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From Silos to Synergy: Bridging Communication Gaps in Global Hospitality Organizations

The segmented structure of hospitality businesses makes these organizations particularly vulnerable to the formation of silos. Adopting new technologies can help hospitality businesses remedy many of them.
4/15/2024
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One of the biggest obstacles to communication in the hospitality business is a lack of clear vision, which can be overcome by setting unified goals.

Hospitality is an intricate industry with multiple moving parts that all have to come together to create the perfect customer experience. However, in this complexity, it can become easy for departments to not communicate with each other effectively. This forms communication gaps known as silos, which can prevent businesses from reaching their maximum efficiency.

Communication silos are a phenomenon in which groups, teams, or departments of employees within an organization tend to communicate only among themselves and fail to adequately collaborate with others within the organization. The segmented structure of hospitality businesses makes these organizations particularly vulnerable to the formation of silos.

Communication Silos 

Some areas in which the hospitality industry commonly sees communication silos pop up include:

  • Guest-facing roles: The most obvious communication silo forms around the guest-facing operations of a hospitality business. Whether the employees at a hotel, the waitstaff at a restaurant, or the staff of any other hospitality business, the guest-facing roles are on the front lines of giving customers the experience they pay for. However, these individuals are rarely responsible for making decisions, with the extent of their input typically being periodic feedback through surveys or talkback sessions.

  • Marketing: The marketing department is generally responsible for setting consumer expectations. From determining promotions to attract new customers to setting advertising campaigns, hospitality businesses’ marketing departments play an indirect but critical role in the customer experience. Yet, too often, they are disconnected from the operations side of the business, sometimes causing a disconnect between what customers expect and what they experience.

  • Executive leadership: Finally, a communication silo often pops up around the executive leadership team in hospitality businesses. Especially for larger corporations, executive leaders such as CIOs and CTOs may not get to see the hands-on operational aspect of the business, despite being responsible for making many key decisions regarding the business’s future. It is extremely difficult for executive leadership to make the best, most informed decisions possible without understanding the specific challenges of the business’s operations.

These are just a few departments in the hospitality industry that tend to be somewhat isolated from each other. Seamless communication between all of these departments is essential, as any business in the hospitality industry aims to create fun, lasting memories for customers. Without collaboration between everyone in the organization, it becomes nearly impossible to achieve this. 

Communication Challenges 

However, there are a few obstacles that CIOs, CTOs, and other technologists in the hospitality industry must overcome before they can foster this sense of collaboration. These challenges keep workforces divided and often stratified into rigid hierarchies that hinder productivity.

Some of the most common sources of communication silos in the hospitality sector include: 

  • Lack of clear vision: One of the biggest obstacles to communication in the hospitality business is a lack of clear vision, which can be overcome by setting unified goals. Of course, each department will have its own goals and KPIs to achieve, but each employee should be unified under the company’s mission to ensure every aspect of the business works together in harmony.

  • Organizational structure: Many hospitality organizations suffer from a structure that creates inherent separation. These businesses often have several locations, with leadership working from a central office while guest-facing employees tend to remain at their designated locations. As a result, workers on different sides of the business often aren’t able to interact with one another — or at least not as much as they should.

  • Technology limitations: Technological limitations can also play a role in creating communication silos in the hospitality industry. For instance, if the business’s operations team uses different systems and processes from the IT department or C-suite, both groups will be unable to see the work each is doing for the organization's success.

Solving Communication Silos

Adopting new technologies can help hospitality businesses remedy many of these solutions. Telecommunications software like Zoom, Slack, or other platforms can better connect employees in different departments. Adopting a technological standard across the entire organization can also help foster better collaboration.

Other technology is showing the opportunity for more engaging training. For example, in the hotel business, metaverse and VR/AR technology can be used to allow employees in marketing or executive leadership to simulate an experience at one of their locations without having to go there physically. This can save time and money while still giving the employee the level of insight they need to fulfill their job functions. 

Communication silos are one of the biggest threats to operational efficiency in the hospitality sector. Thankfully, due to advancements and innovations in technology, hospitality businesses can better empower themselves to foster the sense of collaboration and unity between departments that is necessary for their success.

About the Author

Jaime McMahon is the Chief Digital Officer at LineZero, with a passion for helping organizations unlock their digital potential. He has extensive experience in the technology industry, working with businesses of all sizes to drive growth through digital transformation. Jaime is a sought-after speaker on a range of technology solutions, delivering talks hosted by industry leaders throughout North America. He is committed to democratizing technology and shifting its role in business from a cost-centric focus to a strategic enabler of positive outcomes. At LineZero, Jaime leverages his expertise to help businesses achieve their goals and optimize their operations.

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