Madis Laid – General Manager
“GuestJoy has enabled us to personalise our service, increase ancillary revenue and save tremendous amounts of time in one go.”
About Ibis Tallinn Center
The modern Ibis Tallinn Centre offers 190 rooms conveniently close to Tallinn’s business, cultural, entertainment and shopping districts. From here, guests can take a short walk to the world-famous UNESCO-listed old town known for its medieval churches, museums and art galleries. Retail centres, business hubs and the old harbour are also close by, making it the ideal hotel for both work and leisure travel.
We recently sat down for a chat with Madis Laid who has led the property as General Manager since late 2018. He revealed how the team at ibis Tallinn Center has been using GuestJoy to scale digital guest communication, reduce the staff’s workload, improve the guest experience and skyrocket incremental revenue.
In the past, the only chance we had to interact with most guests was during arrival or while they were in-house. We weren’t able to reach out to everyone individually pre- or post-stay because we didn’t have the resources for that.
GuestJoy allows us to fully automate our guest communication at every stage of the guest journey.
Now we can connect with all travellers and build a relationship before they set foot in the door.
While they’re in-house, we can check how they’re doing and offer extra services. After check-out, we stay in touch and plant the idea of a future stay with us. The best thing is that this works with both direct bookers and OTA guests.
Targeted information for a personalised stay experience
Sharing relevant information with our guests has become much easier with GuestJoy. Our pre-arrival messages include all the information they need to plan their stay. This automated digital approach was especially useful during the pandemic when we needed to share detailed information about health and safety guidelines with all travellers.
On top of that, we share offers for add-on services that can make their trip more memorable. The platform’s segmentation tool helps us personalise these offers and ensure guests only receive relevant suggestions. This works much better than the posters and flyers we used to rely on, and it saves vast amounts of paper.
Increased efficiency every step of the way
GuestJoy saves us a lot of time in day-to-day operations. It integrates seamlessly with our PMS, so we can offer guests the chance to fill out their registration cards and check in online. When they arrive, they only need to pick up their key.
Considering how many travellers we welcome every day, that’s a massive time saver. It also frees up our staff to engage more with guests who need assistance or simply prefer to check-in at the front desk.
Sharing hotel information and promotions with guests pre-arrival has made a big difference, too. Now, travellers browse our messages while they’re on their way here. When they check-in, they already have all the information they need. This means the reception gets fewer calls about opening hours, restaurant reservations, etc. Guests can even book their early check-in or Champagne in the room via GuestJoy. All this increases the convenience for travellers and reduces the workload for our team.
Our capture rate at the restaurant has increased by at least 10% since we implemented GuestJoy. Of course, this also means extra revenue in our F&B department. Ancillary revenue from options like wine or chocolate in the room, early check-in or late departure is up 600%. It’s just so quick and easy for guests to book these extras via the system.
This would not be possible without GuestJoy. Our front desk team simply wouldn’t be able to offer these add-ons to so many travellers in person. These results also mean that GuestJoy has a great ROI and more than pays for itself with the extra revenue it generates.
A remarkable increase in online reviews and ranking
Apart from informing guests about our services or special offers, we also use GuestJoy to communicate with guests after their stay. The platform automatically sends a message asking guests to share their feedback and leave public reviews. GuestJoy’s direct connection to TripAdvisor makes this extremely easy for travellers. As a result, we receive 20% more reviews than in the past. Combined with the more personalised service we provide now, this has taken us from 27th to 8th place on TripAdvisor among hotels in Tallinn.
Quick set-up and easy maintenance
Everything about GuestJoy is efficient. The set-up was smooth and only took us about half a day. It was a simple process, and we were able to quickly customise our guest messages and set segmentation rules. Taking advantage of the many pre-built packages and offers the system comes with also sped things up.
Managing GuestJoy is easy, too, even with a small team. The front office staff usually spends a few minutes a day checking new arrivals. Once a week they take around thirty minutes to update messages with new offers and I check the latest reports. Other than that, everything runs in the background.
