It’s no secret that hotel staffers are the lifeline to guests, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time and provide high-level service. That’s where mobile technology comes in.
The hospitality industry is jumping on the mobile bandwagon and arming their teams with smart phones and tablets to keep them connected and on call, especially when working with meeting planners and event producers who have to cover thousands of square feet of hotel space – covering meeting rooms large and small -- in a single day.
The days of clipboards full of hard-copy checklists and banquet event orders are over. No longer are unreliable walkie-talkies needed to keep in touch and stay on top of ever-changing details.
The Brookstreet Hotel evaluates and embraces new technology solutions that can help make guest visits truly memorable while simplifying the work of our event, banquet and room service staff, making them more effective. We have had the opportunity to do both over the last six months since we deployed the Loop Mobile Event Engagement, a solution from Benbria that enhances the satisfaction of meeting planners who select Brookstreet Hotel for conferences.
Meeting planners were asking for a superior way to communicate rather than from house phones in the meeting rooms, e-mailing or texting. These traditional communications channels present a challenge on the hotel side when required to capture, track and fulfill requests from phone calls, voicemail, e-mails, texts and two-way radios. Similarly, it’s challenging for clients to track all requests from the wide variety of channels that are available to them. A better solution for communication was needed.
That’s why The Brookstreet Hotel decided to give the Loop mobile event engagement application a try. Using a menu-based screen from a smartphone, tablet or laptop, Loop allows meeting planners to submit requests from a variety of categories such as food and beverage, audio/visual and others. Requests are routed to appropriate property team members for action, and response and closure circle back to the meeting planner.
Launched in early December 2012, proved to be easy to implement from the time it was introduced to the time it was rolled out. It’s a hosted web app so it doesn’t require the installation of any new software or hardware; there was no app download or IT support required from staff or clients; and the training only took a matter of minutes, making the Loop launch quick and easy.
The mobile web app has proven to be multi-faceted in that it provides a real-time connection with the client, it’s non-intrusive and it provides the ability to keep track of clients’ requests and close the loop in a timely manner.
Since implementing the Loop, the Brookstreet Hotel has observed the following results:
Improved Staff Productivity – We have experienced a faster service turnaround and a 58 percent decrease in the time it takes to close outstanding requests because of streamlined staff communications and event order fulfillment. The Loop pinpoints responsibility for closing requests, so staff only receives a Loop alert on the specific requests they need to work on.
Enhanced Client Experience – Meeting planners can quickly and easily send last minute requests without leaving their seats from one simple screen view. We can provide clients with better service and keep the meeting running without disruption.
Increased Event Revenue – From a click-and-order interface, we can now track and charge for products and services that otherwise could have been overlooked and lost in the rush, or not fulfilled in a timely manner.
Brookstreet’s event managers explain the Loop solution as soon as contracts with meeting planners are finalized. Once the client is in the hotel, the banquets team takes over as primary contact for the meeting planner. The banquet manager and the people servicing clients on the spot are now dealing directly with that meeting planner and the hotel’s event manager would only get involved if there are any issues that go above day-to-day operational matters.
The Loop enables the Brookstreet staff to track communications, comments and requests, and it turns client input and requests into actionable insight via live reports. Staff can now view real-time reports on open/closed requests, time-to-respond, and time-to-close.
The feedback from clients has been great, such as “I get faster service, I can multi-task, and I’m not as stressed,” “It’s easier to reach hotel staff; I don’t leave the room; I don’t disrupt my meeting,” and “I can track my open requests and get notified when they are complete.” Clients have commented about the temperature in meeting rooms, or noise in the hallway etcetera, but now they are able to communicate that without literally or physically moving and interrupting the event. With Loop they can get a response back in 10 seconds or 30 seconds, saying that the management will address that right away, whatever the request or issue is. This has received good feedback that their needs were quickly and efficiently addressed without interruption of the event.
The Loop evokes instant gratification from the meeting planners’ standpoint, now that they know someone is listening to them, and it empowers the Brookstreet team to be able to deliver a highly differentiated service by tracking and fulfilling client requests in a timely manner.
A 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Nyle Kelly is operations director of the Brookstreet Hotel, a mid-sized luxury property in the Kanata Research Park’s high-tech campus in the western suburbs of Ottawa. He began his career at Canada’s famed Chateau Lake Louise Hotel. In 1999, he then went on to work with Hostar International, a small consulting company based in Seattle that develops innovative material handling systems and applications for the hospitality industry. In his 4 years with Hostar, he was involved in over 20 hotel openings throughout North America and Asia.