January 24, 2024

Staff shortages in the hotel industry: how AI can address new challenges

Explore how advanced automation can support your hotel teams

Cleaning and Maintenance Departments

The importance of housekeeping and maintenance departments in the hotel industry is critical, significantly impacting guest satisfaction and the hotel’s overall reputation. These departments are fundamental to the customer experience, ensuring comfort, safety and impeccable conditions during their stay. The quality of maintenance and cleanliness not only shows the hotel’s attention to detail but also influences the guest’s perception and, thus, their overall satisfaction.

In a competitive hotel market, how these departments perform is closely linked to the hotel’s prestige. Now, let’s focus on the specific challenges these departments face today and how to address them using digital communication tools and artificial intelligence to improve operational aspects, team satisfaction, the guest experience and the hotel’s reputation.

Getty images aecmh5h3eri unsplash 2 staff shortages in the hotel industry: how ai can address new challenges

High Guest Expectations

With the boom of online reviews and social media, guest expectations have increased considerably. Positive experiences, often resulting from excellent cleanliness and maintenance, translate into favourable online reviews, strengthening the hotel’s reputation and attractiveness.

Cleaning and maintenance managers face the challenge of meeting these standards within the constraints of resources, which requires strategic planning, staff empowerment and effective communication. The most straightforward tasks to solve are the daily cleaning tasks. 

But what about resolving occasional cases?

  • When the guest needs more towels or wants to change an over-soiled towel?
  • When only cold water comes out in the shower?
  • Or even when there are missing toiletries in the bathroom of a guest who checked in today?

Cleaning and maintenance teams must be prepared and trained to receive requests from guests via a centralised platform and be able to delegate someone to resolve the problem quickly. 

The capabilities of HiJiffy’s Guest Communications Hub include:

a) Receiving orders from guests, without them leaving their room.
b) Assigning team leaders to such cases automatically and quickly, based on their team’s availability.
c) Streamlining queries into a centralised platform instead of receiving orders at the front desk.

This impacts the guests’ perception of the service offered, as they will have a much faster service with no more hassle than sending a message without leaving their room.

Lack of Data Adoption

Under-utilisation of data in cleaning and maintenance operations hampers efficiency and improvement efforts. Adopting technological solutions for data collection and analysis is crucial to optimise your processes. Using the HiJiffy platform will undoubtedly skyrocket your team’s productivity.

Several types of data can give you a significant advantage in optimising the performance of operational teams:

  • average first response time,
  • number of resolved queries,
  • average query resolution time,
  • guest satisfaction,
  • activity maps.
Blog post — article cleaning or maintenance staff looking stressed. 2 staff shortages in the hotel industry: how ai can address new challenges

This data will help your cleaning team better analyse how many queries come in daily, how often, on which days of the week, at what time and how long it takes to resolve them. 

They will also be able to prioritise their cases to be resolved more efficiently and make better decisions using inbox filters and priority statuses. Without delays and complications in the processes, guests will notice a difference in the quality and organisation of the hotel.

Low Job Satisfaction

A study conducted in 29 countries shows significant differences in job satisfaction among hotel housekeepers. Contributing factors are work-life balance, internal and external rewards, and work relationships. This department has lower levels of satisfaction compared to others in the hospitality sector.

As mentioned above, HiJiffy’s platform allows you to track, with data and metrics, the capacity and speed of response of your teams and guest satisfaction in the interactions and results of these teams. 

If the team is doing well, reward it and recognise your cleaning and maintenance teams! Or at least study their data. What for?

a) To keep them motivated, as they are often the most overworked teams and the ones with the worst working conditions.
b) Because an employee who is recognised and rewarded is an employee who will be loyal to you and give their all for your guests.
c) And if you see that the performance of someone in the team is a bit worse, the best thing you can do is help them achieve the objectives and results with a leader who motivates them to grow.

Blog post — article cleaning or maintenance staff looking stressed staff shortages in the hotel industry: how ai can address new challenges

How can we also help the maintenance team to overcome their challenges?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, guests expect even higher standards of hygiene. However, as discussed in the previous section, cleanliness is declining. This has made achieving optimal hygiene levels even more challenging. Once again, the maintenance department will have to take on a significant part of this work.

How can you help your team?

Implement a maintenance management system (CMMS)

The main advantages of using a platform for hotel maintenance management are:

  • To respond quickly: it allows urgent tasks to be delegated to nearby staff using mobile devices.
  • To prioritise automatically: the system identifies and ranks tasks according to their importance, ensuring that the most critical tasks are carried out first.
  • Task reminders: schedules and reminders of periodic tasks and checks, alerting until completion is confirmed. Your staff will be able to report problems via mobile devices, making it easy to record and manage a wide range of issues.

By integrating your CMMS with HiJiffy’s conversational AI technology, you will make the platform easier to use for both your team and your guests. An artificial intelligence-based system makes incident reporting an intuitive and simple process, increasing the likelihood that staff will report problems. 

Moreover, as it is available in several languages (more than 130), it can be adapted to users of different languages.

Your hotel’s housekeeping and maintenance departments can overcome their current challenges by implementing technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital management platforms. These solutions enable more efficient communication and quicker task resolution, significantly improving your guest’s experience and your staff’s job satisfaction. These emerging technologies are key to increasing your competitiveness and your hotel’s reputation in the marketplace by facilitating operations management and enabling effective recognition of your staff’s efforts.

Marketing Specialist Spain

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