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The InterContinental Hotel in New Orleans offers luxury Four Diamond accommodation with over 500 rooms, just steps from the historic French Quarter and riverfront. The hotel is part of the multinational hospitality company InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which has 5,656 hotels in nearly 100 countries.
The gift shop at the InterContinental New Orleans was barely making a profit. It was a burden for the busy front desk staff, who rang up the sales and managed inventory between guest check-ins. This was far from an ideal situation as it caused long wait times and slowed down the check-in process.
“Guests who pay over $300 for a room expect impeccable service, and waiting in line for more than five minutes to buy a bottle of water is definitely not high-end customer service,” said Ben Roberts, assistant hotel manager at the InterContinental in New Orleans. “Our gift shop was an underutilized space and a reflection of the hotel staff's limited retail experience."
Inventory tracking and restocking of shelves were manual, time-consuming processes that were hard for the staff to keep up with. In addition to lacking an efficient point-of-sale (POS) and inventory system, the gift shop was dated – everything from the store interior to the sparsely stocked shelves needed attention.
Impulsify, a retail technology expert offering turnkey POS software and services to hotels, was contracted for the store makeover. Impulsify teamed up with POS-X to provide a self-service POS kiosk solution that enables customers to quickly scan and pay for their items, reducing the burden on the front desk. The new system is based on the all-in-one POS terminal ION TP5 Pro from POS-X, which has an integrated receipt printer, a resilient touch screen display, and a bar code scanner.
“POS-X offers a commercial solution that checked all the boxes for use in hospitality,” says Janine Williams, CEO at Impulsify. “The hardware is modern and sleek, and everything is built into one unit, saving valuable counter space while keeping the desk clutter-free.”
InterContinental revamped and modernized the store with help from Impulsify. Everything was updated, from the store interior to product selection and pricing.
The new self-service POS system, which is fully integrated with Oracle Opera PMS, enables guests to ring up the sale and pay with a credit card or charge the room. In addition, the system can scan coupons and apply employee discounts, and sales can be transferred to a different department at the hotel. While the front end of the system is simple and very customer friendly, the back end offers advanced functionality to manage inventory, pricing, and merchandising, and it tracks sales and margin – down to the item level.
Since the introduction of the updated gift shop with self-service checkout, pressure on the front desk staff has been dramatically reduced. Customers no longer have to wait in line to pay at the front desk, but instead can quickly scan and pay for their items at the self-service kiosk from POS-X. Customers enjoy the improved product selection and spend more money.
“We have seen a steep increase in sales and profitability, and the sales margin has increased from 40 percent to 71 percent,” says Roberts. “The new system has taken the guesswork out of what products to sell and how to price different items.”
Real-time tracking of the inventory and automated reordering make the management of the store much more efficient and fun. The system helps identify the best-selling items and alerts the staff when the shelves need to be restocked.
“Initially, there was a worry that theft would increase with the use of a self-service kiosk, but instead the shrinkage has gone down from 20 percent to five percent,” explains Roberts. "Before, employees would give away merchandise as service recovery gifts due to the long lines, or customers would simply abandon their items or grab items with the intention to pay later.”
Since the self-service kiosk accepts only room charge or credit card payments, the number of cash payments the hotel staff must process is reduced, as well as the risk of theft.
InterContinental Successfully Launches Gift Shop With Self-Checkout
InterContinental Hotel & Resorts - New Orleans
CUSTOMER SUCCESS STORY
AT A GLANCE
InterContinental New Orleans
Self-checkout for the hotel's gift shop based on Impulsify's POS software and the following hardware:
ION TP5 Pro POS terminal
Integrated receipt printer
Attached Barcode scanner
Credit card terminal
Reduced pressure on the front desk: staff can focus on check-in
Customers spend more money
No waiting in lines
Improved sales and profit margins
Reduction in product shrinkage
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Impulsify is a retail technology company that provides the tools, data-driven insights, and retail services to help hoteliers and non-retailers create easily managed, highly profitable lobby retail outlets that improve hotel value, grow incremental revenue, and improve guest experience.
www.impulsifyinc.com Tel: 888.306.3252
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