Behind-The-Scenes Technology Can Improve Your Guests’ Experience
By Anderson Amaral
We hate to wait. Patience may once have been a virtue, but the explosion of technology in our lives, and the instant gratification it provides, has made us extremely impatient. While our day-to-day lives are more convenient, impatience can pose major challenges for the managers of casinos, hotels, and resorts.
Casino and resort guests are often forced to wait – even the VIPs! They may have to wait to check in or out; or at elevators; or for their bags to arrive at their rooms; or for their cars when they use valet parking. And whenever your guests must wait, you run the risk of creating customer dissatisfaction.
The good news is that task management software can help overcome many of these challenges by integrating various services, creating a single suite of solutions so property operations can be better coordinated. At casinos, task management software can integrate bell desk services and parking services, creating a seamless entry/exit experience for guests.
Task management software is used at hospitality properties of all sizes to manage tasks, help with scheduling and track dependencies, resources, and milestones. For casinos, the best task management tools can coordinate functions (such as bell desk services and parking), while simultaneously tracking personnel within the casino, guest vehicles, and luggage.
Here’s how it works: when a guest contacts the call center for service (say to come get his luggage or bring up his car), the system creates a task on the platform and assigns that task to a specific employee. Each staff member carries a mobile device allowing the system to know the location of each employee on property. Check-in points are also positioned throughout the property where staff can record their location, thus providing back-up to the mobile tracking.
Incoming guest requests are immediately assigned to either the next person in line or to the person who is closest to that particular guest’s location. Properties have the option of operating on a “next in line” or “closest to” approach, depending upon property management strategy to best serve the needs of the property and its guests.
The system is designed to seamlessly manage multiple tasks simultaneously. For instance, when a guest desires to check out, she may want her luggage picked up from her room and brought down to her car, which is managed by valet parking. In this example, the system assigns the luggage pick-up to a front desk employee, while alerting valet personnel to bring the guest’s car to the front door. The software automatically coordinates the entire process, assuring that the steward delivers the luggage to the front door in coordination with the arrival of the car. Therefore, when the guest wants to leave, her car will be there with her luggage already loaded in the trunk. The guest is thrilled that with only a single phone call all the necessary arrangements for leaving were completed. Guests looking to use a taxi or rideshare company will experience a similar level of service.
The satisfaction improvement for both customer and employees is significant. The quality of the guest experience at the casino grows dramatically, while management has greater control of employee activity and the employee spends less time on unnecessary or inefficient tasks.
The Task Management system can also handle many different types of guest transactions in addition to luggage delivery and valet parking, including room service, package or dry-cleaning delivery, linen services, and room maintenance. One well-known casino is even using the technology to manage all butler services.
Staff Management Advantages
Integrating all these guest services via task management technology provides significant staff management advantages. In addition to identifying where staff are positioned on the property, the system measures how long it takes to complete different tasks, and the performance of individual staff members. This data can be invaluable in helping management evaluate the efficiency of staff in performing different tasks and can lead to new strategies for helping staff become more efficient or for providing additional resources to help staff do their jobs better. The system will confirm to management whether your staff is doing a good job, needs further training or released.
Another benefit of the technology relates to liability related to damaged luggage. When luggage is left by guests it is typically photographed and those photos are entered into the system. This is primarily done to make it easier for staff to identify luggage when it needs to be moved. However, it also demonstrates the condition of the luggage at the time it is brought in, so if a guest complains that his luggage was damaged by staff, identifying whether the damage happened during the stay or prior to the guest’s arrival is a simple matter of bringing up those photos.
Casinos that don’t use Task Management software are already performing these functions; they just typically do it by hand, using pens and paper. However, fully automated task management provides greater efficiency and precision than traditional methods. Not only does the technology create improved customer services, but it generates far fewer errors and delays than with traditional manual task management.
Generic task management software is used in many industries and it may be tempting to use an out-of-the-box solution. However, the value of utilizing software which has been developed specifically for the casino and hospitality is significant. Every industry is different, and the task management challenges facing each is unique, and it’s essential to use technology that has been specifically designed to address those unique challenges.
Furthermore, parking management should always be a primary element of the task management technology. Parking can be a source of headaches for casinos and other resorts, and it’s vital for the task management technology be able to overcome any challenges that could be causing headaches. Some parking equipment providers are starting to include task management software options with their parking suites. As a result, casinos installing parking access and revenue control equipment (the gates that manage entry and exit into garages), can easily integrate parking management with resort task management. Therefore, when casino administrators shop for parking equipment, it’s advisable to determine whether task management software is also integrated into the parking technology.
A Solution for An Impatient World
Task management software can provide the perfect solution for casinos and other resorts who are serving guests in an increasingly impatient world. By integrating parking and other resort functions, casino managers can dramatically improve the quality of their guest services while managing their properties more efficiently and effectively. The great news is that these solutions are ready-made to fulfill the expectations of guests, property management and the employee.
Anderson Amaral is vice president of AVPMi, a leading parking technology company. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org