April 13, 2024

Staff shortages in the hotel industry: support your front desk with AI

Learn how AI effectively supports teams and enriches the guest experience.

The hotel industry has proven to be resilient, despite the challenges it had to overcome during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the industry has recovered from the effects of the crisis, the shortage of skilled workers remains an intractable problem that continues to affect many hotels. 

This article takes a closer look at how the staffing shortage is affecting the front office and reception, the challenges associated with this, and how hotels can address those challenges. After all, reception is not only the first point of contact for guests, but also an important part of the guest experience that contributes significantly to their satisfaction.

How to extend a warm welcome guests to your hotel even when you are experiencing a shortage of staff

Despite staff shortages, it is essential that guests receive a warm welcome at your hotel. Reception plays a central role in the guest experience as it is the first point of contact. Not only does it deal with check-ins and check-outs, but also offers personal attention by answering guest inquiries and solving problems. Friendly and efficient service is crucial to making sure guests feel comfortable and valued from the moment they arrive, until they leave.

The front desk faces significant challenges due to staff shortages, which can affect the team as well as guest satisfaction. Given the mounting difficulty of attracting qualified personnel, using AI technology offers a promising, supportive solution that also increases efficiency.

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What challenges does a hotel reception face?

A hotel’s front desk are confronted with many and varied challenges that can have a significant impact on the guest experience and team efficiency, such as

  • Extended waiting times: if there are not enough staff available, there may be longer wait times when checking in and out. This can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration among guests.
  • Decreased quality of service: an overworked reception team can struggle to maintain high standards of service. This can lead to an overall deterioration in the quality of service, including slower responses to guest inquiries and complaints.
  • Language barriers: in an international hotel environment, the lack of multilingual staff can lead to communication problems, especially if the available staff do not speak the languages of the guests.
  • Delays in resolving issues: Staffing shortages can lead to guest complaints and issues not being resolved in a timely or effective manner, which in turn can affect guest satisfaction.
  • Susceptibility to errors: staff shortages often affect the accuracy and care with which tasks are performed. This can lead to errors in bookings, billing, and other administrative tasks.

These challenges can have a significant impact on a hotel’s guest experience and reputation. However, the use of technologies such as AI and automation can help alleviate some of these problems by automating standard processes and deploying the remaining staff more efficiently.

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How AI can effectively solve challenges caused by staff shortages at hotel receptions.

As digitalisation and the use of AI advances, new opportunities are opening up to improve guest service while addressing staffing shortages.

Efficient online check-in and check-out 

  • The implementation of online forms for pre-registration and check-out allows guests to provide their details in advance, which significantly reduces waiting times at reception. The HiJiffy solution uses WhatsApp to automate these processes, with about 60% of check-ins being handled digitally, significantly reducing queues.

24/7 contact with AI

  • AI-supported systems offer the possibility of providing a contact for guests around the clock. Even in the event of staff shortages, this ensures that guest requests are received and processed at all times, ensuring a continuous and high-quality guest experience.

Language barrier lifted

  • Language barriers are a major challenge at the front desk, where clear communication is vital. AI-powered technologies such as HiJiffy’s digital concierge which is available in over 130 languages, make it much easier to interact with international guests.

Automated upselling and cross-selling

  • Automated campaigns make it possible to offer additional services to guests during their stay. The digital concierge not only supports the booking of additional services, but also offers personalised recommendations, which helps to increase sales.

Automated complaint handling and satisfaction surveys 

  • AI-powered chatbots automatically detect guest complaints and forward them to the right person for quick resolution. Additionally, satisfaction surveys can be sent automatically during the stay to collect direct feedback and continuously improve the quality of service.

Integrating AI into the front office not only provides an effective solution to staff shortages, but also increases customer satisfaction by automating repetitive tasks and reducing the burden on employees. This allows your team members to focus on what matters most to create an outstanding guest experience.

By using AI technologies, your hotel can not only overcome operational challenges, but also sustainably improve service quality and stand out from the competition.

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HiJiffy’s conversational AI as the key to overcoming staffing shortages

If your hotel is currently facing staff shortages at the front desk, using AI technologies offers a promising solution. These innovative tools not only improve communication and customer service, but also reduce the workload of your staff by taking on repetitive tasks and handling guest inquiries efficiently. The integration of HiJiffy’s conversational AI increases efficiency and allows staff to focus on delivering a first-class guest experience. Investing in AI-powered solutions is therefore not only a response to current challenges, but also a strategic decision for the future of your hotel.

Senior Marketing Executive DACH

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