For the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Vacaville, Calif., accountability is a top priority, especially when it comes to recording and tracking housekeeping and engineering work orders and fulfilling guest’s requests for service. That’s why the 91-room, limited-service hotel, located at 151 Lawrence Drive (between San Francisco and Sacramento), has turned to the HotelTap cloud-based workforce communications tool. By utilizing the HotelTap “digital logbook in the cloud” – which provides a steady stream of departmental information in a social media network format like Twitter or Facebook – staff are communicating more effectively and tasks are being completed in real time.
“Before HotelTap, there was no accountability for housekeeping and maintenance requests,” said General Manager Cheryl Weibling. “Staff had no way of knowing if work orders were completed or if guests’ needs were being met. Requests were shared with the department head verbally or by handwritten notes left in the office indicating the situation and asking that something be done. For example, if a guest complained about a sink not draining, a maintenance request was submitted and placed in the office of the chief engineer. There was never a clear understanding between myself or the front desk if the sink repair was ever made. Now, thanks to HotelTap, we can assign a task to a specific individual, and that individual is held accountable for completing the task and marking it closed in the digital log book. All employees needing to know the status of a work order or guest request can access the information at any time during their shift. This not only keeps our rooms in good working order, but it prevents the same complaints from recurring.”
Developed by Sandip Jariwala, owner of the Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham in Alameda, Calif., HotelTap was designed to respond to guest requests quickly, perform and track maintenance tasks efficiently, and resolve customer complaints timely using a social media network format (similar to Twitter or enterprise social software Yammer and Chatter). Leveraging mobile technology and the cloud, HotelTap communicates a steady stream of daily activities and information (in the users language of choice) in chronological order by department and by staff start time. The digital tool also contains a comprehensive analytical dashboard that records and tracks guest complaints and provides a snapshot of maintenance and equipment issues and task history relating to them, by category and physical areas of the hotel. The dashboard neatly organizes the property’s complaint records so operators can easily pinpoint problem areas. The system offers alerts for tags so that managers and owners can be notified via text messages about particular issues as soon as they are entered in HotelTap.
HotelTap uses a steady messaging stream of interactive notes and tasks that are relevant to each department and staff member. For example, a front desk agent will log into HotelTap and see only the information or incomplete tasks that he needs to address during the shift. Any information relevant to the front desk — or tasks that need performed during the shift — is presented to the agent upon log in. Staff only see the communication stream relevant to their department, while managers and owners have access to all hotel correspondence.
To see a video HotelTap in action, click here.
Weibling said she was drawn to HotelTap because of this interactive note feature which is very similar to popular social media sites that her employees use on a daily basis.
“HotelTap is really easy to use,” Weibling said. “Because it’s almost identical to posting a message on Facebook or Twitter, my staff are comfortable using it and there was virtually no training needed. It’s a huge asset to me because I can remotely see how the hotel is progressing when I am away from the office. I can login from virtually anywhere. With my staff using HotelTap to record everything that is going on at the hotel — good or bad – there are no surprises. Today, all employees are held accountable for doing their jobs. Because of this, they seem to be taking more pride in their work and everything is getting done properly. Better yet, our guests really seem to appreciate it; it shows in their online reviews and comment cards. We owe this all to HotelTap.”
Staff can access HotelTap from a tablet or cell phone and get email or SMS notifications when new tasks are posted to their “to do” list. They can complete tasks during their shift and the front desk staff gets notified through HotelTap on their desktop. Notifications can also be turned off when employees are off duty.
Sandip Jariwala, HotelTap founder and CEO, said he created this tool to run his own hotel more efficiently.
“Cheryl and her staff at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Vacaville were facing the same organizational and communications challenges that I faced at my hotel,” Jariwala said. “Immediately after speaking with her, I knew that HotelTap could make a night-and-day difference in how she ran her hotel. Most limited-service properties continue to rely on notebooks, paper tickets, sticky notes, internal emails, spreadsheets, text messages and radios for communicating internally. HotelTap shares information between those who ‘need to know,’ from department to department, employee to manager, and manager to owner, in one comprehensive location. Not only is it easy to use, but HotelTap’s social-media orientation makes it really fun for employees to engage with.”