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Beekeeper Product Release Notes January 2018

Beekeeper Product Release Notes January 2018

This might be our most exciting Beekeeper product release notes yet! Due to customer requests and cybersecurity regulations, we’ve made some big changes in the last couple months. Here’s what you’ll start noticing in the Beekeeper 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 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 and improving internal communications and operations in your hotel, download our white paper “Digitization of the Non-Desk Workforce.”



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.



How the GDPR Affects Your Internal Communications

How the EU GDPR Affects Your Internal Communications

As the countdown to the EU GDPR enforcement continues, organizations are frantically working to ensure compliance to avoid being shut out from doing business with the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation aims to protect both companies and the consumers they serve, so non-compliance means there’s more at risk than huge fines.

Personal data protections affect outside business, but they also impact internal communication systems within organizations. Keeping an eye on both internal and external data privacy might mean changing your organization’s communication strategy and its software.

Information Lockdown

The GDPR overview covers users’ rights to access, rights to erasure of data, data portability, privacy by design, and even involves appointment and oversight of Data Protection Officers to track compliance. Transparency in data subjects’ rights, along with enhanced protections against security breaches, will affect how your organization handles information in the future.

Locking down sensitive information is a critical component of the GDPR outline. Here is what you need to know about personal information as it relates to internal communications.

The Definition of Personal Data

If your company regularly uses email or another platform for internal communications, you should expect significant changes in the way you use those media. According to GDPR guidelines, personal data is any information about a person or data subject that offers identification. This loose definition includes:

  • Names
  • Photos
  • Email addresses
  • Bank details
  • Social media posts
  • Medical information
  • IP addresses

If your employees routinely hold private discussions via email, forward medical updates to Human Resources personnel via attachments, or work remotely, the GDPR will affect your responsibility for that information. Still, these are only a few examples of information privacy concerns within organizations.

Communication Solutions for GDPR Compliance

Choosing communication solutions that are GDPR compliant protects users’ data by default. Both internal employees sharing personal information and workers processing client information will follow the same guidelines for information privacy.

Whether your business is part of the EU or not, clients and employees alike will recognize GDPR compliance as a sign that your organization takes privacy seriously. At the same time, acknowledging that employee communication, both on a personal and professional level, contributes to workplace morale is another component of GDPR adaptation.

Improved communication policies and platforms help employees connect and ease the often-complicated transfer of information. However, getting employees on board may prove the most challenging part of adapting to GDPR standards. Still, user-friendly services and integrations can help ease the transition, so choosing the right communication solution takes precedence.

Blocking Hacker Activity

Companies that fail to protect their employees’ and customers’ personal information face substantial costs in the form of fines and lost business if the breach goes public. Conforming to GDPR standards not only adds further protection from hackers, but also guarantees that your company maintains client trust.

The new regulations mean that information traveling online might require a specific type of encryption protection (like end-to-end), but many businesses need more than email to support internal communications. Confidential peer-to-peer communication is one component of organizational communication systems, but that security can extend to all areas of the business to conform to the EU GDPR.

Communication Guides Productivity

At a time when business truly is global, ensuring that your company’s communication methods support rather than reduce its productivity is a priority. In fact, improved communication and collaboration through social technologies can raise productivity by 20 to 25%, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

At the same time, adapting to alternative communications that adhere to GDPR guidelines now means that when May 2018 rolls around, you’re ahead of the deadline in guaranteeing compliance. As a bonus, moving away from conventional communication methods frees up the time you previously spent clearing up misunderstandings due to lagging internal communications.

Employee Contributions to Communication

Although cybersecurity is a considerable concern for business owners, employees are often left out of the loop. Making sure that employees care about cybersecurity is the first step in adhering to the new privacy rules. Encouraging employee participation and feedback is a huge part of maintaining cybersecurity throughout your organization.

Your internal communications approach should consider employees’ needs and responsibilities. As you roll out new processes and guidelines to conform with GDPR guidelines, involve employees in the process. Create a communication policy that clearly defines expected employee behavior and notes any upcoming changes in communication platforms.

Making sure to highlight when and through which channels personal information should travel is the first step, but helping staff understand the intent behind these policies is essential, too. Soliciting employee feedback confirms understanding and clarifies any details. This goes a long in way in improving and securing communication.

Participation to Productivity

While taking the time to help employees through a transition in both procedure and software may initially detract from productivity, note that companies with high effectiveness in change management and communication are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their industry competitors. This comes from a study by Towers Watson which highlighted employee contributions as they impact an organization’s bottom line. The study’s findings illustrate an intricate relationship between internal communication, management guidance, and job performance.

Is your organization GDPR compliant? Download Beekeeper’s 31-Point Assessment to Ensure GDPR Compliance created by our Data Protection Officer to find out.



