For many hotel chains, communicating with their entire frontline team is a huge challenge which requires a unique communication solution. Companies that don’t effectively communicate with their teams may be missing out on a major opportunity to elevate their brand and connect with their customers.
Exclusive Collection comprises of six beautiful hotels in the South of England.
It focuses on hosting a mix of different events including conferences, weddings and leisure activities and is positioned in the luxury end of the industry, with two Michelin Star restaurants on-site.
Exclusive Collection made the decision to invest in communication technology to unite their frontline team and help build and support company culture.
They set out to achieve a range of goals with its new platform: better communications, improve operational efficiency, enhance recruitment efforts, streamline onboarding, remove paper and improve the overall customer experience.
Now, for the first time, the hotel’s team of 1,200 frontline workers, dispersed across six different locations are all able to communicate with each other, management, and HR instantly through the Beekeeper platform.
Not only has this improvement in internal communications helped increase overall efficiency through knowledge sharing, it’s helped Exclusive Collection address customer concerns very quickly, preventing them from escalating.
Exclusive Collection’s Communication Goals
Over the last few years developing a new brand was key to The Exclusive Collection’s marketing strategy. Its objective was to build a company culture that reflects the ideals of a modern hospitality brand, centered around an overarching goal to “Create Happiness in Amazing Places.”
A major consideration during the project was how best to share the values with a team that’s 1,200 strong? How could the team get a true sense of what Exclusive’s values actually mean? And how could employees share their own ideas and experiences to reinforce the messaging being shared by the senior team?
As part of the rebrand planning, the Exclusive Hotels management team conducted an audit and identified that there were gaps in its employee communication and engagement. The senior team was aware that its traditional methods of communicating with staff through email or bulletin boards weren’t effective and were not reaching the entire team.
In order to improve employee engagement and satisfaction, management decided to measure overall sentiment by sending out employee surveys to the team seeking feedback.
Following the audit the key objectives for the project were to:
- Create a more positive company culture that incorporated Exclusive’s new core values
- Increase employee engagement and satisfaction
- Improve customer service by reducing barriers to communication
The scope of the project also involved reviewing all of the ways in which the business communicates and also developing an overall internal communications strategy for the company.
The project included the implementation of Beekeeper itself, the training, the support, and the ongoing user management.
Management decided to invest in technology that would facilitate more robust communication throughout the company. After exploring a number of solutions, Exclusive Collection decided to introduce the Beekeeper internal communications platform to achieve this.
Beekeeper is a mobile-first communication and productivity platform that integrates multiple operations features and communication channels in one secure hub. This means that for the first time, the hotel group could reach all its employees with communications, information, and tools regardless of whether they worked behind a desk or not.
This digital solution enabled the company to create a secure and safe space for its entire team to openly engage with each other. Employees now use the Beekeeper platform to share important operational information and brand related content.
Exclusive Collection introduced the new Beekeeper app to its entire team in April 2018. Almost immediately they received a positive response from all team members.
Since the launch of Beekeeper, over 90% of the team has used the tool to showcase the company’s core values, share ideas and best practices, and communicate operational information more efficiently.
40 – 50 posts are added to the platform per day on topics ranging from success recognition to operational updates and everything in between. Over 600 messages between colleagues are sent each day and every manager at Exclusive Hotels uses the platform to communicate with their respective departments. Some examples of this include; sending out rotas, shift updates, and new policies and procedures empowering employees to have access to all the information they need to do their job at an optimum level.
The engagement in Beekeeper’s communication app at Exclusive has been remarkable. It even surpassed its own activation goals.
Since Beekeeper’s launch; the number of people rating communication as excellent in their exit interviews has risen by 60%, labour turnover has dropped by almost 20%, and overall employee satisfaction has risen by 11%.
By being a more innovative employer, Exclusive is able to attract more talent as well as motivate the existing team. This has undoubtedly made Exclusive a more competitive employer.
The target for the launch of the platform was tied into the timeline for the launch of their new brand values. This meant that it was imperative for the system to be launched on time and efficiently. Thankfully the comprehensive onboarding support from Beekeeper ensured that the new communication platform was successfully implemented on time and on budget.
The 20% improvement in labour turnover has saved the company around £280,000 as a result of less spending on recruitment and improved productivity. (Based on figures provided by ACAS)
For the hotel group, this project wasn’t just focused on ROI, but also on investing in its people and improving the employee experience.
What’s more, the projected targets to hit for employee engagement were actually met way ahead of schedule, meaning that the team were able to set goals which have since been achieved.
Additionally, the scope of the project has since been expanded and the team has now found other opportunities to use the platform. Exclusive Collection uses Beekeeper to conduct employee surveys (such as post-training satisfaction surveys) and to onboard new hires. It also runs internal competitions such as the monthly “best display of company values” competition. Beekeeper is now an integral training tool for the whole organisation.
So far, Beekeeper has exceeded all initial expectations. Since the launch, employee retention and engagement have significantly improved. When asked in a recent survey, over 80% of Exclusive employees asked could name all six company values and describe what they meant and how they affected them.
Broader communication among Exclusive’s frontline team has improved and internal transfers have increased as a result of communicating room vacancies more efficiently. Multiple examples of cross-property support have been witnessed, and the number of emails being sent has decreased substantially as well as the amount of paper use. Given that the majority of the workforce is based away from a conventional desk, this is a real bonus.
Beekeeper has also been used to promote new internal training opportunities. This has helped improve the overall skill level and increased access to training across Exclusive Hotels.
Exclusive Hotels employee testimonials:
“I like using Beekeeper. It’s a great way to stay updated and in touch with everyone in the business. I can use it to send out important updates but also learn about other areas of the business and what they’re up too. It’s a really fun platform to use, allowing us to post photos. It’s also now a key tool for our business and something I think we’ll use for a very long time” – Elizabeth Farnes – Events Coordinator
“Beekeeper has really helped our internal communication in that we are able to easily engage with every member of the team, which email fails to do. Not only is it important for day-to-day operational communication, it is also a fabulous tool with which to celebrate everything including individual birthdays, work anniversaries, guest feedback, and personal successes. I can honestly say that the team is much closer and far more engaged as a result of introducing Beekeeper to the business and there is no doubt that this has helped to improve our retention and satisfaction scores.” – David Connell – General Manager
“The key change for me has been the ability to reach everyone in the business and the amazing thing is that the teams are contributing daily – sharing what’s happening in all parts of the business, and clearly demonstrating our core values.” – Carmen Hill – Group HR Manager
“Beekeeper is a great tool not only from a communication point of view, but it also allows the team to connect with one another, share praise and feedback, and keeps teams in the loop.” Mike Searle, Assistant Guest Services Manager
“For me, Beekeeper has been one of the single biggest changes we’ve made to the way we work in the past 10 years. It has revolutionised the way we communicate as a business, and it has enabled us to create a real community. I couldn’t imagine working without it.” Chris Tod, Learning and Development Manager