Since the start of the pandemic, the challenges facing the
hospitality sector have been far reaching.
Hoteliers have been forced to adapt
to constantly shifting occupancy, staffing challenges and stringent cleaning
requirements. Hotels have had to fundamentally review their operations
strategies in order to adapt to this new working environment.
Here are two of
the big shifts these changes have catalyzed within the hospitality sector and
are likely to have an impact on how hotels run in 2022.
Operations technology becoming more simplified
Hospitality has shed a lot of talent in the last couple of
years as the sector has been effectively shut down multiple times resulting in
staff being forced to find alternative employment.
Employee turnover has also
increased as the competition for staff is fierce, which has led in turn to a
knowledge drain due to tenured employees leaving and being replaced by new
This dynamic is one of the key factors that has required a
change in the way hotels operate. Hoteliers have had to find the most efficient
way to run leaner and sometimes less knowledgeable teams, as well as using
smart ways to onboard and train up newcomers.
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The key to success in this new environment lies in having
the right technology infrastructure in place to support staff and make better
use of time, particularly in the key departments such as housekeeping.
Automation, AI, better communications tools and smarter route mapping can all
play a key part in enabling teams to do more with less. But only if that technology
is simple to use and quick to train teams up on.
As the pandemic continues, we expect that many hotels will
be forced to re-examine their tech stack and could end up directing a large
proportion of their focus and investment towards adjusting and simplifying
their hotel operations technology over the next year.
Another consequence of pandemic cost cutting has been
reducing in-house tech teams so in this environment, where there is minimal
tech support and a great deal of newcomers to the industry, operations
technology has to be intuitive to use, fast to roll out and it must add value
quickly upon installation.
Time spent finding the right technology solutions to support
growth as the industry rebounds with unexpected peaks and troughs will not be
time wasted for hoteliers.
More group level decision‐making and management
In the current environment, individual hotels are "in the
here and now" and there is often little excess capacity to devote towards
making strategic business decisions.
This is always a challenge for the busy
hotelier even in the best of times, but those that are fortunate enough to be
part of a group of hotels may find value in drawing on that structure more in
these challenging times.
Automation, AI, better communications tools and smarter route mapping can all play a key part in enabling teams to do more with less. But only if that technology is simple to use and quick to train teams up on.
Katherine Grass - Optii Solutions
In today’s world, it is a fact that the more data
points that can be gathered and analyzed across various sources, the more
insights the hotel has to work to set the right strategy and make the best decisions
possible at that time.
Gathering data from multiple properties and analyzing it
centrally will inevitably deliver deeper strategic insights and better decision
making than basing strategies on the patterns of one hotel in isolation.
Hoteliers need to be able to make the best decisions for
their operations and guests which are based on real-time insights and data.
When it comes to groups and multiple property hotels, hoteliers want to ensure
consistency of brand across departments and properties, something that guests
are expecting more than ever during COVID-19.
To be able to adapt to these
demands, hoteliers need to be able to make big decisions that can be rolled out
at scale and speed across their properties with the assurances that there won’t
be inconsistencies or reduced guest experiences.
Another important factor across groups is attracting and
retaining staff, particularly as hotels are faced with labor shortages. There
can be lessons learned and examples taken from properties who celebrate employee
and team wins, and these practices can be rolled out across multiple
Housekeeping teams and those working in hotel operations have faced
one of the most challenging times in their industry and have adapted at
incredible speed, so it is important to take note of this and celebrate your
team. That way hotels can help create a new generation of loyal and motivated
The road to recovery
It is incredible to see how our sector
has adapted and risen to the challenge of living with COVID in our midst, and
after the shock of 2020, 2021 revealed the grit and ingenuity within our sector
to pick itself up and evolve.
2022 has the potential to be a great year for the
hotel industry as we continue to take the pandemic in our stride.
What will separate the most successful hotels from the rest
will be their ability to take advantage of the remarkable tools there are out
there to properly look after and support their teams, and ultimately provide
the best service possible for the guests they serve.