What You Didn’t Know About Holiday Inn Atrium
Singapore’s thriving hospitality sector with increasing visitor arrivals give rise to strain on manpower faced by hotels. To cope with the manpower shortage, hotels in Singapore are enhancing their productivity efforts and putting more emphasis on staff welfare.
You must be wondering, how can productivity and staff welfare increase hand in hand? I had the privilege to attend a tour behind the scenes of Holiday Inn Atrium, and learnt how they innovatively tapped on Inclusive Growth Programme (IGP) subsidies and increased customer satisfaction not by making staff work harder, but easier!
After learning about e2i’s IGP which subsidizes productivity initiatives, Holiday Inn Atrium looked for solutions to bottlenecks that were making tasks difficult for staff.
For example, at the front office, the hotel installed an integrated magnetic reader system at each computer which captures guests’ information accurately. All you have to do is to give your passport or credit card to the staff and with a swipe, the details are immediately recorded in the system (versus manually typing which can create incorrect entries).
With this smart system, the time taken for Front Office staff to check in guests has been reduced by 40%, so guests can proceed to their rooms faster.
Guests also receive their keycard much faster when Holiday Inn Atrium invested in the Hi-Co Key Card and Encoder System, which reduced waiting time at least 60% (from 5-7min to 1-2min). This high quality system reduces frequency of malfunctioning key cards so guests worry less about getting stuck out of their rooms.
With these IGP-subsidized easier, smarter and safer initiatives, guests can enjoy a smoother check-in experience and Front Office staff are able to use the time savings to engage guests further.
Have you experienced a situation where your request for service is answered too late or just simply forgotten?
With 515 rooms, there are lots of customer requests and activities going on around the hotel. This can be very time consuming for many hotels which still use physical report shoots to track the requests of each guest.
Dedicated to enhance guest experience, Holiday Inn Atrium implemented an e-Connect system that tracks all guest service requests and inter-department work orders from start to finish. Any outstanding request which is not solved in a pre-determined duration will be escalated to the appropriate manager to ensure each guest request has been taken care of.
After this system started, guests waited 66% less for a response to their requests. Staff also saved a lot of time tracking the requests and follow-ups and could focus on other pressing work matters.
Working in a hotel industry, the higher number tourist arrivals coupled with manpower crunch means that every staff minute counts.
Holiday Inn Atrium takes care of its basic staff needs from food to uniform not just by providing these staff services, but finding faster ways to do so.
Notice the lady staff in pink uniform above? Instead of having to manually sift through the various uniforms of 100 other staff, Holiday Inn Atrium makes her job easier, smarter and safer by tagging microchips sewn into each uniform.
When another staff taps her staff pass against the machine reader, the machine will locate her uniform and automatically run the conveyor belt to bring the uniform to the transparent panel door on the right which slides open!
The lady staff in pink uniform now doesn’t have to run back and forth to issue uniforms, but can focus on hanging recently-cleaned uniforms onto the conveyor belt according to the respective microchip number.
With the time savings to issue and return uniforms cut by 75%, only one staff is required to manage the machine and the other staff can now be deployed to other areas of housekeeping.
In addition, in an innovative attempt to beat the labour crunch, Holiday Inn Singapore has also started training its security guards to be bellhops, and putting its bellhops on security duties, so that both groups of staff can serve guests in multiple service areas.
Hotel General Manager Sam said, security was outsourced to contractors in 2009. But a year later, Holiday Inn Atrium decided to hire their own security staff. To make the job more attractive, the staff’s pay was increased and provided concierge and bell service training to equip them better.
One of the hotel’s guards, Mr Faizal Mas’odi, went through concierge and bell service training. Other than patrols, he carries luggage for guests and delivers newspapers to rooms when he patrols the corridors in the morning.
He worked the same number of hours but became more skilled at his job and more productive. Combined with an expanded job scope, Mr Faizal was able to progress in his career and received a pay raise, which was explained as the Progressive Wage Model that Holiday Inn Atrium practises.
What’s so special about this Progressive Wage Model? It means that any staff who becomes more productive (does more with less) and upgrades his skills will get higher pay and career advancement. Credit is given where it is due.
I am very impressed with Holiday Inn Atrium in coming up with implementations which not only give guests a happier hotel experience, but also providing better jobs and better pay to their staff.