Using technology to combat the hospitality industry staff shortage
As COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift, the hospitality industry is only going to get busier, putting pressure on an already-struggling workforce. According to Joblists’ Q3 2021 United States Market Report, “Job satisfaction in the hospitality industry has declined substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One-third of current hospitality workers report being “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with their jobs, compared to 15% prior to the pandemic. In addition, 58% of hospitality workers planned on leaving their jobs by the end of the year, which left hotels in a dire situation. To combat these ongoing challenges, the hospitality industry should implement solutions that directly address the needs and concerns of their employees. Here are three quick technological solutions being implemented by savvy hoteliers to simultaneously improve guest satisfaction and their own bottom lines.
With COVID-19, staff and guests both have concerns about increased exposure, especially with new variants such as Omicron continuing to spread. To address these worries, hotels can implement self-service technology that helps to limit direct contact. A great solution is a check-in kiosk, where guests can check themselves into the hotel, answer health surveys or COVID-19-related questions, and continue to their room without the need to interact with another party. Not only is this beneficial for limiting direct contact, but it also helps free up staff members’ time to work on other important tasks.
A similar self-service solution that can improve staff’s work environment as well as guests’ stays is an in-room portal. With an in-room portal, guests are able to access a variety of services, such as food service, amenity requests, concierge services, housekeeping, and more. When a request is made, staff members automatically receive an alert to a mobile or desktop device containing detailed information, allowing them to complete the task quickly and efficiently. This cuts down on the time that guests spend trying to obtain information and services by calling or walking down to the lobby or even interrupting an employee who is already working another task. By automating much of this interaction, more time is made available for staff members and guests to receive quicker service.
An in-room portal also can be used by guests to check out of the hotel. At the end of their stay, guests can select the checkout option from their in-room portal, leave their keys in their room, and then be on their way. This keeps guests from congregating in the lobby, and it’s also great for expediting housekeeping to get the room ready for the next guest. Cleanliness has always been one of the most important priorities in the hospitality industry, but this has become even more vital since the start of the pandemic. To allow housekeeping to have the most time to clean a room, they can receive an alert any time a guest uses their in-room portal to check out. This alert would contain the room number and other important information, allowing housekeeping to prioritize which rooms they attend to first and improve their overall workflow.
Implementing environmental monitoring technologies is another great way to improve staff workflow. For example, with temperature and door sensors, a hotel can monitor the status of their refrigerators and freezers. If a door is left open for a certain amount of time or if a temperature rises above a specified degree, a staff member can be automatically made aware of the problem. This allows staff members to be proactive rather than reactive, which can keep minor problems from becoming major emergencies. Not only can this save time and money, but it keeps many potential issues from escalating to where it can disturb the convenience and comfort of the guests.
When the hospitality industry implements solutions that streamline communication, improve workflow, and enhance guest satisfaction, staff retention and job satisfaction improve.
COVID-19 has accelerated many changes in the industry, but a lot of these changes should be welcomed, because not only will they create a better experience for staff members, they will bring hotels up to a new technological standard that benefits everyone.
Status Solutions, a risk-management and situational-awareness technology company.is Vice President of