How Technology Can Ease Staffing Challenges
Previously, we shared five ways to keep service levels high at hotels during the labor shortage. Let’s keep talking about doing more with less, but focus on technology and how it can keep your hotel humming, despite fewer resources. Every software company will promise you the moon and stars, but there are two main qualities to look for to ease demands on your staff: Ease of use and automation.
Why Hospitality Software Isn’t Always Easy to Use
Ease of use and software did not always go hand in hand. Depending on how long you have been in the hotel business, you likely remember when hotel systems were extremely challenging to learn and use. There are a few reasons why:
First, the buyer was often an executive who didn’t need to use the product day in and day out. Price was the primary consideration. Second, software companies didn’t have teams of usability experts to ensure the software was easy to use. Finally, since most software needs to integrate with other systems, most resources were funneled into ensuring that data was able to flow in and out. In other words, usability was an afterthought. But those days are over.
Table stakes: Great UI/UX
Today, the best software companies employ people to focus exclusively on ensuring good UI (user interface) and UX (user experience). The goal is to make software intuitive, so it requires little to no training.
A user should be able to easily pick up new software, regardless of skillset, with very little cognitive load. Even enterprise software should feel easy to use. The argument is that when software is easy to use, it will be faster to implement and put less stress on employees.
With great UI, employees will get their jobs done quicker, without having to stop and struggle with the technology. Because it’s easy, they’ll be able to take advantage of advanced features, getting more value from the tool. Finally, even if they’re covering for another employee, they’ll be able to use the right tools without needing extensive training. As a result, they will use it more and the business will get more value and achieve better results.
Why Automation is a Critical Today
Automation is another must-have feature of technology as hotels struggle with finding enough staff. The goal of software automation is to streamline repeatable processes and optimize workflows so that hotels can do more with fewer resources. For example, many hoteliers today are utilizing mobile apps for check-in and check-out to eliminate the need for a fully-staffed front desk. By allowing guests to check-in, and even select their rooms without speaking to hotel staff, they can free up valuable hotel resources to focus on other elements of the guest experience.
How Revinate Helps
During this difficult period for hoteliers, Revinate has become a much-loved and relied-upon solution for the reasons we outlined above. Here are four specific ways that it is helping hoteliers navigate the great hospitality staffing crunch.
Easy to Use
First, Revinate’s modern UI for our hotel CRM, guest marekting and reputation management solutions are easy to use, even with no training. This means that as marketing teams do double duty on-property, it’s easy for them to use the tools that are required for a great guest experience. For example, anyone being asked to staff the front-of-house can easily locate and access an arrivals report in Revinate Marketing to see who’s checking in and what can be done to personalize the stay.
SCP Hotels found Revinate Marketing so easy to use that they were able to eliminate their content agency and have the internal team pick up the work. As a result, they saved $35k/mo while driving a 200% increase in direct revenue.
Easy to Automate
Second, Revinate makes it easy to automate email communication with guests. Hotels can use pre-arrival emails, a feature of Revinate Marketing to appropriately set expectations with guests that are about to check in. For example, hoteliers are leveraging the email to announce new hours for outlets and explain new policies and procedures. An on-property email can be automated and sent to guests as soon as they check in. This email can provide answers to commonly asked questions so guests can self-serve information, versus needing to speak with staff. As things change, these emails just need to be updated once. Email automation is the easiest way to share information with guests while freeing up staff to focus on higher priority projects.
As an example, Center Hotels in Iceland was able to eliminate the need for two roles by automating pre-stay and upsell campaigns, saving $4k a month. Even more impressive is that the group was able to grow direct revenue share 10 times and produce three times the local average in direct revenue share.
Easy to Access
Third, Revinate makes it easy for anyone to access the hotel CRM, or guest database, even without training. Why is this important? With limited staffing, hotels are at risk of providing a sub-par guest experience. But, with access to guest data you can make every interaction count by understanding guests’ previous stay history, past reviews, and loyalty status. This allows the valet to welcome back a repeat visitor or enables the housekeeping staff to ensure the room is stocked with the firm pillows the guest loves.
Easy to Segment
Finally, Revinate makes it easy to segment guests in the database and develop the personalized campaigns that drive response. Creating segments within Revinate Marketing is simple. As a start, you can look at these common segments:
- Subscription Status: Guests who subscribe to your newsletter or blog are your most engaged customers. Segment by subscription status to send monthly newsletters or regular updates about your property.
- Geolocation: Segment your database by local, domestic or international travelers. During the pandemic, many hotels had tremendous success by reaching out to their drive-market guests with stay-cation offers.
- Loyalty: Segment by lifetime spend or total nights stayed. This is a great way to identify your best, most loyal guests.
- Demographics: Sgment by attributes such as gender, birthday, travels with family, couple, etc. Depending on your amenities and services, you can see how being able to isolate families allows you to present highly targeted upsell offers or promotions. For example, you can offer a kids-eat-free promotion or upsell families into a larger suite.
- Channel/Market: Segment by preferred booking channel, such as direct, OTA or corporate clients. Smart hoteliers segment by OTA booker and send a special promotional offer to these guests in order to drive the business direct on the next stay.
- Room Type: Segment by room type in order to isolate standard travelers from those that like to upgrade. For example, you can create a segment that targets all guests who have stayed in a Deluxe King Suite if you want to send an email campaign to promote your newly renovated King Suites.
- Lead Times: One handy way to segment guests is by lead time. You can send promotions for last-minute stays to guests who you know are comfortable with last-minute decisions.
But don’t limit yourself. With Revinate Marketing, you can use AND vs OR statements to drill down and further define your segments. In fact, you can have as many lines of criteria in your segment as you wish. But, as you might expect, your segment count will drop as your search gets more specific. Playing with segments and seeing the count of guests that meet the criteria is a great way to understand the make-up of your database.
Easy Email Creation
When it comes to creating emails, Revinate’s new composer allows anyone, regardless of design experience or technical ability, to simply drag and drop components to create a beautifully styled – – and personalized – – email. With the enhanced email composer, you can even add a single, dynamic module within an email and have the content that displays within that module automatically adjust for each guest based upon their reservation information and/or demographic information that is stored within our Rich Guest Profiles. This functionality can be leveraged for both transactional emails and marketing campaigns. Users are able to add custom information and add new conditions directly within the email itself.
As a result of Revinate’s ease of use and automation features, our customers are seeing great results, even with fewer resources. Noble House Hotels & Resorts decreased its payroll by 70% and eliminated all marketing spend outside of Revinate. The group still closed 2020 with higher occupancy and repair rates than its competitive set. As another example, View Hotels in Australia decreased its marketing budget by 90% while doubling its year-over-year revenue. These examples show that it’s possible to spend less time and money while still ensuring a steady stream of guest communication that drives record revenue. Learn more today.