5 Important Trends in Operations Management in 2018

In the global market, companies are right to focus on trends in operations management and strategies for getting ahead in their respective industries. While technology almost seems to change too quickly to pinpoint at times, modern developments mean more ways to enhance business operations and increase profits.

Whether you’re aiming for an organizational overhaul to become more competitive in your market or merely seeking to cut down on costs of everyday business, these 5 trends may deliver the results you need to meet your operations management goals in 2018.

Internal Communications

Satisfied employees work harder and invest more in your company, but how can business owners encourage employee satisfaction? Promoting internal communication is a helpful first step. Peer to peer communication can enhance workplace morale and improve project outcomes, regardless of your industry. Further, collaboration gleans optimal results on any project when great minds come together.

At the same time, 39% of employees in one survey said that people in their organization didn’t collaborate enough. Addressing those concerns makes your company more competitive and caters to internal employees who may feel overlooked.

Internal communication and mobile collaboration platforms don’t just increase efficiency—they also contribute to positive employee outcomes. Working together, whether through mobile collaboration or in person, promotes productivity and develops relationships between team members.

Mobile Accessibility

Whether you’re in the technology industry and rely on mobile devices to achieve sales targets, or you’re in the hospitality business and need client portals to reach your target market, mobile accessibility is vital to the future of operations management.

Apart from today’s reliance on mobile devices for communication, consumers also turn to their smart devices for everything from household goods to travel accommodations to job applications. This means if you’re not mobile, you’re missing out.

At the same time, turning the focus on technology inward in your organization also offers benefits. Establishing outlets for mobile collaboration, whether via an app or the web, lets your employees connect and share information. It also enables you to send out relevant business information as needed, bypassing email or hard copy methods of sharing information.

Mobile accessibility for staff means remote access to information, tools, and connectivity regardless of their role within the organization. For non-desk workers without email access or an office, remote information sharing is a necessity. Mobile collaboration fills that need while addressing other operations management concerns at the same time.

Automatization

Automating processes throughout your business can save money and increase efficiency when it comes to all areas of operations management. Online reservation services, automated chatbots, inline translation functions, and mobile hotel check-in features are only a handful of examples of business dependency on technology.

By dedicating machines to specific business tasks, companies are freeing up employee time for focusing on their products and their customers. Rather than assigning an employee to monitor the company website and answer the same questions multiple times, programming a chatbot to respond to FAQs saves company time and resources.

But automatization goes beyond your company’s internet presence. Automatic delivery of media campaigns, calendar alerts with schedule changes, and read-receipt functions add automatic convenience to daily processes.

Performance Measurement

Detailed analytics give companies a baseline for implementing changes in areas from development and production to customer service. With metrics solutions that deliver comprehensive measurements, business owners can make informed decisions regarding business practices moving forward.

Not only are companies able to track website performance and on-site sales, they can also zero in on employee productivity and communication. Mobile collaboration apps allow organizations to see which employees are actively engaged in collaboration, and which may require encouragement or assistance.

Engagement Dashboard

Employee Analytics

Beyond sales figures-based analytics, employee feedback and surveys can also contribute to better business overall. On the face of it, operations management may appear to span only materials and products, but people are an essential component of any business structure.

Acknowledging employees on a personal level as well as based on their work performance helps create a sense of community within organizations, and keeping the line of communication between staff and superiors is an excellent way to track team vitals.

Developing surveys (and automating their delivery) can also glean feedback from employees in a simple format. Pre-scheduling survey campaigns means you can consistently receive employee feedback at crucial times, without setting up one-on-one meetings to solicit their input.

Outsourcing

When it comes to reducing costs, outsourcing is often on the top of companies’ lists. Contracting with outside agencies or individuals can help companies save money and ensure each task receives the appropriate attention.

In cases where outsourcing is cheaper than hiring additional staff, or when no staff is available to tackle extra projects, companies should have no qualms about accepting outside assistance. However, carefully considering which projects and tasks to outsource helps avoid creating an overly competitive atmosphere among employees and contract workers.

In many cases, specialists in your industry can offer insights and business guidance that no employee on your team could provide. If receiving this outside assistance will save your company from financial disaster, an up-front investment could prove invaluable.

If you’re looking for a mobile internal communication solution with automatization and performance measurement features, fill out the form below for a free trial of the Beekeeper app.



How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

How the Sharing Economy Impacts the Hotel Industry

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

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

What is the Sharing Economy?

