AvantStay

How AvantStay Ended the Search for Information With Slab

At a glance

Problem

Using Google Docs for knowledge sharing worked alright with 30 employees, but when AvantStay more than tripled its workforce, it was clear that they needed a more scalable solution. They needed a centralized, accessible knowledge-sharing solution that would grow with the company.

Solution

Slab offered a simple, clean solution that made it easy for even the least tech-savvy employees to get on board. Slab also made adoption easy by providing templates and tools that demonstrated how to get the most out of the platform.

Key Points

  • Having all documentation in one centralized place meant no duplication of policies
  • Centralized, controlled access solved the problem of people waiting for permission to be able to access important files
  • Having one source of truth enabled employees to work asynchronously without having to search for information

AvantStay is all about providing its customers with the best travel experience, without them having to search for it. The elevated short-term rental brand offers a personalized concierge, award-winning interior design, and upscale amenities that, together, are changing the face of group travel.

The AvantStay experience isn’t limited to one region — properties are spread out across the most sought-after travel destinations in the US. Internally, the company takes a similarly borderless approach to knowledge sharing. According to Deena Imamura, AvantStay’s Senior Program Manager of Learning & Development, “We want to encourage curiosity, learning, and growth within the company, and that means being able to access the right information at the right time.”

“We want to encourage curiosity, learning, and growth within the company, and that means being able to access the right information at the right time.”

Picture of Deena ImamuraDeena ImamuraSenior Program Manager of Learning & Development

Explosive growth, complicated by cracks in the system

When Deena joined AvantStay, the ability to access information was becoming more complicated by the day. The company had recently grown from 30 to 90 employees and was about to enter another period of rapid growth. In just 18 months, they would more than 5x to nearly 500 employees. One thing was clear: there was no way the current internal knowledge-sharing system would be able to scale along with the company.

Every team’s work at AvantStay affects another team and are in near-constant communication with one another, executing policies for homes and adjusting training information accordingly. Prior to finding Slab, AvantStay’s employees used Google Drive to create, share, and update the company’s vast collection of standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The more AvantStay’s team grew, however, the more wires were getting crossed. People were creating important policies in their personal Google Drive and forgetting to move them to the shared drive, leaving others waiting to be granted access. There were also multiple versions of certain processes being created from scratch again and again, with the people creating them unaware that it already existed elsewhere.

Deena needed to find a fix for this growing problem, and she needed it to be user-friendly enough that AvantStay’s diverse team of employees—who come from backgrounds in a number of fields, from tech startups to hospitality—could adopt it easily. In short, she needed a knowledge-sharing solution that was clean, straightforward, and user-friendly for everyone, not just the most tech-savvy employees.

Getting set up with Slab

Thankfully, Slab had everything Deena was looking for. “For me, the biggest selling point was the simplicity of the layout and the search function. Everything was just really simple and clean.”

Once she decided to move forward, it was just a matter of getting set up and rolling it out to the rest of the company. “Slab was really helpful with that. They had templates ready for me to distribute, as well as helpful tools for how to get people on board.” Meanwhile, she was also setting up other things within the system: adding documents, compiling “frequently requested links,” and setting up integrations with Slack and Google Drive to make it easier for people to find what they needed.

Deena also used the company’s summer offsite as an opportunity to introduce Slab as the official internal knowledge management system. “We made a point to introduce it to everyone at that time, and from that point forward, we didn’t look back.”

“For me, the biggest selling point was the simplicity of the layout and the search function. Everything was just really simple and clean.”

Picture of Deena ImamuraDeena ImamuraSenior Program Manager of Learning & Development

A borderless solution that scales

Today, all new hires are onboarded through Slab. Welcome emails include embedded Slab links, and people are encouraged to use the Slab search bar to find any documents before asking around for what they need. This alone has virtually eliminated the problem of missing and duplicate information. “The whole problem of people not being able to find the right information disappeared very quickly,” says Deena.

In terms of how Slab helped AvantStay’s employees navigate their day-to-day work, Deena says the difference is night and day. “People require less handholding now. There are fewer emails going back and forth requesting and clarifying information. People are searching for things on their own and working really well asynchronously.”

As for the future, Deena is excited to continue to elevate the ways in which AvantStay’s employees use Slab. “Now that we’ve gotten everything into the system and people know how to use it, it’s time to start thinking more about how we organize topics and structure our more general folders to make them more helpful.”

No matter what the future brings, Deena knows that Slab will be there to help her. “They’ve always been available to answer any questions or address any struggles I’m having. We’re a hyper-growth company, so there will always be big changes to contend with, but I’m not worried about that now that we have Slab.”

“We’re a hyper-growth company, so there will always be big changes to contend with, but I’m not worried about that now that we have Slab.”

Picture of Deena ImamuraDeena ImamuraSenior Program Manager of Learning & Development