In-person relationships are the cornerstone of the hospitality industry. But interactions between hotels and customers have completely changed in the wake of COVID-19, impacting the way hoteliers communicate with their employees, too. Parsing through alternative and mobile communication and collaboration tools can help hoteliers find new ways for employees to navigate the future.
Mobile Communication Apps for Patrons and Personnel
To say the pandemic disrupted the hospitality industry would be an understatement. New safety and cleaning protocols, as well as the importance of limiting direct person-to-person contact, have restructured the way hotels do business.
Mobile applications are becoming the go-to solution across all hospitality sectors for indirect communication for both team members and guests. Many hoteliers have rolled out branded apps that act as a concierge on the guests’ mobile devices. For example, The James, a boutique hotel in New York City, released the “James Pocket Assistant,” which helps guests access hotel amenities and recommendations for local attractions, restaurants, and shopping.
Mobile property management systems allow hoteliers to scan guests’ IDs from over 80 countries for check-in and check-out, perform all point of sales transactions, and assign tasks to housekeeping departments. Other apps, too, can offer chat boards for guests to communicate with each other. These apps include virtual check-in and check-out, property feedback surveys, and more; an advantage of using digital interfaces is valuable data collection, which can be leveraged to improve customer experiences and reduce costs.
With the multitude of app options available, hoteliers need to determine the app that functions best for each property’s organizational needs.
Push-to-Talk Over Cellular Communications
While traditional private radio and land mobile radio networks often require significant upfront capital expenditures, the spike in mobile workforces is driving growth in push-to-talk over cellular (PoC) due to the low operational expenditure for startup and subscription-based services.
Speaking directly with team members is the most efficient way to communicate in a hotel. However, when that isn’t possible, the next best option can be live voice messaging in real-time, either with individuals or groups. Team communication applications that offer Walkie-Talkie-style features enable push-to-talk (PTT) to transmit instant voice messages without the risk of cross-talk or eavesdropping. PoC provides the same capabilities as traditional two-way radio systems while reducing the number of devices that team members must carry, further cutting IT costs.
PoC leverages existing LTE cellular and WiFi networks, so systems can be deployed quickly with no infrastructure required. Departments that require extended range – like transportation team members – can remain connected no matter where they go.
Experience-Enhancing Apps and Accessories
Apps created for the hospitality industry offer a host of features that not only enhance guest experience but employee experience, too. For instance, team PTT apps that include emergency alert capabilities allow hotel team members to send high priority transmission with their location to an authorized emergency channel.
Many team communication apps are compatible with hands-free PTT accessories, including headsets and Bluetooth adaptors. Pushing a button can connect team members, which can keep valet drives from being distracted, housekeepers from carrying multiple devices, or maintenance from doing unneeded tasks. Discreet headsets present a more professional appearance, too, while reducing audible noise from traditional radios.
Now more than ever, the hotel industry is striving to raise team communications to a higher level while also reducing expenses. Hoteliers are demanding simpler and more cost-effective solutions that are dependable and backed by strong support to ensure smooth operations and teamwork. Mobile communication platforms, PoC networks, digital devices, and PTT accessories are helping to change the landscape of hospitality communications.