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10
Aug
2023
7
min

Improve the well-being of hotel teams using internal tools 

For many years now, the hotel industry has been faced with downsizing, which inevitably leads to overloaded operational teams and, ultimately, higher staff turnover. However, technology can counter many of these problems and improve the day-to-day lives of employees by relieving them of low value-added tasks.

Automation in the hotel industry has seen one of the biggest increases (1518%). It has helped to streamline processes and increase efficiency, making it possible to cope with staff shortages.  

Technological tools are beneficial in several ways:

  • Better internal communication
  • More efficient teams
  • Higher guest satisfaction
  • Improved team well-being

What can technology do to ease the burden on operational teams?

  1. Automate time-consuming, low-value-added tasks to save time
  2. Schedule e-mail, SMS and WhatsApp campaigns to effectively inform customers
  3. Offer a refusal of service to lighten the housekeeping load
  4. Simplify ordering
  5. Formalise training for new recruits to facilitate their integration
  6. Centralise information in a single knowledge base
  7. Maintain a culture of employee engagement
"There's a lot of talk about technology, but the key point is how that technology is put to work for the business."
Alexandre Prieur - Head of Standards and Operations, Louvre Hotels Group

1. Automate time-consuming, low-value-added tasks to free up quality time

Lightening the administrative load on teams is one of the first benefits of automation. Manual and repetitive tasks that don't require real human skills need to be automated, to free up time for interlocutors to concentrate on the quality of the guest relationship

Who hasn't had to deal with a receptionist in front of them, typing away on their computer? Is this really the best way to start off the experience, with this highly formalised and administrative first contact with the hotel? The receptionist is obviously not at fault; they have several things to deal with at the same time. Some of these could have been handled by the guest before arrival, to make his or her stay as smooth as possible. 

By dematerialising the retrieval of information and contact details, check-in, and the addition of complementary services (...) we leave more room for interaction between the guest and reception to establish the relationship, assist the guest, find out their expectations, learn more about what they like, answer their questions or show their availability .

2. Effectively inform guests in order to relieve teams

Any questions that can be answered prior to arrival help to lighten the load on reception.

All guests have virtually the same questions, and need the same information prior to their arrival. These repetitive, no-value-added requests for information (reception hours, hotel address, luggage service, breakfast included, arrival procedure, transport, restaurant, etc.) can be pre-empted by scheduling personalised mailings to each of your guests .

As a result, reception teams are relieved of time-consuming guest calls and e-mails that could otherwise be automated. Not only does this preventative action free up time for the teams in charge of guest relations, but guests also feel more supported, because their needs have been met before they have to articulate them. 

What's more, the guest has access to a digital version of the welcome booklet where they can find all the information and recommendations they need for their stay, which also saves time at reception during the stay.

3. Encourage refusal of service to lighten the housekeeping load

Refusal of service in the hotel industry is the guest's agreement not to change his or her linen and sheets during the stay. The reasons for this are mainly environmental and economic. Guests rarely require clean sheets for every night, but they don't have the opportunity to indicate this. 

The hotel could reward this gesture by offering a free drink at the bar, for example, but compensation isn't always necessary; refusal of service may simply be for ecological reasons. 

A hotel group could go a step further by recording the information in the CRM and converting it into a "loyalty program": after 10 refusals of cleaning service, the guest is offered a complimentary dinner.

For the staff, fewer rooms to clean will obviously lighten the housekeepers' daily workload. 

4. Simplify taking orders with self-service

A digital ordering module gives guests autonomy when placing orders (room service, spa, table at the restaurant, taxi, boutique, partner, etc.). The guest has access to the service menu, they can make their choice from the comfort of their room or outside the hotel, and transmission to the teams is automated and instantaneous. 

The restaurant, for example, automatically receives room service orders and table reservations, and is sent reminders until all requests have been processed. This streamlines the process for guests and staff alike, considerably reducing the number of orders forgotten and boosting internal efficiency.

