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Talking Hospitality Trends With Industry Leader, Bruce Ford

Talking Hospitality Trends With Industry Leader, Bruce Ford

As America’s Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) quickly approaches, we caught up with Bruce Ford, Senior VP of Lodging Econometrics (LE) and a long-time member of the ALIS committee, who shared his expert hospitality insights from 2017 and what changes we can expect in 2018.

About Bruce Ford

Bruce is a recognized expert in lodging market intelligence and development trends, with in-depth knowledge of global markets and brands. LE is the leading lodging industry consulting partner for global real estate intelligence. At LE, Bruce identifies new construction and product placement opportunities for vendors looking to increase their product distribution in the lodging industry and improve their market share. He also advises on new construction and potential brand conversion opportunities for franchise companies looking to accelerate their brand growth.

Bruce is a featured speaker on global real estate trends at several industry conferences worldwide. In the past year alone, he has appeared as an industry expert on six different development and real estate panels. In addition, he has served on the Allied Member Executive Committee within the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and, as a member of the ALIS committee, helps select the “Development Project of the Year Award.”

Q&A About Hospitality Trends

He graciously took the time to share his expertise on growth, high occupancy rates, and trends in the hospitality industry with us.

1. Tell me about Lodging Econometrics and your role there.

LE is a 20+ year old hospitality real estate company that tracks new hotels being built around the world, as well as projects that occur at existing hotels, whether they’re renovations, conversions, or hotel transactions. We maintain a database of every open and operating hotel across the globe. The primary method of delivery is through hosting an online database solution through lodgingeconometrics.com.

That offers the opportunity for people participating in owning, managing, franchising, and selling products to the hospitality industry to access information that’s updated and refreshed every seven days. We’ve been hosting online for about five years. We work with clients that franchise hotels, consult on hotels, do feasibilities about hotels, sell products to hotels, or own and operate and/or manage hotels in all regions of the world. I’m the leader of the global sales team so I spend time on the road in international marketplaces working with large global companies.

2. What’s your affiliation with ALIS?

At the ALIS Conference, we are the chair people for the “Development Project of the Year Award.” Each year we help identify the best projects that open newly constructed hotels throughout the United States. We hand out two awards at the ALIS Conference, one for the best full-service new construction and one for the new select service project that opened in 2017. We manage that process for the “Development Project of the Year Award.” We’ve attended the conference all the way back to when it was the UCLA Hotel Investment Conference.

3. How do you help clients with their growth goals?

Many of my clients are looking for business development opportunities. Whether it’s a franchise company looking for developers to build their brand of hotels, or a product supplier looking for new owners to sell their products to. Or maybe it’s a designer looking for owners seeking design services. People who want to grow their business and grow their profile on hospitality call Lodging Econometrics to find those opportunities.

4. Which hospitality segment do you predict will have the most growth?

In terms of growth, you can really track that in two ways—the first being profitability growth in terms of RevPAR (revenue per available room) growth. This would be the measure that people look at chain scales of the upper midscale. The upscale chain scales have been leading in terms of RevPar growth, mostly because they continue to open new hotels. In those two chain scales, many people think the higher end market ADR is reaching its peak. I would say from a percentage-based growth on the RevPar outlook, upscale will have the highest rate of growth this year.

From a global pipeline perspective, in terms of number of rooms that are scheduled to open this year, the upscale chain scales will have the most rooms open in 2018. In the upscale chain scale scheduled openings for 2018, there are 755 new hotels and 125,595 guest rooms. That will be the biggest growth from a rooms perspective this year. That’s adding 125,000 guest rooms on an existing supply of 3.3 million guest rooms worldwide.

5. What are the secrets to keeping occupancy rates high?

In the hotel business right now, we’re actually running at historically high rates of occupancy. A little bit different from some other industries, the hotel industry is actually profitable. The average hotel is profitable with 55% occupancy, and today nationally we’re at about 65%. We’re experiencing some historical highs for any given calendar year. We may even be as high as 68% right now.

Establishing the right kind of rate management is a top priority for a hotel owner. The goal isn’t necessarily to sell out every night. The goal is to be able to continue to raise the rates as your percentage of occupancy increases. Say you have a hotel with 100 rooms and you sell 70 of them at an average daily rate of $100. Every room you sell past 70 you want to charge a 30% premium over what you charged for the first 70. So you’re able to get a premium rate for those last 30 keys.

6. What major hospitality trends can we expect in 2018?

2017 was probably better than most people expected. Going into 2017, the theory was we were going to have 2 to 3% RevPar growth. This year we’re most likely going to beat that. Some of that is the result of some unfortunate natural disasters like the hurricanes that drove some unexpected occupants and revenue. On a more positive note, the economy is doing a bit better than most people expected at the beginning of the year, so that has continued to improve demand in and around the hotel industry. The trend still seems to be positive.

