Sandpearl Resort is one of the top beachfront vacation resorts on the gulf coast of Florida. With 700 feet of pristine white sand and crystal blue water beachfront, guests return over and over to escape and indulge in premium comforts and warm, personalized service.
Like most great beach resorts, Sandpearl is bustling with activity keeping the staff busy all day long. Sandpearl Resort has 253 spacious rooms and suites designed with contemporary comfort to keep guests relaxed when they aren’t outside or dining in Clearwater’s only AAA Four Diamond restaurant, Carretta on the Gulf. The hotel implemented Guestware Suite, an industry leading guest service and maintenance software to help the staff meet and exceed guest expectations.
Automated Task Dispatching for Accountability
After more than a year of implementing Guestware, the resort logs and dispatches between 1500 and 2500 tasks each month, depending on the season. About 75% of these tasks are simple guest requests like delivering extra towels, rollaway beds, pillows, blankets and other common amenity requests. Most of these are directly reported by the guest to the Guest Service Center (GSC) by calling down or texting. The tasks are then automatically dispatched to the appropriate runner’s smart phone using the Guestware mobile app that shows details about the type of request, guest name and location to ensure requests are filled quickly and accurately.
Assistant General Manager, Jeremy Van Dyke, oversees the resort operation and is continuously monitoring the process. “When it comes to guest service quality, the GSC operation is the heart beat of the hotel. Without a system like Guestware, it is impossible to know how well we are doing.” Tracking the details about every task provides accountability for staff and Guestware’s reports drive process improvement. Jeremy emphasizes, “One missed or late task can lead to a bad survey or review… so this is a critical part of our operation”.
The resort also enters every staff or guest reported work order (or room problem) which averages over 500 a month (25% of all tasks). Team members can proactively report a room problem from the mobile app or through any house telephone, so these issues are fixed BEFORE the guest even notices. The engineers responding to these issues are able to see and prioritize and address guest reported issues first.
A goal for the resort’s staff and management is finding and proactively reporting more issues to reduce actual problems that guests encounter. The resort also schedules and tracks all Room PM’s using Guestware with a goal to PM each room four times a year. Management also has a goal of walking through every room once per month to identify and report tasks missed during the PM or housekeeping room Inspection. Guestware’s mobile inspection app is the next project on their list to implement.
Analyzing Service Trends
Jeremy recently implemented a new quality team meeting once a month to analyze the Guestware data to drive process improvement and operational excellence. The team reviews reports from Guestware showing the Top 10 Guest Issues for the month compared with last month. Each month they focus on solving new issues showing up on the list AND following up on past issues from the prior month to ensure continuous improvement.
For example, the team identified an opportunity to reduce “broken shower curtain rod” complaints by guests. The solution was simple, by ensuring housekeeping knew how to identify the issue and report it proactively while also highlighting this issue as a fix during the room PM process. This may sounds simple, but without the process to look at the data, the problems would continue. A similar, simple issue was also identified and solved with their bathroom lights. Ultimately, they are reducing guest problems and raising overall satisfaction.
Garbage In = Garbage Out
Guestware makes it easy to drill down to identify specific problems in detail and avoid the need to add notes to each ticket. For example, the Guestware system tracks 10 different types of Toilet problems with their own unique problem code. Without this level of detail, it is impossible to analyze the data and identify trends. Jeremy and his team at Sandpearl were satisfied with most of the default Guestware codes, but loved the ability to make their own custom codes to more accurately identify ongoing issues with in-room safes. They were easily able to add more codes so the next month they had the data needed to identify and solve different types of safe issues.
Recognizing Repeat Guests
Another benefit of logging every guest incident is that Guestware builds the history for each guest of all their past requests and problems, along with the resolution. The management looks at the Guestware arrival report to show when repeat guests are returning and see what’s happened in the past. Jeremy will frequently call or send a letter up to returning guests welcoming them back and acknowledging their past experiences. One example; a returning family had previously stayed with a sick child, so Jeremy sent a welcome back letter wishing their child a better stay along with some extra water. Little gestures like this go a long way toward personalizing the experience and building Sandpearl’s loyal customer base. They also use the guest incident history to verify guest feedback reported in online reviews or surveys.
Get Out What You Put In
The initial implementation required hotel management involvement to help drive change and strive to get more out of the system. Initially the challenge is to encourage staff to log everything and use the mobile app. Jeff Bowes, the veteran Guestware Consultant and “Success Manager” helped Jeremy “see the light” by reviewing the Guestware data and hotel processes to providing relevant success stories through his personal experience as a hotel Director of Operations using Guestware. Also Jeff helped hundreds of hotels implement and get the most out of Guestware. This personalized support not only helps in the initial setup but has continued to help the hotel and others drive process improvement and achieve higher guest satisfaction.