Viceroy Hotels and Resorts, a global lifestyle luxury hotel brand headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, leverages SoapBox, an idea software platform, to improve its guest experience and operational processes. More specifically, Viceroy is using the tool to support their broader community engagement and innovation initiative: Viceroy Solvers. As part of their pilot, they engaged colleagues at three hotels.
“Viceroy Solvers is an innovation platform to get all of us talking about how to do things better,” said Bill Walshe, CEO, Viceroy Hotel and Resorts. “Through the power of collaboration with all of our colleagues, especially the ones that interact with guests every day, Viceroy will be able to deliver a superior experience to our guests, improve efficiency in hotel operations, and reduce costs for our hotel owners.”
Viceroy set out to encourage a proactive mindset on idea generation amongst their staff and colleagues. With hotel locations around the world, they were focused on finding a way to make meaningful connections across the organization. They were looking for a common idea management platform to bring their colleagues together and to share existing best practices across all locations.
1) Pearls of Wisdom
A debrief session with the three pilot hotel General Managers (GMs) provided valuable insight that informed their company-wide program launch strategy. Here’s what they learned:
Align on community goals
One key element of a successful idea management program is making sure that the overall objective is clear. This helps create a good framing question for ideas. Viceroy’s objectives were to improve the guest experience and operational processes.
Colleagues exchanged best practices and shared wild card ideas through SoapBox. They also used Challenges to engage colleagues on specific business priorities aligned to these objectives (Challenges are time-bound ideating periods designed to focus employee ideas on specific business priorities).
The value of social collaboration
Many of ideas being solicited were problems that another hotel already solved. There was a real opportunity to help other hotels incorporate each other’s best practices.
Putting the lesson into action
In preparation for the company-wide Viceroy Solvers launch, a key communication goal will be to engage their GMs in workshops and talks that will facilitate an understanding of how their hotel objectives fit into the broader program goals. Each GM will also be invited to provide Challenge topic ideas that will drive these objectives forward. By establishing a clear What’s-in-it-for-me message, the GMs will be able to authentically rally their hotel staff around the Viceroy Solvers program to get ideas and share best practices.
2) Beat the Drum
A solid communications plan would be key in securing hotel colleague adoption and engagement. They used a three-pronged approach to build awareness and excitement.
Each hotel GM was given a wealth of creative communications pieces to help them get the word out. Videos explaining the program and giant launch-countdown calendars were given to the GMs to help ensure that they were equipped with what they needed to ignite initial excitement.
Welcome flyers were distributed to each colleague with unique IDs to create their accounts on SoapBox. The flyers served as an additional reminder but also ensured that everyone had the information they needed to login and begin ideating.
The Innovation Guardian team at each pilot hotel helped drive the success of their program by spreading the word about their Soapbox and role-modelling the types of ideas the GMs wanted to see.
What’s important gets repeated often, so over-communicate
The GMs appreciated the materials provided by head office, and these pieces certainly helped with initial adoption numbers. However, it became clear that their biggest challenge was sustaining engagement. The key take-away: Beat the drum. Plan to sustain your message after your SoapBox community has launched in regular increments and through various channels.
Putting the lesson into action
For the company-wide launch, Viceroy will re-use many of the creative tactics from the pilot phase to drive initial adoption. After an initial Town Hall kick-off meeting to introduce all Viceroy colleagues to the program, each hotel will be provided with posters and videos to encourage adoption, and a Viceroy Solvers tablet that can be accessed during breaks.
These efforts will be supplemented with clear direction for each GM on how to engage their colleagues post-launch. SoapBox will become an essential talking point in departmental -standup meetings, where discussion about Challenges and popular ideas from the department will be encouraged. Regular bursts of employee and leadership recognition via newsletters, videos from the CEO, and other corporate channels will round out the program and sustain engagement.
3) Move Quick Win Ideas Forward…Fast!
The best way to establish trust with employees is to move simple, quick-win ideas forward. Even seemingly insignificant ideas, when implemented, send the message that leaders are listening and that actionable ideas will be taken seriously. Responding quickly also reinforces the types of ideas you’re looking for as colleagues learn to model their ideas after the ones that were selected for implementation.
Route good ideas directly to those that can evaluate and implement
Viceroy planned an effective governance structure that they knew would scale nicely across their hotels. But, some ideas were so simple that putting them through the entire governance process was slowing down progress on the ideas.
Viceroy instituted an Idea Accelerate program to progress quick win ideas. This program enabled simple ideas to bypass the evaluation stage, which kept the flow of ideas moving, and allowed for the Subject Matter Experts to focus on more complex ideas.
For example, the idea why not place a house phone in hotel lobby, so guests can conveniently make local calls was not flashy, but the GM recognized that it could easily and quickly be implemented. The response was encouraging. Once staff realized that their voices were not only being heard, but were having a real impact on the business, engagement continued to improve.
Putting the lesson into action:
Viceroy will leverage the Idea Accelerate program for the company-wide launch. GMs will be empowered to bypass the usual governance process when they find actionable ideas that can be easily implemented.
Viceroy’s pilot program was a resounding success: leaders were engaged and staff were motivated to participate. Not only have great ideas surfaced, but many best practices have been shared across the organization. Viceroy has worked hard to scale the success of their pilot program; their dedication to aligning on goals, sustaining communications, and moving ideas forward will help them achieve great things once the program is launched company-wide.
– 60% adoption rate among employees
– 200 piloted ideas
– 76% NPS*
* NET PROMOTER SCORE (NPS): The Net Promoter Score is a customer loyalty metric originally formulated by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Company and Satmetrix in 2003. For example, Amazon’s NPS is 69%.