The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Davis, Calif., is operating more efficiently and responding to guest requests quickly due to the HotelTap cloud-based workforce communications tool. Rolled out in July, the HotelTap "digital log book in the cloud" replaces hand-written notes as a means to communicate between staff, departments and management.
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.
Before HotelTap, General Manager Kibir Messele said it was standard operating procedure for staff to tape a note to his desk if there was an issue that needed addressed. The property also used a notebook to record guest requests or jot down complaints that needed management attention.
"Hand-written notes worked okay for a while, but I was at the mercy of the person leaving the message; it's not easy to read everyone's handwriting," Messele said. "It was also difficult to determine how urgent a message was based on the information provided. We tried an automated operating system that primarily dealt with customer payments and reservations, but it did little to help us communicate.”
Messele said that maintenance and housekeeping 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 staff is off duty.
The head housekeeper uses HotelTap in Spanish via tablet to complete daily room inspections. The tablet is then shared with maintenance staff to check off room inventory, record equipment readings, and also to check the PH levels at the pool. Keeping this data stored in HotelTap makes record keeping and retrieving easy, especially when property inspectors come by. In addition, the tablet can be used to take photos of damages in a room or items that were left behind.