In regard to operating performance growth for 2018, expect another up RevPAR year. We’ll continue to see more mergers and acquisitions this year in the hotel business. There were some pretty notable transactions in 2017. For example, the Red Lion and Vantage acquisition was a big transaction. Wyndham also purchased American, and I think we’ll continue to see those big types of buyouts occur.

Marriott’s stock got up to 57% last year. That can definitely power some investments because there is so much market cap to work with. To that point, Marriott purchasing Starwood has driven incredible growth in that stock. That’s likely to ebb off a little bit as a 57% growth cannot be matched. The stock market will likely begin to trickle back a little bit, but I don’t think that will stop merger and acquisition investments. Those will continue as new construction progresses and will grow again in 2018. In 2017 in the United States we opened about 107,000 rooms and this year we’re scheduled up to 130,000. That indicates supply growth is coming for sure with an increase year over year that should be of note, but still not overwhelming to property owners and management companies.

For more information about hospitality trends, unified communications, and improving internal communications and operations in your hotel, download our white paper “Digitization of the Non-Desk Workforce.”



Join Us For “Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement” Webinar

Join Us For “Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement” Webinar

Last year we partnered with “Top 100 Global Employee Engagement Influencer for 2017,” Jill Christensen, for a Q&A about the hot topic of employee engagement. Due to an overwhelming number of requests for more information on this subject, Jill is participating in our Bee School educational series designed to help leaders run successful teams.

We recently finished a 6-class leadership course taught by an MBA professor, and now we’re going to continue the initiative with a webinar hosted by Jill titled, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement.”

Who is Jill Christensen?

With three decades of consulting, speaking, and global Fortune 500 executive-level experience under her belt, Jill has dedicated her career to engaging employees to improve productivity, retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth with clients like AT&T, Nokia, Crocs, and Novartis. She is Founder/President of Jill Christensen International, a best-selling author, and international keynote speaker, and led Global Internal Communications at Avaya and Western Union.

Her view is radically different—she believes that although Human Resources “owns” culture change, they do not own culture change. Employees will not re-engage unless senior leaders and managers change the way they lead the company and their teams.

Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement

According to Jill’s research, organizations in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share and have a 90% better growth trend than their competition. However, 87% of workers are not engaged, which is a huge missed opportunity. Jill teaches business leaders how to inspire employees to get off the sidelines and into the game.

In her webinar, “If Not You, Who? Cracking the Code of Employee Disengagement,” she explains her four-step strategy to turn your disengaged workforce into a unified, high-performing team. The results? Increased profits, customer satisfaction, productivity, and retention. No matter the industry, employee engagement is crucial for your bottom line.

What You Will Learn

You’re guaranteed to leave the session with:

  1. A new perspective on employee disengagement and the number 1 reason employees don’t engage.
  2. An innovative, proven four-step strategy you can apply immediately to re-engage employees.
  3. Tactics to engage senior leaders in employee engagement.
  4. Clarity on next steps and inspiration to achieve your goals.

Details

Format: Webinar with a Q&A portion at the end.
When: Two sessions will be held January 31st 2pm EST (New York) & February 1st 2pm CET (Berlin)

To watch a replay of the employee engagement webinar, fill out the form below.



Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends in Manufacturing for 2018

If you thought your digital workplace was at the peak of innovation, 2018 will deliver plenty of surprises. As you’ll soon find out, digital transformation is an ongoing process that moves swiftly as new technology emerges. Surprisingly, 47% of companies haven’t even begun their digital transformation process. By keeping up with the trends, you’re already at an advantage.

These top 5 digital transformation trends offer your manufacturing business not just insight, but tangible means of transforming your business in more ways than one. From handheld tools to improve employee productivity to means of streamlining processes along the assembly line, the transformation goes beyond digital.

Integrated Workflows

In today’s competitive global economy, integration is key to ensuring efficient workflows. While each component or department of the business can function independently, you can optimize those functions by integrating tasks and information. Sticking with conventional communication methods like email or voice calls limits the amount of data you can share and the means through which you can send it.

By connecting every employee through an internal communication system, preferably platforms that allow for sharing of information via not just text, but media as well, teams share their skills and knowledge with their peers. Research shows that connectivity helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction, and active internal communication helps.

Ensuring that groups of employees on the production line know what’s happening on the information technology side, or keeping marketing teams in the loop when it comes to software changes in customer-facing settings are only two examples of how integrating workflows benefits business.

Mobile Collaboration

The majority of manufacturing employees don’t work at a desk or don’t even have a corporate email address. Ergo, the bulk of collaboration can’t happen on a desktop device. Technology can have a significant effect on non-desk employee productivity, so making that tech accessible should be a priority for businesses. Mobile collaboration apps give employees more ways to connect, keeping information current and ideas flowing.

Because most employees already have personal devices with internet connectivity, you may avoid substantial rollout costs by allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices. Even for large companies that require corporate devices across multiple departments, investing in the technology now keeps you a step ahead as the digital transformation forces other companies to follow suit.

