Marina Mandarin’s mobile solution to labour crunch


Marina Mandarin Singapore recently took the radical step of adopting an integrated mobile technology system to improve customer service levels, a move said to be the first by a hotel in Singapore, where there is currently a manpower crunch.

The solution, dubbed OneGuest Mobile Solutions, took six months to develop and implement. A pilot programme was launched on November 7, 2012 at the hotel’s Atrium Lounge, which consistently suffers an acute staff shortage.

According to Quek Choon Yang, a partner at Zimerick, which was contracted to devise the tailor made solution, the suite integrates with the two most popular point of sale systems used in the hospitality industry – Micros and Infrasys.

OneGuest Menu, the suite’s digital menu component, enables customers to browse and order items, call for service and offer live feedback on one of 16 iPads. By eliminating order taking, errors are diminished and staff can be redeployed elsewhere.

If the digital menu is not used, a customer service management module OneGuest Manage allows staff to key in orders manually and alerts them to customer requests via iPhones. They can also view the status of tables and orders on their assigned iPhone.

The final component, OneGuest Admin, is a cloud-based content management system that allows managers to monitor product availability, pricing and demand in real time, enabling them to design more effective marketing and sales promotions. The digital menus can also be updated via this module, saving both time and money.

All iPhones and iPads have been fitted with security devices to prevent theft.

The trial project was developed in partnership with Spring Singapore as part of the hotel’s consumer-centric strategy, supported by the Singapore Hotel Association and initiated under the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore Mobility Solutions Call-for-Collaboration. It was jointly administered with the Singapore Tourism Board and the Employment and Employability Institute.

Marina Mandarin’s general manager, Kurt O Wehinger, said: “When the Marina Mandarin first opened 25 years ago, the industry standard was two staff to one guestroom. This ratio has since dropped to a paltry 0.6-0.7. Hence, we were compelled to look for alternatives, especially since the government has clamped down on foreign worker quotas.”

With the authorities injecting funds into technology-driven projects to improve productivity, Wehinger said that the hotel heeded the government’s call and “developed a customised mobile solution”.

Marina Mandarin’s executive assistant manager, Ng Yu Lik, stated that the trial run at the Atrium Lounge would continue until the project generated sufficient data to warrant a full review. If successful, the hotel would consider introducing the suite to its other F&B outlets and even in-room dining.

“It’s still early days, but we are optimistic that this will revolutionise the way we run our F&B operations, and aid us immensely in our quest to do more with fewer hands on deck,” he said. – Linda Haden

This article was first published in TTG Asia, February 8 – 21, 2013 issue, on page 6. To read more, please view our digital edition or click here to subscribe.

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