As the Corporate Operations Director for the EMEA region Patrick Apostolo has a key role within the Radisson Hotel Group. He is among the pioneers at Radisson Hotel Group that paved the way for the implementation of the cloud-based Hotel Operations Platform hotelkit within the international hotel chain. The goal was to optimize the collaboration and the communication in the individual hotels as well as between headquarters and the different sites and to communicate SOPs and best practices transparently via one digital platform. Currently, 220 Radisson hotels in 44 countries in EMEA—and counting—are working successfully with hotelkit. In this interview, Patrick Apostolo tells us why they decided in favor of this software, what changes they noticed following the implementation of the communication platform and what makes the collaboration of these two companies stand out.
Why was the Radisson Hotel Group looking for a solution to digitalize their work processes?
As an international provider of hospitality, we commit to deliver the promises we make: We want our guests to experience memorable moments in our hotels. Our aim was to find a tool that would help us deliver this promise. To do this, we needed a digital platform that would transmit guest requests directly to the responsible hotel employees. With hotelkit we found a partner that made all of this and much more possible. Housekeeping, maintenance work, communication and collaboration: We were able to improve our productivity and workflows significantly in all areas. Furthermore, hotelkit enabled us to overcome the challenges that made keeping our promise to our guests difficult. Since the implementation of the software, our teams have grown closer and instead of wasting tons of paper, they can now communicate transparently with each other via this digital tool.
By using hotelkit Collaboration and hotelkit Housekeeping every single hotel of our group saves 30 trees per year, that’s simply amazing.
How were the SOPs previously communicated to the individual hotels? What challenges did you encounter in doing so?
In the past, we communicated new standards through a kind of newsletter. The new guidelines were summarized in a single document which then had to be adapted to all the needs of the individual countries at national level. This information was then distributed and the teams at the different sites were familiarized with it and trained accordingly.
How does the Radisson Hotel Group benefit from hotelkit?
hotelkit has not only facilitated our daily work routines, but it has also freed us from our insular thinking. In the hospitality industry, there is this old belief that every hotel is its own little kingdom, convinced that it is doing everything right. We overcame this. Today, we are all connected with each other and able to exchange ideas and suggested solutions. Thus, a sense of community is created.
hotelkit has taken us out of island thinking. Now we are perfectly connected.
Communication, productivity as well as the standardization process were improved in many respects as well. As headquarters, we benefit from the goal-oriented communication of SOPs to predefined groups, such as individual departments like the front office, the food and beverage team or the administration. We appreciate the fact that we can send information directly to the responsible person and that it is accessible to all our employees from anywhere via the hotelkit App.
hotelkit also enables us to present complex matters in an easily understandable way. We can, for example, present SOPs in video format which can sometimes significantly improve their comprehensibility.
Of course, it is also important for us at headquarters to be able to track how many recipients have already read a message or to see how many departments have already successfully implemented a new guideline. hotelkit provides insight into the work progress, which is terrific!
By using hotelkit, we have optimized our processes which has led to improved productivity and lower costs, thus we are saving time and money. Previously, we would have had to invest these resources into the communicative effort, the purchase of paper, ink, copies as well as their distribution to the individual departments, however, today this is no longer necessary.
With hotelkit we are saving time and money.
What makes hotelkit an outstanding tool in my opinion is its promotion of the cultural aspect: We live in a digital age and digital communication and other technological tools accompany us in our day to day lives. So why shouldn’t we use these modern tools in the workplace, especially since the new generation of employees actually expects this. Particularly in the hospitality industry, where there is a constant personal shortage, it’s important to create incentives and to retain employees: Let’s use this!
Does the hotelkit App make the workplace more appealing for young talents?
Absolutely, yes! Today’s employees are looking for a workplace that provides meaningfulness. hotelkit promotes this modern philosophical approach by providing new employees easy access to their new work environment. Communicating in a structured manner, the possibility to easily transmit information from one point to another and to act on this information without misunderstandings as well as the modern look and user-friendliness of the system: All these factors appeal to young talents and make Radisson Hotel Group stand out as a company that embodies the spirit of the times.
Why did you decide on hotelkit?
There were, of course, also other service providers that promised us the stars and the moon, but we wanted to see the facts. We chose four products that we wanted to take a closer look at. These were tested over a period of four months in four similar hotels. By means of a criteria catalog, these platforms were tested and evaluated by hotel teams, area offices and headquarters. In the end, hotelkit stood out and was able to impress everyone involved in the evaluation phase.
There were three aspects that we found particularly great: First and foremost, the versatility. It’s one thing for a tool to be easy to use, but it is a whole other thing whether the tool is also suitable to use in the many different areas of responsibility of a hotel. Furthermore, we received and still receive support from an amazing Customer Success Team that provides us time and time again with tips and tricks to work even more efficiently with hotelkit. Last but not least, we were also truly impressed by how quickly the platform was implemented in our hotels. The time between the initial onboarding conversation and the actual use of hotelkit went by in the blink of an eye.
How was the implementation of the platform in this many hotels?
I think that hotelkit and Radisson Hotel Group have proved that good collaboration can go a long way. During a time, which was marked by the outbreak of the pandemic and the world being in a state of shock, we set about equipping hotels across Europe with a communication platform. Due to a structured, efficient and effective course of action as well as a perfect collaboration with various hotel teams, no setback was able to throw this project off course.
The implementation of hotelkit was very professional and seamless. At the moment, we are implementing the platform in the Asia-Pacific region and our approach is once again crowned with success. What more can you wish for than a partner who sets out to find suitable solutions time and again?
In your opinion, which processes can be optimized with hotelkit in the future?
Above all, I see great potential to expand the platform into an Internet of things by adding many practical integrations, for example, sensors for refrigerators, heating and light system. I can think of many areas where costs and energy could be saved.
If our partnership with hotelkit has taught us one thing, it’s the fact that in this collaboration nothing seems impossible. I think that we at Radisson Hotel Group still have much to get excited about, and we are eagerly looking forward to the future.
A centralized communication platform for all hotel locations!