Client case study: solving a major hospitality industry problem

Smpl Team

27 Feb 2023

The Client

Norwegian Experience

Owner of hotels in some of the most beautiful areas of Norway (and the world, for that matter).

Waitress holding a tray of champagne glasses by a fjord

The Big Idea: 

To create a digital platform that gives all staff across the hotel group a single, personalised, access point for information they need to do their job, whatever role they are in.

The platform needed to:

  • Make working in the hotel more efficient, effective, and enjoyable by being intuitive and easy to use, no matter the role you are in
  • Make it easy for managers to onboard and train staff, as well as deliver continuous professional development (including around evolving laws and regulations)
  • Drive a culture of openness, engagement, and learning within the hotel group

Project summary

Norwegian Experience took advantage of all Smpl’s core offers:

  • Our business advisory service helped the Norwegian Experience leadership team shape the strategy and scope of their platform 
  • Our super-fast prototyping service delivered a clickable prototype in five days, giving the team a clear vision of what they could and should do with their platform
  • Our developers, alongside our design and UX teams, worked in partnership with Norwegian Experience to bring their idea to life. The result was a ready-to-use platform that met their expectations, which was delivered within budget and inside challenging deadlines

What did the client think? 

“When we started out, we knew we had a problem, but we struggled to see how to solve it. Once we started talking to Smpl we came to a solution very fast.

“Our ideas quickly turned into a platform that is easy to use and answers the problem we had in a very cool way. It’s exactly as I hoped, and I am amazed how good it is. I’ve no doubt it will become our most important tool.”

Eyvind Flood, CEO

A smartphone on a table showing the NoHao service
‘NoHao’ is the answer to a problem that plagues hospitality: too many systems

What problem needed to be solved?

“It all started when we were looking at the dashboard on one of the hotel reception computers and realised what a mess it was,” says Eyvind Flood, who is CEO of Norwegian Experience’s Ryfylke Fjordhotell and Preikestolen BaseCamp hotels.

“Trying to retrieve and share information quickly and efficiently was a big issue for us, just as it is across the whole hospitality industry.”

Eyvind, alongside General Manager Per Kristian Djuvsland, knew there had to be a smarter way for those working in their hotels to access the information they needed – and to work smarter in the process.

“Take housekeeping, for example,” says Eyvind. “We knew it would make everything work better and our colleagues’ lives much easier if they had instant access to the tools to manage their day; information like which rooms had already been cleaned and which still needed cleaning and by when.”

But they didn’t know where to start with the project and worried about making things worse.

“As an older guy I was dreading having new apps and platforms to have control over,” says Per Kristian. “We were already drowning in them!”

Eyvind & Per Kristian with the VW bus
CEO Eyvind and General Manager Per Kristian

The solution:

As a fully integrated agency, Smpl could bring together our designers, user experience experts (UX), and engineers from the very start to take Norwegian Experience’s project all the way from inception to reality.

Norwegian Experience took advantage of all our core offers:

  • Strategic business advice
  • 5-day clickable prototyping
  • Full platform development 

Our relationship started with the hotel leadership discussing their Big Idea with Smpl, in a workshop led by our Head of Design (and workshop fanatic) Andreas.

“When we all got together and started discussing ideas, we quickly realised our initial idea – to build another programme – wasn’t the right one,” says Eyvind. “Rather than adding to the total – and the mess! –  we needed something that organised and pointed all of our current programmes and applications to one place.”

“Yes, that’s when we realised what we were missing,” adds Per Kristian. “A single point to access what you need, wherever you are in the organisation.”

“As we discussed it, we realised how powerful this could be,” says Eyvind. “It could make it easier for colleagues to organise their day, but it would also be a powerful tool for learning – not just when you start the job, but keeping up with changes to processes, regulations, and so on, on a day-to-day basis.

Using our new service, staff can now get all the info they need in one place

Creating a new culture

“We used to lose a lot of time on getting information and distributing it,” adds Per Kristian. “For example, we have lots of issues with keeping staff aligned with changing alcohol laws. 

“That’s crucial for our business because if you get it wrong the government can shut you down.”

Our discussions also revealed that their Big Idea could have great cultural benefits.

“When you are sharing information quickly and efficiently that helps build a culture of openness and learning,” says Eyvind.

“That’s particularly important to us because we are talking about staff from many different cultures and countries,” he adds.

“Some have a very collaborative approach, while others want to be told exactly what to do and when. We realised the new system we were plotting with Smpl could help solve that. It would let us assist and support them in whatever way they wanted.”

Bringing ideas to life

These insights formed the basis of one of Smpl’s 5-day clickable prototypes, which gave Eyvind and Per Kristian a first look at their Big Idea, brought to life.

“The initial prototype was very helpful,” says Per Kristian. “It was then we saw the full potential in the platform. The ability to train and onboard of staff was particularly interesting and will be a very important feature of the platform – without the prototype we wouldn’t have thought of that.”

The success of the prototype led to Smpl and Norwegian Experience creating a fully functioning, development-ready prototype.

That, in turn, quickly progressed to full development of the platform. (If you want to find out more about our prototyping process take a look here. You learn all about how we would build your product or service here.)

“I am amazed how good the platform is… There’s so much to say about it!”

Eyvind Flood, CEO

The Result

The ‘NoHao’ platform – as it has been christened – is optimised for desktop and mobile use and delivers on the strategies agreed during our discovery and early testing:

  • the transparent and accessible platform is helping management promote a culture of openness and learning across staff from many different countries and cultures
  • information can now be retrieved quickly and efficiently by Norwegian Experience staff, no matter where it is sits across the hotel’s programmes and applications
  • staff can be onboarded and trained much more easily and quickly (particularly important in an industry so reliant on seasonal work)
  • it is much easier to keep track of – and keep staff informed about – new laws, regulations, and policies
  • managers can easily update and distribute information to support their staff in their roles

“I am amazed how good the platform is,” says Eyvind. “There’s so much to say about it. One of the things we really like and that will make a big difference is the content management feature, which is really cool.

“For example, if a restaurant manager has three new wines in and wanted to teach staff what they were like, they can now shoot a quick film on their phone and upload it so it is immediately accessible.”

A smartphone showing the NoHao service with a video of a sommelier talking about wine
NoHao makes sharing insight easy and engaging

The Big Question

What did Norwegian Experience think of working with Smpl..?

“When we started out, we knew we had a problem, but we struggled to see how to solve it. Once we began talking to Smpl we came to a solution very fast,” says Eyvind.

“The platform is exactly as I hoped, and it’s so simple to use. I’ve no doubt it will become our most important tool. I can’t think of anyone who could have delivered this in the way you guys did.”

“The other thing we learned during the process was the importance of being challenged,” says Per Kristian. “The Smpl team was really collaborative and Andreas, in particular, wasn’t afraid of telling us if he thought we were on the wrong path from a strategic business, design, or delivery point of view. 

“That honesty was really important to us and made a huge difference.”

Sunset over a fjord with a hotel guest dipping their feet in the water
The sun sets over another awesome digital development project. (Source: Norwegian Experience)
If you are creating something brilliant from scratch, or looking to build and improve on what you’ve already got, we’d love to hear from you.
You can drop our MD Andreas an email here, or leave us a message and we’ll come straight back to you.

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