Specialized Technology Helps Seattle’s CVB Make the Right Connections Between Visitors and Members

  • Gold Key Solutions
  • 12.07.09
For the busy Seattle Convention and Visitors Bureau (SCVB), job one is to match 55,000 visitors each year with the member businesses that can best meet their needs and make their Seattle stay a great one.

With the help of a comprehensive hospitality concierge software system, the SCVB has matters well in hand keeping visitors happy and local business renewing their memberships every year.

The concierge software Seattle CVB uses was originally developed for hotels, and hundreds of quality properties use it to track guest preferences to provide professional, personalized guest services.  The solution is also delivering value to cruise lines, private clubs and—in Seattle’s case—the city’s tourism bureau. The SCVB used to inundate visitors with maps and stacks of information about tours, dinner reservations and hotel options, and relied on a staff member’s Rolodex and sharp memory to ensure regular referrals to member businesses.  Now, all that has changed.

Today, the bureau uses its specialized software called The Concierge Assistant® (CA) to create well-organized, chronological itineraries for visitors that automatically match their plans with as many SCVB member businesses as possible. It is an effective way for the bureau to target its visitor services and provide greater value to members.  The concierge system also documents SCVB’s value when it comes time for membership renewals.

“Members frequently ask what the SCVB has done for them, and their activity tracking software system lets us list all the calls, dinner reservations, hotel bookings and other services we provided them,” said Ann Peavey, who manages SCVB’s visitor information program and serves as its unique voice on Twitter where she is known as Seattle Maven.  “Concierge Assistant is a valuable tool for retaining our membership. We always put members first when making recommendations and visitor bookings, and we can show members our value in black and white.”  It works well for recruiting new members, too.  The system also enables the SCVB to demonstrate to Seattle-area prospects the business it delivers to members.  “We can show them the business they could be getting,” said Peavey.

Peavey especially appreciates CA when visitors have complicated itinerary requests that go beyond dinner reservations. “We create a week’s activities—tours, attractions, even hotels in other cities—and print them in chronological order for visitors. Sticky notes are gone and we instantly match visitors to the right members,” she said.
SCVB’s interns are also more effective because they can simply enter key words and provide instant value to visitors. If a visitor wants to stay in a hotel with a waterfront view, the keyword search can pull up the elegant Edgewater Hotel and other bureau members who meet the description, complete with contact information, Web site address, everything SCVB needs to make a booking quickly. Peavey can also add notes about visitors so other staff members can meet their needs quickly without having to send e-mails back and forth.

The Concierge Assistant system enables:

  • Comprehensive recordkeeping for the bureau
  • Quantifiable service reports for membership retention
  • An extended network beyond the CVB’s main office in the convention center and its satellite kiosk at Pike’s Market downtown to wherever staff needs it—on the convention floor, for example, or a booth at a city event
  • Real-time information about CVB member businesses
  • Printed confirmations and itineraries for visitors
  • Greater efficiency, shorter waits at the CVB’s counter, and greener processes

The SCVB has been working with Gold Key Solutions, CA’s developer, to integrate its CRM system with The Concierge Assistant. CA became an important partner in Peavey’s “mavenship” when she joined the bureau in 2004. While CA currently records every booking the SCVB makes with member businesses, integration with the CRM system will enable the SCVB to record every mention it makes about a member to a guest. “This is word-of-mouth promotion that delivers value to our members and frequently results in immediate direct bookings,” said Mark Nold, the CVB’s IT director. “It will be another way we can show our members how we are working for them.”

Gold Key Solutions’ The Concierge Assistant improves guest services and staff communication by creating orderliness and accuracy throughout the entire concierge process for hotels of all types. The Windows-based software application increases staff efficiency and reduces expenses by automating all guest services activities and reporting, allowing managers to put in place a standard of excellence that may be continually refined. The system is available either as a property-based solution, or as a Web-based system that may be accessed online with most browsers. The Concierge Assistant is used by over 400 full-service Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, Hyatt, Starwood, St. Regis, Four Seasons and other quality properties. The system is also employed by many residential living properties and by personal assistant and professional concierge companies to optimize services to each client.

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