The winds of change are blowing through the hospitality sector. In the wake of the pandemic, pub, restaurant and hotel groups are navigating numerous challenges in their quest for sustainable success. Automated operations could have a key role in guiding the way forward.Operations are the engine room of growth in hospitality. But the way deskless operations have been managed is often mired in the past.
Too many hospitality workers contend with checklists that exist on paper, in spreadsheets or clunky technology tools. These are ill-suited to the dynamic demands of their frontline work – preparing and serving food, managing the kitchen, conducting room checks, maintaining safety and keeping premises clean.
In a survey of more than 1,500 deskless workers, 60% report being unsatisfied with, or believe there is room for improvement in, the technology they use for work. It can slow them down and make them less engaged and less adaptable.
This is a problem because staff shortages are impacting the hospitality sector more than most. In the UK, one in four hospitality businesses are reported to have reduced their hours or close venues completely due to staff shortages. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 400,000 unfilled vacancies in UK hospitality. In the US, there are more than two million vacancies in leisure and hospitality.
Automated operations in action
The increasing uptake of automated operations will help address staffing gaps by utilising sensor monitoring and digital workflows for mundane reporting tasks, saving many hours of staff time.
But deskless staff shortages are not the only challenge the hospitality sector faces. Rising costs, including energy, property, labour and food, make efficiency another priority. The sustainability of hospitality is another increasing area of concern. And winning loyal customers requires operators to maintain high standards despite all of these obstacles.
Automated operations give managers greater visibility over frontline activity across all locations. Unlike outdated reporting methods that hide insights and trend analysis within folders full of paperwork, automated operations provide a complete real-time view.
Checkit’s intelligent operations platform draws data from digital assistants that prompt, guide and capture daily staff procedures, plus sensor networks that continuously monitor food storage conditions, water pipes and equipment health.
How can leaders know whether brand standards are being upheld without this real-time insight? Are profitable opportunities being seized? Are safety procedures being followed at every business location? How is the risk of legionella being managed?
The pressure is on hospitality providers to adapt quickly to changing economic conditions, customer preferences and safety risks.
But large, complex organisations with deskless employees are encumbered by operational silos, outdated reporting mechanisms and intensely manual methods.
Let’s look at contrasting scenarios based on checklists or digital assistants.
Scenario 1: Managing operations the old way
- A cleaner conducts a room check in your building to ensure it is safe, clean and well presented. She works through a 10-point checklist, ticking boxes to confirm what she has checked. A curtain is hanging loose, but that’s not itemised on the checklist so she ignores it.
- She also notices that a tap is dripping, but she’s not sure whom to contact about that so she moves on. She still has 29 rooms to check before the end of her shift. And then, she’ll need to go into the housekeeping office and scan in her checklists, ready to be emailed to her manager. But it’s getting late, and her shift is over, so she decides to scan her reports later in the week. Nobody is likely to notice anyway.
- Two days later, a guest complains about a loose curtain and dripping tap, which fall below the standards she expected. The housekeeping manager promises to look into this, but her maintenance teams are busy elsewhere.
- She wonders why these problems haven’t already been reported by a team member but will need to search through 35 different files on her PC to work out who last checked the room. There’s nothing she can do now. The guest is so disappointed that she will leave a negative review and never return.
Scenario 2: How digital assistants enable automated operations
- A cleaner uses a digital assistant on her mobile device to scan a QR code on the door of the room she needs to check. This opens up step-by-step guidance on all the checks she needs to complete. She taps the screen to confirm as she works through the process.
- When she taps to indicate a fault in the sink, a new window opens up on her device, giving her the option to notify the maintenance team immediately. She notices a loose curtain, takes a picture with her mobile device and creates a new task for housekeeping. She can move onto the next room knowing everything is reported in the system and there will be no need to stay late.
- The maintenance team receives the notification of an issue with the tap, with details of the location already attached. They have a service level agreement to fix this within 12 hours of the notification, so a member of the team is requested to investigate.
- The housekeeping manager can see that all rooms were checked in the correct timeframe and the fault was addressed within seven hours. She thanks the cleaner for her vigilance and rolls out instructions for all curtains to be proactively checked before the end of the month.
Ready to find out more?