The world is opening again, and guests are slowly returning to travel. But for the hospitality industry, there are still challenges to overcome. As your property begins to receive guests, you are likely facing challenges properly serving them. While guests are returning to your property, your staff may be reluctant to return, or they may have accepted positions elsewhere. Operating with less staff increases the workload of staff who have returned and who are attempting to provide guests with the vacation experience they desire. And while guests may empathize with your property’s struggles to maintain service levels, this empathy will not last long. Service level gaps need to be closed to ensure guests continue to visit.
Your property may not be able to offer higher wages to entice your staff to return. You may not have the time to hire and train new staff. You have another option. Your property may have a hidden workforce that is not working to its full potential. This workforce can work alongside your staff to provide guests with an experience that exceeds expectations. Before looking externally for solutions to your staffing issues, make sure your hidden workforce is fully empowered.
Your Hidden Workforce = Your Guests
Most of your guests are returning more comfortable using technology. These guests now prefer to take more of a DIY approach to vacation planning. Fully empowering your guest-facing technology is necessary to allow guests the ability to customize their perfect stay on property. Providing guests with the ability to plan and book their own stay also further relieves your staff of the administrative functions of their work.
The first point of contact for these technology-savvy guests is your website, and when they are ready to book, your online booking engine. By properly designing your booking journey, you are empowering guests willing to take on administrative tasks currently handled by staff. A well-designed booking journey leads guests from booking their room to booking other activities on the property (spa, dining, fitness classes, golf rounds, etc.) all without interacting with staff. Your booking journey acts as a digital concierge, recommending related activities that enrich your guest’s stay. Allowing guests to book more activities on your booking engine relieves your staff from manually making the bookings, increases your revenue per available guest (RevPAG), and ensures guests do more on your property leading to higher guest satisfaction with their stay.
Once on property, your property’s app can help tech-savvy guests to take on more work for your over-burdened staff. With the app, your guests will be able to:
- check-in on their own,
- receive their digital room key,
- book dinner reservations, spa treatments, classes, activities, golf tee times, etc.,
- shake their phone to pull up a barcode (shake-and-pay) that allows on property spending to be charged to their member account, room, or credit card,
- see their up-to-date itinerary.
This guest empowerment allows your staff to prioritize assisting non-tech savvy guests and being great hosts to all guests.
Your Hidden Workforce = Integrated Software
The software on your property needs to be integrated so it can act as a teammate to your staff, allowing them to focus more time on guests. The software’s ability to share a single guest profile across property ensures guest information only needs to be entered once, sparing staff from having to re-enter the same information in different areas of your property. Integration ensures staff has complete visibility of what a guest has booked across the entire property, eliminating the time and labour needed to manually re-book activities that conflict with activities already booked on property. This single profile also shares notes on a guest across your property. Information on guest preferences, allergies, etc is visible everywhere, allowing guest-facing staff to go out of their way to accommodate the guest.
Integrating your marketing communication software can further reduce staff workloads by automating transactional communications with guests. A properly set-up marketing communications solution can automatically:
- Generate and email itineraries to guests when bookings are made, changed, or canceled relieves staff from these tasks and ensures guests are up to date.
- Send pre-arrival emails with details of your check-in procedure reducing the stress of arriving guests and frees front-line staff from easily answerable guest questions.
- Send appointment reminders with confirmations, decreasing the likelihood of missed appointments, and provide staff with more time to fill canceled time slots.
- Send follow-up communications post-visit to survey how guests enjoyed their stay, and to keep them engaged between visits.
Integrated software also removes back-off administrative work from your guest-facing team. Inventory management (including recipe-level inventory management in spas and restaurants) can be handled by your software instead of by staff. By setting up min and max levels, the software tracks your inventory and automatically generates POs when it is time to re-order. This level of automation allows you to keep micro-level control of your inventory while freeing staff of administrative tasks and allowing them to contribute their time on providing value to a guest’s visit.
The integrated software on your property can also relieve the workloads of non-guest-facing staff. Integrating the various profit centers of your property allows financial information to be collected seamlessly in a central location for reports and analysis. This reduces the burden of creating reports and provides your staff with a comprehensive view of the property’s financial health.
Operating with a Fully Empowered Guest and Team
Staff shortages look to be a long-term issue in the industry. Those who fully empower their hidden workforce early will be better able to relieve stress from existing staff and provide them the tools necessary to supercharge guest experiences. If your property has tech stack gaps, waiting for the staffing crisis to end so you can return to business as usual is not an option. Even if you have the patience to wait out the crisis, your guests do not. The time to contact your hospitality solutions provider and take steps to fill these gaps is now. Make sure you can fully empower your hidden workforce.
“Allowing guests to book more activities on your booking engine relieves your staff from manually making the bookings,”
About the author
Frank brings a wealth of professional and personal experience to his role as Vice President, Strategy at Agilysys. Previously the Founder & CEO of ResortSuite, he has advised Fortune 1000 companies regarding the strategic use of technology to help them achieve organizational objectives, and has worked at top international management consulting firms including, Ernst & Young, USoft (Unisys), and MERANT. Combining his knowledge of the hospitality field with his background in enterprise technology, Frank founded ResortSuite, establishing a position as a leading provider of true integrated, guest-centric, hospitality and leisure management technologies including hotel/resort, club, golf and spa software. Frank has served the past 13 years on the ISPA Board of Directors and currently serves as Chairman of the ISPA Foundation. Frank is an enthusiastic speaker and presents regularly at prominent industry events and forums.
For more information on ResortSuite and property-branded apps, visit resortsuite.com