How many hoteliers beam with pride when they tell you their hotels are family owned and operated? Jasmine Patel, CFO of Scarlet and Gray Hospitality (SAGH), is passionate about her company for the very same reason. What makes them special is their family bonds which extend to their employees. It’s part of what makes their team especially resilient and offer the best level of hospitality and care to their guests. While Patel was balancing the day-to-day administrative tasks, she wanted to transform her organization and find a better workforce management software.
“I was trying to make our mom-and-pop hotel lifestyle have more of a corporate structure,” said Patel. “I wanted to make our processes more efficient.”
Challenges with Labor
The pandemic has magnified labor issues common to the hotel industry, including unpredictable changes in occupancy, wild fluctuation in room cleaning service levels, staff shortages and extreme overtime. These challenges drove SAGH to search for better software.
When Patel began her initiative to find a new solution, the company was already using a hotel-specific product, however, there were significant gaps in what the software could do. The application was not providing adequate reports, complicating their daily tasks, and didn’t integrate well with other solutions, which left them blind to upcoming issues. The time clock was also challenging for employees who forgot their passwords and missed punches altogether.
“When we were using the old system, we could see that we had a ton of overtime, but it was very hard to pinpoint it beforehand,” Patel shared. “I was always looking at the reports and wondering, ‘Why we can’t manage our time better? What are we doing wrong?’”
Their labor waste, or overspending, was primarily accumulated on unnecessary overtime and actual hours exceeding the scheduled shifts. To gain more visibility and control their expenses, Patel searched to find a platform that could not only identify the problems but could forecast issues in advance and even suggest how to solve those problems.
“The biggest thing I wanted was one system that did everything,” Patel said. “I was using five different systems, I had to export documents and send it to someone else to process payroll, and if I missed someone, I didn’t want to waste more time cutting checks and trying to fix it. When I found Inn-Flow, I just fell in love with the software.”
When Scarlet and Gray Hospitality was ready to try Inn-Flow, they started with one hotel, and after a year, they had significantly lowered their payroll expenses and chose to move the rest of their portfolio over. The successes at the enterprise level flowed down to the property level where everyone benefited from Labor Management’s extensive tools and ease of use. Brian Hawkes, the GM at SAGH’s Home 2 Suites, experienced the transition and shared some of the features which made the biggest impact for him and the team.
Cross-training was an important initiative for SAGH. They needed a tool that could keep up with the flexibility of their staff and make it easier to create schedules overall.
“We’re cross-training employees in all departments here,” explained Hawkes, “and it’s a lot easier to be able to change an employee from one position to another using Inn-Flow. Now it takes a third of the time compared to what I was spending on scheduling before.”
The company needed better visibility to avoid paying for unnecessary time. Inn-Flow not only provides reports and dashboards for real-time analytics, but also has a curated alert system that highlights issues, like forecasted overtime, and suggests corrective actions.
“The overtime at risk alerts are making us proactive instead of reactive,” Hawkes said. “The previous system didn’t flag us like that, so Labor Management has been very cost-effective.”
Facial Recognition Time Clock (Smile iD)
Another area in their previous software that lacked functionality was their time clock. Using Smile iD, Inn-Flow’s proprietary facial recognition technology, the employees can now clock in with a smile, which eliminates buddy punching and prevents excessive early punch-ins.
“Facial recognition is 100 times better than what we were doing before,” Hawkes remarked. “Having the features in place that controls how early someone can punch in is also helping and saving us a lot of money.”
Inn-Flow’s Labor Management has all the tools you need to manage a workforce and alert management to potential problems ahead of time. Scarlet and Gray Hospitality also subscribes to two of Inn-Flow’s other products, Accounting and Payroll, to get the most out of the platform and its integrations. With all three solutions working together, SAGH could see how effectively their staff was able to reduce expenses—especially on their payroll. Of course, the past few years have been out of the norm, but despite the irregularities and heavy turnover, the company credits Inn-Flow for their success.
“I think the best thing I can say is that we’re finally looking at our P&Ls as a company,” Patel shared. “It’s how we set all of our goals, which in turn set up our bonus structure for our team. We want to reward our managers and our staff for achieving their goals.”
Using Inn-Flow gives them the enterprise features and controls they were searching for, yet they haven’t lost sight of their company culture and family atmosphere.
“We always push the family aspect of our hotels, so we act like a family and treat our employees like family. We want to do the best for them, and we expect that they will do the best for us. It’s a great working relationship, and Inn-Flow has helped us reach our full potential and reward hard work.”
Part of the Family
As the company continues to flourish and grow, they rely on Inn-Flow as an essential part of their team—especially the Implementation and Support Team. Inn-Flow dedicates one associate to help guide new users through the training, and is always just a call, or chat, away.
“I just love working with Inn-Flow,” said Patel. “I reach out often, and everyone has been so kind, and they help me find whatever I need.”
To anyone who is considering making the switch to Inn-Flow’s Labor Management, Patel has some parting advice…
“Why are you wasting your time using other systems? Switch to Inn-Flow because it’s just easier. Inn-Flow is an efficient tool because it has everything and helps me focus more on hospitality and the projects that I actually want to work on.”
Just like SAGH, Inn-Flow’s team is a family of hoteliers. Our ranks include former hotel owners, executives, controllers, and GMs, and we can proudly say that the platform was built by hoteliers, for hoteliers. At Inn-Flow, we live at the intersection of hospitality and technology and designed our robust applications to solve problems common to the hotel industry, improve efficiency and drive performance. Streamline your operations from a single login with access to an entire software suite with solutions designed specifically for the hotel industry.