Like most businesses, hotels have faced the challenges of keeping up with changing consumer trends while balancing operating costs. The rise of lodging competition such as Airbnb and consumers’ desire for more personalized experiences has pushed hotels to be more creative. However, even with all the bells and whistles, a report released by CBRE, a leading global real estate investment, management, and services firm, shows that one thing is essential to increased revenue and profit – training for all levels of hotel staff, from on-site management to housekeeping staff to sales and marketing and beyond.
What the data says
Here are 3 main takeaways from the report:
1. Automation doesn’t move the mark
Managing online reviews has become a necessity for hotels hoping to attract new guests and also serves as a great tool for evaluating what impresses guests. User-generated review sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, or TripAdvisor provide platforms for consumers to share their experiences with others and influence prospective guests’ decisions on where to stay. Experiences provided by the hotel’s employees – including front desk, housekeeping staff, etc. – are most often the subject of guest reviews, whether good or bad. Hotels must continue to invest in training their staff members on how to interact with hotel guests so that they can readily solve problems. In an economy that touts automation as a key innovation for business success, the hospitality industry is still driven by genuine human touch. Voice-activated devices like Alexa may be able to recommend restaurants, but will they be able to help if a guest finds bed bugs in their room?
2. Labor expenses will continue to trend upward
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average total compensation for U.S. hospitality employees has increased by at least 3 percent each year from 2013 through 2016. With unemployment rates consistently dropping, pressure to maintain competitive to attract top talent will continue to grow.
As many businesses know, attracting and hiring new employees costs more than retaining current employees. As labor costs continue to rise, having quality staff that excels at providing the personal experience guests value is key.
3. Invest in training
Trends and consumer demands shift rapidly. The hospitality industry also faces higher turnover than many other segments. To ensure that staff members at all levels can respond to guest needs, hospitality properties must make continual investments in training. The data shows that training is a mutually beneficial process for hotels as well as employees, as they are able to develop new skills and hotels are able to add value that elevates the full experience.
Regular training sessions and initiatives keep your staff up to date on the latest trends, information, and regulatory standards. Holding such sessions is an investment in brand protection. Partnering with vendors, such as pest control providers, can be a good way to offer specific training such as bed bug inspection and aid in preventing potential issues.
Training: A worthy return on investment
Although one might think that hotels with more rooms, space, and offerings invest the most in staff training, CBRE’s data proves otherwise. When comparing percentages of total department labor costs, all-suite hotels contribute more than convention hotels, full-service hotels, and resorts.
Hotel brands of any size that want to be successful at providing a top-notch experience that builds customer loyalty and attracts new guests should consider investing in regular training to maintain brand standards and help meet guest expectations in key areas such as ambiance, cleanliness, staff interaction, and more.
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