This technology can also improve the friendliness of hotel staff.



Last month, the organization YouGov surveyed 1,219 adults about their hotel stays. The results indicate that most hotel guests (62%) are not as frustrated with the lack of a fitness center, spa, or trendy bar as they are with the presence of unfriendly staff. More than a third of customers surveyed (38%) indicated that one source of frustration was receiving too long a reception to respond to requests, while almost a third (31%) were irritated by delays in service.

A quick conclusion from these results might indicate that the frustrations stem from two main sources: ineffectiveness in service tasks and staff with less than sunny personalities.

Yet the two are related to each other. Staff who aren’t inundated with mundane operational tasks or frustrated with recurring communication issues in a systemic fashion will be less concerned and more likely to be better able to focus on customers and their demands. Reducing operational and communication inefficiencies, in other words, can also reduce the incidence of staff moodiness.

A system designed to streamline task management and internal communications for the hospitality industry is ALICE– named after the ever-efficient family housekeeper from the Brady Bunch TV show. (The company that owns ALICE funded the research mentioned above.) This system is intended to rid staff of pressed pencil notes and radio static chatter to enable different departments – from room service to valet parking. – communicate via integrated umbrella technology. Hotels using this technology can dispatch and track guest requests more easily. Streamlining communications also aims to reduce costs and improve service delivery.

ALICE platform

Co-founder and president of ALICE, Alexandre shashou, explained the platform.

The customer travels through the departments, being effectively taken care of by housekeeping, maintenance, room service, reception, concierge, and the room itself. It all comes together to create your experience. But when we started six years ago, no technology worked together. Some departments would be on the radio, some departments on a janitorial system, others on a housekeeping system – all isolated from each other. This is why service goes through the cracks, why you sometimes call for the same and they apologize, why you have to wait longer than necessary to receive service. This is why you are logged out as a guest.

ALICE, a cloud-based platform, aims to improve the ability of hotel staff to respond to guest requests. The vision of this “hospitality industry operating platform†is that more effective internal communication can translate into greater customer satisfaction. Think of it like an Uber for hotel staff doing a multitude of tasks. Shashou continued.

Let’s take a really simple example. You are in a room, pick up the phone and call the front desk and say, “I need some extra towels. Instead of the front desk having to use a radio channel open to all housekeeping services, saying the guest in room 202 needs towels – without identifying who the guest is, or knowing if the towels have already been delivered – reception, via ALICE, sends this request to the housekeeper responsible for room 202. This housekeeper is on an iPod or Android device. They see the job, accept the job, start the job, and now the front desk knows they’re on their way to the room. When they arrive in the room, they can see your last name and speak to you by name. They can finish the job by noting it on the device and then asking you, “What else can we do for you? You say, ‘By the way, my air conditioning isn’t working as well.’ Directly from their device, they can send this request to maintenance, who will then come and take care of you.

This is what an operations platform is. We work with nearly 2,000 hotels around the world, mainly in North America, the United States and Mexicothen around 250 hotels in Europe. Mainly with hotels that really care about service delivery and the experience. Everyone from Dream to Viceroy to Firmdale to Rosewood. Hotels that are effectively three, four and five stars.


The company that created and implemented ALICE raised $ 40 million to build the platform. In six years, the staff has grown from three to 100 members, demonstrating demand for their product. The company now works with brands such as Leading Hotels of the World and Grupo Posadas. It also acquired a company named Go Concierge and migrates these clients to its Alice platform.

Can improved communications improve staff friendliness? This is partly linked to the personality of individuals. However, part of it can also be related to technology. Shashou explained.

In fact, I think what makes someone hostile is their inability to do what is on a mission. If you look at the technology and it stops working and the user experience is not good and you can’t take care of the guest because you don’t know what they are asking for or because you don’t ‘don’t have enough information, I think that makes the staff frustrated.

We found that 38% of respondents are frustrated when the front desk takes too long to process requests. It is not because they are slow. This is because they are inundated with phone calls, emails, messages, housekeeping requests. Software can help this. We have reduced the number of systems because you have one platform for all your services. You no longer jump into five systems; you only have one ALICE, so you spend less time filling out applications. Why do delays occur? Because the requests have to go through many communication channels, and that solves the problem.

If you can operationalize the mundane, you can make the human side exceptional, spending more time with guests, looking after them, spending less time in operational administration to get things done.

Shashou grew up in the hotel business; his father builds and operates hotels. The original idea that he and his co-founders had for technology was that guests could better connect with hotels. They soon realized that most hotels did not have internal online infrastructure, so nothing that guests could connect to. They also realized that there was a need for better internal communications within the industry.


The biggest challenge has been to move an industry from an offline mindset to a digital mindset. Train staff in the use of technology, not just the use of our technology. Change their behavior so that they communicate using technology, so that nothing is lost at the end of their shift. Because you want to take care of guests, connect, and give guests more control over the stay. If you want a personalized experience, you need to know who the guest is and what they are doing with you. This can be done with software.

ALICE should be simple to use, including for staff who may have poor reading and writing skills but who are used to working with images, logos and icons.

Most of the software in the world is underused, and that’s usually because of the user experience. So we really had to make Alice easy to use.

The future unfolds in tandem with this technology and will likely incorporate artificial intelligence to learn from past experiences and predict future needs.

The industry itself is beginning to recognize the need for operational technology and will not be able to deliver a personalized customer experience without it. We believe that over the next few years an entire industry will be moved online. Then we can enable hotels to start to really personalize the guest experience. Knowing that you stayed at our hotel in Germany last year and are now at our hotel in France this year, and that you will be in the United States next year, what have you done on previous trips? How can we give you a better experience? You have been with us a few times, you are not a stranger. The concierge knows you’re having dinner at 8:00 p.m., so why don’t housekeeping lower your bed at 8:30 p.m.? Our whole idea is that when you run a hotel you have all the different departments that have to work together in perfect harmony and in tandem to orchestrate a guest experience.



Comments are closed.