Hotelier's Voice – Joe Setchell, A Curious Group of hotels digitalise hotel services and operations

Joe Setchell the Group Marketing Manager at A Curious Group of Hotels talks about new tech being implemented at the four properties in the portfolio: Canal House (Amsterdam), L’Hotel (Paris), Portobello Hotel (London), Cowley Manor (Cotswolds).

We discuss the use of a guest app and how they have used it to digitalise services whilst also integrating Benbria Loop within the app, which enables guests to request a wide range of services with a click including F&B, housekeeping, luggage assistance, hotel transfer etc. 

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For A Curious Group of Hotels, they recognised the need to digitalise the customer, from ordering to check-ins. As part of the tech change, Joe turned to Criton – however his key concern was “how do we achieve what we want to while preserving our boutique feel…Everyone has a smart phone, so it gave importance of developing the app. By digitalising everything we have the power of using a central system to update a lot of information for guests and add additional services”

Remote system access

Listen to Joe explain how and why they did this and the importance of moving to Opera Cloud “it allows remote access; this is so important because a huge task of reservation manager onsite is the daily reporting. This helps us remove this task and enables sales and marketing from a distance to see the performance of sales and the forecast,” while also allowing head office to access all properties in real-time.

Joe really need a PMS where he could access the data and really identify the customer for more targeted campaigns. He explains the benefit in the data and how it’s helped him develop relevant offers. 

With such changes in infrastructure and approach to guests, Joe addresses the cultural and operational implementation “we spend time sourcing and researching products, the teams really need to champion this. With lockdown and uncertainty of change, it was important that we got them involved with the onboarding sessions providing training as we implemented the tool before reopening. The tools are modern, and our staff are young, so it got them excited”

Joe explains the barriers and challenges hotels will experience with migration and how to approach it through clear planning. Within the past twelve months the hotel portfolio has been implementing Criton, Revinate for email marketing and segmentation, Opera Cloud for reservations as part of its aim to enhance the digital footprint where everything is speaking to each other. He tells us the benefit for marketing and being data driven, and how the changes are improving hotel operations

The new tech has meant Joe can remove printed hi-touch products from hotel/hotel room while introducing additional services and value for the guests including magazine/entertainment section to the app with audio books, ebooks, magazines, kids section) to provide unique downtime activities for the guest and to enhance the inroom experience. 

Joe finishes by telling us why a loyalty programme is next and the importance of integrations.

Listen or watch the episode now to learn how Joe and A Curious Group of Hotels went digital. 

For the rest of the series, visit Hotelier's Voice.