How to Put The Profit Back In Room Service

How to Put The Profit Back In Room Service

by Ed Water CEO of Ask Blue

Room service profits have decreased by 25% since the recession. Hotels face steep competition for food and beverage spend from neighboring restaurants that offer delivery and on-demand delivery apps like Uber Eats.

So how can hotels increase revenue in their Food and Beverage (F&B) department without fruitless spending or adding manpower? How can room service become the easiest, best option for your hotel guests?

The Mind Of A Hungry Traveler

A business traveler with a corporate credit card arrives to your hotel. All she wants to do is go upstairs and relax, but she’s hungry. She isn’t familiar with the your local neighborhood your hotel is in, so she doesn’t know of any good local restaurants in the area. She goes upstairs, kicks off her shoes and opens up one of her reliable food delivery apps. An hour later, the delivery driver waltzes past your hotel restaurant and away with your hotel’s profits on her food purchase. Worse, food you expected to sell that evening may end up in the bin tomorrow as it expirers. That’s like taking $100 bills and lighting them on fire.

Easier Than An App

When hotels utilize an AI-powered in-room device like Ask Blue, the hungry traveler has an even easier option for food than any of her apps offer. In the above scenario, instead of having to sift through dozens of digital menus to find the best food option, all she needs to do is Ask Blue what’s available.

A typical conversation would look something like this:

Her: Hey Alexa, Ask Blue what’s available for room service.

Blue: In room dining specials for tonight include grass fed burgers, grilled chicken salad, and spinach ravioli.

Her: I’ll take the ravioli. I’d like it as soon as possible.

Blue: I’ll get your order started right away.

And since Ask Blue makes it so easy to order in-room dining, the odds that the same hotel guest orders multiple times over the course of their stay is greatly increased.

Reduce Waste

Did you order too much of a particular food that will expire soon? Or maybe there’s a surplus of a dish that’s just not selling well? Your kitchen manager can set up a special and advertise it using Ask Blue. You can reduce food waste while increasing revenue in just a few minutes.

Replace An Employee

With Ask Blue, you’ll no longer need to pay for an employee to stand by the phone and take orders. Ask Blue can be integrated with your current system to trigger an automatic order. Not only that, but Blue effectively removes the human error element to order taking. Blue will follow up with relevant staff until the food has been made and delivered.

Use Data To Inform Your Kitchen

Ask Blue collects data after every interaction with the guest. Want to know when a guest asked what kind of food was offered but failed to order? Or what the most popular dishes through in-room dining are over the past month? Hotel owners and kitchen staff can use this data to make informed menu offerings. The more your hotel offers that guests like, the more they’ll spend and the happier they’ll be.

Discover how Ask Blue can reduce costs at your hotel while improving
your guest’s experience.

Download the FREE case study here.

Interested in learning how you can save up to $100K or more per year?

Take a look at our latest case study.

How To Communicate With Foreign-Speaking Guests Without Needing A Translator

How To Communicate With Foreign-Speaking Guests Without Needing A Translator

by Ed Water CEO of Ask Blue

Room service profits have decreased by 25% since the recession. Hotels face steep competition for food and Global tourism has been steadily increasing year over year. More people than ever are exploring new cities and countries, which is great news for hoteliers. However, with this increase in international travel, hotels are presented with an increasing challenge: how does hotel staff communicate with guests that speak a different language?

Sorry, we don’t speak that language

Let’s say your hotel is in a major international hub, like Miami. One of the requisites of your hotel staff is that they speak both English and Spanish. A handful also speak Portuguese, as many of your guests are from Latin America. They’re able to communicate with the majority of the visitors that stay at your hotel. These guests rate your hotel very highly, since you’ve saved them the frustration and awkwardness of suffering through a painful conversation in broken English.

Then a small group of tourists from Japan arrives. Collectively, they know three words of English: hello, thanks, and bathroom. These guests have an urgent request: they need to find a doctor, stat. One of them has symptoms of food poisoning.

They’ve brought a small language handbook and point to the word for doctor. Your staff understands what they need, but they don’t know how to tell them how to get to the closest urgent care center.

One of your forward-thinking front desk agents quickly opens a translation app. Unfortunately, this app has no idea what to do with the street names you type in. The tourist group wants to ask a question, but the keyboard isn’t set up for the Japanese alphabet.

Now, your hotel guests are frustrated, your front desk agents feel incompetent and helpless, and the medical situation is worsening with each passing minute. Nobody wants to be in this situation, but something similar is happening all over the world every day.

Communicate with guests in real-time with Blue Fish

Effective communication is the heartbeat of any business or industry. With Blue Fish, the need to keep costly translators on staff is eliminated. Guests can ask Blue Fish questions in their own language and Blue Fish will respond in the same language.

