Hospitality Solutions: Four Ways to Innovate Internal Communications
What do hotels like Hilton, Four Seasons, Marriot, Kimpton and Hyatt have in common? They all ranked within Fortune Magazine’s 2016 “100 Best Companies to Work For.” In an industry that boasts over 15 million employees in the U.S. alone, this recognition is no small feat. So, how do these companies keep their employees fulfilled? It’s simple: each understands that profit and competitiveness are driven by the guests who walk through their doors each day, and their experiences go hand-in-hand with their employees’. So, what makes for an amazing employee experience (besides complimentary stays and celebratory bashes)? A significant part involves lightening workers’ loads with simplified and streamlined hospitality communications solutions.
The Right Hospitality Communications Solutions can Improve the Employee Experience
Why do we say this? Because we’re still seeing a lot of old processes in place, and 60% of hoteliers believe the inability of staff to effectively communicate severely diminishes the guest experience. A 2015 study found that 25% of U.S. hoteliers still use pen and paper to manage their properties. And 16% admit they have no system in place at all.
Digital, social and mobile technologies have introduced a new hotel experience, and that requires a new employee approach. Here are four ways hotels can (and should) take internal communications up a notch:
- Upgrade your phone system
Over one-third of hotel execs admit they haven’t upgraded their phone system in over five years. That’s a lot of time and a lot of lost opportunity, considering how rapidly desk phone technology has advanced in recent years. For example, consider the concept of a next-gen desk phone that lets organizations embed custom communication features directly into workflows to meet exact user and vertical needs.
In hospitality, the phone can streamline everything from in-room help and recommendations (something that 71% of guests desire) to inter-departmental collaboration. The ability to launch voice, chat, video, and other collaboration sessions instantly through one-touch connections means no unnatural breaks or pauses, eliminating the need for employees to use multiple devices to engage.
- Communicate outside of just phone and email
Even for hotels that have upgraded from pen and paper, collaboration options are slim. Consider that only 50% of brands currently use channels like chat, while only 11% use video. Overall, only half of hoteliers can communicate outside of traditional methods like phone and email (let alone enable seamless, multichannel experiences organization-wide).
This significantly slows down interactions between departments, affecting employees’ ability to work and, subsequently, the guest experience. Imagine, for example, a salesperson interacting with a wedding planner who has a specific question about the hotel’s vegan meal options. An email to the head chef simply won’t produce the real-time response needed to differentiate that experience and lock in the sale.
- Integrate mobile into daily workflows
In hospitality, the deployment of mobile unified communications and collaboration solutions for staff communications is one of the highest-impact market drivers. As the guest experience goes mobile, so too must internal communications. Consider that 70% of guests either currently use, or will be inclined to download, a hotel mobile app.
Mobility is a must for employees, but supervisors can’t inundate staff with multiple devices to support disparate apps and communication tools. Rather, hotels should be embedding mobile communication features directly into existing workflows to create one unified, mobile presence. Integrating, versus adding, mobility is what enables hoteliers to create a ubiquitous communications experience.
- Get secure (really secure)
Among hotel execs, 55% cite back-end information security as their top security issue—and that’s a problem for employees. The more secure backend (server, application, database) information is, the more confidently employees can use that information to internally engage and reimagine guest experiences.
Back-end security enables hotels to capitalize on seemingly endless revenue and guest experience opportunities, with employees playing an important role in this growth. Get inspired by the real-life use cases that Avaya presented at HITEC 2017. As cloud, social, mobile, and digital solutions proliferate within the hospitality industry, brands will need to advance their security strategies accordingly.
Want to put your hotel on Fortune’s next list of best companies to work for? Then it’s time to review your internal communications and your hotel’s employee experience.