Digital transformation is fundamental to stay competitive without losing the values of the service industry.
The pandemic has been terrible for the hospitality industry, but it offers a chance for hospitality operators to review their strategies and rethink all their processes. Operators now need to adjust to match shifting consumer preferences and accelerated global trends.
Choosing the right digital technology
Business leaders can choose to invest in digital technologies which are readily available on the market.
However, a big disadvantage with most of these ‘off-the-shelf’ products is that guests and employees need to learn how to work with them, and the whole organisation needs to change their business processes to suit the digital technology.
As a general manager in leading hotels, I saw this happen many times, and it created a lot of pain for employees and guests, as well as increasing workload and costs, which lost the owners a lot of money.
We do the exact opposite.
We ensure that digital solutions are designed around business processes that support the client’s organisation and the capabilities of employees and guests using it.
You can invest in the best technology available at any given time, but in two years’ time there is likely to be a better new technology on the market. And – unless you have amended your business processes – you won’t have any competitive advantage if you’re using the same digital technology as your competitors.
Focusing on people first
We know that employees and turnover are the most crucial and critical areas in hospitality, and hiring, training, and developing employees is time consuming and expensive. Many people think that the younger generation do not want to work in the hospitality or service industry anymore because salaries are low, and work-life balance is poor, and they cannot handle the pressure of employers and guests.
I believe the real issue is employee engagement: making the employee feel welcome and be part of the organisation and proud to work for it.
However, this is challenging at a time when the workload for many managers and executives is increasing. They are working on lots of different aspects of running a hotel or restaurant: firefighting problems, managing emails, worrying about revenue, generating (often useless) reports, social media, power calls, guest handling, employee management, meetings, briefings, training, productivity reports and endless cost controls. The list goes on.
I feel many hospitality leaders have lost the core value and focus of taking care of our guests and employees.
Communication, engagement, and training of employees needs to be very much top of the agenda. A hotel can have the most beautiful hardware with gold bathroom fittings, marble floors and the best and most expensive IT set up, but if it has unhappy poorly-trained employees, it will never be successful!
We have the equipment already: there are more smart phones in this world today than there are human beings and everyone uses social media, no matter what their level of education.
Power in the palm of your employees’ hands
We help our clients to use this to their advantage and start changing business processes to communicate, engage, train, and develop their employees more efficiently via smartphones and apps designed to suit staff of all educational levels and business capabilities.
Used correctly, technology can take care of time-consuming, often unnecessary reports and statistics.
Let technology be used to reduce the administrative workload of managers and give them the time needed to engage and take care of employees and guests, which is the core value of hospitality.
The use of digital technology in our transformations is always done in a partnership between our clients, technology companies and us. That is how we deliver substantial value and growth for all.