For the hotel industry, the "digital guest experience," or the purposeful use of technology as part of the guest experience, has become an important building block. More and more it is important to address technology-savvy target groups and to serve their expectations. At the same time, hotels must also keep staff perceptions in mind during the digitization process, as Marco Riederer of Prodinger Tourism Consulting points out. The industry already has enormous difficulties in finding capable people, and this is not likely to change any time soon.
"Because of the difficult employee situation, the hotel industry is heading into very critical years. In order to be able to guarantee the quality of service in the future, the industry urgently needs to respond to the ongoing exodus of staff."And that’s where digital tools play a big role.
Ease of use
Most importantly, the tools should be simple to use, with no frills and no special expertise required. Then technology relieves the burden on front desk, F&B or housekeeping staff. "And significantly so," says Riederer. Which will help hotels keep capable people on staff longer. The need for ease of use includes the following areas relevant to staff: digital guest folders and concierge tablets, mobile extranet for employee communication and task management, self-check-in and self-check-out.
Riederer also observes that something is happening in the industry when it comes to digital tools. "More and more hotels are recognizing the advantages, especially when it comes to training and qualification."The overarching term here is digital learning. It’s not about digitizing a classic employee handbook 1:1 and putting it on a platform. Digital learning rather means that employees work with mobile app solutions. "They learn with it where and when they want to. This is the exciting part." And in turn makes the job more attractive. Especially when introducing new tools, Riederer advises involving staff in projects from the start and listening to their ideas. Carefully crafted digital training plans are needed for new employees. " In the onboarding process, many hurdles can already be removed in this way." An important point to clarify in advance: what do employees need to know for their position and task in the first place so that they can do their job well? This is where management comes in. It needs to have the enrollment plans reduced to the essential know-how before it gets started with the onboarding process. For some positions, the relevant knowledge can also be manageable and easily learned on the job.
Digital tools should not overwhelm
To summarize: digital tools should in no way overburden existing staff, but should relieve them and thus, at best, strengthen employee loyalty to the company. And, as Riederer adds: "Digital technology must not be allowed to scare off potential new employees, i.e. job seekers, under any circumstances. Hotels need to word job postings in a way that is immediately clear: The tools used have a supporting function, they are easy to learn and use – and this simplicity then also facilitates the work processes. "A reference like this in the advertisement can be a piece of the mosaic to convince job seekers of one’s own business in the first place."
"Avoid many -individual solutions!"
We talked to Stefan Brehm, Marketing Director Germany at Lightspeed, about the state of digitization, innovations and misguided developments in the restaurant and hotel industry.
. current digitization trends
"Many innovative restaurateurs have used Corona to think – perhaps for the first time in a really serious and forced way – about how they can use the possibilities of digitization for themselves. Here above all technologies are highly in the course, with which the enterprise can be set up more flexibly and more broadly. In addition to connecting solutions for the delivery and take-away business, the use of QR codes is worth mentioning here: Whether for check-in, ordering or payment – scanning the square boxes is now second nature to most hosts, but also to guests."
. The level of digitization in the hotel industry
"The degree of digitalization varies widely among business sizes. Larger hotels and hotel chains have often already digitized many steps from the cash register backend to personnel management and accounting. Smaller businesses, on the other hand, are often limited to POS systems, mobile receipting and the digital menu. Possibly still interfaces to accounting, but that’s it. Unfortunately, that’s where a digital disconnect often occurs because guests aren’t given the option to order directly via smartphone. You practically hold out the carrot to the guest, but then send him back into the analog world with the personal order."
"The biggest aberration for me is when elementary components are present in the restaurant but not coupled together. Take, for example, the online menu and checkout system. Not linking these two things digitally, even though there is a shortage of staff everywhere, I think is wrong. Digitization can also be optimized. Too many unlinked systems can do the opposite of what the restaurateur intended."
. the most important tip in terms of more -digitization
"Move away from the many stand-alone solutions, toward an all-in-one digital platform! The operations manager now has to decide: Do I stick with my countless isolated solutions, which somehow work, but are nevertheless only in the rarest cases well coordinated with each other? Or isn’t now the right time to finally switch to a smart catering platform where I can get everything from a single source and tailored to fit perfectly?"