Internal communications improve efficiency by making peers accessible to one another, but mobile collaboration apps also promote safety. Disseminating critical information to employees via mass message campaigns guarantees employees receive the details they need when they need it.

Machine Learning & AI

From robots piecing together components on the assembly line to machines that scan parts for defects, technology has come a long way from rudimentary programming concepts. Today’s robots have Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities, meaning they’re learning right alongside your teams.

Strides in programming abilities translate into more accessible user experiences with advanced technology, allowing you internal control and review of data. Incorporating machine learning into your business even reduces the need for outsourcing, since bots can complete many tasks that human workers can.

Adding chatbots to your processes can alleviate strain on human staffers responding to customer inquiries. Precision scanning machines allow staff to focus on other tasks while bots manage quality control. Freeing up your skilled employees to perform more complicated tasks heightens productivity as bots take care of the behind-the-scenes details.

Plus, with advancements in today’s tech, consumers either won’t notice the automation or the faster route to resolution will cancel out potential frustration at conversing with a computer.

HR chatbot

Analytics

Between production statistics and sales figures, you’re already dealing with a lot of numbers. But tracking all matter of analytics from employee behavior to manufacturing output will highlight ways to improve processes and training across the company.

When you incorporate integrated workflows, mobile collaboration, and analytics in your digital workplace, a mountain of data gives insight on how well things are running. By evaluating those figures, you’re able to streamline the steps in your manufacturing process to increase profits and reduce costs.

Employee analytics can spotlight production opportunities you may have missed. Noting times when employee productivity is at its peak may influence changes in daily scheduling, and lags in productivity may indicate potential for diverting resources to other projects. Overall, the more information the better, both in terms of profit and your people.

IoT

The Internet of Things, or IoT, defines the intricate network of computers, machines, objects, and people that transfer data digitally. Beyond the Web, interconnectivity extends to handheld devices, wearables, sensors, and more.

In the manufacturing industry, your production robots may have sensors or software that send information to remote teams. Employee apps might track who’s working and when. There are endless ways the IoT transmits information and promotes efficiency company-wide.
Beyond chatting machine-to-machine, the IoT lets employees contribute data to organizational compilations through both personal feedback and workflow-based analytics. While current figures peg IoT devices around 20.35 billion currently, projections for 2025 indicate that IoT connected devices will exceed 75.44 billion worldwide.

That means your digital workplace will only keep expanding, and keeping up-to-date with advances has the potential to transform your workflow and put your company on the path toward higher profits and lower costs.

To see how Beekeeper’s internal communication and employee app digitally transformed manufacturing company Seaboard Foods, download the case study.



Learn How to Digitize Your Non-Desk Workforce in 20 Minutes

Learn How to Digitize Your Non-Desk Workforce in 20 Minutes

For decades, office workers have been provided with digital messaging and operational systems to help them work more efficiently. Technological advancements are crucial for evolving workplace productivity, but what about the 83% of the global workforce that doesn’t work behind a desk?

This employee demographic has been largely left out of the picture when it comes to the digital transformation office employees have been experiencing over the last decade. However, they need access to communication channels and operational systems just as much as any other employee. Sharing information like shift schedules, sales inventory, safety protocol, trainings, company updates—anything work related— effectively is critical in non-desk industries.

All it takes is the right tools

We know digitizing the non-desk workforce sounds like a daunting task, especially when most employees don’t even have a corporate email address. Luckily, it’s actually pretty simple when you have the right tools.

Recently we announced the next evolution of Beekeeper with our new Marketplace and expanded capabilities for custom integrations. Employees become instantly linked with the operational tools and people they need to do their job well. When colleagues don’t have any blockers, organizations experience increased engagement and employee satisfaction. Both of which have been proven to generate higher organizational commitment and high individual and team performance.

See how 1 Hotels uses Beekeeper to mobilize their non-desk workforce and keep operations running smoothly.

Insights you need to start the transformation

Our long-term vision is to improve the day-to-day realities experienced by 2 billion workers, ushering non-desk employees into a sustainable digital future. For that reason, our most recent white paper, “Digitization of the Non-Desk Workforce,” gives you the knowledge you need to start the process and the imperatives to look for when deciding on a solution.

Here’s a quick introduction of the white paper:

Recent advancements in artificial intelligence signal massive operational changes across virtually every industry, especially for global businesses with expansive and diverse organizational charts. With these changes stems an unprecedented boost in organizational connectivity. As employees adapt, they will discover how increased accessibility to managers, peers, and workplace tools will help them ascend into a richer, more fulfilling era of work.

When discussing hyperconnectivity, the image of an employee glued to their desktop or mobile phone may traditionally come to mind. But for non-desk employees who constitute the very backbone of many organizations in the hospitality, manufacturing, retail, etc. industries, increased connectivity takes on an entirely different meaning. For individuals whose roles require them to be constantly in motion, intensely vigilant to their surroundings, or frequently interfacing with customers, timely access to information and colleagues has the power to increase efficiency and garner many new skills.

