March 29, 2022
No two days are alike in the hospitality industry, so General Manager Norma Gutierrez uses guest messaging at her Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Arlington, Texas to increase efficiency and make sure customers are happy.
Gutierrez has been working in hospitality for “a very long time.” Working her way up from a breakfast attendant and part-time front desk coordinator to general manager, she’s learned a lot over the years.
“I love the hospitality business, because every day is something new,” she said. “You learn a lot of stuff, you get to meet a lot of people, you get to be really active.” That’s not to say she hasn’t been challenged, but you get to learn lots of different personalities, she said.
“I like the challenging stuff,” Gutierrez said. “Nobody is the same, you have to understand that.”
In Arlington, Texas—right between Dallas and Fort Worth—the Holiday Inn is constantly busy. Whether it’s sports fans coming for a Dallas Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium, State Fair goers in the summer, or families headed to Six Flags, there’s always people coming in and out.
Even on off weekends, people come to shop at the nearby shopping center, Gutierrez said. “It’s a little bit of everything,” she said.
Hit hard by COVID-19 just like any other property, Gutierrez said that her team worked through the challenge by building a strategy that worked for them.
Lowering the rates to $50 per night, for only a few rooms in the 109-room hotel, helped them get through the rough patch and bring furloughed employees back after just a few weeks.
“That helped us build from nothing to being at 80 percent occupancy every day,” she said. “It was a challenge, [but] we survived through it.”
When Gutierrez first started working in hospitality in 2006, everything was on paper. “When I started at this hotel, everything was in a book,” she said, of how they kept track of reservations, contact information, and guest requests.
Now, for the past two years, they’ve been using Kipsu to communicate with guests, keep track of repeat customers, and overall increase guest satisfaction.
“It’s wonderful, because now we can communicate directly with guests without going all the way up to the room, or them coming all the way down [to the front desk],” Gutierrez said. Guests seem to be happy about the convenience of digital messaging, she added.
A big improvement, she said that just about every guest has opted in to texting the hotel via Kipsu. “For us, it’s helped a lot,” Gutierriez said of times when the front desk is not as staffed as she’d like it to be.
“We’ve had a wonderful experience with Kipsu.”
Learn more about Holiday Inn Express and Suites Arlington.
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