If the guest wants to speak with a front desk agent directly, the guest can ask a question in their native language and Blue Fish will repeat the guest’s question in the agent’s language. The agent can respond, and Blue Fish will translate the agent’s words back into the guest’s language.

Currently, Blue speaks English, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, German, Italian and Portuguese, with plans for additional languages to be added to the system soon.

Now, your foreign language speaking guests will be as informed about all the amenities and services your hotel offers as other guests. They’ll be able to receive the same service that all your guests are entitled to, without the cost of hiring multiple employees that speak different languages or employing a costly translator.

No more missed opportunities for connection. No more failures to fulfifill foreign language speaking guests. Human to human communication is possible across many cultures because Blue Fish runs on the ever growing Ask Blue AI platform.

Discover how Ask Blue can reduce costs at your hotel while improving
your guest’s experience.
Download the FREE case study here.

Interested in learning how you can save up to $100K or more per year?
Take a look at our latest case study.

Can Artificial Intelligence Replace The Front Desk Agent?

Can Artificial Intelligence Replace The Front Desk Agent?

by Ed Water CEO of Ask Blue

The front desk is one area of the hotel that must always be manned. Hotel guests can arrive at any time, day or night, and someone needs to be there to greet them.

Yet the front desk is one of the most problematic areas of a hotel. If a guest arrives when the desk is understaffed, they’ll have to deal with a long wait time. If they’re trying to phone from their room during a busy period, they may have trouble getting their request fulfilled.

Long wait times, failure to fulfill requests, and an unpleasant experience can lead to a bad review of your hotel. As you know, bad reviews hurt your bottom line.

Bad Experiences Lead To Bad Reviews

When your hotel is running well, you never get bad reviews. But it only takes one evening outside the norm when you aren’t there for a series of unusual events to impact your guest and leave you with a scathing review. Consider this highly unlikely scenario: A guest arrives at 10:30 p.m. after a four-hour flight. There is only one person at the front desk. The second is on a smoke break. There are two people in line ahead of this guest, and your front desk agent is moving about as fast as the sloth from Zootopia.

When the guest finally makes it to the front of the line, your front desk agent is short with him because her dog is sick/she’s fighting with her boyfriend/her coworker takes extra long cigarette breaks and that irritates her.

The first impression this guest has of your hotel is a negative one. He’s a reasonable man though, and very tired, so he heads to his room and falls asleep. When he wakes up the next morning, he realizes he forgot his toothbrush. He calls the front desk to ask for one to be sent up.

However, it’s peak time at the front desk. All of the agents are busy. After several rings and a five-minute hold time, he’s transferred to housekeeping. No one answers. He has a meeting to get to and doesn’t have time to chase down someone from the hotel. He begrudgingly throws his pants on and heads to the nearest CVS to grab one. When he walks back into the hotel, your front desk agents are standing around, laughing with the bellhop.

This hotel guest’s empathy for your staff has just run out. He hops onto TripAdvisor and leaves a 1-star review of your hotel. And we all know that enough bad reviews of your hotel lead to a huge loss of income.

Why Choose Ask Blue Over Hiring An Additional Front Desk Agent?

Save Money

Ask Blue leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to offer a cost effective replacement to hiring additional front desk agents and other hotel associates that are responsible for receiving guest requests. Glassdoor estimates that the average front desk agent makes about $25,5000 per year. That’s over $75,000 for three full-time employees, not to mention benefits, paid time off, insurance, and overtime. AI solutions like Ask Blue are a fraction of the cost of hiring additional employees. Cost savings for a 100-room hotel can easily reach over $97,000.

Works Harder and More Accurately

Not only does Ask Blue offer a huge savings, but it works harder than a full-time employee. Ask Blue never calls in sick. Unlike human employees, Ask Blue works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year without taking a single day off. Ask Blue doesn’t get lazy and isn’t apathetic to guest needs. The system is set up to continually follow up with a request that a guest has made until it’s been fulfilled, which dramatically improves customer service.

Better Ratings

Nearly 78% of travelers say that online reviews are very important when choosing a hotel to stay in. With AI solutions, guests don’t have to deal with the variable moods of employees. Ask Blue is always respectful and can’t say anything that will upset a guest.

The guest experience is greatly enhanced because they don’t have to suffer through long hold times on the phone or deal with unnecessary wait times at the front desk to ask a simple question. Thus, AI makes it more likely that a hotel guest will leave a positive rating, which will drive even more revenue to hotel operators and owners that deploy Ask Blue in their hotels.

Not only can Ask Blue eliminate the need to hire additional employees, but it can do so while improving the guest experience and reducing costs. You no longer have to rely on your employees always being model citizens who never get upset or have a bad day. Ask Blue can help bring a more consistent experience to your guest no matter what time of night they need assistance

Discover how Ask Blue can reduce costs at your hotel while improving your guest’s experience.

Download the FREE case study here.

Interested in learning how you can save up to $100K or
more per year?
Take a look at our latest case study.