Advertisement
05/11/2022

How Erck Hotels Navigated the Balance of Cost vs. High-Tech Services

Hotels are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver on guest expectations while keeping costs in line and also accommodating staffing challenges.
Image
Erck Hotels
Photo credit: Allbridge

Based in Montana, Erck Hotels has been developing and managing Hilton and Marriott properties in the Northwestern region of the U.S. for more than thirty years. Consistently ranking in the top tiers of service and quality, Erck Hotels takes pride in its successful track record for developing, renovating, and managing award-winning, premium and independent hospitality properties that exceed guest expectations and deliver maximum value to investors and partners. 

As Erck Hotels continued to expand its property portfolio, it sought innovative ways to deliver the high-quality, technology-enabled experience guests increasingly expected to receive when staying at one of their properties. In a post-pandemic/new normal, hotel guests demand seamless, always-on, fully integrated access to all hotel services, such as contactless check-in, premium in-room programmed entertainment and streaming, access to reliable high-speed internet, and more. The real challenge for hotel operators such as Erck Hotels, however, is delivering on guest expectations while keeping costs in line and accommodating the staffing challenges that most in the hospitality industry now face. Allbridge was able to help Nate Lang, Director of IT Erck Hotels navigate the delicate balance of costs vs. high-level technology services.

“The Allbridge team has always been my solution,” Lang says. “They have never let me down. When they say they will do something, they deliver.  And then they have continued above and beyond that, too.”

BRINGING IN A TRUSTED TECH PARTNER

Nate Lang, Director of IT at Erck Hotels, runs a very lean IT organization. In the early stages of a new build project, Lang began doing something that is advisable for anyone looking to expand a modern property, he didn’t take on the challenge on his own, but, rather, looked for a partner to design and implement video for the property.  New builds are time-intensive for Lang’s resource-strapped team, involving multiple vendors, multiple technologies that must be integrated, varying timelines, and more, so an experienced partner that can help navigate the process is crucial. 

When Lang discovered Allbridge, he was impressed with the expert responses he received to his initial questions. He could tell that the team understood the complexities of the job, the details of the brand requirements, and the critical nature of timelines. He also quickly learned that Allbridge was a trusted partner who truly had his back. After an electrical vendor failed to deliver the cables needed to hook up TVs, Allbridge stepped-in to keep the project on schedule and on budget by helping Lang’s team make all the cables needed— overnight.  

Lang was just as delighted with how easy it was to manage the solution after implementation. The easy-to-manage services freed Lang’s team to focus on adding value to the business instead of on responding to outages or other service issues. 

Based on the success of the initial implementation, the impressive level of personal service and customer focus, and along with the ease of managing services after implementation, Erck Hotels continued to expand the Allbridge footprint over the last several years, adding video, voice, and Internet services across its properties.  

And, when Erck Hotels considered adding a new brand to their portfolio, they relied on Allbridge’s deep industry expertise and brand standards knowledge to help them expedite the brand approval process and navigate the learning curve faster.

“Because of our experience with delivering high quality technology services through Allbridge and our industry background, we were able to expedite the approval process a bit quicker with the new brand,” Lang says. “Having all the technology dialed in made onboarding and becoming a new partner franchise that much easier.” 

Now, with one partner providing all property technology services, the Erck Hotels team just has one call to make when a technology problem impacts a guest or employee. As Lang notes, “It’s much easier to have just that one phone number, one company, one person, one support line that I need to call for all these different things.” And when a new build is planned, or new capabilities are needed, Erck Hotels works with Allbridge to maximize project value while owning whole project accountability, from design and planning through the life of the building.

HELPING ERCK HOTELS REAP THE BENEFITS ON BEHALF OF ITS GUESTS

For Lang, the challenge to continue innovating and exceeding expectations never stopped and has been appreciated by his colleagues visiting the property. Delivering high quality technology services through Allbridge also allowed for the Erck Hotels team to expedite the approval process a bit quicker with the new brand. So, the team at Erck Hotels was able to quickly have the new property ready to provide…

  • Increased the quality and reliability of the digital experience for guests, improving guest satisfaction scores and loyalty. 
  • Improved operational efficiencies, making it easy to manage all services remotely and resolve issues quickly, with just one call. 
  • Demonstrated excellence in guest technology, enhancing the viability of new project proposals and new partnerships. 
  • Defined a vision of guest digital convenience that ensures competitive advantage. 
  • Maximized long-term project value by partnering for whole project accountability on new builds, from design and planning through the life of the building. 

Taking on the challenge and making the decision to bring on an expert partner in technology helped Erck Hotels build a solid foundation for property technology that delights their guests, enhances their reputation with the brands they work with, protects their bottom line, and ensures they can adapt as quickly as technology evolves.  

“Because of our experience with delivering high quality technology services through Allbridge and our industry background, we were able to expedite the  approval process a bit quicker with the new brand. Having that technology dialed in made onboarding and becoming a partner franchise that much easier,” Lang added.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Johnstone assumed the role as Chief Executive Officer of Allbridge in January 2021 and brings a wealth of leadership experience to the position. As CEO, Todd leads the corporate strategy and vision for Allbridge, to deliver one connected experience to hospitality and senior living properties and their end-users through the implementation and support of end-to-end technologies. Prior to Allbridge, Todd was the CEO of Global Knowledge, the worldwide leader in IT and business skills training. In this role, he was responsible for enabling success for Global Knowledge customers and partners around the world, and he drove significant growth in the company’s digital business, overall company profitability, and cash flow. Todd was also the President of Convergys’ $800M Technology Vertical where he was responsible for service and support for the world’s largest technology companies. He led a team of over 20,000 sales, operations, and support resources in over 15 countries. Prior to Convergys, Todd was the Vice President of Avaya’s $1.5B Annuity Service business where he led global organizational revenue and growth, client relationships, and program offerings. Between 2012-13, he led Avaya’s Global Sales Operations. Todd has also worked at General Electric for 19 years as the Senior Executive for GE Energy’s Industrial Solutions Europe, Middle East, and Africa business, based in Barcelona, Spain. Todd held various senior level positions across multiple functional areas, including P&L leader, sales, product management, service, customer care, and finance. Originally from Canada, he has spent 18 years working in Europe (London, Budapest, and Barcelona) and the most recent 8 years in the United States. Todd holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Canada and an MBA from the London Business School.