Hotel Management from Home

By Bill Peters, VP of Reservations Services and Marketing Development, Outrigger Enterprises Group | February 11, 2010

The Hawaii-based Outrigger Enterprises Group (www.outriggerenterprisesgroup.com) is one of the largest privately-held hospitality companies in the Asian Pacific. In December 2004, Outrigger began investigating a variety of hosted call center software applications with multiple goals in mind, including the ability to reduce costs, avoid employee outsourcing, and route incoming inquiries to the appropriate employee based on their skills. This full suite of management tools would also need to have protocol flexibility for both inbound and outbound calls; be able to easily adopt new software enhancements as they become available; enable Outrigger to run its business electronically; support a full range of reservation methods including phone, email, and Internet live chat; and support a "home shoring" solution, making it possible for employees to work not from a central location, but from home.
 
After visiting many prospective technology providers' customers, one company stood out from the rest, Echopass (www.echopass.com). Using the on-demand call center software that Echopass hosts in Salt Lake City, Outrigger has been able to cut operating costs beyond expectation, and it has allowed the hospitality group to start a work-from-home experiment.
 
The work-from-home experiment began with one wholesale employee six months after the initial implementation. Over the next several years, Outrigger has moved more and more employees and business functions to the work-from-home status. Each business function was tested to its fullest to ensure that all of its applications could be performed in a virtual, i.e., decentralized, environment. The result is that Outrigger now has 100 percent of its employees working from home, covering 100 percent of its customer contact functions.
 
This has created a totally green business environment for Outrigger's operation. Working from home cuts each employee's job-related carbon footprint, eliminating the need to commute back and forth to an office. It saves each employee the cost of fuel, and it enormously cuts employee time away from home.
 
In October of 2009, Outrigger moved out of its large call center into a much more decentralized work-from-home environment. To accomplish this Outrigger is using many different hosted companies that, with the help of Echopass, allow them to do time and attendance, payroll, eLearning (i.e., training), scheduling, instant messaging and other necessary functions.
 
Decentralizing meant that Outrigger needed to find a data center to host some of the remaining servers that are essential to business, in addition to a small executive office. The provides Outrigger with a place to hold its weekly management meetings, a training room for new hires, and a place to host the employee meetings that are held every two months. It also provides the company with executive office space for visiting Outrigger executives to meet and take part in webinars. The end result: a truly green experience.
 

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