Four years ago we started working on a mission to improve the way hospitality companies, specifically hotels, deliver service.
Every guest at some point has experienced a frustration at a hotel, an unmet expectation that took away from her hospitality experience. At the same time, guest expectations in a technology-driven age have only intensified. And the advent of technologies that promise immediate responses to all kinds of requests has made service delivery even more complex.
In the broad view, hoteliers and brands also continue to be challenged to keep service high, while at the same time keeping costs in control and operations efficient. They're charged to use staff resources to their fullest, and direct as much staff time as possible toward the delivery of a superior guest experience.
Inspired by the exceptional service improvements of companies like Uber, Amazon and OpenTable, we set out to understand how we could apply their insights to improving the guest experience in a hotel.
At first, we believed the solution was guest-facing technology, specifically mobile apps. What we found though was that in each case the app was simply an access point into a new infrastructure for delivering service.
We wanted to build a solution driven by the needs of hotels, so we started asking hotels lots of questions, We saw a consistent pattern: guest frustrations rarely originated from the inability to communicate a request. The true problems stemmed from the operational complexity of fulfilling the request. The difference between the Ubers of this world and hotels was not the guest access point, but rather their ability to leverage technology on the back-end or staff side.
Most hotels today are running outdated legacy systems, which are disconnected from one another. Operations tries to broach these silos with offline methods, like pen and paper and radios, which leaves room for error. It also prevents hotels from understanding how they are failing guest expectations. In today’s social-media and review-driven economy that is a risk. Customer reviews are everywhere, social media is directly impacting guest expectations and future bookings. The last thing any hotelier wants is a negative review.
Through these learnings, we broadened our focus to see staff and guest technology as equally important. We also zeroed in on connecting staff operations through an end-to-end platform. In solving the staff side of the equation, hotels can now deliver a better guest experience.