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A better experience for staff, too

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Guest services officer Dimitria Hamzah (left) and guest services executive Daniel Peh find that the app not only saves time, but also encourages more meaningful interaction with guests. Linen attendant Peggy Tan (centre) is now able to concentrate on her role as a seamstress, with the automated uniform control system.

GRAND Park City Hall's mobile application provides a better experience not just for guests, but also for the hotel's frontline staff as well.

"Of course it's easier for us too," says Daniel Peh, 26, who has been with the hotel for almost four years.

Since the middle of last year, he has been serving at the front desk as a guest services executive.

At check-in, the mobile app can now be used to scan guests' passports, saving time for both the guests and the staff.

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"There's no need to type in all the details, so it's faster for us - especially when the names are long," says Mr Peh.

During their stay, guests can also use the app to make requests for items such as water, plates or towels, instead of calling the reception.

The requests show up instantly on the front desk screens. This helps the busy staff as well, adds Mr Peh: "Sometimes you don't have time to pick up a call."

There are also environmental benefits, he notes. The app-based check-in process is paperless, eliminating the need to print out forms for guests to sign.

With most guests using the app to access their room, far fewer keycards and keycard holders are needed, thus saving plastic and paper.

Admittedly, not many guests arrive at the hotel with the app already downloaded.

But Mr Peh and his colleagues will introduce guests to the app upon arrival. Out of every 10 guests, about five to seven are intrigued and will then use the app to check in, he says.

"They will be like, 'Wow, what is this?' It's a new experience for them."

By freeing front desk staff from the need to take down details, the app not only saves time, but also encourages more meaningful interaction.

"We can spend more time connecting with guests and find out more about them," says Dimitria binte Hamzah, 19, who joined the hotel as a guest services officer in February after a six-month internship.

Another function of the app which has benefited both guests and staff is the ability to control the room's air-conditioning and lighting.

"Most of the guests prefer the app. Inside the room, they may find the control panel a bit hard to use," says Ms Dimitria.

Previously, the front desk used to receive many calls from guests who needed help with navigating the in-room control panel, she says.

Now, with many guests relying on the easy-to-use app instead, such calls are much less common.

Another innovation at Grand Park City Hall has benefited staff on both sides of the service: its automated uniform control system.

To get a fresh uniform at the start of the day, an employee simply needs to tap his or her staff card at a card reader next to a pick-up slot.

The corresponding RFID-tagged uniform, ready on its numbered hanger, will be delivered by a conveyor line in a matter of seconds.

This process used to be more manual - not least for Peggy Tan, 72, who has worked as a linen attendant in the housekeeping department since 2006.

Previously, when staff members wanted to pick up their uniform, she would be the one sending it to them.

This involved manually controlling the conveyor: pressing a button to rotate it until the hook arrived, hanging up the corresponding uniform, and then sending it back to the waiting staff member.

Now, she merely has to hang up the washed uniforms on their respective hangers each morning, all at one go.

This task, too, is partly automated. When she scans a uniform's RFID tag, the conveyor brings the corresponding numbered hanger to her directly, so she does not have to spend time looking for it.

What Ms Tan likes most about the new system is that it allows her to concentrate on her role as a seamstress.

Before the automated system was introduced, her sewing work was often interrupted by having to deliver uniforms to staff.

"With this new one, I don't need to serve them. It saves a lot of time for me," she says with a smile.

Brought to you by The Future Economy Council

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