The hotel industry is growing but employee turnover still continues to be a problem. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Openings and Labor Turnover, the overall turnover rate in the restaurants-and-accommodations’ sector was 66.3 percent in 2014 compared to the average turnover rate for all private sector workers, which stood at 44.4 percent.
Direct Impact on a Hotel’s Bottom Line:
With a high attrition rate, a hotel suffers greatly since the cost of hiring a new employee which includes recruitment, on boarding and training is higher than retaining the existing one. This impacts independent hotels more badly than the big brands as there are budget, time and resource limitations in a small property setup, and training a new employee all over again is definitely hard.
This is where automation using hotel management software can come to the rescue of an independent hotelier. Let’s take a look at the various reasons that lead to employee turnover in the hospitality sector and how automation helps:
Problem # 1: Staff turnover is mostly due to immense job pressure which involves a lot of physical work. At times, the job gets mundane and there is no work-life balance as most of the employees work overtime.
Solution: The hotel industry works round-the-clock and the pressure is evident if the employees are still functioning on basic pen and paper methods. Manual methods are time consuming and require a lot of effort. For e.g.: The front desk executive will have to make reservations manually, collect payment from guests, create folios, monitor various departments and keep track of the guest details on the register. Manual entry can also lead to multiple errors and it takes up more staff time, resulting in low productivity. All these issues lead to long working hours, monotonous work routines and inadequacy caused by not living up to the guest expectations. These concerns can be solved with automated technology carrying out all the operations smoothly. Hotel management software manages all operations like reservations, payments, revenues, folio generation, housekeeping task assignment and processes at various POS outlets like the restaurant or spa, thereby, freeing up the staff’s time. Automation eliminates errors caused due to manual entry of data and the operations are executed flawlessly. The employees can use the free time to concentrate on other important tasks or better service the guest.
Problem # 2: Another reason for staff turnover is when a guest lashes out at the employee for not delivering a particular service. For example, if the guest requests for meal in the room on arrival and the employee forgets to add it to the room service, it can lead to problems. Also, the employees will face criticism from the management which will add up to their frustration. If an employee is also not able to give time to the guests and if the guests feel neglected, it could lead to negative feedback, costing the hotel bad reputation.
Solution: Automation helps take care of guest requests and the front desk executive can direct the order to the restaurant staff so that there is no disturbance caused to the guest. The POS software automates the billing to the room service avoiding billing discrepancies that can otherwise arise during the check-out.
Automation helps the staff spend more time interacting with guests who come from different countries, regions and cultures. This leads to a better work environment and reduced attrition rate.
Problem # 3: Lack of training results in poor staff outcome. Furthermore, if the hotel invests in staff training and the employee leaves after that, it becomes an expensive affair.
Solution: Training is important for the staff as they are the ones who often interact with the guests. However, when it comes to technical training of the staff, it becomes worse if your hotel is using an on-premise or legacy system, as it takes 2-3 months to setup the system and train the staff. If the employee leaves after the training, the hotel incurs loss and has to train the next batch of employees to function. Training is comparatively easier on Cloud PMS as good providers take only 24 hours to have your data up and running and offer free staff training. In most cases, the PMS vendors don’t charge for the training.
With Cloud-based PMSs, the issue of training new employees will not arise as the systems are easy to learn and training manuals are available online.
Problem # 4: Employees feel they are not well compensated for the job that closely deals with guests resulting in employee dissatisfaction.
Solution: Employees feel good when you acknowledge their effort and reward them for it. Since the hospitality industry functions on guest service, utilize your employees in serving their best to guests and encourage their effort by acknowledging them and setting incentives based on their performance.
If your employees are able to deliver good service, it will result in your hotel getting positive reviews and repetitive business. Here again, if you have automated the operations, the employees will be able to deliver good service and entice the guests with a positive approach. Investing in cloud-based technology is cheaper and the management can save the money in giving incentives to their staff.
Let’s take an example, suppose your guest is impressed with the service offered by the restaurant staff and writes a post or uploads a picture on his social media account. This will not only benefit your hotel but also encourage the staff to deliver exceptional service every time a guest arrives to the restaurant. Hotels should acknowledge the effort taken by the staff and give them some reward in order to continue good service. This will further motivate the other staff members to perform well in order to get that little appreciation from the management.
Keeping employees happy is the key to your independent hotel business’ success and automation is a step in the direction as it saves you money and helps retain staff.
To sum it up, I quote J. Willard Marriott who said, “Take care of your people and they will take care of your customer.”