HOSPA is a non-profit membership and educational organisation that brings together hospitality industry professionals in the UK. Recognised as the UK’s authoritative voice in hospitality, for finance, revenue management, technology and marketing professionals, the organisation offers a forum – both online and offline –to share best practice, exchange materials and discuss available services to improve workflows in the hospitality industry.
Around 18 months ago HOSPA made a decision, the company stopped using Dropbox as a consumer user, instead switching to Dropbox as a business customer.
Has it worked?:
“We’d certainly recommend a move towards this sort of system to all our members. In truth, when you look at the retail industry, most companies in the sector have been quick to adopt new technology solutions, which allow for easier collaboration and communication. I feel this has been a bit of a missed opportunity by the hospitality industry.”
The words of Jane Pendlebury, CEO of HOSPA, who’s taken time out to tell us why business in the cloud has improved productivity and collaboration for HOSPA.
What drove you to consider switching to Dropbox Business?
We loved using Dropbox to share data and documents between our offices, but as our staff base grew we kept running into one big snag: conflicting copies of the same file. Employees would change a shared document and save it, not realising that others were also working on the same one. This meant we had multiple employees, working off multiple versions of the same file, a real headache when trying to collate all feedback and ensure we were working from the latest files.
How did you find the experience of switching?
I found the automated reminder emails which were sent out every time I visited the website really useful – it kept the decision front of mind and provided tips on how to get the most from Dropbox Business. The other thing I didn’t expect is the low cost of making the change.
At the time, we did seek quotes from a number of vendors to put content into the cloud on a more formal basis, and these were extortionate. With Dropbox Business I’m fast discovering that we’re receiving the same benefit for a fraction of the cost.
From an employee uptake point of view, the experience was also fairly pain free. Dropbox Business allowed us to use a very familiar product/product interface for employees, and more importantly one which they wanted to use, whilst also erasing our problems with conflicting file versions.
How has Dropbox Business changed the way you and the team work?
It’s completely transformed our business – we have moved a lot of our day-to-day functions onto Dropbox - and it wasn’t until we started doing this interview that I realised just how much things have changed!
Because we’ve been able to transform our business model bit by bit, at our own pace and at a reasonable cost, we’ve actually moved from on-premise computing and into the cloud almost without realising! And certainly without the huge financial outlay and change in culture we were facing with some of the other solutions.
Today the HOSPA team are using a centralised database of documents which can be updated in real time, by assigned contributors to that document, regardless of their location – and we don’t plan to stop there. Following the success of Dropbox Business we’re also now looking to place our entire membership database on the cloud, a huge leap for a company that wasn’t using the cloud two years ago.
Do you think cloud based collaborative solutions, like Dropbox Business, have benefits to offer the hospitality industry as a whole?
Absolutely. We’d certainly recommend a move towards this sort of system to all our members. In truth, when you look at the retail industry, most companies in the sector have been quick to adopt new technology solutions which allow for easier collaboration and communication. I feel this has been a bit of a missed opportunity by the hospitality industry.
Any members with a multi-property business would benefit – as we have done – from the centralised storage and multi-user access nature of Dropbox. Similarly, businesses with sales teams out on the road would find the ease of access to documents a huge bonus, and from a management point of view, a consistent use of the latest versions of material is a big advantage too.
Why would you recommend Dropbox Business for hospitality companies over other solution?
In hospitality cash flow is often a difficulty, but also, customer facing teams tend to be very busy. This means a big system change can be impossible to implement whilst keeping the business ticking over. Dropbox Business offers companies a cost-effective, one step at a time approach to implementing a cloud solution, making it an ideal fit for the hustle and bustle of the hospitality industry.