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Talking Tech with Village Hotel Club: An Easy Touch

Tevalis has helped hotel chain Village Hotel Club introduce touch screen ordering. Benefits include efficiency savings, a better guest experience and – most importantly – a proposition that stands out from the crowd

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For guests at Village Hotel Club, gone are the days of having to catch a waiter or waitress’s eye to order your food and drink or pay the bill. In the hotel group’s Pub & Grill restaurants, all you do is browse the menu on the tablet on your table, click on what you want to eat and the order is sent to the kitchen. It’s an intelligent solution – provided by Village’s technology partner Tevalis – which is going down a storm at the group’s newest hotels in Portsmouth and Bristol, and now it’s being rolled out to the remaining 28 hotels located across the UK.

Village wanted a tablet self-ordering solution to make its restaurants stand out from the crowd and provide a great customer experience, and Tevalis’s latest on-premise solution, TevMenu​, is doing just that as well as improving efficiency.

Neil Cryer, Village Hotels’ Head of IT Operations and Projects, explains: “Every brand is looking for efficiencies and to be different within the industry. Technology aids our teams to give the guests a great experience, and a good example of that is tablet ordering through TevMenu.

“We give a tablet to our guests when they arrive and place it on the table for them to order in their own time.

“The screen displays an electronic version of our menus so it’s very easy to follow by swiping from one page to another. To order an item the guest selects the text which adds the item to their basket. They then complete the order which sends drinks orders to the bar printer and food to the kitchen printer.”

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Guests keep the tablet on the table for the duration of their meal so they can order further items as and when they wish, and also use it to request the bill.

The process of creating the menu in tablet format is extremely easy, says Cryer, and there are many benefits for both staff and guests. “We just provide Tevalis with a PDF of the menu and then they build buttons around it, so it’s a very simple operation for us.

“TevMenu has given us efficiencies both for the customer and for the Village team. Customer wise there’s no waiting around in the restaurant for the server to come over and place orders: you just order as and when you want it.

“It provides efficiencies on an employee level as most of the time taken to process an order is of no value to the guest: freeing the server from this process means they are being used productively to bring food and drink to the table and they have time to interact with the guest on a more personal level – if the guests would like to chat!”

Village is working with Tevalis to enhance the e-menu solution further by adding functions such as children’s games.

The TevMenu tablets are also being used with great success in the meetings and events division of Village, enabling guests to order food and drink – including from the hotels’ Starbucks concessions – while in a meeting room.

Village’s CTO Jon Davis adds: “Our e-menu solution needs to be very flexible so it can handle click and collect, which is our Starbucks offering, table service and meeting room service. We developed the solution with Tevalis and it’s been a very successful rollout.”

And another successful technology solution which has witnessed a boost for Village’s F&B business in its two newest hotels is the installation of Alexa for hotel services. 

Village has developed specific skills for Alexa – which sits in the hotel bedrooms – meaning guests can communicate with the hotel easily through voice recognition. 

Cryer explains: “Village likes to innovate and one of those innovations is introducing Alexa into the bedrooms. We’ve built purpose-built skills so you can ask Alexa to order your room service seamlessly without having to make phone calls.

“Normally there’s a bottleneck with room service where you have one or two people on the end of a phone, but with Alexa we can do multiple orders individually all at the same time. This paired with our smartphone app has ensured we can serve our guest efficiently at all times”

“Generally the feedback from our hotel guests has been very good – they love Alexa and all the technology we offer within the hotels.” 

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Neil Cryer

Head of IT Operations & Projects, Village Hotel Club

How TevMenu increases the quality of interaction staff have with guests 
 

What piece of technology from Tevalis do you feel has changed the business most and why?

“TevMenu is changing the business the most because of the way it gives guests a choice of how and when they order. Other people in the industry are using tablets, but having it in a menu style is easier to understand for the guest, rather than it being just a standard point of sale on a tablet like we had previously. 

For us the technology is not a replacement of people aimed at saving on labour, it’s there to get rid of those mundane processes that don’t add any value to the customer. It gives our staff that bit of extra time to be able to converse with and even entertain customers, which is especially beneficial when you’ve got regulars that travel around our hotels all week.”

Having great technology in place requires great planning. How has the process/relationship with Tevalis been to date from an implementation point of view?

“It’s a pleasure working with the team as a partner. Tevalis has been supportive from mapping out ideas to seeing them develop into production. Nothing has been too much trouble for them and in fact they’re almost a department of Village now!”

What technology do you think is going to be the ‘next big thing’?

“I definitely think we’ll see more restaurants using solutions like TevMenu. We all want to feel that we are being looked after but not bothered by interruptions and processes. The addition of TevMenu complements ordering via the Village App as it gives guests a choice, which also allows staff to interact when appropriate, creating a memorable experience.

We are already working with voice assistants and I think that will be the next big change in hospitality.” 

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