Across the country, hotels are struggling to open at full capacity due to a lack of available hourly workers. In previous blog posts, we have discussed technology’s role as a perk that elevates the hotel guest experience. But with the tightening labor market, technology will become less of a bonus and more of an essential operational tool for hotels. Consider how hotels can use everything from robots to self-serve kiosks to operate with less staff:
Cleaning and Room Service
One of the biggest hurdles to running at full capacity is cleaning and preparing rooms in time for guest’s arrivals. Basic cleaning tasks like vacuuming can ease the burden on housekeeping teams and help them move through rooms faster. Robot butlers can even help port baggage and deliver room service. These machines were once seen as a novelty to attract guests. Now, they could be what keeps a hotel in business.
Front Desk Automation
Many hotels have already moved towards automating much of the booking and check-in process. Travelers are used to (and even prefer) self-serve technology for these sorts of transactions. If a hotel has not already, now is the time to consider modernizing its website to accommodate online booking. Hotels can also install physical kiosks in their lobbies where guests can check-in to their rooms. New technology even makes it possible for guests to load a room key to their smartphones, eliminating the need for front desk agents to issue and replace physical keys.
A skeleton staff should not mean that guests are left to fend for themselves. At regular intervals through a guest’s stay, hotels can send automatic texts requesting feedback. This way, hotel staff can strategically direct their attention to guests who need extra assistance.
To make online booking and self-check-in even more efficient, hotels can use the power of artificial intelligence. Online chatbots for the hotel’s website or apps can take the pressure off front desk staff by answering common questions for guests.
Data science can also help hotels stay nimble through staffing shortages. While data does not perform tasks for staff, it can make existing teams and technologies more efficient. Chatbots can make strategic upgrade suggestions to guests, bringing in more revenue per stay. Data analysts can help hotels more accurately anticipate guests’ needs, leading to more efficient staff schedules.
Find Adaptable Leaders
It is difficult to predict how long this labor shortage will last or when the next one will strike. Investing in cutting-edge technology and updating operations can help hotels be adaptable in the future. It takes creative and innovative hospitality leaders to strategically incorporate the newest technologies. Our experienced hotel recruiters can help you find the top management talent for your team. Learn how here.