The Cloud Five

Stay in the know of company updates, team wins and exciting things to come.

EMPLOYEE NEWSLETTER – ISSUE 24

A Message from the CEO, Mark Holzberg

Happy Spring everyone! As the ground has finally completely thawed and the days get longer, we in the cold winter weather states can’t help but be hopeful this time of year. Add to that a roaring US economy in Q1, 40% of the country vaccinated, and a faster than expected start to recovery in the hospitality industry and I’ve got to say, I’m feeling really positive.

As we all know, we’re not out of the woods yet but we’re getting there. If you were able to join us on the All Hands call you heard me talk about how just over a year ago, things were in a very different place. COVID was terrible, we were all hunkered down, and pretty much everything felt uncertain and scary. Now we’re gradually opening the country, COVID cases continue to decline and we’re talking in a meaningful way about re-opening the offices.

I also talked about the progress we’re making toward our 2021 Strategic Expansion goals. Our Contact Center sales team has hit the ground running with a solid pipeline of business – 70% of it outside our core hospitality market, which is fantastic.

On the TECH side of the house, we’ve hired a new salesperson to support our Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) expansion efforts and in just a couple of weeks, he’s already uncovering opportunities. Our Managed IT Services offering is also gaining traction with a couple of deals already closed and tremendous opportunity on the horizon. It’s a long row to hoe, but we’ve absolutely got room to grow in 2021. I’ve seen your resilience and talent firsthand! I’m so proud of the strides we’ve already made, and the groundwork we’re putting in place to make 2021 a fantastic year of recovery.

I’ve been consulting with colleagues, our leadership team, and our customers to make sure that our move into the “next normal” is responsible and safe. Our plan currently is to welcome folks back to our Springfield and Chicago offices for 2-3 days a week starting in early July. In fact, we’re declaring Monday, July 5, our independence from COVID day.  The opening of our offices in Canada will be a couple of months behind the US, as their recovery is taking place more slowly. We’re also finalizing the details of a two-week “work from anywhere” policy. In addition to our PTO policy, that means that if your role permits, you can travel to wherever and work from there – whether it’s a cabin (with Wi-Fi) in the woods, your folks’ place, or a couple of weeks at the beach, we’re giving you the flexibility to go hang out and work in a not-home location as long as you work out the details with your Manager. I’ve missed the comradery of our shared space and I’ve really missed you all. I’m looking forward to the energy and growth that comes from our face-to-face collaboration. We’re planning some fun ways for us all to reconnect once the office does open and will continue to keep you updated as we get closer to summer.

We’re also instituting a set of COVID vaccination guidelines which Doug will be rolling out and communicating shortly. In the meantime, especially in light of the CDC’s new guidance on not having to wear masks in most settings once you are vaccinated, which I took full advantage of over the weekend, and enjoyed very much, I’d admonish you to get vaccinated quickly if you’ve not already done so.

Q1 was a busy one for Cloud5, so tuck into the articles in this edition of our newsletter and see what your colleagues have been up to. Here’s to warm weather, reconnecting with each other and our loved ones, and a strong and healthy team. Stay well, everyone.

Did You Miss the All Hands Call?

Don’t worry! You can catch up on the
May 7, 2021 call at the link below.

WATCH NOW
WHAT’S NEW

Operations Updates

2021 is proving to be a year of growth for Cloud5 and the operations team is putting tools in place to optimize that growth and support the efficiencies of our team. SolarWinds, our new monitoring tool is being deployed to our first ten sites this month. This will be a big win for our support team as it will improve visibility into the networks we support.

We are seeing increased call volume as guests return to hotels and our team has done an outstanding job of keeping up with demand. Sales Engineering volume has increased with a big uptick in new site survey requests from properties that held off upgrades in 2020 and the installations team continues to stay busy. We exceeded budget for the 1st quarter and the 90-day forecast shows no signs of slowing down. With the health and safety of our team and guests being our top priority, our teams continue to practice and follow Covid policies.

The Contact Center team is excited to be promoting upwards of 16 people in the next few months and to also welcome Joelle Hanrahan, our new HR Business Partner assigned to the Broadview and Loch Lomond locations.

Starting on May 3rd, we began a hiring program of bringing on 150 people to the Contact Center team through the end of the year as we have seen major increases in volume. Many of our agents are attending training classes for clients like G6, AMEX and Sonesta through the summer. We’d like to thank everyone for their continued dedication and work during this busy time!

Q1 was very busy for the operations team! Large projects have taken up much of our time, including a 200-hotels (23,000 rooms) La Quinta/Wyndham Meraki migration, and a 40-hotels (8,000 rooms) Marriott Managed takeover project. We are also laying the groundwork for a call center, telco direct connection project, which is potentially hundreds of hotels. Meanwhile, outside of these mass deployments we’ve been continuing to observe closely the Covid safety precautions while maintaining a strong workload of Telco and HSIA installs.