Needless to say, executive leaders tasked with leading non-desk employees through current technological changes face a very unique and exciting challenge. Workforce digitization sits on the frontlines of this challenge. Armed with creativity, data, foresight, and the right set of tools, optimizing non-desk employee productivity through digitization becomes your golden ticket to a happy workforce and a prosperous future for your organization.

To learn how to digitize your non-desk workforce and start seeing immediate results, download the full white paper by submitting the form below.



How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

How to Get Internal Buy-in for New Company-wide Technology

When you discover an exciting new technology and know it would suit your company’s needs, is everyone on board from the beginning, or does the approval process require some finesse? For most companies, ensuring internal buy-in for proposed technology is not as simple as one would hope.

While the value may be clear to one department or another, appealing to higher-level management requires setting the groundwork first. Here’s how to get internal buy-in when adding new tech tools to your organization’s arsenal.

Highlight the Importance of Technology

Whether your target is an employee communication platform, online customer portal, or a software overhaul that has been years in the making, pointing out the benefits of adapting to modern technology is a good place to start.

Thriving in a Digital Age

According to Forbes, a study of over 2,000 companies noted that digital technology supports over half of their business processes. From online retailers to app-based service companies, consumer demand drives the need for technology adaptations.

But innovations in technology haven’t stopped at customer-facing solutions. Most companies are comfortable digitalizing because they use automated processes, computers, and more secure information storage. Still, companies are often hesitant to consider digital solutions outside what they know and use daily.

To get internal buy-in, highlighting your organization’s position as a modern and forward-thinking industry leader should earn support from people who are more comfortable with current systems. Change might not come easily, but when productivity, and therefore future profits, rely on it, it’s easier to get everyone on board.

Demonstrate Value

When it comes to showing your team (or upper management) why new company-wide technology is vital to your organization, addressing its intrinsic value is essential. Giving specific examples of benefits to your organization, as well as focusing on industry-wide indicators of progress, will help turn naysayers into optimists.

Profitability as the Bottom Line

If your goal is to implement a new employee communication platform, upper management may not see the need. For those unfamiliar with the day-to-day games of email tag and multiple methods of exchanging information, the investment doesn’t predict a huge return.

However, those who manage frontline employees recognize that efficiency and clarity are essential to day-to-day operations. That means that their potential for increased productivity via a more straightforward and user-friendly communication platform translates into higher profits for the whole organization.

Connecting different perspectives with baseline measurements like productivity and profitability keep everyone on the same page when it comes down to making a decision.

Six Degrees of Innovation

A study from Cambridge Judge Business School interviewed the senior executives of international companies across a range of industries and found six patterns that indicate successful technology transformation.

The Six Degrees of Innovation define the value of technology based on market demand and include:

  • Custom products and services that meet consumers’ unique needs
  • Sustainable practices such as recycling and reducing energy costs
  • Utilizing peer-to-peer sharing to lower costs
  • Only paying for necessary and timely services
  • Monitoring supply chains effectively
  • Tracking data to adapt to customer needs

According to Cambridge Judge’s evaluation process, a technology that fulfills any one of these “degree” items is a mark of innovation and forward movement. For example, monitoring the supply chain of an organization via consistent updates through internal communication is a step toward accuracy in inventory. That’s a tangible benefit in any business and a perk that technology helps achieve.

Don’t Stop Working

Once you have secured support for the digital innovations you’ve been preparing for, you might think it’s time to rest. However, earning company-wide approval for technology solutions is only the first step.

Allow for an Adjustment Period

Transitioning to unfamiliar methods and digital platforms isn’t always easy, particularly if your team has been using alternative technologies for a long time. If at all possible, aim for a slow introduction of programs or processes so employees have time to adjust.

Track Results

Tracking results is one way to maintain support for a new program or solution rollout. Reminding team members they made the right decision through concrete figures and examples may not stop criticisms from coming in, but they will surely help justify the switch.

Celebrate Milestones

To frontline employees, along with supervisors and lower-level managers, the roll-out of new programs or processes can feel frustrating. The people who use these digital solutions will not only be the first to criticize them, but also the first to praise what works. Use this to your advantage, and make sure that team members acknowledge what new technology allows them versus how previous means limited them.

Optimize

Once employees adapt to unfamiliar technology, don’t let them stagnate! Solicit feedback, generate interest in features and updates, and encourage team growth along with digital growth. Making sure that all team members have appropriate training helps avoid technology fatigue, and a slow rollout can help alleviate stresses before significant transitions.

If you’re in search of a mobile platform to improve internal communication and employee engagement while simultaneously tracking results, fill out out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper.



