How The Commonwealth Improved the Guest Experience & Increased Staff Efficiency With Canary
The Commonwealth is a Preferred Hotels & Resorts luxury property in Richmond, VA, with a history stretching well back into the 1800’s. Originally a local saloon and cafe, the property undertook a variety of evolutions before it was finally purchased by SMI Hotel Group and transformed into the premier property that it is known as today.
“Our owners have put a lot of time and energy into this property ,“ said Christina Norton, General Manager of The Commonwealth. “They really have a vision for what it will be and that includes providing a world-class guest experience to everyone who stays at the property,” she continued.
For the management team at The Commonwealth, a “world-class” guest experience included streamlining the check-in and checkout processes as much as possible, which led them to search for technology solutions that could help.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we were looking at mobile check-in and checkout solutions that would allow us to spend more time providing guests with memorable, personalized service at the front desk and less time dealing with administrative work once they set foot on the property,” said Norton. “But as COVID became an issue for us and every other hotel in the world, we knew we really needed to find something that would provide guests with the ability to handle all of the administrative tasks before they ever set foot on the property.”
Shortly thereafter, Norton and her team doubled down on the search for a mobile-friendly check-in and checkout solution that would meet their needs. It wasn’t long before they found Canary.
A Better Guest Experience With Canary
“We looked at a lot of options for Contactless Check-In and Checkout solutions,” said the General Manager. “But Canary was far and away the easiest one to use and the team was really responsive to all of our questions,” she continued. “We also really liked the Upsells features and PCI compliant fraud prevention tools that are included in the system.”
Norton knew early on that Canary would provide significant assistance in streamlining the guest experience to align with the vision of her company’s management team. The products’ ease of use ensured that both staff and guests alike would have no problem engaging with them and soon after implementation, The Commonwealth began to reap the rewards they had expected.
“It used to be that when a guest arrived, we would have to check their ID, process their credit card and deal with any other administrative tasks,” said Norton. “Now that we’ve deployed Canary, all of that is taken care of before the guest arrives, so we can just focus on providing a welcoming experience. And a better guest experience means better reviews for our property,” she said.
Likewise, the checkout process at The Commonwealth has become smoother with the addition of Canary. According to the General Manager, guests love the convenience of checking out from their phone as opposed to coming to the front desk to complete any final administrative tasks. On their way out the door, guests now simply receive a friendly goodbye as opposed to paperwork.
The Unexpected Benefits of Canary’s Solutions
Once Contactless Check-In and Checkout were deployed at The Commonwealth, Norton noticed other big benefits from Canary that went far beyond simply improving the guest experience at arrival and departure.
New Revenue From Upsells
When The Commonwealth implemented Canary’s Check-In and Checkout solutions, Norton and her team added the ability for guests to purchase an early check-in or late checkout and pay any pet fees seamlessly through the check-in flow.
“We love the extra revenue,” said Norton. “And the ability to make it clear to people traveling with pets that there is a pet fee before they arrive at the property is very helpful. It really keeps us from having any uncomfortable conversations when a guest with pets arrives.”
More Efficient Housekeeping
Before implementing Contactless Checkout, The Commonwealth did not have a good way to communicate to its housekeeping department when a guest had departed their room and it was ready to be turned.
“If someone left the property, we really had no good way to know without calling the room from the front desk to see if they were still there. And that’s not something we would do until after the guest’s checkout time had passed, because otherwise it would feel like we were trying to rush them out,” said the General Manager. “People also have a habit of leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on their door after they leave, so our housekeeping team would often spend time waiting to clean a room that may or may not already be empty,” she continued.
However, since implementing Canary’s Contactless Checkout solution, the housekeepers know exactly when each room in the hotel is ready to be cleaned.
“On a busy weekend, Canary’s Checkout solution will easily save our housekeeping team 2-3 hours. This helps us prepare rooms for the next guest quicker; it helps with payroll; frankly, it helps with basically everything,” said Norton.
Norton and her team at The Commonwealth couldn't be happier with Canary. Not only has the team made the improvements to the guest experience they set out to by implementing Contactless Check-In and Checkout, they have saved substantial staff time, increased ancillary revenue, and won a chargeback.
“Canary is one of the best softwares I’ve ever worked with,” said the General Manager. “Anytime a software works well and makes my life easier, I like it and Canary has done exactly that. I absolutely recommend the platform to all other hotel operators.”