while delivering frictionless service.

Labor Shortage in Restaurants and Bars

Integrating technology into existing practices allows restaurants and bars to decrease labor needs without compromising customer service. One touch and touchless Smart Dispensing allow bartenders and servers to save time measuring beverages, mixing cocktails, and tracking and replacing inventory. Each staff member has the capability to serve and engage with more customers thanks to the ease and precision of Smart Dispensing.

Interested in taking your technology one step further? Self-serve ordering and beverage fulfillment stations allow customers to take their orders into their own hands. While customer service will never be obsolete, staff that used to man registers can instead help prepare food, clean facilities, and attend to other guest needs. In addition to saving on labor needs and costs, self-serve stations receive more orders than staff members who take orders. Deepthi Prakash, global director of product and marketing for an Omnicom Group Inc. advertising agency told The Wall Street Journal that “diners are more likely to place bigger orders and add more substitutions when they order digitally because they can hide their embarrassment from servers”. In addition, “People order more and the tables turn over faster, because they can get their orders and they can get their bills sooner.”

QR codes and Bring Your Own Device technology also allow restaurants to update their menus, ingredients, and offerings seamlessly. Rather than reprinting and distributing paper menus, online menus accessed through consumer tech reduces waste and labor. 

While self service and Smart Dispensing are becoming more commonplace in restaurants and bars, the same technology can be implemented throughout the hospitality industry, offering the solution to the labor shortage at stadiums, in hotels, on cruise ships, and more.

Labor Shortage at Stadiums

Stadiums and arenas possess labor needs, such as cooks and security, that remain assets to the industry. Positions that cannot be seamlessly replaced by technology are more easily filled when there are fewer unfilled positions to compete with. As in restaurants and bars, stadium cashiers and bartenders can be aided by Smart Dispensing and even replaced by self-serve stations. IoT technology also provides connected solutions that track inventory, predict when and where inventory is needed, and can be programmed to automatically lock and unlock taps.

Jonathan Stahl, Vice President of Ballpark Operations for the Washington Nationals shares how simple it is to halt serving at the bottom of the 7th inning, “With the click of a button, we can just turn off service for everybody. And then we can pull reports and find out to make sure that our servings are matching up to what we’re ringing up in the point of sales system as well and hold our staff accountable.” 

In addition, granting access to third-party vendors, where appropriate, allows stadiums to work smart rather than duplicating roles across their own staff.

Labor Shortage at Hotels 

Both the labor shortage and hotel cleanliness policies have been exacerbated by the onset of Covid-19. Sestra’s Smart Dispensers help alleviate both issues through alerts. Alerts can be set up to notify the appropriate staff of which stations need attention and when, based on volume, temperature, cleaning schedules, and more. Not only does Smart Dispensing increase efficiency which reduces labor needs, communicating your cleanliness standards may also help assuage concerned staff and applicants. Additionally, Sestra’s Smart Dispensing technology eases operations, increases speed of service, and offers consistency, all while integrating with guest folios and property management systems. Just as self-service helps reduce labor needs in restaurants, bars, and stadiums, mobile bars, tap walls, and other self service stations allow hotels to streamline their restaurant service and monetize their lobbies without incurring additional labor needs. 

Labor Shortage on Cruise Ships

Not only are cruise ships experiencing similar labor shortages to restaurants, stadiums, and hotels, they endure the additional challenge of limited capacity for inventory and staff. Sestra’s Smart Dispensing can help by pinpointing inventory needs to match pouring activity. This ensures that the crew always has what they need to serve guests, while reducing excess cargo on the ship, which minimizes fuel use in loading and unloading in port and weight on the ship. Alert dashboards also show which bars need attention, highlighting exactly where resources are needed, solving problems before they occur. Not only do these tactics reduce excess inventory, they’re your solution to the labor shortage and help you offer your guests frictionless service. 

