How New Hosting Regulations & Employee-Centric Tech Investments Can Lead to an Increase in Hotel Revenue
Recently, Boston implemented a stricter hosting regulation that has initially removed thousands of listings off of Airbnb’s site - joining other cities like NYC, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and Seattle who’ve already created stricter rental regulations. Stricter regulations, as seen in Boston, are giving hotels the chance to change that - so long as they perfect their greatest differentiator: customer service. But without sufficient backend operations - like managing staff - there are no happy customers. And if hospitality professionals don’t take this opportunity to better the employee experience first, they’ll give guests a reason to return to Airbnb. To learn more about how hotels can take advantage of these stricter hosting regulations, HT spoke with Erik Fjellborg, CEO of Quinyx.
HT: Stricter rental regulations have removed thousands of listings off of Airbnb’s site. How will this affect hotels?
FJELLBORG: Since the introduction of Airbnb in 2008, we’ve seen a shift in the hospitality industry with many consumers opting for homestays instead of hotels. Now with stricter rental regulations, hotels have the opportunity to regain dominance in the market as travelers that previously ventured to Airbnb are forced to switch back to hotels. While hotels can appreciate the uptick in reservations as a result of the regulation, they’ll need to put in the work required to maintain that momentum.
The majority of people made the switch to Airbnb because they prefer the experience it can offer. So, for hotels to retain these customers they must provide an experience superior to Airbnb. The way hotels can successfully go about this, is investing in their employees and workplace operations, both of which add to the customer experience.
HT: How can hotels differentiate themselves from rentals and regain dominance in the market?
FJELLBORG: Hotels can differentiate themselves from rentals by offering a one-of-a-kind experience. In the hospitality industry, success is contingent on how guests are treated at every point of their stay. It goes without saying, that if a guest is met with disgruntled employees, they are not likely to return. To ensure the time is taken to offer guests the best experience possible, hotels need to make investments to improve and maintain employee happiness.
This can be achieved by creating new ways to interact and connect with employees. One way hotels can approach this is through real time employee surveys, allowing managers to survey their staff sentiment with a click of a button. With this knowledge, hotel managers can respond by developing programs to address issues in real time - making employees feel heard and appreciated. As hotels look to manage a mix of full-time and part-time employees, this level of interaction can be critical to maintaining employee satisfaction and engagement. This kind of employee investment makes workers feel heard and respected and in turn, drives them to offer the same type of service and attention to each guest that comes through the door.
HT: How can hotels capitalize on new laws regulating Airbnb’s presence in cities?
FJELLBORG: Hotels can capitalize on new laws regulating Airbnb’s presence by investing in tech to improve their workplace productivity. By increasing investments in employee-centric technology, hotels can cut down time spent on backend operations and be able to use data analytics to increase sales.
Without sufficient backend operations, tasks like managing schedules can become a taxing and time-consuming job. New workforce management tech is entering the fold to reduce the time spent running the operations side, improving management productivity. When hotel managers can spend a fraction of their time on logistics and operations, then they can start to allocate more time to bettering the customer experience.
On the revenue side, scheduling enhancements allow hotels to invest more money in areas of growth. Scheduling platforms can analyze past scheduling with revenues numbers to discover how different schedules correlate to the volume of sales. With this information, hotels can gain insight into who works better together to develop the most successful work environment. By maximizing employee ROI, hotels can invest more money back into their organizations.
HT: What’s one of the most important things hotel professionals should keep in mind when implementing change within their workforce management systems?
FJELLBORG: When hotel professionals are implementing change within their management systems, it’s important to balance both cost-saving with long-term impacts on the workforce. For example, a hotel may identify a new scheduling system that is most cost-effective, but for employees, it turns out to be difficult to navigate and time-consuming to use. The direct impact of this switch may have been a cost-savings, but in the end, this change leads to lower employee satisfaction. Employees are the face of their hotels and constantly servicing customers, so trying to cut corners with them will reap more drawbacks than benefits.