In general, the hotel industry suffered a massive blow during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers stayed home and hotel rooms remained vacant. However, every once in awhile – we hear of a story where a hotelier was able to prosper during the pandemic. Shan Bhagat, a 26 year-old who owns three properties in the New York City area, is one such example. The president of BKS Hotels had such success during the pandemic that he recently won some awards for the highest growth rate in the Hilton family.
While Bhagat offered many reasons for the success of his hotel properties, in particular, he spoke to Hospitality Technology on how he implemented a new communication technology called Monday.com to increase team productivity.
How was communication a challenge for the brand?
We had a haphazard way of sharing information as it came in that focused only on one person at a time. This would lead to a significant amount phone and email volume, information getting lost and a significant amount of time wasted due to having to repeat the same information to various stakeholders. It also greatly added extra time and effort to formal reports. This was a bad communication and business situation. I would much prefer my team members focus on keeping the hotels clean and providing service to our guests.
What are the benefits of good communication among staff?
Time costs money. Good communication creates a significant savings in time and therefore money. When information is transferred more accurately, businesses experience fewer mistakes and that leads to more revenue and a better experience for guests. Good communication is an often overlooked but extremely important way to inspire teams and customers.
What are the consequences of poor communication?
Disgruntled guests and frustration among team members. Communication breakdowns are business breakdowns.
Did the pandemic exacerbate this communication challenge?
If anything, the pandemic highlighted how well good communication could help improve operational efficiencies to keep us going. It didn't make things worse for us as much as it inspired us to make things better.
What technology did you implement to solve this challenge? How does it work?
Monday.com is a software we adopted to track virtually every aspect of our operations. To be slightly more detailed, I have an online Monday task board for each one of my hotels where we have tabs under each for items like sales, preventative maintenance, administration, human resources, purchasing, schedules, training/team development, accounting and special projects. All team members can track assignments and responsibilities in real time through those boards.
What have been the results?
The results have been overwhelmingly positive. I have cut my inter-company communications via email and phone by 80 percent. Instead of spending hours responding to emails, texts and calls, I am able to spend more time doing things like talking to guests about their experience, asking team members how their day is going and optimizing purchasing for highest financial efficiency which allows me to keep staff even when revenue is down.
Any other comments?
We have taken virtually all our operations to cloud-based systems in the last three years including accounting (Nimble) and human resources (Primepoint). This has allowed not only me, but also my managers, to be more agile on a day-to-day basis by drastically reducing the amount of admin-related paperwork we were all responsible for daily. It's given time back to all of us; time we can now use to innovate and act.