We completed 70 projects totaling over 17,000 rooms in Q1, surpassing both 2020 and 2019 numbers. The team looks forward to completing 4 projects in Hawaii next month including one of our largest ever at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

WHAT’S NEW

Community Updates

Giving back to the communities we work in has always been important to Cloud5 and 2021 is no different. We are excited to share the four companies that the Contact Center team will be donating to each quarter this year. 

  • The Heart and Stroke Foundation – Q1
  • The SPCA – Q2
  • Bobby’s Hospice – Q3
  • The Romero House – Q4

Department Updates

Beth Milano, VP of Sales

Defying the Odds & Exceeding Goals

Wow, we all believed 2021 had the potential to be a transformational year and the sales team has certainly delivered, exceeding target by 42%! The team has set the stage and has very high expectations to deliver a banner year after slogging and fighting our way through 2020.

I am thrilled with their focus in Q1 and am encouraged by the pace they’ve set for Q2, tracking right on the mark to deliver Q2 sales targets. We have lofty goals as the year progresses, but know we have the right mix of grit and determination to ensure we are delivering on our 2021 sales plan.

With all this excitement, we also welcome a new face to the team, Michael Weiss, a 20-year industry veteran supporting the Multi Dwelling Unit (MDU) vertical. Michael will be spear-heading our efforts to expand into this new vertical for Cloud5 and I could not be more pleased with him as an addition to our amazing sales team. While he is learning all the new faces and navigating all things Cloud5, do not hesitate to reach out and say “hi”!

We’re energized and all going 100 miles per hour, but I can’t say enough “thanks” to all the internal teams who help make our work closing opportunities so much more enjoyable and worth the effort.

Cloud5 Earns Top Hospitality Partner Recognition by Mitel

Cloud5 is honored to have been named the winner of the Technical Excellence Award for 2020 by Mitel, a global leader in telecommunications technology. To be eligible for Mitel’s award, Cloud5 had to meet the strict criteria required to join Mitel’s Hospitality Solution Expert Program.

A service that enables hoteliers to identify Mitel partners with industry-specific expertise, Cloud5 was granted this distinction for their in-depth hospitality knowledge and ability to provide fully comprehensive communication solutions.

“Cloud5 is proud to be recognized by Mitel for our commitment to redefining the hotel connectivity experience and in providing both hotel staff and their guests with clear and dependable communication abilities,” said Beth Milano, Vice President, Sales for Cloud5. “It is through the dedication of our team members that we have been able to maintain a reputation for delivering high-performance solutions and complete customer satisfaction.”

Read the Full Press Release

Tareq Ayub, Chief Technology Officer

New Team Members & Programs

The Tech team is excited to welcome a new team member! Angel Galarza joins us as the Director of IT Infrastructure & Operations. In his role, Angel will be focused on making sure that infrastructure supporting our HSIA and Voice services is managed and maintained for exceptional service delivery to our customers. Raphael Randolph joins our team as a Business Analyst. Raphael will be helping us improve our requirements management and prioritization processes. In our effort to become cloud-first, we are continuing our process of exiting out of our data centers. Once this project is complete, HSIA services will be delivered 100% from the cloud, offering us the opportunity to innovate at scale.

Also, supporting HSIA services is our initiative to deploy Solarwinds as a monitoring platform that will help Cloud5 detect customer experience issues before they happen.

We have also launched the Modern Workplace initiative with a goal of bringing the best experience to the workplace in the post-pandemic environment, with improvements to technologies and standards. In the spirit of staying true to the statement “data is the new oil”, Cloud5 is embarking on a data program that will make step improvements to the quality of information available to make strong data driven decisions relate to products, services, and customers. On the Contact Center side, we are piloting AI technologies to improve our agent performance, and deliver personalized experiences.

We are also building an innovation idea hub – a platform that allows everyone to submit ideas for a Cloud5 team to review and select for experimentation. More to come on that in coming weeks.

Armand Rabinowitz, VP of Product Development

Creating Efficiencies for our Customers

As technology products mature, they tend to converge around similar standards which enables simplified integration and new solutions. We are refining our solutions to serve the need for operational efficiency and savings for our customers facing resource constraints. One example is a solution we developed to help hotels meet new E911 requirements for every telephone extension to report its exact location to the Public Service Answering Point (PSAP). Instead of requiring hotels to buy hundreds or thousands of DID phone numbers, our solution provides this service for any size of hotel at the cost of a single Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) line per month.

Technology is not the only thing converging. The new normal is a convergence of the way we use hotels, residences, and offices. Our residences became our offices, vacant hotel rooms were offered as isolated places to work, and now hotels are taking it a step further. One exciting project we are working on is converting a historic hotel in Westchester County, New York into a residential and working campus for a financial firm that needs to isolate nearly 200 interns for their 2021 summer training program. We are giving them a residential Wi-Fi experience that is modeled after our MDU solution for multifamily housing communities. The Product Team is also looking to expand with the addition of a Product Manager hopefully sometime this year – so stay tuned for that…

Cloud5 has also been featured in HT Magazine with an article I wrote discussing the monetization of Wi-Fi. You can check that out here.

