By Amy Jeffs
The pandemic has put the hotel industry in a tough position. 70% of hotel employees have been furloughed or laid off. Even though occupancy is down, staff have been struggling to balance their workload, because navigating new safety and sanitation guidelines while still providing guests with a great experience is not an easy task. However, hoteliers that are open and willing to adapt to changing times and invest in the right technology can continue to provide the top-notch services and experiences for their guests. By investing in technology such as environmental monitoring and communication systems, hotels can improve their operations and patron safety during the pandemic without placing a heavy burden on strained staff while doing so.
Utilizing environmental monitoring to ease staff burden
In any given hotel, there are a variety of systems to monitor, including HVAC systems, fridges and freezers, cameras, door access, fire systems, and more. All of these are typically siloed systems that require a degree of manual monitoring by staff, however with the help of environmental monitoring and an automated alerting platform, these systems can be automatically monitored 24/7 for any signs of change or malfunction.
By equipping these systems with sensors and tying them into a single automated platform, they become simple and easy to manage. When a sensor is triggered, a staff member can receive an alert containing detailed information regarding what’s wrong. For example, if the freezer door is left open for an extended period of time an employee can receive an alert that the door is open and temperature has elevated and can address the issue accordingly. With this information, the hotel can take immediate action to ensure the issue is resolved before any serious damage or disruption in operations occur. Not only does this help save hotels time and money, but it ensures employees are able to continue to work on their tasks at hand, as well as focus on guest safety and experience.
Leveraging self-service technology to prioritize guest safety
To further enhance guests’ experience during the pandemic, hotels should also consider investing in self-service technologies. With COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to minimize the amount of face-to-face interactions between guests and staff. One way to do this is to streamline the check-in process with a self-service kiosk. This kiosk can be placed at the entry or the lobby of a hotel to allow guests to enter their check-in information, answer any screening or health questions, and gain access to an intercom so they can speak directly with staff while social distancing. Not only does this limit the possibility of spreading COVID-19, but it allows for hotels’ limited staff to focus on making sure the hotel is safe and clean for guests’ arrival rather than spending excess time checking guests in.
A self-service communication kiosk can also be used inside guests’ rooms to ensure they have access to the services and information they need while limiting the need to leave their rooms. For instance, with an self-service kiosk, guests can order food, request additional towels, access hotel all information, and more at the touch of a button. This helps to limit guests walking around the hotel to go to the front desk or the restaurant to minimize spread all while allowing them to stay in the comfort of their own room. The technology also streamlines workflow for staff by automating these requests; when a guest places a service, the proper hotel personnel receive an alert/notification to complete the request, making it easy to stay on task.
Circumstances have changed and it’s important that hoteliers are willing to adapt. By adjusting to new expectations and operations, such as a more streamlined, self-service driven experience for guests, hotels can ensure they are still providing a comfortable and safe environment for their patrons. With the right mindset and the right technology, good hospitality doesn’t need to be compromised.