Fix the TV in my Las Vegas hotel room? There’s an app for that

An exterior view of the Plaza casino in downtown Las Vegas, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

When a guest at the Plaza in downtown has a request for maintenance, say for example to fix a television in their room, the hotel’s response is now quicker because of technology the property started using last year.

The technology platform — Alice — centralizes hotel operations and staffs into one hub so all involved can keep track of various tasks as they are carried out. It runs off a smartphone or tablet application.

“We now have the ability to have our teams and departments be accountable to the operations of the hotel,” said Syrona Jones, the Plaza’s director of housekeeping. “The team can communicate with each other more efficiently, issues are addressed faster, and the hotel can identify maintenance trends and business insights.”

When Alice technology was created in 2013, it was designed to be used by guests, but they were reluctant to download the app, said Alice co-founder and president Alex Shashou.

That’s when the attention shifted to making the technology available for employees.

“So, we pivoted into the staff environment and we started looking at how do hotels service guests, how do hotels communicate with each other,” Shashou said. “That led us to today, building the first operation platform for the industry; one where every department on the platform can communicate.”

When a guest places a call or sends a text to the front desk for maintenance, the front-desk staff puts the work order into Alice, which sends an alert to a maintenance team member.

“When they get to the room they have their name and they can address them as a human,” Shashou said. “They’ll track the fact that they started and finished the job in Alice.”

The task is tracked and the data is saved to record how frequently a particular service request occurs and how long, on average, the repairs take.

“From a management perspective… they start getting a true insight into running a hotel,” Shashou said. “Imagine that in a 100-room hotel, great. But in Vegas, with 1,000 rooms (in a hotel), it’s even more important. Otherwise you have operations running everywhere, and it’s a completely archaic system.”

Shashou envisions New York-based Alice doing for the hotel industry what Uber did for the ride-hailing industry or Airbnb did for the rental industry, where everything becomes digitized.

Now with more than 1,800 hotels on board with the platform, the company is set to spread out across Las Vegas, after its initial foray into the market at the Plaza.

Last year, Alice purchased the concierge app GoConcierge, a similar technology that serves some Strip properties, Shashou said. Those properties have the option to add the Alice platform to their operations.

“Previously, housekeeping and engineering relied on guest issues being communicated through a variety of means, including verbal guest requests, emails, work cellphones and direct communication from front-desk staff,” said Elaine Zerr, assistant executive housekeeper at the Plaza. “The real-time status of a request couldn’t be efficiently tracked, and, as a result, the guest would be inconvenienced and upset.”