How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

These days it’s common to see consumers ordering meals or car rides via their smartphones, booking hotel or flight reservations with a few taps, and order products with two-day delivery. But with the emergence of crowdsourcing companies and platforms that let everyone open up shop, the impact on every industry can’t be ignored.

Competitive prices, authentic experiences, and perks unique to every host give hotels a run for their money. With the rise in mobile apps and ordering services remotely, is there still a place for hotels in the hospitality market?

What is the Sharing Economy?

The sharing economy is a collaborative approach to acquiring goods and services, and in today’s world, it’s a huge part of the overall economy. The premise is simple: technology companies provide the interface between providers and consumers, connecting those in need with those who have extra.

An Independent Workers’ Market

According to Forbes, the sharing or “collaborative” economy means that people can turn to one another for goods and services, rather than large companies. Non-desktop workers, for example, for-hire drivers, rental property hosts, and freelancers across a variety of industries make an income based on a side-gig mentality.

While the majority of consumers have purchased an item or service through the sharing economy, only a small percentage of the population offers those services and goods. That means the potential threat to larger corporations comes from a relatively small segment of the population.

Sharing Economy by the Numbers

Businesses like ride-sharing companies and online retail platforms continue to see growth as people become more tech-oriented and look to peers rather than large corporations to fill their needs. As a result, Uber doubles its revenue every six months, while Airbnb exceeded one million rooms years ago.

The sharing economy segment of the market surpassed $250 billion in 2017, with leaders like Amazon and eBay leading the way. But will the success of companies in the sharing economy cause problems for the hospitality industry, where big names depend on dominating the market to achieve and maintain growth?

Hospitality on a Smaller Scale

Organizations like Airbnb, Expedia, and others are seeping into the hospitality arena and seeing enormous success. Because many companies have lower overhead costs than global and chain hotels, you might expect the sharing economy to overrun the name-brand vacation stay market. But that isn’t the case, said the President and CEO of Hilton Worldwide.

In an interview with PwC, Christopher Nassetta said that the sharing economy is impacting his business, but that it’s also “democratizing” travel. He sees that as a benefit because the model makes travel more accessible to a variety of demographics.

At the same time, reputable hoteliers offer a consistent customer service and vacation experience that local Airbnb hosts can’t compete against. Credibility is significant in the hospitality industry, according to PwC’s survey, and the human element is crucial in customizing consumers’ experiences.

Customer Care Priorities

Because the hotel industry is so consumer-focused, ensuring optimal client experiences holds the key to the industry’s future. Adapting to consumer expectations and investing in each interaction means hiring exceptional staff and providing them with the tools to succeed.

Non-desk workers in the hospitality industry rely on effective peer to peer communication and quick thinking to guarantee the consistency of customer interactions, making the difference between a tolerable visit and an enchanting stay. At the same time, collaboration among team members drives consistent results across all segments of hospitality.

A Tech Approach to Hospitality

Just as technology drives consumer behavior, it also supports workers’ needs. While the sharing economy and its dependence on technology continues to earn its piece of the pie, the hotel industry can remain competitive by adopting that technology.

Offering additional perks such as concierge services, local area guides, and online and app functions alongside regular amenities are just a few ways to add to the hotel experience. Connecting consumers with needed resources is a simple way to promote brand credibility.

Allowing employees to communicate and contribute to collaborative projects via an employee portal encourages productivity and reduces miscommunication that stems from managing multiple communication channels.

Adapting to Change

While it’s not advisable for bigger companies in the hotel industry to sit back and watch crowdsource platforms take over the realm of hospitality, at least for now, there seems to be enough demand to keep business going. However, times are changing, and adapting to those changes means more opportunity for business expansion.

Because of their penchant for earning top marks for reputation, amenities, and quality service, Les Roches suggests that brand-name hotels could lend their accreditation to privately listed rentals on new sites. Hotels can recommend local services, apps, and websites to stimulate the local economy or expand their reputable brand names into offshoots like BMW’s JustPark or Avis’ acquisition of ZipCar.

For startups in business enterprises that depend on crowdsourcing, success seems to have come easy. While hotel industry insiders might see those ventures as competition, technology continues to inspire advances in how consumers source, access, and pay for goods and services, so hotel companies must look forward, too.

To see how hospitality management company’s, RHW, tech approach to hospitality significantly improved operations and communications, download the case study.



In 3 Schritten vom überflüssigen zum leistungsstarken Intranet

Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

As the adoption of mobile workplace technologies continues to skyrocket, there is one question that operations, HR, and IT professionals face across many global industries: “When we optimize our workplace correspondence for mobile, what will become of our on-network company intranet?”

It’s a completely fair point of inquiry—and one we’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about as we continue to develop and expand the Beekeeper feature set. There’s no doubt we’re in a mobile content boom, which marks a lot of changes for your legacy content management system.

In the spirit of getting to the bottom of this mystery, let’s talk about the state of intranets now, as well as where they may be heading.