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

An Independent Workers’ Market

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

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

Sharing Economy by the Numbers

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

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

Hospitality on a Smaller Scale

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

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

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

Customer Care Priorities

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

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

A Tech Approach to Hospitality

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

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

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

Adapting to Change

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

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

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

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



Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

Using Beekeeper to Make Your Intranet More Powerful, Not Obsolete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Integrate

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

Beekeeper Marketplace

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

Personalize

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

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

Automate

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

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

employee satisfaction survey

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

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

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

Want to hear more about how to bring your intranet back to life with a mobile, collaborative platform? Fill out the form below for a free demo with an app expert.
Ditch WhatsApp at Work, Avoid a €20 Million GDPR Fine

Ditch WhatsApp at Work, Avoid a €20 Million GDPR Fine

On May 25th, 2018, the EU will begin officially enforcing its new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards. This initiative aims to heighten personal data security across all businesses operating within or connected to Europe.

Risks of Non-Compliance

Despite the initiative’s roots, the GDPR’s impact will stretch far beyond the confines of the EU. Any hotel that hosts international guests, for instance, is subject to the new GDPR rules. In other words, to avoid heavy fines of up to €20 million, it is crucial for all international business owners to ensure GDPR compliance well before next year’s deadline.

As we sprint to the GDPR compliance deadline, many companies are doing their part to keep their workforce informed. Amanda Finch, Director of Risk and Compliance at Journyx, spoke to us about how GDPR will impact companies well outside of EU borders.

Finch states, “Any data you gathered from a person in the EU, regardless of where they actually reside, puts your company in the GDPR enforcement crosshairs. Can they really enforce these fines on non-EU companies? The answer is yes – they certainly can. In one example, the U.S. and the EU have agreed to a framework that permits enforcement against companies in the U.S. – a necessary step to maintain the vast amount of U.S.- EU trade.”

She goes on to ask, “Do you provide services to companies in the EU? Don’t rely on your knee-jerk instinct to assume that these penalties won’t flow down to you should those companies run afoul of GDPR. If your EU customer gathers personal data and sends it to you, you are as liable as they for their misdeeds, and subject to the same fines.”

Internal communication tools sit at the crux of many of the new standard practices enforced by the General Data Protection Regulation, so naturally, we want to provide you with as much information as possible to prepare.

As digital workplace architects, our team at Beekeeper is constantly optimizing our internal communication tools so your company and employee data remain secure. Today we’d like to talk about what GDPR means for ubiquitous international messaging tools like WhatsApp.

Why WhatsApp for Business is a No-Go as of May 2018

WhatsApp was never specifically designed for enterprise use, and the security risks of using a tool like this for official company business is well-documented. In addition to the fact that WhatsApp’s data privacy record leaves much to be desired, the app is also not optimized for group chat or collaboration. For non-desk workforces and busy teams who must collaborate on the go, this user experience is less than ideal.

Despite its shortcomings for corporate use, many international companies use WhatsApp as a cost-effective one on one messaging and conferencing tool. Under the new General Data Protection Regulation laws, however, the use of WhatsApp will count as a strike against businesses as it fails to meet the security standards that companies must uphold to avoid massive fines. WhatsApp violates the GDPR on several counts, including the Right to Access, the Right to be Forgotten, Privacy by Design, Data Portability, and Transfer of Data.

Achieving GDPR Internal Messaging Compliance in 3 Steps

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

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

  1. Adopt and Adapt
    As May 2018 is just around the corner, now is the time to adopt an internal communication tool built specifically for enterprise—a tool that meets GDPR compliance and that will mesh well with your employee workflow. Adopting an ISO 27001-certified IT strategy is recommended. Before onboarding employees, be sure the new system is thoroughly tested and passes our GDPR liability test.
  2. Implement and Train
    As old habits tend to die hard when it comes to messaging and communication, it’s important to host formal trainings to ensure that employees understand how to use the new internal communication tool, as well as teach them why the shift is taking place to begin with.

    When deciding which internal messaging tool is right for your company, be sure to keep in mind that it should be mobile-friendly with an accessible and customizable interface. Really Simple Systems CEO Jon Paterson has employed a diligent internal communications strategy to keep his entire organization aware of not just adjustments to tool usage, but of GDPR’s high stakes implications for business.

    “Everyone who handles personal data – sales and marketing teams, accounts, HR, customer services – needs to be educated about GDPR.” Paterson shares, “We’ve sent a briefing note to all such staff explaining what GDPR is, how it affects the company and how it will affect them.”

  3. Maintain and Enforce
    Considering the massive financial risk of violating the General Data Protection Regulation rules, maintaining and enforcing GDPR compliance within your digital workspaces is of critical importance. As you retrain older employees on the new internal messaging tools and onboard new staffers, be sure to emphasize that using non-sanctioned messaging tools intended for consumers like WhatsApp, Viber, or iMessage is strictly prohibited, and that usage of any non-sanctioned messaging platforms could result in termination.
To ensure your internal communication tools don’t violate the GDPR and leave you vulnerable to fines, get a free trial of Beekeeper’s employee communication app that is already compliant.



