Chatham Bars Inn opts for the Knowcross platform to manage and streamline their operations so that they can focus on what matters most, the Guests.
As the summer kicks off at the Chatham Bars Inn and the Veranda tables are full, with families having lunch and admiring the view of Chatham Harbor, the far dunes and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. Commercial fishing boats moor next to sailboats, creating an impossibly picturesque view. Just inside the hotel’s front doors, the lobby is a flurry of activity and in the beautifully appointed salon and library, all chairs and tables are occupied with families playing board games and talking.
The Chatham Bars Inn is the very definition of tradition out here on the elbow of Cape Cod. First established in 1914 as a semi-private hunting lodge for Boston vacationers, the Inn now represents the quintessential Cape Cod experience for many families who flock here from all over the country. These regulars return looking forward to the same beautiful setting and same personalized service experience that they have come to know so well. But that is not to say the Inn has been satisfied maintaining the status quo. It competes head-to-head with other luxury resorts on the Cape, as well as the many summer rental options for travelers. For example, a keen eye will have noticed that in the last few years the Inn has added a new exterior bar area and a revamped spa. The Chatham Bars Inn has evolved to include 36 separate buildings spread over 25 acres of some of the most exclusive real estate in Chatham, Massachusetts.
The geographic spread is wonderful for the guests but presents some unique challenges for hotel operations.
Most of the 217 rooms are in assorted houses outside of the historic, main building. “In a place that’s spread out over 25 acres, in trying to handle 600 to 700 guests in a day you need to make sure that you know what’s going on at all times,” says Chris Daale, Director of Housekeeping.
To keep their competitive edge, Chatham Bars Inn turned to Knowcross. “A former GM went to a hotel show and saw Knowcross and fell in love with it,” says Carol Beggs, Director of Technology. “Once we were able to deliver consistent WiFi across the grounds, Knowcross dramatically improved our Operations communication across the board. With KNOW Housekeeping, the managers can manage on the go. They aren’t stuck at a desk. They don’t have to constantly go back to an office.”
“The Knowcross technology platform is our everyday bread and butter,” says Daale. “To be able to have it in your hands when you’re walking around the resort, you constantly know where the team is, as opposed to constantly having to make a phone call back to the office to find out what’s going on. We immediately know where we need to move or shift gears to make sure that we’re meeting our deadlines. Managing the distances between our rooms is a real science. When KNOW Housekeeping was set up, the Knowcross team configured location sequencing, so the system understood how far away rooms were from one another across the resort. This makes task sheet generation a breeze.”
The Inn is enjoying high occupancy this week – not unusual for a mostly seasonal hotel. But what makes this week different is that 100% of the guests are returning guests.
“People actually come with their neighbors,” says Sean Linehan, Director of Rooms. “They want rooms and cottages that are right next to each other. It’s the way they have vacationed for years and years. 33% to 34% of our year-round business is repeat, which is much higher than most hotels. It ebbs and flows a bit, but in the summertime close to 70% of the guests are repeat.”
“Repeat business is a special focus for the Inn,” says Daale
“And KNOW Glitch has really helped with that. The easiest way to gain and keep repeat business is by knowing that if there’s an issue – take care of it immediately. And then at the end of the stay, when the guest goes to check out, the front desk can see the recorded glitch and can then say, “Oh, how was everything? I’m happy, we’re able to rectify the situation while you were here. How did you enjoy the rest of your day?” Those little things add up because we’re able to show the guests that we responded to something right away. KNOW Glitch really enhances the communication flow between the departments.”
Cape Cod is loaded with attractions and things to do, such as the beaches, the ponds, golf, tennis, shopping in town, etc. In season, your average vacationer has a long list of activities they want to get to. “We have people coming in as early as 8am in the morning trying to get into rooms, so they can drop their bags and change and get on with their day. So, the faster we can get them in, the better the experience they have,” says Daale.
“KNOW Housekeeping gives us the ability to actively know that we have people in rooms that are due to check out but haven’t left yet, so we can then take that housekeeper and shift them to a different room on the fly,” continues Daale. “That way, we’re not losing those labor dollars, because staff aren’t standing around waiting for the guests to depart. And because we can shift those housekeepers to another room to clean and the front desk is able to check a guest in, who’s been waiting for an X amount of time, more quickly. Knowcross speeds up the entire housekeeping process so that the guests can get to their vacation and the staff can avoid that 4pm log jam at check-in.”
“Having worked at many 5-star, 5 diamond hotels across the country that don’t have Knowcross, I see some distinct advantages that we have here at the Inn,” says Linehan. “What may not be immediately obvious is that Knowcross is actually helping to free up the call centers. The housekeeping coordinator, PBX coordinator, front desk concierge – they’re not having to use the phone to put in a work order. It opens up more call avenues for those staff to respond to guest phone calls. In fact, you can literally be inputting the service call into Knowcross via the mobile app or on a desktop as you’re talking to the guest.”
“Plus, response time decreases because you don’t have to worry about trying to find what engineers are on duty or do a radio call and have that conversation,” Linehan continues, “You’re able to, in real-time, type exactly what the guest is saying to you into the work order and then that goes directly to an individual who can read it and doesn’t have to worry about any miscommunications.”
“But probably the aspect I like most about Knowcross is that not only is the team quick to respond to questions and issues, they are also very receptive to ideas on how to configure the products to make us more efficient here,” says Linhean.
“Knowcross support is phenomenal,” agrees Beggs. “The whole team is probably one of the most responsive support organizations I’ve ever worked with.”