─ We either progress or we regress
As a family driven hotel we have been forced to think outside of the box in the competition against the big chains. The hotel business is under pressure, and so we have to constantly look for new solutions. It’s all about being oriented towards the future and taking part in the development of the field, says Tord Moe Laeskogen, owner of Sundvolden hotel.
A traditional industry
Sundvolden hotel, located just south of Hønefoss, has entered an exciting technological era. The hotel has utilized robot vacuum cleaners, and now they are about to introduce unmanned check ins- and outs.
«If we don’t progress, we regress. It’s like a frog that’s slowly being boiled.»
– The hotel industry is quite traditional in the way it’s being run. The way we work is very similar to the way they did it in the 80s, that’s almost 40 years ago. The business sector, the industrial sector, the transport sector – they’ve all found ways to work smarter and to be more effective. The hotel industry has to do the same. If we don’t progress, we regress. It’s like a frog that’s slowly being boiled.
Hotel owner Tord Moe Laeskogen (t.r.) and Alexander Richter from Fácil.
Want to offer better service
Tord and the rest of the staff at Sundvolden hotel are currently working closely with Fácil, the entrepreneur and technology company that has developed this solution. After a period of thorough testing and breaking in the new routines, the hotel is now ready to offer the service of self check ins and check outs on a permanent basis. For the guests that wish to use it, of course.
“We have to provide the best possible service to the guests that still want it”
─ This is all about being clever in the way we run things, and it’s not like we will be removing the reception all together. However, in the long run one might see that the reception area will have a slightly different set up than what we’re used to.
─ We have to provide the best possible service to the guests that still want it, and this group will likely keep approaching the staff for help. Other guests might wish to get check in and check out done quickly and easily, and this group only wants a room to stay in and does not have the need or wish to talk to anyone at all, Tord explains.
Hotel owner Tord Moe Laeskogen (t.r.) with his wife and co-owner Cecilie Moe Laeskogen.
Reducing the peak load
In charge of running Sundvolden hotel, Tord knows all about how busy things can get at specific times of the day. He believes that the self check-in system will help provide a more steady workload for the employees, as well as it will reduce the time guests have to spend waiting in line.
“We can give the employees the opportunity to work with tasks that are more meaningful”
─ It is not necessarily that the goal is to save a heap of money, but rather to spread out the hotels resources throughout the day. We will be able to give the employees the opportunity to work with tasks that are more meaningful. The receptionist will have more time to develop our branding and provide personal service to the guests that want it. The cleaning staff will be able to see what rooms need cleaning in real time, making their days more flexible and effective.
Collaboration with Opera
Fácil has a close collaboration and is also Gold Partner with Opera, who are currently supplying approximately 80% of PMS-systems to the hotel industry. In other words, the system can fully integrate with the hotels current systems. Of course, Fácil is also supporting other PMS-systems from other suppliers.
─ Collaborating with Sundvolden hotel during the development of the system has been an amazing journey. We have learned about and gotten to know the hotel industry, and maybe even more importantly the hotel guests throughout the development, says entrepreneur and CEO of Fácil, Alexander Richter.
Entrepreneur and Ceo of Fácil, Alexander Richter.
─ At Sundvolden we will be supplying multiple self check-in kiosks, where the guest will sign in and program their own key card. In addition to this we have developed an app that makes it possible to check in and open the door to your hotel room directly with your smartphone. Of course, this requires that the locks to every room supports bluetooth-communication, Richter clarifies.
The perfect solution for a conference hotel
Tord explains that the self-check in system could be a golden opportunity for hotels that relies on hosting conferences.
─ When a conference is booked you might risk several hundred guests walking in the door at the same time, and this is why I am truly excited to see the self-check in system in use. By moving the kiosks to the conference area of the hotel we will also be able to prevent long lines in the reception area. The conference guests will easily be able to check in without needing any help from the staff or even being close to the reception area, Tord remarks.
“This is the future, of that I am 100% confident”
─ This is the future, of that I am 100% confident. That’s why I’m so pleased that we’ve been on the ball and gotten this great collaboration going with Fácil. This is something we have to do if we want our hotel to keep being loved by our guests and envied by our competitors, even a 100 years into the future, the hotel owner concludes.
FACTBOX: (PLASSERES DER DET PASSER)
Name: Tord Moe Laeskogen
Occupation: Hotell owner of Sundvolden hotel and board member of “the historians” (De historiske)
Sundvolden Hotel has history going all the way back to 1648, and is considered among Norway’s oldest still running hotels and eateries. Today the hotel has 273 rooms, and the conference facilities can room up to 1200 participants.