'Tis the Season: 4 Ways Cloud-Based Scheduling Helps Navigate Hospitality Staffing During the Busiest Time of the Year

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'Tis the Season: 4 Ways Cloud-Based Scheduling Helps Navigate Hospitality Staffing During the Busiest Time of the Year

By Chris Amani, CEO, Humanity - 11/19/2018

The holidays mean two things for hospitality professionals: 1.) a surge in business from holiday travel, and 2.) increased staffing challenges as employee time-off requests clash with the busiest time of the year.

Balancing quality guest service, profitability and happy employees cannot be achieved with an employee shift schedule designed in Excel, printed out and taped to a wall. The only way hospitality managers can successfully navigate the holiday season is to leverage digital technology. Cloud-based staff scheduling enables hospitality professionals to track and manage dynamic employee holiday schedules across multiple venues in real-time—stress-free and error-free.

There are four key communication and operational benefits for hospitality professionals to consider when evaluating cloud-based staff scheduling software:

  1.  Solve Conflicts Before They Happen

With an increase in the number of time-off requests, it’s easy to make errors when relying on antiquated time management tools. The hospitality industry is known for highly variable schedules, meaning employees do not have fixed, repetitive schedules the way many other industries do. Schedules are constantly changing based on expected travel trends, advanced bookings, planned facility activities, and seasonal events. Add in the holiday rush for time off and the high number of customers coming in due to the season—conflict management becomes critical. 

With advanced smart-scheduling features, a cloud-based scheduling platform will identify shift conflicts, alert managers and help resolve issues quickly. This gives both managers and employees real-time visibility into schedules, potential conflicts or understaffed busy days, and a quick and flawless approval process for time off requests.

  1.  Mobile is Critical for Hospitality Employees

Schedules vary and change, sick team members need to trade shifts and available employees want to pick up open shifts to make extra money. With staff schedules changing constantly based on the needs of both the business and its employees, staff members must be updated in real-time to keep up with the fast-paced day-to-day of the hospitality business. That’s where mobile comes in.

The majority of hospitality employees do not have access to a computer while performing their jobs. Mobile devices and phones inevitably become a mainstay for quick and simple communication—particularly with the millennial workforce. Instant mobile notifications alert employees of schedule changes in real-time, avoiding unpreparedness or miscommunication. Moreover, the ability to change shifts or request time off right from a mobile device allows supervisors and schedulers to stay focused on management, while simultaneously enabling employees to take more direct control of changes to their schedules.

  1.  Achieve Outstanding Customer Service Without Breaking the Bank

When creating a shift schedule, business owners and managers know there is often a fine line between delivering a profit and excelling in customer service. Financials suffer if a facility is overstaffed, and yet understaffing will almost always jeopardize customer satisfaction. Integrating a cloud-based scheduling solution allows businesses to ensure customers are getting the service they demand while avoiding lost productivity. Smart scheduling technology enables managers to track and monitor business needs in real-time, using data analysis to ensure that the optimal number of employees are scheduled to work when needed. A hotel or restaurant’s workforce can be instantly updated regarding last-minute add-ons or cancellations and can adjust accordingly.

  1.  Avoid Understaffing or Costly Overtime

Smart-scheduling technology can also help businesses avoid being understaffed or forced to contend with costly overtime during the holiday season. With meticulous time off management capabilities, managers and employees can avoid trying to fill in last-minute time off requests and costly overtime or understaffed facilities with easy access to available employees and available days-off. This is particularly important in states that require mandatory paid sick time and/or use-it-or-lose-it vacation days. When available days off are not used, forgotten or not clearly communicated to employees, the amount of time off requests placed during the holidays increase even more so due to employees scrambling to use them before they expire. Easy and instant access to available workers helps employers manage time off throughout the year to maintain a steady and effective schedule.

To keep up with the busy holiday time and other peak seasons, businesses need to start thinking of the best way to manage their employees throughout the year. A cloud-centric employee shift scheduling software offers a simple, accurate way to meet business needs, improve operations through expanded employee communications and ensure customers are happy during peak business cycles.