Lars Wagner is the General Manager at Mandarin Oriental, Geneva, a 5 star hotel in Switzerland with 189 rooms and suites, three bars/restaurants, a fitness and wellness facility, and a fully equipped business center.
As the General Manager, Lars is responsible for making sure the hotel runs smoothly and that guests, as well as staff members, are satisfied. He oversees all hotel operations and needed a safe solution for seamless internal communication across all departments. To fill this need, Lars adopted Beekeeper as the hotel’s operational and communication platform to digitize the workplace for his frontline workers for the first time.
We asked Lars a few questions about how Beekeeper has made an impact on Mandarin Oriental. Below are his responses that may be useful if you’re considering implementing a new communication or operational system.
1. What do you think communication in the hospitality industry will look like in five years for the Mandarin Group?
I think paper will be obsolete and 90% of communication will be done through dedicated applications like Beekeeper, Monet, and EDM. Every employee will be equipped with an iPad and/or Apple or Samsung station set up in the back of the house. Face-to-face communication will never be replaced and even more valuable as the service industry becomes more digitized. Face-to-face communication will become a 5 star luxury service.
2. What has changed since Mandarin Oriental implemented Beekeeper?
At the Mandarin Group, we no longer create posters for bulletin boards, which aligns with our sustainability initiatives and decreases printing costs. Since adopting Beekeeper, we have experienced a stronger family spirit, increased engagement, and employees feel a deeper sense of belonging overall.
A picture is worth a thousand words so the implementation of visual communication has been very helpful and people respond to it more. With the implementation of Beekeeper, communication has been much more open and transparent since everyone can post and see who’s posting. We no longer only have top-down communication—it goes both ways. Everyone becomes equal and the app breaks down hierarchical barriers. Beekeeper has added a new element of fun at work. And there is a sense of pride in everything we post!
3. What business impacts have you seen since using Beekeeper?
We’ve seen significant improvements in our work environment. Colleagues are much more informed about what’s happening in the hotel and receive information faster. Knowledge leads to understanding and creates a movement of solidarity.
4. What do you and your team love most about Beekeeper?
It’s nice to have a more informal communication method in which messages are delivered to end-users in seconds, rather than always using official memos. It’s a fun and interactive platform with a very simple, user-friendly interface. The app is intuitive to use since it’s similar to social media apps we use every day. We also love being able to share parts of our personal lives on the app. Mixing the two worlds makes our work environment much more harmonious and down-to-earth.
5. How has increased employee engagement positively affected the business?
We are still experimenting here and there with the full implementation of Beekeeper and testing what works, what doesn’t, and what attracts likes and attention. This application is definitely appealing for Generation Y who is familiar with using social media applications. Older generations are slowly but surely showing more and more interest. They’re starting to catch on because they realize the app is for them and there to help them work better. Not to mention it’s simple to use and everyone enjoys the photos. We are excited to measure the real impact during the employee engagement survey next year.