Guests at the Ocean House, an iconic seaside resort sitting atop the bluffs of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, are treated to a magnificent experience. As the first and only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotel in the state, and with prestigious Relais & Châteaux affiliation, the Ocean House deftly merges timeless elegance with state-of-the-art hospitality tools and technologies.
The Ocean House has an intricate design and layout, with 49 guest rooms and 15 signature suites, five restaurants ranging from beach casual to fine dining, an accredited Five-Star destination spa, and more than 10,000 square feet of event space. The property was reconstructed from the original vintage 1868 Victorian hotel, once very prominent in its day, and re-opened to new generations of guests in 2010.
Timely Communication is Critical to Luxury Guest Experience
The Ocean House managers knew that in accordance with their reopening, they would need an exceptional way for staff members to communicate.
“Everything we do at the Ocean House is designed to ensure that our guests enjoy an exceptional experience,” says Daniel Hostettler, President and Group Managing Director of the Ocean House. “Since our reopening, an integral part of all operations of the Ocean House has been the Vocera® Communication System.”
Everyone on staff at the Ocean House uses the Vocera Communication Badge, from executives to managers, valets, caterers, housekeepers and public area attendants.
“Considering that the Vocera Badge works in critical, life-saving hospital environments, we knew it would also work well for our mobile environment,” says Hostettler. “At Ocean House, no one just sits behind a desk. Our team is always visible and accessible to guests. The Vocera solution is an ideal way to support our management philosophy, and it has become an important component of our ability to deliver an unparalleled experience for our guests.”
Locating the Right Person and the Right Information at the Right Time
“The layout of the Ocean House is very intricate and expansive, with many levels,” says Ebbie Elmer, Executive Assistant to the Ocean House President and Group Managing Director. “From the beginning, we looked for a solution that would enable us to locate staff members easily without having to run through the maze of searching for people or items we need.”
Using Vocera, the entire Ocean House staff can communicate instantly and easily. For example:
• Housekeepers can complete room assignments more quickly. By using the Vocera Badge, they can ask a colleague on a different floor or in another area of the resort to bring a needed item, rather than having to track it down each time. The director of housekeeping can provide instant answers to simple questions, such as which special items go to a particular room.
• Especially in the summer season, the Ocean House hosts numerous large, complex events. Catering managers use the Vocera Badge to make sure that all aspects of the events run smoothly and efficiently.
• Vocera broadcasts to “crunch teams” that are devised to assist with sudden spikes in service demand and assembled rapidly when needed. For instance, when a large group arrives, the valet crunch team is quickly deployed to help park cars and clear the driveway. Similarly, when one of the resort’s restaurants experiences a huge influx of diners, a Vocera broadcast to the food and beverage crunch team brings assistance to help clear tables or seat diners.
• Public area attendants are called upon at a moment’s notice to clean any spill or mishap, and are able to remedy the situation before other guests even notice it happened.
Making World-Class Service Appear Effortless
The Ocean House is not just a place to stay. It is a special destination resort, as evidenced through its five-star and five-diamond designations and its Relais & Châteaux affiliation. Relais & Châteaux, established in France in 1954, is an association of more than 500 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 55 countries. Relais & Châteaux sets a standard for excellence in hospitality through its “5 Cs”: Courtesy, Charm, Character, Calm and Cuisine.
While impeccable responsiveness by staff is paramount to maintaining such principles for a high-end guest experience, the Ocean House service standard also mandates that the details be invisible to guests. There are no housekeeping carts in hallways; nor do staff members walk around with noisy hand held radios echoing from their pockets or cell phones held to their ears. In contrast, the Vocera Communication System minimizes chatter and eliminates incessant beeping, squawking and overhead paging.
“Vocera is elegant in comparison to other wireless hand-held communications options, and that discreet appearance is crucial,” says Hostettler. “It helps us deliver five-star service to our guests very seamlessly, while our operations stay in the background.”
“I can’t imagine a better communication system than Vocera for a luxury environment,” says Elmer. “Guests who come to the Ocean House are paying a premium for an allencompassing experience. Vocera gives us the consistency, reliability, and immediacy we need to deliver the ultimate in luxury service, while remaining inconspicuous.”
Elmer also appreciates the level of service Ocean House has received from Vocera. “Customer service from Vocera has always been exceptional, which is a perfect fit with our own values and culture.”