Intranet Recon 101: It’s Like Flipping a Car for Parts

After your employees start using dynamic, interactive, real-time mobile correspondence tools, the fact is that a static web-based intranet hub will begin to look a little stale. There are many reasons why your intranet may feel outdated, a few of which we have outlined on our blog in the past. TL;DR (“too long; didn’t read”) intranets are often full of content made irrelevant due to the passage of time, they are technologically clunky, lack a clean, simple user interface, and are often far more expensive to maintain than they are worth to your organization’s overall productivity levels.

The fixed nature of intranets also make them less social, less engaging, and, most importantly, less collaborative. For dispersed workforces who rely on digital checkpoints to provide feedback and execute projects, lacking the ability to connect directly with coworkers on the intranet becomes especially problematic. In other words, while intranets do a decent job of connecting people to information, they fail miserably at connecting people to other people.

Despite these shortcomings, when we look at the lack of utilization of legacy intranet hubs, we see nothing but an ocean of potential ways to optimize to meet the fast-paced demands of today’s workplaces. In order to salvage the best parts of the hub, it can be useful to look at your intranet like an aging car. When you lift up the hood, determine the pieces of content that your employees still engage with regularly, either by mandate or choice. You can determine this in two different ways:

  1. If you have access to them, look at your backend analytics to see which portals and knowledge base articles your employees engage with the most.
  2. If you do not have access to your intranet engagement analytics or would simply prefer more anecdotal feedback from your employees, send out a pulse survey to gauge which aspects of the current CMS hub they still use and/or find helpful in their everyday workflow.

Once you’ve identified the parts of your intranet worth saving, it’s time dig deeper into what the next generation of company content sharing could look like. This begins with exploring ways to reconfigure your current CMS with tools like ours that were built specifically for a mobile-first world. When we look at legacy intranet hubs becoming less useful and more of a headache (like the depths of a library archive), we see vast potential for optimizations. Below, we outline three easy steps that will help you successfully converge your aging CMS with your new mobile-first workplace platform.

Integrate

Our Beekeeper Marketplace is a great place to start brainstorming ways in which your legacy intranet can be updated for mobile and real-time use. For instance, if analytics or anecdotal feedback suggests that employees find the intranet’s company personnel directory useful to keep tabs on team members, you might consider a Bamboo HR integration. This would allow employees to upload photos, fun facts, and critical contact information for colleagues to quickly access to get in touch or get to know their teammates better.

Beekeeper Marketplace

Another prime example of this would be implementing a Box integration, which would allow you to upload and maintain all frequently trafficked knowledge base articles and training materials to a centralized digital hub within Beekeeper. This allows employees to quickly look up and access files without having to dig through a graveyard of poorly managed documents that may or may not be up to date with the latest content.

Personalize

Company content hubs should feel like a warm and lively gathering, not a ghost town. Carrying strong visual brand assets throughout your internal communications hub is a great way to encourage employee engagement and collaboration. Whereas a traditional intranet can feel as sterile and stark as a windowless chamber, the Beekeeper digital workplace suite can be customized entirely without robust assistance from IT or technical leaders in your organization.

In addition, the Beekeeper interface allows individual employees to customize things like push notifications and workflows, giving a more personalized feel to the workplace experience. In addition to increasing productivity, these interactive features and notifications also encourage higher levels of participation within the company culture, leading to higher levels of overall workforce satisfaction.

Automate

While we have touched on a couple of these features already, it is worth mentioning that automated workflows, communication streams, and content updates allow for a more dynamic version of your legacy intranet system to emerge. A common pain point among traditional intranet users is that that legacy hubs are resource-intensive to maintain, with technical ownership of the site frequently remaining murky or unassigned. With no one to steer the ship, documents and modules become quickly outdated and useless.

Beekeeper, on the other hand, was specifically designed to self-regulate as much as possible, including workflows, newsletters, and survey dispatches. While it may seem counter-intuitive that automation makes Beekeeper more dynamic and human, it’s touches like these that help your employees integrate the digital work hub into their everyday routines, making life less about logistics and more about productivity. For dispersed teams who may be scattered around a warehouse, kitchen, or retail floor, having check-ins automated becomes a true sanity preserver.

employee satisfaction survey

Why Folding Your Intranet into Beekeeper Will Set You on the Path to Success

At the end of the day, the goal of Beekeeper is to seamlessly augment and integrate with the tools that your employees already use and love, while replacing the tools that may be stuck in the past. Given that mobile apps are the primary method of communication for the modern workforce, our platform was built specifically for mobile rather than adapted for it.

Beekeeper enables employees to engage with their employer in the same way that they engage with their friends and family— on the go and on their own terms. While simply serving up content on a static hub falls radically short of this goal, building a digital space for employees to connect to one another and discover their purpose within their organization encourages all team members to find their purpose at work.

