The Hilton Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, Mall of America doesn’t shy away from embracing new technology. Located in a fast-paced, dynamic Minneapolis market, hotel General Manager, Scott Youngblood, uses mobile applications to quickly look after a number of his hotel’s needs. “I can change the temperature in the hotel ballroom by 3 degrees from a mobile app when the mother of the bride says it’s a little stuffy,” says Scott Youngblood. “I can review our STR Reports via a mobile app so we’re now able to have those meetings offsite, versus tied to a computer in a meeting room.”
When it comes to handling guest feedback on the go, Youngblood turns to Revinate’s mobile app. Scott receives a real-time alert any time a new review is posted about the property, allowing him to be constantly in the know, whether he’s on the floors working with his team or at his kid’s basketball game on the weekend. Youngblood acknowledges that while staying connected around the clock means that owners and managers never quite disengage, he wouldn’t have it any other way. He explains, “If I receive a review alert that includes a customer service concern, I have the ability to forward that to the appropriate manager right away,” he says. “This simple action doesn’t take me away from a basketball game for five minutes, it takes me away from a basketball game for 30 seconds, and can ensure that a small issue doesn’t become a major headache later on.”
Using the Revinate mobile app, Youngblood can interact with incoming guest feedback in the same way he does on his desktop. He says, “Logging in to the Web-based site to take action can sometimes be cumbersome given the fact that my job often keeps me away from my desk. I like that I can receive alerts, research and respond to travelers concerns on the app, from anywhere.”
The Revinate mobile app allows Youngblood to systematically engage his entire team, often off site. He can send a review to a member of his staff via text or email, add a ticket for a colleague to take action on, and check if a management response has been posted. The free iPhone application also allows users to view a quick snapshot of the property’s online reviews and social media activities, access preset views to monitor critical reviews, set up alert notifications and review sentiment trends.
The hotel’s online review scores indicate the hotel is effectively using reviews to improve operations and customer sentiment. Last year, the property exceeded all of the competitive set’s average review scores across each rating category – review rating, number of positive reviews, number of recommendations, number of reviews received and TripAdvisor Popularity Index. The rooms, public areas and lodging amenities sentiment scores were at least 6% more positive than the competitive set’s average scores. And, in 2013 the property received 7% more positive reviews than the competitive set average.
Use of the mobile app has also positively impacted the property’s commitment to management responses. To date, the hotel has responded to more than 40% of all reviews received, more than double the number of reviews responded to in 2012. In sum, Youngblood says this remote technology gives him the opportunity to be more flexible. “Ten years ago we were upset about the amount of email we were starting to receive and the amount of computer work we were spending time on in offices. That’s not in our coding as GMs,” he explains. “The ability to stay active and engaged with guests without compromising is revolutionary.”
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