INCREASING HOTEL PROFITABILITY AND EFFICIENCY
How to Use Technology to Increase Hotel Productivity in 2023
Finding a way to meet guest expectations with a smaller, perhaps less experienced team is the new reality for hoteliers.
But fewer staff can mean overwhelmed employees—when you have a smaller team managing the same busy workload without any extra support, you may see staff burnout and higher turnover rates.
John Ryan, owner and managing director of The Ardilaun Hotel, reminds us that “a happy team is much more productive, and will stay with you longer.” But how do you keep your employees satisfied and prevent burnout while minimizing costs and meeting guest expectations?
By implementing the latest technology for hotel productivity, you’ll see smoother workflows, significant savings, and happier staff, all while upholding your high service standards. Take a look at our tips for how you can use technology to increase productivity at your hotel.
Automate task management and scheduling, make your guests more independent, and increase productivity at your hotel with Operto.
What is hotel productivity and how is it measured?
Hotel productivity isn’t some abstract concept to strive towards—it’s a clear goal that can be easily measured using the right hotel KPIs. There are a few formulas you can use to track productivity at your hotel and determine where it can be improved.
First off, total revenue per hour worked is a metric that helps you measure how much output you’re getting from each hour worked. To calculate it, divide your hotel’s revenue by the hours worked by your employees during a given time period (for example, per day or per month).
Another way to track productivity is by calculating hours per room occupied. To do so, you divide hours worked by your employees by the number of rooms sold during a given time period. This helps you get a closer look at how many hours it takes to service one room so you can see whether your staff and operations are efficient enough.
And be especially wary of threats to hotel productivity, one of the biggest being staff burnout. When you’re understaffed, and your employees are overworked, they are more likely to rush through tasks and make mistakes, then get frustrated, and in turn feel more burnt out.
This vicious cycle makes it hard to measure where productivity can be improved, which is why it’s important to look for other ways to boost productivity by taking pressure off your existing staff when hiring additional support isn’t an option.
How can hotel tech help you boost productivity
Labor shortages in the hospitality industry are impacting productivity, and in turn the guest experience. And staffing shortages aren’t going anywhere: Curtis Crimmins, founder of Roomza and experienced hotelier, warns that “we need to wake up to the reality that there’s not a group of applicants that we’ve missed somewhere—nobody else is coming.”
To keep staffing shortages from undermining your productivity, you can use hotel industry tech solutions to keep your operations as efficient as possible, even when your team is stretched thin.
Take a look at our suggestions for the top ways you can use technology to optimize hotel operations in 2023, including:
- Implementing a digital front desk and making guests more autonomous
- Automating the keyless access workflow
- Streamlining team communication and maintenance reporting
- Automating schedule creation and using a centralized calendar
- Tracking operational efficiencies
- Integrating an automated lost and found solution
Implement a digital front desk and make guests more autonomous
In the words of Roomza founder and authority on automation in hotels Curtis Crimmins, “to a lot of people, the front desk is just a nuisance.” What a guest wants when they arrive at a hotel is to get to their room, not wait in line in the lobby for 45 minutes.
By taking your front desk digital, you can give your guests a better experience while taking pressure off your staff and freeing them up to focus on pressing issues that inevitably arise, like a guest who’s lost their luggage or an overbooking.
Because of the increase in productivity, self-service check-in can also mean big savings for your hotel. One Operto customer, Prague Residences, was able to save $10,000 per month by implementing digital access and going from four front desks to one.
Online check-in, digital guidebooks, and keyless access (discussed below) make your guests autonomous. When you send your guests a digital guidebook before arrival, your staff will receive fewer last-minute calls from guests about where to park, how to find the hotel, and how early they can check in.
And by using guidebooks with smart buttons, like those offered by Operto Guest, you can enhance the customer experience through in-app upsells and special offers. That means your guests can order room service right on their smartphone without having to call your front desk, making the process more convenient for them and more efficient for your staff.
Automate the keyless access workflow
If you’re going to offer digital check-in, you need to implement keyless entry at your hotel. With keyless access working alongside your other solutions for making guests independent, like online check-in and digital guidebooks, you can truly modernize the guest experience and significantly reduce your front desk’s workload.
Fortunately, going keyless doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With Operto Boost, you can upgrade your existing hardware and turn old RFID or magstripe locks into smart locks in minutes (while maintaining their key card capabilities for guests who prefer traditional access methods).
So no matter how big your operation is, Operto makes it affordable to upgrade your locks—for example, Operto Boost’s revolutionary technology is powering the Digital Key program for Accor Hotels globally.
When you embrace smart locks, you can also implement a solution to automatically generate unique access codes and/or mobile keys. This completes the automated guest access workflow and gives you complete visibility and power over access control.
For example, the Operto Guest manager’s dashboard lets you see who’s accessed each room and when. And guests can automatically receive their access details within the Operto Guest app. When they complete digital check-in and ID verification, their access code or mobile key is activated.
