Choice Hotels helps hoteliers do their best work with Google Workspace
Vice President of Engineering and Operations, Choice Hotels International
Google Workspace Newsletter
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You’ve likely stayed in one of our hotels, perhaps without knowing it, because Choice Hotels International isn’t a traditional hospitality company. We don’t own many hotels and instead use a franchise model, supporting each one with infrastructure and technology. Some of our better known brands include Radisson, Comfort Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Clarion, Quality Inn, and Cambria.
We are constantly evolving to anticipate the needs of nearly 7,500 hotel owners, and we want to help them grow their businesses. That means maximizing the return on their investment and helping them succeed in every way we can. We're at the crux of hospitality, franchising, and technology. For us to accomplish our goals, we need a secure, scalable platform to build on, and, in turn, provide value to the customer. Being able to provide that platform for our brands is exactly what I like to do as the Vice President of Engineering and Operations at Choice Hotels.
Modernizing communication with Google Workspace Frontline
Before switching to Google Workspace for Frontline Workers, we used a legacy, on-premises email platform that was not as robust as a newer email solution. Due to the volume of spam emails and accounts being stolen, we turned off the ability to send emails from standard email clients (a computer program used to access and manage a user’s email).
As a result of these activities, we estimate that around 30% of franchisees stopped using email to conduct business. Our franchisees are focused on filling their hotels. They want to serve their customers first and foremost, and we identified a need for a new email system which would help them achieve their primary goal.
As we set out to find a new email solution, we knew that we wanted to pick a strong email platform for our franchisees; one that was financially competitive with other email solutions and also easy to learn and use. Many of our franchisees already use Gmail and Google Workspace in their personal lives, and so it was an easy decision to switch to Google Workspace for Frontline Workers.
Google Workspace opens up communication and collaboration channels between frontline workers and corporate teams in a way that’s safe and secure, even from personal devices.
Allowing franchisees to conduct better business
With support from cloud solution provider and Google Cloud premier partner SADA, we deployed Google Workspace to 21,000 workers in 5,000 U.S. hotels. They supported us in the migration and transition, helping us set up Collaborative Inboxes for hotel franchisees, and providing training and change management services to ensure a smooth transition. SADA worked closely with the Choice security team to integrate OKTA and Google Workspace during the deployment.
Whereas before almost one-third of our franchisees didn’t use email, that number is now down to 2%. In other words, more than 6,300 of our franchisees are using email after we switched to Google Workspace.
Because franchisees already had familiarity with Google Workspace in their personal lives, the switch required almost no training from us, and franchise employees were ecstatic about the rollout. They can now access their email securely from anywhere via their mobile devices, at the front desk, or even at home. That’s allowing franchisees to focus on their business and improve communication with their customers. Email is how people expect to receive communication; whether that’s a follow-up confirmation of a booking, or to address concerns such as an expired credit card.
The switch to Google Workspace has also helped us feel more secure because the solution is cloud-native, with software versions always updated, so we no longer have to manage patches in-house. Our franchisees now have the added benefit of a spam filter, so they no longer have to spend time deleting emails and can focus on relevant emails from their customers, in turn creating a better experience for guests.
In terms of what’s next for us, migrating to Google Workspace is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re shutting down our last data center by the end of 2023 and plan to build and run our technology entirely on the cloud moving forward. We’re excited about the future and how this will impact people’s experience with Choice Hotels.