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Ditching the Logbook & Leveraging the Cloud

Only with accurate and instant communication can hoteliers meet customer expectations and help employees do their jobs more efficiently. The cloud is the conduit for making this happen. Consider guest requests: How can a guest replay his request to the right employees to ensure that the issue is fixed at the guest’s convenience? Rather than responding to a situation by whipping out a mobile phone or tablet — devices that today’s consumers are familiar with and staff probably have on their persons — most employees will pick up a walkie-talkie, scribble a note in a logbook, or place a maintenance ticket on the housekeeper’s cart notifying someone (not necessarily the right person) of a guest request.

There are myriad problems with the aforementioned methods, often resulting in miscommunications and mistakes. Walkie-talkies use radio transmission, which is frequently strained and employees may not be able to understand each other. Moreover, use of walkie-talkies disrupts visitors, decreasing the quality of their experience. Pen and paper communications are no less troublesome. Notes can be mislaid and handwriting misinterpreted. While the front desk clerk might be able to communicate with maintenance effectively, the message entry might end up buried in a log book never reaching the intended recipient.  
In every hotel, dozens of messages pass between employees every day, across different shifts and departments. Not addressing guest requests properly and in a timely manner can lead to negative reviews, ultimately impacting a hotel’s bottom line.
A digital logbook in the cloud, provides a central place where employees can check for messages, instead of five different ones. The software also creates a searchable record of all communications within the hotel.

Advantages span back-office to customer-facing
Some of the advantages of cloud-based software include: reliability, mobility and security. Data in the cloud stays in the cloud throughout any possible disaster. Unlike traditionally stored data which can be lost in an instant if the hard drive becomes compromised, data in the cloud isn’t dependent on hardware. Logbooks, notes, and walkie-talkies can only be used at one location. When communications are in the cloud, checking on hotel operations from another location becomes as easy as reading e-mail on a mobile phone. This increases efficiency and provides employees with greater flexibility. Finally, instead of being vulnerable to hackers, data in the cloud is securely protected using the latest technology.

Cloud-based tools not only make it easy for employees to communicate with each other, but they also make it easier for staff to work together to exceed guests’ expectations. Some programs use a social media network format like Facebook or Twitter to share information between those who “need to know,” from department to department, employee to manager, and manager to owner, in one comprehensive location. Cloud communication tools that closely resemble enterprise social software such as Yammer and Chatter and project-management tools like Basecamp or Asana are proving to be successful.

With the ubiquity of WiFi, everyone can carry a mobile device to connect to cloud applications anywhere at any time. The only question remaining is: why wouldn’t hoteliers elect to benefit from the advances, availability and affordability of the cloud, especially when the result is increased efficiencies, streamlined communication and ultimately guest satisfaction?    

What was your first job?
My first job was as a hotel desk clerk at Hyatt Regency in Oakland, CA.

Who inspires you?
I get my inspiration from Paul Graham of Y Combinator.

What are your hobbies?
I like to run, play golf and read.

What technologies excite you?
Cloud technology excites me due to its rapid adaptation.

What is one other job that you would like to try?
I would like to work full-time on my non-profit called to help the poor in India.

What three people would you invite to lunch?
Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates and Mother Teresa.

What is your favorite book?
The Pinocchio Principle
by Diane Bolden.

Favorite vacation spot:
Mendocino County, CA

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