Customer support is another one of GuestJoy’s strong suits. Whenever we have a question or an issue, they’re quick to respond and provide a solution. But it goes beyond that. There were some features we couldn’t fully take advantage of at our property. In those cases, we shared suggestions for updates that would work better for our hotel. GuestJoy’s team was always keen to listen and find ways to implement our feedback. This attitude proves that we’ve chosen the right partner. It shows that they’re always working to further improve their product and service.
A like-minded, innovative partner
In GuestJoy we found a partner who shares our desire to grow and move forward. Since we began working with them, they’ve added many new features that further improve their platform and expand its capabilities. I appreciate that because our guests and the industry itself are constantly evolving. You need like-minded partners who understand this if you want to be successful in this competitive environment.
A word to fellow hoteliers
When considering a guest experience platform, I recommend looking at how you’re currently communicating with guests. Is it hard to connect with them and share relevant information? Are travellers spending more time looking for information than they are enjoying the hotel’s facilities? For most properties that’s the case. This means it’s high time to start working with a tool like GuestJoy – yesterday would be best.
What does a hotelier need in 2022? Proven, smooth technology. But how can you make the best choice? And what do you need to factor in when implementing new hotel technology? Will the personal touch forever disappear, or will hospitality continue being a face-to-face service?
Our Dutch friend and partner – Hendrik Jan Jenner – has tried many, and he is here to answer your questions!
Annika: Regarding the benefits of upgrading your technology; what is your opinion on technology in hospitality? Should a hotelier keep up to date?
Hendrik Jan: In my opinion, all hotels should do a monthly or bi-monthly check whether they are using software that actually helps them. Compare prices, check features; there are many great websites like Hotelminder, Hotelhero, Revfine and Hoteltechreport to help.
A good example; we always wanted to know whether our guests are business travellers or leisure, and what they are most interested in. So we added this into our tech solution. With GuestJoy I can always ask the purpose of the stay, and the guests can fill it out in their own time; no need to bother them personally!
Annika: Guest needs – let’s talk about it! What do you think guests need in 2022, and beyond? How can technology help?
Hendrik Jan: Package deals are always a win. It’s an easy and full option for the guest to pick, a very convenient choice.
Today’s guests want to be able to pick, mix & match whatever they like from the hotel’s options. You have all these deals and options available, but what if your guest doesn’t like museums? Or do they prefer sports? They do not want to see offers that are not interesting for them. That’s clutter on their screen. It’s crucial that you provide what your guest likes, and content that is customised for them.
Annika: GuestJoy’s segmentation can come in very handy here. We are able to show ‘romantic’ offers for travelling couples, kids offers for families, and much more.
Exactly, I love the fact that in GuestJoy I can add segments and make sure that every guest gets an offer that is tailored to their needs. Here I think that technology can predict even better guest needs. You know straight the demographics, length of stay, room type and etc that is a great indicator for sending out the right offer. This way guests feel more engaged.
Annika: How do you engage with guests in general?
Hendrik Jan: We were using an upselling solution but we felt that it was not enough. You need to do so much more than upselling to guests. Therefore we started looking for a solution that could help us with the entire digital guest experience. We were very happy to find GuestJoy.
Annika: Do you see that the PMS should be flexible?
Mews and GuestJoy exchanging all the information automatically save me a bunch of time. I appreciate how both softwares have multiple functionalities.
The moment I heard that guests can enter credit card details into GuestJoy I was sold. Guests can now fully check-in, on their own time without any of us working at the front desk.
Annika: And when you choose tech, do you base it on local opinions or general reviews? What’re your criterias?
Hendrik Jan: I need to be able to trust the product. The brand, the promises they make.
Obviously, investment and return is key, but it’s not often available immediately. It’s always nice when the hotel tech company has some data, possibly from another hotel. I’d like to see how a tool is used and what it brings to other properties.
Hendrik Jan Jenner is the Revenue Manager of Luxury Suites Amsterdam and Black Label Hotels He started out working in a restaurant to finance his studies, but after an interest in leadership and performance analytics, he took up a role in restaurant management.
