Budget season is upon us, and you wouldn’t be faulted for thinking it’s the same as any year in the past - well, maybe not the last two. But, this year is indeed different in many ways. Consider that we are coming off the heels of a global pandemic, and may be going head-first into a recession. It sure feels like the travel industry can’t get a break. While at Optii, we are neither economists nor scientists, we do know a thing or two about creating an eyes-wide-open hotel operation that is as well prepared for anything as is possible. So we’ve outlined our top 3 considerations for hotel operations this budget season.
Give your team some extra focus
Whether your shelves are full of Top 10 Employer or Best Place to Work awards from years past, or you secretly know that staff wasn’t a top priority up until now, hospitality companies are quickly realizing that being an attractive employer is critical to operations, guest satisfaction, and financial success. For a multitude of reasons, prospective employees know and feel that they have options. If they don’t feel valued in their current position, they know that they can easily get what they are seeking elsewhere. Out of necessity, the pandemic taught hospitality professionals that there are options and gave them confidence that they can easily move. But, don’t make the mistake that pay is all your staff cares about. For some, flexibility is important. For others, it’s camaraderie, while others may value recognition. For many, it’s the job itself that is a deciding factor.
Take the time to understand what motivates and matters to your team. As a first step, consider their working experience. Are you giving them the tools and support they need to do their very best? Their effort and attention translates into guest experience, so you want to make sure they are set up for success. A few questions to ask yourself, is your housekeeping staff interrupted or slowed down by ineffective communication? Are they still working with pen and paper, and held accountable for manual errors? How is the team’s relationship and communication with the front-of-house? Are they able to communicate and work in their language of choice? Is your feedback to them accurate and timely? This is a lot to consider, and the list doesn’t end here.
Take a moment to consider if technology could solve many of the pain-points and frustrations in the day-to-day work of your housekeeping staff. Many of Optii’s customers are surprised by the profound impact housekeeping and operations technology has on the employee experience. Front and back-of-house teams that traditionally point fingers are now working seamlessly and in good spirits with each other, room attendants that waited around for inspectors now receive rapid feedback, and team performance is now a factual conversation based on data.
One of the leading factors to the labor shortage we face today stems from hospitality workers feeling under-appreciated in their jobs. Alongside the challenges of COVID and people not wanting to return due to the new risks, hospitality workers are faced with an even tougher job than before, having to manage a complex landscape with changing restrictions, protocols, new ways of working, and the obvious cost pressures as a result of the pandemic.
Invest with ROI in mind
While the industry is experiencing a long awaited return to pre-pandemic levels of demand, there’s still a lot of uncertainty ahead. We’re not just talking about the economy, but also things like travel preferences. More work-from-home jobs may result in an uptick in certain types of travelers, such as digital nomads. Families may opt for longer holidays than previously scheduled. While there are many examples of uncertainty ahead, this budget season it’s prudent to find a good balance between risk-taking and innovation and investments you know will pay off.
At Optii, we never bet against smart risk-taking and innovation. After all, Optii got its start on a hunch that revenue management principles could be applied to housekeeping, and many of our customers use Optii in new and innovative ways all the time, and we love it. But just like a balanced investment portfolio with a mix of guaranteed-return bonds and high risk growth stocks, your budget should have balance. We’ll leave it to you to hunt for and consider guest-facing innovations, but we can tell you about operations technology all day. The beauty of hotel operations technology is that it brings quick savings to the bottom line. And the sweetness of operational cost savings is that it flows straight to profits, as opposed to new revenue that has to account for cost-of-goods-sold. If you’re curious what kind of return-on-investment to expect, we can model that out for you.
If you are in the market for hotel operations technology or housekeeping technology, make sure you consider one that takes a time-and-team approach, as opposed to a task approach. We would argue that a task-based approach like many of the traditional and legacy housekeeping technologies out there, is a just fancy, digitized clip-board. On the other hand, a time-and-team-focused solution, empowers teams and leads to productivity gains. Lastly, also make sure it’s predictive technology that gets better, smarter, and more effective over time with by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. Why does this matter? Because you want a technology that is constantly optimizing your operations based on property and guest data. You also want your technology to continue to improve overtime and make that investment work harder and harder for you.
Knowledge is power
When times feel uncertain, it’s critical to have as much relevant and accurate information as you can for better decision-making. With your hotel operations and housekeeping one of your biggest costs, there’s inherent risk when looking to the future. The last couple of years were a crash course and most learned that lesson the hard way. So how can hoteliers start mitigating the risk and be better positioned to flex in good and hard times? Think hard on this one, as strong demand and perpetually high occupancy presents challenges of its own.
What now? The first step is almost always insight. Without understanding or quantifying your operation, it’s hard to do something about it. Is your housekeeping staff taking too long to clean rooms? Or, are they not spending enough time cleaning? Are they held up by inspectors that don’t know which room to inspect next? Do you need more staff? Could I get by with less staff? Are you complying with local rules and regulations? Are your assets in need of replacement or could you extend their life? These are just some of the many questions you need answers to to be able to start evolving and perfecting your hotel operations. And a hotel operations solution with powerful reporting and analysis can start to give you some of these answers.
From all of us at Optii, we wish you a positive and inspiring budget season! If we can help you understand how an intelligent and predictive hotel operations solution can increase productivity, bring a positive ROI, and make the day to day of your staff easier, don’t hesitate to reach out for a demo of Optii.