How In-Room Tablets Can Solve Hotel Staff Shortages In The Wake Of COVID-19

Hotel staff shortages in the wake of covid 19

Hotels across the world are struggling to find and retain staff in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff shortages are a problem in every department of a hotel, but particularly with operational positions. Requests are going unanswered, check-in queues are growing long, and hotels cannot uphold the same level of service standards as before. However, new technologies pose solutions that are well within the average hotel’s reach. 

Why Is There a Staff Shortage? 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotel staff were laid off or experienced reduced working hours. Some were forced out of their roles because their employers downsized or even shuttered as travel bans were enacted. Other hoteliers and staff have been “rage quitting” in search of better pay and working conditions. As a result, many have decided to move on or try out a job in a different field, often with a higher salary. In fact, about one-third of former hospitality workers won’t return to the industry because they want higher pay, better benefits, and a new work environment in the wake of COVID-19. 

The Effects of Staff Shortages in Hotels 

Even as shutdowns have been lifted, many hotels are only operating at partial capacity because of their staff shortages. This creates massive revenue decline for hotels across the world. 

With fewer staff members comes reduced maintenance and housekeeping hours, dining and food options, front desk assistance, and an overall guest experience. With rooms to clean and guests waiting in the lobby, hotel staff don’t have much time to consider revenue management. To make matters worse, when guests have a poor experience, they’re likely to leave a negative review on travel sites such as TripAdvisor, tell their friends about it or post on their social media networks.

However, hotels need to do everything in their power to optimize the returning demand that is now booming in many regions. Luckily, one alternative that hotels can turn to is to outsource a solution. 

How Volo’s Tablets Solve Hotel Staff Shortage Problems 

Our clients mention that they view the tablets as an extension of their staff, even before the pandemic. Here are only some of Volo’s features that can help with staff shortages in the hotel industry: 

Fewer front-desk calls. Volo’s software alerts back-end staff when a request is submitted so your front-desk staff aren’t bogged down answering phone calls. Volo’s tablets are also equipped with up-to-date menus, protocols, and more to keep guests informed without needing to call down to the front desk. 

Better feedback generation. A hotel simply cannot afford to let their guests leave without knowing if they were completely satisfied with their stay. Save time by having Volo ask for you how a guest’s experience was. Capture any negative feedback quickly while the guest is still onsite to avoid a guest writing publicly online about their experience. Otherwise, busy staff at your hotel might not hear them and a negative review on TripAdvisor could surface. 

In-room activities. Allow your guests to enjoy games, streaming, and even workouts in the comfort of their own room. This eliminates or reduces the need for common game rooms, activity centers, and fitness centers to be cleaned as often or even staffed. 

Increased connection. With the inclusion of staff photos and bios, along with the customization of brand and specific facility information, Volo tablets serve to remind guests that there is a human element operating for their comfort and safety, even if there are fewer humans working for you. Real-time chat messaging and immediate responses to requests ensure that guests and staff can be in constant communication if they desire. 

Jump on board fast with flexible and cost-effective solutions from Volo! If Volo’s in-room tablets seem like they could help you, please reach out to us to schedule a quick demo for your business.

Gauging Guest Satisfaction On-Site With In-Room Tablets

Gauging guest satisfaction with reviews

It happens.  A guest has left a negative review on TripAdvisor or has commented on your beautiful Instagram post speaking to the displeasure of their stay.  Online reviews are public and the only thing you can do once they are out there is to perform quick damage control.  What if you could get ahead of this negative attention with the most simple and discrete in-room function? Volo can help you and your guests stay on the same page ensuring that future informed travelers receive more good word of mouth than bad.

Potential guests begin forming an opinion about your hotel before ever stepping foot on your property. They do so by combing through review sites and checking multiple social media platforms for more information. The online reputation of a hotel takes considerable time to curate and is more competitive sport than passive advertisement these days. While your hotel’s online presence may include gorgeous pictures and witty posts, you cannot easily control what guests say on social media platforms, including reviews posted to TripAdvisor. And while there is great advice out there for responding to negative reviews and comments, it is certainly easier to deal with an unhappy customer privately before they have the chance to post on a public forum.

On-site, delivering excellence at every turn with impeccable service and noteworthy amenities is the goal for every hotelier and staff member.  The challenge with this commitment is in the expectations and varied ways that guests evaluate the quality of their stay.  Unique, too, is how guests prefer to voice their pleasure or lack thereof.  Although every hotel has its share of squeaky wheel guests, it is extremely common for your staff to not know a stay at your hotel was less than stellar until a negative review pops up on social media or online travel sites. 

