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5 Ways Mobile Collaboration Increases Employee Productivity

5 Ways Mobile Collaboration Increases Employee Productivity

Mobile collaboration software gives an entire company a huge boost. Given the advent and success of digital culture, companies should assess how they can implement mobile collaboration to get the most out of their frontline employees, as well as the rest of the company.

With mobile solutions, such as a mobile collaboration app like Beekeeper, companies can streamline their internal and crisis communication processes and improve employee productivity in five core ways.

1. Frontline Employees Can Communicate Faster

The most obvious benefit of mobile collaboration is that mobile communication allows frontline employees to talk to each other faster. Having geographically dispersed teams doesn’t have to be a barrier. Digital communications with the best mobile collaboration functionality increases frontline employee productivity by offering a more robust and mobile solution to manage schedules, plan a meeting, start a group message to ask a question, and to stay connected.

Group messaging empowers employees to work collaboratively with faster, streamlined workflows, which increases your team’s productivity as a result. One particularly important messaging application is for crisis communications. With Beekeeper’s crisis communication features, breaking news and updates on extreme weather events or safety alerts can be distributed immediately company-wide or directly to team members in affected regions or locations.

2. Mobile Solutions Help Managers Get Updates Sooner

Mobile solutions mean that managers get more detailed updates from frontline employees quicker than they would if they weren’t using mobile communication. Managers can offer course correction suggestions instantly and improve employee productivity when it may be directed at the wrong task. Additionally, implementing performance evaluations and feedback on a faster timetable makes the entire company more efficient, avoiding long waiting periods and bottlenecks.

3. Create More Cohesive Teams with Mobile Collaboration

With mobile collaboration, teams don’t need to worry about transportation hurdles, inclement weather, or other issues getting in the way of productivity. Mobile collaboration allows team members to stay in constant mobile communication without losing efficiency, even when working remotely. Everyone on the team can check on their team’s priorities on-the-go and adjust their plans accordingly. Likewise, everyone can see reports from their co-workers in the field, assess what still needs to be done, and delegate remaining tasks.

4. Improve Employee Productivity

Mobile collaboration lets employees coordinate solutions to problems more quickly, and provides flexibility to share files, ideas, and tasks on-the-go. Every time there’s an issue or change, employees can come together independently using their mobile collaboration app to tackle it without the need for an in-person meeting or lengthy discussions. With mobile communication, problem-solving is more efficient and improves the entire company’s operations, especially frontline employee productivity.

5. Mobile Communication Increases Employee Satisfaction

Mobile collaboration increases employee satisfaction because employees respond well to more streamlined workflows that eliminate tedious tasks and improve the team’s productivity. Mobile collaboration removes common team communication blockers, such as working different shifts or working in different time zones, which makes the overall employee experience better and more seamless.

Best of all, team members can communicate and collaborate with an employee app across commonly used devices, whether using mobile phones, laptops, tablets, or desktop computers.

Beekeeper team communication app devices

Mobile Collaboration Is The Future

With an increasing number of companies deploying mobile solutions to improve their mobile communication capabilities, employees whose companies embrace the digital future and commit to technological agility are the ones who will reap the largest benefits. A mobile collaboration app like Beekeeper is a prime example of an agile, digitally-focused technology.

Many daily team communications and operations such as payroll, schedule management, and important company updates are more easily distributed, consumed, and accessible with mobile collaboration apps. Managers and frontline employees alike will enjoy the flexibility real-time mobile communication provides. The Beekeeper mobile collaboration app has features such as group messaging, posting, and commenting functionalities that foster employee connection and improve employee productivity by centralizing team communications.

Learn how Wheatsville Food Co-Op used Beekeeper for mobile collaboration by downloading the case study.



Guest using chatbots on a mobile app to check in on a mobile device.

Chatbots Simplify Hotel Operations and Transform Guest Experience

It may sound like something out of an episode of The Jetson’s but AI (yes, this includes actual robot assistants, like The Jetson’s beloved Rosie), particularly in the form of chatbots, is making frequent appearances in the hospitality industry. The goal? To improve the guest experience through more efficient internal communication with digital workforce solutions.

