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Improvements in the hotel after implementing Sezam24 

Q

Problems

  • non-professional employees
  • Costs for receptionist
  • Slow check-in process with mistakes in filling data of guests
  • Complains of guests about non-professional staff
Q

Results

  • Reduced costs of the front desk 3 times

  • Fast check-in process with hotel check-in kiosk Sezam24

  • Revenue was increased by 20%

  • Satisfied guests

Starting to use Sezam24 kiosks our revenue increased up to 20%. It is amasing!

Renata Bergova

manager, Discounts Prague Hotel

Maria Slobodskaya:

So today we are going to talk with Renata Bergova, the manager in Discounts Prague Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic.

Renata, for half a year your hotel has been functioning completely without a reception. Please tell us how did you come to this decision?

Renata Bergova:

Yes, that’s right, 6 months without reception. At first, it seemed impossible to me, but as it turned out, the limits exist only in our minds. We used to think that “everything works that way”, but very few people think what if it could work differently. It all started with me going on maternity leave. And a question arose, how can the hotel do without me? Do I have to leave a business? Hire more staff so that someone does what I was doing before? As I began to look for a solution that increases the hotel’s profit without increasing the expenses, I laid eyes on the check-in terminals.

The market for this product was not so large, and I chose Sezam24 among the offers because it stood out significantly from the rest of its competitors. The Sezam24 terminals had such appealing features as more than 40 interface languages (sometimes it was very difficult to explain to a non-English speaking Chinese, what a city tax was and receptionists would call me to solve this problem), a user-friendly interface, instant recognition of a guest document with subsequent automatic filling of check-in forms, sleek and attractive design. We had some concerns: would the connection between our reservation system and the terminal system be good, and would it work out at all? But the staff of Sezam24 integrated the systems very quickly, so I went on maternity leave without any problems, continued to run the hotel as a pregnant woman and I keep doing it now as a new mother.

Maria Slobodskaya:

It turns out you have completely changed the format of your hotel?

Renata Bergova:

Yes, but not immediately. Initially, the hotel reception worked 24 hours a day, then we decided to reduce staff costs and left the 12-hours reception (from 09:00 to 21:00), thus we lost about 30% of bookings in which the check-in was after 21:00. To remedy this situation, we found a way for the night check-ins to leave the keys in boxes with a code for receiving the room card that the receptionist informed the guests before leaving. In this case, we faced the human factor problem, as the receptionist could write a card with an error, and we had to correct the situation in the middle of the night; sometimes it was impossible to contact the guest before the receptionist left, and upon arrival, the guest had to be explained what are boxes with the code, and what code the guest needed to enter… At that time, I thought that everything was working fine and seamlessly, yes there were mistakes, but everything was fixable… I just didn’t know how it COULD be! The decision to use Sezam24 terminals has drastically changed our work. First, we set up one terminal in combination with the reception, reducing working hours (from 09:00 to 17:00), but at the same time, we promoted ourselves as a 24-hour check-in. During the month, we saw an excellent terminal operation, both during the daytime and at night. With check-ins and check-outs on the same day for almost the entire hotel, we received a couple of calls from the phone, which we have provided for the assistance of guests, and the questions were about breakfast organization or guests’ luggage. But there were practically no questions about check-ins. After two months of work in this mode, we got rid of the reception completely and put a second terminal in case the first one fails. I went on maternity leave at ease. And by reducing costs, we increased profits by 20 percent.

Maria Slobodskaya:

That is, the hotel has no staff at all? And what about the cleaning of rooms?

Renata Bergova:

The rooms are cleaned by a specialized company. Their employee who comes for cleaning receives a list of rooms that is automatically sent to the smartphone that we give to the employee. This service is also provided by the company Sezam24. The list of the rooms for cleaning accurately corresponds to our booking system. And now we have no problems with the fact that some rooms were unnoticed; I or my colleague checks the list of the rooms from the photos that the cleaner sends us.

Maria Slobodskaya:

Does this mean that your hotel practically runs itself?

Renata Bergova:

Of course, there are issues that the manager has to resolve. I and my colleagues deal with them. There are also breakdowns or incidents which we solve together, or order the services of technicians. But we have no trouble with check-ins. Accuracy, correctness, uninterrupted work, increase of income is what Sezam24 provides us with.

Maria Slobodskaya:

And how do your guests react to the absence of reception and the terminals?

Renata Bergova:

Some guests are confused that there is no person. This certainly applies to the age group of 60 and above, but this is not a problem for the youth; they check in very quickly, without filling out any forms, and get a card almost immediately. We support elderly guests via the telephone. But they also enjoy check-ins and thank us for accompanying them by phone… I saw an interesting reaction from the young people (around 25 y.o.) from China, they went through the check-in process in Chinese with such delight that they asked to say “thank you” to the engineer who created this terminal. Of course, we conveyed the words of gratitude to Sezam24.

Maria Slobodskaya:

Are there many guests who see such a check-in terminal for the first time?

Renata Bergova:

After we saw that the guests were checking in on their own and without our help, we stopped collecting the statistics of the check-ins and making sure that everything went smoothly. And today, even if there are guests who see the Sezam24 terminal for the first time, they receive the card without any questions and go to the room that has already been prepared for them. There were guests who told about their experience of checking in, cited pre-registration as an example when they had to download the hotel’s application and check-in through it. This is undoubtedly a modern technology that enhances the hotel’s image. The guest installs the application on the smartphone, and the whole check-in process is done on the guest device. With the Sezam24 terminals, the guest registers directly at the hotel, he or she needs to know only the number of his or her booking, whether it be the number from the hotel site or other sites, it does not matter, be it Booking.com, Expedia.com, Airbnb.com, hotels.com. Hostelworld.com, etc.

Maria Slobodskaya:

Renata, for which hotels are Sezam24 terminals suitable?

Renata Bergova:

I think they are good for any hotel. Our hotel is small and very budget-friendly, so it is quite suitable for it to work without a reception. Of course, for three-star hotels or hotels of the higher category, the presence of a person is important in order to provide a warm welcome. We worked in this mode (terminal + receptionist), and I can say that this is the highest level of service for the guests. When the hotel combines modern technology with nice, smiling employees, not burdened with the routine work performed by the Sezam24 terminal, which can tell about the hotel, city sights, offer drinks… The guest will certainly be satisfied and will want to return to the hotel again because he or she already knows the check-in procedure. The hotel that keeps up with the times will surely be remembered by the client not only as of the place to spend the night during the trip but will be also added to the list of the attractions that he or she has visited, worth sharing with friends, and maybe with people on the Internet.

One step to automation

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