By Adria Levtchenko
With the right tools and strategies in place, hotels can deliver exceptional service and exceed guest expectations while also fostering a happy and engaged workforce
There is no question that hotel operations have been one of the greatest casualties of the persistent labor shortage continuing to impact businesses everywhere. Not only are many of today’s hotel workers overwhelmed by daily operations, but many are also not engaged with their properties beyond the surface level. When your hotel’s workers don’t have a connection to the property, it reflects negatively on the guest experience.
Hotel workers are the primary point of contact between hotels and guests. Worker morale and their emotional attachment to the property and its team are vital to building stronger connections with travelers and further establishing a hotel’s reputation. This leads to better review scores and has the most significant impact on improving the guest experience.
Hotels should never expect to return to the level of fulfilled labor the industry once leaned on before the pandemic. Those positions have been forever disrupted, and hospitality is in the midst of creating a sustainable environment for workers to thrive in once again. For these properties, the goal today is to acquire and keep skilled workers. Engaged staff are easier to retain, giving hotels a clear path for promotion from within and building a stronger foundation of skilled workers interested in their organization.
What is an “Engaged” Worker?
One might think an engaged worker will be difficult to spot based on the industry or property, but this is far from the case. Hospitality is as much about creating an atmosphere as it is about service. When workers are engaged, hotels exude positivity and create a welcoming atmosphere that guests can pick up on and positively respond to the instant they step on property. To create this atmosphere, hotel workers need the right tools and skills to deliver on their property’s service promise.
The components of creating an engaged staff member can be broken down in the following ways:
• Training: Engaged workers are well-trained on their daily responsibilities and can apply learned skills to address new issues as they arise. Highly engaged workers are also capable of training others on their team.
• Communication: Engaged workers have clear avenues of communication between departments and managers, allowing workers to react to new issues and inform management quickly. Improving communication impacts operator and worker retention, as workers who can contact their managers feel heard.
• Recognition: Workers notice when they are not being noticed by management. Engaged workers are rewarded for outstanding performance and supported during moments of struggle. Recognition can range from words of encouragement to physical or monetary rewards.
• Feedback: Engaged workers know how to improve and when they are growing in the right direction. They also know when to step in and help one another or when to embrace new ideas as a group. This sort of growth is managed from the top down and directed by management
By providing these elements, your staff will grow more attached to the property and its guests. More impactfully, engaged staff bring vulnerability and relatability to the workforce–qualities that hotel workers and travelers value.
In today’s challenging environment, hotels face the dual challenge of managing daily operations while also improving worker engagement. This can be a daunting task, but more and more hotels are turning to technology to automate processes and improve efficiency while also providing training and retention tools to support their staff.
Technology offers the flexibility to offer training resources that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, empowering workers to acquire and retain the skills they need to be successful in hospitality. Gamification is a powerful tool that can incentivize workers to keep learning and performing at a high level, with clear goals and rewards to track their progress.
By gamifying the onboarding process and continually tracking worker growth, hotels can identify areas for improvement and recognize workers who excel. The ultimate goal is to deploy technology that can run itself, with managers and workers fully engaged in the push for excellence.
Recognition and rewards play a vital role in this process, motivating workers to continue growing and contributing to the hotel’s success. By identifying what motivates their staff, hotel operators can develop effective training programs that foster engagement and a culture of continuous improvement. With the right tools and strategies in place, hotels can deliver exceptional service and exceed guest expectations while also fostering a happy and engaged workforce.
Effective training tools play a crucial role in unlocking the potential of hotel staff, empowering them to take charge of problem-solving and take ownership of the property and guest experience. Engaged workers are essential for achieving this goal, as they feel a drive for self-improvement and are more likely to be proactive and reactive in delivering exceptional service.
Recognizing and rewarding staff for their engagement and contributions to the property can foster a culture of continuous improvement, where staff can learn more and training techniques improve. This, in turn, helps hotels establish a reputation for superior service and generate positive reviews, creating a virtuous cycle of increased visibility and appeal to guests.
When guests stay at properties with an engaged staff, they are more likely to upgrade their room, enjoy dining offerings, and avail themselves of other amenities, increasing hotel revenue. This makes it clear that investing in worker engagement is a sound business decision that can yield significant returns.
To achieve this, hotel leaders must prioritize technology, training, and capabilities to improve worker engagement from the top down. By replacing outdated systems with more effective tools and fostering a culture of recognition and rewards, hotels can outpace the competition and deliver exceptional service that exceeds guest expectations.