Partner companies Tafer Hotels & Resorts and the Villa Group, representing two pioneering collections of luxury hotels and resorts in Mexico, have just introduced hospitality mobile wunderplatform ALICE to all fourteen of their distinct vacation properties. Overseeing these high-end collections to ensure that the millions of unique moving parts flow together seamlessly is Carlos Aquino, VP of Sales & Business Development, who was searching for better ways to connect his hotel departments and staff, and integrate the unique resorts with one another.
“We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to make improvements to our services and create more opportunities to WOW our guests,” Aquino says. “As independent companies, we have not always had an efficient ability to integrate all the systems and… the myriad of platforms to complement our own custom development.”
The properties’ management team and staff considered the hospitality software they were using to be very limited in what it could do and lacking any features for guests. “Our customers are very mobile driven… the way they interact with us nowadays is more on mobile devices. We need technology that is one step ahead of that, such as the possibility of integrating chatbots… We’re always looking to meet the customer where they are, not forcing them to be where we are.”
With a global vision for expansion, the two hotel groups were also looking to unify communications and “wanted to better interconnect systems and data, finding more compatibility with new partners and more flexibility,” Aquino says. “With ALICE we saw an opportunity to create a higher-level experience.”
Founded in 2013 as the first integrated guest management platform, ALICE streamlines hotel communication and task management with a completely customizable, cloud-based app that’s accessible from any device. The user-friendly interface connects all hotel departments in real-time, helping them act like a unified team. ALICE’s main product—ALICE Suite—brings together the front office, concierge, housekeeping, and maintenance teams, while connecting guests to the hotel through the company’s app and text messaging tools. The result is increased hotel revenue, efficiency, and morale, as well as improved guest relations.
“We were very impressed with the degree of understanding that we found in the process and due diligence to what our needs were and what we were looking for,” Aquino says. He was also very pleased with the possibilities of integrating the platform with their own CRM and guest depository. ALICE offered a “very simple process” and Aquino is excited to use it to predict guest requests and service needs. “Capturing data is the most important benefit, and once it’s captured then we can analyze it.”
Moreover, the data’s usefulness expands well beyond benefitting just each hotel individually. By using ALICE, Aquino says the goals are, “Centralizing data from all our properties; being able to analyze and compare our properties; creating a new set of benchmarks within our hotel service standards. ALICE is a unique solution that we can use to standardize our processes where today they are not, which is quite a challenge today when it comes to individual data. There are only so many spreadsheets you can pull out and work with.”
And not only does ALICE help overcome the boundaries of time, but also of space. With fourteen expansive properties, the two resort groups relied on a rudimentary system of radios for communication before signing on with ALICE. “The biggest challenge in more complex properties like ours has been the mobility of our associates,” Aquino says. “We have not been able to always identify where the staff are around property. Hundreds of radios. … we couldn’t find a solution before that provided the mobility required. People at a resort are moving all over the place.” ALICE addressed this by working through mobile phones that everyone has access to and takes advantage of the great Internet coverage across the property that wasn’t being fully utilized.
All of these advantages will not only help associates to be more efficient, but will also enable them to better connect with their guests, and for their guests to better connect with them. The ALICE program is versatile enough to connect to various guest room technologies. “If we want to develop an app solution, the ALICE API will make it significantly cheaper and more achievable for us to give our guests a better experience that they can control, and which integrates with other programs,” Aquino says. “Mostly, what we are looking for is that ROI on the technology.” With ALICE, the goal is to get real time feedback with measurable service standards and customer satisfaction results.
And speaking of the future, Aquino says, “We have a very clear understanding that our core purpose is to create iconic hotels and unique experiences and spaces for our customers. In doing that we have to be constantly evolving to where our customers are… We want partners that offer a degree of customization and understanding that each business has unique differentiators.” Having hotels that are unique in design, ambience, style, and clientele requires uniformity in terms of operations so all hotels can be on the same page when communicating. That’s where ALICE excels, and Aquino is excited to have found the platform before opening the new properties. The groups expect to open at least one hotel each year over the next five years in Mexico, and plan to expand further thereafter. Thankfully, ALICE offers a duplicable, scalable model that streamlines all management, staff, and guest relations, and makes a whole lot of sense in any language.