We recently surveyed hoteliers around the globe to understand how badly they were affected by the staffing shortage. Not surprisingly, more than 94.5% of hoteliers reported being affected. Here’s what some hoteliers shared about how their hotel has been impacted:
“We’ve had to shorten hours, reduce menu offerings and close entire outlets.” — Hotelier in North America
“The hotel is looking neglected and guests feel they are not receiving what they expected.” — Hotelier in Europe
“We are limited in how often we are able to complete a full clean on an occupied guest room. Managers work at a minimum of two shifts at the front desk and one in housekeeping either as an inspector or actually cleaning rooms.” — Hotelier in North America
As you can see, the situation is taking its toll on both hotel staff as well as guests. In order to help hoteliers make the most of the resources they have, we collected best practices for “making it work” from our hoteliers around the globe. In this article, we will share four practical tips for maximizing your resources and surviving the staffing crisis.
Take a page from the airlines and utilize upsell strategies
Airlines have become very sophisticated at upselling travelers to increase ticket prices. Today, you can pay extra to board earlier, check a bag, sit near the front of a plane, enjoy extra legroom, and more. When staffing is at a minimum, upselling for services like daily housekeeping and valet parking can help hotels reduce demand on front and back of the house, while adding revenue and setting guest expectations.
Revinate Marketing takes the work out of upselling your guests by automating the email at the exact right time in the journey. A pre-arrival email, sent three to seven days before check-in typically sees a 57% open rate and a 16% CTR. (Tip: Include the word ‘upgrade’ in the subject line and the open rate jumps to 61%, and the CTR increases to 30%!) A best practice, as shared in our Revinate University course, is to include five or six offers, personalized to the guest.
Reward guests who forego housekeeping
Housekeeping is one of the hardest-hit departments when it comes to the staffing crisis. These survey responses are typical of what we have seen from hotels in all regions:
“Housekeeping employees have had to work harder and longer to get the work done. I have employees doing double shifts to cover all areas.” — Hotelier in North America
“Due to a shortage of housekeepers, we have had to hang rooms, and in some instances, turn away business because we cannot keep up with the demand.” — Hotelier in North America
The truth is that there are many guests who don’t care if their rooms are cleaned during their stay but the standard today at most hotels is daily cleaning. To reduce the need for hard-to-hire housekeepers, send an automated email asking whether they would be willing to forego cleaning in exchange for something else. For example, you can offer them a daily food or beverage credit or free parking.
Reduce the impact on staff with an info-rich automated email
When you’re short-staffed, every minute counts. Collect guests’ most commonly asked questions and automate an email that is sent to guests just before arrival or upon check-in. Include hours for the outlets, check-out time, current policies, and local attractions. In addition to providing valuable information to your guests, you’ll free up your front desk staff to focus on other elements of service.
With easy segmentation in Revinate Marketing, you can even personalize the email based on whether someone is a first-time guest or repeat visitor. This hotelier in North America suggests:
Lots of communication with guests about what to expect here at the property so there are no surprises about what they will experience here versus what they may anticipate. That is the biggest thing, in addition to extreme measures to try to find good people.
Leverage online forms
Rather than having your staff on the phone, collecting information from guests for reservations, cancelations and rebooking, drive people to your website to enter their information in online forms. This not only leverages the systems you already have in place, but allows you to work on more complex issues during slower periods, which ultimately takes pressure off of your staff.
And, of course, leverage your partners. If you’re not fully automating your emails to drive direct bookings or upsell revenue, please reach out so we can help you optimize your time and resources. We look forward to working with you.