Today owners and operators of limited-service hotels with 50+ rooms are meeting guests' expectations via the HotelTap "digital log book in the cloud" that improves communication, task completion and maintenance management.
Developed by Sandip Jariwala, owner of the Hawthorn Suites By Wyndham in Alameda, Calif., HotelTap replaces notebooks, paper tickets, sticky notes, internal emails, spreadsheets, text messages and radios for recording and responding to guest requests, performing and tracking maintenance tasks, and resolving customer complaints. Using a social media network format, HotelTap leverages mobility and the cloud to share information between those who need to know, from department to department, employee to manager, and manager to owner, in one comprehensive location.
"Travelers have integrated mobile technology into their daily lives,” Jariwala said. “In turn, they expect hoteliers to service their needs in the same logical manner. I knew I needed to leverage mobile technology and the cloud to run my hotel more efficiently; that meant dramatically changing the way we communicate at our property. That's when I designed HotelTap - an at-a-glance digital log book that communicates a steady stream of daily activities and information in chronological order by department and by staff start time. If you use a social media network like Facebook or Twitter, you'll love HotelTap. It closely resembles enterprise social software such as Yammer and Chatter and project-management tools like Basecamp or Asana."
HotelTap solves problems with:
- Decrease in staff productivity due to inaccurate or missed communications.
- Translation problems between front desk and foreign-language speaking employees.
- Dropped guest requests and department tasks.
- Loss of revenue due to the absence of a Waitlist.
- Refunds to guests for complaints due to lack of preventive maintenance.
- Expensive equipment repairs and vendor charges.
- Owners and managers not receiving alerts in a timely manner.
- Negative online reviews due to absence of analytics for complaints and maintenance problems.
- Paper records occupying valuable storage space.
Rather than requiring hotel staff to click through a series of tabs or buttons, 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 or she 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.
Each property determines the categories or “boards” it needs to carry information down the communications stream, such as: front desk, housekeeping, lost and found, maintenance, restaurant, sales, transportation, etc. If the front desk receives a request for late check out, for example, the agent records the request by posting a note in HotelTap after selecting the #LateCheckOut tag, which automatically notifies Housekeeping to make sure it is aware of the request. Once the guest has checked out and housekeeping has cleaned the room, the room attendant can respond to the original note by posting a comment which automatically notifies Front Desk that the room is ready to occupy.
HotelTap 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. For example, owners and managers can sign up to get a text notification for issues with #GuestComplaint or #911 or #SoldOutTonight tags. In short, they can choose what issues are important for them to be notified immediately.
The HotelTap dashboard organizes maintenance tasks in a To Do list so they can be viewed at any time and from anywhere. Daily activity reports of all staff and department communications can be received in PDF format so they too can be accessed and viewed on any Wi-Fi enabled device.
HotelTap's WaitList feature is helping hoteliers to increase revenues. When the hotel is sold out for a particular day or days (especially during special events or conventions) and guests call to book a room, the front desk staff can create a task in HotelTap to put the guest on a wait list which shows up on the To Do list of the Front Desk board. Each day, the manager or staff will check the room availability chart to see if a room has opened up; if so, the wait listed guest will be called to book the reservation. This function enables hoteliers to fill rooms that may have opened up on the last day due to cancellations. The WaitList also can be used to fill rooms that were being held by management, but were then released, and to fill out-of-order rooms that were addressed and have been put back into inventory.