Coronavirus has presented countless challenges for hospitality recruitment but what’s the solution?
Sarah Jones, customer success director from Guestline, examines the impact and consequences of falling staff numbers across the industry.
How can hoteliers take the right approach to utilising new technology, so that their teams feel empowered and encouraged to return and, importantly, stay?
As hoteliers re-open, conversations with our own customer base revealed that one of the biggest challenges they now face is also their biggest asset – their people. Since the first lockdown over a year ago, many staff who were furloughed or made redundant opted to leave altogether and seek jobs in other sectors such as retail. This is in addition to a significant number of European employees who have also left the country as a result of Brexit legislation.
So, what do these staff challenges mean and more importantly, what is the solution? This is where technology can step in and play a role with staff recruitment, support and retention.
Recruiting and rehabilitating staff
As we look forward, hoteliers will be focussing their efforts on their staffing requirements and how to recruit and rehabilitate staff back into the world of hospitality. Whether that be re-engaging and re-training staff who have been furloughed or encouraging new recruits to join the industry. It can often be an involved and lengthy process to ensure staff are fully qualified, feel empowered and are in pole position to make the best impression possible ready for when guests do come back.
The right people with the right personalities
With this in mind, employing easy to learn, intuitive cloud-based systems will pay real dividends in enabling hoteliers to train staff efficiently and get new operations up and running swiftly. With easy access to all functionality and integrations from one central location, hoteliers needn’t restrict their recruitment drive to candidates with prior or extensive technical experience, so they also have the potential to widen their search pool. Having in-depth knowledge on a new system does not therefore need to take precedence over employing the right people with the right personalities. Those who are keen to work in hospitality, and who have a commitment to providing a warm and welcoming guest experience, can be reassured that they have a strong support system in the technology and software that is in place.
Flexibility and remote access
Certainly, amongst our own clients, the introduction of intuitive cloud systems has enabled staff to feel better equipped to do their job and hoteliers can offer more flexibility with remote access and greater options for those team members keen to work from home. The benefits of greater efficiency across operations can also be felt by guests throughout their stay as the administration is dealt with more effectively. Staff in turn have more time to engage with guests and show off both their personalities and the personality of the hotel – all invaluable in building solid guest relations.
Plus, what processes can and should be automated so staff can focus on delivering this personalised service?
Automate the mundane
Contactless check-in and check-out offers guests the option to check-in and out from anywhere, enabling the guest and the hotelier to focus more on the stay and experience, rather than the necessary but often time-consuming administration, coupled with the added annoyance of queues in reception. When checking-in, guests input their own details, not only improving data accuracy but also providing the hotelier with that all-important insight into preferences and requirements in advance of their arrival. The same rules apply to contactless payments - guest information is accurate and cash flow is improved. And all this with the added benefit of a safer, securer transaction process that reassures both the guest and the hotelier.
A PMS can also take the strain off hoteliers, by automating mundane tasks relating to room reservations, rates, guest communications and housekeeping. Likewise, fully integrated systems ensure that one department can communicate and update effectively with another, again delivering seamless consistency for both the hotel and the guest.
Support from your provider
It’s not just the technology that can help – the provider must also support hoteliers in making the most out of their systems with one point of contact and thorough training. Hoteliers must have a clear understanding of how issues or questions can be addressed. For example:
- Do they adopt a partnership approach?
- Do they offer Covid-safe in-person, or virtual implementations and training?
- Do they adopt a consultative approach at each stage of the process?
- Do hoteliers have access to human customer support and / or an online support portal? Dedicated training will ensure staff feel included, refreshed and part of the process as they are being invested in and receiving new training to build their own confidence and skill-set. Likewise access to ongoing support can help answer FAQs and ensure hoteliers and staff can stay up to date with product news and upgrades so they are continually making the most of the technology and systems available and continually delivering the best service to guests.
We are on what we all hope is the brink of a positive and strong recovery for the industry. But the challenge of falling staff levels is one we must address now if we are to make the most of the important weeks and months ahead and technology will be a powerful ally in addressing this.
For more information, please see the full article on Hotel Owner here.
"Employing easy to learn, intuitive cloud-based systems will pay real dividends in training staff"
"Hoteliers needn’t restrict their recruitment drive to candidates with prior technical experience"
"A PMS can also take the strain off hoteliers, by automating mundane operational tasks"
- Kate Fuller, Marketing Manager, Guestline
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