Technology has become imperative for all hotels, regardless of size and offerings, spanning back offices and front offices
Globally, hotels started integrating information technology into several aspects of their operations in the early 1970s. And now, in 2022, when you look at it, for example, hotels in India have shown a rapid inclination towards technology-based digitization. They now understand the need for next-age hotel technology solutions, including cloud-based hotel property management systems, channel managers, revenue managers, CRM and many more. With these solutions, they have gained a competitive advantage, ensured better productivity, improved financial performance and better served customers.
So what’s the problem here?
Shortage of skilled labour. Yes, it is hampering the growth of the industry, especially on the road to post-Covid recovery. Even though hotels are showing interest in investing in IT to see the benefits mentioned above, the lack of staff qualified enough to work on these solutions is holding their spirits back. In India, the hospitality industry employs around 9-10% of the country’s workforce. But then, like their global peers, hotels here too are reeling from staff shortages. To be precise, I would say that there is a lack of manpower with the right amount of knowledge about advanced technology applications.
How does this affect hotels?
Technology has become imperative for all hotels, regardless of size and offerings, spanning back offices and front offices. In this context, a Hotel PMS is an application that controls all hotel activity. But then, it doesn’t work on its own. Hotels need resources to fully utilize this system and get the most out of it.
It will negatively affect hotel performance if professionals coming out of hotel schools are unfamiliar with the use of a hotel PMS and the type of operational and business benefits it offers. After all, there’s no denying that hotels also understand that having well-trained graduates with in-depth knowledge of a hotel PMS directly correlates to guest satisfaction, profitability, and decision-making capabilities.
Here are a few operational areas where hotels are increasingly looking for a tech-savvy workforce. And there’s nothing wrong with that because they (the hotels) need to get the most out of their hiring exercise. Moreover, it also helps them save a lot on software training costs.
- Manage daily operations such as checking availability, making/cancelling/modifying reservations
- Use of a central reservations tool to know the availability of rooms in member properties in real time
- Understand the importance of critical data points, including market segment, booking source, customer preferences, etc.
- Generating nightly audit reports
- Consultation of several central level reports
The list continues….
What can hotel management institutions do about it?
Hospitality management schools can play a pivotal role in solving this pressing problem. They should review and update their program to emphasize the impact of a hotel PMS and other on-demand hotel technology solutions, as mentioned above. They must go beyond providing the traditional soft skills of guest-facing and other hotel management advice. Although we see a few institutions taking the lead, this should be the norm in all hotel management schools.
What needs to be done?
Hospitality management institutions should work with leading technology providers and industry bodies to develop a well-thought-out course and provide in-depth hands-on training based on real-time scenarios. While it increases the employability of their students in hotels, it also helps them join hospitality technology companies. Equipped with traditional hotel management skills and cutting-edge technology capabilities, the hotel staff of tomorrow can start delivering on day one. It will bridge the gap of unavailability of skilled labor in the industry while helping hotels and hotel technology companies reap the benefits. We noticed this during the Covid-led lockdown when hotels were closed and hospitality professionals proved highly relevant to tech companies.
Hands-on technology-based training is the key to determining how tomorrow’s hospitality management graduates will add value to the industry. We must give them the means to diversify their skills with all players in the industry. In the end, it all comes down to this: fueling the industry’s post-Covid recovery process with the right people doing the right thing.