Traditional methods of measuring guest experience often miss the mark.  All guests want to feel like they are important and that their feedback is being received. But most surveys have a poor response rate and are often not read until after the guest checks out. These after the fact results do nothing to mitigate bad online posts. Therefore, a method that immediately takes stock of satisfaction is key to greater guest experience. 

Enter Volo in-room concierge tablets. The onsite recovery feature we provide is perhaps the most simple yet effective function of our application and has the potential to increase future revenue for your property.  A daily message delivered to each guest asks “Are you enjoying your stay?” with the option to click a thumbs up or thumbs down in answer to the question.  A negative answer is immediately sent to your front desk so that staff can address problems while the guest is still onsite.  Managing these responses and personally attending to any issues ensures you get ahead of any negative reviews. The straightforward nature of the question and discrete way to respond is attractive to guests who would otherwise hold their tongue.  Knowing that you want their feedback and will respond accordingly boosts guest satisfaction.   

Message to guest. "Are you enjoying you stay?"
One simple question lets you gauge a guest’s satisfaction with their stay.

The bottom line is, a hotel simply cannot afford to let their guests leave without knowing if they were completely satisfied. Positive assurance lets you know that a guest felt well attended to during their time at your property and allows you to manage their next stay accordingly. Receiving negative responses allows you the chance to personally and privately smooth over any issue.  Either way, you have likely sidestepped a surprise negative review, therefore keeping your online reputation manageable and intact.  Contact Volo today to learn more about our guest recovery functionality and other ways we can help you deliver high-level guest satisfaction.

Openfit and Volo Join Forces to Bring a Game-Changing Amenity to the Hospitality Industry

Volvo and Openfit join forces for streamed workout classes for in-room tablets

Austin, Texas – Openfit, a fitness, nutrition, and wellness application, and Volo Hospitality Systems, an in-room tablet company, are pleased to announce the partnership of their two platforms which will bring on-demand workouts and streaming instructor-led exercise classes to properties using the Volo in-room concierge tablets.  Guests of these hotels and facilities will benefit from complimentary on-demand and live classes viewed on an Apple iPad in the privacy of their rooms with no time constraints or the need to access a gym or fitness equipment.

“Fitness and wellness has become a top priority for travelers, with studies showing that 48% of guests rank a property’s wellness options as ‘very important,’” says Volo Managing Director, Benjamin Londa. “With hotels adapting to the new normal, the option of an in-room fitness amenity could very well become a necessity. Our partnership with Openfit allows our clients to instantly take advantage of this growing trend, and deliver free classes – with or without equipment – straight to their guests, without any need to visit the onsite fitness center.”

With an average of 400 live trainer-led weekly classes ranging from 5 to 40 minutes and 175 unique on-demand workouts to choose from, exercise is accessible 24 hours a day and convenient for today’s busy consumer who doesn’t want travel to disrupt their lifestyle routines. Moreover, classes facilitated via Volo’s in-room tablet offer privacy for a guest who may not feel comfortable visiting a hotel gym or using equipment they may not be familiar with. “While there will always be a place in the market for both in-person and digital fitness options, the current environment has accelerated adoption of virtual fitness offerings,” says Amy Bridgeo, Openfit’s Executive Director of Partnerships. “In-room fitness is a great solution for the current circumstances and a convenient and effective amenity for the long term. We are excited to partner with Volo to deliver our results-driven workouts and live interactive classes to anyone looking for a virtual fitness solution from the comfort of their own room.”

Properties that offer Openfit classes via Volo gain the ability to offer their guests the amenity of a Certified Trainer and a wide variety of classes such as cardio, strength, barre, and yoga without the expense of hiring extra staff or maintaining large fitness areas.  With Volo’s easy to navigate system and Openfit‘s user-friendly platform, guests enjoy an efficient workout while leaving the hotel staff to serve in other areas.

ABOUT OPENFIT

Openfit is an all-in-one digital platform for fitness, nutrition, and wellness. In addition to hundreds of on-demand workouts led by celebrity trainers such as Andrea Rogers and Devin Wiggins, Openfit also offers instructor-led live group fitness classes. The Openfit platform integrates personalized, easy-to-follow nutrition programming and tracking, making it possible for anyone to achieve their health and wellness goals.

