THE HOTELFONE BACKGROUND
Hotelfone are a market leader in providing bespoke reservation services for Independent Luxury Hotels and Resorts throughout the UK & Europe. They use highly experienced reservation and sales agents to capture the telephone calls and revenue that would otherwise be missed.
Despite a number of companies offering a phone support service, Hotelfone is the only provider with a team of core hotel specialists, carefully trained to deal with the Independent Hotel sector at the luxury end of the market.
Call traffic is erratic. You can’t anticipate when a customer is going to call. And, if you don’t answer your phone, the customer will call somebody else – perhaps your competitor.
– Roddy Whiteford, Owner, Hotelfone
HOTELFONE’S CHALLENGES – AND AN INTRODUCTION BY TRAVELTECH FOR SCOTLAND
Hotelfone’s initial introduction to The Data Lab came via Traveltech for Scotland. Launched in 2020, Traveltech’s products and services are designed to help tourism and hospitality companies navigate the technology sector and safely restart business during the COVID19 pandemic.
Hotelfone had originally made contact with Traveltech to seek guidance around the potential of new software in the marketplace. Investments have been made in the past year to modernise several of the business support systems, however, the core operational environment (where the most critical and valuable data resided) was impeding flexibility and productivity. With their existing system (Genie) now encircled by more modern systems, they were acutely aware of the risks posed to their business by the restricted capabilities of the dated platform.
Although Hotelfone’s team had become exceedingly adept at overcoming the challenges of Genie’s usability, this know-how and its workarounds inevitably took time. Learning the system’s quirks and constraints increased training time for new agents and was impacting on the team’s ability to deliver more value-add activities to the business.
Following a review of these requirements, the team at Traveltech proposed a deep-dive to evaluate Hotelfone’s current positioning and the challenges they were facing – and so came the introduction to TORCH.
The services that TORCH offer are critically important for the tourism and traveltech sector. It’s difficult getting started with and making the most of your data. Hotelfone are an established Traveltech company that has been providing great services to hoteliers for many years. They saw the opportunity that data could offer for their business and their collaboration with TORCH will help them grow and innovate in the future. I’d encourage any tourism or traveltech business to do the same.
– Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director of Traveltech for Scotland
THE TORCH OBJECTIVES
“One of the things that was so obvious about dealing with the Hotelfone team was how ambitious and knowledgeable they are … it wasn’t that the business was stuck for ideas, they were overflowing with ideas, to such an extent that they were almost trying to make the system do things that were now beyond its capabilities.“– Margery McConnell, TORCH Senior Solutions Architect
The TORCH Solutions Architects were asked to review Hotelfone’s current business technology landscape and (in particular) its support of their business strategy.
The key focuses of our team were to:
- Work with Hotelfone to understand the current systems landscape
- Help identify the value of the information captured by Hotelfone when servicing their client hotels’ customers
- Deliver a clear path to transforming their Agent’s day-to-day user experience and productivity
- Improving the flow of the key information around the wider business
- Validate and document the scope and requirements for updating and extending the application suite
- Identify suitable partners to undertake that work
On conclusion of the TORCH discovery phase, it was agreed that the retirement of Genie (and how to ensure that its successor delivered benefits across the business) was an imperative focus for Hotelfone.
It was clear that the business couldn’t proceed with an off-the-shelf package, and so part of TORCH’s work included a ‘cheat sheet’ that enabled Hotelfone to ask suppliers the right questions and get the best out of their build.
Following in-depth discussions with their management team, Senior Solutions Architect Margery McConnell delivered TORCH recommendations and detailed a report that included:
- A route map offering a path for Hotelfone to deliver their desired outcomes (taking advantage of previous investments, whilst setting a firm foundation for further evolution)
- A reference framework to map how each current system served the business, where more streamlined flow of data was needed, and where there were gaps in information held
- Delivery project options with prospective partners in our Supplier Network, including assignment of Hotelfone experts to shape the solution
- Introductory call and handover offers with each partner
To assist in the communication of the proposed solutions, Margery provided the Hotelfone team with supporting infographics, as seen in the examples provided below:
HOTELFONE AS-IS ARCHITECTURE
HOTELFONE EXAMPLE TARGET ARCHITECTURE
SHARING THE RESULTS
In response to initial conversations with Margery, Hotelfone were able to implement a number of changes and recommendations immediately.
“What (the TORCH engagement) did was confirm that we needed one mode of communication (especially internally). During the period of the project, we made changes to this very quickly and it’s proven to be really beneficial”, explained Roddy.
With a roadmap now firmly in place, Hotelfone engaged with 4 potential supplier businesses based on TORCH recommendations. They are now in the final decision making process.
The new system will provide opportunity to improve business performance, but also to demonstrate the impact they are having on their client’s service. The software will also allow them to demonstrate the full capability of their new live chat services and the power of revenue capture from this.
FINAL THOUGHTS & FEEDBACK
Roddy – “Going through the process with TORCH, the more we discussed things, looked at what was required, the more confidence we had in being able to go out and explain and define what was required as part of our software requirements …
What TORCH provided was exemplary in my mind – as an understanding, evaluation and recommendation of where our business was, where it needs to go, and how the parts of the jigsaw need to fit into place to make it really work. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.”
Drive your business forward confidently with a TORCH Discovery Session.
Our TORCH Business Development expert, Lauren Spark, can help you identify whether the TORCH service is right for your business, or point you in the right directions if you need that little bit of extra help first. Arrange an obligation-free call.