Founder and CIO of Creating Revolutions shares insights on what Hotels can do right now to overcome guest fears, and save their businesses amid the COVID-19 crisis
By Alan Young, Co-Founder and President of Puzzle Partner
The term ‘visionary’ is hardly a novel concept, especially in an age so defined by digital expertise and thought leadership. But, what exactly defines a visionary? Is it an exceptional idea? A desire for continued innovation? Or, perhaps, foresight for what is to come in any given industry space? In the case of Einar Rosenberg, it is all of the above.
With 15 years as a global leader and inventor in Near Field Communication (NFC) and Mobile Payment technologies, Einar finds himself among the top 10 authorities in the disciplines worldwide. A member of elite societies, including MENSA, NSHMBA, and more, Einar speaks four different languages and holds an MBA in International Business & Information Technology, as well as a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His industry knowledge seemingly knows no bounds, with credit to his sought-after expertise in security, vending, retail service, medical, and, of course, hospitality.
When speaking with Einar, you will quickly recognize his unbridled enthusiasm and appetite for innovation, paired with an intellectual sophistication that sets him apart and, more often than not, paves the way to a cutting-edge idea.
Einar’s latest company is precisely that; an innovative solution that our industry needs now more than ever before, born out of a desire to create something truly impactful.
Innovation the Empowers ALL the Human Elements of a Hotel
When asked about the name of his company, Einar explains, “For years, I’ve understood that most technology is ‘evolutionary,’ not ‘revolutionary.’ After I sold my last company, I knew that I was in a position to create a different kind of company. A company whose core, idealistic goal is to create truly revolutionary technologies that provide critical solutions and help to improve the world in which we live. I realize that, from the outside looking in, that might sound incredibly idealistic. But I truly believed that it could be done. After all, why should company success come at the cost of moral callings and value-driven innovation? Couldn’t we achieve both in equal measure?” The answer, as Einar has come to prove, is a resounding yes.
With the core goals and values for the company in place, all that was missing was the right purpose. Then, one day, it finally came to him.
“Most people don’t realize it, but more than half of the US workforce works in front of a desk, not behind it. For decades, revolutionary technologies were being created for the betterment of those behind the desk, from excel to email, the internet, and more. But, what about those in front of the desk? What about the housekeepers, waitresses, janitors, sales clerks, and front-facing customer service representatives spanning countless industries? These jobs are rooted in customer interaction and, in many cases, they represent the human element of business.”
With this realization, the directional purpose of the company became obvious. Einar would make it his mission to create revolutionary technologies that enhance and benefit the workers in front of the desk. The name says it all; his team is Creating Revolutions for the Human Element of Business.
Game-Changing Technology – The Time is Now
They say “great things take time,” and the process of creating both the CLEANTracker and SmartRefill platforms was certainly no exception. From initial ideation to streamlined fulfillment, Einar notes that it took nearly four years, millions invested, and the work of three teams across three different continents to create the multi-patented Touch & Discover platform.
At its core, Creative Revolution’s offering is based upon the realization that technology cannot solve all of our problems. The purpose of technology, instead, is to enhance the human element — not replace it. And surely, there is no time like the present for a solution such as this. After all, the global experience of a pandemic has quickly demonstrated that people are an important part of the equation. Technology alone isn’t going to solve this crisis, but technology enhancing the human element, can. That, in fact, is the winning formula.
“In this regard,” Einar explains, “it was kismet that the platform we had worked on for so many years, is now the perfect technology to solve critical elements of the ‘new normal’ which we now face.”
CLEANtracker and SmartRefill have three core elements: Employee Efficiency, Employee Accountability, and Employee Assistive Intelligence. Together, these elements are designed to easily create real-world tools that help to enhance what we call the ‘human element’ of business for housekeepers, waiters, sales clerks, and more, in this post-pandemic world.
Must-Have Solutions for a Post-Pandemic World
Understandably, the post-pandemic landscape for hotels will demand a hyper-focus on cleanliness. Contrary to the misconception that transmission of viruses occurs predominantly through the air, contaminated surfaces are often the crux of the problem, as viruses often live on surfaces for weeks. High-touch surfaces then pose a direct transmission risk, as we touch our face 23 times per hour on average.
With this in mind, the best way to defend against viruses is hand sanitizer, and, as a result, hotels have been quick to position dispensers across their property to ensure they are readily available for guest and staff use. But imagine how a guest would feel finding a dispenser empty. How can hotels remain a step ahead, to ensure they are proactive in their protection of guests?
This is precisely why Einar created SmartRefill technology.
SmartRefill is designed to ensure a hotel has a best-in-class defense against viruses, one which can be proactively communicated to prospective guests to quell any concerns. The technology works on any Hand Sanitizer Dispenser, installs in seconds, requires no infrastructure, and its user-friendly design presents no barriers to adoption for staff. All hoteliers have to do is place the SmartRefill chip on the hand sanitizer dispenser, and install the employee app on any modern smartphone.
Even better, it requires minimal change to an employee’s existing process. Any staff member who passes by a hand sanitizer dispenser simply touches a smartphone running the employee app to the SmartRefill chip placed on the dispenser. This records that the dispenser was checked, when and by whom. If the dispenser is nearing empty, the employee will select ‘Refill Dispenser’ on the app, which will trigger an automatic notification to the individual assigned to refill that dispenser. What’s more, management can set time constraints for the refill process. For example, if they set the time at 10 minutes, and the refill employee does not reach that dispenser and touch their mobile device running the app within 10 minutes, management is promptly alerted.
