Solving Labor Shortage Through Technology
— 14 experts shared their view
With travel demand accelerating rapidly, the hospitality industry is experiencing a new challenge: labor shortages resulting in sharply rising labor cost, which consumes as much as 60%-80% of RevPAR (CBRE). In the U.S. alone, hotels need to hire 600,000 more employees by summer to be able to meet demand (BIS.gov). Right now there are 171,800 open positions on LinkedIn for hospitality jobs in the U.S.
Wages in hospitality operations - frontline position such as housekeeping, front desk, wait staff, line cooks, etc. - are up more than 20% since April 2020 (Hotel Effectiveness). Hotels and restaurants alike are offering sign-up bonuses, higher wages and even cash payments to candidates just to come for an interview. In the same time productivity is down due to influx of inexperienced staff, since many of the experienced hospitality professionals left the industry due to furloughs and layoffs during the pandemic.
The question is, how can the hospitality industry solve the current labor shortages and unsustainable labor cost through technology innovations, automation, mobility, robotization and next gen technology applications?
As hotels staff-up post pandemic, many are moving employees to different roles, others are shuffling staff between properties to meet customer demands, and some hiring staff that are brand new to the hospitality industry and will have a steeper learning curve. One way technology is helping hoteliers tackle this massive issue is through digital learning. As these classes and refresher sessions can be accessed at any time, from anywhere, it is a faster way to onboard new staff or help others learn new skills than in-person onboarding experiences. We offer our customers access to Oracle University, a free digital learning destination, where their staff can login to learn the property technology needed to do their job, update product knowledge, and learn new job skills.
Another key tech area - contactless technology - became a necessity during the pandemic, but is now here to stay. Guests who would like to limit face to face interactions can choose to use contactless technology for check-in and communicate with staff through digital messaging during their stay. Travelers can also enable room keys via their smart phone – limiting lost cards, plastic waste, and saving staff countless hours redistributing lost keys. This also extends to payments, enabling guests to do everything from pay for their room, extra amenities, food, drinks, and more via a website and proprietary hotel or third-party apps. This all adds a layer of convenience to guests, while helping hotels maximize a smaller workforce. By eliminating low-value tasks, the more limited workforce can focus their time on interactions that really enhance the guest experience.