Staff Shortage in Hospitality: How to Maintain High Service Levels ?

Now that the worst of the pandemic seems behind us, it looks like the hospitality industry must deal with yet another crisis: staff shortage. People are traveling again, so hotel operations are dealing with recovering occupancy while still being understaffed. The answer must lie in making processes more efficient. Let’s look at five ways hoteliers can maintain service levels while dealing with staff shortage.

5 Tips to Maximize Operational Efficiency while Dealing with Staff Shortage

sign with ¨Help Wanted¨ to deal with staff shortage

1. Automated Task Management for Streamlined Processes

Efficient processes are essential for understaffed operations, as they allow you to do more with less. To make sure all department processes are attuned to each other, they first need to be streamlined. An automated task management system will allow you to set up processes once, so they can then run by themselves. For example, by setting up an automated task flow for your maintenance team, every time a guest reports an issue in their room, a task is automatically created for your maintenance team, with clear instructions and deadlines ensuring quick action.

These systems also give you visibility over the efficiency of your operations: where are the bottlenecks, what issues are reported the most, how fast are they resolved, why are they not resolved on time, etc. By minimizing the opportunities for requests to slip through the cracks, you can maximize the performance of your team.

2. Automation to Take Out Legwork

With mobile phones glued to our hands, we can all agree that automation has rooted itself into our daily lives and has even simplified it. Think about how we all benefit from repetitive alarms, autocorrect, or even automated appliances like robot vacuum cleaners. While automation manages repetitive yet simple labor, our heads get cleared to focus on bigger and more complex issues – like how to mentally survive a pandemic, for example.

The same goes for your team and their daily tasks. Automation tools, like chatbots, can take over the responsibility to respond to frequent questions like, “What time is breakfast?” so your team can be focused on in-house guests who need further assistance. Or consider leveraging pre-filled answers for your incoming messages, reviews, and surveys to help your staff save time while remaining on-brand.

3. Digital Service Options Across the Guest Journey

Restaurant ran with staff shortage

Hospitality revolves around service, which is why many hoteliers have been wary of the idea of introducing the concept of self-service in their establishment. While in the past, we would have considered this approach as cold and even strange, the pandemic has now pushed us into using these technologies and made us discover the convenience of it too. Let’s be honest, we all prefer to check in online at airports rather than queue at the counter to get our boarding passes.

Introducing digital service options across the guest journey, like online check-in and check-out, room service orders, etc. alleviates pressure points in your operations – like at the front desk – while your guest is provided with immediate support.

4. Tech Integrations

Being efficient is all about eliminating as many obstacles as possible and with operations being increasingly digitized, tech integrations will become essential for agile processes. Integrations eliminate data silos, so that information can flow seamlessly from one platform to the other, enriching your data analysis. Moreover, they allow processes to run uninterrupted via different departments and platforms, so you can gain more data while getting rid of technical hurdles.

For example, by integrating messaging services into your guest messaging platform, you can respond from the same platform, saving time for your team. Or, for example, integrate your task management system with your chatbot so that any incoming guest request that needs action from an agent will create a task within the platform your staff is used to using.

5. Create a Positive Work Culture

team members high-fiving

Last, but certainly not least, look after your existing and new staff to maintain your service levels. To minimize the risk of staff turnover and to ensure your team is doing its best, creating a positive work culture is vital. When staff feels appreciated and connected to their work, they are more likely to stay. Try to find ways to show appreciation towards your staff, by incentivizing their efforts, offering feedback and training if needed, and having clear and frequent communication with them.

Some ReviewPro clients scan their online reviews for staff mentions and incentivize staff who have been recognized by guests in reviews or survey responses. This can encourage a more personalized service, while also creating a positive and supportive work environment.

It is also important when introducing new tech to your operations, your staff are on board and know both why and how to use it. If your staff are not on board, the tech may not work to its full potential. Read this guide by Safir hotels to see how it made sure staff were a key part of its latest tech addition, with impressive results.

As hospitality is facing challenging times, whether it’s a health crisis or staff shortage, we are seeing how technology is not here to take over service but to assist your staff in enhancing their service. The industry is seeing that digitization becomes less of an option and more of a must.

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