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  • Writer's pictureAnu Metsallik

Case Study: Enhancing Guest Experiences at Hestia Hotel Kentmanni - A Front Desk Manager's View on Working with Hotelbuddy

Hestia Hotel Kentmanni, a 4-star hotel with 92 guest rooms and suites nestled in the heart of Tallinn, Estonia, belongs to the Hestia Hotels Group, which manages 10 hotels in the Baltics.


Guest satisfaction is a hallmark of the hotel's reputation, with an impressive overall rating of 9.1 out of 10 based on thousands of reviews on Tripadvisor and Booking.com.The hotel's central location is particularly appreciated by couples, and amenities like a spa, wellness and fitness center ensure a stay that balances relaxation with convenience.


Hestia Hotel Kentmanni reception desk
Hestia Hotel Kentmanni reception desk

Interview with Sergei Aleksandrov, Front Office Manager at Hestia Hotel Kentmanni 


Q: Were there any specific areas where you felt Hestia Hotel Kentmanni was not meeting its full potential?


A: Before integrating HotelBuddy, we recognized a need to refine our front desk operations, with a particular focus on the check-in and check-out procedures. Our commitment to providing unparalleled customer service has always been our top priority and part of our approach included handling the completion of registration cards on behalf of our guests.


This practice was intended to relieve guests of the tedious paperwork, allowing them a more streamlined entry process. However, this manual method, while well-intentioned, proved to be quite time-consuming and inadvertently shifted our receptionists' focus away from direct engagement with guests.


Recognizing this issue led us to seek out a solution like HotelBuddy that could maintain our high standards of service while also modernizing our approach to guest registration and overall front desk interactions.



Q: What were the key features or benefits of the HotelBuddy solution that stood out to you compared to other options?


A: HotelBuddy stood out because it offered a comprehensive suite of features that no other solution did, including the ability for guests to use their mobile devices to open their room doors without the need for us to replace the existing door locks. Prompt customer support in Estonian was also important for us.


Guests can open their room door through the web-app on their phone
Guests can open their room door through the web-app on their phone

Q: How easy was the implementation process, and how much work did it require from the hotel's side?


A: The implementation was smooth thanks to the manuals and thorough staff training provided by HotelBuddy. Impressively, we were able to go live just 14 days after finalizing our contract—a testament to the efficiency and simplicity of the system's setup. 


Initially, as is typical with the adoption of new technologies, we encountered minor issues with Fidelio, like freezing windows and occasional double payments. However, these were swiftly addressed, and the system functioned smoothly after automation rules were established.


Our guest profile, mainly consisting of individual travellers, allowed us to automate the process with a few straightforward rules based on rate codes and payment status notes. This automation determined who received online check-in invitations and who was exempt from prepayment prompts to avoid double charges, streamlining the process for our guests and staff alike.



Q: What specific improvements have you observed since implementing HotelBuddy?


A: The most notable improvement has been in the check-in process. The capability for guests to complete registration cards online has greatly accelerated this procedure, enabling a more fluid arrival experience. This adjustment has significantly freed up our staff's time, allowing them to dedicate more effort towards engaging with guests in meaningful ways, enhancing the overall guest experience.


In adapting to our guests' varied preferences, we've expanded our service offerings to include completely digital experiences, allowing some guests to bypass traditional front desk interactions entirely. This approach to flexibility is central to our ability to deliver personalized services, ensuring that each guest's interaction with our hotel is tailored to their specific desires. 



Q: Can you share any quantifiable metrics related to reduced reception hours, decreased manual errors, increased revenue, and improved customer satisfaction since implementing HotelBuddy?


A: In the 10 months since implementing HotelBuddy on average, about 45% of our guests have filled out the registration card online, and 21% of our guests have fully embraced the digital check-in process, exploring extra services, opting for room upsells, and, if needed, prepaying for their stay online. 7% of our guests have utilized the app for checking out and settling their bills directly from their mobile devices without the need to visit the reception desk.


The digital hotel directory offered through HotelBuddy has directly contributed to an increase in revenue, with extra sales totalling around 2000 euros. It's worth mentioning that this figure doesn't fully capture the potential of HotelBuddy's extra services module, as we concurrently utilize Oaky for upselling services.


However, HotelBuddy's automated system significantly streamlines the process of charging services to rooms, reducing the manual effort required compared to Oaky. Despite our high occupancy rates, which naturally limit the availability for last-minute room upgrades, HotelBuddy has facilitated over 1100 euros in room upgrades. 


Hotelbuddy's digital room directory allows guests to browse and book extra services
Hotelbuddy's digital room directory allows guests to browse and book extra services

Q: Have you noticed any changes in staff workload or job satisfaction since implementing HotelBuddy?


A: The feedback from our receptionists has definitely been positive. The reduction in manual administrative work has made their roles easier and more satisfying. Moreover, we've been able to operate efficiently with fewer receptionists at certain times, reducing personnel costs without compromising on service quality.



Q: Can you share any insights on how HotelBuddy has impacted your hotel's online ratings and reviews?


A: The positive reception of HotelBuddy by our guests is evident in their usage of the platform. It saves them time and spares them the need to visit the reception for various services. This convenience likely contributes positively to our online ratings and reviews.


Hestia Hotel Kentmanni guest reviews from Tripadvisor and Booking.com mentioning Hotelbuddy services
Guest reviews from Tripadvisor and Booking.com

Q: Whom would you recommend the HotelBuddy solution to?


A: I recommend HotelBuddy to both large hotels, where queues can form quickly, especially with the simultaneous arrival of many guests or groups, and boutique hotels that look for ways to enhance their customer service. The reduction in paperwork allows for more quality time with guests during check-in, enhancing the overall guest experience regardless of the hotel's size.




Hestia Hotel Kentmanni



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