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How to streamline front-desk operations and elevate your guest experience

Gambino Hotels

Gambino Hotels, a family-owned hotel, striving to be more than just a place to stay. Gambino has a very unique approach towards hospitality: they provide the best accommodation and leave all the extra services to the businesses in the area. 

They don’t offer breakfast, instead, they choose to collaborate with local partners, transforming travellers’ visits into an enriching and immersive experience. As they always say, “sleep with us and spend your time with the locals”.

It has always been the Gambino brother and sister’s dream to have their own hotels. In 2017, the dream came true when they built Gambino Cincinnati. Three years later, they opened the second hotel, with 300 rooms. And the business has continued to grow. 

To keep providing personalised services and a truly local experience, Gambino partnered with Bookboost.

Challenge: Handling all guest communications efficiently and personalising the experience 

One of the main challenges faced by the Gambino team was to effectively handle communications with guests. With multiple communication channels and only one receptionist handling all queries, this had become a daunting task.

Employees always found themselves switching between a computer, an iPhone and a traditional telephone in order to keep up with the guest messages from different platforms. Moreover, there weren’t any automatic answers neither, so they had to manually write each message, spending more time than they wanted and missing out on other tasks.

The team realised they needed to find a new solution to save time and effort. “We always want to make our processes as smart as we can. We wanted to make it easier for the team. But of course, we also wanted to do something special for the guests”, said Carsten, Head of Operations at Gambino Hotels. 

The team also wanted to create a more personalised experience for guests by adding touch points that not many hotels have in their guest journey, aiming to increase guest satisfaction. 

When looking for a solution, the Gambino team was focused on a system that had a seamless integration with their Property Management System, Clock PMS, and that’s how they found Bookboost. 

Through this integration, Gambino Hotels can transfer all the guest data from ClockPMS into Bookboost not just to gather powerful insights but also to take action.

Solution: Streamline front desk operations and personalise messages

In the partnership with Bookboost, Gambino implemented several steps to help their team save time and be able to focus on other tasks. 

First, they used a chatbot to automate answers

By analysing their frequently asked questions, they were able to identify the information that is most needed by guests and visitors. In that way, the chatbot takes care of the simple questions in an instant and the team was able to focus on more complex guest requests.

A lot of conversations the team doesn’t see because the chatbot already took care of them”, added Carsten.

Besides that, what really made a difference for the team was going from using several platforms and manually answering everything, to having Bookboost as the main system for communications. Employees no longer need to spend a huge amount of time juggling between different devices and writing answers by themselves. Instead, they can dedicate more time to creating a personalised experience for their guests.

Second, they added new touchpoints to make the guest experience more special 

The Gambino team wanted to make guests happier and provide something additional to them, something not all hotels were doing. 

A common guest journey includes a booking confirmation and a pre check-in message, but they want to take it further, adding a new touch point that makes guests feel seen and heard. With that goal in mind, they added a new message for guests after check-in, a smooth way of making sure if everything in their stay is going as expected.

“We thought it would be great if you check in and you receive a message saying ‘hey, is everything okay?’, and this is something we can do with no effort. I really love this idea and 90% of our guests are very happy with it”, added Carsten. 

Third, they utilised multi-channel communication and segmentation for faster interactions 

To give every guest interaction a personal touch, they segmented their guests based on their preferences and loyalty.

By implementing segmentation, Gambino is able to distinguish between first-time visitors and loyal customers, ensuring that tailored messages are delivered to different groups. With the visual guest journey builder, they can easily get a general overview of what will be sent at every stage and edit wherever you need to, making the process easier and clearer.

“I really like the system where I can see the journey. It’s kind of fun to work with the back office, you can see everything very easily, and you can change things”, said Carsten. 

Result: Happy employees and happier guests

Reduced workload and higher employee satisfaction 

According to Carsten, the main goals of the Bookboost implementation have been accomplished: working smarter and more professionally, and making it easier for the team. 

Now the team has the right tools to use their time more efficiently instead of being frustrated by repetitive and time-consuming tasks. They rarely receive phone calls now because chatbot is doing its job. 

All the messages from different platforms go into Bookboost’s Unified Inbox and using quick responses, the response time has lowered considerably. As a result, the staff has more time to interact with guests and provide a personalised experience. 

The reception desk is very happy to work with Bookboost. They answer things really fast now and can even have fun with it. It has become a regular part of their work”, added Carsten.

In hospitality, making guests happy is a key objective, but what is also key is to keep the hotel team motivated and provide them with the right tools so they innovate and optimise the use of their time. Carsten understands this and considers his team as one of his stakeholders.

The best thing is when employees have fun. My job as a manager is first to make the employees happy. And if that works, and we are using a system that works, it will have a positive impact on guests too”, he added.

Easier and targeted communication

Since Gambino has expanded their communication channels, it has also simplified the process for the employees to send messages.

Campaigns and messages are being sent from different channels instead of just emails. This makes the communication and interaction faster and more engaging. Traditional emails may feel overwhelming to write in large quantities, but using WhatsApp feels more like sending messages to friends. And employees also find it enjoyable.

In addition, using Bookboost’s Multi-Channel CRM, the team is able to create different audiences and segmentations, sending the right message to the right guests. And what adds more value: they can personalise the messages depending on who will receive it.

Enhanced guest satisfaction

All these changes have resulted in higher guest satisfaction. 

Guests obtain faster answers whenever they reach out to Gambino Hotels through any of their channels. 

In addition, they can now receive more meaningful messages that cater directly to their needs instead of being bombarded with unnecessary information. This adds value to their interactions and ultimately builds loyalty.

Lastly, they are not stuck with just one channel. They can choose to communicate with the hotel via WhatsApp and receive every communication there instead of being forced to use email, which also leads to higher satisfaction.

Main takeaways from Gambino Hotels

- Consider your team as one of your stakeholders:

As Carsten said, making sure your team is happy should be one of your main concerns because this will also impact your guests.

- Look for ways to surprise your guests: 

Add something extra to your guest journey that can elevate the guest experience and make the brand come up as more professional.

- Don’t be afraid to innovate:

Things are changing and technology can help you not only to overcome daily challenges but also to fulfil your guests’ expectations.

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