While Sestra has been perfecting and distributing IoT technology since our inception, the labor shortage has exacerbated the need for the hospitality industry to streamline their technology and implement Smart Dispensing. Our cloud-connected solutions enable customers to maximize profit by preventing loss, improving service speed and quality, easing operations, and reducing labor needs. Whether your venue is interested in streamlining service behind the bar, offering self service, or both, contact us today to learn how we can help you implement your technology backed solution to the labor shortage. 

4 Game Changing Ways Mobile Bars Are Increasing Sales

Restaurants, hotels, and stadiums all have varying capacity limits as well as reasons for drawing in guests; but there is one thing that rings true for every venue within the hospitality industry. Beverage sales provide one of the largest returns on investment and mobile bars can help you increase that ROI. Because Mobile bars are self-serve, your venue can implement additional points of service and, therefore, incur additional revenue without paying for additional staff. Mobile bars serves the same beer, wine, cocktails, and more as your stationary Smart Dispensers, in a compact package. From dispersing your guests to providing additional points of service, mobile bars reduce wait times and provide consistent pours, resulting in an improved guest experience.

1. Spread Guests Throughout Your Venue

If there is a single exhibit or area of your venue that typically receives more foot traffic, stationing bars throughout different areas of your venue can draw and disperse crowds. Similarly, if your venue features a permanent bar and overworked bartender, mobile bars can alleviate staff and eliminate customer wait times. Determine where you want guests to gather, whether that’s near a specific exhibit or simply away from a more crowded corner.

Keep in mind that guests can only approach mobile bars that they know about. Use signage or inform staff to direct patrons toward the distributed points of service. You can also disperse crowds by offering different beverages types at each mobile bar. Try boosting an event’s customer experience by curating the drink options throughout the venue. For example, feature beer at one mobile bar, dispense wine at another, and cocktails at a third, or, a complete tour of specialty drinks.

2. Move Service Between Indoors and Out

Whether you’re a conservatory with indoor and outdoor exhibits, a restaurant that offers outdoor service when weather permits, or a multipurpose venue, mobile bars are a great way to draw guests outdoors and alleviate the indoor points of service. When your outdoor exhibits or service is closed, simply move your mobile bars indoors. Setup and relocating a mobile bar is more manageable than the setup and teardown of a full bar, making it easy to adjust your venue’s layout for different occasions.

Whenever you relocate a mobile bar, you are able to map its location so that your data reflects the pours in each area. Learning from your pour data may influence where you station your mobile bars during various circumstances.

3. Monetize Your Lobby

Even if your hotel features a restaurant or bar, mobile bars allow you to monetize your lobby. At check-in, offer guests the opportunity to purchase a specified number of glasses or ounces. The purchase will prompt an email to send to your guest with their beverage allotment, a link, and instructions for redemption. Then, when guests are ready to redeem, they approach the pour station, click the link, and dispense. While there are multiple ways to offer self service, email delivery allows you to control who can pour, which offers insight into your service with each pour mapped to a specific guest or member.

4. Add Points of Service During Holidays and Events

Hotels and restaurants alike are affected by seasonality and typically experience higher guest counts around the holidays. In addition, wedding and other event venues host multiple parties of varying sizes and must be able to adjust accordingly. Mobile bars offer additional points of service when needed and can be stored when not.

Your mobile bars’ data is collected in the same manner and displayed on the same dashboard as your permanent bars. Use your pour data to measure the effects of seasonality and plan for next year. Discover the popularity of each beverage and stock accordingly. Your data can also influence staffing and when to reintroduce your mobile bars.

When using mobile bars for events, wedding planners and bar managers will be grateful for the indisputable numbers they can deliver with the bill after the wedding, office party, or Bat Mitzvah has ended. Data doesn’t only mean dollars. Use Smart Dispensing to pour the bride and groom’s signature drinks. At the end of the night, share who had the winning cocktail. Mobile bars add additional points of service and an element of fun to your venue.

Not only do mobile bars provide multiple advantages, they can be implemented in several ways to benefit your restaurant, museum, or event venue. Your data is collected across your Smart Dispensing systems, offering a full picture of your beverage program’s delivery and success. In addition, your alerts and Sestra service work the same across all of your Smart Dispensing stations. Questions about your existing Smart Dispensing systems or wondering how your venue can take advantage of mobile bars? Contact us today.

