Providing responsive and seamless services to customers and guests is, of course, the top priority for hotel and accommodation providers. But with such a broad range of services coupled with the mobile nature of employees who are often working unsociable hours, it can be a challenge in practice. If your hotel or motel is facing these sorts of issues, then a hotel intranet could well be the solution you are looking for. Whether you are part of a global chain of hotels and resorts or a one-off boutique hospitality provider, the benefits on offer are the same: streamlined processes and more efficient operations. In this post, we examine the business benefits that intranet software has to offer hotels and accommodation providers. First, though, let’s define what an intranet is.
Intranet Software Definition
An intranet is a private, closed network that is only accessible to staff members. Think of it as an internal website. It contains a number of standard features, modules and tools that are designed to make the daily job of team members easier:
- news feeds
- company calendar highlighting key events such as conferences and weddings
- automated business processes including staff vacation requests, ordering supplies or securing brand or other marketing materials
- online staff directory with biographies
- secure document management and file sharing both internally and externally
- online training for existing staff members and onboarding of new ones
- knowledge management – a central directory of company policies, SOPs, quality assurance procedures as well as central and local government regulations including safety and health requirements.
In short, the intranet platform is where staff go to get things done. It also serves as a self-service portal for all company information and data. Employees can be confident that the information they are accessing is the most up to date and relevant.
Hotel Intranet Software Business Benefits
Improved Internal Communications
Companies that have deployed an intranet report a number of business benefits. One of the most important is improved internal communications. The nature of the job means that communications in hotels and motels are difficult. Staff turnover can be high and those working the night shift in particular often feel as though they are out of the loop. And if you are part of a multi-national chain of hotels and resorts, then promoting a shared company culture can be challenging.
A news feed featuring bite-sized team or company updates is accessed by all staff on logging in to the intranet and so is a great platform for connecting with employees, no matter what their hours of work. What’s more, with a cloud-hosted intranet staff members can utilize the intranet at any time and from any location using a 3G/4G or Wi-Fi connection. This means that staff can check up on all the latest news at a time that suits them, whether it’s on the commute into work or while taking a coffee break.
The news feed can operate at two levels: a local or team-based one and a national or international level if appropriate. Localized news feeds will keep employees updated on what’s happening at a team or regional level. The corporate news feed, by contrast, will advise employees of all the latest happenings and events from head office. Many hotels are using the news feed to include vlogs from the CEO or a video message from the country manager. Vlogs are highly effective at engaging with staff and offer an alternative vehicle for getting your message across from the more traditional print and written media.
Automated Approval Processes
Think for a moment about how much form filling takes place within your hotel? How much time do staff spend completing forms to get things done? The answer is probably too much and so another significant business benefit is the intranet’s potential for automated business processes. Paper- and email-based processes could become a thing of the past with the intranet’s intuitive form builder or the embedded Google Forms app. From booking annual vacation leave to food and beverage ordering, reporting a repair or an incident and ordering sales materials and programs, the intranet will make the process quicker and easier. What’s more, it will also eliminate the potential for errors creeping in, which is often the case with paper or email systems.
And the best thing about the intranet’s forms builder is that it is super-easy to use so that you don’t need to be a great techno whizz. An intuitive interface with drag and drop fields, easily implemented rules and actions, automatic routing to the manager for action, along with email notifications and submission reports, make it an all-round comprehensive solution. What’s more, you can set up status and rule-driven workflows so that management has the necessary oversight and control. Quite simply, it’s a far more efficient and effective way of operating.
Onboarding And Staff Training
Many hotel and accommodation providers have reported that onboarding of new staff members, as well as ongoing staff training, have been improved with the intranet. And with many employees working irregular hours, traditional forms of induction involving classroom-style learning are difficult to implement. The online training and induction offered by the intranet is the perfect solution. And in the shape of quizzes, surveys, how-to-videos, webinars or podcasts, it also tends to be more engaging and interactive. Intranet-based training and onboarding means consistent, flexible and standardized options can be made available to all staff.
And from the perspective of management, intranet-based training options provide greater oversight. Intranet software can use forms to capture who has completed what module and when and will automatically report to the manager on the individual’s progress. This is a great advantage in the context of hotels and hospitality where rules and regulations are updated on a regular basis. The work environment and how staff are required to perform their job roles is subject to change. To ensure compliance, managers need to know that employees are up to speed with the very latest requirements.
Knowledge Management And Knowledge Transfer
In addition, the hotel and accommodation industry tends to be subject to a whole raft of legislation, local and corporate directives as well as safety and health regulations, which are constantly changing. Instead of relying on paper filing systems to store important company knowledge, employees will be able to access the very latest data within just a few clicks of the mouse on the intranet’s knowledge database. The same applies to company policies and procedures. Say for instance a guest was subject to a medical emergency while staying at the hotel, staff can use the online checklist to ensure all company policies are adhered to and the correct protocols followed. Or perhaps, bomb threats or a potential terrorist alert are real possibilities for your hotel. Staff need to know what to do in an emergency and a simple-to-follow intranet checklist can be used for training purposes so employees know what to do in a real-life emergency situation.
