Weekly briefing: Building for frontline workers in the age of AI

with Derrick Gyamfi, Tamara Mims, and Michael Pace

This past week I launched a daily newsletter at Hospitality Daily to share the very best news and stories I find each day on topics ranging from experience design to revenue management to real estate investment. Check it out here if you’d like.

This week, I have three new stories for you:

  1. Technology: Building empathy and learning for frontline workers in the age of AI and digitization

  2. Guest experience: How Four Sisters Inns manages diverse boutique hotels at scale

  3. Sustainability: How “EarthCare” at Kimpton Hotels got started - and scaled

Let’s jump into it….

by Derrick Gyamfi, Senior Manager, Innovation Strategy

The big idea: Many frontline hospitality workers struggle with basic digital literacy, and this needs to be addressed. Unless we do so, innovation will continue but adoption will be impeded.

“The best use cases for AI are use cases that require human interaction. Our guests like the personal touch and a chatbot alone can’t provide that.”

Derrick Gyamfi

With Tamara Mims, President & CEO, Four Sisters Inns

The big idea: Guest loyalty and portfolio growth can be achieved through a consistent focus on providing value and hiring staff for the same values - even if your properties look very different.

“Our hotels range in price, but we’re always looking for ways to make our guests feel like they’re getting a good value. With few exceptions, we never charge for parking, internet, in-room water, coffee, breakfast, wine hour, and our signature cookies. Whether you’re paying $200 a night or $700 a night, the goal is for guests to return home feeling like they received tremendous value because of all the thoughtful touches included with their stay and the exceptional service they received.

“We also provide fun amenities that are low cost to our company but provide a high impact to our guests. For example, most of our hotels have complimentary bicycles for guests to borrow. At Newport Beach, we offer guests beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers because no one wants to travel with those bulky items.”

Tamara Mims

Podcast of the week: Creating "EarthCare" at Kimpton Hotels (and lessons in scaling sustainability)

With Michael Pace, General Manager, InterContinental Mark Hopkins

Michael Pace is the General Manager of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, and in this episode, shares the story of how he co-created the "EarthCare" initiative at Kimpton Hotels earlier in his career - which quickly became one of the leading environmental programs in the hospitality industry.

Michael shares how they got started, what the program included, how they scaled it, and how to make the business case for sustainability. 

“I felt I needed to be more of a part of the solution, and do that as a member of the community.”

Michael Pace