“It really is that easy,” Einar explains. “With SmartRefill, hotels can establish a truly efficient and accountable process that ensures a safe and clean environment for guests and staff alike. Moreover, it lets guests know that the hotel they’ve chosen is actively protecting their guests, which, in a post-pandemic world, will be paramount to success.”
SmartRefill is only one part of the puzzle, however. Einar’s latest addition to his suite of innovative hospitality solutions is CLEANtracker, a platform that provides hotels with an easy system to maintain accountability. Installation of the platform takes less than one minute and requires no change to standard housekeeping processes. The housekeeper simply follows the SOP already defined by the hotel today.
Upon the completion of each step of the SOP, there is a paper-thin NFC chip (smaller than a postage stamp and invisible to guests), which the housekeeper touches with their NFC Reader Bracelet. Of course, the real work is happening behind the scenes, with credit to Creative Revolution’s Artificial intelligence named ELROY.
ELROY was built from the ground up and can perform billions of calculations in just one second, using 17 different technologies in real-time to analyze a multitude of data with high precision. Harnessing this power, the CLEANtracker platform ensures each housekeeper is cleaning and sanitizing the hotel room according to precise best practices defined by management, every single time.
“Using ELROY gives a hotel complete confidence in their cleaning efforts, and provides guests with peace of mind that their hotel room meets all standards of cleanliness that have been promised by that hotel,” says Einar. “In a post-pandemic world, guests will always choose a hotel that gives them proof over promises.”
Of course, it’s common industry knowledge that technology is only as great as its integration capabilities. No matter how cutting-edge a platform might be, if it is unable to connect seamlessly with a hotel’s existing infrastructure, hoteliers will be plagued with limitations and, in some cases, mediocre functionality. Fortunately, both the CLEANtracker and SmartRefill platforms can work as stand-alone solutions or as integrated systems with most integrations taking an hour or less to install.
As hoteliers and industry leaders are undoubtedly aware, around the globe, hotels of all sizes and scales have instituted cleanliness programs and reform to help ensure their guests feel safe once travel bans are lifted.
When asked if this is enough, Einar explains, “The question isn’t about enough. Before this pandemic, hotels likely never imagined that this situation was within the realm of possibility. SARS may have been a comparable experience, but its effects still pale in comparison to the global social and economic implications of COVID-19. Ultimately, hotels need to be on the right side of the learning curve here and, to do that, they need to remember that there are two sides of the human element within their hotels: employee and the guest. They must verify their processes with their employees, and they must show those measures to their guests.”
I asked Einar to elaborate, and he happily obliged.
“Whatever training a hotel gives to an employee, no two human beings learn or understand the same way and, of course, no one is 100 percent every day. This is what makes us human. However, to overcome this, a hotel requires the support of a tool that can pro-actively monitor the adoption of best-practices by staff, by giving employees continual guidance and accountability. This accomplishes the Verify component for Hotels.”
Einar continues, “When it comes to Guests, it’s all about Show. Guests today face a continued influx of misinformation and, in many cases, they may be hesitant to trust certain institutions, including hotels. Therefore, Guests, today will only truly be satisfied by complete transparency; hotels will be expected to provide proof. Seeing, quite literally, is believing.”
CLEANtracker is the only technology currently on the market that provides both vigilant verifications of employees’ work and in-depth visual proof that will satisfy guests.
The Future of Hospitality and Creative Revolutions
Following the pandemic, guest priorities and preferences are expected to shift, most likely permanently. With this realization, I can’t help but ask, is there one thing hotels can do now to win back guest trust and business?
“Unfortunately, it isn’t a matter of trust,” begins Einar. “Right now, studies from Pew, Gallop, Edelman, and more have shown that consumer trust in businesses is dismal. Perhaps surprising is the realization that consumer trust was lacking long before the pandemic. In fact, the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that only 38% of consumers believe businesses are doing well or very well at putting people before profits. This tells us that gaining the trust of prospective customers is a complex matter.”
“Trust is derived from either blind faith or historical track record. The post-pandemic world represents a radical new normal, so there exists no track record to reference, and guests are unlikely to attach any blind faith to hotels when it comes to an invisible threat such as a virus. Fortunately, the good news is that Hotels can overcome the deficit of trust by providing guests with proof of process. This is the first and most important step towards recovery.”
Right now, Creative Revolutions is favorably positioned to provide the solution to the problem, which, just a few months ago, we didn’t think existed. With these solutions at the forefront of hotels’ recovery strategies in the coming months, we can’t help but wonder, what’s next for Creative Revolutions?
“Like the name says, we are always creating revolutionary products and services. Later this summer, we are launching some incredible new technologies, including Vitality, our Employee Health Bracelet technology aimed at saving lives, reducing employee stress and turnover, and so much more. We are also gearing up to launch Autoteach technology, which automates employee training and increases retention of training by 10X compared to traditional hotel employee training.”
Speaking with an entrepreneur of Einar’s caliber, I get the distinct sense this is only the beginning.
About Alan Young
Alan E. Young is the Co-Founder and President of Puzzle Partner, the leading agency specializing in hospitality and travel technology marketing. Previously, Alan has held executive-level positions with start-up companies such as Newtrade Technologies, (acquired by Expedia), Hotel Booking Solutions (acquired by IBS Software) and TrustYou. Alan is past Chair of The Board of Directors of The OpenTravel Alliance and been very involved with other industry associations most notably AHLA, HEDNA, and HTNG. With over two decades of experience in the travel and hospitality technology world, Alan specializes in helping innovative companies achieve winning performance and dramatic growth. You can connect with Alan on LinkedIn.