Technology can bring efficiencies and automation in all areas of the guest journey, allowing hoteliers to deliver superior service levels despite operating with leaner teams.
After a turbulent few years for the industry, Thai hoteliers are naturally looking to a brighter future and how they can best support recovery and drive growth. But while pre-pandemic demand and occupancy levels can’t come quickly enough, another unanticipated challenge could look set to thwart recovery. The last couple of years have seen many hospitality staff, faced with little or no work, return to their homeland and cheaper living costs. As a result, with inbound tourism showing signs of recovery, hotels are struggling to offer the service levels guests expect with significantly depleted teams.
In response, many hoteliers have woken up to the power of cloud-based technology and how, through the automation of labour-intensive tasks, it can support the operation given the current staffing crisis. Historically, hotels have been slow to adopt new technology compared to other industries. Given the highly repetitive and manual nature of many back-office processes, this presents a huge untapped opportunity.
Technology can bring efficiencies and automation in all areas of the guest journey, allowing hoteliers to deliver superior service levels despite operating with leaner teams. However, a tech installation is not an insignificant project, especially of the size and scope of a PMS switchover. The management of this, if not subject to proper planning, can place additional pressures on an already overstretched team. Here we explore how by engaging the support of your team from the onset, you can not only make the tech switchover as seamless as possible but also ensure your team are energised by the project and the efficiencies it can bring.
Securing the support of the wider team
It’s imperative all those invested in a PMS switchover are involved from the onset for many reasons. From a practical perspective, it ensures that your technology solution brings optimal benefit to all departments within your hotel–housekeeping, front office, revenue, finance, F&B, sales and marketing. ‘A property-wide review of operational practices should be the starting point to uncover what processes work well and identify opportunities for operational efficiencies,’ says Matthew Emptage, Country Manager, Thailand, Guestline. ‘This will help build a specification that supports all areas of the business and ensure that from the onset, you have the cooperation and buy-in from all departments – a new PMS should demonstrate property-wide benefits.’
The involvement of all hotel departments also can bring softer benefits, over and above operational efficiencies. Taking time to consult all departments in the requirement gathering stage, to hear their pain points and how they envisage technology supporting their area, will help teams feel valued and heard, knowing their requirements are being considered. In addition, a PMS solution that supports all departments, and relieves them of the more time-consuming aspects of the job through automation, will free up resource to focus on more productive tasks that will ultimately build job satisfaction. Removing the more mundane and menial tasks will allow your team time to build relationships with guests and deliver a superior experience. This helps increase job satisfaction, create a happier workforce, and build stability within your team.
The importance of ongoing consultation
The involvement of the wider team in the switchover should not stop at the requirement-gathering phase- this is a hotel-wide project. As a result, teams should be involved throughout the evaluation and selection process. This includes project meetings, product demonstrations and, of course, product training and implementation. This not only ensures a technology solution that benefits all, but once the switchover is complete, helps to make the entire hotel team feel invested, having felt part of the project team working towards a common goal.
It’s all in the planning
Given the objective of a PMS switchover is to drive efficiencies, the project should avoid putting additional pressure on the business. ‘With departments struggling with staffing, finding time to support a switchover, with project meetings, product demonstrations, and training sessions, can prove challenging,’ Matthew goes on to say. ‘A robust project plan, with clearly stated responsibilities and timelines, will allow teams to plan their involvement accordingly. There needs to be agreement on the best time to transition and what needs to be in place to minimize disruption to the business.’
To help with this, we provide a step-by-step guide to help hotels through the planning process- Time is of the essence. A PMS switchover, although a large project, shouldn’t be stressful for teams, but a collaborative hotel-wide project that will ultimately bring significant operational and efficiencies to all departments.
Don’t forget, we are here to help! Find out more about how Guestline’s solutions can build operational efficiencies and support your team here https://www.guestline.com/th/apac-content-hub/
Matthew Emptage is the country manager for Thailand at Guestline . Matthew was involved in several IT-based roles after graduating from university in 2006 before joining Guestline back in 2012 as a 2nd line support engineer. Over the last 10 years, Matthew has gained extensive experience in Thai hospitality and the Guestline portfolio.