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03/25/2022

How Technology Can Help Combat the Labor Shortage and Health Concerns Heading into a Busy Spring Break Travel Season

This spring, hoteliers should continue to leverage their technology and consider taking it a step further with in-room portals, automated alerting, and mobile platforms.
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man using tablet

A recent survey of more than 1,000 Americans revealed that “more than half (56%) of Americans are planning a trip this spring and 37% are planning to travel during spring break, specifically—an increase from the 29% who were traveling for spring break 2021.” Although this is good news for the hospitality industry, there are still a lot of challenges to be faced, such as the labor shortage and an even higher expectation of combating health issues in the workplace. As spring break approaches, the hospitality industry must be prepared for a surge of travelers.

In 2021, an average of 700,000 hospitality workers were quitting each month, and the hospitality industry is still struggling with retaining employees, especially when the employees who remain are often having to work understaffed. Fortunately, many hoteliers have embraced the use of technology to help combat the challenges of the pandemic and the labor shortage. From online booking options to check-in kiosks, hotels have made many changes to better accommodate their guests, while also relieving employees of unnecessary tasks. This spring, hoteliers should continue to leverage their technology and consider taking it a step further with in-room portals, automated alerting, and mobile platforms.

Despite travel increasing, there is still a concern when it comes to everyone’s health. Finding ways to limit contact between staff and guests is the best way to ensure the safety of employees and prevent potential outbreaks among staff. It’s also important for hoteliers to provide a healthy and safe environment for guests, while not detracting from the guest experience. To protect everyone’s health and maintain a commitment to excellent customer experience, hoteliers should consider investing in in-room portals. An in-room portal is a tablet device that guests can access from the comfort of their own room, offering a variety of services, amenities, information, and controls available in the facility. For example, rather than walking down to or calling the lobby to request towels, a guest can instead make the service request with a few taps of their finger. Whether ordering food, requesting housekeeping, or simply looking for information such as the hotel pool or gym hours, guests can access all of that without needing to speak directly with a staff member. Not only does this give guests increased autonomy, but it can help relieve the workload of staff members while creating efficient processes.

Alongside the in-room portals, hoteliers should consider equipping their employees with mobile devices that run an alerting platform. Different groups or types of employees can be assigned to receive relevant alerts directly to their mobile devices, containing detailed information about a situation. For example, if a guest requests housekeeping from their in-room portal, all of the on-duty housekeeping staff could receive an alert that specifies what service was requested and the room. Whichever staff member is currently available can accept the alert, clearing it from their fellow staff members’ devices. This ensures that guests receive the quickest response, and that a single staff member isn’t being bogged down with too many tasks or that more than one staff member responds to a single request. Another great benefit is it creates more flexibility for staff’s physical presence without requiring them to be near a phone or computer to receive requests.

Equipping staff with mobile devices and an alerting platform is also a great way to offer staff members a greater sense of security. With an increase in travelers and a labor shortage, the amount of guests per staff member will be particularly high. This can result in a lot of workers being alone for more extended periods of time, and working a larger area with less staff. With the alerting platform on their mobile device, staff members can send a distress alert with the click of a button. An alert containing vital information, such as who triggered their device and their location, will automatically go out to the proper personnel, such as security and management. Having this option can give staff peace of mind, knowing that if they need help it is just a button click away.

The safety of staff members and guests has always been the top priority in the hospitality industry, and despite the challenges the pandemic has presented, hoteliers have made strides in adopting new ways to continue to protect their employees and guests. With today’s technology, these practices can go far beyond the pandemic and create a continued dedication to customer service and operations with efficiency, flexibility and safety in mind.