Holiday Inn Club Vacations is in the business of creating truly great experiences. This starts right from the moment prospective holidaymakers pick up the phone to book their vacation.
Providing customer service excellence to these callers is taken care of by the Owner Support Group. This 270-strong team answers enquiries from club members around the world keen to know more about any one of the 26 luxurious Holiday Inn Club resorts in the United States.
In these fast-paced environments, the ringing phone or the tap-tap-tap of computer keyboards never stops.
This is a dynamic, ultra-competitive industry with lots of moving parts. Staff need to know up-to-the-minute information across a variety of topics. This could be latest marketing promotion, last-minute availability at a resort or weather warnings that may affect bookings.
Lisa Christie, Director of Owner Support Group at Holiday Inn Club Vacations, is responsible for the smooth running of this business function. She says: “Our employees are on the phone constantly. We don’t want to interrupt what they’re doing, but at the same time, they need immediate access to accurate information.
“Email is not an effective channel for communicating quickly with the team,” explains Christie, “as we can’t be sure when employees get around to reading their emails.”
To address the concerns surrounding lack of control regarding communications, Holiday Inn Club Vacations selected a range of communication channels from SnapComms. All these channels completely bypass email systems, offering unprecedented control of how and when messages get published.
Desktop alerts are high impact tools to get employee attention immediately, via desktop, mobile or digital signage.
Desktop tickers are newsfeed-style scrolling text, offering high visibility but low intrusion for short, punchy information.
Staff surveys provide an easy way for staff to submit feedback and for managers to gauge workplace morale.
A staff quiz can test understanding of important business topics in a non-threatening format.
The scrolling ticker bars are used to keep staff informed of ongoing situations, such as caller queues and status updates, while quizzes and surveys solicit opinions.
“This could be ideas for a new product name, collating specific responses (such as ‘celebration lunch options’) or for general feedback,” explains Marquez.
Useful features such as message recurrence, audience segmentation and quick publish make life much easier for Marquez and the team.
Important messages can be targeted to specific individuals and repeated until all recipients have seen it and/or acted upon it. Quick publish allows a series of messages to be prepared in advance of an anticipated event, such as a power failure, email outage, or severe weather warning, and then published in a single click when needed.
In October 2016, when Hurricane Matthew battered the region, the use of SnapComms tools went into overdrive.
Three Holiday Inn Club resorts were at risk of being impacted by the storm. “The situation was changing by the minute,” says Christie, “but we were able to keep our team fully up to speed through regular alerts and tickers.”
It was a frantic time dealing with lots of cancellations and concerned property owners. Getting the right information to agents, which could be passed onto owners, eased some of the pressure.
The Owner Support team has been using SnapComms since 2014. It’s become central to how the team communicates, embedded into the everyday processes.
It saves time and simplifies things, says Marquez. “Rather than staff having to switch applications, and then trawl through their emails, with SnapComms they receive relevant news straight to their screen. Our content is forced upon them… they can’t ignore it.”
To see how effective message cut through is, SnapComms dashboard reports provide useful metrics, such as who’s read which message. For the team at Holiday Inn Club, it proves their messages are working well as they consistently achieve a 100% success rate.
Holiday Inn Club has successfully overcome the ubiquitous ‘lost-in-inbox’ problem. Through clever, best practice use of the tools, Christie and her team have found a foolproof way of getting the right information to employees, who in turn, provide the right information to their holiday-loving customers.