Bringing the Ambassador Hotel Kansas City to No. 1

How hotel texting has helped this property rise to the top of the Autograph Collection ranks



March 25, 2022

For the past two years, The Ambassador Hotel Kansas City strived to rank in the Top 25 out of 135 Autograph Collection hotels in North America, but seemed to fall short of their goal. With additions like digital messaging for his hotel, Hotel Manager John Anastasopoulos got them to No. 1 in just a matter of months.

Passion in hospitality

Growing up with restaurant owners for parents, Anastasopoulos got into the service industry young. After serving and managing at his family restaurant, he went to school for hospitality and ran a few other restaurants in San Diego before sticking with hotels. 

“I think the passion came from seeing my parents in the business,” he said. “Learning that level of care and hospitality, and love for people and food.” 

It was a natural progression to stay in the industry and work his way up, he added. The pandemic abruptly ended his stint at a property in downtown San Diego, so when it was time to go back to work, he and his wife decided to look for jobs elsewhere.

“Kansas City popped up and we decided to take a leap of faith,” Anastasopoulos said. “It’s been a good journey so far, and I’m very impressed with the culture of the company.”

The Ambassador Hotel Kansas City.

Moving on up 

In hospitality, you have the ability to make someone’s day, which is his favorite part. “You have the power to turn their birthday weekend into something special, something beyond their expectation,” Anastasopoulos said.

Every day, with 100 or more people passing through the hotel, there’s a lot of opportunity for these moments. He mentioned that with a great staff, you can wow guests in ways they didn't even think possible. 

When Anastasopoulos got to this Autograph Collection Hotel property by Marriott, the rankings against the rest of the 135 other Autograph properties in North America could have been stronger and there were great areas of improvement to be made. He set out aiming to be in the top 25, improving processes and implementing guest messaging for hospitality via Kipsu.

Within a month of utilizing digital messaging for his hotel, Ambassador Hotel Kansas City was ranked No. 10 in December 2021. After another month passed, they were No. 1 in January 2022. 

“It’s huge coming from a hotel that strived to be in the upper rankings amongst other Autograph Collection properties,” he said. “It’s been awesome.” 

As someone who enjoys a little friendly competition, he’s also been using these rankings to give him an idea of how the staff is performing, and figuring out how the team can improve. 

Instant feedback 

Digital messaging platforms for hotels can help teams know where to make improvements and get instant feedback, which is something Anastasopoulos mentioned enjoying about Kipsu.

The team at Ambassador Hotel Kansas City.

“Kipsu helped [us] eliminate those one-off reviews,” he said. Without the ability to mention a problem instantly via text messaging, guests might wait until the end of their trip to share their concerns about it on a review site like TripAdvisor.

An example of this is when a guest mentioned there was no coffee in their room. While the front desk team brought some right away after being notified with a text message, Anastasopoulos took it one step further. 

“It showed us that we might be falling behind, and maybe need to do something a little extra,” he said. 

Kipsu is now part of the front desk routine at Anastasopoulos' hotel, and the staff seems to be enjoying it. “We’ve been happy using it, I think the team appreciates not having to be called all the time at the desk,” he said. 

While many are thinking about the guest perspective for digital messaging, it’s also beneficial for front desk staff. If someone sends a text versus a phone ringing constantly, they have more time to compose their response or check in a guest while responding to a text.

He personally thinks that texting is the way we’re headed in terms of communication. “I enjoy communicating with guests using whatever means is easiest for them, and text messaging seems to be a strong form of communication— in many aspects the more preferred method,” he said.

Digital messaging in hotels like the Ambassador Hotel Kansas City is becoming more and more popular, to increase staff efficiency and elevate the guest experience.

Learn more about guest messaging in hospitality, or schedule a conversation with Kipsu today.

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