Running a hotel has never been an easy task.
It also seems that this is unlikely to change anytime soon. A combination of covid-19 and brexit is making life more difficult for hoteliers than they would like as occupancy problems and difficulties in the supply chain cause massive disruption.
With guests scarce, winning repeat customers by providing a state of the art experience is key to riding the storm.
An unspoken agreement (sort of)
When someone stays in your hotel they’re trusting you with their possessions. It may not be in the terms and conditions, (in fact you may explicitly state that you are not responsible for lost items.)
The fact of the matter is that customers expect a certain level of diligence. This means preventing theft, safely storing valuables and of course ensuring lost property management is up to scratch
The two options for lost property in hotels
When putting together a process for managing the misplaced possessions of guests, there are two options. One is tech driven, cohesive and seamless. The other a disjointed process without the proper tools. No prizes for guessing which one we think is the best option
Jim and Sarah have just finished up a dream weekend at The Cumberdale hotel in Gloucester. The food was delicious, the staff amiable and the rooms immaculate.
There was even a rotation of different chocolates on the pillows each day. Garnished with a hand written note explaining the many complimentary flavours. How very quaint.
The issue arises when Sarah reaches into her bag on the journey home to find thin air where her phone used to be. Being so close to their country house in the Cotswolds they decide against turning back.
Jim assures his wife that The Cumberdale, being a well to do establishment will have a robust lost property process. This is where our story splits into parallels. One where Jim is right and one where he isn’t.
Parallel universe 1:
In this dimension, Jim and Sarah have stayed at a version of the Cumberdale that does not use lost property software.
When staff locate a missing item they log it on a physical ledger. So, when one of the cleaners finds Sarah’s purse they hand it in to the office.
At this point, Sarah calls up. No one has entered the missing item in the ledger so the staff say they don’t have a record of it and that Sarah should call back the next day.
Cursing her luck, Sarah, not being one to take chances, cancels her cards. The next day a member of The Cumberdale team calls Sarah with bittersweet news.
Surprise surprise, the purse was there all along. Unfortunately however, the damage has been done.
What happened here?
Sarah and Jim’s perception of their weekend has shifted considerably.
Even though The Cumberdale haven’t done anything wrong per se, Sarah won’t be able to think about her stay without the lost purse springing to mind.
On top of this staff have had time taken out of their busy schedules.
Cleaners, receptionists and facility managers have all had precious minutes and hours taken from them. Time that could be better used creating a first class experience for guests.
Parallel universe 2:
In this dimension, The Cumberdale is set up to use Notlost’s tailor made lost property software. This is the universe you want to be in when you lose something. Let’s break down how it should work.
1) One of the cleaning staff finds Sarah’s purse, they takes a picture of it and uploads it to Notlost’s secure database along with any relevant information
2) Image recognition software creates a profile of the item
3) When Sarah enquires a member of the team directs her to a self service portal where she enters details of the missing item
4) Our image matching software links up enquires with missing items and a member of The Cumberdale team validates the match
5) When there is a confirmation, our system emails Sarah with a list of return / collection options
A lost property process for hotels that works
When the correct system is in place, everyone wins.
The staff save time (and the hotel money) while the customer gets a far better overall experience and are much more likely to visit again.
On top of this far less items are thrown away, helping to make the hotel more sustainable.