By Tom Brown
An empowered team is a more effective team. They’re better engaged to help meet and exceed business goals and are more confident when interacting with guests. It’s clear, then, that team empowerment should be a goal for all hospitality businesses.
The average number of employees per property dropped from 27 in 2019 to 16 in 2022. In an age of ongoing staffing issues, it’s more important than ever to maximize the potential of each department and encourage better engagement and happiness.
There are a number of ways to empower your teams, and in most cases they’re a result of one thing: smart hotel technology. So let’s look at each major hotel team and see how more empowerment can make a difference to staff, guests and your bottom line.
Front desk: streamline arrivals and departures
Your front desk staff are usually the first point of contact for guests, setting the tone for their entire stay. Empowering them with technology can streamline check-in and check-out processes, reducing wait times and enhancing guest satisfaction. Implementing a user-friendly, automation-focused property management system (PMS) will free your team from the shackles of their desks and typing in long passport and card details. No more time-consuming paperwork, much more meaningful interactions with guests.
Additionally, consider providing mobile devices to your front desk team, enabling them to assist guests anywhere in the lobby. This not only improves efficiency but also makes guests feel special by providing personalized service on the go.
Carol Domacassé, Reservations Manager at The Dylan Amsterdam, said: “We actually changed our whole front desk, and now we do the check-in process differently. When guests arrive, we give them something to drink, give them a towel to wash their hands, and they sit down with our staff.”
In other words, their staff are now empowered to provide remarkable hospitality.
Housekeeping: optimize task assignment and scheduling
Empower your housekeeping staff by providing them with tools to optimize their workflow. A housekeeping management solution can help with efficient task assignment and scheduling. With real-time updates on room status and guest requests, your housekeeping team can work more efficiently, ensuring rooms are ready for check-in promptly.
Give your housekeeping staff the authority to report maintenance issues directly through their devices, ensuring a quicker response and minimizing guest inconvenience. Empowered housekeeping teams can maintain the hotel’s reputation for cleanliness and maintenance, which is crucial for guest satisfaction.
Oh, and another benefit? Faster turnarounds that are logged faster in your PMS give you more opportunity to upsell.
“The beauty of Mews is that people know where to find things, to the extent that they’re much more autonomous,” said André Henke Marques, General Manager at Northern Lights Village. “Now, communication with housekeeping is just for special requests that we receive. Housekeeping supervisors go through tasks and things just get done without us even seeing there’s a housekeeping team hard at work. It’s like magic!”
Concierge: provide access to guest preferences
The concierge team (often the same as the front desk team) plays a pivotal role in enhancing a guest’s experience – and in an increasingly crowded industry, these experience curators can be the difference that elevates you above your competitors.
Empower them by providing access to an extensive knowledge base and a guest relationship management system. This will allow your concierge to provide personalized recommendations and services, from restaurant reservations to local attractions, creating memorable moments for guests.
You’ll also increase cross-selling and upselling opportunities, which can boost your revenue. Happy guests are more likely to indulge in extra services and recommend your hotel to others.
F&B: streamline ordering and inventory management
Efficiency is key in any food and beverage department. Empower your staff by implementing digital ordering systems that streamline processes, from inventory to taking orders to payments. A centralized system that fully integrates with your hospitality cloud can reduce errors, improve order accuracy, and speed up service, resulting in satisfied guests and an increase in table turnover. For instance, the option of QR code ordering will relieve some of the stress on your team during rush times.
Your kitchen and bar staff will also benefit from tools for efficient inventory management. Real-time tracking of supplies and ingredients helps in reducing wastage and ensures that you are always well-stocked. Empowering your food and beverage team ultimately leads to cost savings and improved guest experiences – not to mention huge time savings.
Toni Drown, F&B Manager at The Gate Cornwall, said: “We chose Mews POS because we wanted to have everything in-house in one integrated system. It’s going very well, in terms of ease, productivity and reliability.”
Maintenance: allow quick issue resolution
Empower your maintenance and facilities team with technology that helps them quickly identify, prioritize, and resolve issues. A digital solution that’s a part of your PMS allows staff to report and track problems, ensuring a proactive approach to maintenance. This not only keeps your property in top shape but also prevents guest dissatisfaction due to maintenance-related issues.
Furthermore, good task management tools will enable your maintenance team to communicate directly with other departments. When they can coordinate efficiently, it leads to faster problem resolution and a more pleasant guest experience.
Sales and Marketing: encourage data-driven decision making
Your Sales and Marketing teams can significantly benefit from empowerment through data. Implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system that provides insights into guest preferences, booking patterns, and feedback. This allows your team to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized offers that resonate with your audience.
Data-driven decision making is the key to boosting revenue and occupancy rates. Empowering your sales and marketing team with the right tools not only drives profitability but also enhances your hotel’s reputation for understanding and catering to guest needs.
For instance, is your team empowered to sell spaces other than beds? It’s the perfect opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition and build strong, targeted marketing campaigns around new services and experiences. Parking spots and co-working space is a great place to start. Ensure everything is sellable from within your PMS and you’ll spare your front desk team from having to resort to spreadsheets or other manual processes to manage the bookings.
“Integrating parking into the PMS has made a big difference for us,” said Frederic Loots, Director at WP Hotels. “We can easily see the impact it’s having by looking at the report, and it saves us lots of time by not having to do any manual entries. Ultimately, this means we can focus on giving guests an even better experience.”
Empowering your hotel staff with the right technology and tools can lead to remarkable results for your business. Whether it’s streamlining operations, enhancing guest satisfaction, or boosting revenue, power to the people is an investment that pays dividends.
As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, staying ahead through staff empowerment is the way to ensure your hotel’s success. Equip your teams, embrace technology, and watch your hotel thrive. Your guests, staff, and bottom line will thank you for it.