SAN FRANCISCO—For hotels reopening after a period of closure during the COVID-19 pandemic, getting up to speed on all of the upgraded health and safety protocols put in place by their brand or operators takes a lot of work. It likely would be easier if everyone was in the same workspace, but that is not possible. At a given time, there are likely a few employees on every floor.
Delightree, which recently completed a $3-million round of seed funding, has created a workflow app for deskless employees that makes it easier for managers to assign and monitor tasks performed by their staff in any given period of time. It is basically a virtual manager that automates all tasks and workflows for hotel employees. The company, based here, has also launched a free tool to help businesses become compliant with the latest protocols and regulations and enabling them to share that information with their customers.
“For a hotel to operate smoothly, their workflow involves hundreds of procedures that are done on a daily basis, from cleaning of rooms to maintenance to getting ready for check-ins,” said Tushar Mishra, cofounder/CEO of Delightree. “Apart from this, there are also a bunch of regulations like OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and food safety that the managers have to be careful about. Managing and tracking all of the tasks across shifts manually is really hard. When you have multiple locations, keeping everyone accountable for their jobs and getting overall visibility over all hotel operations becomes challenging.
Owners tell us that managing all of this through spreadsheets—which staff is not comfortable using—calendars and paper checklists are not efficient and takes up a lot of the managers’ time. Despite all of this, more often than not, locations are not 100% compliant.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a further burden on hotel management, noted Mishra. “COVID-19 has definitely created a whole new bunch of challenges apart from the ones already mentioned. The number of regulations have now increased, and the stakes are now higher because this impacts the lives of the employees and customers,” he said. “Being COVID-compliant has now become the foremost important compliance that hotels just cannot ignore. Moreover, you have to do it all with minimum or no physical contact. On top of all of this, hotels also feel the need to show their customers how compliant and hygienic they are.”
The virtual manager automates all of the monotonous, routine tasks that a manager has to do—follow up on maintenance, compliance reporting, employee onboarding, inspections, etc.—and automates them so that managers can focus on improving business.
“The idea came about when we [Mishra and cofounder Madhulika Mukherjee] were working on our previous company Survaider, a tool that monitored customer feedback across social media, review sites, etc., and turned that feedback into actionable to-do lists,” said the CEO. “When we were piloting it, our customers started saying, ‘Can we create our own tasks?’ or ‘Can I tell something to my employees through this?’ It was just such an obvious problem, and owners and managers wanted a solution so bad. So, we started building Delightree.”
Delightree offers 100s of workflow templates —from opening procedures to cleaning, auditing, inventory management, maintenance and regulations—that managers can use to create tasks.
“Our customer success (CS) team works with the owner/manager to build out these processes on the app for the business,” said Mishra. “From then on, it is simple. Employees use Delightree on their own smartphones or any shared iPads on premises. They get notifications when a task is due such as cleaning the restrooms. And all of this can be accessed by the management in real-time.”
The COVID-19 tool not only helps the hotel by providing the proper tasks, it also allows it to reassure guests that the proper steps have been taken.
“One of the main concerns of customers in the COVID era is uncertainty as to whether the business is following all the right guidelines and precautions to make their visit safe,” said Mishra, who noted that Delightree clients include La Quinta, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn properties. “We address this by letting the business share their live compliance, like when the location was sanitized, temperatures of employees, deep cleaning, etc, in a public page with their customers. The way it works is that they can start using the latest CDC of WHO guideline template on the Delightree app, and choose to share it, which automatically creates a page for the business, ready to be displayed to their customers.”