JW Marriott Resort Saves $100K with Push-to-Talk Tech

| December 09, 2010

Located in the rolling countryside of Cibolo Canyons in south Texas, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa is one of Marriott International’s newest properties. Celebrating its grand opening in March 2010, the resort offers more than 1,000 rooms, a conference center with 140,000 square feet of meeting space, a six-acre water park, 700-acre preserve, and a 36-hole TPC golf course.
 
Maintaining the Marriott’s legendary high standards for guest satisfaction requires tools that increase efficiency and enable the resort’s service employees to respond quickly to guest requests. So when S&P Communications, a local Motorola channel partner, called on the resort to learn of their communications needs, Steve McGuire, director of engineering for the resort, was ready to listen.
 
“We were looking for new technology that would increase the efficiency of the hotel’s staff,” says McGuire. “We wanted the ability to call all employees with the push of a button, as well as the security of having our own system without having to rely on cell phones or paying monthly service fees. And we wanted radios that would integrate with the software and technology we are using.”
 
Improving the productivity benefits of CRM
The resort uses Guestware, a customerrelationship management (CRM) software solutiondesigned specifically for the hospitality industry.But while the software improved the productivity ofits maintenance and housekeeping staff, it was stilldependent on manual data input via a computer.
 
For example, whenever a guest called with a request, the front desk logged into the application, opened a work ticket, then picked up the radio or telephone and called housekeeping, engineering or maintenance. Upon reaching the right person they would assign the job, open the application and update the record. Once the job was complete the front desk then had to rely upon the individual to call back and report (which didn’t always happen) in order for the ticket to be closed out. McGuire wanted a two-way radio that would allow them not only to continue using Guestware, but to make that software even more efficient.
 
S&P Communications recommended MOTOTRBO digital portable radios with a six-channel Capacity Plus system. The MOTOTRBO radios offer enhanced features, increased capacity, integrated data applications, exceptional voice quality and extended battery performance. With the addition of Capacity Plus, a scalable, single-site digital trunking solution,MOTOTRBO capacity would be expanded even further, enabling over a thousand radio users to share voice and data communication quickly and efficiently on the same system without adding new frequencies.
 
Four voice repeaters and two data repeaters dedicated to the Guestware application were also installed, as well as the Teldio Radio Branch Exchange (RBX) application, a telephone-to-radio interface that would enable employees or guests to use land-line telephones to connect directly with radio users. The system was deployed in stages beginning in November, 2009, with two digital MOTOTRBO repeaters. Two more MOTOTRBO voice repeaters, two MOTOTRBO data revert repeaters and 10 application dependent control stations were installed in early January, 2010, utilizing CapacityPlus. The final implementation for Guestware and Teldio RBX radio-to-telephone interface was completed in April, 2010.
 
The bottom line -- flawless customer service
Today all operations, including guest services, housekeeping, convention services, audio visual, food and beverage, recreation, engineering, and security communicate seamlessly via the MOTOTRBO radio system. Nearly 100 percent of the hotel and grounds have full two-way radio coverage, including the convention center, which is located on a hillside where three of its floors are below ground level.
 
Integrated voice and data capability, as well as the operating software of the MOTOTRBO radios which enables easy integration of customized workforce applications, further increases staff productivity:
  • Customer relationship management: If housekeeping needs a repair in one of the guest rooms, they can now radio engineering to report the problem. MOTOTRBO’s data capability allows the engineering supervisor to use the Guestware application to open a ticket and assign it to a staff member who verifies receipt. The application directs the flow of activity by monitoring the open ticket, enabling the supervisor to ensure the job is finished within the required time. When the repair is completed, the employee uses the radio to close out the ticket which documents the activity from start to finish. Supervisors can assign accountability and ensure that the problem is taken care of in a timely manner. “With the old way, housekeeping would call the front desk or the front desk would get a call from a guest,” says McGuire. “They would use a cell phone to call the right person and it might take ten minutes to reach them. With MOTOTRBO, the process is rolling within 30 seconds. A couple of minutes can make all the difference in the world to the guest waiting for someone to show up and fix the problem.
  • Telephone-to-radio interface: Hotel management and key employees working on-site or remotely can use mobile or landline phones to place a call that goes direct to the MOTOTRBO radio users on the resort property. Leveraging the Teldio RBX application enables third party convention services to contact radio users directly through cell or landline to meet guest needs, speeding response through immediate contact.
  • E-mail messaging: MOTOTRBO radios can accommodate custom data applications that adapt the radios to specific business needs. With a third party application, the resort’s MOTOTRBO radios can convert e-mail messages to text. For example, touch screens installed at the door of each conference or meeting room allow guests to request refreshments, initiate a room temperature request or other need. A text message is then sent via MOTOTRBO to the convention services staff, along with the location from which it originated.
  • Text messaging: Text messaging enables discreet communications, allowing employees to receive and respond to requests from the front desk without disturbing guests. In addition, security staff can send a discreet preprogrammed security text message indicating “incident in progress” to every security radio on the property.
Emergency alarm and staff collaboration enhances guest safety and security
The radios are also equipped with an emergency button that sends an audible alarm to all security radios and activates the microphone to transmit ambient noise, conversation and activity at the scene to the security radios. In addition, the MOTOTRBO Capacity Plus software enables an emergency or broadcast channel which allows collaboration between the hotel staff and security. During opening week two guests suffered medical emergencies. Hotel personnel sent out an alert and within minutes, medical and security staff were at the scene.

Dramatic cost savings and rapid return on investment
Currently the hotel chain uses push-to-talk cellular technology in their hotels around the world. Depending on the number of phones, service fees can reach thousands of dollars per month or more. Because the new resort has replaced their cell phones with MOTOTRBO, which is a private digital two-way radio system, they save $14,000 a month. Even when factoring in maintenance and other operational expenses, the hotel estimates that over a five-year period, they will net around $500K in savings when compared to cellular and push-to-talk subscriber services. It is estimated that the hotel will achieve a complete return on investment within about 18 months. Because of the dramatic cost savings and rapid ROI, the hotel chain is considering MOTOTRBO radios for their other properties.
 
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