Beth McClure, VP of Marketing

The Marketing Team has been busy this year with the build out of several programs to drive brand awareness and generate demand for the Sales Team. We are currently focusing on the final build out of the new Cloud5 website, several advertising programs through Google and LinkedIn and preparing for our biggest event of the year, HITEC, at the end of September.

This quarter we are excited to bring back the Cloud5 Clique Webinar Series! The next episode on May 20th at 11AM CT features a conversation about Wi-Fi monetization with several industry leaders from brands like Google, CNN and Zoox. Please encourage our customers to register for the webinar by sharing this link:

Register for the webinar here.

We also recently shared a quick look into the Marketing Department on the Cloud5 Academy Webinar. If you missed it, check it out here for more insight into what the Marketing Team is up to!

People and Culture Update

Presented by our VPs of Culture

Doug Green

Kathy Lloyd

Cloud5 is saddened by the loss of Elaine Price, who passed away last week. She joined the Cloud5 team in April 2020 as a Gen Res agent and was recently promoted to G6 Senior Agent. Despite working from her home in Ohio during her entire tenure with Cloud5, she made a tremendous impact on everyone with whom she interacted.

She possessed a positive outlook and infectious attitude that was readily apparent even through emails and video calls. She will be deeply missed and our hearts go out to her family during this difficult time.

The winners have been chosen for the Q1, 2021 Cloud5 High5 Award. It was a very difficult choice as there were so many great candidates for the award. But ultimately we had to make a decision. Congratulations to all!

And the winners are:

  • Jay Lee, Accounts Receivable Analyst, Springfield
  • Jill Taylor, G6 Agent, Minto
  • Rebecca Rideout, American Express Travel Counselor, Saint John – Broadview
  • Chris Keyes, G6 Agent, Saint John – Loch Lomond
  • David Wood, Maximus/Sonesta Program Trainer, Saint John
  • Dean Pritchett, Trainer, Moncton

The other great candidates that received nominations are:

Anna Lee, April Doucette, Beth Shaw, Brenda Smith, Christina Atwin, Frank MacKenzie, Harrison Palmer, John Clark, Kristen Boudreau, Marisa Young, Meghan Crough, Mitch Huskey, Nicole Gray, Olivia Stewart, Sabrina Shirley, Stephen Haubner, Vanessa Mountain, Bill Sieve, Chris Spatz, Ilia Merchine, Larry Flynn, Brandon Barr, Rich Little, Albert Salinas, Stephanie Winsor

The first quarter of the year provided some fun contests amongst employees and the results are in! Check out the winners below.

NCAA Bracket Winners

Thank you to everybody who participated in the ESPN Men’s Basketball Tournament Contest. It was a great contest and ultimately it came down to the final game that determined the winners. Gonzaga vs Baylor. Congratulations to the winners:

  • 1st Place Chuck Benvenuti – $100 Gift Card
  • 2nd Place Paige Savoy – $50 Gift Card
  • 3rd Place Amanda Nava – $25 Gift Card

Academy Award Winners

Congratulations to Business Development Director, Marty Castens for winning the Cloud5 Academy Award contest with 82 total points. For this honor, he wins a $100 gift card.

In second place is Executive Business Development Director, Graham Macdonald with 73 points and he wins a $50 gift card.

Rounding off the top 3, is Contract Analyst, Louis Pagano, with 72 points and he wins a $25 gift card.

Fabulous job everyone!

Kentucky Derby Winners

After being re-scheduled in 2020 due to COVID, the Kentucky Derby returned to its traditional first-Saturday-in-May date this year. It was a great race, with the top four horses finishing very close together. However, there always has to be a winner . . . and the first to finish was Medina Spirit, a 12-1 favorite, who sprinted to a winning time of 2:01.02. Of the 126 Cloud5 entrants only 4 chose the winning Philly.

An impressive psychic prediction by Jacqueline Collier (Contact Center – U.S. – Ohio) who was only two-hundredths off the actual time which won her first place and $100. Both Krista Bonnevie (Contact Center – Saint John Loch Lomond) and Lidia Petrovics (Contact Center – Minto) were within a half-second of the actual finish time, though Krista’s guess was one-hundredths closer which earned her second place and $50. Lidia won $25 and C5’s Fast Equine Committee decided to award Chance Duguay (Contact Center – Minto) $15 for his selection of the long shot horse.Congrats to everyone.

We are about half-way through our first round of the Cloud5 Academy classes and so far we have had great attendance and the survey results show that everybody is enjoying these sessions, are learning from them and would like to see these sessions continue.

Following is a list of the remaining classes for this session:

  • May 20th – CC Workforce Management, Trish Ross
  • May 27th – Finance, Steve Richardson
  • June 3rd – CEO, Mark Holzberg
  • June 10th – Managed IT Services, Alex Ajdelsztajn
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