Staffing Shortage: Addressing Challenges Running Your Hotel with a Work from Home/Hybrid Office

NAVIGATE 2022: In Case You Missed it…

[H1] How to run a hotel with staff who want to work remote

[H2] Tips to master remote working and hiring in the hospitality industry

Two numbers are enough to tell the story of the staffing challenges that hotels are facing today.

73 and 24.

Let’s tackle 73 first.

Remote work

When the 2021 Work Trend Index Interviewed more than 30,000 people across 31 countries and analyzed trillions of productivity and labor signals, it found that 73% of people wanted flexible work options. A majority of these want to work fully remote.

Now for the 24%.

Since 2020, when the pandemic started, roughly 24% of hospitality workers have left the industry entirely. The staff that show up are under stress, overworked and scrambling to stay afloat.

Flexible work environments and staffing shortages are then realities that we need to contend with as an industry.

How do we avoid staff burnout and deliver exceptional guest experience

How can the hospitality industry find a way forward given these challenges? As travel returns, the urgency to address these realities and avoid Burnout, lost revenue, and guest dissatisfaction is massive.

At Revinate, we brought together a team of experienced hospitality professionals to ask them for tips and insights to chart a way forward.

At NAVIGATE 2022, our annual Revinate users’ conference, Miranda Cubillas (Director of Reservations and Recreation at Ojai Valley Inn) and Vinny Cuneo (Vice President of Sales and Revenue Strategy at AutoCamp) talked of strategies and how they had leveraged these to the benefit of their businesses.

Here are some key takeaways.

Automation: Maintaining Efficiency, Avoiding Burnout and Keeping Guests Happy

When home office environments distract and lead to drops in efficiency, automation is one way to guard against this and help teams manage their tasks better.

Automating data capture, for instance, reduces time spent on conversions and turndowns, and instead prioritizes tasks by leading digital agents to nurture as well as optimize call volume and communications among other agents.

The result?

  • Increased efficiency or less time taken to accomplish tasks leading to reduced burnout.
  • Remote work is more manageable as automated tools provide data and visibility

Investing in remote hiring, onboarding and training.

Adopting a remote hiring process translates into screening becoming more practical by including questions about their at-home environment to ensure that it is not noisy and filled with distractions. Asking for feedback from supervisors in a remote setting is also critical.

And of course, there are ways to test if a potential reservation sales candidate is ready for the remote role in the presence of sitting through underqualified workers.

The result?

  • Reduced onboarding time from an average of 6 weeks to just 4 weeks given fewer office distractions, more intentional meetings, and less “water cooler talk”.

[For all those switching to work from home, tapping into tools to manage your team can create a simpler remote environment for onboarding while balancing control and communication.]

Key takeaways aside, the discussion also debunked remote work myths.

Debunking Remote Work Myths

While both Miranda and Vinny were initially averse to jumping to a work from a home model, they quickly realized their fears had been unwarranted.

Myth: Teams won’t be productive

We can attest to technology’s ability to simplify our day-to-day responsibilities, and that’s exactly the carry-over that is experienced in the workplace. There’s an opportunity to use tools that automate tasks For staff, actually freeing up time to focus on higher yield areas, therefore increasing productivity. An added bonus is they’re not getting interrupted by the front office nearly as much.

Myth: Communication will break-down

Quite the opposite! There is a greater expectation to preserve communication now that your team isn’t in the same room. Meeting software like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack close the communication gap with instant messaging between staff while maintaining “office-like” consistency with weekly staff meetings.

For example, Reservation Sales has a built-in team chat feature with channels to keep people connected, while also maintaining the standards needed for effective team communication. You’re going to be strengthening reservation sales agents, as they work in harmony while sharing database insights.

Myth: Clients won’t take you seriously without an office

Just because you’ve shifted operations remotely, doesn’t mean your business loses credibility and brand awareness. Your brand voice is still very much alive! Clients will recognize your reservation sales performance because of your agent’s performance and conversion. Tremendous time and effort are devoted to training your agents; that’s not going to change because everyone is now at home and clients will see that!

Myth: Company culture goes out the window

If you’re uniting your team around a common goal And celebrating your purpose, silos are unlikely as company culture will remain intact. Miranda uniquely captures the experience and sentiments of her properties by sending care packages to her staff. Each package is graced with the property’s signature scent or experiences. The staff rallies around this practice as a way to carry on the tradition and the values ​​of Ojai Valley Inn. Vinny brings his employees to their basecamp for an “annual summit” as well as sends his agents to various locations to be immersed in the AutoCamp experience.

What strategies and tips do you have to share about overcoming the challenges of flexible work and the staffing shortages?

Looking for More Resources, Be Sure to Check Out

Hoteliers and the Staffing Shortage

Bolstering Operations with Less Staff

The Staffing Shortage and Remote Work Benefits

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