Boutique Hotelier is the monthly business magazine and daily-updated web site for operators, suppliers and decision-makers working in the boutique and lifestyle hotel sector. They were interested in hearing about how hotels have started using Vamoos to re-open their doors. Read the full story below or on their website here.
Martin Barlow, managing director of Budock Vean Hotel, is one of Vamoos’ first clients, a new app that aims to help hoteliers safely reopen. He spoke to us about why using Vamoos has been important in helping him reopen his doors.
Budock Vean’s Story
Budock Vean Hotel is an independently owned four-star property, with 57 bedrooms and luxurious amenities in South Cornwall. Martin Barlow has been managing director there for the last 20 years, and was one of Vamoos’ first hotel clients.
Using Vamoos to combat Covid-19
As the UK slowly started to ease lockdown restrictions, Martin said he was concerned hoteliers would hear very little from the government about exact reopening dates until the last minute. Because of this, his team started the groundwork to prepare for re-opening early, drawing on industry best practices, guidance from Visit Britain and other organisations, and through his own research.
“Building a risk assessment from the start was important. We walked the guest and employee journey to figure out how we were going to keep everyone safe, while keeping the experience special and something their guests would recognise. We’ve spent a lot of time building guest relationships with our long-standing clients, and we had to re-think everything and keep everyone at a distance, which feels a bit like ‘anti-hospitality.
“The fundamentals to get right are social distancing measures, cleanliness, and improved use of technology. Vamoos is helping us communicate with guests without physically being there or using paper in the building. We’re now in the final stages of getting this ready, and throughout we’ve been communicating with customers and staff to keep them informed and reassure them we’re going to be able to provide a nice and safe experience for everyone.
Transforming the way you communicate with guests
“We decided to go with Vamoos as we needed a new way to communicate with our guests. One of the impacts of Covid-19 is that it’s causing businesses like us to bring forward investment in certain technologies. We would’ve introduced something like this in the future anyway, but we made this a priority as we saw it was a really good solution, enabling us to maintain great communication levels with our customers from a distance, and a key benefit is that the customers can communicate to us through the app too.
“The app needed to be usable across different platforms, easy to download, and store all relevant information, and Vamoos does all of this. We’ve been able to upload all our directory items, wine lists, menus, and much more so quickly. The app also shows local attractions and enables our guests to book them before their trip which will help local tourism massively, and helps them have a really nice, fully prepared experience. Over the years we have tried to make the hotel more eco friendly too, so Vamoos also ticks this box as we will be able to dramatically reduce printed information and waste.
Vamoos can integrate with other systems we use, so very soon we plan to integrate with a remote check-in/check-out app, as well as a booking system for our restaurant as we’re asking people to book every meal, not just dinner like before. In the future, we may even provide each room with a tablet with Vamoos loaded. From here on out it will be the core way we communicate with our guests, and this technology will broaden our appeal to guests as well as change the way we position ourselves.
Your one piece of advice for other hoteliers?
These are strange times and everyone wants to open as fast as possible to get revenue coming in, but we’ve made the decision to wait an extra week before reopening to ensure we had everything in place, and didn’t increase the anxiety of staff by doing too much too quickly. It was a tough decision, but I’m confident we’ve done the right thing. My advice therefore is to slow down, take time to plan and think about what you’re doing, as we all have to operate with a different mindset.
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