Smooth sailing


Technology optimization for hotel staff and guest

As hotels continue to make their way back from the massive customer downturn of the pandemic, they’re now seeing their guest reservations get back to pre-pandemic levels. However according to a recent industry report, 97% of hotel respondents said they were still experiencing staffing issues and don’t see any end in sight in acquiring experienced help at the levels needed.

For hotels to thrive in today’s economic environment, they must be smart, efficient, and agile. There are many forces for change that affect how hotels function and, ultimately, survive – including labor and hiring challenges, and their remediation depends upon providing an excellent customer experience. Adopting specialized technology can help provide the high-level interactions needed to keep hotel budgets in the black.

State-of-the-art hotel technology can help power positive change in several different ways. This technology can be used as the underpinning for deploying strategies and actions hotels can use to provide an optimal customer experience in the face of those forces for change and, at the same time, insulate themselves from the next economic downturn. Let’s look at four reasons why implementing the right technology at the right time can help ease the pain of day-to-day operations.

Onboarding technology that creates an easy way for guests to check in and access other services is the first way hotels can exploit processes technology can optimize to provide a business benefit. In this instance, for hotels that are struggling to find front-desk help, technology can accommodate and expedite check-in for arriving guests, reducing wait times and the need to stand in line, no matter the time of day. For guests arriving off hours, technology enabling self-check-in can facilitate safe guest arrival as people can arrive at the hotel and go straight to their rooms. And finally, with the ongoing limited staff constraints, tech can remove the front-desk barrier and eliminate transactional hospitality, empowering each member of the staff to instead be more of a hotel’s brand ambassador

An estimated 49% of consumers say their hotel selection is influenced by high-tech features. Hotel-specific technology provides business benefits by differentiation, improving guest interaction, and capturing data that can be used to increase loyaltyprogram adoption and guest marketing touchpoints. Technology also can be used to make the loyalty program sign-up process a seamless, one-click experience, and helps level the playing field for independent and boutique hotels, too.

Hotel technology can make the checkin and stay process for guests – and employees – a smoother and expedited experience. Specifically, it can reduce the instances of highly repetitive tasks, allowing staff to spend more time creating and executing more memorable moments that personalize the guest’s stay, such as sourcing products to create a special honeymoon or vacation experience. Additionally, there’s a level of protection provided to staff by prioritizing safety and social distancing. Technology also can eliminate manual ID checks, transactional payment processing, and even data-entry errors while, at the same time, reducing chargebacks. And, of course, this tech helps mitigate labor availability challenges when they arise.

Onboarding hotel technology often results in an almost immediate increase in profits through upsell/cross-sell efforts at optimal, time-sensitive points within the guest journey, such as room upgrades, additional housekeeping, and related offerings, as well as early check-in and late checkout. The degree to which these amenities can be made easy to obtain will hasten their adoption.

Additional areas for financial and operational improvement via tech include the opportunity to reduce front-desk labor costs, repurposing employees for more meaningful work and interactions, and optimizing overall staff productivity. The opportunity for creating additional marketing touchpoints and new revenue streams is also a massive upside – think late-night check-in and buying a pizza and soft drinks – to onboarding this customer-experience-enhancing technology.

As businesses of all shapes and sizes look for ways to more easily engage with and please their customers – while optimizing staffing resources and spend – the latest state-of-the-art technology can be a boon for not only the hotel owner, but also the staff and customers who increasingly expect this level of service. Technology can provide a competitive advantage, set up a seamless guest experience, create a smooth-running establishment, and help achieve a financially sound hotel business.

branigan mulcahy

Prior to co-founding Virdee, Branigan Mulcahy was the head of real estate at The Guild, where he led expansion into new locations and markets. Throughout his career, he has spent 10-plus years investing in and developing commercial real estate. In a previous life, Branigan was a captain in the Marines where he deployed twice to the Middle East. Branigan holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s from Texas A&M University. In his free time, Branigan enjoys running marathons with his wife, Christine, and fostering dogs from local rescue shelters in Austin, TX.


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