Not only does keyless entry save you and your staff time, but it also enhances guest satisfaction by giving them a frictionless arrival experience and more autonomy over their stay.
Streamline team communication and maintenance reporting
If you want to make communication among your team as efficient and effective as possible, WhatsApp groups aren’t going to cut it—important updates can be easily missed amidst a clutter of unfocused messages. And while you probably run a daily morning meeting, urgent tasks and updates inevitably come up throughout the day.
That’s why you need a tool that allows you to be responsive to issues as they arise. The ideal solution will make it easy for your team to see all the key information in one place so nothing gets lost, as well as add their own updates and messages on the fly.
That way, your front desk staff can send a message highlighting a special last-minute guest request, your cleaning staff can easily set an alert for the maintenance manager to respond to, and the whole team can see as soon as the issue’s been resolved.
With a specialized tool for hotel team communication, you can reduce the steps it takes to get a job done, whether that be a task for your maintenance manager regarding malfunctioning A/C or an update for your reservations manager about a special guest request.
This not only increases productivity but also has a positive effect on the guest experience, as it reduces the chances of an issue slipping through the cracks and negatively impacting a guest’s stay.
Automate schedule creation and use a centralized calendar
Though you’ll already have set processes for scheduling room turnovers, if those processes aren’t automated and integrated with your PMS, they’re limiting your ability to increase efficiency.
For example, each morning your housekeeping manager probably has to review who’s working that day, then print off a schedule and hand it out to your accommodation assistants. Do those schedules recognize how long it takes different rooms to be cleaned? And how easily can you update a schedule once it’s been printed off?
With a tool like Operto Teams, you can automate check-out notices and speed up your whole turnover process. This functionality ensures your hotel staff know as soon as a room is ready to be cleaned, and the software can even automatically optimize cleaning routes according to location and room status.
These schedules can then be updated and modified in real-time, and even if this feature only saves five to ten minutes per room, these savings add up and over time can help increase profitability for your hotel.
Another tip for increasing efficiency is using a centralized calendar. This allows you to see all reservations, as well as all your employees’ schedules, all in one place. And while task automation is incredibly handy, you can also manually modify and finalize schedules when they’re on one centralized calendar.
When you have one source of truth for all your schedules and tasks, you can streamline your morning 10-at-10 and focus on bigger picture items: You won’t have to go over which room has a special birthday request or which floor is getting its carpets cleaned, because it’s all right in the app for everyone to see.
Track operational efficiencies
If you’re relying on employees manually clocking in and out for time tracking, you’re missing out on key insights on productivity.
For example, this system doesn’t allow you to pull a monthly report to review who’s the most efficient accommodation assistant, which types of rooms take the longest to clean, or how you can improve performance across your team.
There’s a better way to track operation efficiencies: Use a tool like Operto Teams for easy, detailed time tracking that gives you insights into the productivity of your staff.
For example, Operto Teams allows your staff to clock in and out on a convenient app, and you can even turn on GPS capabilities to ensure your employees are on the premises when they say they are.
And Operto’s payroll reports are incredibly powerful—for example, they can help you identify cleaner efficiency so you can pinpoint where you can make up time and protect revenue. You can also use reports to determine whether the time you’re allotting to tasks properly reflects the time those tasks require.
If you give your cleaners 20 minutes per room and are constantly running behind schedule, a quick look into these reports will show you that average cleaning time is actually closer to half an hour so you can adjust calendars accordingly and stay right on schedule.
When you make changes based on hard data and what’s really happening, you’ll see improvements in operational efficiency, and less overwhelm among staff, which is essential to making sure you keep hold of your best team members.
Integrate an automated lost and found solution
Make sure the items your hotel guests leave behind don’t add extra work to your employees’ plates by integrating an automated lost and found solution. Operto Teams integrates with BOUNTE, a state-of-the-art hospitality industry lost-and-found solution that can save you thousands of dollars by streamlining your lost-and-found processes.
The platform is incredibly simple to use: When one of your staff members finds an item left behind by a guest, they take a photo of the item on a smartphone and upload the image to BOUNTE. The tool uses AI to auto-populate the description of the item, and when a guest inquires about a lost item, a staff member simply types a keyword into the platform to find a match.
BOUNTE also helps with shipping and tracking, making the process as quick and simple as possible for your staff so they can get back to their daily tasks.
Want to see more efficiency and less overwhelm among staff? Implement technology for better hotel productivity
When you reduce the risk of human error through automation, you give your guests a better experience while increasing productivity at your hotel. And with the difficulties of sourcing staff and holding onto your existing employees, embracing technology is more important than ever for hotels.
Follow these tips for implementing automation and tech solutions at your hotel so you can take pressure off your employees and stop suffering the blow of staffing shortages, all while exceeding your guests’ expectations, even when you’re at full occupancy.