This year’s AAHOA Annual Conference takes note of this growing hospitality trend with a seminar, “Technology To Improve Housekeeping and Maintenance Efficiency,” featuring Dorothy Creamer, Editor, Hospitality Technology; Micah Green, Founder, Maidbot; David Mitroff, Founder and CBC, Piedmont Avenue Consulting; and Raman Rama, President, Sarona Holdings. The seminar focuses on how hotel owners can leverage the latest digital workforce products and services to simplify and improve hotel operations to enhance the guest experience and ultimately drive occupancy rates.

How Digital Communication Tools Help Increase Bookings


According to a study of travel review sites conducted by Christopher Andersen, Ph.D, Assistant Professor at the Cornell School for Hotel Administration, higher occupancy rates are directly linked to how high a hotel’s reviews and ratings are. Specifically, the study analyzed Travelocity data that demonstrated that if a property increases its review scores by 1 point on a 5-point scale, the hotel can raise rates and still maintain the same occupancy.

Notably, Anderson’s findings point to social media as a powerful ally when it comes to consumer booking habits and to making sure a curious browser goes through with booking a room in your hotel. More broadly, these findings reflect an equally important insight: the way we navigate and complete much of the tasks in our personal and professional daily lives revolves around digital technology and informs our expectations of consumer experiences.

Exterior of a hotel showing four stars.

Fast Mobile Search Experiences Matter


The access to and ease-of-use of digital technology, particularly when it comes to mobile devices, affects purchase follow-through. A 2017 Think with Google study showed that if a website takes longer than three seconds to load, 53% of consumers will leave the site and conversion is lost. Put simply, with the vast, instant access to information digital technology provides, consumers aren’t afraid to take the time to compare lodging options—otherwise known as ‘shopping around’—and are using consumer opinions to inform their transactions.

AI and Chatbots: Partners in Providing an Exceptional Guest Experience


Far from worrying about frontline workforce replacement, those working in the hospitality industry should view AI, especially chatbots, as valuable communication tools that can boost productivity and enable frontline employees to focus on their primary priority: an exceptional guest experience.

A hotel’s consumer ratings and reviews will always reflect guest experiences, for better or for worse. The benefits of AI assistance in the form of chatbots are two-fold for your digital workforce, and have far-reaching, positive implications for the hospitality industry. Increased service efficiency means better delivery of a memorable guest experience, leading to brand loyalty and thus greater occupancy rates.

Here are some of the major hospitality service areas that impact the guest experience that can directly benefit from chatbots and AI automated operations using digital workforce communication tools. For example, your hotel can implement a custom mobile app that guests can download to enhance their stay in relationship to the following hospitality experiences:

  • Room service: Chatbots can virtually take the in-room orders of guests. Chatbots can be programmed to ask a variety of detailed questions to ensure your guests get exactly what they need (like specific condiments on their sandwich, or extra ice in their water) and can even schedule delivery.
  • Guest check-in and check-out: One of the most useful applications of a chatbot is as a virtual booking agent. Chatbots can send reminders to guests regarding the details of their stay, such as check-in and check-out times, and augment them if necessary based on guest requests (for example, extra pillows or special food or beverage items to be in-room upon arrival).
  • Maintenance requests: When a guest encounters an in-room issue, such as a burned-out light bulb or a broken appliance, chatbots can field guest issue reporting so repairs can be made quickly.
  • Special requests: From wake-up calls, “do not disturb” notifications, or delivery of extra towels or toiletries, chatbots can handle instantaneous communication of many of the most common guest requests. Instead of picking up the phone and calling the front desk, guests submit requests with one click using the mobile app. Hospitality teams receive automated notifications of these requests directly, and can complete them more quickly and efficiently.
  • Concierge services: Think of a chatbot as a 24/7 virtual local guide to the best food and entertainment options in the area, including on-premise dining and events. Chatbots can be set with the day or week’s latest events and promotions. Best of all, with your hotel app, guests can consult the chatbot concierge at their convenience, whether in their hotel room or on-the-go.

