Industry Update
Opinion Article14 February 2017

For 2017, Resolve to do Something About Your Hotel's Package Problem

By Alex Shashou, President & co-founder of ALICE

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In recent years, the package situation at many hotels has become untenable. This is especially true for hotels where the concierge and front desk are responsible for package management, because concierge technology today doesn’t account for package management alongside the other requirements of the job. When evaluating concierge technology, look for systems that help concierges with a dedicated package management toolkit, in addition to all the other concierge-supporting functions of the technology platform.

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Each year, more and more packages get delivered. In the one month between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, an estimated 1,500,000,000 packages were delivered in the United States. No doubt many of those packages wound up at your hotel.

At certain hotels, like many of the boutique properties we work with in New York City, package management is the domain of the concierge or front desk agents. As the number of packages arriving at a hotel each day has increased, we’ve seen that concierges without the right technology to help them manage it all, have experienced their roles become less about providing concierge services, and more about stemming the incoming tide of packages.

It wasn’t always this way. Just as Amazon Prime has changed the game for brick and mortar retail, shipping and logistics, urban congestion, and even the residential doorman, packages have quietly become a dilemma for hotels. Before Amazon Prime, guests would often ship themselves business materials, or garments for events, or special purpose, bulky equipment, like skis. But the e-commerce explosion and cheap or free shipping mean it’s often cost effective for guests to have items shipped right to their hotel, particularly during the holidays, and especially if coming from overseas.

What happens when concierges don’t have a dedicated package tool?

  • Guest items go missing: When incoming packages aren’t logged, or logged manually, it’s easy to misplace these items. Hotels then have to devote employee time (concierges, front desk agents, and security) to hours and hours of “detective work” (watching security footage, pouring through logs, etc.). When items aren’t found, hotels often have to compensate guests, which is very expensive and a poor guest experience.
  • Huge amounts of employee time are lost to manual inventory: Going package by package to record 13 digit-long tracking numbers takes up an enormous amount of time your skilled employees could be devoting to pleasing your guests.
  • Vulnerability to shift changes: A paper- or excel-based package management system, or no formalized system at all, is prey to shift changes. When the team member who logged the package leaves for the day, so too does a lot of the knowledge associated with that package (who logged it, who sent it out, what time of day it was marked delivered, etc.). If a guest comes by the front desk after hours to ask about a package after hours, they’re often out of luck.

How things change with a technology that provides tools for every aspect of a concierge’s role, including package management.

  • Easily scan tracking numbers when packages are received.
  • Create labels - and tickets - for items without tracking numbers. Not all packages are “packages.” For items like garment bags and mailing tubes you can create a ticket for the item, print the ticket label, attach it to the item so you can log it, and then check it out when it gets picked up.
  • Gain full transparency for all your hotel staff: Any staff member can log into the system and see the status of a package and its associated information.
  • Gain full accountability: You can mark in the system when the package was given to a guest and print a receipt to record a signature.
  • Give guests peace of mind: Once a package is inventoried, you can send an email to the guest to let them know their package arrived.
  • Further delight guests by scheduling outgoing packages.
  • Get insights: A reporting tool helps you analyze package volume and processes, and provoke questions like whether you should charge for packages to supplement revenue.
  • Manage packages as part of a larger set of functionality concerning all inventory: You can use the system to also manage hotel amenities, loaners, and lost & found.
  • Manage packages, while also using the technology to perform all the other parts of he concierge job.

For 2017, resolve to do something about your hotel’s package problem. Empower your concierges and front desk agents with technology that provides tools for every aspect of their role.

Alex Shashou

Alexander Shashou is the co-founder and President of ALICE, the hospitality industry's first fully integrated operations platform, uniting back of house service optimization with front of house guest experience management and messaging. ALICE’s technology suite brings together the hotel front desk, concierge, housekeeping, and maintenance teams, and connects hotel guests to their hotel with a mobile app and SMS.

    More from Alex Shashou

    About ALICE

    ALICE is a hotel operations platform that empowers operational excellence and meaningful guest experiences. By bringing all hotel departments together with a single operations platform for internal communication and task management, ALICE helps hotel staff act as a team to provide consistently excellent service. Since the company was founded in 2013, ALICE has gained significant traction in the industry, working with more than 2,500 hotels and tens of thousands of hotel staff across many of the world's leading brands, including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Viceroy Hotel Group, Firmdale Hotels, Dream Hotel Group, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and The Leading Hotels of the World. The company acquired concierge technology provider GoConcierge in 2017. ALICE is the Forbes Travel Guide Brand Official Staff Technology Platform, an Inc. Best Workplaces of 2019, and winner of Best Place to Work in Hotel Technology, Best Concierge Software, Best Engineering & Facilities Management, Best Guest App and Top Staff Task Management & Collaboration Platform at the 2019 HotelTechAwards.

    For more information, visit https://www.aliceplatform.com.

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