Hotel Arena is a characteristic hotel nestled at the edge of the Oosterpark in Amsterdam. The hotel first opened its doors as a hostel for young people from all corners of the globe in 1992. Today, the hotel has earned four stars and has grown into a multifunctional hospitality facility featuring a hotel, restaurant, bar and club.
Ernst Pleijsier is the Financial Controller for Hotel Arena. He is responsible for helping ensure the hotel’s continued financial health. Some time ago, his department noted that the software they had been using for the payroll administration, scheduling and hour registration was a poor match for the company’s needs. As a result, the decision was made to try a new combination of two software packages. Nmbrs and Dyflexis.
Within a span of two years, the hotel underwent a major expansion: an entirely new wing of studios was added, a new restaurant was opened and the patio got a much-needed freshening. Another result of the expansion was an increase in the number of new employees. “We have nearly fifty per cent more people than we did two years ago,” Ernst tells us in one of the new rooms in the hotel. Today, the hotel is staffed by 120 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, all working towards the shared goal of making sure that every Hotel Arena guest has an unforgettable stay. The team’s enormous growth presented Ernst and his department with another new challenge: to find an efficient method for organising the scheduling, hour registration and payroll of so many new employees.
“We have nearly fifty per cent more people than we did two years ago.”
Previously, the hotel relied on a separate package for its hour registration. Unfortunately, the Financial Controller says, that software failed to offer the kind of convenience he and his department were looking for. He explains: “The old solution was one that could only be used to manage the hour registration. While that suite did offer a scheduling tool, we simply didn’t feel like it met our needs. Especially since, as a hotel, we deal with lots of irregular shifts.” By that same token, the payroll administration software was not compatible with their increasing need for efficiency and ease of use. Which is why Ernst and his team set out to find a future-proof solution.
They quickly arrived at Nmbrs and Dyflexis as the answer. Nmbrs for processing the payroll administration and Dyflexis to conveniently schedule shifts and quickly register hours worked. Ernst and his team studied the possibilities of both systems extensively before taking the decision to switch from their current software.
“With Nmbrs and Dyflexis, we’ve found a combination that lets us be precisely as flexible as we want.”
Ultimately, both packages turned out to be a good fit for the company’s needs. Ernst explains the decision to go with Nmbrs and Dyflexis: “With Nmbrs and Dyflexis, we’ve found a combination that lets us be precisely as flexible as we want.” By way of example, he mentions the link between the two software packages: “All kinds of real-time connections that ‘talk’ to one another allow you to get the job done in a lot less time.” The desire to work in an online environment also played a role: “A web-based environment and apps are more up-to-date ways of working,” Ernst adds.
After taking Dyflexis into use, it didn’t take long for the management of Hotel Arena to notice improvements compared to the previous situation. One of the things Ernst is most struck by is the user-friendliness of the system. “It’s been designed quite intuitively. You can set it up properly without needing to read a user manual first.”
Other improvements primarily relate to the processes involving scheduling, registering hours worked and paying out wages. Ernst notes that Dyflexis is especially accessible: “In the old system, we had to register hours in one system and then keep track of the schedules in a separate Excel sheet. The great thing about Dyflexis is that you make a schedule, then you post it online, people clock in and out, and you have everything you need right there, in a single package.”
“It gives you the ability to be more precise with your scheduling; you can plug in the right person every time, in terms of costs and availability. That is a definite advantage!”
Dyflexis also helps the schedule makers deploy personnel more effectively, Ernst adds. He explains that for schedule makers, it can be a challenge to schedule the best employees while also remaining within the budget that’s been set. This proved extremely difficult in the previous situation, as Excel simply didn’t offer the convenience that the planners needed. “When you make a schedule in Excel, you tend to fill in the first employee whose name pops up for a given day, instead of immediately being able to see who would be your best option.” The Financial Controller explains that Dyflexis is ideal for resolving this particular issue: “It gives you the ability to be more precise with your scheduling; you can plug in the right person every time, in terms of costs and availability. That is a definite advantage.”
It turns out that the payroll process has become a great deal more organised as well: “The software lays out, in a really clear fashion, each step you need to take before you can pay out the wages.” The system lets you know, for instance, when certain clock times are still awaiting approval: “This saves us a lot of work because it eliminates the problem of people coming back later and saying, ‘I worked such and such hours, but it’s not in the system.’ That’s an issue we’re now able to prevent.”
Ready for future growth
The hotel’s metamorphosis gave occasion to once again examine the processes with regard to scheduling, hour registration and payroll. Dyflexis helped ensure that these processes could be managed in a significantly more streamlined fashion. As Ernst reports, “It’s all become much more efficient.” Thanks to these gains in efficiency, Hotel Arena is now ready to continue its growth in the years ahead.