Screen shot of a hotel guest reporting a maintenance issue on a mobile device.

This is all good news for the hotel industry, which is already uniquely profitable and, according to hospitality experts, is poised to experience even higher occupancy rates in 2018. Loyal customers will continue to patronize a hotel property even when rates increase because they are loyal to the guest experience you have created.

With the help of chatbots and a digital workforce app like Beekeeper, guest services that previously commanded substantial staff time and energy can be automated. When tasks like these are delegated to digital technology, your workforce is free to assist with more complex guest needs and requests that require face-to-face interactions.

To see how chatbots and AI can increase hospitality revenue, download our white paper, “Digitization of the Non-desk Workforce.”



Beekeeper Produktwebinar

Beekeeper Tech Talk: How to Create the Ultimate Digital Workplace

What’s on the horizon for the Beekeeper product roadmap? Join us for the first Beekeeper product webinar, Beekeeper Tech Talk, on March 22, 2018 10am CET (German), 11:30am EST (English). In this webinar, learn how you can create the ultimate digital workplace for your workforce with Beekeeper, and provide frontline employees with easy access to all the systems they need in one secure team communication app.

We’ll share some of the latest Beekeeper app integrations like our chatbot SDK and our integrations SDK and how Beekeeper customers can build on these digital workforce integrations to dramatically improve internal communications and increase productivity using your custom Beekeeper employee app.

Beekeeper Unveils Chatbot SDK and Integrations SDK

There are a multitude of operational applications for the upcoming Beekeeper chatbot SDK and integrations SDK. We’ll walk through how our SDK technology enables you to easily connect your Beekeeper employee app with other digital workplace apps to streamline daily tasks.

From enhancing internal communications across HR, management, and frontline employee teams to facilitating and measuring frontline employee engagement, chatbots can be programmed to initiate many of the most common HR-specific and shift management tasks. For example, chabots can send out employee surveys to collect frontline employee feedback on the next team outing, or to find a time that works best for an upcoming training.

Chabot Use Cases: Implementing Chatbots With Your Employee App

In the webinar, we’ll also present use cases for your chatbot SDK and integration SDK that could be incorporated into your existing Beekeeper team communication app workflows. As an external developer, the Beekeeper chatbot SDK enables you to build two-way chatbots into the messaging capabilities. Most important, these plug-and-play integrations easily connect with your existing digital workforce tools.

Potential chabot use cases we’ll cover include:

  • Employee engagement through chatbot gamification
  • Training and refresher quizzes about company policies and safety guidelines
  • Shift management (clock-in and clock-out, PTO requests, shift swaps)
  • Task assignment and follow-up

Beekeeper chatbot use case

Beekeeper chatbot use case

Beekeeper Integrations Roadmap and Upcoming Marketplace Apps

Discover how Beekeeper integrates with the workplace apps and digital workflows you utilize daily in the Beekeeper Marketplace, and learn about upcoming Beekeeper integrations with SAP SuccessFactors and ADP. For example, with the ADP integration, companies can automatically synchronize ADP and Beekeeper employee information, and manage it all directly within the Beekeeper employee app.

The Beekeeper Marketplace is also the place to request custom app integrations for your digital workplace.

Q&A Session: How is Beekeeper Providing Digital Workplace Solutions For Your Workforce?

Most of all, we want to hear from you on how integrating Beekeeper with your existing digital workplace tools is going. We’re also excited to learn what app integrations you’re looking for so we can maximize your success in utilizing the Beekeeper team communication app to its full, highly-collaborative potential.

Creating the ultimate digital workplace starts with unified communications across your entire workforce. Learn more about how Beekeeper’s digital workplace app can support this process and put your team on the path to better team communications, employee engagement, and productivity!