Soon, the desire to master the art of hospitality was born in him and he was able to switch to a hotel position as Revenue Manager. His employer supported him to get a degree from the University of Cornell in Hospitality, and since then he has been working in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
About Your Apartment
Your Apartment is one of Bristol’s freshest and most vibrant serviced apartment providers. Co-founded by Bristol-born brothers Charlie & Toby Guest in 2017, Your Apartment runs over 165 serviced apartments today. It offers guests a contactless hospitality experience that combines the service level of a hotel with the homely feeling of an apartment. In December 2020, Your Apartment launched its new aparthotel concept ‘Your Apartment – Clifton Village’ in Bristol and several other exciting projects are already in the pipeline.
We recently had a chat with Daniel Robinson, who is in charge of everything marketing, digital and PR-related at Your Apartment in Bristol. He shared with us how the Your Apartment team is using GuestJoy to simplify their digital guest journey, save tremendous amounts of time for their staff, and generate more positive online reviews.
Streamlined online check-in process
Our previous online check-in process was complex and tedious for our guests. We had one tool which sent out emails with a link for the online check-in. Another solution collected guest details, while a third system gathered payment information. Unsurprisingly, this led to many travellers contacting our customer service team for guidance. As our number of properties kept growing, so did the workload for support staff.
“GuestJoy has made our online check-in process and guest communication much more straightforward. This saves us valuable time and creates a much smoother guest journey.”Daniel Robinson – Marketing Manager at Your Apartment
This left us with two options. We could either recruit more people to deal with these issues and keep the outdated process our guests didn’t enjoy. Or, we could implement new software that would solve the problem on both ends. Obviously, the latter made more sense. So, I began actively looking for a new guest experience management solution and soon came across GuestJoy.
GuestJoy handles everything for us now. It emails guests their booking confirmation which comes with the link to the online check-in form. This form self-populates with information from the reservation, so guests only need to add a few missing details manually (e.g., ID and payment details). GuestJoy automatically sends this data to our PMS and before they know it, guests are already checked in. The whole process is much easier and smoother for guests and our team now that GuestJoy brings everything together into one centralised platform.
More efficient operation and guest communication
Your Apartment tripled its footprint in a little over a year. Using our old system, we would have also had to triple our staffing in the guest services department to handle all the incoming requests. However, GuestJoy has made our online check-in process and guest communication much more straightforward and efficient. As a result, the number of daily calls and emails has dramatically reduced.
Even though we’ve now recently grown to over 165 serviced apartments, we still only need four team members to handle all guest communication. This keeps our organisation lean and frees up valuable funds for other investments.
Immediate responses to guest feedback bring better online reviews
Apart from using GuestJoy to streamline our online check-in process, we also use it to communicate with guests during and after their stay. We’ve set up the platform to automatically ask everyone staying two nights or more how their stay is going. If there’s a problem, we now have the opportunity to fix it while guests are still in-house. This has led to drastically improved reviews since travellers appreciate our quick response and our dedication to getting things right.
After check-out, GuestJoy automatically messages travellers to request feedback. If someone tells us about a positive experience, we encourage them to share it on public review platforms like TripAdvisor or the OTA they booked with. Combined, these approaches have significantly boosted our number of online ratings. Since fully reopening after a lockdown in spring 2021, we’ve received over 40 new reviews on Google and around 15 on Booking.com.
Finally, GuestJoy also makes it easy for me to manage our reviews. I can see which ones I’ve responded to and where I still need to follow up. This saves me valuable time and frees me up for other tasks.
Personalising the stay experience
Once guests have booked, we give them the chance to personalise their stay with add-ons like early check-in, late check-out or a parking space. This plays an important role in creating the personalised stay experience that travellers expect today.
In the past, these add-on requests led to a lot of back and forth via email which often felt tedious for our guests. Another issue was that we regularly got requests on the day of arrival, and were only able to handle them with some delay.
