Vicki Jackson, deputy hotel manager at Gisborough Hall Hotel explains why lockdown was perfect timing to review their systems and migrate to Guestline PMS, all in time to welcome guests back.
With revenues down and staff on furlough, it may seem a strange time to install a new PMS and distribution system. However, for some, it was the ideal time. We spoke to Vicki Jackson, deputy hotel manager at Gisborough Hall Hotel, to find out why their hotel took the opportunity to switch systems to Guestline and why they’re excited to start using it.
Q: Why did you review your systems?
Vicki Jackson – The lockdowns gave us the time and space to look at our business in more depth and see where we can make improvements to benefit both our guests and our team. Our management team had the time to analyse our systems, brainstorm projects, focus on how we can advance and react accordingly.
We also used this time to look at some of our cost lines and where we could reduce spending.
Q: Why did you want to move?
VJ: We were so unhappy with our previous PMS legacy system [from when we were a Marriott hotel] and their lack of support and understanding of independent hotels that we knew it was the best time to move to a new solution.
Q: What did the process involve?
VJ: Changing your PMS is a big decision and with fewer staff at the hotel, some might think it would be harder to follow the useful processes however on this occasion it was almost easier not to have too many people involved in the decision.
Using previous experiences from the team and looking for recommendations from fellow hoteliers always goes a long way. There was also a little bit of ‘gut instinct’ kicked in! Your PMS and speed of processes reflects on you as a hotel – if it’s slow and unreliable your team can’t always hide this.
Q: How did the implementation go?
VJ: Training was completed remotely, and we actually found that team were delighted to have a few days of ‘normal hotel life’ being back on-site and engaging their brain. Our project manager and trainer have been absolutely brilliant throughout the whole process.
My advice would be to choose your ‘live load’ team wisely – fewer is often better. Agree who will be completing refresher training when you re-open and ensure you get your training plans organised as soon as possible.
Q: How are you benefiting?
VJ: This investment makes our processes slicker, our guests experience will be improved and our team will be more effective and efficient – as well as being a lot less frustrated with the old system! In the short space of time that we’ve had the system, we can also see how much better the support is – Guestline’s online support portal is coming in very handy and their team are so helpful in answering our questions!
Q: What would your advice be to other hoteliers in a similar situation?
VJ: Twelve months ago we could never have expected what 2020 had in store for us. We have learnt so much and our brief 4 months back open in the summer showed how much our guests and team mean to us. We are a family run hotel and are so pleased we’ve moved; everyone we’ve met at Guestline has been lovely, the system is brilliant, and everyone is amazed at how easy it is…we’re now looking forward to welcoming our guests back!
Guestline provides innovative property management, guest engagement and distribution software to the hospitality industry. Founded on cloud technology, Guestline’s revenue generating solutions enable independent hotels of all sizes and small hotel groups to achieve maximum occupancy at the most profitable rate.