Want to hear more about how to bring your intranet back to life with a mobile, collaborative platform? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

When customers are happy, the internet knows it. Similarly, when a guest is unhappy, hotels bear the brunt of that dissatisfaction in their online reviews. Luckily, there are ways to help improve guest experiences that don’t involve renovations, profit losses, or hiring more employees.

Excellent customer reviews are the pinnacle of success for any hotel, but there’s one industry secret that guarantees optimal guest experiences every time. That secret is maintaining the flow of communication between team members.

Smoother Communication, Smoother Operations

Seamless internal communication supports better business, regardless of industry, but it’s critical in hospitality. Knowing what customers want and getting it to them quickly means you spend less time resolving client concerns and more time taking care of business.

From front desk personnel to non-desktop workers who move all around the property, your employees must work as a team to provide an exceptional guest experience. Between check-in and check-out, each guest will interact with front desk staff, maintenance personnel, housekeepers, bellhops, and more.

When you improve internal communications, good things happen, and not just for your staff.

Better Guest Experiences, Every Time

Entrepreneur suggests six steps toward creating memorable customer experiences, and our communication strategy fulfills each one. From attentiveness to recognition, personalization to consideration, appreciation to delight, behind-the-scenes communication sets the stage for it all.

Fewer Misunderstandings

A disconnect between staff members on your team could spell disaster for customers with specific preferences, billing concerns, or exclusive offers. However, with an internal communication platform that allows for private messaging among team members, noting guest preferences and stay details is one less headache staff must manage.

Creating group messages or channels allows team members to contribute and share relevant and real-time information throughout each shift, while incoming staff can quickly get up-to-date. Keeping all staff on the same page with policies, procedures, and specific guest concerns reduces the chances of misunderstandings during client service.

Quicker Reaction Time

When all employees maintain communication channels on a single platform, your property becomes a digital workplace. Sharing information happens faster than picking up the phone, and sending media and attachments means all your vital information is in one place.

The digital workplace has made phone calls and high-priority emails obsolete. Rapid communication via messaging platforms, accessibility that extends to non-desk workers, and organizational news distribution all contribute to employees’ ability to knowledgeably engage with guests.

Custom-tailored Services

Confidential messages between staff can make the difference between an ordinary customer experience an exceptional one. Centralized information and automated campaigns keep staff up-to-date on critical calendar events, both guest-related and internal.

Imagine having access to an internal phonebook function that allows front desk staff to connect with the resident chef. Staff can confirm a menu for an event and even receive a document or photos via a confidential message, rather than waiting for a return phone call or a time-consuming fax.

Consistent Confidentiality

While non-desktop workers often rely on radio communication across hotel facilities, those devices allow customers and staff alike to overhear conversations. Even if your staff utilize communication methods responsibly, guests probably don’t need to know about the clogged toilet on the third floor or a request for housekeeping services.

Switching to a comprehensive internal communication platform gives employees options for outreach, and ensures that confidentiality is a constant. At the same time, information is handy and easy access whether an employee is near a computer or not. Both app and web capabilities mean your team can move beyond the constraints of the company intranet.

Less Investment

If you stick with outdated methods of internal communication, chances are your employees are less productive than if you embrace a digital workplace. The guest experience depends on your ability to equip staff with the tools to do their jobs effectively and appropriately, not simply the ability to hire more people when business picks up.

In general, a small group of knowledgeable and dependable employees is more valuable than a larger group of employees who are ill-equipped to handle customer concerns because of roadblocks in internal communication. Hiring more people isn’t always the right solution to low customer service marks, but preparing your people to manage guest expectations better will always benefit your organization’s bottom line.

Cohesive Branding

The connectivity of your employees dictates the extent to which they espouse your brand’s personality. By encouraging collaboration and connection among employees, a company can contribute to its brand’s reach. Further, sending feedback via internal systems personalizes that input and opens up communication between peers as well as supervisors and their teams.

Tailoring internal solutions to your brand’s objectives allows you to create a sense of community within teams, particularly those who manage customer-facing functions. At the same time, the division that hotels often see between departments ceases when all employees collaborate toward fulfillment of brand goals and customer service targets.

To see an example of how InterContinental Miami uses Beekeeper to deliver the ultimate guest experience, download the case study.



Bee School Leadership and Followership QA

Bee School Session 6: “Leadership and Followership” Q&A

Class is dismissed! Sadly, Bee School has ended with Dr. Herkenhoff’s lecture on “Leadership and Followership,” but we have a few more insights to share. This educational series has been a great success and we couldn’t have done it without your participation!

Leadership

In the final session titled “Leadership and Followership,” Dr. Herkenhoff explains the qualities of each, why they are essential, and how to improve in both areas. First, she dives into leadership—the act of guiding and directing others. She explains the differences between formal and informal leadership, and identifies the four types of leaders with examples, pros, and cons of each.

Leadership Styles

leadership styles

Expanding on her last lecture on “Emotional Intelligence,” she reveals her research findings that good leaders have the technical know-how and high IQ, but great leaders have those and a high EQ. That is the ultimate differentiator, along with knowing how to build communities.

