In this discussion with Piotr Ignaszak, the General Manager of Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport, we delve into the world of technology and its transformative impact on hotel operations. Piotr shares his experiences and expertise, shedding light on how embracing technology can streamline efficiency and enhance collaboration within the hospitality industry. Join us as we explore the innovative solutions implemented by Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport and the broader potential of technology to revolutionize the guest experience and staff management.
- Embrace technology for streamlined hotel operations, such as automated credit card payments and cloud-based point-of-sale systems.
- Explore technology’s impact across departments, from monitoring food waste in the kitchen to implementing self-service kiosks for guest convenience.
- Utilize technology for enhanced staff collaboration and communication through messaging groups and internal social media platforms.
Let’s start with a little bit about yourself and your background and your current role.
Piotr Ignaszak: Sure, certainly. First of all, it’s really nice to have the opportunity to talk with you. I’ve been glad we found a suitable date for this interview. About myself, I am Peter Ignaszak, the General Manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Krakow Airport. I’ve been in this role for three weeks now. My journey with the hotel started back in 2014 when it opened, and I worked my way up from the front desk to the assistant front office manager, then rooms division manager, and now I’m the general manager. Hospitality runs in my family as well, with my mom having worked at one of the best hotels in Krakow, so it’s a part of my life from a young age. I started working at hotels when I was 17, and I’ve been passionate about it ever since. I can’t imagine myself in any other brand at the moment. I’m also responsible for the technology side of things and have been working with new technologies for the past five years. Understanding and implementing tech comes relatively easy to me, but not always, of course.
Let’s dive into some questions about the technology you’re currently using then. What are some current solutions that you’re implementing or have recently implemented?
We are in the process of implementing a new integration between our PMS (Property Management System) and our credit card payment handling. Currently, we receive online personalized, secure payment links for credit card payments from our agent, but we have to input all the data manually. To streamline this, we found another company that works with our PMS and can integrate it so that when a non-refundable reservation is made, the payment link is filled in and sent automatically.
That sounds like a helpful improvement. Are there any other technological issues you’re looking to find solutions for?
We are open to exploring new technologies in all departments. For instance, we have considered using robots for room service to deliver amenities instead of human staff. However, implementing robots requires additional steps like mapping changes in elevators. We’ve also recently upgraded our food and beverage point-of-sale system to a cloud-based solution to improve efficiency and guest experience.
It’s great to see how technology can be applied in various departments. Do you have any suggestions for others in the industry on how to approach incorporating technology into their operations?
Yes, the first step is to be open-minded and willing to try new solutions, even if they are different from the way things have been done before. Many hotel managers and employees are used to thinking, “We’ve never done it this way, so it won’t work.” Overcoming this attitude is crucial for progress. It’s also beneficial to look beyond the hospitality industry for inspiration and ideas. Traveling to different countries and exploring how other industries use technology can lead to innovative solutions.
That’s a great approach. Shifting focus to housekeeping, how do you think technology can benefit other areas of a hotel beyond the obvious ones like housekeeping?
I believe technology can be highly beneficial in every department, including the kitchen. For instance, tech solutions can help monitor food waste and improve recycling processes. We can also use machines to create compost locally at the hotel, reducing waste disposal costs. In the kitchen, technologies like the Thermomix can aid chefs in food preparation and shorten cooking times. Additionally, implementing self-service kiosks for guests to make purchases at the hotel shop can reduce queues at the reception desk and enhance convenience.
How does the relationship with Hilton Worldwide influence the technology solutions you adopt? Do they have preferred partners, or do you have freedom to explore new options?
Being a part of Hilton Worldwide has its advantages. We have access to a wide range of checked solutions and global vendors with reasonable pricing. However, there are challenges when implementing some solutions specific to our region, like fiscal printers in Poland. While there are approved vendors and preferred partners, the organization also allows us the freedom to explore and implement new technologies. For example, we are still considering self-service kiosks despite them not being a mandated solution.
It’s good to know that there’s a balance between having support from the brand and the freedom to explore new technologies. Finally, how do you think technology can help improve staff collaboration and communication within the hotel?
Technology plays a significant role in enhancing staff collaboration and communication. We use various messaging groups like WhatsApp for each department to communicate quickly and efficiently, even after working hours. It allows us to resolve issues promptly and stay connected. Additionally, internal social media platforms enable us to share company updates, recognize employees’ efforts, and foster a sense of community within the organization.