Since the onset of COVID in early 2020,
hoteliers have been forced to shift resources into a project they had been
dragging their feet on for years: contactless check-in. These investments will
ultimately result in a better guest experience by giving guests more control
over their stay on their own devices.
Now, hoteliers are again turning to technology
to fix their newest challenge – a widespread labor shortage – by
automating as many operational tasks as possible.
Technology finally has its time to shine. Now
more than ever, line-level employees need to incorporate the use of technology
to anticipate guest needs while actively engaging with the guest. And above
property, understanding how to analyze and action data is an increasingly
important skill for more and more departments, including revenue management, marketing,
sales and customer experience.
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However, lodging faces a tech skills gap in
that there aren’t enough workers who understand how to use the industry’s new
and disparate technology. That gap only grows wider as talent exits during the “Great
Resignation.” Additionally, hospitality workers entering the field are not typically
trained in important tech tools that can help them do their jobs better.
High staff turnover also exacerbates the
issue. Hotels can spend enormous time and resources on training employees, only
to have them leave after a short period of time.
As an industry, we won’t be able to
successfully accelerate technology adoption if we do not also work to solve the
tech skills gap that currently exists. There are three key areas we will need
to consider in this issue: streamlining the tech stack to improve training,
prioritizing usability and user experience, and upskilling the next generation
Streamline training tools
Much of the tech skills gap is a byproduct of
stacking tech – that is, you need a PMS, RMS, CRS, CRM and so on. If you have
to learn numerous interfaces, you’ll spend most of your time on the job
understanding how to use multiple systems within a fragmented tech stack.
Good software designers aim for
“learnability,” which refers to how easily your product can be learned, and
those with high standards in terms of what makes a usable product design see
the best traction.
If you can replace a handful of tools with one
that does all the things you need, it means you’ll spend less time training new
employees on tech. When all systems are on a single platform, the user
experience is easier and operations become more streamlined.
and user experience
From Facebook to Gmail, Uber to Airbnb,
today’s most popular apps and software require very little instruction on how
to use them. Modern applications are designed to be intuitive and
easy-to-learn, regardless if you are a digital native or from an older
generation. This has not often been the case for hospitality technology,
Many of the legacy platforms in use by lodging
businesses have clunky or outdated user interfaces, which are not user-friendly
and often take a long time to learn. The hospitality industry will not be able
to accelerate technology adoption if tech providers lag behind on updating
their user experience.
Technology should streamline interactions and
handle the tasks that can be easily automated, freeing up humans to provide
more valuable personal interactions with guests. That means the tech that the
front desk uses, for example, should be easy to navigate so that the human on
property can focus on the guest experience. If it takes 10 steps to check in a
guest, consider what piece of (user-friendly) tech can bring that down to two.
Prepare the next generation
The problems the lodging industry is
experiencing today - such as the labor shortage and unpredictable demand - will
continue as the world recovers. In the meantime, the tech skills gap will only
Education opens up opportunities to close that
gap. As an industry, we must focus on empowering the industry’s future leaders
with the modern tech skills and innovation they need to succeed. This includes
partnering with hospitality schools around the world to provide easy access to
technology and tailored curriculum so that students can gain hands-on
experience on how to use various tools and platforms, as well as online
training and certifications for lodging employees (or would-be employees) that
may not have the resources or ability to attend a hospitality school.
Lodging’s future leaders - with the right tools and
education backing them - have the power to drive the entire industry forward.