“GuestJoy makes all this much more straightforward. It´s a lot quicker and more satisfying for our guests to know it´s all taken care of before their arrival.“
GuestJoy makes all this much more straightforward. The platform allows us to show guests which options exist for their property. They can easily request what they need, and our team is notified immediately. Then we add the extras to their booking and send a confirmation message. It’s a lot quicker and more satisfying for our guests to know it’s all taken care of before their arrival. And when they check-in, they find everything ready, just how they want it.
Increased direct bookings
All guests can request a variety of add-ons via GuestJoy as soon as their booking is confirmed. We were able to set up the platform so direct bookers can add certain services for free, e.g., free parking and complimentary snacks on arrival. OTA guests, on the other hand, see a price attached to each add-on.
This has made it easier to drive more reservations from our website because the advantages of booking directly are clear to travellers. Also, there isn’t any confusion about who has to pay for what since GuestJoy takes care of that for us.
Customised set-up of GuestJoy for Your Apartment
We currently have over 165 apartments, some of which are in our apart-hotels while others are standalone properties. Since each one is unique, we had to take a few extra steps during our GuestJoy set-up to ensure we provided equal options and service levels for all units.
The customer service team was extremely helpful here. They customised the set-up to match our business needs, so we didn’t have to make compromises in any area. It took some extra time, but I’m very glad we went through this process thoroughly because now it’s paying off for us in a big way.
“They customised the set-up to match our business needs, so we didn’t have to make compromises in any area.“
A tool that aligns with Your Apartment’s future plans
When we picked GuestJoy as our guest experience solution, we wanted something that would both work for our current needs and support our expanding business. GuestJoy and their team’s attitude towards ongoing development perfectly fit this bill. The product is already great, and they’re dedicated to further improving it by adding new features and making it even more user-friendly.
The team at GuestJoy also understands the importance of a fully integrated tech stack that links all hotel systems. For example, the two-way integration with Mews, our PMS, is the key to making our online check-in and payment processing so easy for our guests. This saves everyone a tremendous amount of time and makes the guest journey much smoother. In the future, we’re hoping for even more such integrations, for example, one that automates the pre-arrival bookings for parking spots.
“Having used a few other guest experience platforms throughout my career, I think GuestJoy is by far the best one.”
A word to your peers
Having used a few other guest experience platforms throughout my career, I think GuestJoy is by far the best one. I’ve already recommended it to several fellow hoteliers and encourage everyone to test it because it’s very effective and so easy to use. A system like GuestJoy is the way forward, especially given how the pandemic has made contactless front office service so much more important for all types of accommodation businesses.
Technical Hospitality Writer
Back when I worked in hotels, we never had a chance to try out integrations. To be honest, I didn´t even think about it. But maybe I should have, because one of the reasons I left hospitality was that I was always occupied with too many monotonous tasks.
In other words, I just got tired.
We can easily jump into some of the basic tasks that I had to do every day. First of all was housekeeping.
It was madness to change the status of the rooms every single minute. Sometimes guests would wait in the lobby and I’d run to find one of the cleaning staff to double-check if the room had been cleaned.
It’s hard to imagine this happening today, because housekeeping solutions like Optii give you that sort of information instantly.
There was a revolutionary moment – when we started using a channel manager. I could finally take some time off!
However, it was not uncommon that when I was jogging, travelling, or doing whatever pleased me and I had to stop all my activities to close availability in every OTA. And trust me – sometimes I was too late!
Perhaps one of the worst examples was when I was holidaying in Spain, and got a call saying the hotel was overbooked. I spent the next 2 hours sorting that out.
(But some say that overbookings are a way to make revenue 😀 A good question for revenue managers??)
In most of my roles, upselling and cross-selling too were tasks required of me.
At one point we had too many coupons and discount codes for services and upgrades to give to every arriving guest.
So, we decided to design an envelope with our own logo. It seemed like a brilliant solution: You give it to the guest and don’t have to explain anything at all. So we waited and waited for our guests to start checking the envelope and buy our services.
Looking back now, none of it was ever going to work effectively.