These are just a selection of the business benefits that are on offer with an intranet platform. For a more comprehensive look at how an intranet can support operations, check out the MyHub intranet blog for a wider discussion and additional resources.
So now that we have a thorough understanding of what an intranet is and some of the business benefits that are available, let’s turn out attention to looking at the specifics. What practical ways will the intranet help my hotel and accommodation business?
Hotel Intranet Software Practical Applications
This is a big area for hotel and accommodation providers and the intranet will make it a much smoother process to manage. Let’s say that a cleaner notices a tap is broken in room 214. The chances are that the cleaner makes a note of it and at the end of the shift (which may be some hours away) reports it to maintenance manager using a standard form. With an intranet, the cleaner will instead be able to log on while still in the room, and using a smartphone completes the online repair notification, takes a photo and the intranet automatically sends the form through to the maintenance manager for action. And because the form is sent in real-time, the manager can have a technician attend to the repair straight away. In fact, using the form rules function, an email can automatically be sent to an external plumbing contractor if so required.
Responding to requests for information, places of interest, tours and things to do is a fundamental service offered by all hotel and accommodation providers. With an intranet and embedded iframes and widgets, the concierge can access a database of preferred suppliers, including links to websites, information and pricing, videos, maps and printable brochures. All this information will be at the concierge’s fingertips so that the guest receives a speedy, responsive and knowledgeable service.
Setting up staff rosters is often a logistical headache for hotel and accommodation managers. Everything is fine and dandy until employees start to request alternative shifts or swap shifts with colleagues without letting you know. The situation can quickly degenerate into chaos. The intranet can help with this problem too. Once the roster has been finalized, it can be published on the intranet with relevant staff having direct access to change or swap shifts as appropriate. This gives employees more control and allows managers to take a hands-off approach in relation to the day-to-day management of the roster. It also provides greater transparency as all the affected personnel can see for themselves exactly what’s happening.
Management Of Reservations
Imagine for a moment that a large corporate booking has reserved multiple rooms and meeting spaces for a staff conference. However, the dates and requirements seem to be constantly changing. Four departments within the hotel are directly impacted: reservations, housekeeping, catering and sales. In the absence of an intranet, chances are an Excel spreadsheet master document is being used to coordinate the management of the booking. Changes to dates and delegate numbers result in the spreadsheet being emailed backward and forwards to representatives from all four departments. There have been so many variations now that the individual employees are having trouble keeping track of where things are at. Has your hotel had this kind of experience?
Well, an intranet solution will make it much easier for you to manage these kinds of multiple bookings. Embedding the Excel spreadsheet directly in the intranet means that staff from all the affected departments can work on the same document and at the same time. Any changes are automatically saved in the intranet so staff can be certain they are accessing the very latest version every time they log on. Not only does this mean that staff are working with more accurate information, it also means that you are providing a more responsive service to the corporate client. The potential for a reduction in costs as well as more efficient use of staff time are obvious.
Interested in finding out more about how intranet software is being implemented in the real world? Here’s an example of Best Western Hotels & Resorts in Scandinavia are using their MyHub intranet.
Best Western’s Best Intranet Platform
With over 150 hotels and 6,000 employees throughout Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Best Western Scandinavia is a well-known and trusted brand. They were looking for an easy to setup and manage intranet platform to replace the head office version which wasn’t suitable for local conditions.
Rejecting self-build as well as SharePoint options as being too time consuming and just plain difficult, Best Western Scandinavia’s search led them to the MyHub intranet solution. MyHub came out on top for both ease of use and ongoing management. In addition, not having to sign up for a long-term commitment was another great advantage as it offered Best Western Scandinavia the flexibility they were after.
As well as being the principal information source for all hotel employees, the intranet has also made it easier for staff members to collaborate across national boundaries. Best Western Scandinavia’s HQ is in Stockholm and each country has its own dedicated marketing department. The intranet has made it easier for those marketing staff to collaborate on sales materials, brand and other marketing brochures on a regional basis. You can read the full Best Western intranet case study here.
Hotel Intranet Software: Better Integration Of Services
Perhaps the single most important benefit of the intranet is that all these tools and features are available in a single platform. There’s no need for multiple, and sometimes incompatible, systems across the business. Everything that hotel employees need to do to get the job done is in a centralized, easy to use and easy to manage company intranet.
Are you looking to enhance your customer offering by providing better integrated services to your hotel guests? Then get in touch with the expert team at MyHub. We offer a free demo and 14-day trial, so get started today and discover what a difference an intranet can make to your business.