“The main thing it does for us is it allows us to cross-utilize our staff, which in turn helps us to stay within budget.”
–Anastasia Jenkins, Regional Lounge Manager
For travelers in the Star Alliance of global carriers — airlines such as Air China, Scandinavian Airlines and Air New Zealand — access to a high-quality passenger lounge is a luxury that has come to be expected.
That’s why Star Alliance launched a new generation of lounges in 2013. They first opened in Buenos Aires, and the second at Los Angeles International Airport.
The Star Alliance lounge is an oasis for the weary traveler. Whether it’s a space to relax and socialize — the rooftop terrace bar with a view of Los Angeles — or a place to rest before a long flight home, the lounge can accommodate the needs of any traveler. Amenities include work spaces, fresh to-order meals, and restrooms equipped with hot showers.
According to Anastasia Jenkins, the regional lounge manager, Star Alliance has 25,000 passengers pass through LAX each month, and the lounge is typically filled with 300-400 passengers during peak hours. Therefore, operational efficiency is imperative.
Butler XP and Staff Paging System
So how does a floor staff typically no larger than five people manage a crowd of 350 passengers? The answer, when the lounge opened, was not very well.
The staff did its best, but having to be in so many places at once caused inefficiencies for both workers and guests. Team members might have been working on one task while they really were needed somewhere else.
The lounge incorporated an LRS push-for-service paging system for its shower area, which suffered from staffing inefficiencies.
Shower stalls are cleaned and the doors locked after each use, meaning a custodian must be available at all hours. That’s fine during peak operation, but during off hours that person was under-utilized with nothing to do.
Now, with a push-button paging system, passengers request access to the showers and a message is immediately sent to the custodian who can respond within a minute. The custodian is free to complete other tasks while the showers aren’t in use and be responsive to provide timely assistance when needed.
The lounge also uses an LRS staff paging system in its first-class dining area. Guests place their order with a first-class agent, who sends the order to the kitchen. When the food is ready, the kitchen delivers a digital message to a supervisor via an LRS pager, who can ensure the meal is delivered hot and fresh.
Kitchen staff is able to stay focused on preparing food, and the agent can attend to passenger needs.
Passengers come to the lounge for a personalized, responsive experience. They don’t want to wait for a shower suite to be unlocked, or wait for food to be delivered. That attentive level of service would be impossible without the paging system.
Reduced staffing and cost savings
“The main thing it does for us is it allows us to cross utilize our staff, which in turn helps us to stay within budget. I can’t afford to hire just one person to manage food orders for the first class customers. This is utilizing all the staff we have, and it’s really cost effective for us. It doesn’t take the place of another person, but it certainly helps.”
- Improved customer experience – delivery of timely, on-demand service
- Efficient staffing – smarter utilization of a small staff to meet the hundreds of guests
- Reduced expense – labor savings from greater staffing efficiency