Sunday, 1 June 2014
Against the backdrop of some of New Zealand’s most beautiful locations, the Scenic Hotel Group boasts excellent facilities encompassed by genuine Kiwi hospitality. As New Zealand’s largest independently-owned and operated group of hotels and with expansion into the Pacific in full swing following the launch of the Scenic Hotel Tonga, the Group has a lot to be proud of.
The Group’s latest achievement has been the integration of kiosk technology across its 16 hotels. People are becoming more connected to the internet and according to Group Marketing Manager, Virna Smith, the hotel industry is not immune from this trend. Today’s hotel guests not only want great service, they expect it immediately and they want it on-tap 24/7. For these reasons, a smartly designed, integrated self-service solution fitted the bill.
The Scenic Hotel Group turned to long-time digital and web development partner Labyrinth Solutions to help find the right kiosk solution.
“We’ve worked with Labryinth for several years and they’ve been instrumental in helping us implement our digital strategy. They have an intimate understanding of our business needs, which is why their opinion is so important to us,” says Smith.
Many kiosk management systems are quite siloed in their approach in that they offer limited opportunities for integration with other systems - in this case, the Scenic Hotel Group’s five websites. This would mean that the content across the websites and kiosks would have to be managed separately. Implementing such a system would therefore not only be incredibly resource intensive, it would also put additional strain on the Group’s already busy marketing team. This was not an option.
“We have done a lot of work on Scenic Hotel’s underlying digital infrastructure to ensure it is robust enough to support their long-term strategy,” says Vaughan Reed, Managing Director of Labyrinth Solutions. At its core is Contegro, a powerful content management system (CMS) developed by Labyrinth Solutions, which has the ability to support Omni-channel marketing strategies by enabling content to be centrally managed across multiple digital touch points.
“In the case of Scenic Hotels, Contegro has been able to accommodate third party feeds from local tour operators and integrate with their hotel booking systems,” says Reed. But according to Smith the benefits of Contegro are more far reaching. “It has really empowered our marketing team. Being able to easily manage the content across the kiosks and websites from a central point has improved overall team efficiency and freed us up to focus on more strategic initiatives.”
The Scenic Hotels Group now have a self-service kiosk, powered by Contegro, running in the lobbies of all 16 of its hotels. Today’s guest can now conveniently browse the other hotel locations, explore the regions and make a hotel booking at the push of a button. The Group’s brand positioning is also well supported by the solution. As well as enhancing guest experience, the kiosks have been stylishly packaged – enticing guests to use them. “We call them our silent salesmen,” says Smith, “and the amount of guest traffic going the kiosks has already exceeded our initial expectations.”
Allowing guests to on-book accommodation is only phase one of the project. Soon the kiosks will allow hotel guests to book tours and activities direct with local operators. In short, they will effectively decrease wait times, improve order accuracy, provide information and options to guests, all at a 24/7 capacity.
“Vaughan has been an amazing mentor throughout the entire process and his team have opened us up to so many new opportunities. We can’t wait to see what comes next.”
“We’re only just scrapping the surface,” says Reed. The beauty about Contegro is that it can just as easily accommodate the integration of mobile technology, which will open up a whole new gambit of opportunities. “Mobile applications will allow guests to manage nearly every aspect of their hotel stay, from checking-in, booking a table at the restaurant and ordering room service, through to viewing their current bill through, checking-out and leaving a review. This is what we envisage for Scenic.”
A systems change on this scale is always going to be daunting, especially when you factor in the potential disruption to guests and hotel staff. But according to Smith, the team at Labyrinth Solutions took ownership of the entire project and hit every deadline from start to finish.