Industries of every size and description have been hit hard by Covid-19, but perhaps none more so than hospitality. In hospitality, employment fell by 23% during the pandemic, outpacing every other industry. As mandates begin to lift, hotels, restaurants, airlines, and others in the hospitality space have found themselves struggling to re-hire and staff up. In fact, experts are calling it “the worst recruiting climate in the industry’s history.” Consider:
- 6.4% of leisure and hospitality workers left their positions in November 2021 alone
- More than half of U.S. hospitality workers indicate they won’t go back to their jobs post-pandemic, and
- More than 1/3 aren’t even considering reentering the industry
Hotels and the guest experience are feeling the impact
This exodus has hit the hospitality industry hard, compromising the all-important guest experience. Operating with a smaller staff – and likely no PBX operators on premises – bookings, reservation changes, and cancellations have become a sore spot for many hotel properties. A single front desk employee can’t manage the same number of check-ins, reservation calls, customer queries, and requests for advertised amenities that a whole team of staff and PBX operators used to and still deliver personalized attention to the guests in front of them. And in turn, properties are experiencing escalating wait times, unanswered calls, poor online reviews, and lower-than-normal customer satisfaction ratings.
In response to staffing shortages, many leisure and hospitality companies are turning to AI-powered automation and outsourced contact center services. Here are some trends we’re seeing in the space:
AI-powered automation – Some hotels are implementing AI-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions to help them offload low-value guest calls such as what time the gym, restaurant, or pool opens. These tools can also automate the delivery of guest amenities, like towels or toothpaste, ensuring that guest needs are met without routing these calls through the front desk. Often, these systems cover a wide swath of technologies – from standard telephony to chat, social media, and text – so they meet the needs of guests on their terms. And because these systems are powered by AI, they get smarter with each guest interaction – meaning they learn what calls your guests make most and continually improve their responses, delivering a high-quality guest interaction each time.
External contact center – If IVR is one way that hotels are handling low-value calls, what becomes of those high-value calls that really need a personalized touch? Intelligent IVR systems can route these calls either to hotel staff or as is often the case in today’s short-staffed hotel environment, an external contact center. Outsourcing calls in this manner can deliver the necessary backup to remediate staff shortages 24/7/365, manage overflow, and provide after-hours coverage, while hospitality providers navigate staffing imbalances, and scale up or down as needed. The leading contact center providers also invest in agent training that delivers brand immersion and deep knowledge of individual properties, so guests are never the wiser that the representative they’re speaking to isn’t on the premises.
Cloud5 Communications – a single-source provider for the new hospitality service model
Disruptive technologies, staffing shortages, and higher-than-ever guest expectations are transforming the hospitality business model. Choosing the best technologies and optimized services that are scalable and agile, can equip your brand to compete both today and in the future. For optimal coverage, consistency, cost savings, and revenue growth, selecting a single provider for communications technology and contact center services can be the ideal solution.
Cloud5 Communications equips hospitality clients to transition into the industry’s new normal of a more tech-driven, individualized customer-centric service model while giving them a competitive advantage. Let’s connect to chat about how Cloud5 can help your organization overcome the challenges of the post covid hotel environment and ensure that your guests have a fantastic experience. Contact us here.