Below are what she deems as the most important leadership skills:

  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Frazzle factor (stress)
  • Risk-taking
  • Feedback
  • Remember: People join companies, but leave managers. Be a great manager and you will retain your people.

    Followership

    On the flip side of leadership, followership is the process of being guided and directed. Many people consider the term “follower” as negative, but that it simply not the case. Effective followers have the power to improve organizations and influence their leaders. We are all followers at some point, so these skills are essential for each and every one of us.

    The professor outlines the four types of followers and pros and cons of each to prove her case.

    Type of Followers
    Types of Followers

    There were two great questions asked during the presentation and below are Dr. Herkenhoff’s responses. If you have any further questions or feedback about Bee School, or want us to send you the recording, email us at beeschool@beekeeper.io.

    Q&A with the Professor

    1. Do good leaders need to be good followers?

    Absolutely. Being a good follower doesn’t make you a sheep. There are many traits learned as a follower that make better leaders.

    Collaboration is the key to success. Leaders who have learned how to work with people and bring out the best in them will create a strong culture and have an easier time motivating teams to accomplish goals. Similar to collaboration, diplomacy means knowing how to get along with those who have differences while not ignoring those differences. Leaders can’t afford to be oblivious to the attitudes surrounding them.

    It is this awareness that is learned while being a follower that allows leaders to take into account their various audiences including colleagues, board members, customers, and coworkers. A good leader knows each of their stakeholder groups well enough to know what it will take to bring them along for the ride.

    Collaboration, diplomacy, and awareness are great, but critical thinking and knowing when to stand up to their leaders is an admirable trait learned as a follower. It is this motivation, intelligence, and competence that inspires followership.

    Standing up to your leaders at every point in your career when you think things are heading in the wrong direction takes courage. This requires critical thinking and awareness of the situation to get your point across with the conviction and energy needed to change what is wrong, as well as support a leader or manager who is doing things well.

    2. What is the best process for delivering and receiving feedback?

    Delivering feedback is one of the most difficult things for people to do, so when you receive feedback, the first thing you should say is “thank you.” The courage that it takes to give any feedback is significant. The fact someone took the time and effort to make you better deserves to be treated with appreciation.

    After receiving feedback and thanking the person, take a minute to reflect and do your best to remove your personal emotions from any response. If you need more time to digest the feedback, let the person know you would like to sleep on their comments before responding.

    Giving feedback can be accomplished in three simple statements:

    1. Deliver the data – not your opinions.
    2. Let the person know how this made you feel.
    3. State your wish for how you would like to see things changed for the future. If this is a manager giving performance feedback, this is the time to also deliver a fitting consequence if the situation is not resolved.

    Here is an example:

    1. Mary, last week in our team meeting I requested you submit your TPS report by this Monday. It is Wednesday and I still haven’t seen your report.
    2. I am frustrated that I wasn’t heard asking for the report or informed about a delay in the process of delivering it to me.
    3. My wish for the future is that you meet deadlines that are asked of you or you communicate in advance why you can’t meet the deadline. I would like this report submitted by noon tomorrow. If I do not receive your reports on time, I will not approve your future requests to leave a few minutes early.

    You can finish by thanking the person for accepting your feedback and be willing for it to work the other way around (minus the consequences part).

    Bee School may be over, but we have another webinar around the corner! Sign up for the next one with employee engagement expert, Jill Christensen, who will share her four-step strategy to immediately engage employees.



Best Practices for Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Why 73 Questions Only Works for Vogue: Best Practices for Employee Satisfaction Surveys

You may have seen Vogue’s famous “73 Questions Answered by Your Favorite Celebs” video series, which got us thinking about how 73 questions could apply to something we are experts in—employee satisfaction surveys!

Voque asks their favorite personalities 73 questions to see what they like, dislike, and share their knowledge, and employee satisfaction surveys accomplish a similar goal. (Although, we think 73 questions is too many for a survey—but more on that later.) Employee surveys are designed to gauge likes, dislikes, and satisfaction levels across the organization and ensure everyone is aligned as much as possible.

In November, Sarah Deane, Experience Design expert and Founder of EffectUX, sat down with Beekeeper CEO, Cris Grossmann, for a Q&A session about how to develop the most effective employee satisfaction surveys. The article was published in the Huffington Post to share best practices with readers so every organization can have the right tools to gather meaningful feedback to make organizational improvements.

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With employee disengagement numbers being shown at near 70%, more and more organizations are looking at how they can create better workplace cultures to engage their workforce in meaningful ways, and for good reason. Workforces with higher levels of engagement have been found to be more profitable, have less turnover, and have increased customer loyalty. The business case for engagement is clear – it has been found that disengaged employees cost the American economy up to $350 billion per year due to lost productivity.

To test Beekeeper’s mobile platform and try the employee satisfaction survey feature, fill out the form below for a free trial.