Unlocking hospitality excellence


The imperative of a robust operations management system


In the wake of unprecedented challenges to hotel profitability since 2020, the imperative for the hospitality industry to do more with less has never been more pressing. Scaling people with technology has become the new norm, driving an explosion of tech solutions tailored to meet these evolving needs. Yet, as staffing gradually returns to pre-pandemic levels, the talent landscape has shifted, with a surge of junior employees assuming multiple roles. In this environment, integrating functions emerges as paramount, ensuring seamless collaboration across different departments within hotel management companies. Properties and management entities now require holistic solutions that span their entire business landscape and seamlessly interface with various operational domains.

The evolution of operations management software has profoundly influenced the hospitality industry, catalyzing a paradigm shift in how hotels navigate their operational landscapes. However, despite the evident benefits, common misconceptions and objections persist among hotel owners and operators. Foremost among these misconceptions is the belief that software alone can serve as a silver bullet solution. In reality, while technology serves as a potent tool, people remain the cornerstone of delivering exceptional hospitality, particularly at scale. Leadership within hotels plays a pivotal role in nurturing a culture of success, with strong internal champions essential for driving effective implementation and maximizing the value of operations management software.

Friction in everyday operations can add up to a logistical nightmare. For example, many large hotels still have different systems for engineering, housekeeping, service delivery, security, and concierge teams. This translates into the necessity of having a wall of monitors, one for each system. When a guest requests something to be repaired in their room, it first goes to the front desk. The request is then keyed into the engineering system, which alerts the housekeeper to wait to clean the room until after the repair is done. Once repaired, the engineer must call the housekeeper, write the message in a print-off, and finally message them before they enter the room. For this hotel, incorporating operations management enables real-time updates, where any changes can be managed centrally so housekeepers always know the next thing to do. Prioritization is reflective of the guest, their seniority, and changing circumstances in the day.

Even in the best-run operations, communication has many steps and opportunities for delay, mistakes, and miscommunication. Hoteliers are intelligent problem solvers who can make anything work but shouldn’t have to. A software solution should holistically address their needs.

Resistance to adopting new technologies often stems from hoteliers’ deep-rooted focus on finding practical solutions amidst their busy schedules. The perception persists that technology may add to their burdens rather than alleviate them.

Operational excellence requires people on the ground to use the tools, and it may be met with begrudging check-the-box mentalities. To overcome this resistance, articulate clear value propositions at every level of user engagement, demonstrating how technology simplifies rather than complicates existing workflows.

Providing simple pathways and tapping into innate competitiveness is critical to getting the desired usage out of purchased systems. Recognizing associates who are performing above and beyond creates a sense of team. This can be accomplished by visual leaderboards and team competitions. Tools that help expand this across a group, hotel to hotel, will be a game changer in scaling hoteliers and allowing management companies to apply their recipe at scale.

Emerging trends such as gamification and AI hold immense potential to drive operational excellence within the hospitality sector. By leveraging gamification to incentivize engagement and recognizing exceptional performance, hoteliers can foster a culture of continuous improvement and teamwork. Furthermore, the integration of AI-driven predictive analytics promises to revolutionize group operations and profitability, providing actionable insights derived from cross-functional data integration.

For hoteliers contemplating upgrading their operations systems, the path to success lies in building a culture of operations excellence and forging true partnerships with technology providers. By embracing a champion mindset and selecting vendors who prioritize ongoing support and evolution, hoteliers can unlock the full potential of operations management software and chart a course toward sustainable growth and success in the dynamic hospitality landscape.

Stephen German is the Vice President of Product at Actabl, the leader in hospitality business intelligence, labor management, and hotel operations management software that provides actionable insights to above-property leaders and on-property leaders. Actabl serves the technology needs of more than 12,000 properties in hospitality markets around the world. To learn more, please visit www.actabl.com.


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