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Trump SOHO goes Google

Posted by Eric Brunnett, Director of Information Technology for Trump SOHO New York

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Eric Brunnett, Director of Information Technology for Trump SOHO of the Trump Hotels Group. Trump SOHO joins hotels like Intercontinental Hotels Group and Delta Hotels as one of the many hotels that have gone Google. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

Prior to switching to Google Apps, we had been using on-premise Microsoft® Exchange. The growth of our hotel group prompted exploration of additional Microsoft Exchange servers, but the costs of a server at each property, licensing, managing server replacements, as well as data storage and back-up services combined were staggering. We realized if we stuck with Microsoft Exchange, growth would be hindered by the resources required and we wouldn’t see the operational benefits of being on a web-based platform.

In addition to Google Apps, we also considered Microsoft Exchange Online, but the pricing was higher than what Google offered and we felt its collaboration tools weren’t as robust as Google Docs and Google Sites. We really wanted to find a solution that was easy to manage, could grow with us and give our staff the tools to work together effectively and efficiently.

The tools that Google Apps offers are absolutely critical in the hotel industry. This is not a “nine to five” job; we run 24 hours a day and can’t afford delays in communication or downtime. Communication is vital, as is continuous access to our information. We receive guest requests around the clock and we need to address them right away. Being able to access that information wherever we are in the hotel and respond immediately is key to providing a memorable experience and outstanding guest service. Our capacity for collaboration and organization has literally been transformed since we moved to Google Apps.

Google Docs allows us to collaborate on important communications such as pass-on summaries for shift managers. We have three distinct shifts. At the end of each shift, a manager will do a “pass-on.” We used to rely on email summaries of what the next shift needed to know, but with Google Docs and Google Sites, we use a shared document. General managers, room managers, coordinators and others can add entries for everyone to see. It’s all in one place, and always current. Making sure that messages about rooms, or guest inquiries get to the right departments and out to the entire team is one of the keys to our success. These kinds of communications are vital for everyone in the hotel, from food and beverage to the front desk, and Google Apps provides the tools that we need to ensure that our staff is always up to date.

Google Apps has also reduced IT complexity. We have just two people running IT at our SOHO location. Overhead, management of equipment, and processes must be minimal. From our experience, it is easy to add Google Apps accounts and scale to meet our growth needs.

Overall, our efficiency has improved significantly with Google Apps – all at a low, predictable cost. The most important factor, however, is that it is now easier to deliver exceptional guest services – and in the hospitality industry, that’s a make or break proposition.