By Sam Evers, Chief Strategy Officer, ALICE
Running a hotel is without a doubt a complex operation. In order for a hotel to run smoothly and successfully, multiple departments need to come together to provide the best service to guests.
2020 was a year full of challenges, creating leaner teams and tighter budgets. It can be overwhelming to decide where to allocate that now reduced budget. As we start 2021, hotels are expected to do more with less, still making every experience as personalized as possible. This is where a hotel operations platform like ALICE will benefit any hotel, no matter the size or number of guests it has.
Here are five reasons why you should invest in hotel operations technology:
1 – Empower your employees to focus on hospitality
Your guests’ experience begins the moment they make their reservation. Your team members’ priority should be to make sure that every guest has a personalized experience. If hotel staff have to spend their time sending confirmation emails, or making sure each department is in communication with the front desk, staff don’t have time to check guests profiles.
With an operations software, staff can automate welcome messages to guests and use that gained time to look if the guest is for example on a honeymoon. They are then able to use that information to send a bottle of champagne in celebration to the guest’s room.
Operation software takes out the ‘busy’ work and shifts the employee focus to an emphasis on hospitality. Rather than calling housekeeping for a cleaning update every time a guest comes in early, the front desk has all that information at their fingertips.
Operations software not only streamlines operations for hotel managers, it also unifies departments, and maximizes staff time and energy. It is the key to providing a personalized hotel guest experience.
2 – Save money, gain loyalty
A good operations platform more than pays for itself. Hotel operations software directly impacts a hotel’s bottom line. As teams operate with fewer people, some general managers are finding that with the adoption of software, they are just as efficient as they were before.
Operations platforms streamline communications between departments, and with mobile capabilities, no employee is left sitting behind a desk waiting for updates or notifications of changes. With detailed reporting features, it can highlight operational inefficiencies and identify areas for improvement in real time.
There is plenty of research that shows the cost of attracting new customers is significantly higher than the cost of keeping your current customers. Hotels are no different! Guests expect a high-level of service at their preferred hotels, and if it’s not met, they’ll find it elsewhere.
Operations software helps hotels maintain brand standards, while keeping already loyal customers, and gaining more along the way. Efficiencies gained through operational excellence lower operating costs and happy guests gained through superior hospitality improve reviews and increase revenue.
3 – Collect data for continuous improvement
Management expert Peter Drucker says “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” and that couldn’t ring more true for hoteliers. As hoteliers invest in operational software, it gives them measurement tools to look at almost every aspect of their hotel operations. With operations software every single click of a bottom is recorded.
Knowing the details of your daily operations allows you to:
- Forecast resources: In 2020 did leisure travelers return to your hotel before business travelers? This requires a very different approach to staffing. Identifying trends at your hotel that can inform your staffing becomes easier with big picture and detailed reporting.
- Optimize activities: A request for a towel delivery should be handled by one, maybe two employees, no matter who accepts the initial request. If the lifecycle of a guest request shows that four different staff members are “touching” it before it is completed, it’s time to optimize that process.
- Reward your top performers: One of your room attendants is cleaning rooms three times faster than the rest of your team? Call out their great work, or recognize it with a raise. Better yet, make them a trainer!
- Identify training opportunities: Are your concierges booking more outside experiences than services within your hotel? This could be a cross-training opportunity for your guest services team to tour the day spa, have access to quick fact sheets about hotel-run amenities or restaurants.
4 – Do more, with less
2020 was undeniably difficult for all industries, however it took a major toll on the hospitality industry. COVID-19 was unexpected, and circumstances were ever changing throughout the year and into 2021 as well. Things moved quickly this past year with regions opening and closing practically overnight. It was expected for hotels to run with as few staff as possible, which meant that lean teams were given the same responsibility as a regular sized team.
During lean times, a good operations platform allows you to get the most out of a reduced workforce by reducing operation burdens and supporting the ability for staff to wear multiple hats. A very important part of a hotel operations software is that it is user-friendly! Staff are being asked to complete tasks they have never done before and a technology platform gives employees checklist reminders, flexible user permissions, and training directly through the platform.
When faced with a volatile staffing and occupancy environment, an operations software can help smooth the peaks and troughs, allowing you to be less reactive and more proactive. As we move forward in 2021, the hospitality industry is optimistic that hotels will once again be filled with new and returning guests. With hotels occupancy fluctuating, your hotel should have an operations platform that fluctuates with it. ALICE scales with you when the size and complexity of your operations grow, allowing for increasing levels of specialization.
5 – Future-proof your tech stack
Technology-wise, this is a great time to think about investing in software. In recent years, within the hotel technology world, there has been a big rise of cloud-based SaaS (Software as a Service). This means that the days of costly upgrade cycles and prohibitively expensive integration interfaces are quickly fading.
A SaaS operations platform means you can have updates and improvements continuously and seamlessly delivered without having to lift a finger. Investing in a product with a robust open API also means that connecting other pieces of technology in the future will cost less and take far less time to implement!