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The benefits of mixing staff and self-service in hotels

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Hotels, being part of the hospitality industry, focus on guest satisfaction aiming to deal effectively in meeting a variety of important needs. For many hotels, the only way to achieve the desired service levels is by using highly trained and attentive staff. Self-service is often seen as contradictory to this essential aim because it is seen as lacking the personal touch.

Experts insights Miles gaudoin

This is changing as more hotels look to offer a wider choice for their guests, many of whom now prefer the convenience of self-service channels. Add to this the challenge hotel operators face with recruitment and staff turnover, and there is also a need to protect the business from external forces that cannot be easily controlled and managed.

Today hotels face a call to deliver more, deliver better at competitive prices against a backdrop of high competition, fewer resources and increasing costs – this is the market landscape many hoteliers are struggling with.

Advantages of mixing staff with self-service

Hotel Reception checkin Queues

providing a tool for hotel operators

By mixing staff with self-service, the ‘barrier’ of seeing self-service as unsuitable for many types of hotels (luxury, upscale, midscale) is being broken down. It also provides a tool hotel operators can use to mitigate the twin risks of staff availability and burgeoning running costs. An initial benefit of mixing staff with self-service is the removal of the perception self-service is low service.

Many self-service projects across various industries, fail. There are many reasons, but staff resistance and poor execution are two of the primary inhibitors to success.

Hotel Reception checkin problems

Staff buy-in is therefore critical for success, and deploying self-service is as much about a change management process for staff as it is for guests. Mixing staff and self-service is now understood to be a vital step in making such projects a success. Hotels deploying self-service solutions dramatically increase the likelihood of success when staff sees them as an extension of their day-to-day toolkit in managing guest arrivals and departures.

Achieving your hotel goals

Following the right principles will ensure you achieve the target goals, and these are underpinned by four ingredients for a successful self-service implementation;

  1. Clear, relevant targets – stated, communicated, and regularly measured
  2. Executive sponsorship – strategic vision stated, communicated and measured
  3. Staff engagement – engage them, involve them, get buy-in to embrace change
  4. Review, tweak, review, change – rinse-repeat, operational changes and improvements should be an ongoing process

Self-service solutions must help the staff and make their working lives easier, as well as provide guests with a simplified, fast check-in and check-out experience. If the service is more convenient than existing options (i.e. no queuing, quicker and easier) - both guests and staff benefit. They will all embrace the solution!

benefits for your business

It is often stated that the initial impression a guest gets of a hotel is at check-in and that it can "make or break" the whole experience, so getting it right is key.

Self-service helps turn your guests into your willing workers, and when combined with a host assisting guests, it translates into unprecedented benefits for the business whilst maintaining a degree of personalisation. A different kind of personalisation but personalised, nonetheless.

Hotel receptionnist Welcomer

Whilst some benefits are more evident than others; some deliver unexpected value. For example, if using more than one kiosk in conjunction with online check-in service, one member of staff can assist more than a single guest at the same time. This is not possible with a traditional check-in reception desk.

At peak times, hotels also elevate their personal approach further by deploying a guest host, front of house, as a welcomer that helps with the guest journey.

self checkin solutions for Hotels

smarter not harder

When the right balance is achieved, the combination delivers ground-breaking results such as;

  • Enhanced customer service
    • Faster, saves your guest his/her most valuable asset, their time
    • No queuing, less frustrating pinch points
    • Convenient – guests interact with your hotel in the manner of their choosing
  • Significant cost reductions for the business
  • Staff optimisation – they can focus on other areas/tasks etc.
  • Protection against negative/constricted labour market trends
    • Reduce the dependency on staff hires
    • Hire staff for personality, not hotel experience (i.e. specific PMS knowledge)
    • Staff illness and availability
  • Increased staff and guest satisfaction
  • Strengthen brand identity
How to deliver excellent customer service with self-service

As a hotel, be it a large chain, small chain, international group, local independent or boutique operation, the most important attributes of excellent customer service include;

  1. Fast response
  2. Consistency
  3. Knowledgeable staff
  4. Clear messaging
  5. A person to speak with
  6. Flexible options
  7. Easy-to-use systems

The only way to deliver all these attributes is in mixing staff with best-of-breed self-service solutions. Don’t compromise, do it all and do it better.

Welcomer Dashboard for digitize your hotel

 

With more and more hoteliers planning a future with self-service, already implementing solutions or have already implemented them, it is vital to approach it correctly, and the evidence is a hybrid approach is the best approach.

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