EFI Case study
Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel Guests
Find Printing Nirvana with EFI PrintMe
It's 9pm and you just spoke with your guest in Room 124. He needs to print 10 copies of a report for an important meeting in the morning. You give him directions to the nearest print shop a few miles away.
At Extended Stay Deluxe hotels, guests get directions to the nearest printer, but there's no driving involved. There's a handful of straightforward instructions, a security code, and a short walk to the EFI PrintMe station in the front lobby.
The Pains of Printing on the Road
It was five years ago that Ira Greenfield, Vice President of Technology for Extended Stay Hotels, lobbied to introduce printing as a guest service amenity at their Extended Stay Deluxe ('ESD') hotel properties, one of five brands within the Extended Stay Hotels family.
Greenfield targeted the ESD properties for on-premise printing because it was a steady request by many of the guests, as they stayed for lengthy periods – often months at a time – or returned regularly. Their print needs were of varying complexities and often time sensitive, so driving to the nearby print shop wasn't always convenient or even possible.
Not having a guest printer was inconvenient for the hotel staff as well. Guests would regularly ask the general manager or a front desk staff member to print a document on the office printer.
"As much as the staff wanted to provide high quality guest services, fulfilling printing requests took them away from their regular responsibilities, there were also privacy issues with some of the documents, which made handling those requests risky and time consuming."
Pursuing an On-site Solution
Greenfield believed a guest printing solution would benefit both staff and guests and nicely complement the amenities guests already enjoyed – a fully equipped kitchen, in-room wireless Internet access, an on-premise laundry facility, premium cable, and many others. Offering printing would add to guest satisfaction and add value to the ESD properties.
“Our function in IT is to bring solutions to our business that increase customer service and productivity and reduce expenses, in this case, I believed an affordable print solution, such as PrintMe, would be well-received by guests and distinguish the ESD properties from the competition”
All Signs Point to PrintMe
Greenfield evaluated PrintMe as well as other printing solutions, presenting a targeted list of requirements:
- Low cost for the hotels: Printing would be complementary to guests, so if the start-up and month-to-month costs were high for the hotels, it wouldn't work.
- A small footprint: Printers would sit in the hotel lobby, so big equipment wasn’t an option.
- No security risk: It wouldn’t be acceptable for guests to have to race to the lobby after pressing print, hoping they’d get to their confidential documents before someone else picked them up.
- No complex set-up or lengthy user directions: The solution had to be easy to implement and simple to use.
Greenfield’s nod went to PrintMe.
"It all goes back to what we thought our guests would use and take advantage of. We selected PrintMe because of its low cost point of entry, ease of use for the guests, and easy setup."
Making the Connection
Initially, a handful of ESD properties implemented PrintMe as part of a pilot test to make sure the solution was a good fit in terms of setup and guest usage. The verdict: smooth sailing all around. The hotel IT staff liked the simplicity of the setup – a quick connection from the PrintMe keypad to the Internet and printer.
Guests liked the ease of use and the fact that they didn't need special software, a print driver, or cables; they needed only their laptop along with either a connection to the Internet or access to e-mail. Once the connection was made, guests had a document in-hand after following three simple steps:
- Log onto the printme.com website.
- Upload the document and receive a confirmation along with a Document ID.
- After a short walk to the lobby, enter the Document ID in the PrintMe keypad and the document starts to print.
With positive feedback from each of the test properties, Greenfield and his team set the wheels in motion to introduce PrintMe to other ESD properties.
"The PrintMe implementation resulted in a 1-2-3 setup for the hotels and proved just as easy for our guests,"
Printing with Peace of Mind
Today, a PrintMe station operates in nearly 100 ESD lobbies in the United States. At each station is a PrintMe keypad that sits next to a printer, a small footprint for a powerful solution. Each guest room is furnished with instructions for enabling a wired or wireless connection to the PrintMe station and instructions for printing.
The PrintMe solution has been a big plus for ESD guests– it's fast, easy and reliable; but there's also a wow factor – the security component: With PrintMe, documents don't sit at the printer waiting to be picked up. Guests can send a document to the print queue at any time of day, at 11pm for example, but it won't print until the guest enters the Document ID directly on the PrintMe keypad. Guests not only print what they need when they need it and at their leisure, but they have peace of mind that their private documents will stay private.
"We've been very pleased with PrintMe, as have our ESD guests," said Greenfield. "It's turn-key and cost-effective and it contributes to guest satisfaction and loyalty, all top of mind in our business."
The Power of PrintMe
Greenfield believes PrintMe brings many benefits to the ESD staff, the ESD brand name, and guests.
Top benefits for the hotel brand and staff:
- Each property gains a competitive edge by offering a much needed amenity to appreciative guests.
- IT staff doesn't have to deal with complex configurations because PrintMe doesn't need special technologies; rather it easily integrates with existing networks and printers.
- Front desk staff members can cross printing requests off their list and focus on their core business.
Top benefits for guests:
- Guests can easily and independently print their documents, no longer having to travel to a print shop or ask hotel staff to print for them.
- Guests know they can print at any time, hassle-free.
- Keeping their documents secure seals the deal.
Greenfield hopes to deploy a PrintMe solution at each of the ESD properties and potentially at some of the other Extended Stay Hotels brands.