How Hotels Can Maintain Quality Standards With Minimal Staff and Rising COVID Concerns

As the hospitality industry struggles to fill staff openings and COVID variants present new health and safety concerns, see what hoteliers can do with the team they have to prevent guest experience fallbacks.

With rising concerns about the Delta variant along with continuing staff shortages, the hospitality industry continues to grapple with how to operate with capacity limitations and uncertain consumer demand. As hotels, resorts, and casinos try to keep up and ramp up, the goal now is to maintain quality of service while reinstating certain COVID precautions that make guests feel safe and comfortable. In the current landscape, these can feel like impossible objectives. But with the right technology platform all of this is possible.

Smaller Teams Can Still be Effective

Utilize Mobile Options
During the height of the pandemic, digital room keys and mobile apps that enabled guests to have a contactless experience became less of a nice-to-have feature and more of a must-have. Today, guests still seek a digital experience that will enable them to better control their hotel stay and decide for themselves how frequently they want contact with the staff. Using mobile apps, guests can check in to their hotel before they even arrive at their destination, order room service, adjust their room temperature, and review all the services the hotel offers.  For the hotel staff, mobile options can alleviate some of their daily tasks such as front desk check-in/checkouts and scheduling housekeeping, taking pressure off a leaner staff.

Opt-in Housekeeping
Another tactic born largely out of dealing with staff shortage is the optional housekeeping. As COVID concerns continue to grow, giving guests the opportunity to decline unwanted housekeeping allows them to set their own safety standards. In an effort to combat a drop in service quality, many properties are doing housekeeping by request only. This allows guests who want daily housekeeping the opportunity to have it, while making sure guests who don’t want it or don’t care still feel that the quality of service has not decreased.

Informed Staff
A small staff can make a positive impact just by the way they conduct themselves when it comes to COVID. You can give your guests a sense of confidence in your COVID response by simply making sure your guest-facing staff are talking and acting in a way that reflects the properties commitment to keeping guests safe, such as wearing face masks and social distancing. Beyond that, front desk staff should know what precautions the property as a whole is taking so they can answer questions guests may have.

Safe Activities Can Still Be Sensational 

Take It Outside
How this shakes out depends entirely on the property. For some hotels or resorts, hosting happy hour events outdoors makes sense, while other properties may decide to move their gyms and spa treatments outdoors. Hotels can even consider investing in an event pavilion, which opens up a wide range of outdoor possibilities. Properties with pools and gyms may choose to stagger their open activity hours when COVID cases start to rise or when the property experiences pool staff shortage.

Offer Dining Pick-up
Properties that are planning to reopen some form of dining, adding a pick-up option can be a great way to offer dining services to guests, especially if the hotel has a lean restaurant staff or lacks resources to deliver room service. Encouraging guests to order food via in-room tablet or mobile app also removes the need for printed menus and allows for digital menus to easily be updated. Plus, whether guests are planning to invite friends to dine in their room or they need to grab a bite on their way out, pick-up is a great way to ramp back up dining options without overloading your team.

Intentional Communication
Using hotel technology to communicate with guests can eliminate unnecessary face-to-face interactions while increasing guest interaction. Mobile apps, smart tablets, voice assistants and other technology allow guests to communicate via phone, text or voice chat to the staff to request services or answer questions. Digital devices also have the ability to collect customer data that can be used to offer more personalized services. For instance, a hotel can send personalized texts to business travelers when certain conference rooms are available for them to conduct Zoom calls. Whether it’s texts, event announcements, or a robust digital compendium, information can be delivered in ways that still feel personal but require less from staff and less contact overall.

As infection rates in many areas are climbing again, it can feel disheartening, heading into another COVID-affected season of travel. But if the last year taught us anything, it’s how to prepare and how to prioritize safety. The hospitality industry is not left in the lurch this time around because there are tried and tested strategies that can be utilized. As staffing issues continue to put the industry at a disadvantage, we’ve seen the ways tech can support smaller teams to prevent major quality decreases. So stay informed, be intentional, and get the tools you need to make your property a success even in times like these.

For more info on how tech can support your current team, request a demo today.

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