Guests are demanding self-service; they want to be able to access services and information when they want and when they decide. Hotels have a duty to meet these expectations, especially as self-service increases additional sales.

5. Facilitate payment for both guests and the hotel

Automated payments are a godsend, relieving guests of this stress by giving them the choice of opting for bank pre-authorisation prior to their stay, and allowing the hotel to carry out the distance selling procedure manually. The procedure, which is simple and familiar (like an online purchase), authorises the hotel to debit the guest in advance of the stay. 

As a result, there's no need to provide credit cards on arrival and departure. This saves reception staff time and stress. Any guest who has already provided their bank details at the time of booking should not have to take out their credit card or any money during their stay.

6. Use a common knowledge base to facilitate communication (and collaboration) between teams

Nothing is more frustrating than losing information due to a lack of internal communication. The key to a cohesive, efficient team is to break down existing silos and facilitate inter-team communication. To achieve this, you need a common tool to keep track of what's going on in the hotel.

Gone are the e-mails and WhatsApp conversations that are unsuitable for exchanges that benefit everyone. As with guest support teams, equipping yourself with a ticketing system makes it possible to follow each issue through to resolution, keeping track of your history and incorporating comments in which employees can be mentioned by team or individually.

Whether it's a guest reporting a technical problem in their room, an employee noticing an anomaly or a service order, everything is centralised in a single tool, and the resulting tasks are automatically assigned to the right people. As a result, every time there's a change of staff (shift) during the day, gathering information is much more efficient. With this type of tool, even the briefing at the start of the day becomes redundant!

Employee training can include cross-training between different departments, which gives a better overview of each team's work in the hotel ecosystem, and can also improve the employee's sense of belonging

What's more, multi-tasking employees help the hotel to be more flexible when faced with staff shortages or problems scheduling different jobs. 

7. Formalise documentation to facilitate integration of new recruits

Formalising means first of all ensuring that procedures are clear, well-informed, known to all and easily accessible. Providing new recruits with the knowledge and tools they need to carry out their work enables them to develop confidence in their work, which will be felt by other employees and customers alike. They'll feel more at ease and better prepared to deal with the unexpected that will inevitably arise in their day-to-day work. Skills development will also be quicker if the recruit feels supported and well trained.

Defining each procedure in clear, accessible documentation is not only beneficial for new employees, but also serves as a reference for all employees and prevents oversights.

8. Foster a culture of employee engagement and talent retention

Transmitting the company's values and objectives to employees is essential to ensure that everyone is working harmoniously. Developing a sense of belonging in the company is beneficial for the establishment, which is bound to see its turnover rate fall.

All the employee's objectives need to line up. This can be achieved by defining a common project with clear, achievable objectives and a follow-up. Teams will feel more like they are working together and as one team, if nobody is focusing just on their own work, unaware and unconcerned about what happens after their shift.  

Whether it's a project to climb the TripAdvisor rankings, improve satisfaction ratings on Google, launch a new range, improve processes... 

The common objective must be clear, and the indicators for measuring progress (KPIs) defined in advance and communicated regularly using a dashboard.

Empowering employees to point out issues in their work and proposing that they work together to correct them is a good way of contributing to the feeling of belonging to the establishment. The hotel will be all the more agile and efficient as a result.

This can involve setting up small projects proposed and carried out by each employee, with the aim of improving the organisation of the facility. Giving employees responsibility and room to prove themselves is a good way of integrating them into the company and rewarding the work they do.

Personal recognition is an effective motivator, so care must be taken when implementing it. According to Quantum Workplace, employees who know they will be recognised for their efforts are 2.7 times more committed to their work. 

Ultimately, equipping employees brings considerable benefits for the hotel: better internal communication, greater customer satisfaction and therefore team satisfaction, support for the arduous operational work, greater team focus on the hotel business (guest welcome, strong relationships, etc.).

Further reading: 

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