At the HR in Hospitality Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, industry leaders discussed where the industry is going and the power of foresight. Many topics were addressed, but the key takeaway was to resist complacency and utilize technology to “wow” your guests.
It’s not enough to just be great at what you do anymore—you need to stay ahead of trends and find ways to innovate before guests realize what the future could look like. Be the one to show and excite them first. We’ve outlined a few ways to ensure your hospitality company is proactive and stays ahead of the curve.
Ted Teng, President and CEO of Leading Hotels of the World, kicked off the conference by explaining how the hotel industry is still traditional and why leaders need to strive for innovation. According to Teng, guest satisfaction scores are around 85%, which is commendable, but there is so much to be learned from that dissatisfied 15%. Dissatisfaction breeds innovation. Therefore, the hotels that stand out are the ones that inspire an innovative culture.
A prime example of a company that thinks outside the box is Marriott International, which became the world’s largest hotel chain after acquiring Starwood Hotels last year. Marriott has an “innovation lab” at its headquarters that constantly manufactures new ideas, some of which are being tested at two Starwood brand hotels.
Several of their exciting design features are based on implementing communal rooms. These will be in the center of four guest rooms where those residents can share a kitchen, dining room, and lounge area. “We took a look at why people travel and what people need. Our lobbies have become more communal and social hubs, but we saw a need for something in between,” reasoned Toni Stoeckl, VP of Lifestyle Brands at Marriott International.
Make Technology Your Friend
HR thought leader and analyst, Jason Averbook, addressed how technology has the power to take companies to the next level. HR and IT departments regularly get stuck when adopting new technologies because people don’t normally like change or have trouble adapting to new systems. Averbook reminded the audience that we are all “technologists” and use a variety of digital tools every day and these systems aren’t as convoluted as we may think.
To prove his point, Averbook asked the audience to use a chatbot in real-time to input their email addresses instead of trying to track them down before the conference. In response, the chatbot sent his presentation to every participant. People often assume technologies make processes more complicated when, in fact, they can be substantial time-savers, especially with tools like automation. Check out our chatbot feature to learn more about getting real-time feedback from employees.
Personalize Employee Communication
During a panel discussion, Robert Mellwig, Senior VP, HR at Two Roads Hospitality, highlighted the significance of personalizing employee communication. The staff is the backbone of any hotel and needs to constantly be informed. By leveraging HR technology platforms that allow easy integration with other programs, push content out to employees in small chunks, and reinforce brand identity, employees can get timely and on-brand updates.
Much of what was said at this year’s HR in Hospitality conference pointed to the fact that you can’t ignore internal communications anymore. Today’s guests expect to communicate anywhere, anytime with ease—and your employees expect the same. Hotels that have implemented internal communication platforms where team members not only receive information faster, but also stay connected to every employee, have seen their teams fulfill requests quicker and anticipate problems before they happen.
What are you doing to encourage digital communication within your workplace? How have you seen employee and guest experiences transform?