Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City strives to make all of its guests’ experiences as enjoyable as possible, right from the moment they arrive. Minimizing paperwork and streamlining the check-in process are important elements of that commitment.
Borgata’s opening in 2003 helped to revive Atlantic City, which hadn’t seen a new hotel constructed in 13 years. Today, the hotel houses 2,000 rooms and suites, with almost 100 percent occupancy on weekends. The casino offers a 161,000-square- foot casino floor with 3,475 slot machines and more than 250 table games, including poker, blackjack, roulette, Baccarat, novelty games, Racebook, Pai Gow tiles and Sic Bo. In addition, guests can enjoy meals in Borgata’s 12 destination restaurants.
Streamlining the Check-in Process
Guests sign a registration form when they check-in. The hotel could request signatures on paper, but generating paper documents slows the check-in process and makes it more cumbersome than necessary. The answer is to capture signatures electronically. Borgata had been doing this for some time, but the system was not meeting all of the hotel’s needs.
A primary requirement for a signature-capture application is to reliably attach signatures to the document that was signed. Otherwise, guests’ signatures may be applied to contracts that they had not agreed to. The hotel’s old signature application kept signatures with the associated documents, but the process was clumsy.
The loop of promotional/branding images displayed on signature pads was another source of frustration. With the old system, if Borgata wanted to change an image, or if a group booking a large block of rooms wanted to display a customized image on the pads, the marketing department had to contact the application vendor to apply the change. This did not provide Borgata with the flexibility it wanted.
Worst of all, the old application was unreliable. When the signature pads weren’t working, the hotel reverted to paper documents, which meant that the check-in process was no longer seamless. Registration is the first face-to-face experience that guests have with the hotel. Clearly, Borgata didn’t want that first encounter to be marred by failed technology.
Sign Here and Webdocs Manage Documents and Digital Signatures
Borgata overcame these challenges with Sign Here and Webdocs, both from Fortra.
Sign Here easily captures digital signatures and applies them to documents generated from IBM i spool files, Windows and Linux applications, and database-driven report and forms engines such as Optio, Crystal Reports and iForms. Because Sign Here strictly follows the U.S. Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (ESIGN) guidelines, documents signed using Sign Here are contractually binding and legally acceptable.
Webdocs, an electronic content management solution, allows organizations to store document images on IBM i-based or Windows-based servers. Authorized personnel using a standard Web browser can then access the images from anywhere in the world.
When checking in at the Borgata Hotel, guests use a stylus to sign the electronic registration form displayed on a signature pad. Sign Here then merges the signature with the registration form and stores the document in Webdocs. As a result, the check-in process is fast, easy and seamless. And the signature automatically becomes an integral part of the document that was signed, so the two cannot be separated.
Borgata runs Sign Here and Webdocs on a Windows 2008 server, with backend databases running on SQL Server. Borgata also has custom applications running on an IBM i- based server and Fortra aided in bridging the gap between the two operating platforms.
A major benefit of Sign Here and Webdocs is the stability of the solution. “In the past, the app we used broke down a lot and we had to run around to get it working again,” explained John Forelli, Vice President of IT for Borgata. In contrast, “Sign Here and Webdocs stay up and are always available.”
Forelli went on to state that the frequent unavailability of the old application negatively impacted guests’ experience. And the need to revert to paper documents increased transaction costs. The stability of the Fortra solution eliminated these costs and helped to improve customer satisfaction.
Sign Here also provides value to the marketing department. The images displayed on the signature pads can be changed easily in-house, without any need for outside help. This allows the hotel to easily update promotions and customize the check-in screens for large groups.
Because Webdocs is a comprehensive document management solution, Borgata expects that it will expand its use of Webdocs to include the storage and management of additional hotel and casino documents in the future, thereby creating yet more value from the solution.
One of the biggest advantages of the solution is the company behind it. According to Forelli, “Everything that flows from that—the presentation to our customer, the stability of the app, the nice signature pad presentation to our guests— come out of the central premise that this is the Fortra competency. This is what they do. From the IT side, you learn that that is a really important factor when you are selecting a vendor. You want somebody who gets it at a deep level.”