Delivering High Impact Operational Efficiencies through Mobile Applications
By Peter Engel Chief Technology Officer, Marcus Hotels & Resorts | April 29, 2012
Today's fast-paced environment and around-the-clock communication is driving an ever-increasing demand for wireless access points in hotels. In addition to meeting guest demands for internet connectivity, hoteliers have found an added benefit in beefing-up their access points - hotel associates can use this same technology to improve the service they provide to these same customers.
Emerging wireless technology solutions empower hotel management to improve communication with staff and enhance operational efficiencies, which ultimately lead to higher levels of overall guest satisfaction. By expanding Wi-Fi coverage and providing wireless devices to associates, hoteliers can improve the guest experience, decrease the time it takes to respond to customer requests and reduce staffing requirements, while seamlessly obtaining operational data for performance measurement and continuous improvement.
Marcus Hotels & Resorts has implemented this strategy at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Enhancing the existing Wi-Fi networks and providing low-cost, hand-held devices to employees has led to a flow of information that has opened up a realm of new possibilities for accomplishing everyday tasks and servicing guests. Mobile applications allow hotel managers to direct activities of employees in real time, improve and encourage cross-departmental staff communication, and leverage guest data to enable improved service recovery and vastly elevate the overall guest experience.
Wi-Fi Enabled Systems: A Management Tool
Before enhanced Wi-Fi technology was implemented, housekeeping supervisors at the sprawling 1,300 acre Grand Geneva Resort walked several miles each day to carry out their job, searching for room attendants, keeping them on pace, redirecting them to clean specific rooms or attend to guest requests; then returning to their office to keep the manual housekeeping system updated at their desk. If a VIP guest checked in early, the front desk would call the supervisor, and he or she would track down the attendant to ensure that room was the next one cleaned. The manual processes were not efficient and often delayed customer check-in during peak times.
The operational efficiencies of the department were transformed when new iPod Touch and iPad devices were distributed to the team of 55 housekeeping associates. The devices enabled instant communication between staff anywhere in the resort, allowing supervisors to connect with their front-line associates without walking to find them. The wireless application technology gave supervisors the ability to proactively manage staff activities and quality control. Supervisors now use an iPad to see a real-time view of where all room attendants are located and monitor the progress of his/her team. If an attendant falls behind schedule, rooms can quickly be reassigned to other team members.
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