Mobile Learning Boosting Indonesia's Hotels

Mobile Learning Boosting Indonesia's Hotels
Technology is ever-present wherever we look today and one piece of tech that many of us cannot be without is the smartphone. While we may be used to messaging our friends and colleagues, checking e-mails and social media, how many of us have learnt a new language through our mobile phones?

That is exactly what the employees at one Indonesian hotel are doing. Hotelier Indonesia spoke to the General Manager of HARRIS-POP! Hotels & Conventions Solo, Mr. Yudi Alamsyah, to find out more about how they use mobile learning at the hotel.

Why have you decided to implement mobile learning within your hotel?

The HARRIS-POP! Hotels & Conventions Solo uses the Boost Voice mobile learning solution to teach our frontline service employees English language skills. There are a number of reasons why we do this. Firstly, mobile learning is both easier to implement and more effective than traditional classroom-based forms of training. Our teams are able to learn anytime, anywhere including in their lunch break or on the way to work. This is important as the more chances they have to learn the better they get. If you try and teach them via classroom-based learning, then they would only learn once a week which is not enough.

Secondly, the language skills that they acquire through using the Boost Voice mobile app provides them with more than just the ability to communicate with their guests, it gives them confidence. This confidence translates into better service as our employees can now understand exactly what their guests want and are able to engage in conversation. This has the added benefit of improving their own career prospects too.

Do you think technology can replace service?

I do not believe that technology will ever replace service employees, certainly not in the hospitality industry. The HARRIS-POP! Hotels & Conventions Solo uses technology to help our employees and support them in their day-to-day work. However, our guests still want to interact with other humans especially if they have a special request. Interestingly, mobile learning actually promotes more human-to-human interaction by providing our service employees with the skills to engage in a more meaningful way with our guests.

How do you implement the mobile learning courses within the hotel?

We use Boost Voice for our F&B and Front Office teams. We find that these are the most guest-facing departments in the hotel and it is vitally important that our employees are able to communicate properly and clearly. Added to that, English is still the international language of business that is used by both Indonesians and non- Indonesians, so as well as Bahasa Indonesia, we need to be able to speak and understand the English language.

Furthermore, we have 144 rooms on 15 floors, five meeting rooms, and 1 ballroom with a capacity of up to 1000 people. We also have the HARRIS Cafe with a capacity of 100 persons plus a number of facilities from swimming pools, a gym and spa and reflection area. So, we have a number of different departments that our employees need to be able to understand inside out, and be able to communicate to the guest in any language.

Can you give us an example of an employee who has benefited from the Boost mobile learning solution?

We have many employees who have benefitted from Boost. One in particular is Mr. Willy Prasetyo from the F&B department. Born and raised in Solo, Willy has been in the hotel industry since 2010 when he joined our On The Job training program as a waiter. After finishing Vocational High School, he worked in several hotels, as well as in one restaurant in Solo, before joining back with HARRIS-POP! Hotels & Conventions Solo.

Willy was always quite shy and lacked confidence, but after one month using Boost Voice it was clear that his English language ability had improved. Willy saw this improvement himself and the more competent he got the more he wanted to practice and learn. Of particular note is his pronunciation of words, especially those that are specific to the F&B department. Boost Voice has been developed with guidance from hoteliers and we have seen Willy be able to pronounce common restaurant terms much more clearly and accurately.

He enjoys the fact that Boost Voice incorporates games and animation and has told me that as soon as he arrives home he opens the app. He has clearly become more confident when there are foreign guests in the restaurant, his shyness has definitely subsided.

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