Allan Taylor, the CEO of Boost had more than 25 years of experience in technology, specializing in hospitality, healthcare, and telecommunications and internet industries. Back in the 1990s, he worked as Managing Director Southeast Asia in MICROS Systems Inc, then as President and CEO Asia Pacific, Bartech Systems International. He also worked with other companies like IDeaS, Healthe Care Australia, FCS Computer Systems and Qooco.
In 2018, he co-founded Singapore-based hospitality learning platform Boost. Currently, as the Chief Executive Officer at Boost he manages a team across Asia and strives to provide best-in-class talent selection, training, engagement, and motivation for hotel employees to deliver higher hotel guest satisfaction and financial performance.
In a recent interaction with People Matters, Taylor shares why he started Boost and discusses how technology can be used to empower hotel employees to ensure a great hotel guest satisfaction.
Here is an excerpt from the interview.
What inspired you to start Boost? Skilling is a global challenge across functions and industry. Why did you choose to focus only on the hospitality industry?
I come from a hospitality background and I’ve spent the initial years of my career managing hospitality technology, and property management systems. In my experience, I have seen hiring staff who speak the relevant languages being a key challenge for employers in the hospitality industry. General Managers wished to train their employees in these languages. Owing to the demand for more language training in the sector and lack of availability of such tools, we incepted Boost. Through mobile spoken language assessment, learning and vocational skills training, we now aim to empower employees to provide better service, resulting in happier and more loyal guests.
For hotels and other employers in the hospitality industry, great customer experience is their biggest reward
Language is enough to make future interactions easier. It gives you more confidence and helps you in approaching more foreign guests.
How do you plan to help the workforce in the hospitality sector with their learning needs? Can you share more about how Boost's mobile learning solution works?
Boost is a mobile learning platform, powered by a proprietary Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and Analytics system, with interactive animations and gamified content to make learning fun and engaging. We provide a range of training solutions through five different mobile applications, each designed to address different learning requirements in the hospitality industry.
For instance, Boost Voice, enhances staff’s comprehension, speaking and vocabulary skills in Mandarin and/or English with course content developed by hoteliers themselves. It enables employees to speak a language that is most relevant to their workplace.
Then there is Boost Skills, a vocational training solution that features more than 130 practical lessons that simulate real-life service scenarios in food and beverage (F&B) service and housekeeping. The app provides self-paced lesson plans designed to improve service delivery standards and consistency across both disciplines.
The major hotel chains, globally, fear that technologies might affect their business negatively. But while there will be major changes and we will see more automation, hospitality is a sector where people and human interaction lie at the core
We also have a situational upselling training tool named Boost Upsell. It enables hotel staff to position and capture additional revenues in-hotel or on-property, through food and beverage upsells, room upgrades, and promotional specials.
Improved communication leads to better service and helps the hotel staff give a good experience to the guests. For hotels and other employers in the hospitality industry, great customer experience is their biggest reward. Additionally, when employees’ language skills are increased, and vocational skills are enhanced, they become more confident and happy.
Ever since its launch in 2018, how has the traction been for Boost?
We have expanded diversely. In October 2018 we opened an office in Singapore. Then we also have direct offices in Thailand and Indonesia. We also expanded our operations in Tokyo, Japan, and China, particularly in Shanghai and Beijing. We are also present in Ukraine and Vietnam.
Boost is currently used by over 227 hotels throughout Asia, teaching over 20,000 hotel employees the skills needed to enhance guest service and grow their careers.
How do you plan to further develop the current solutions? Are you looking to bring in more innovation and new solutions? Can you also share your expansion plans?
We are striving for global recognition, so expansion will always be a priority. We are also working towards building a voice recognition software. Going forward, two-step verification will become standard and it will be much more interactive. We will further improve the vocational skills and training services.
As a veteran in the hospitality sector, how do you predict the industry landscape to evolve in the future? How do you think companies and workforce can prepare for these changes?
Technology has bolstered the hospitality industry. However as the technology keeps on advancing, the industry continues to get its head around it. Given the pace at which the industry is changing, businesses and the workforce have to take more ownership. The major hotel chains, globally, fear that technologies might affect their business negatively. But while there will be major changes and we will see more automation, hospitality is a sector where people and human interaction lie at the core. Great guest experience is incomplete without a human factor.
The companies in the hospitality sector, hence, have to figure out how to balance tech and human touch for maximum success.