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Toronto Yorkville IHG Property Relates Benefits of Web-based Concierge Service

There was a time when the concierge team at the luxurious InterContinental Toronto Yorkville relied on log books and other manual processes to track their daily tasks. "It was archaic," says Carolina Avaria, chief concierge at the 208-room hotel in Toronto's most exclusive neighborhood. Today, thanks to GoConcierge, the concierge stations at the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville and 20 other InterContinental hotels around the world run without waste and inefficiency. Produced by Los Angeles-based, GoConcierge is a guest service operations system.

It was a year ago when the three concierges at the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville transitioned to GoConcierge. "We had a very old system with notebooks and log books," says Avaria, who is also director of Ontario for Les Clefs d'Or Canada. "I would write down the request, then type out a standard confirmation, and then log it manually on a log book. It was a lot of activity. The log books were in our desks and the information in them was not easily accessible to the rest of the front office team. Finding a past entry if you were requested to 'do the same as last time' was a nightmare."

Now, using GoConcierge's online Guest Task Calendar, concierges can log and track guest and other requests and tasks quickly and easily. With just a few clicks, these can be entered and located. The calendar is color coded, which makes it easy to highlight open, pending and closed tasks. Because a history of each guest's request is stored in GoConcierge, it is easy to generate itineraries. These can be printed or e-mailed in a matter of seconds along with a personalized confirmation letter on stationery that includes the hotel's logo. Point-to-point directions and maps also can be generated easily.

Easy access around the clock
"Because GoConcierge is Web based, we have access from whatever terminal we happen to be working from," Avaria says. "Our front desk agents and managers also have access. The information we are able to print out for guests is professional and attractive."

Avaria says her concierge team enters everything from ticket and tour requests to restaurant reservations to flower orders. Buttons on the GoConcierge screen link directly to ticket brokers, airline sites, tour information, weather and other frequently visited sites. James Young, a concierge at the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville, says he uses GoConcierge to track packages that are shipped from the hotel.

"We can pull up everything from the tracking number to the address," Young says, adding that he also likes the ability to generate reservation confirmations quickly on hotel letterhead, the quick tabs on the GoConcierge screen, and being able to generate directions with just a few mouse clicks.

"Hotels work 24/7," Avaria adds. "It is critical to have a system that people can be comfortable with. "GoConcierge is very easy to learn and very easy on the eyes."

Robust location database
A customized location database within GoConcierge allows concierges to quickly identify area restaurants and attractions. "One of the best things about GoConcierge is the amount of information we can add into the system," Avaria says.

To communicate directly with guests who are not in the hotel, the concierge team utilizes GoConcierge's text messaging feature. When guests respond to text messages sent to them, their messages appear in the Guest Task Calendar. Concierges and guests correspond about issues ranging from theater tickets to dinner reservations and transportation. "It is one of my favorite features of GoConcierge," Avaria says.

Because of the way the GoConcierge screen is organized, Avaria can tell, at a glance, how busy a particular day was. Reports generated from GoConcierge also provide valuable information. "It's great to be able to run reports," she says. "We are also able to quantify the number of people we send to our restaurant and locations outside of the hotel."

Whenever Avaria or her team have needed help with anything concerning GoConcierge, she says the response has always been fast.

"The support from GoConcierge has been unbelievable," Avaria emphasizes.

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