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Navigating Digital Transformation in Hospitality: An Exclusive Interview with Brian Metekohy of Sircle Collection

Discover how a simple upgrade to smart locks can revolutionize the guest experience at your hotel, enhancing everything from check-in to checkout with seamless keyless entry and a host of additional benefits. Dive into our conversation with Brian Metekohy of Sircle Collection, and see how their collaboration with 4SUITES is setting new standards in hospitality technology and guest satisfaction.

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Jordan Hollander in Guest Experience

Last updated February 02, 2024

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What’s one way you can dramatically upgrade the guest experience at your hotel? Smart locks, which allow for keyless entry with a smartphone (and a slew of other features), are small in size but big in their positive impact on your guests’ experience from check-in to checkout. Perhaps you’ve heard about hotels implementing smart access technology, but maybe you have questions about exactly how it works and what benefits you can gain.

In this article, we’ll share a recent conversion we had with Brian Metekohy, the Group Director of Technology & Business Solutions at Sircle Collection. Metekohy and Sircle recently partnered with access technology vendor 4SUITES to not only unlock guestroom doors, but also to realize benefits like smoother back-office processes and insight into usage data. Let’s learn more about this partnership and the benefits it yields so you can make a more informed decision about bringing smart lock technology to your property.

The Evolution of Sircle Collection

Founded in 2011, Sircle Collection aims to deliver memorable experiences at every hotel, restaurant, and concept store it operates. Today the company includes several sub-brands, including Sir Hotels and Max Brown Hotels, and the company’s portfolio features properties in some of Europe’s most vibrant cities, like Amsterdam, Berlin, and Barcelona. Sircle currently has two new hotels under development in London and Vienna. Metekohy leads all things Technology for the group, with over two decades of experience in IT under his belt. His focus now is, in his words, “to contribute significantly to our company's leadership in the industry by utilizing technology as a key driver of our success.” He works to align Sircle’s technology initiatives with broader company goals, which often means testing new technologies to determine if they make sense for the group.

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The Role of Technology in Shaping Guest Experiences

Metekohy believes that the key to delivering exceptional experiences for hotel guests lies in finding the balance between ease and personalization. For example, when a front desk agent recognizes a guest by name, that small interaction contributes to a more tailored, individualized stay experience. Improving the experience can also be possible by removing friction; reinventing sometimes tedious steps in the guest journey, like the check-in process or the action of opening a guestroom door, can drive meaningful improvements in the “ease” of the experience. Metekohy’s daily focus is to brainstorm new ways to find this balance so as to never detract from the guest experience.

Strategic Partnership with 4SUITES

With this goal in mind, Metekohy began a partnership with technology vendor 4SUITES, which specializes in “intelligent access.” From their earliest conversations, Metekohy notes that the 4SUITES team was open and transparent with him, including giving him access to their leadership team, which made Metekohy feel like Sircle truly had a voice in the project. Sircle now uses 4SUITES’ full suite of technology, including a cloud-based access management control system and keyless entry via smart door locks. With this tech in place, Sircle has streamlined their back-office operations, which has led to smoother interactions between staff and guests. In addition, Sircle’s team gets valuable insight into usage and trends from the 4SUITES dashboard. Summing up their partnership, Metekohy states, “The collaboration with 4SUITES has been a true win-win for Sircle Collection.”

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THE PITCH
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88 HT Score
Hotel Tech Score is a composite ranking comprising of key signals such as: user satisfaction, review quantity, review recency, and vendor submitted information to help buyers better understand their products.
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Powered by 4Suites technology, Sircle guests can now use their mobile devices as their room keys, bypassing the need for physical keycards and lengthy lines at the front desk.
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4SUITES Hotel Keyless Entry Systems
THE PITCH
RATINGS
88 HT Score
Powered by 4Suites technology, Sircle guests can now use their mobile devices as their room keys, bypassing the need for physical keycards and lengthy lines at the front desk.
Learn More

Optimizing the Digital Guest Journey

The steps in the guest journey that 4SUITES optimizes, like gaining access to a hotel room, are fundamental pieces of the guest experience, but they’re often overlooked. Metekohy appreciates that 4SUITES can “elegantly address this crucial step with their cutting-edge cloud based IoT access control platform.” Metekohy notes that he is inspired by Aristotle’s statement that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and he is thus inspired to create an end-to-end ecosystem at Sircle Collection properties. Collaborating with technology partners makes this possible: by joining forces with vendors that are best-in-class, Sircle can contribute fresh and creative perspectives to their vision.

The Impact of AI and Digital Transformation

Though Metekohy believes the hospitality industry has made significant steps forward on the technology front in recent years, especially after pandemic-related setbacks, he is bullish on the impact that AI will bring in coming years. He was surprised by the hotel industry’s astonishment and lack of knowledge about technologies like ChatGPT, which goes to show that many leaders in our industry might be less focused on new technologies as leaders from other fields might be. Regardless, Metekohy says AI is here to stay, and he’s curious to see how Artifical General Intelligence (AGI) will impact hospitality. “We need to prepare for it and explore how to integrate it into our guest journeys,” he says.

Before and After: The 4SUITES Effect

You may be wondering, how does a Sircle guest journey look different today, compared to before the 4SUITES partnership? In the pre-4SUITES days, the guest journey started with a physical check-in at the front desk. On a busy afternoon, the guest had to wait in line (not a great first impression!), and there was the potential of lost or faulty keycards and a lack of personalization in the arrival experience.

After implementing 4SUITES, the arrival experience is free of those pain points. Sircle guests can now use their mobile devices as their room keys, bypassing the need for physical keycards and lengthy lines at the front desk. Metekohy explains, “The measurable changes included faster check-in processes, improved guest satisfaction scores, and a reduction in the costs associated with lost keycards.”

A few key features of 4SUITES made these improvements possible. 4SUITES offers remote access, which means staff can open and close doors from a distance, which greatly enhances security. 4SUITES’ mobile integrations are highly efficient, meaning physical keycards have become a thing of the past at Sircle hotels. And the ability to monitor and manage access in real-time has given the Sircle team the tools they need to operate more efficiently and ensure guest safety.

Looking Ahead: Future Plans and Aspirations

What’s next for Metekohy and Sircle Collection? Metekohy is prepared and motivated to embrace the latest and greatest technology – when it enables Sircle employees to create even more exceptional experiences for their guests. The next phase of digital transformation will give their guests more flexibility to choose how and when they engage with staff members through a combination of AI-powered assistance and personal human interactions. This merging will create more autonomous stays without sacrificing the personal touches that make Sircle hotels unique and special.

Technology has incredible power to help hoteliers deliver higher standards of guest service when used in conjunction with human interactions. Sircle and 4SUITES demonstrate the value of partnership and the impact of joining forces to improve the most critical (albeit less glamorous) aspects of the guest experience. With Metekohy’s ethos of balancing the ease and personalization of every stay as the driving principle behind Sircle’s investments in new technology, we’re excited to see what this hotel group does next. And whether you operate one hotel or one hundred, you can take inspiration from Sircle as you look to improve your own guest experience.

 

This article was created collaboratively by HotelTechReport.com and 4Suites

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Jordan Hollander
Jordan is the co-founder of Hotel Tech Report, the hotel industry's app store where millions of professionals discover tech tools to transform their businesses. He was previously on the Global Partnerships team at Starwood Hotels & Resorts. Prior to his work with SPG, Jordan was Director of Business Development at MWT Hospitality and an equity analyst at Wells Capital Management. Jordan received his MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management where he was a Zell Global Entrepreneurship Scholar and a Pritzker Group Venture Fellow.