Solving the Hospitality Labor Shortage With Technology
The hospitality industry is in a uniquely difficult situation right now. With the rise in vaccination rates, travel restrictions are starting to lift and people are traveling again. Air travel is on the rise, consumer confidence is returning, and hotels are starting to fill up again.
On the other hand, hotels are struggling to find enough employees to run at full capacity. According to Business Insider, nearly a third of former hospitality workers have no intention of returning to the industry. The result is that many hotels are dealing with a renewed summer travel surge while short-staffed. Here’s how technology can help.
What’s Causing the Labor Shortage?
There are a few major factors that are contributing to a lack of hospitality employees. Many hospitality employees were laid off during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and, while some of them are looking to return, many of them found other jobs in the meantime and have no desire to switch back.
Others have become accustomed to working from home in the last 15 months — avoiding commutes and spending more time with their families — and they don’t want to go back to a job that requires them to travel to a separate location.
While many hoteliers and other employers have blamed the increased unemployment benefits afforded by recent legislation, that might be a misdiagnosis of the problem. According to Skift, job search activity hasn’t notably changed in the states that have already ended increased unemployment benefits or the states that are scheduled to end such benefits in the near future.
How Technology Can Help
VoIP phone systems have been present in most large businesses for decades, but the technology that they can use continues to develop. Some of that technology can be extremely useful for hotels who want to operate at maximum capacity with a reduced workforce. With increased staff efficiencies and system automation, here’s how a VoIP phone system can help your hotel.
Handling Small Requests
Many of the calls that come into a hotel are to ask simple questions about your address, restaurant hours, gym services, room availability, and other similar requests. Any time a member of your staff has to answer the phone for such a question, they’re spending time that could be better spent on in-person guest requests.
An automated phone tree complete with pre-recorded voice messages can take a significant load off of your front desk staff by fielding and answering simple questions without the need for a human to answer the phone. If the guest needs more help, they can be routed to a real person at that point.
Hotel System Automation
Many common hotel tasks can be automated through your VoIP system so they require no human input at all. With the right advanced hotel telephone tools, you can configure wake-up calls that can be booked with the room phone keypads. With an updated hotel phone system your guests can order room service through their phones or through a web browser. Check-in and checkout can be done through an automated phone tree, a browser, or even a mobile app. You could even set up maintenance requests and housekeeping through your communications system to improve their efficiency and the guest experience.
Better Efficiency in Other Departments
One of the least efficient departments in any hotel is the classic housekeeping model — a member of your staff pushes a cart down every hallway, knocking on doors to see if they’re vacant.
With a VoIP system integrated with housekeeping software tools, you can equip your housekeeping staff with tablets or mobile devices that will tell them in real time which rooms are vacant, which have been marked “do not disturb,” and which are waiting to be turned over so that guests have a more seamless check in experience. The same principles can be applied to your maintenance staff, allowing them to be as quick and unobtrusive as possible.
Talk to Phonesuite Direct Today
If your hotel is feeling the crunch from today’s strained labor market and you’re looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency, talk to Phonesuite Direct today. We’ve been servicing the hotel industry for more than 30 years, installing systems in hotels of all sizes, and we can put together a VoIP system that’s tailored to the exact needs of your hotel. Get in touch!