Reserve your spot in the Beekeeper Tech Talk.



Culture Design Expert Shares His Secrets to Elevating Corporate Culture

Josh Levine Shares His Corporate Culture Design Secrets

Employee engagement statistics are low—and even lower for non-desk employees— which is a hard truth for most employers. Reports show that disengaged employees cost companies between $450 and $550 billion a year. So why aren’t companies doing more to address this expensive problem? The most successful companies in the world have the highest levels of employee engagement, yet engagement initiatives are frequently put on the back burner.

At Beekeeper, our mission is to connect every single employee to keep them engaged within an organization to improve productivity and reduce turnover. To help combat the problem of employee disengagement, we’ve partnered with an expert on corporate culture, Josh Levine.

About Josh Levine

Josh holds a BS in Engineering Psychology from Tufts University, and BFA in design from the Academy of Art University. As a brand strategist and culture design expert, Josh has helped local and global organizations engage customers and empower employees for over 15 years. One of his most recent ventures was co-founding CultureLabx where he leads brand development. Culture Lab is a community of founders, designers, and practitioners committed to redefining workplace culture by hosting experiments to help business leaders understand its value to the employees, the company, and the community.

His writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, The Design Management Journal, and 99u.com. Josh teaches at California College of the Arts’ renowned MBA program in Design Strategy and is Principal of the brand consultancy Great Monday. Great Monday helps companies with culture design because the team has found that when employees know why they work, they are more motivated, more invested, and are happier doing it. His book “Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture Employees Love” will be published in 2018 with McGraw-Hill Education.

Josh met with us to discuss what a great corporate culture looks like, why it’s important, and how to achieve it.

Corporate Culture Q&A

1. What defines a great culture?
A great culture is a high bar. When everyone from executives to employees to contractors understands a company’s purpose and values—the why and how’s—and make choices based on those, you are on your way. Purpose is the reason a company is in business beyond making money. Values are the three to five shared beliefs that guide behaviors.

2. Why is culture so important for a company’s brand?
Today culture *is* the brand. As social media and the internet more broadly continue to shorten the distance between the inside of a company and the external world of customers, employee and organizational choices are more exposed. If you attempt to convince communities through “brand marketing” of a story not aligned with what’s happening on the inside you’ll get called out, and fast.

3. What is “culture design” exactly?
It’s the two-part process we use to help our clients find, tell, and live their story. First, a company needs to establish and codify behavioral expectations by defining their unique purpose and set of values. Then they create the tools with which they manage their culture—new practices that help employees understand, connect to, and embody those culture touchstones. Through the process, the organization has created a living document we call the “culture code.”

4. How does culture affect communication and operations?
For the business, culture is about empowering choices that move it towards its goals faster. If we all know why we are here (purpose), and how we should get there (values), we have more context for how we should work with one another, prioritize strategies, and make more effective decisions— communications and operations included.

5. What is the ROI of culture?

There are a few ways to get to this question.

ELTV


You can estimate employee lifetime value, or ELTV, which looks at how even marginal increases in speed to onboard, productivity, and tenure generates exponential gains for the company.

Turnover


The rate of employee turnover can be useful because it can be tracked so easily. Multiply how many employees left in the past year by 25-50% of their annual salary, and you have a good sense of what your cost of turnover is. Not all those departures can be attributed to culture alone, of course.

To increase fidelity of this metric, leaders need to look at the qualitative data from off-boarding conversations. Which of those had themes like discontent, lack of opportunity, or managerial issues? Those are culture related. Just like any survey, the longer this number is tracked and measured, the more useful it becomes.

Employee Sentiment


Employee sentiment is a great one if you have enough data points. The mistake most companies make here is the annual employee survey. That’s too much too late. Instead, spread your questions out over time. Monthly or even quarterly single question polls keep response quantity and quality high. If you can only ask one question my favorite is “how likely are you to recommend working at this company to your friends or family?”

