The Cabot Lodge sits in the heart of downtown Beverly, Massachusetts, set in a vibrant location that blends culture and creativity with seaside charm. The downtown area features cultural gems like The Cabot Theater and the Peabody Essex Museum, as well as local artisans and plenty of dining options. Just a ten-minute walk away is the beach and a 126-acre conservation area for biking, hiking, and bird watching.
Annie Coe, the owner and Head of House at The Cabot Lodge, wanted to bring her past experience in strategic planning, operations, and hoteling to her hometown of Beverly. Her main ambition was to create a welcoming space that puts guest service at the forefront. She also made sure to build a community experience by partnering with local vendors to supply things like homemade soaps, shampoos, and coffee so guests can get the best of what Beverly has to offer.
Of course, the pandemic changed everything. With certain cultural attractions on pause and statewide rules evolving, there was more to handle than anyone anticipated. Even so, Annie and her team were prepared at the outset thanks to the way she built her business: with a focus on running very lean with limited service. The structure that she’s put in place has given Annie the ability to adapt seamlessly to the contactless guest experience that’s become required of hotels today.
At the core of The Cabot Lodge’s contactless guest experience is touchless technology that integrates across its operations. The technology allows its staff and guests to stay safe while still providing a memorable stay to guests, Annie explains: “Today, most of the team is working remotely. Our guests appreciate it. And we appreciate it because everyone needs to stay healthy. That’s incredible.”
Of course, remotely operating a property of any size requires a suite of technologies working seamlessly together. The Cabot Lodge relies on Cloudbeds to integrate tech tools and power its contactless experience. Here’s how they do it:
Keyless entry via FLEXIPASS + Cloudbeds
Email automation with Cloudbeds PMS
Easy Payments via Stripe + Cloudbeds
Since each of these connections are available as direct integrations via the Cloudbeds Marketplace, every tool is in sync. These touchless technologies are what enable the staff to stay safe while giving guests greater control over their experience.
The Cabot Lodge’s lean operational model is balanced with a personal approach. The team is available to guests 24/7 – even before guests arrive on property. In an environment where things change often, Annie credits pre-arrival conversations with staff for putting guests at ease in advance so that they can exceed expectations during their stay:
“One of our strengths is that we are tech-forward. But we’re also local ambassadors. We’re calling guests to let them know about the property. Ask them what they are coming to Beverly to see and do. And explaining what they’re going to experience before they get here so that their expectations are met – or surpassed – when they arrive.”
To successfully provide this personal approach, Annie’s team calls each guest pre-arrival to make sure the guest is comfortable with their tech-enabled stay, thus deepening the guest relationship.
Even if The Cabot Lodge’s staff remains mostly remote until necessary, the team is collaborating to deliver a seamless experience that earns great reviews and strong word-of-mouth recommendations.
When it came time to select a property management system to run her business, Annie knew she wanted something that would be easy-to-use and learn, without the overburden of features that never get used. As she puts it:
Annie finds that Cloudbeds strikes an excellent balance between ease-of-use and robust features. At the same time, The Cabot Lodge’s marketing lead, Rachael Black, comes from a non-hospitality background, and she found Cloudbeds’ educational resources to be a benefit, “It’s totally new territory for me. The tutorials are definitely really helpful and super easy to follow, especially for people just starting out using the system.”
From the marketing side, Rachael has been able to leverage Cloudbeds’ commission-free booking engine into a massive source of bookings: 60% of The Cabot Lodge’s bookings are direct. Guest loyalty and partnerships with local colleges, theaters, and businesses have been a massive contributor to the strong number of direct bookings, Annie says, as has smart channel management:
“We are absolutely taking advantage of loyalty, as well as email and search advertising. And, while I totally support the idea of working with OTAs, if you can minimize your commissions, the focus must be on your brand. We are already doing well with direct bookings – at 60% direct for a tiny, no-name brand in a small city is so awesome!”
Other marketing efforts Rachael uses to get travelers to find and book online are Google Adwords and Facebook, which can be tracked through the Cloudbeds booking engine so users can measure the revenue versus investment in ad campaigns.
When it comes to accessibility, teams can work from anywhere with cloud-based software, aligning with the mobile nature of work today. Mobile access means more flexibility and fewer errors, and during this COVID era, it means Annie and her team can work remotely for as long as they need to. As Rachael can attest, the “go anywhere” utility of cloud-based software is essential:
“The accessibility to take it anywhere is super helpful, especially during COVID. So we’re not hooked into just having to use the hotel computer; we can use our individual laptops at home or on the go. It’s online wherever we are.”
In addition to loving the software, Annie really enjoyed working with the Cloudbeds team:
“One of the best parts of Cloudbeds is the team. From the sales process through onboarding and feature updates, the whole team cares about properties and I love being part of this celebrated community.”
From training to troubleshooting, great customer support makes a huge difference in helping your team get the most out of your software. The Cloudbeds Support team has a 95% average customer service rating and is there for customers 24/7 in all time zones.
With the help of Cloudbeds, Annie and The Cabot Lodge team have built a future-forward business that’s been able to remain safely operational during the pandemic. Her tech-forward approach coupled with traditional hospitality touches have helped The Cabot Lodge deliver a happy and memorable experience to guests.