I recently spent time with leading mobility thinkers from across Starwoods Hotels and Resorts.? To prepare for the meeting, the Sprint account team described to me all of the cool ways in which Starwoods is already using mobility to improve the guest experience.? As we stood in the open atrium lobby of a Sheraton waiting for the meeting to begin, our account executive said “see, there it is.”? He was referencing the distinctive Nextel Direct Connect “chirp” that could be heard ringing down from floors above us.
Starwoods has implemented a program called Starguest Response.? We’ve all had the experience of being in a hotel and needing something – an extra towel, forgotten toothpaste, a drinking glass…?
The way these requests have generally been handled in the industry is that the call comes to the front desk.? The front desk takes a note and, if staff aren’t busy helping other guests, may send someone from the front desk to your room with your item.? More likely, they work through housekeeping, and eventually a message reaches someone who actually has what you need and gets it to you.
To dramatically improve the guest experience, Starwoods has issued a Sprint Nextel push-to-talk phone to all of the service staff.? When a guest has a need, the request is immediately relayed to the crew serving the guest’s floor, and almost immediately there’s a knock at the door to satisfy the request.
Starwoods has taken this concept a step further for meeting services.?
Many of Starwoods’ properties are prime locations for large events such as conferences and employee meetings.? For these large events, each Starwoods property has an extra 5 Nextel Direct Connect phones that are loaned to the meeting planners from the hosting company.? The phones are preprogrammed to make it easy to immediately connect with each of the various support groups within the hotel (e.g. catering, business office, room setup, etc.) providing peace of mind and rapid resolution for these meeting planners.?
In short, Starwoods makes these high performance clients very successful in the eyes of their customers, which of course translates directly into customer loyalty.
As you think about your business, consider the lessons from Starwoods and imagine how you can dramatically improve your customers’ experience and gain their undying loyalty, simply by putting the power of mobility into the hands of your frontline employees.