Consider It Done

By  Brian Smith, Guest Contributor | March 01, 2005

Gaylord Hotels is a hotel brand created specifically for meetings and conventions business. Dedicated to delivering flawless service to customers seeking meeting, convention and leisure experiences, we offer state-of-the-art guest accommodations at our convention resorts Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Palms and Gaylord Texan.

One of our most ambitious customer-service initiatives launched was the "Consider It Done" program, a comprehensive call-center solution implemented at each resort location. The program promises that service issues will be handled upon first request, never requiring a follow-up call from a guest.

"Consider it Done" allows guests to ask questions or request a wide-range of services. For example, our staff is specially trained to assist guests with their every need--from such common requests as attraction transportation, to not-socommon needs including a chartered helicopter ride.

Finding the right solution
In order to successfully launch "Consider It Done," we needed a communications system that would provide more features than what traditional private branch exchange (PBX) telephone systems offer. We also required a system that would work with the hotels' automatic call-distribution (ACD) platform so that special features, such as skill-based routing, real-time reporting and agent monitoring could be utilized. After several months of researching and testing solutions, we chose the XpressDesk hospitality suite from Xtend Communications (xtend.com), a provider of computer and local area network-based telecommunications systems for hospitality environments. We were confident that the company's communication capabilities could meet the demands of the "Consider It Done" initiative, while providing the scalability to evolve as the needs of our organization change. The system proved to be a good fit for us because of its ability to operate along with our existing Nortel Networks (nortel.com) Meridian 1 PBX and ACD. The combined solution enables us to have a fully integrated, intelligent console and directory lookup system with augmented features such as guest-entered and VIP wake-up services, offering friendly automated answering phrases to assist switchboard operators.

XpressDesk was also able to integrate with our property management system (PMS), ensuring that guest information is easily retrievable by the operator. Before the hotel operator even answers the phone, XpressDesk delivers vital information about the guest call through a highly intuitive graphical interface on the PC.

Progress in action
The first of our resorts to implement "Consider it Done" with XpressDesk was the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee, Florida. The resort's multi-functional contact center is comprised of a 15-seat switchboard area and was chosen as the first of the three properties to be implemented due to its large capacity and size. The hotel has seen improved customer service and increased response time for guest requests.

Installation proceeded next at Gaylord Texan on Lake Grapevine, followed by Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. Additional features and functionality are to be rolled out including convenience applications for convention guests including group wake-up messaging and enhanced concierge services. Eventually, the Gaylord/Xtend partnership may result in a centralized national contact center supporting all Gaylord properties.

Brian Smith is senior development manager at Gaylord Entertainment Information Technology.

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