In the last century, industries around the world have been completely transformed by technology. The hotel industry is no different, and now, there is a booming hotel technology industry. While hotel tech may still be fairly new, with its first products entering the market in the early 1990’s, it is a source of essential tools for hoteliers. The industry has quickly grown and isn’t going anywhere.
The evolution of hotels from small inns and bed and breakfasts, to high-rises, sprawling resorts, and high-end luxury properties, with more amenities than can be counted, has made the need for hotel operations software undeniable. Operations software supports housekeeping, guest services (including front desk and concierge), and maintenance teams, while providing reporting and oversight opportunities for hotel owners and operational managers.
Hotels are large enough, offer such comprehensive services, and employ so many team members that operating them without software is nearly impossible. But for hotels that don’t have complicated operations, or have fewer employees than it takes to field a complete football team, do they still need operations software? 99% of the time the answer is yes. Hotel operations software is essential for managing your business and the guest experience.
What operations software does, and doesn’t do
To understand why our hotel needs operations software means understanding what it does -- and doesn't do. Hotel operations software enables team members to effectively communicate between departments, decreases the staff response time for guest requests, and gives hotels actionable business intelligence and insight into a hotel’s operations. Common misperceptions about hotel operations software is that it is only for large hotels, that it replaces staff, and that it’s only staff-facing. In reality, none of these is entirely true.
Myth: Hotel operations software replaces staff
Hospitality is all about human connection. It is about welcoming guests into their “home away from home” and making them feel safe and well cared for. There is no software that can do this completely, and there never will be.
Hotel operations software can help hotel staff care for guests by enabling them to do the most impactful work, with efficiency and speed. Tasks that once took four radio calls, three staff members and a game of telephone, can now be completed by only two staff members; one staff member who enters the request and another staff member to accept and complete the task. That third team member who isn’t involved in the interaction anymore? They’ve been freed up to help other guests.
Myth: Only large hotels need hotel operations software
While there is certainly a bigger need for operations software at large scale resorts, hotels and casino properties, mid-sized and small hotels still benefit greatly from hotel software. At smaller properties that don’t have an abundance of employees, and where staff members wear multiple hats, operations software helps employees stay organized. With the assistance of software, small hotels are able to offer the same customers service and personalization as large hotels, without all of the people.
At large hotels, there are separate operational departments for maintenance, guest services, and housekeeping. The larger the team, the more important it is to have streamlined and effective interdepartmental communication, not just streamlined cross-departmental communication.
Myth: Operations software is only staff-facing
While some operations software is solely staff-facing, the most effective operations software is an interface that’s connected with guest-facing technology. Alexander Shashou, ALICE’s President & Co-Founder digs into this in his latest article, Bridging the Gap Between Guest Facing and Operations Technology in Hotels.
“COVID-19 has created the need for contactless hospitality, which connects guests and hotel staff, while reducing contact and face to face interactions, and often leveraging technology,” says Shashou. “But the real revolution that we're realizing as an industry is that any technology that is guest-facing needs to have an effective staff interface as well. As guests make requests with guest-facing technology, staff facing technology must be utilized so that the request can be completed properly and efficiently.”
ALICE Housekeeping and ALICE Guest Messaging are the perfect examples of products that not only work well separately, but work even better in tandem. When a room attendant services a room, they have the ability to relay that information to guests with messaging. And in reverse, if a guest messages a hotel asking for daily service (or opting out), a hotel can simply route that message to the housekeeping department through the ALICE platform, in real time.
Who benefits from it?
In the last few years, we’ve met very few hoteliers who wouldn’t benefit from hotel operations software. Hospitality management, owners, employees and guests all benefit when hotels have operations software.
Guests have access to contactless communication options for their safety and convenience, when hotels utilize operations software that is connected with messaging systems. This is a great benefit to them as contactless communication strives to keep the possibility of COVID-19 transmission low between hotel guests and staff.
Owners and managers who are looking for a management solution will find that hotel operations software gives them valuable insight into their operations. It also provides a clear ROI in the form of time and money saved.
Employees can also benefit from the implementation of operations software - and it shouldn’t be complicated. If it’s hard to train on and use, employees won’t use it and owners and managers aren’t going to get the results they’re looking for. Operations software with user-friendly interfaces make employees’ jobs easier enabling them to ditch the radios, pens, and paper.
What are some of the benefits of it?
- Improved online reviews: Operations software can be leveraged to make sure every request is completed promptly, to communicate with guests throughout their stay, and to ask guests for reviews after they depart, increasing the chances that they’ll leave a positive review.
- Business intelligence data: Before you can leverage data to improve and streamline your hotel operations you must find a way to collect, store and make use of all of the data points in your hotel. Software can help hoteliers collect a multitude of data points to help improve your hotel’s operations.
- Saved time and money: ALICE partnered with Coast Hotels to track the ROI of ALICE Housekeeping, which was implemented at the Coast Victoria Hotel in Canmore. On average, room attendants saved 240 hours of labor a year with ALICE Housekeeping.
How it helps during COVID
COVID-19 has created a whole new set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for hotels - and the best way to implement them is with hotel operations software. Operating with a lean staff, having an urgent need for contactless communication, and team members wearing multiple hats makes hotel operations software essential.
Housekeeping departments find software critical for earning and keeping guest trust when it comes to safety, reducing the amount of face to face contact (between guests and other staff members), and providing accountability and transparency within teams.
ALICE wrote the book on COVID-19 hotel operations with detailed best practices and suggestions for hotels.
Download your copy today to learn how technology helps deliver contactless communication with a lean staff.
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