Contact: Amy Bridgeo / openfitpartners@openfit.com

ABOUT VOLO

Volo is an in-room tablet solution that gives your guests interactive, touchscreen access to all of your hotel amenities. Volo proves to be a profit center, not a cost, by driving revenue through up-sells and cross-sells of food, beverage, and amenities; real-time service recovery and improved reputation management; cost savings from staff efficiency and reduced printing; push notifications for promotions or direct bookings. Ultimately, more engagement and a better guest experience translate to real and measurable value to your hotel.

Contact: Jocelyne Kizziar / info@getvolo.com

How Tablets Help You Cater To Guests During A Pandemic

Guests in hotel during pandemic

As the world adds phrases to our discourse such as “New Normal” and “Social Distancing” and the country begins to reopen the economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important we all start making plans for how to navigate life in our near future.  This includes how hotels, healthcare facilities, and others in the hospitality industry will navigate their operations during COVID-19.

We’ve come up with some of our own ideas on how in-room tablets help guests or patients during a pandemic, and have spoken to our clients on what they believe is the best practice for their businesses going forth.  It is clear that in-room concierge tablets can play heavily into a safe and effective “New Normal” that emphasizes a personalized experience for those staying at your property or facility.

Volo Tablets Keep Guests Informed During the Pandemic

The resounding consensus we hear from our clients is their desire to create a humanized stay when physical distance from their guests is required.  Innkeeper Michael Biggs of The Peerless Hotel in Ashland, Oregon notes that greeting his customers in a mask and gloves will be an unfortunate reality for the moment. His concern for his staff and guests at this property means they will be limiting their face to face interactions while maintaining the superior service they are known for. Having all of the boutique hotel’s information in one digital application such as news and restaurant and bar menus means a limit to multiple touchpoints for guests and staff.  

In-Room Concierge Tablets Create a Safe and Efficient Delivery System

Similarly, the owners of Julie’s Motel in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, have created an extensive list of Virtual Housekeeping section of regularly requested items that guests can order from the front desk without having face to face contact with a staff member. Once the item/items are requested, a staff member will respond with a chat message via the tablet and then they will place the ordered items at the guest door in hygienically sealed wrapping.  They will also continue to make use of their extensive menu of locally prepared food and locally sourced wine, and beer and plan to deliver these in a related fashion. Their wish is to bring their loyal customers the comforts and amenities they are used to while providing a safe distance for all.

Volo Tablets Help Your Property Maintain a Personal Connection

Other clients mention that they view in-room tablets as an extension of their staff, as well, even before physical distance was a concern.  With the inclusion of staff photos and bios, along with the customization of brand and specific facility information, the tablets serve to remind guests that there is a human element operating for their comfort and safety.  Real-time chat messaging and immediate responses to requests ensure that guests and staff can be in constant communication if they desire.  Users of Volo can benefit from instant updates to information, such as a facility’s Covid-19 policy, and be assured of the latest practices taken by owners and staff.

Volo Tablets Are Easily Sanitized During and After the Pandemic

In addition to the many features in-room tablets provide, the best news is that they are easily sanitized and disinfected by wiping down with an Apple-approved disinfectant such as Clorox wipes or a cloth moistened with 70% alcohol.  The design of the iPads we use for the Volo application has smooth surfaces and few crevices, so the sanitization process is highly effective over telephones or remotes that are hard to clean. And having all information in one digital application such as news, restaurant and bar menus, and facility details means a limit to multiple touchpoints.  No newspapers handled multiple times before it reaches a guest, or a messy paper guest directory that is hard to disinfect between uses!

We realize the effect that Covid-19 has had on the hospitality and healthcare industry and implementing improvements to our product so that these sectors can be assured going forth they are providing the safest service available. Contact us today as we welcome the chance to speak with anyone who has questions or comments about their “New Normal.”

Cleaning & Disinfecting Tips for Apple iPads

Disinfecting ipads during covid-19

We know that you and your staff are concerned about the coronavirus and diligently making sure all surfaces in your facility are being disinfected regularly. Disinfecting Apple iPads at your property or facility is just as important. We have always recommended following Apple’s instructions for wiping down and cleaning the iPads you are using in your property rooms.

We wanted to let you know that in response to concerns about disinfecting iPads and iPhones to keep the virus at bay, Apple has updated their policy as follows:

Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the hard, nonporous surfaces of your Apple product, such as the display, keyboard, or other exterior surfaces. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents. Don’t use on fabric or leather surfaces.

Please continue to avoid spraying the devices directly, and do not use window cleaner, bleach or abrasives when wiping down. Not following these recommendations can result in damages to your iPads. And remember to also wipe down your cords and chargers, as guests tend to handle these for their personal use as well.

