Leveraging Mobile Technology to Combat 5 Common Operational Problems in Hotels
Efficient operations are the backbone of any well-run hotel and the foundation of an exceptional guest experience. While targeted marketing and digital personalization are important parts of a successful customer journey, they don’t add much if the customer has to wait a long time for check-in, sleep in a hastily cleaned room, or call multiple times for room service. In this article, we’ll look at five common sticking points that affect hotel operations and explore different ways mobile technology can streamline background processes.
Hiccup 1: persistent staff shortages
Let’s start by acknowledging the 800-pound elephant lurking in the back of the hotel: Over the past year, the hospitality industry has faced a historic labor shortage, a study by Forbes Travel Guide showing 92% of respondents facing significant hiring challenges. in 2021 alone. This shortage persisted even as hotel footfall steadily increased, and despite growing consumer demand for more responsive service and a hyper-personalized guest journey.
While the underlying causes of this shortage are complex, mobile technology can provide a viable solution by expanding a hotel’s talent pool and helping it get the most out of a small team. For this reason, it’s important for hoteliers to avoid legacy systems with complicated and clunky user interfaces. Outdated “Windows 95” type operating systems are difficult to learn, cumbersome to use in the hotel, and limit a hotel’s hiring pool to only candidates who can acclimate to an outdated system.
Instead, hoteliers should invest in SaaS-based mobile systems, which leverage colorful, intuitive interfaces with dynamic “drag-and-drop” and “pick-and-click” functionality. Since employees can master these systems in days rather than weeks, hotels can expand their talent pool and focus on employees who excel at interacting with and serving guests.
Hiccup 2: Bottlenecks at reception
The traditional check-in process has always been a headache for hotel guests and employees. Understaffed receptions are almost guaranteed to encounter long queues and bottlenecks. Meanwhile, forcing staff and guests to perform scripted check-in dialogue creates interactions that feel forced and tedious, especially for guests who just want to enter their room and continue their stay.
It is essential to use a cloud-native PMS that offers customers a mobile or kiosk-based self-check-in option. Ideally, this welcome experience can be further enhanced by integrating a digital payment platform as well as a keyless entry system, which would allow guests to check in, pay and enter their room in less time. a minute, entirely from their mobile device. The system can also provide an additional touchpoint allowing guests to further personalize their stay by sending targeted, automated offers for room upgrades, amenities, and monetized early check-ins/late check-outs.
But self-check-in can also be a boon for front desk staff by removing bottlenecks and freeing up bandwidth for employees. Instead of huddled behind reception, a mobile PMS allows staff to move around the lobby and meet customers wherever they are, aided by a tablet that gives them access to the entire hotel. Instead of quickly reciting a check-in script, associates can admit guests to their rooms with a few keystrokes while engaging in a natural conversation about the guest’s stay, immediately addressing any special requests on the fly.
Hiccup 3: Overwhelming administrative work
For the hospitality industry, administrative work is the very definition of a necessary evil. While hotels require a certain amount of repetitive paperwork to operate, too much paperwork can contribute to employee burnout and impede interactions between staff and guests.
No guest wants to talk to a staff member who is constantly buried in their screen, and no hotel employee started a career in hospitality with the dream of doing paperwork. Fortunately, a cloud-native PMS can automate many common administrative tasks, such as assigning rooms, collecting payments, scheduling reports, and mass check-in/out, leaving staff more time to serve. their clients.
Hiccup 4: Overwhelming number of guest requests
Traditional landline phones are a terrible way to handle customer demands in today’s operational environment. Travelers shouldn’t have to downgrade to 1990s technology just to order room service or an extra blanket. No one likes to be put on hold while a staff member tries to answer the phone or transfer a call, and answering calls prevents the associate from serving other customers. As travel demand increases, so does the frequency of these delays, making staff feel overwhelmed and customers feel undervalued.
Integrating a cloud PMS with a mobile guest messaging platform will allow guests to instantly communicate with staff through their favorite app on their mobile device (Facebook, SMS, Whatsapp, etc.), while staff can handle multiple message threads simultaneously. Choosing a guest messaging system with natural language AI can streamline this process even further by automating responses to common customer questions, saving employee bandwidth for more complex requests.
Hiccup 5: breakdowns in communication and team management
Customer communication breakdowns can hurt your brand and hurt the customer experience, but so can disruptions in communication between staff. Dispatching housekeepers to occupied rooms with late checkouts or stay-over reservations that have extended their stay can hurt your team’s productivity and prevent them from accessing rooms that need more attention. immediate. Sending an attendant to an occupied room who hasn’t requested service could turn out to be even worse. No customer wants the dreaded 7 a.m. cleaning rush when trying to sleep. And of course, no one wants to pay for an early check-in only to find their room isn’t ready because it’s still being cleaned.
Hoteliers can avoid these issues by investing in either a dedicated operations platform or a mobile PMS designed to streamline background operations. Features like instant room status updates and automatic room assignment can go a long way in streamlining staff communication and workflows. Likewise, automated housekeeping task management can instantly allocate tasks based on the number of people and time required for each task, so teams can increase productivity without overworking individual associates.
Mobile Technology Can Streamline Hotel Operations
Mobile technology can lighten background operations and, by extension, lighten the entire customer experience. Intuitive, easy-to-use platforms can expand a hotel’s hiring pool, while automation can expand employee bandwidth by handling everything from routine administrative tasks to mobile self-check-in. Mobility can also improve communications between staff and guests, and streamline internal processes and task management. With mobile PMS technology, staff can focus less on preventing operational hiccups and more on providing exemplary service to their customers.
Stayntouch’s service and support culture and customer-centric approach to hospitality has set itself apart from the competition for more than half a decade. Priya Rajamani leads this culture of differentiation. As implementation and support managers, Priya’s team successfully trains hotel guests in ¼ the time and implements for ⅕ the traditional industry price, making Stayntouch one of the most reputable PMS vendors in the industry.
Stayntouch provides a complete cloud and mobile hotel property management system (PMS) and 1100+ integrations, enabling hotels to increase service levels, drive revenue, reduce costs and ultimately captivate their guests . Backed by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry, Stayntouch is a trusted partner to many forward-thinking hotels and resorts, including TWA Hotel, First Hotels, Conscious Hotels, Margaritaville, Valencia Hotel Group and Modus Hotels. Stayntouch is also a preferred PMS partner for some of the world’s leading independent hotel collections including; Design Hotels, an independent Marriott brand and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection.
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