The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

The Secret to Providing the Best Guest Experience

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

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

Smoother Communication, Smoother Operations

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

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

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

Better Guest Experiences, Every Time

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

Fewer Misunderstandings

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

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

Quicker Reaction Time

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

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

Custom-tailored Services

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

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

Consistent Confidentiality

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

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

Less Investment

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

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

Cohesive Branding

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

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

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


Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2018

Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2018

With a brand new year just around the corner, HR teams across non-desk industries are exploring new ways to optimize the employee experience and enter Q1 with a bang. While many trends are emerging, we’ve noticed a common theme visible throughout emerging HR programs, a theme that is of course perhaps our biggest passion as a company: the intersection of technology and company culture.

To help you prepare for the new year, we’ve rounded up five types of HR initiatives that are definitely worth exploring to keep employee engagement high throughout 2018.

Corporate Well-Being Programs

In our hyperconnected world, it’s no secret that burnout is a real issue. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that nearly 50% of employees report frequent or constant exhaustion due to the high stress levels, physical demands, and social isolation of work. A recent study cited a national revenue loss to the tune of $30 billion thanks to stress-induced lost work days. The antidote? Taking an active role in the well-being of your workforce.

By “well-being,” we don’t mean your run-of-the-mill healthcare offerings, though those are important to keep up as well. In 2018, companies are projected to take a larger vested interest in holistic employee satisfaction metrics like quality of sleep, physical fitness, and highly customized content offerings based on data collected from employees over time.

Remote Workforce Technology

While remote teams have been on the rise for the past few years due to the high financial, psychological, and environmental costs of commuting, it is projected that in 2018, the volume of telecommuting will continue to skyrocket. While remote work remained plagued by the “phoning it in” stigma in past decades, ample new data indicates a significant boost in both productivity and overall satisfaction experienced by telecommuters.

Technology has of course also played a critical role in the rise of telecommuting, thanks to VPN (Virtual Private Network) systems that make it easy for employees to access secure work systems from nearly anywhere in the world. For dispersed non-desk teams who spend a portion or the entirety of their shifts in remote locations, the rise of this technology will continue to boost productivity through enhanced connectivity, collaboration, and communication tools.

AI Preparation and Trainings

You already know that we’re big on workforce digitization around here, and from the looks of it, there are no signs that this trend will be slowing down in the coming year. The continued rise of predictive analytics and automation technologies will further catapult productivity to new heights, especially for non-desk workers. In particular, 2018 will be a big year for streamlining operations and communications in one virtual space, giving employees quick and easy access to all the tools they need to succeed. Bonus points if this digital hub is accessible from any device, particularly their own.

As artificial intelligence takes on more company tasks, it will also be up to HR departments in 2018 to both ensure that their workforce is properly trained up on the new tech, as well as finding ways to expand or elevate current roles that will be taken on by automated tools. With proper training programs in place, building a successful digital workplace becomes an intuitive tenant of company culture.

Candidate Experience Improvements

In addition to improving conditions for workers internally, savvy HR departments in 2018 will also be looking for ways to optimize the recruiting process through personalized outreach and interviewing tactics, as well as employing quicker response rates through intelligent automated messaging. AI and sentiment analysis technologies will enable HR teams of every size to scale up their recruiting efforts, helping them find the most qualified candidates possible in quicker succession.

In addition to the prospecting phase, there are several budding trends within the interview process. Once candidates are in the interview pipeline, HR managers are using software integrations in increasing numbers to schedule interviews and garner employee feedback quickly. These integrations often link directly into the company’s internal communications platform, meaning employees don’t have to completely disrupt their workflow in order to give substantive feedback about the interview.

Reevaluating Payroll and Scheduling

Thanks to the slow demise of predatory payday lenders and other high-cost cash advance services, many companies, especially those with large hourly workforces, will be looking for ways to digitally deploy earned wages on demand in 2018. Just like the HR software integrations mentioned above, organizations will build payroll software directly into their digital workplace hub so that employees and managers can quickly access pay stubs, tax forms, check deployment, and any other task involving compensation.

Similarly, the use of digitized scheduling will also increase in the coming year. Using digital and mobile scheduling services saves time, minimizes confusion, and make it easy for employees to request time off or swap shifts. Being able to access schedules on demand and on-the-go leads to more mobile, efficient, and productive team communication.

A New Chapter for HR Technology

As the future of work continues to crystallize for the non-desk workforce, the evolution of HR tools will play a crucial role in maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction amidst rapid changes to many industries. While more processes and workflows may be automated or redistributed, the basic human need to feel connected and fulfilled at work will remain an evergreen priority for employees and managers on the front lines.

Want to be at the forefront of these HR trends? Fill out the form below for a free trial of Beekeeper’s HR technology platform.