Beverage Dispensing in the Hotel Industry

Check-in and check-out processes, hotel cleanliness and maintenance, and a frictionless food and beverage program all contribute to the guest experience. The guest experience, in turn, influences reputation and affects your venue’s bottomline. So how can Sestra help hotel managers ensure a positive guest experience? Sestra’s Smart Dispensing technology and long-term solution partnerships ease operations, increase speed of service, and offer consistency, all while integrating with your guest folio and property management systems. 

Guest Experience

Self Serve

Self service is contactless service that can be set up through mobile bars or No Brick stations. Either option can be arranged throughout your venue to spread out service, eliminate lines, and alleviate staffing needs.

Sestra’s partners have implemented self service of alcoholic beverages as well as coffee and kombucha to appeal to multiple visitor needs. For example, Element Hotels offer complimentary wine on tap at their Relax Hours. Once their guests complete the check-in process, they’re sent an email with a QR code. They then scan the QR code at the self-serve wine station, unlocking the tap and initiating their complimentary pour. 

Bar Service

Sestra beverage dispensing at hotel bars leaves bartenders free to create memorable experiences that keep guests coming back. Beer and wine may be obvious choices to dispense on tap but cocktails on tap also result in huge time savings. Rather than reaching for ingredients and measuring each individually, cocktails on tap can be dispensed through push-to-pour or touchless dispensers while bar staff engage with guests and ensure their stays are exceeding expectations.

Not only does Sestra beverage dispensing in the hotel industry result in expedited service, it offers consistency of every pour throughout your venue.

Consistent Pours

Precision pouring dispenses down to a fraction of an ounce, per your pre-determined serving sizes. That’s right, sizes. We often recommend that venues feature multiple serving sizes as a way to offer multiple options and price points to guests. Whatever size or beverage your patrons prefer, you can feel confident knowing that they are receiving consistent pours, every time.

“I love the fact that at a push of a button at any bar [within W hotel] you can get the exact same drink to the ounce. To me it doesn’t make a difference if it is wine, beer, kombucha, cold brewed coffee, you get all of the same benefits of having those beverages on tap.”

-Garth Welsh, Director, Food and Beverage W Hotel, Washington, DC

Consistent pours also eliminate waste, whether intentional or not. Beverage dispensing that is push-to-pour or touchless eliminate overpouring and integrate with point of sale systems, keeping staff accountable for charging each pour. Self serve stations can be equipped with Bring Your Own Device technology, ensuring each pour is paid for before being dispensed. 

Ease of Operations

Activity and Inventory

Trend reports and insights regarding beverage dispensing allow venues to make data-backed decisions regarding staffing, inventory, and more. For example, if your trends note a seasonal increase in chardonnay consumption, so much that it outperforms all pours throughout the rest of the year, you can, in turn, make decisions to increase staff as well as inventory of chardonnay. Decrease supply of low performers to eliminate waste and storage needs while focusing on more popular pours.

Do your trends illustrate a drop in service between certain hours? Adjust your hours accordingly or offer self-serve stations to reduce staffing needs.

Alerts

Hotel cleanliness and maintenance has always been a top priority for hotel management and a top determinant of a hotel’s reputation. This has only become more true since the onset of Covid-19 and the increased awareness of germs. Your Sestra Smart Dispensers are one less thing to worry about, however, thanks to automated alerts. Alerts can be set up to notify the appropriate staff of which stations need attention and when based on volumes, temperature, cleaning schedules, and more. In addition, Dispensing as a Service means you have access to ongoing support, training, maintenance, and upgrades.

 

While every hotel offers a unique experience to their guests, Smart Dispensing offers consistency where it matters. Through IoT technology and the benefits of Dispensing as a Service, Sestra can help your hotel improve operations, increase speed of service, and provide the perfect pour every time. Ready to learn more about beverage dispensing in the hotel industry? Contact us today