Boost app aims to upgrade employees' English skills

Boost app aims to upgrade employees' English skills

Running a five-star hotel is often seen as an old-fashioned business, but technology can still teach an old hotelier new tricks.

The Continent Hotel Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road saw an immediate 30% increase in upselling revenue after it made employees use a smartphone training application called Boost.

Mr Jhingran is impressed with the app's language instruction.

The app, created by the Singapore-based Boost Hotels Software Solutions, trains employees in English and Chinese language, upselling, and food and beverages skills.

"We were having a tough time getting people out of the workplace and into classrooms, just because of how busy the hotel is," said Jay Jhingran, general manager of The Continent. "We provide the tools and our colleagues and employees to be able to learn whenever and wherever they want."

Continent's employees have been using Boost since July 2017, with 20 employees currently using the app. In 2018, the hotel has so far seen a 5% increase in upsell revenue year-on-year.

The major draw of the app, however, is its language training.

"Social media reviews went from bad English language reviews to excellent English language reviews," Mr Jhingran said.

"I just keep reading, 'great English, great English, great English'."

The employees are required to use the app either during lunch breaks or after hours. The user's in-app scores and usage times are recorded by the app and seen by management.

Employees at the top of the app's leader boards can receive cash compensation or dining vouchers.

Aunchaya Kongrod works at the front desk and uses the app up to six hours a week, the most out of The Continent's employees.

"The application is not very difficult to learn, so if you have the free time, you can learn by yourself," Ms Aunchaya said. "Many returning guests remark about how my English is progressing well, which encourages me to keep going."

The app trains employees in common hotel situations, and how to respond with best practices standard at most hotels. Even the language portion is based around common hotel terminology and conversations.

"A lot of the curriculum is designed by hoteliers," said Chalakorn Korprapakit, commercial director at Boost Thailand. "There's certain core standards that are the same across brands. It teaches you how to put a glass on the table, where to put your cart, how long you take before you knock on the door."

Boost is used in over 200 hotels in Asia-Pacific with a total of 20,000 hotel employees using its vocational and language training. Thailand is the company's biggest market.

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