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The High Value of Operating Efficiently

Jeff McConathy of Kasa shares how his lodging brand can employ only four full-time staff members per property and still give guests the hospitable experience they want and deserve.
Jeff McConathy on stage at HT-NEXT 2022
Jeff McConathy on stage at HT-NEXT 2022
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The hospitality industry has many wonderful and endearing qualities, but one of the things it is not known for is its efficiency. Some relatively new hospitality brands, however, have found that using technology’s potential to the full creates amazing efficiencies that can then reduce costs and improve revenue. Kasa is one such company.

To help educate hospitality IT attendees on this particular mission, Jeff McConathy, VP of Engineering, came on stage during HT-NEXT to discuss what his company is doing to be highly efficient. In particular, he took attendees’ breath away when he explained that most Kasa properties only employ four full-time on-property staff members.

How can it get away with this? Well to begin with, the company doesn’t employ staff members on property to answer guest questions. Instead, the company proactively reaches out to guests via text message and email daily during their stay, informing them that they can use a digital channel to ask any questions they might have. The company then employs a hospitality experience team to manage those digital channels 24/7.

“Because 90 percent of guest questions can be answered quickly from our centralized Guest Experience team, it allows our onsite staff to keep their focus on providing a delightful guest experience," he explained.

Additionally, the company built an internal property management system from the ground up that uses business automation to handle everything from check-in to background checks to credit authorizations – all from the guest’s phone.

And the company doesn’t shy away from contracting out important job functions, such as housekeeping.

“We created a task management list that contracted housekeepers need to follow,” McConathy explains. “Additionally, we require that they take photos of certain things that have been cleaned to help keep them accountable. And we have our GMs do periodic inspections of cleaned units to make sure they’re up to our standards.”

Finally, the company uses machine learning and automated language processing to review all of the feedback it receives from guests – whether on online review sites or via communication with its internal customer service team – to determine if units are clean, how happy customers are, and what changes – if any – need to be made.

By contracting out housekeeping, Kasa is able to flex quickly during busy times. And because the company controls all aspects of the reservation, from check-in to check-out, it can tell housekeepers when to arrive on property. This means it can skip housekeeping on a particular day, if only one or two units need to be cleaned, until more units will need it all at once.

And while the company certainly isn’t shy in building out technology to suit its needs, Kasa won’t build a product just to build it.

“We have a philosophy to help us determine build versus buy,” McConathy says. “If we’re going to build something in technology, it needs to be core to our business. Additionally, it needs to be something that no one has already built; if it has been built, then it needs to be something that is not up to our standards, or won't be flexible enough to accommodate our needs. As a startup, you don’t want to be wasting time building things you don’t need to. If I can source something, I will.”

McConathy gives the example of background checks. Kasa didn’t want to have to become an expert in building background check software or storing PII (Personal Identifying Information). So, it sought out and partnered with a company who has made this their specialty.

“They integrated seamlessly into our tech stack and saved us at least three to four months of development time, and allowed us to focus on things that are more core to the business,” he explains.


Interested in hearing the full conversation? Listen below!

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