Idrees Raja, the general manager of the Hampton Inn Peabody, sat down with Kipsu to discuss the hotel's Halloween-loving guests, guest service and changes from COVID, and how guest messaging has revolutionized their hotel's service.
Idrees Raja, who goes mostly by his last name, is a well-established general manager for one of Boston's staple hotels, The Hampton Inn Peabody, a Crestline Hospitality hotel. Raja is well-versed in the world of hospitality. Being in it for eighteen years, he can contribute his love for hospitality after finding it through a rather peculiar way: the military. Raja found that after traveling thirty-three countries during his service, he found the most comfort during his downtime at hotels.
After retiring from the military, Raja was able to continue exploring his interest in hospitality and found himself starting out in the industry in Dubai. He eventually moved to the United States and continued to grow in the profession. "I have been at this property for almost twelve years now," Raja shared. "I worked my way up from the front desk, and I have a really good team around me now."
Having a background from multiple parts of the world and an even stronger history in hospitality, Raja finds it easy to relate to his guests who visit from all corners of the globe. Raja embraces the wide variety of travelers that frequent his hotel.
"We get a lot of leisure travelers. We have groups, sports teams, international groups… We are close to Boston, and Salem, Massachusetts, which is a mecca for Halloween, and we are very busy because of that." Raja went on to explain just how seriously his guests take the October 31st festivities, "People don't come here just for fun, they are die hard people that celebrate Halloween. A person will go upstairs, and when they come down, they will be full of blood and so many things sticking out of their body. They'll spend five to six hours doing their makeup."
Raja first launched Kipsu at his property in 2017 and has been a customer ever since. When asked why Kipsu remains such a staple feature of his Hampton, Raja explained that Kipsu helps make his team more efficient and encourages guest communication from booking through check out. He had particular adoration for Kipsu's exclusive integration with the Hilton Honors app, where Honors guests can message with the hotel directly from inside the Honors mobile app.
"Kipsu is a really good messaging service for us to talk to our guests." Raja explained. "Once Kipsu integrated with the Hilton Honors, that made a huge difference… As soon as a guest makes a reservation, right away, they can start messaging and let the property know about their arrival or whatever their needs are. I use it myself when I travel with my family, so you know it's really good."
Raja is always trying to find creative ways to reduce unnecessary work for his staff and mentioned that he had been anxiously awaiting Kipsu's integration with Quore, the property's ticketing system. Kipsu and Quore recently announced the full integration between Kipsu's guest messaging dashboard and Quore's maintenance and back-of-house ticketing system. The integration allows team members to create tickets directly from inside the Kipsu dashboard, seamlessly connecting Kipsu's front-of-house guest communication and Quore's back-of-house ticket tracking. "I have actually just signed up to go ahead and integrate our Quore and Kipsu together… As soon as it was announced I told them, right away, I would be the first one to integrate... Any new thing which helps to reduce the work and makes it easy to communicate make it easy to communicate, we like to be part of that."
Throughout the interview, Raja consistently emphasized the importance of a positive guest experience and extending excellent service. Raja explained that guests, no matter the reason for traveling, are not at home and not in their comfort zone. Even a smile, he explained, can make someone feel welcome and comfortable. "It is called Hamptonality culture, it is a Hampton thing… You have to provide them with the service and think as if it was yourself. Treat a guest from your heart. Do whatever you can do to make them happy."
After the interview, it was apparent why the Hampton Peabody hotel was such an enjoyable place to stay and work; it's the result of Raja's dedication to making their experience one that he would want. Raja is attentive and caring to his guests and is always thinking of new ways to improve his staff's workflow.
Whether guests are staying there for Halloween or business travel, the Hampton Inn Peabody is an excellent option for any guest. Congratulations to Raja and the rest of the Peabody team for creating such a welcoming environment!
Curious to learn more about Kipsu and digital messaging? Connect with a member of our team to get all of your questions answered.