Extended Stay America’s new app aims to engage associates

CHARLOTTE, NC—Communication is key for Extended Stay America, and that’s the idea behind the recently debuted MyESA app, designed to foster a hotel’s relationships with its associates and help them to “Work here, go further.” Optional for team members, the app blends content sharing along with reward opportunities.

According to the company, the sharing component is really where the engagement happens, allowing associates to share story ideas, photos, videos and more, along with the ability to leave feedback of their own through surveys and polls. Through an app, sharing this type of information is immediate and paperless and doesn’t require associates to be at a desk, making it easy and accessible.

“With more than 8,000 associates spread across more than 600 hotel locations throughout the U.S., we need to do everything possible to connect with them in a better and more meaningful way, and that starts with providing easy communication tools,” said Sid Levy, VP of talent management and associate engagement for Extended Stay America.

The app also includes information and messages from leadership, award nominations, health and wellness tips, career path information and job openings. Users also have access to news and event information on the app’s newsfeed. Levy said that leaderboards track interactions and highlight users of the app, while rewards such as gift cards and logo merchandise help encourage interaction.

Some features yield more engagement than others, Levy said. “The area of strongest engagement we are seeing is with a feature that helps generate a sense of community and purpose amongst our associates, ‘Share Your Story.’ This allows associates to post photos, videos and accounts of their Extended Stay America employment experience,” Levy said. “The response to this feature was overwhelming during our ‘ESA Loves Vets’ campaign, which recognized veterans who work at Extended Stay America, and recent Associate Roadshows that engaged front-line associates in multiple markets.

“We encourage stories during team-building events, company meetings and celebrations,” Levy continued. “We have received some very moving accounts of growth, opportunity and support from associates.”

Creating this sense of camaraderie is essential for Extended Stay America, and the app encourages playful competition. “The MyESA app enables Extended Stay America associates to connect with the company itself as well as fellow team members. Associates have the opportunity to engage with their peers by sharing stories and challenging each other with engaging quizzes, as well as connecting with the company through leadership messages and career information,” Levy said.

The app also encourages individuality as it’s invitation only and tailored to each associate. But Levy explained that the most popular features are those that bring awareness to Extended Stay America’s core values and the activities that support them. These include stories shared through the app about longevity with the company, or executive messages highlighting strategic growth and community involvement.

Aside from the social component, feedback is also a major aspect of the new app. Surveys and polls help leadership get a better understanding of its associates, with both negative and positive comments, as well as ratings. Having it readily available on one’s device makes it seamless and easy for associates to contribute.

“The survey and polling functionality is simple and straightforward in its use. Feedback is a gift, and we want to know how associates think we are doing, both with the app and as a company,” Levy said. “We have received positive feedback on the app, as the average overall rating given by users is an eight out of 10, as well as useful feedback on company initiatives and events.”

Levy is satisfied with the results thus far and believes it’s delivering on its promise to “Work here, go further.”

“We are encouraged by the initial response to the MyESA app. An app is vital to engaging our associates who are not in front of a computer all day, who are instead on the front line serving our guests,” Levy said. “The hospitality industry relies on guest satisfaction. By having a more engaged and connected associate population, we have the potential to positively impact the guest experience with our brand.” HB