For further instructions, you can find more information at Apple Support following this link. Also, do please reach out to us at Volo if you have any comments or questions. We are always happy to help!

Volo named finalist in 2020 Hotel Tech Awards

Hotel tech report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Volo Hospitality Systems Finals as one of the Top Guest Room Tablets for Hotels in the 2020 HotelTechAwards

We’re excited to share that Volo Hospitality Systems has been named a finalist in the 2020 HotelTechAwards produced by Hotel Tech Report. Each month, more than 40,000 hotel industry professionals use HotelTechReport.com to make informed purchasing decisions. The HotelTechAwards are based on customer feedback and have never been influenced by analyst opinion or status as a Hotel Tech Report customer. (To learn more about the HotelTechAwards ranking, check out the HotelTechAwards scoring criteria breakdown)

Reviews from verified users of Volo highlight features like product innovation, customizable content and ease of use to stellar customer service.

See what some users think about Volo’s in-room tablet solution in their own words:

“Wonderful! It enhances our guest’s experience and saves us on labor and natural resources.”
Verified User | Manager | Boutique Hotel

“The Volo team works effortlessly to help us keep our content current and are constantly identifying new ways to bring a higher degree of value to our customers. It’s their human touch that has made all of the difference, and enabled us to take our guest services to a new level.”
Verified User | Owner | Boutique Hotel

“Volo’s platform is very interactive and easy to use. Guests love the ability to learn additional details about the building or order room service. Volo continues to upgrade and innovate.”
Verified User | Chief Culture Officer | Medical Resort

We would like to say a big “thank you” to all who shared reviews on Hotel Tech Report. At Volo, customer experience is a big part of our history and continues to be our passion. Exceeding your expectations and listening to your feedback is critical to our success.

Official 2020 HotelTechAwards Announcement

Makers of SynergyMMS Partners With Volo Hospitality Systems

SynergyMMS and Volo join forces for superior hospitality technology

BOWLING GREEN, OH, USA – Systems Associates, Inc., makers of SynergyMMS, a hotel operational efficiency software system, announced its partnership with Austin, TX-based Volo! Hospitality Systems, an in-room tablet solution. This integration will produce improved guest experience and staff service in hotels everywhere.

This partnership combines both companies’ expert knowledge to engage guests during their stay and connect the guests with hotel operations. The combined solution provides hotel staff with tools to deliver a quality, consistent product experience to guests through an intuitive and efficient way to communicate. “We are extremely excited to partner with SynergyMMS and integrate our in-room tablet solution with their operational efficiency system, streamlining guest requests, orders and messages which will increase our clients’ staff efficiency and improve their overall guest experience,” said Benjamin Londa, Chief Operations Officer for Volo! Hospitality Systems.

These integrated systems will allow hotel staff to be more efficient by keeping track of all requests made by the in-room tablets. Volo! allows guests to interact with the hotel and keeps guests up to date with promotional offers, events, and information about the hotel. Guests can order room service, create requests, and even book appointments with amenities of the property. With the integration to SynergyMMS, requests flow directly to the proper department based on intelligent dispatching that sends work based on time of day, day of week, talent required, and who is available. This instant communication results in speedy service and quicker issue resolution time.

“Volo! creates a channel through which guest requests can flow directly to those responsible for fulfilling those same requests. This bypasses layers in communication and eliminates errors in information often resulting from relays or translation of data. Further, through our interface, Volo! is able to leverage the prioritization and routing tools already in use at the property through SynergyMMS. This collective solution is a real win-win for both guests and properties,” said John Clark, SynergyMMS Vice President.

About Systems Associates Inc.

Systems Associates Inc. is a developer of software and hardware solutions for Maintenance and Energy Management in the hospitality, education, government, commercial real estate, and retail markets. Operating in the cloud, these enterprise solutions give customers global access to innovative technologies. SynergyMMS improves the condition of a property by creating “synergy” between the various departments involved in the maintenance process thereby increasing the productivity of staff and the longevity of assets. With over 30+ years of quality relationships, SAI’s experience and portfolio is an excellent resource for hospitality clients globally. For more information on SAI and/or its CONTROLIQ and SynergyMMS solutions, visit www.saicorporate.com, www.controliq.com, and www.synergymms.com respectively.

