Summer is in full-swing. While the traditional signs that summer has arrived may not be visible (graduations, baseball games, summer concerts, block parties, etc.), travel is starting to return. Early numbers even suggest that in some parts of the world, hotels may see an initial post COVID-19 recovery sooner than expected.
Hotels will now be operating in a “new normal”. That means they will be following operating guidelines (like the ones we’ve written here at ALICE) focused on social distancing to keep hotel guests and staff healthy and safe.
For some hotels, these new industry guidelines are an extension of how they have always operated. The biggest difference is that there will now be intense scrutiny for hotels to track, monitor - and in some cases - publicly report on their success in implementing these guidelines. For other hotels, this will be uncharted territory. These hotels will have to research, train staff and adapt to completely new operating procedures.
Some of the best ways for hotel owners to manage and implement these operating changes will be with the help of hospitality technology. Hotel operations software, like ALICE, seamlessly integrates with a hotel’s existing management system and most importantly makes operations easier, and more streamlined, supporting staff to get their jobs done faster...especially with lean teams.
Here are 5 suggestions for the hospitality industry when implementing hotel technology in a post COVID-19 world.
#1 - Use Guest Messaging Software to Connect with Your Guests
Limiting physical contact and in-person interactions is important for hotel staff to protect themselves and guests. But how do hoteliers provide a superior guest experience while delivering contactless hospitality?
ALICE Guest Messaging enables hotels to reach guests in advance of their arrival. Welcome messages can relay new check-in and cleaning procedures. Text messaging is also a great way to communicate in real-time with guests throughout their stay and after their departure. Answer guest questions, confirm reservations, discover delivery preferences, order room service, and send links or PDFs with property information, all without in-person contact.
Transparent, rapid and attentive two-way communication, coupled with action, is imperative to building your guests’ trust.
#2 - Keep Hotel Employees Safe
Hotel employees are essential assets in every hotel. The first wave of employees to come back to work will be very impactful. They will be at the front desk, on the housekeeping team, working in food service, and spread out across the property.
These employees will be tasked with keeping guests safe, all while keeping themselves and each other out of harm’s way, and ensuring smooth hotel operations. ALICE Housekeeping software not only provides constant communication for your housekeeping department so they can clean more efficiently, it also helps staff follow safety post-covid hotel operations protocols with reminders and checklists.
With housekeeping software, staff can utilize digital checklists to ensure that they have all of the proper PPE and cleaning supplies before entering a room. Completing the process of cleaning a room in a single visit will reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The mobile functionality of ALICE allows staff to communicate new assignments, updates, or the completion of tasks without ever having to be in the same room or use the same mobile devices. This drastically reduces exposure and contact points. ALICE Housekeeping can also auto-assign rooms based on preset logic. Auto-assignment allows room attendants to work in specific parts of the hotel, when possible, instead of being spread out across multiple floors, wings and public spaces.
#3 - Utilize Hotel Operations Software with Robust Reporting
Intense cleaning, strict operations procedures, and post-COVID hotel operating plans mean nothing if guests don’t know about them - or hotels can’t prove that the cleaning was completed. Hotel operations software with robust reporting capabilities can provide granular details on your operations, as well as a bird’s eye view of your hotel. Never again fail to answer the question “when was the last time my room was cleaned?”
Detailed reports are a good way to keep your finger on the pulse of your hotel operations. Pre COVID-19, it took a room attendant 30 minutes, on average, to clean a guest room. Use reports from ALICE Housekeeping to discover what the new cadence of your housekeeping team is with added sanitizing tasks inside rooms. Use this data for forecasting staffing needs and reassuring your guests that your hotel is up to the new cleanliness and sanitization standards.
#4 - Streamline Operations and Reduce Costs
More with less isn’t a paradox. It’s the future.
As hotels reopen and continue to increase occupancy, reduced staff counts will make contactless communication and cross-functional teams a necessity. Additionally, staying on top of preventative maintenance for small and large pieces of equipment will help to avoid costly repairs. Hotel technology facilitates streamlined operations when all departments operate on a single platform.
#5 - Use Digital Checklists
There can be a lot of fear and anxiety around operating a hotel safely during a global pandemic. Most hoteliers are operating in ways they have never had to before. Temporary shutdowns, coupled with quick re-openings, can lead to nightmare scenarios with costly financial impacts and potentially unsafe conditions for staff and guests.
The cure for overload, apprehension, and distraction is well-built, simple, and logically ordered checklists. ALICE Checklists provides the framework for hoteliers to digitally manage and track new COVID-19 operations procedures. They are available on mobile devices so that staff can check off tasks instantly.
Checklists enable accountability among staff as each completed item has its own timestamp. Checklist processes are outlined with hotel operations workflows in mind and can be accessed by any team member using ALICE.
It’s a Wrap
Post COVID-19 hotel operations will offer their own unique set of obstacles and historic opportunities. When faced with challenges, like running a partially-operational hotel with new SOPs and a skeleton crew, it can be difficult to know where to start or what to do next.
As hotels reopen and continue to increase occupancy, reduced staff counts will make contactless communication and cross-functional lean teams a necessity.
Looking for additional ways to utilize hotel technology to deliver contactless hospitality with a lean staff? Download our free eBook today!