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Replace Walkie-Talkies with a Team Communication App

Replace Walkie-Talkies with a Team Communication App

Whether you started out with walkie-talkies decades ago or have recently integrated them into business operations, you likely have multiple complaints about the one-function devices. You already know mobile communication is essential for frontline employees’ daily activities, but do walkie-talkies really count as a mobile solution?

Technology today has so much more to offer than a bulky, single-function device. Here are 7 reasons to replace walkie-talkies with a team communication app.

1. Cost

For only offering a single mode of communication, walkie-talkies are expensive. A whole-site system can run expenses well into thousands of dollars, and maintenance costs are not cheap, either. Because of the heft of these devices, they often take on a lot of damage, particularly when it comes to models with replaceable batteries.

Team communication apps may present a more significant up-front investment, but their ROI is much higher. As updates emerge and tools expand, teams can continue to use applications in day-to-day functions. There’s no risk of the technology becoming obsolete because the nature of software is continuous evolution.

Further, team communication apps are particularly cost-effective if you allow employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) because it eliminates purchasing costs of smart devices for all departments. Even considering the cost of purchasing and maintaining smart devices for an entire company, the difference in initial investment in phones vs. walkie-talkies is significant.

2. Efficiency

The back-and-forth of walkie-talkie communication can drag on, particularly with out-of-range static, interruptions from other users, and the inability to hear clearly in noisy areas. While these devices have their applications in specific emergency situations, or in cases of internet outages, they are not the most efficient choice for routine communication.

Team communication apps optimized for mobile let users collaborate remotely via peer-to-peer messaging or communication streams, conveying ideas in seconds. The confidentiality of private platform messages far outranks the tell-all mode of walkie-talkies, while allowing for the elaboration of ideas without long-winded transmissions.

3. Technological Advances

Despite the fact that current technology makes touchscreens and voice response functions common offerings, walkie-talkies rely on archaic technology that hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. For modern corporations, the branding messages and customer-facing approach of the company shouldn’t have such a stark contrast from its technology.

The alternative to continuing to use outdated technology for communication is to adapt to smart device use across all business functions. From hospitality and retail to IT and telecommunications, taking steps to incorporate modern technology not only promotes productivity, but enhances corporate image.

4. Form and Function

The physical range is not the only limitation of walkie-talkies, as their single-function approach severely limits a user’s ability to communicate. Without the means to deliver pictures, videos, or subtle messages, teams must rely on alternative methods of internal communication to convey a point.

On the other hand, team communication apps allow for direct peer-to-peer messaging, group messaging, image and other file transfers, and inline translation for diverse groups. These features move beyond even standard cell phone functions, all in a private corporate communication platform.
peer to peer messaging

5. Crisis Communication

In times of corporate crisis, a walkie-talkie presents only the most rudimentary form of communication and not a clear one at that. If a company experiences a local natural disaster, has a PR crisis, or suspects that competition is about to launch a negative narrative, advanced communication methods are a necessity.

In critical situations, mobile communication can prevent a major crisis. Mobile communication via team communication apps streamlines the process of disseminating vital information quickly, whether your crisis is of the natural or PR variety. Group messaging lists, network connections, and even media alerts keep you and your team informed and connected.

See how 1 Hotels used Beekeeper’s team communication app for crisis communications during Hurricane Irma in Florida last summer (starts at 1:25).

6. Confidentiality

Because walkie-talkies involve voice communication only, there’s no privacy when staff members must communicate in the presence of team members or customers. At the same time, the noise coming from staff walkie-talkies can detract from a brand’s customer experience, whether the organization is a hotel, retail store, or restaurant.

Not only do team communication apps cater to multiple forms of communication like video, pictures, document, messages etc., but users can expect confidentiality in all matters. Written messages discreetly convey necessary information between team members, without alerting customers to the specifics.

7. Paper Trail

In industries that value maintenance of a paper trail that proves employee action and conflict resolution, walkie-talkies offer no means of tracking communication. This becomes a challenge when staff receive directions from team members or customers, but cannot record the information they need without scrambling for a piece of paper and a pen.

While corporations can establish confidential communication solutions within internal apps, they can also document employee activity and collaboration for posterity. For teams that work in customer service, this can prove invaluable as information is readily accessible yet discreet should employees require it.

If you’re looking to make the switch from walkie-talkies to a team communication app, fill out the form below for a free demo with a Beekeeper app expert.




Most Common Questions Your Team Will Ask When You Implement a Mobile Collaboration App

Mobile Collaboration App Questions Answered

While most companies see collaboration as a positive, if you’re planning on implementing a mobile collaboration app into your workflow, odds are, some of your team won’t be too thrilled about it. But technology is changing swiftly, and embracing the digital workplace with an employee app means your business can only benefit.

Still, addressing your team’s concerns as you shift to a mobile collaboration platform is essential to the success of the launch. Getting everyone informed and on-board is the first step in making your collaborative strategy work for you.

We’ve compiled common questions staff have about internal communication apps and how to answer them.

1. What Can It Do?

For employees who aren’t familiar with mobile collaboration apps, or collaboration platforms in general, the central question is, “what can this app do?” Or more specifically, “what can it do for me?”

If your staff regularly uses email to communicate, they may wonder why anything needs to change. If you’re switching from one employee app to another, they may fear acclimating to new rules and routines. Explaining key features can help ease resistance to the transition.

Stream


Relevant communication streams let staff share current information and find out what their teammates are doing. Whether your streams focus on separate departments, physical locations, or special events, linking participants is more straightforward than sending mass emails or hosting teleconferences.

