Palace Resorts: Automating Operations in 10 All-Inclusive Luxury Resorts
Palace Resorts is a collection of 10 beautiful all-inclusive oceanfront luxury resorts. They stretch from Los Cabos on one side of Mexico, over to Riviera Maya in Mexico and all the way to Jamaica. They are not just “one of many” resorts, but exist to offer the best all-inclusive luxury experience in the world.
The sizes of their hotels go from a 169-room Cozumel Palace all the way to Moon Palace that counts over 3300 rooms. There could be up to 180 housekeepers simultaneously working a single shift in the biggest properties, which makes team communication a real challenge. In order to overcome that challenge, Palace Resorts use efficient, intuitive hotel team communication.
The main challenge we were looking to resolve was how to speed up and automate communication between departments so that our guests would get answers and their services delivered as quickly as possible. That is how we found Flexkeeping.
- Magdalena Kazimierczak, Corporate Rooms Division Manager
As an all-inclusive luxury resort, Palace Resorts works to provide guests everything they’d like. There are up to 9 a-la-carte restaurants in a single property, a fully stocked minibar, an extensive room service menu, and hundreds of other services and offerings, both big and small. They make it very easy for guests to order services with a bespoke mobile app, a 24h concierge, and a 24h telephone line. All of this results in high guest satisfaction, but also in operations that are very large and complex.
Automating over 1 million room service deliveries per year
All guest service requests are picked up by one guest relations center that connects to every hotel. From there, the guest relations center would dispatch every guest service request to the appropriate hotel and the relevant departments. Before Flexkeeping, the process was only partially digitised. Operators had a tool where they recorded the orders for hotels to see them, but no further automations were done. Today, Flexkeeping acts as the central ordering system, dispatching every order to the right hotel and the right departments. In addition, it connects multiple departments in the hotel to a chain of automated tasks that ensure every service request is properly delivered. It is all wrapped into a SOP timeframe and automatically escalated if the service is not delivered in the required time.
We now have real time information and because we integrated Flexkeeping with our Guest App guests can report everything directly from their phones and it gets streamlined through Flexkeeping. This resulted in much faster response & service delivery times.
Tracking analytics to optimise room service menus
Flexkeeping opened up the possibility of in-depth analytics by offering one central system to dispatch and coordinate all room service orders. Thanks to analytics, hotels can learn if all orders have been delivered inside the standard 30 min, what the most popular room service items are, and even what the current costs of room service are. Details like these are being daily, weekly and monthly tracked with the intention of ensuring prompt delivery, high service quality, and also to adjust room service menus to better meet and exceed guests’ expectations as well as optimise material costs.
We are using a lot of reports because for us to be able to improve it is important that we know where and how. For example, if we know better what the guests are asking for we can deliver that service. So having regular reports like the top 10 most frequent housekeeping tasks, top 10 maintenance issues, top 10 most popular room service orders is very important to us.
Organising daily cleaning schedules for 120 housekeepers in the biggest properties
In the biggest property, there are up to 150 housekeepers and 25 housekeeping supervisors working during a single shift. Before Flexkeeping, organising their daily cleaning schedule was a huge challenge because the only IT system they had was the Property Management System while everything else was based on paper notes and phone calls. Using only the PMS and those basic forms of communication, 12 housekeeping supervisors- each of them with 100 rooms under their management- had to manually create room lists for their housekeepers. Flexkeeping brought enormous optimisation to the process. Instead of the old measures, all the daily information was automatically collected in Flexkeeping which could then integrate with the PMS. The Housekeeping Supervisor's only remaining task was to drag and drop the right rooms to the right housekeepers. Alternatively, they can automatically assign rooms with just a click of a button.
Before Flexkeeping, the organisation would take multiple hours and was done combining PMS reports, paper reports from previous days and other notes. With the introduction of Flexkeeping, the process became almost completely automated.
Real-time daily cleaning progress & optimised communication in housekeeping
Since the introduction of Flexkeeping, the daily progress of housekeeping has become completely automated and transparent. Instead of walking to housekeepers and checking their status, housekeeping managers and supervisors (as well as the front office and other departments) can now see real-time daily cleaning progress and room status. This optimizes the workflow of the whole housekeeping department, but also increases the speed and quality of other services as all departments optimise their performance based on the housekeeping statuses. As a result, a lot of time is saved, a lot fewer steps are taken and team performances are much more optimised.
It’s much easier for the maids to work. They have all the information on hand and they don’t need to look, or ask or call anyone to see if the room is checked-out. We save time because before housekeepers had a briefing to go through everything, for example who is a VIP, in which rooms they are, who is celebrating birthday today etc. Now they have everything in Flexkeeping.
Assuring quality of housekeeping with Digital Checklists
Flexkeeping also optimised the room-inspection process by offering housekeeping supervisors digital checklists. Using Flexkeeping on their mobile phones, housekeeping supervisors can see which rooms are ready for inspection and use digital checklists to check if any of the cleaning steps need to be corrected. The tasks are automatically sent to the corresponding housekeepers, who can return and fix the mistake promptly. All the communication and tasks are sent automatically so that both supervisors and housekeepers can plan their tasks optimally without losing any time or sanity.
We can now avoid many issues that we previously had in the rooms and we can fix them before the guests arrive and report it.
Cutting the need for an internal telephone operator between departments
In a big hotel, hundreds of tasks and lots of information have to be exchanged between departments every day. For example, if housekeeping has to report a maintenance problem, if the front office needs to report an extra guest request, or if the guest service department reports a guest complaint, etc. To organise so many tasks Palace Resort hotels had internal operators who were responsible for picking up all the tasks from the reporter and sending them to the right department responsible for completing the tasks. For example, a Housekeeper would see a maintenance problem, they would report it to the operator who would then report the problem to the Maintenance department. With Flexkeeping, a housekeeper simply takes a picture and the task is immediately sent to the maintenance department with all the needed details. The same optimization happened for extra guest service requests, guest complaints, and all other internal communication between the departments.
Before we would use the phone from the room or we had to go and look for somebody. Now it’s much easier, the communication is flowing much quicker between the staff members and of course between the staff and the guests. Staff can follow up on all the pendings they have, they know who is supposed to do what so that 3 people don’t go to fix the same maintenance issue for example.