@Mentions


Even increases or decreases of mentions on social media regarding customer experiences can be looked to as measurable impressions.

The assumption underlying all of these is that investments in improving culture increases employee engagement which improves customer satisfaction and the bottom line. There’s a lot of variables in there so none of these are perfect, but they all can be useful.

6. What are the easiest ways to improve a company’s culture?
Start small. There’s no need to try to change an entire organization to make a difference. Think of how you’d like your sphere of influence, the 10-20-30 people that you interact with most, to start behaving and embody that. You have to be the culture change you wish to see in your world.

Beekeeper is an employee engagement and team communication app that caters to non-desk workforces. Our customers such as Marriott, Heathrow Airport, and Seaboard Foods experienced immediate operational improvements and elevated corporate culture.

Sign up for your free trial of the Beekeeper team communication app to see the benefits for yourself.



Digital Transformation Trends From the World Economic Forum

Digital Transformation Trends From the World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting just ended and I’m excited to share the insights I gained about the digital transformation and the future of mobility. I was invited to attend two sessions that relate to topics we frequently discuss at Beekeeper and drive our product evolution.

First, here’s a little background about the event in case you aren’t familiar. The World Economic Forum (WEF), a Swiss non-profit foundation, was established in 1971 to improve global affairs “by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.” The forum is best known for its annual meeting at the end of January which brings together more than 3,000 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, journalists, and even celebrities for four days to discuss the most pressing issues worldwide.

Below are some of the key digital transformation trends from the events I attended:

The Future of Mobility

Since I studied Computer Science at ETH Zurich, I was especially eager to attend their private event about the future of mobility. Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, CEO of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) Andreas Meyer, Vice President for Research and Corporate Relations at ETH Dr. Detlef Günther, and ETH President Lino Guzzella announced an exciting mobility partnership.

ETH Future of Mobility event

ETH Zurich is partnering with SBB to launch the ETH Mobility Initiative that will invest 100 million over the next ten years in mobility research and teaching. The purpose is to make better use of the existing railway infrastructure. In fact, Meyer stated, “Our goal is to get up to 30 percent more capacity from the existing rail network.” Using SBB’s traffic and passenger data, experts from ETH will use their models to calculate optimal traffic flow. By analyzing all the data and deriving trends, they plan on making public transportation much more efficient by utilizing digital mobility. SBB is a prime partner because they have the resources to put ETH’s research into practice quickly.

The Digital Transformation and Artificial Intelligence

Hirzel. Neef. Schmid. Konsulenten and CEBIT organized an event to share insights about strengthening cooperation — the official theme of the WEF this year. Speakers focused on the digital transformation, including machine learning, AI, and how to use digital to bring people together and combat fragmentation. Following the keynote, they held a panel discussion with Martin Ott, Managing Director Central Europe at Facebook, Danilo Bertocchi, Enterprise Sales Manager at Tesla, and Jürgen Schmidhuber, Scientific Director at IDSIA.

Digitization opens the door to endless possibilities to create a more connected and efficient world, both in the personal and professional sense. With the intersection of AI and machine learning, we can attain so much data that can help improve both the employee and customer experience. However, the biggest problem is the lack of support and education surrounding this topic.

Beekeeper CTO Flavio with robot

To reap the benefits of digitizing your workforce, you need to empower your teams with the right education and tools. In the Q&A session, an attendee asked Ott how he will help digitize subject matter experts. The discussion made evident that everyone has a different understanding of digitization and there is a great need for management to become more knowledgeable on the topic. Most executive teams don’t know what to do with new digital tools, how to use them, or even why they need them.

He explained how Facebook aims to use digital to build communities and create a more open, connected world. The social media powerhouse is constantly developing resources to aid in the digital transformation. Online tutorials, courses, community hubs , etc. are all part of their strategy to educate users.

Beekeeper’s Role in the Digital Transformation

Connecting people is of course at the very core of what we do at Beekeeper, but the idea of educating and supporting your customers to help them achieve the change needed to digitize their workforce and fully benefit from the digital tools they have at their disposal also really resonated with me.

