In order to safely and efficiently bring guests back, hotel executives need to invest in strong procedures and backend technology that will reduce complications, streamline front-line workers’ jobs and improve the customer experience. With constantly evolving governmental regulations and hotel policies, the front-line workforce can often become overwhelmed or confused resulting in missed safety procedures (like failing to wear masks or inconsistent cleanings of high-touch surfaces). Guests need to feel confident that their safety is being prioritized and that the staff is aligned on protocols and communication. If not, they may decide not to visit your establishment again in the future or leave a bad review.
Contactless technology can be one way to regain visitor’s trust and confidence, while also protecting workers. Checking-in via QR codes, providing disposable keycards and contactless payment options will minimize contact with high-touch surfaces and are sure to become a long-lasting staple for the hospitality industry
Hotel executives should look into tools that help them monitor and limit capacity, not just for the hotel rooms, but other potentially high-crowded areas such as at the hotel bar, restaurant, gym, pool or other leisure spaces to ensure that they are not being overcrowded.
On the other hand, hotels need to be as cost-effective as possible given COVID-19’s effect on traveling and their 2020 revenue. Automated communication solutions can help remind guests of their upcoming visit and require them to confirm their reservation in anticipation. For high-demand dates, you can create ‘wait-lists,’ so in case there are cancellations other potential guests can be encouraged to book the available room.
At Skedulo, we’re exploring the idea of applying high capacity scheduling technology -- tech that automatically and intelligently helps organize large quantities of people using appointments -- to the hospitality industry. Think about scheduling guests arrival times, limiting the amount of people in elevators, and taking into account the total number in a hotel, especially for large establishments, this can be overwhelming to manage. If too many individuals arrive at once, people could congregate in the lobby, possibly breaking social distancing rules and increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19. Using capacity-based scheduling, a guest could check if a low-volume window is available to visit the establishment, book their arrival time, check in via a contactless QR code at the front-desk and ride up the elevator, all following appropriate social distancing measures. The tech can automate appointments and triage if there’s a backup somewhere -- meaning if a cluster of people arrive at once, it can intelligently reschedule the rest of the day -- helping reduce potential exposure.
Apart from social distancing, high capacity scheduling can provide helpful insights to hotel administrators, such as what demand is by the time-of-day or day of the week. This allows the smartest decisions to be made regarding things like ideal cleaning times and staffing needs.
At Skedulo, we first used this capacity-based scheduling to help front line healthcare workers conducting COVID-19 tests in hotspots like New York and New Jersey. Healthcare organizations were experiencing extreme disorganization as patients initially overcrowded testing sites and waited in their cars for hours. Our offering allowed patients to search for appointments near them, book them ahead of time, and go through a contactless check in via QR code. It prevents healthcare organizations from being overbooked and prioritizes the safety of these front line workers. We’re also actively exploring its use to manage get back to work programs for city officials as well as get back to school efforts nationwide.