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Beekeeper Improving Guest Service and Guest Satisfaction Scores at the Watergate Hotel

  • Beekeeper
  • 07.10.18
In addition to completing an extensive $200 million renovation, the iconic Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C., is making a big investment in its employees by adding the Beekeeper digital workforce communication platform.

With 280+ workers responsible for delivering the ultimate guest experience, the hotel needed game-changing technology to ensure that service standards were at peak performance and employee morale remained high. Beekeeper, the “Most Innovative Technology of 2018,” was implemented as the primary internal communications channel for the property. It connects every single employee to relevant messaging about things happening at the hotel and to one another. 
“You can’t maintain a corporate culture without constant communications,” said Jeff David, Watergate Hotel managing director. “Beekeeper has revolutionized the way we talk. It’s the foundation of our culture and community, and it’s an integral part of our daily operations. Beekeeper is cost-effective, and because it operates in the cloud; it saves time and doesn’t weigh down our servers with large files. The platform is so simple, there is virtually no learning curve. Everyone knows how to use it because they’re familiar and comfortable with social posts and text messaging.
“Probably the best thing about Beekeeper is that it improved our guest service scores, our TripAdvisor scores, and overall internal communications,” he said. “Management postings in Beekeeper get quick reactions to time-sensitive requests without having to track down staff. And, on my days off, instead of calling my staff to check in on operations, I can remotely review the posts and chats to see what’s going on. Beekeeper gives me peace of mind and it gives me more work/life balance. In a word, Beekeeper is ‘priceless.’”
Beekeeper digitizes the non-desk workforce by connecting operational systems and communication channels within one secure, intuitive platform. Beekeeper connects colleagues across locations and departments in real time via mobile or desktop devices and includes an intelligent analytics dashboard to help hotel companies improve internal communication and streamline business processes. Secure, automated, and relevant information is readily distributed, searchable, and measurable in one central hub for an efficient digitized workflow.
Staff Share Success Secrets
Beekeeper serves as The Watergate Hotel’s main channel of communicating up-to-the-second information. During morning lineups, staff discussions are entered into Beepeer. Then, employees who may have missed the meeting can pick up their phones and review discussion details. Everyone stays in the know no matter what shift they work or where they work on property.  
Here are additional ways Beekeeper is having an impact on departmental staff:
Human Resources – Kakina Verma, assistant human resources director, said she pays attention to the hotel’s “Crunch” stream on Beekeeper. “A ‘Crunch’ is code for all-hands-on-deck,” Verma said. “We post a Crunch message when we need everyone to leave whatever they are doing and report on site to help with the task at hand. It conveys a sense of urgency and it results in action. We are really impressed with the response that Beekeeper gets when this level of assistance is needed. Employees goes above and beyond what is normally asked of them. Beekeeper is definitely a great tool for enhancing employee motivation, increasing employee engagement, and maintaining the culture of our organization.” 
Catering & Events – Julia Rapley, director of catering and events, said she too has urgent situations that arise, and Beekeeper is the best way to get help quickly. “During events things come up, and they need addressed immediately,” Rapley said. “Before we had Beekeeper, I would have to run around to find somebody to assist me or try to call someone who might be standing in a dead spot. Even though I sent an urgent text, I’d have to wait for a response. With Beekeeper, I can chat directly with the person I need assistance from, or I can issue a Crunch or just make a post in one of the feeds. It’s just an easy, direct way to get help, to give information and to share with the whole team things that need attention or things that are just interesting that might be going on.”
Food & Beverage – Sabina Dangal, food and beverage manager, said she likes to use Beekeeper to keep everyone abreast of menu changes and make them aware of guest satisfaction issues. “Before Beekeeper, updating menus was time consuming,” Dangal said. “Now, whenever our menu changes, we simply post a picture in Beekeeper news feed. Also, if there is a guest issue, we post the problem in the feed so everyone is made aware of the situation. This ensures that every staff member can provide a little extra hospitality to that guest to make sure he or she returns. Beekeeper is super easy to engage with and deliver the best possible service.”
Housekeeping – Angelica Ridings, housekeeping manager, said Beekeeper is helping her to communicate back-of-the house information to the front of the house. “I love Beekeeper because it allows departments to communicate,” Ridings said. “It’s also useful when someone is off duty; they can still read daily departmental posts and not have a fear of missing out. I like seeing all the pictures that are posted throughout the day by my co-workers. It helps me appreciate our hard-working staff, and it also boosts morale. When I’m on duty, a TV in the cafeteria streams the Beekeeper news of the day. We can even see pictures of VIPs coming in, so if we see that guest walking in a hallway, we can greet them by name and make their stay extra special.”
Night Shift – Eric Costley, might manager, said he uses Beekeeper to improve safety operations. “Beekeepers allows me to send alerts throughout the hotel without having to stop to find an available computer,” Costley said. “Alerts go directly to employee phones, making everyone instantly aware of what’s going on. It’s the easiest and fastest way to communicate. Because I work overnight, it can be difficult to communicate with staff who work during the day. Beekeeper keeps me connected to people that I don’t normally see. I try to celebrate my overnight crew by posting them on Beekeeper once a week.  It gives the morning crew an opportunity to get to know people that they don’t normally see during the day.”
Front Desk – Veronica Panameno, assistant front office manager, said she likes Beekeeper because it’s fast and easy, and doesn’t require a user manual. “Our mission is to provide personalized service to create a memorable stay for every guest who walks through the door,” Panameno said. “That’s why it’s so important to know who our VIP clients are so that we can attend to their needs a little bit more. I find that employees are more interested and excited to learn what’s going on around the hotel. A flyer on a corkboard just doesn’t effectively communicate the way Beekeeper does with it’s fun, social media-like type of stream. I absolutely love it.”
Executive Office – Demi Tolomeo, executive assistant, said Beekeeper has completely changed the hotel’s working dynamic. “I would never want to work anywhere without Beekeeper,” Tolomeo said. “We use Beekeeper to celebrate employees monthly with birthday celebrations, as well as to spotlight employees who may win an Icon award – our Employee of the Month program. We also use it when teams are doing well in their department. We’ll snap a photo and make sure everybody sees our teamwork.”
Connie Rheams, Beekeeper global head of hospitality sales, said hearing the testimonials of The Watergate Hotel employees makes doing her job worthwhile.
“I’m so happy to hear that so many employees at The Watergate Hotel across all departments are achieving such success with Beekeeper,” Rheams said. “The Watergate Hotel is legendary. With the new renovation, it’s become an urban oasis that redefines luxury. When you are this well known, attention to the smallest detail is key, and to achieve that level of service, it takes happy employees who are proud and enthusiastic about engaging with guests.
“So often hoteliers forget that it’s the employees who make the biggest difference in each guests’ stay,” Rheams said. “The beauty of Beekeeper is that it’s a mobile communication channel that gets the right information to the people touching the guest. Workplace communications is an area that we can make the biggest strides for improving the guest experience, and its critical in creating strong employee engagement, reducing turnover and enabling a property like The Watergate Hotel to become an employer of choice. I’m delighted that Beekeeper has been so effective in linking this hotel’s non-desk workers. The result is better individual and team performances.”

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