We talk to customers on a daily basis who have been sold various software tools, but because they don’t get the right support to sell the benefits at each level of the organization or educate users on how to optimize existing processes with the new tools, adoption often fails. This is why, at Beekeeper, we have focused on developing a wide range of high-quality resources to help customers be successful in adopting our product.

Our Customer Success team knows each customer’s challenges and objectives and support them every step of the way. From understanding how Beekeeper can help them reach their goals to ensuring every single employee has access to information about the product and how to use it. We also have our own suite of digital resources, in the form of a Help Center and e-learning courses, to enable customers to learn in their own time and always have the information they need on hand.

We know that to achieve our own goal of shaping digital workplaces for 2 billion frontline employees, we must act as a partner rather than a provider.

To learn more about the digital transformation with the Beekeeper team app and how it will benefit your business, download our free white paper on the topic.



Header image copyright by World Economic Forum / Walter Duerst

5 Ways to Improve Communication Between Your Healthcare Staff

5 Ways to Improve Communication Between Your Healthcare Staff

Communication is essential throughout the healthcare community as the health and wellness of patients depends on a clear and accurate exchange of information. As many employees in the healthcare field travel to various facilities and make home visits, on-the-go communication can be especially challenging. Healthcare workers don’t regularly check email as most of their time is spent with patients, so it’s difficult to stay current on company updates.

Poor communication between healthcare staff not only has the ability to affect the patient experience, but it can attribute to a financial loss at various facilities and negatively affect workplace morale.

Although ways to improve communication may not happen overnight, the effort is critical to reduce miscommunication and stress for both healthcare workers and patients. Here are 5 ways to improve communication among your healthcare staff.

1. Assess Your Current Method of Communication

Before you can make improvements to your internal communication, you need to assess the current methods. As someone who works in the healthcare sector, you already know how important it is to avoid making costly and potentially fatal mistakes.

Are there any obvious gaps in your communication that result in mistakes? Take detailed inventory of what works and what doesn’t.

Once you’ve assessed your communication, it’s time to ask for feedback and create an internal communications strategy. A great example of good communication is allowing your staff to have a voice, listen to their feedback, and make appropriate changes. If you want to improve communication, you must be willing to listen.

2. Streamline Communication Channels

Working in healthcare, there are protocols you undoubtedly need to follow, but when you do your assessment of your current state of communication, don’t forget to see if there are ways to streamline your channels. Communication should be simple, but can quickly become convoluted with too many means of doing it.

streamline communication channels with beekeeper

As long as you ensure your communication remains confidential and secure, you may be able to eliminate some unnecessary steps, which often end up causing confusion or are time-consuming to navigate. The bulk of communication can be stored in one simple interface that doesn’t involve email. Which leads to our next point…

3. Encourage Mobile Collaboration

Today, pagers remain a mandatory means of communication in many healthcare facilities. While pagers may be an effective way to alert someone you need them to return your call ASAP, it’s not always an effective or practical way to conduct a two-way conversation.

Since healthcare workers aren’t huge fans of email, encourage top-down, bottom-up, and two-way communication via a HIPAA compliant mobile team communication app. If you’re worried about professionalism, establishing a Code of Conduct and BYOD (bring your own device) policy will keep your expectations clear without worrying about issues like time management.

In an age of technology where roughly three-quarters of American adults own and use a smartphone, it only seems natural to encourage its use at a professional level for real-time messaging. (Let’s face it, almost every employee is using their mobile phone anyways.)

mobile messaging with beekeeper

4. Give Employees a Voice

Similar to what we mentioned above, when you give every employee a voice and value their input, the communication between your staff is likely to improve. While you may work in an office and do minimal traveling from one facility to the next, another member of your staff may travel so much that their car becomes a home office.

Whether you see your staff a few times a day or about ten minutes a week, each individual should have the same opportunity to express concerns, needs, and wants. Once employees don’t feel like their voice is being heard, good communication comes to a halt.

