BizX Members, Jon Farrell (L) and Eddie Redman (R) get on their flex all on BizX.
The luxurious style of San Francisco’s Queen Anne Hotel eternally captures the timeless romance of the 19th Century gold rush. Nestled among the “Painted Ladies” mansions in the Bay Area’s Pacific Heights, the historic building has been a symbol of elaborate architecture and Victorian glamour since 1890.
The interior of the Victorian mansion is as charming and elegant as its pink exterior. Grand entrances, antique furnishings, chandeliers and roaring fireplaces greet you as you step into history at this boutique hotel.
At peak times, the Queen Anne Hotel can accommodate upwards of 100 guests at a time. While travel has been limited this past year due to COVID-19, CEO and owner Anand Gokel has utilized the hotel’s relationship with bartering networks to keep rooms filled and the hotel running.
“We’ve always turned to exchange companies to help preserve the bottom line,” says Gokel. A member of various exchanges companies in the past, Gokel was referred to BizX a few years ago by a friend and fellow member. After making the switch to BizX, Gokel says, “We would never go back to another exchange. BizX absolutely has the most to offer.”
From services to improve the hotel (painting, repairs) to perks that boost employee morale (welcome baskets, restaurant gift cards), Gokel has found ways to use BizX services, both before and during the pandemic. The most common service used is to help fill empty rooms. Especially due to the pandemic, Queen Anne Hotel has seen fewer visitors, which means empty rooms that impact cashflow. Through BizX, the hotel is referred to other members who can provide BizX dollars in exchange for a stay.
The silver lining to limited travel is that Queen Anne Hotel has been able to make significant hotel enhancements with its BizX credit that puts the hotel in optimal shape once busy season rolls back around. The antique carpets, that boast Victorian patterns in saturated hues, are “no ordinary shampoo job,” says Gokel. Using the BizX network, they were able to have the carpets professionally cleaned and all the walls painted, which saved tens of thousands of dollars in cashflow. “If we couldn’t do it through BizX, we likely weren’t going to be able to do it at all,” Gokel remarks.
Gokel recommends BizX to everyone and anyone . “Sometimes I think people have the wrong idea about a barter exchange,” he says. “They may assume you’re getting a lesser product for a lesser price, but that couldn’t be further off. Every service we’ve had through BizX has blown away our expectations. The companies are researched beforehand, they’re reputable and professional, and we’ve always been happy with the results!”
Headquartered in Mukilteo, Washington, the 360° Hotel Group owns and operates various hotels across the Puget Sound region. Beginning in 1976 with the purchase of the three-story Ramada Inn in Seattle’s Northgate area, the group now manages six properties that stretch from Seattle to Bellingham.
Like every aspect of the hospitality industry, hotels suffered a heavy blow during the pandemic. While patiently waiting for visitors to plan their escape to Western Washington, 360° Hotel Group has looked for ways to retain staff and preserve cashflow while ensuring its hotel buildings are properly maintained. As Tim Cordodor, Director of Hotel Performance says, “BizX is a great way to do that.”
360° Hotel Group has been a member of BizX for 17 years and in that time have built their BizX credit through offering rooms and hotel services to others in the member community. With credit in its account and less patrons to work around, 360° Hotel Group was perfectly situated to cash in on BizX services this past year.
Cordodor highlights landscaping maintenance taking place at two of the six properties. With the project being one hundred percent funded through BizX, Cordodor’s BizX account representative is able to maintain billing and assist with account maintenance while Cordodor focuses on other important responsibilities happening at the hotel group.
The next project is to install a CCTV system comprised of 27 cameras at another location. Cordodor expects the majority of these costs to be funded by BizX, giving 360° Hotel Group cash flow relief, compliments of barter exchange.
“Perhaps one of the biggest programs of 2020 was the adaptation to our housekeeping program,” says Cordodor. “When social distancing began, we needed to decrease the amount of time customers and hotel staff spent in the same room, per CDC guidelines. We created a program where hotel customers could ‘order their housekeeping services’ similar to how they would normally order room service. To implement this program across all six properties, there was a large amount of printing, logos and signage that needed to happen. We used BizX for nearly all of this, from printing the signage in the lobby to the door handle service cards.” Cordodor remarks that without BizX, this system might not have been considered.
Despite the lull in travel, Cordodor and 360° Hotel Group are hopeful that normalcy is on the horizon. Soon, travelers and tourists will come to the Greater Seattle Area, and 360° Hotel Group will be ready — with updated services and beautiful buildings — to serve them.
Digital barter community continues to champion small businesses by providing lines of credit, creating connections with others in network