Let’s turn going to the office into an experience

Previously employed as Operations Manager of Attend Hospitality Agency and since January 2021 as Operational Manager at HFC IFM, Vanessa Versteegh sees opportunities in making ‘going to the office’ an experience. From her hospitality vision in the office market, she is now on a mission to expand the services by bringing a new facility shift to the office market. “It is about the total guest experience. Everything is aimed at making the employee feel welcome in the office, like in a hotel,” Vanessa says.

How are the new integrated services developing so far?
In recent months, we have mainly worked on the development of a new Integrated Facility Management (IFM) proposition for the office market. Last year, the corona crisis forced me to take a close look at the services and business model. After that, we concluded with the entire team that we mainly see opportunities in broadening services, based on a strong hospitality vision. I am happy that I have found an experienced party in HFC, who, like Attend, puts the guest experience first.

What does the new IFM proposition include?
We respond to the changing needs in the office market where workplaces are rapidly transforming into meeting places. The hospitality vision of Attend and the hotel experience of HFC come together in a new service model, in which we bring the hotel experience to the office market. In our mission, we go a step further than just the entrance and departure at the office.

How do you change ‘going to the office’ into a total guest experience?
Until now, facility management has not been a priority in every organization. Over the past year, we have experienced that FM is a very important part of an organisation. It is becoming increasingly important to make ‘going to the office’ an experience. And therefore, we position IFM as the connecting factor. In addition, we also introduce the pay per use model that HFC uses in the hotel market. We believe that this will be an innovative way of working in the office market. We are planning to introduce this model soon.

What are the elements for an office experience?
Everything is aimed at making internal and external employees feel welcome, like in a hotel, and turning ‘going to the office’ into an experience. This is the added value of IFM and of course, we are going for the 5-star experience. Every employee wants a clean workplace, wants to come to work with a purpose, be inspired and connect with colleagues. Is there no workplace available today? Then there must be space in, for example, an office hub where an employee can move to. We help Facility Management to respond to the needs. We will look for the connection between a welcome at the front desk, the creation of safe workplaces, catering, walking routes and everything in between. In a time where hygiene and customer experience are part of a workplace, departments must work together to create a pleasant working environment. In my opinion, we will be working a lot more with data in the future. For example, with a tailor-made designed app that indicates how many parking spaces and workplaces are available in the office on a specific day.

What services does HFC IFM offer to create this 5-star guest journey?
We manage a large part of the services ourselves so that we go for the best quality, to keep an overview of the daily activities and deal with costs efficiently, for example by focusing on maximum task integration. The hospitality services that we manage in-house are hostess/host, service desk employee, handyman, facility manager, facility employee and the safety host. For other services, we work closely together with our operational service partners.

What are the elements that contribute to an excellent guest experience?
When you visit the office, it starts with the invitation of your host. The feeling that you are welcome, and that people know you are expected. A partnership between all departments is essential regarding this. Because it may have gone well during the entrance, but if you come across an empty coffee machine afterwards, the excellent guest experience stops. It is an entire journey, from the entrance to departure. In addition, we must look for employees who fit in with the culture of the company. So that the employee goes to work with pleasure. We can all learn the fake smile trick, but if you are genuinely passionate about your work, this will translate positively to the customer.

Do the same elements apply to The Westfield Mall or The Netherlands?
Realizing a 5-star experience in a shopping centre also fits exactly within our concept. And yes, it can be compared with the elements of the office market. Our host employees at The Westfield Mall of The Netherlands have a proactive attitude. A little step more is being done to create that excellent guest experience. Surprising guests with extra services within the shopping centre is our main goal. From borrowing a wheelchair, hanging your coat in the cloakroom to handing out a wristband for children with a telephone number. With the proactive attitude of our employees, it is slightly different than at any other shopping centre. It is all about happy guests and happy customers.

How do you make your employees happy?
Being interested in your employees, knowing what is happening at the workplace and listening to the people are the ingredients for employee satisfaction. My job is to create pleasant conditions for the employees so that they can be the best version of themselves and be successful. The happiness of the employees will translate into happy and successful customers.

What does success mean to you?
Making everybody feel welcome, from employees to partners. That is also my motto for the coming year. When the employees enjoy going to work, this translates into excellent services and our partners can focus on what they do best. We are going to put HFC IFM on the map, I am looking forward to it!

Vanessa Versteegh started her hospitality career in 1990. Hospitality has always been a big part of her life. From Senior Consultant, Senior Business Manager to hospitality entrepreneur, Vanessa is happy when she can make people feel welcome. Since January 2021 she has been working as an Operational Manager at HFC IFM. She is a family person and always on her way. In her spare time, she does cross-fit, running and tennis, but also likes to go out for a snack and a drink. In the summer she likes to go to the beach or a festival and in the winter, she likes skiing.