5. Don’t Eliminate Face-To-Face Communication

As you begin to use technology more and more to communicate with one another, don’t forget the value of face-to-face communication.

In-services and mandatory meetings are often met with anything but enthusiasm, especially when you have staff that may already feel overworked and spread thin between various tasks. While you may not have the power to eliminate mandatory face-to-face meetings, try to make the “in-person” time you have with your staff count.

Paying attention and being an active listener not only shows your staff you care enough to be “present,” but that you value their efforts and want to know more about their experiences at work.

These seemingly simple actions, if done correctly, will set a solid precedence and your staff is more likely to practice these same actions when working with coworkers and patients.

Looking for an engaging real-time mobile solution to share updates and communicate with your colleagues? Fill out the form below for a free demo of the HIPAA compliant Beekeeper team communication app that specializes in connecting healthcare employees.

RHW Hotels Uses Team Communication App to Improve Operations

RHW Hotels Uses Team Communication App to Improve Operations

RHW Management Inc. manages more than 600 employees and nearly 2,000 guest rooms across 19 hotels consisting of five different Marriott brands, Intercontinental Hotels, Hyatt, and Hilton properties. One of the biggest problems for any hotel property is communication between departments, and for owners of multiple properties, effective communication across their portfolio is next to impossible.

David Montero, the current Director of Operations at RHW, set out in search of a more robust internal communication and engagement solution. One that could manage the complexity of communicating with frontline employees across multiple properties within one intuitive interface. He was also looking for ways to increase engagement and enhance corporate culture. After all, happy employees = happy guests.

Do any of these challenges sound familiar? If so, read on for RHW’s journey to improve internal communications and operations, all while giving employees a voice in the organization with their team communication app.

History of RHW

RHW originated during the oil boom of the late 1970’s as a small oil company. By 1983, RHW Development, Inc., was formed to develop apartment complexes. While formulating their business plan, they discovered Brock Residence Inns and decided this new hotel concept that targeted extended-stay travelers would make a better investment than apartments.

After the success of building their first hotel, they redirected their focus from real estate investing to building a hotel company. They quickly made that hotel a financial and operational success, positioning themselves as one of the first franchisees of a brand that later became the Residence Inn by Marriott. As the company grew, they divided it into two different entities: RHW Development, Inc. (to develop hotels) and RHW Management, Inc. (to manage hotels).

Identifying Challenges and Finding a Solution

Fast forward to 2016. Business was booming for RHW, but David knew there had to be a more efficient way to communicate with his frontline staff than using bulletin boards and the hardbound red book at the front desk.

The properties faced many communication challenges. Trusting that messages were clearly communicated at the property level was a struggle— regardless of how fantastic their general managers were. Many times, information shared with one shift wasn’t shared as consistently or effectively with other shifts, and employees weren’t always alerted to a new addition on the bulletin board.

As much as David was interested in solving communication issues between properties, he was also looking for a way to make employees feel like they were involved in something bigger. (While keeping in mind employees’ reluctance to blend their personal and professional lives.)

Reinforcing and re-inventing RHW’s company culture, developing internal talent to position the business for rapid growth, and reduced turnover costs got David thinking about different ways to address employee communication in the hospitality industry. So he went in search of a digital solution.

Improved Employee Communications With a Custom Mobile App

David chose Beekeeper’s team communication app to solve these challenges. As a custom branded solution, RHW was able to customize the app to reflect its own brand. For each property, David set up communication streams that covered the daily news and other happenings, including the number of arrivals and departures for the day. The streams and group chats help set daily expectations because hotel staff could check Beekeeper to see how busy the property was going to be that day.

RHW team communication app

David’s goal was to make the RHW culture come to life by instilling purpose in his team. This is where Beekeeper helped connect the entire organization and set the tone for what employees could expect when they walked into their particular property that day. Employees also know what’s happening in the upper levels of the organization through corporate announcements, as well as other property events or news. Properly setting expectations has gone a long way in making his employees feel connected and engaged.