Message


Since 83% of the global workforce doesn’t have a corporate email address, peer-to-peer messaging takes email out of the equation entirely, and lets team members communicate privately one-on-one. This eliminates the need for text messaging on personal devices, making radio calls about sensitive topics, and placing phone calls during busy periods.

Beekeeper messaging platform

Translate


Diverse employee demographics often call for creative approaches to communication. With a mobile collaboration app that includes inline translation, there are fewer steps to clear communication. Larger teams especially will appreciate this feature for its ability to connect peers who may otherwise have difficulty communicating.

Analyze


Because mobile collaboration apps let administrators track analytics, they’ll know who’s participating and who’s not. That allows supervisors and managers to pinpoint users who may be having trouble utilizing the full functions of the app and offer support.

track communications with an analytics dashboard

Confirm


For crucial messages that require immediate confirmation or action, email isn’t quite fast enough. Confirmation campaigns allow users to confirm receipt of messages or schedule changes, without a drawn-out back and forth via email or other means. This means business keeps moving as changes happen, rather than slowing to accommodate them.

Direct


Locating appropriate contacts for specific needs doesn’t have to include an internet search for a colleague’s direct phone number. A company-wide directory can take communication from peer-to-peer to peer-to-CEO in times of crisis, eliminating multiple steps from the contact process.

Share


Collaboration apps streamline file sharing, allowing users to upload multiple file types in one platform. Rather than sending a message to a coworker for them to check their email, a user can attach a file to a direct message or communication stream where the conversation is taking place.

Notify


Notification campaigns address a company’s need to disseminate useful information to all its employees, or a specific department or subgroup, at one time. Employees benefit from internal messaging campaigns that provide timely and relevant information, keeping them in the loop regardless of when or where they come on shift.

2. Does BYOD Apply?

74% of organizations use the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy when implementing internal communication methods. Letting employees connect their own devices to the corporate internet and internal platforms cuts hardware and maintenance costs, so small organizations are more likely to choose this route.

BYOD Concerns and Costs


While industries like IT and technology are mostly friendly to the BYOD concept, lingering security and IT support concerns keep plenty of businesses from allowing staff to use personal devices for company use. When employees use their personal devices outside of work, they could access unsecured Wi-Fi, neglect firewall protections, or even lose a device, putting company confidentiality at risk.

For companies who rely on employees to provide devices for connectivity, considering IT support costs, insurance coverage, and data protection are significant parts of the equation. At the same time, employee preference and satisfaction see higher marks with BYOD policies, since people are familiar with their personal devices and there’s only a short learning curve with software.

Employee Considerations


Deciding whether to allow employees to bring their own devices to connect to internal platforms is a question for both the IT department and upper management to answer. The decision will ultimately depend on setup and maintenance costs, employee population size, and the nature of the internal communication platform your company chooses.

Of course, mobile collaboration apps that are accessible from multiple device platforms offer the most inclusive experience across employee populations. If your app only works with certain types of smartphones or tablets, you may end up providing company devices to people whose personal devices are not compatible.

If a mobile collaboration app seems like the right fit for your business, fill out the form below for a free personal demo with a Beekeeper product expert.




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.



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.



Beekeeper Product Release Notes January 2018

Beekeeper January 2018 Product Release Notes

This might be our most exciting Beekeeper product release notes yet! Due to customer requests and cybersecurity regulations, we’ve made some big changes to the Beekeeper team app in the last couple months. Here’s what you’ll start noticing in the Beekeeper team communication app and some improvements on the back end.

Release Highlights

    • Message Receipts (iOS, Android, Web App) – Thanks to the new Message Receipt (also known as “read receipt”) feature, you can now see who has read your messages in real time. Each message will display an icon to show if the message is sending, sent, or read. Group chats also show partially read messages. Click on the message to access the “Message Info” box which shows the chat participants who have read the message and those who have not. The feature will be activated for all customers on January 18th.

      message received

    • Beekeeper is Fully GDPR Compliant – We are proud to announce that Beekeeper is now fully GDPR compliant, months before the regulation comes into place. Thanks to some final security improvements completed by the end of 2017, our customers can rest assured knowing they’re using a secure tool that makes them compliant with the new regulation.

      Find out more details about the General Data Protection Regulation and our journey to compliance.

      gdpr compliance badge

    • Chatbot SDK (Developers’ Portal) – Build customized chatbots that enable your users to communicate with other tools through Beekeeper chats. Set up chatbots to retrieve PTO information or request time off, receive payslips, and more. Additional use cases and the full documentation is available on our Developers’ Portal.
      chatbot

    • eAlarm Integration (Marketplace) – eAlarm is a web-based crisis communication service you can use to alert, inform, and mobilize your organization in the event of an emergency. Integrate eAlarm with Beekeeper to trigger emergency alerts directly from your Beekeeper app in a few simple clicks. Available only in Switzerland.
    • More Capabilities

      • Login Notification – Users will be notified via SMS, email, or an in-app message when anyone logs into their account with a QR code
      • Typing notifications reflect when someone is typing in a chat (iOS, Web, Android)
      • Infrastructure changes to prepare for Location Management
      • Support to open Dashboard URLs internally, i.e. Dashboard on mobile (Android)
      • Hovering over link preview shows more detail (Web)
      • Sending a chat message scrolls conversation to the end (Android)
      • Ability to specify positions for Bot accounts via API to give more information about each bots purpose
      • Additional bug fixes and stability improvements

      Our number one goal with the Beekeeper team app is to make sure our customers are happy and using the app to its full extent. If you would like to see a new feature added, contact your Customer Success Manager.

      For more information Beekeeper’s and specific features and use cases, check out our Help Center.
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.