Labor shortage in Hospitality, can technology come to the Rescue?
Labor and staffing shortages have always been around, but not to the degree we are seeing today. With the havoc that COVID brought onto many industries, but especially Hospitality, we are seeing both consumers and hoteliers adopting technology to help lessen the impact. Ranging from Alfred and Geoffrey – the two Relay Robotics Robots roaming the guest hallways of the Dream Hollywood Hotel in California, to reduced housekeeping service etc. Cloud telecom communications can also have a direct impact here.
We are seeing innovative solutions being accepted by consumers that may not have been deemed necessary or feasible just a few years ago. This includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) products. BluIP® launched its AIVA Connect™ product several years ago but have seen a recent drastic uptick in hoteliers looking for an AI automation solutions that can help serve their customers quicker, and via a medium they prefer: voice, text, or even social media messaging. Keeping a focus on the high value transactions, while offloading more mundane tasks to an efficient AI solution.
Not only do solutions need to focus on the guests/customers they serve, but you also need to account for the new staff requirements. When was the last time it was widely accepted that your oncologist was working from home, providing a cancer diagnosis to a patient via a video conference call? That happened during the pandemic. Why can’t we have a scalable hospitality workforce answering guest phone calls or text messages from their home? One challenge hampering this innovation for the hospitality industry is the outdated systems and technology that don‘t allow for it, until now! With products like AIVA Connect and its Single Pane of Glass web-based operator console capabilities the impossible is now possible. Why miss out on qualified applicants because they are only seeking remote work at home jobs? Or at least some sort of hybrid work environment. “Remote and Hybrid jobs are attracting 7 times more applicants than in-person roles”. Combine that with an industry that lost more jobs than any other U.S industry because of the pandemic. “Leisure and hospitality jobs accounted for 34% of all pandemic job losses, the largest percentage of any U.S. industry.”
We are on the cusp of a very busy leisure travel focused summer. Hotels, restaurants, and many other businesses are nowhere near their pre-pandemic staffing levels. How will they adapt to this new business challenge? With that, is it time to re-evaluate your guest services support technology? Could a new approach make an impact in improving guest satisfaction? Is it Robots? AI? Automation? Flexible work locations for employees? Providing your employees with the best tools for the job? Centralizing tasks? Allowing customers a certain level of self-service that they are comfortable with? Many of our current hotel customers tell us it’s all of the above.