Staffing shortages continue to plague the hospitality industry, and hospitality leaders continue to search for new ways to improve the employee experience, help workers become more efficient, and reward good work. A January survey of hoteliers by the American Hotel & Lodging Association revealed 79 percent of hotels were experiencing staffing shortages, and 22 percent faced severe shortages.
To attract new associates, hotels have offered better pay and benefits, pushing the average hourly wage for hotel workers to a new high of $23.64 in April. Despite higher wages, the total number of hotel workers remains about eight percent below 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To deal with ongoing staffing shortages, hoteliers are embracing technology capable of empowering existing staff and new associates while increasing overall efficiency. Cloud-based hospitality software solutions, mobile applications, data analytics, robotics, AI, and other advanced technology will all play a part in helping hotels alleviate labor constraints while delivering a personalized and engaging guest experience.
Optimize employee efficiency while facilitating personalized guest experiences
The most successful hoteliers rely on a cloud-based property management system (PMS) to help them meet guest needs and alleviate pressure on staff. A cloud-based PMS allows staff to access real-time data about hotel operations—including everything from reservations and guest profiles to cleaning and maintenance, room inventory, billing, and reporting.
A fully-integrated PMS ensures optimal staff utilization and saves time by automating repetitive tasks like check-in/check-out and guest requests. Leveraging mobile apps, self-service kiosks, and chatbots to automate service delivery can empower staff to focus on other activities that enhance guest experiences.
Hit staffing targets and improve worker satisfaction with better scheduling
In the gig economy, many workers desire the flexibility to manage their schedules to work multiple jobs or dedicate time to child or elder care responsibilities. With the right tools, hoteliers can offer this flexibility to staff and hire contract workers to fill gaps during occupancy surges.
A data-driven PMS system allows hoteliers to use data analytics and predictive modeling to forecast operational needs, preventing overstaffing and understaffing. With insights into guest preferences, history, and other activity-based metrics, you can use anticipated demand to schedule staff on a daily or even hourly basis.
To optimize labor schedules and assignments, you need robust workforce management tools. Integrated with your PMS, these tools help optimize staff schedules to meet the needs of your property, comply with labor laws, and ensure employee satisfaction by considering factors like staff availability and skill sets.
Consider a hybrid work model for some roles
In addition to schedule flexibility, some hospitality workers seek location flexibility. The hospitality industry is competing for talent in areas like finance, accounting, human resources, and purchasing, where offering a hybrid work model can be an enticing incentive to join the team. Hotels using cloud technology are well-positioned to compete for skilled talent in these areas. Cloud-based solutions empower staff to access essential systems and data from home offices, just as they provide the same access to on-site workers anywhere on the property.
Empower guests with mobile apps and smart rooms to free up employee time
According to a recent Hilton survey, 56 percent of travelers are most concerned about simplifying their travel experiences. Self-service automation, delivered through mobile apps, tabletop devices, or lobby kiosks, enables guests to complete tasks independently, such as checking in, placing food and drink orders, and reserving amenities. As an added benefit, self-service reduces dependency on staff and frees employee time for other guest services. Other guest-centric technologies like digital room keys, chatbots, and smart room controls can further alleviate the pressure on front-line staff.
Reduce the burden on staff with robotic helpers
Hotels are starting to adopt robots to help reduce burden on staff and accomplish tasks more efficiently. Robots can alleviate physical tasks and, in some use cases, help hotels accomplish more with less human power. For example, you can counter a lack of housekeeping staff without sacrificing cleaning schedules, by deploying robotic vacuums and scrubbers to clean floors while housekeepers change beds and wipe surfaces. Delivery robots integrated with the elevator system can take items to any room in minutes. In the restaurant, robots can return cleared dishes to be cleaned.
Allocate resources to the highest profit potential with data-driven insights
When staffing is challenging, it’s more important than ever to focus your human resources on the best revenue-generating activities. Using advanced revenue management systems, hoteliers can leverage data analytics and machine learning algorithms to optimize pricing and inventory management. Data-driven insights help you see what activities are the most profitable at your property so you can drive sales that deliver the highest revenue potential. Integrated PMS, revenue management, and sales and catering solutions help hotels maximize profitable opportunities while improving space and staff utilization.
Mitigate staffing shortages while delighting guests
When contemplating the value of automation, it is always important to balance convenience and efficiency with the personal touch that can only come from human contact. Integrated solutions, including PMS, revenue management, and sales and catering, put hotels in a position to automate areas of the guest experience that add value while preserving high-touch services that contribute most to memorable stays. Lean into data-driven insights from your cloud-based PMS to match guest needs with technology that effectively enhances experiences and fills gaps in your workforce.