Organizational improvements since implementing the team communication app have been remarkable. “It was incredible to see all of the personalities that came alive on Beekeeper that we didn’t realize had existed before. Giving our employees a platform allowing them to have a voice has transformed our organization,” said David Montero.

Want to read more about RHW Management’s success story? Fill out the form below to download the full case study.

Top 5 Hospitality Trends in 2018

Top 5 Hospitality Trends in 2018

Hospitality is one of the most competitive industries, so staying up-to-date with trends and finding ways to stand out from the competition is paramount.

Whether you head management at a five-star hotel or are a server at an up and coming vegan restaurant, here are the top 5 hospitality trends to pay attention to in 2018.

1. Bleisure is Booming

As millennials continue to be a hot target demographic, the hospitality industry is working hard to cater to this customer base. Expect to see a continued interest in bleisure, also known as business travel mixed with leisurely travel.

For young professionals, bleisure is the perfect opportunity to take an extended vacation after a week of mandatory meetings and networking mixers (kind of a “kill two birds with one stone” attitude). Not only do these extended vacations help keep hotels full and dinner reservations booked, but a happy millennial in vacation mode is also more likely to spend money on other amenities. It’s a win-win for every category within the hospitality industry so be sure to utilize resources properly and take advantage of it.

2. Smart Rooms

With more people using voice-activated devices in their homes, it’s only natural to use these same devices to make rooms more “smart.” The lights, temperature, and other features in a hotel room can be difficult to figure out and smart rooms alleviate that nuisance.

smart rooms

Adding a voice-activated device like a Google Home or Amazon Echo can eliminate the risk of a poor Yelp rating or a middle-of-the-night complaint to the front desk. The guest can control specific functions of the room, just like at home.

According to The Wynn Las Vegas, over 4,700 of their rooms will be equipped with an Amazon Echo to help guests control things like lighting and temperature with ease. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing rooms with “smart” beds that can determine whether or not a guest is asleep or awake and heat or light a room accordingly.

3. Simple and Healthy Food

While there will always be a special place for deep fried appetizers and 1,000 calorie desserts, more adults who frequent restaurants and hotels are making a more serious commitment to healthy eating.

If your menu showcases one vegetarian item or your continental breakfast bar has a bowl of fruit, you’ll have to try a little bit harder to impress the over 70 percent of adults who prefer to eat something healthy if it’s available.

Have you been hoping for an opportunity to offer a vegan menu or want to exclusively serve food that has been grown within a 100-mile radius? Whether you own a food truck or a well-established restaurant, 2018 is a great time to “wow” your clientele with healthy choices that go far beyond the fruit plate option.

4. Hotels with Character

Some travelers are completely content to stay in a standard room with minimal amenities, but if you’re offering very little, the price tag must match.

People who pay for a hotel room, whether it’s at a chain or a small boutique hotel, want a place with character and unique features. While hotel bars may seem a little “hokey” and outdated, don’t be surprised if we start seeing more places that have a 24/7 “grab n’ go” eatery or an art museum or theater attached to the hotel.

Even if your guests are only staying for eight hours, they should have access to the same variety as someone who stays for two nights.

5. An Increase in AI Presence

Depending on who you talk to, artificial intelligence (AI) is either met with excitement or skepticism and worry. While there are many industries that will eventually be dominated by AI, the hospitality industry isn’t likely to go full-automation.

Many businesses within the hospitality industry have begun to incorporate some friendly robots to help out with some of the housekeeping and other tasks that don’t require a lot of face-to-face interaction. AI will ultimately help the customer experience by improving the quality of any person-to-person exchanges.

Automation is not meant to threaten a booming industry but rather keep it streamlined, error-free, and keep it doing what it does best; striving to make the customer experience the best possible.

If you’re looking for more ways to keep your hospitality business booming, download our white paper about how to improve internal communications in your hospitality business with the Beekeeper team app.



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.