We are all familiar with many of the technological underpinnings of the modern hospitality industry, everything from the computer systems that help run the physical plant or reservation and revenue management systems to email, texting, and websites or the newest systems for digital check-in and keyless room entry.
Moreover, over the last several years, we have seen the maturation of hotel task software platforms to help manage everyday functions in ways that improve the quality and consistency of guest services. In particular, these systems have the ability to schedule tasks like housekeeping, engineering services, front desk functions, or guest requests; track the completion of these tasks, by employee and in aggregate; and, also, collect and analyze data in real-time to be used in multiple ways that we will address in this article.
Software in Action
Let’s look at a couple of practical examples of how advanced hotel task platforms, generally using mobile handheld devices for data entry, can do much more than schedule staff assignments or denote completions.
Consider the “simple” goal of making sure rooms are cleaned and ready for guests per schedule, while also tracking how long it takes each housekeeper to complete a given room type and location.
We all know that no room is routine. Some guests use every towel available, move furniture around to no end, or fill wastebaskets until they are overflowing. Others are like the proverbial church mouse. Hotel task systems can track completions, allowing front-desk staff to have real-time information on room availability, and also send an alert when a housekeeper is “running behind,” allowing the housekeeping manager to assign a helper so that employee gets back on schedule.
The system can also be programmed to track and record each housekeeper’s performance against an objective standard, identifying those who need extra training or re-assignment. The goal is not to reprimand but to incentivize. Over time, it will become clear who the top performers are and why, which helps identify potential candidates for promotion to positions of greater responsibility. Overall, the data entry should be easy—even fun—to complete, feature icons where possible, and handle the multiple languages in use by contemporary hospitality teams.
In another example, we might find, upon analysis of engineering data, patterns in repair and need-to-replace frequency of anything from faucets and toilets to air conditioners and security systems. Are we reaching end-of-life for certain components ahead of schedule or should we adjust preventive maintenance routines? Are there issues with supplier quality? Does our engineering staff need better training? Spread across a number of properties under management, analysis of the repair data will provide extremely valuable guidance.
Customized task software systems will also allow managers to complete, on time and more fully, those inspections they seemingly never to have enough time to do during a hectic day. Sound familiar?
Increasingly, property managers are looking for task management platforms that are able to layer measures of employee satisfaction onto quality scores and productivity scores. This is a welcome challenge, as integral to these task platforms is the ability to incentivize, recognize, and reward top performers; a friendly competition that doesn’t play favorites.
These new technologies enhance the “quality loop” for hoteliers. They present and track clearly articulated, objective standards on which staff will be graded, which is a good thing in human resource management; and can complement existing evaluation tools, like balanced scorecards or narrative reviews.
As a result, hotel task software platforms can be extremely valuable for a hospitality industry challenged to find, train, and compensate needed talent. Most importantly, everyday users are vested in the system’s success, helping hoteliers achieve one of the top goals in hotel operations: having more motivated and productive employees who help hotels achieve greater guest satisfaction and profitability.
The goal of these systems is not to add layers of ever more complex, hard-to-use technologies or extra expenses. Instead, well-designed hotel task platforms can introduce new efficiencies, improve the quality of services, and enhance employee satisfaction, while simplifying much of what of an organization is already doing manually or in its existing in technology space. Done well, there are verifiable cost savings.
This all reinforces the notion that technology can be a liberating and invigorating aspect of effective hotel operations and successful hospitality organizations.
About the Author
Adria Levtchenko is the CEO and co-founder of PurpleCloud Technologies.