But as strange as it sounds, we never looked for different solutions, nor considered changing our PMS. It never occurred to me because I was too busy designing envelopes, changes prices, chasing housekeeping, and communicating with guests.
Then, there was guest feedback to deal with.
Here is a business card with TripAdvisor review instructions:
We would give these to these guests who were happy enough that we thought they would leave us a good review. And if one was given to the wrong guest… 🙈
Laughable today, because guests expect a hotel will request their feedback from a post-stay email or SMS.
I think that hospitality has taken huge steps forward and now all that can be managed automatically. We still see similar patterns in some hotels but I am sure that the pandemic will slowly shift these mindsets.
In an ideal world, we should start with the PMS (Property Management System). It is the foundation of the hotel. There are numerous cloud-based solutions that connect with hundreds of supporting and complementary systems.
I remember one of my challenges was selling room upgrades. There was huge earning potential, but we ended up upgrading guests for free. In today’s world, it shouldn’t happen anymore. At GuestJoy, we have built two-way integrations with the most well-known PMS vendors to facilitate the possibility to upgrade rooms automatically.
The process would go something like this: Guests get a pre-stay email with possible upgrade options. When the guest browses them, only see the available room types. The guest can see pictures and what is included in the room, and if they find the offer attractive enough, click Book. This changes the room type in the PMS. It is not only a perfect guest experience but also increases upgrade revenue by 30%. That’s how seamlessly the process takes place!
Another regular question is about the early check-in or late check-out. I think hoteliers are asking too much from their guests by making them request it via email; again, you can create an upsell offer looking something like this and they can request it immediately.
Upselling is not complicated. Just gather all your additional services and add them to Guestjoy and start your digital guest experience.
The popularity of checking in online for hotel stays has dramatically increased over the past 12 months, and with good reason. The very notion of a guest manually filling out a paper form in this day and age seems archaic to most travellers now.
Seamless two-way integration takes care of it all, both providing the guest with a smoother arrival, and freeing up staff from repetitive manual labor. An added benefit is that it’s not only convenient for the guest, but also paperless to keep the environment green.
Times have changed so much and I’m sure will change even more in the coming years. Thanks to innovation it will attract more youngsters to join hospitality and run businesses very effectively. Who knows – I might even return to it myself someday! 😊
The cooperation between Hotsoft PMS and GuestJoy takes digital guest communication to a completely new level. The world won´t be the same anymore and also hospitality needs to take a new course. Digital guest communication is becoming part of our daily life. Online check-in to fasten the check-in process or choosing suitable services before the actual arrival date will make life more comfortable for the guests but also takes away repetitive tasks from a receptionist. The result will be a better digital guest experience and not less important is the time-saving.
How does it work?
The two-way API interface between Hotsoft PMS and GuestJoy enables hoteliers to create digital guest experiences using a single product. Once the integration is set up, the data flow between Hotsoft and GuestJoy is seamless. Updates made in GuestJoy appear in the guest folio.
Key benefits this new two-way integration brings
- Update check-in data in the PMS without manual entry
- Update orders and add to guest folio
- Upsell goes straight to invoicing
- Real-time room availability check and automated room upgrades
- More frequent updates (once an hour vs once a day with the old one)
- More segmentation fields
Leading Guest experience platform. The preferred choice among modern hoteliers who want to digitalize their guest experience but avoid using multiple standalone systems. Designed to simplify the life of you and your guests. GuestJoy is trusted by hundreds of properties in 25 countries.
Hoist Group’s HotSoft PMS is an industry-leading Property Management System (PMS). It has proven its value for over 1,500 multi-property groups, small and large hotels, B&B’s, Spa’s, Resorts, and various other hospitality businesses.
It enables you to manage all your daily hotel operations easily. It gives you control of your booking process as well as your guest journey. It helps you implement an end-to-end Mobile Guest Journey including online reservation, mobile check-in and check-out as well as mobile room keys.
HotSoft PMS is a single, easy-to-use, seamless cloud-based PMS solution that comes with a wide choice of modules you can choose from.