About Volo! Hospitality Solutions

Volo is an in-room tablet solution that gives your guests interactive, touchscreen access to all of your hotel amenities. Volo’s sleek and elegant design will engage your guests from the moment they enter the room. Your style, your brand, your amenities – all displayed beautifully on our customized Apple iPads. Volo is designed to be a profit center and not a cost, by driving revenue through up-sells and cross-sells of food, beverage and amenities, real-time service recovery and improved reputation management, cost savings from staff efficiency and reduced printing, and push notifications for promotions and direct bookings. Ultimately, more engagement and a better guest experience translates to real and measurable value to your hotel. Built on an open API, Volo can be integrated with your existing systems or deployed as a standalone, drop-and-go solution. For more information on Volo, please visit click here.

Heywood Hotel in Austin Deploys Volo Hospitality Systems

Heywood Hotel in Austin, Texas

The Heywood Hotel Introduces In-Room Digital Concierge System

Brand New Offering Developed by Austin-Based Volo

Austin, TX, March 2019 – The Heywood Hotel is pleased to introduce a new in-room Digital Concierge tablet system, developed by Austin-based hospitality company Volo, available for guests to make the most of their stay. The new high-tech system will be implemented at the hotel starting this month, just in time for the South by Southwest Conference and Festival, March 8-17, 2019.

Each of the seven rooms at the Heywood Hotel will now be fully equipped with an elegantly designed in-room tablet outlining hotel information, amenities, and hand-selected recommendations from the knowledgeable locals on the Heywood concierge team.  The tablets feature fully customized content provided by the Heywood Hotel, and the sleek in-room tablets give hotel guests 24/7 interactive, touchscreen access to all hotel amenities along with helpful advice for making the most of their time in Austin.

“We are excited to offer this new amenity to help visitors discover Austin’s best sights, sounds, eats and drinks, as a part of the Heywood Hotel mission to deliver ‘a perfect 24 hours in Austin,’ says Heywood Hotel’s Owner and General Manager, Kathy Setzer. “Our Digital Concierge tablets provide a carefully curated selection of our favorite recommendations – only places we’ve personally tried and love – and are intended to augment the highly personalized, first-class concierge service that the Heywood Hotel is known for.”

The Austin experts at the Heywood Hotel have worked hand-in-hand with the technical experts at Volo in order to ensure the Digital Concierge systems are easy to use and provide the most valuable information for travelers. The Heywood Digital Concierge system will be one of Austin’s best resources for information about the city and how to navigate a perfect trip here.

Rates for the Heywood Hotel range from $179 – $319 in the low season (Summer and Winter) and $209 – $349 in the high season (Spring and Fall).

For more information on the Heywood Hotel or to book a room, please visit https://www.heywoodhotel.com/.

ABOUT THE HEYWOOD HOTEL:

The Heywood Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel located in Austin, Texas, featuring one of the most unique boutique experiences in North America. Opened in 2012 by local Austin couple Kathy Setzer and George Reynolds, the woman-owned and -operated property has an architecturally stunning design, and is home to seven “lucky” suites throughout 3,200 square feet.

The hotel’s unique design was completed by award-winning Austin-based architecture firm KRDB, whose creative reimagining transformed a modest bungalow into its current, progressive seven-suite format. Each en-suite room features a Scandinavian-influenced interior, with modern furniture and an abundance of natural light. The design touches run throughout the space, from the soaring ceilings of the reception area through the textiles and ceramics, almost exclusively made by Austin artisans. In addition to the custom-designed furniture and locally sourced artwork adorning the rooms, a second floor courtyard terrace crowns the property, and encourages relaxing evenings viewing the storied Texas stars.

Rates for the Heywood Hotel range from $179 – $319 in the low season (Summer and Winter) and $209 – $349 in the high season (Spring and Fall).

For more information & property images, please click here.

ABOUT VOLO:


Volo is an Austin, Texas-based in-room tablet solution designed for the hospitality industry. The brainchild of co-founders Donald Craven, Jr., Benjamin Londa, and JP Maxwell, Volo aims to revolutionize the hotel guest experience with its ease of use, seamless functionality, and customized personalization. Volo proves to be a profit center and not a cost by driving revenue through up-sells and cross-sells, real-time service recovery and improved reputation management, cost savings from staff efficiency and reduced printing, and push notifications for promotions and direct bookings. Ultimately, more engagement and a better guest experience translate to real and measurable value to your property. Volo is built from the ground up using scalable cloud architecture. With no upfront costs and minimal staff training, Volo can be deployed as a stand-alone, drop-and- go solution. Together we can optimize your guest experience.