Sokos Hotels is one of Finland’s largest chains, with 45 hotels situated in desirable locations across the country. The company provides a range of experiences by operating four completely different hotel types as Sokos Hotel subsidiary brands: Original, Break, Solo and Heymo. Each offers a distinctive style of stay to guests whilst maintaining a consistent and identifiable level of quality and service.
Sokos Hotels needed to deliver a similar television viewing experience for guests throughout its chain. It had previously used a mix of entertainment solutions across multiple sites, which had resulted in a disjointed user experience. The chain needed to find a centralized solution that made management straightforward while offering customers a consistent experience wherever they stayed.
Sokos Hotels originally used an on-premises system for its TVs, which meant that useful information was siloed at individual sites. The company wanted to be able to share key details, such as TV usage reports and marketing campaigns, with other sites across Finland. Another key objective was to increase efficiency and speed up guest turnaround times by simplifying cooperation between housekeeping, maintenance and reception. It was also important that the solution linked with the hotel chain’s existing Property Management System (PMS), so that it could serve as a means of communication for staff throughout the business.
Sokos Hotels needed a vendor with previous experience of hotel TV systems. The solution had to offer an improved entertainment experience for guests, whilst integrating multiple hospitality departments, and improving visibility for hotel management. In 2017, Hibox was awarded the frame agreement by Sokos Hotels to roll out a consolidated interactive TV system across its entire chain.
The solution used for this project was Hibox Smartroom, a cloud-based hospitality TV platform. Hibox Smartroom is designed to improve customer satisfaction and enhance the TV experience by giving hotel guests access to a range of popular channels, streaming services, casting and apps. The solution also offers hotels a customizable, branded user interface. This creates a premium experience for the user, while also allowing the hotel management team to run non-intrusive marketing campaigns.
Hibox Smartroom features PMS integration, centralized management, and an interactive housekeeping system. These crucial features deliver a consistent interface for staff and better operational efficiency for Sokos Hotels. The solution supports communication between housekeeping, maintenance and other business functions, allowing staff teams to update the room status and share any extra information. All of the relevant details are stored in the cloud, so as staff move around the hotel, they know which rooms need to be cleaned, and can quickly mark them as available when ready. Information is automatically synced with the hotel’s existing booking system, reducing turnaround times and allowing customers to check in as soon as the room is available. In addition, housekeepers are able to report maintenance issues or log any lost and found items through the Hibox interface. Because the housekeeping application can be accessed via a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, staff can take photographs of any problems and report issues directly to the maintenance technicians.
The Hibox Smartroom solution also supports hotel safety procedures. It features an evacuation system for emergencies, which means that hotel management can cast instructions and wayfinding information straight onto all of the televisions in the hotel. During a fire or evacuation, the screens reassure guests and provide them with emergency status updates and safety guidance.
Lastly, Hibox Smartroom enabled Sokos Hotel to implement an in-room tablet offering with seamless PMS integration, providing entertainment and information to guests. The solution facilitates guest requests, such as room service and restaurant bookings, as well as guest communication, such as video calls with reception, while also providing Sokos Hotels with an avenue for upselling, cross-selling and promotions. The portability of the tablet also means that hotel guests can access hotel services and entertainment outside of their rooms, such as reading the newspaper or watching their favorite show in common hotel areas.
Since the project began in 2017, the Hibox Smartroom solution has become an integral part of the Sokos Hotels TV system. Hibox has worked closely with Sokos Hotels, tailoring the solution to its needs and ensuring a streamlined roll-out by actively supporting staff training. The Hibox Smartroom solution, now in use across almost all of Sokos Hotels, is entirely cloud-based which decreases the amount of on-premise hardware required, which in turn reduces the need for maintenance and improves the overall longevity of the solution.
By connecting each screen in the hotel chain to the same centralized system, the entire business can share information and benefit from consolidated marketing campaigns. Sokos Hotels can reference device analytics from TVs across its hospitality portfolio, identifying which TV channels are not being watched by customers, so it doesn’t need to pay for entertainment or services its customers do not use. A cloud-hosted solution connects all the hotels in the chain, creating a consistent and effective multi-screen TV experience for its guests.