A hotel is a dynamic environment that needs mobility to improve efficiency, said Alan Sun, founder and GM of Service Technology Partners.
CWHK: Why did you want to build a tool for hotels?
Alan Sun: I came from a hospitality background. I was the assistant VP of Property Solutions, Information Systems and Technology at Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macau, involved in the opening of StarWorld Macau and the mega resort Galaxy Macau, as well as overseeing key hotel applications.
A lot of technologies for the sector came from the US and Europe, but they were outdated as they didn't bring more efficiency to hotels though cloud and mobile technologies.
In 2011, my business partner and I founded Technology Services Partners to create the cloud-based KeepingCloud system that makes real-time job dispatch and workflows for housekeeping, engineering, and guest services more efficient.
CWHK: How does KeepingCloud work?
AS: KeepingCloud allows supervisors to dispatch jobs to mobile devices—such as Android phones—carried by housekeepers. When a housekeeper logs in, he/she gets notification of what needs to be done. The staffer only needs to hit a button to acknowledge receipt. He/she hits two other buttons when beginning, then finishing, the job. There's no text or number that housekeepers need to enter.
This has transformed the traditional process of manually dispatching jobs and recording the number of items such as towels and duvet covers that have been replaced or moved. With the use of our tool, a hotel can capture inventory data and communicate with housekeepers easily. You no longer need walkie-talkies—these might disturb guests, and they don't allow automation.
Managers can also send an urgent task through the system to a staffer who will receive an alert in red color. In addition, managers can export inventory data and job completion data to Excel immediately with only one click.
KeepingCloud comes with a messaging system and allows supervisors to dispatch a job through voice messaging. This is useful in China because some of the housekeepers might not understand simple words on their device screen.
CWHK: How do you charge your customers?
AS: Our subscription fee is based on the number of rooms manned per year.
CWHK: Who are your current customers? Where are they from?
AS: Some of our customers include a Shama serviced apartment building in Shanghai and an Ozo hotel in Thailand. Many hotels and serviced apartments are run by chains these days. If you sign up a customer, it's likely to deploy your system to many locations and stick with it for a long time. But at the same time, large hotels have many corporate policies for technologies--that means a harder time for us to break into the market.
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