By Tim Pelletier, Chief Technology Officer, Hospitality, Amadeus
Today, more hotels are welcoming back guests who are ready for a change of scenery. While price remains a driving force for consumers, we can expect them to focus more on health and safety measures. Known as “Generation Clean,” this traveler group has heightened cleanliness expectations that also may influence shopping and booking decisions. Therefore, hotels face an enormous responsibility to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as demand returns, placing increased pressure on properties to respond despite limited staff and budget.
Institutionalizing new cleaning measures in a short amount of time is no easy feat. But then trying to maintain those practices with reduced staff is another challenge. Safety, security, and cleanliness are going to have new elevated expectations, and standard operations and practices must change accordingly. Once the market rebounds, hotels that best meet new guest expectations for meticulous standards of cleanliness – and live up to delivering on those commitments – will be best positioned to take advantage of upcoming emerging demand.
From Implementation to Tracking
Many hoteliers find themselves short-handed in managing new requirements, making servicing customers and managing workflows more challenging than ever before. The Amadeus Service Optimization suite of solutions that include HotSOS, HotSOS Housekeeping, and the new HotSOS Select, can help to maximize a hotel team’s capabilities while ensuring the highest standards. Whether it’s wiping down frequently used areas like elevator buttons, delivering guest requests like soap or chargers, or ensuring air-conditioning and other equipment is maintained correctly, a service optimization solution can assist in making sure all necessary tasks are completed with maximum efficiency.
With Amadeus HotSOS, managers can schedule and track cleaning of guest rooms and common areas as well as identify who, when, and how often specific areas are cleaned. Also, they can set reminders, log escalations, and analyze reports so that productivity is maximized, enabling hotels to do more with less. Hotels will also need to focus on performing more proactive maintenance to protect their assets while preparing to meet new and pending requirements. Navigating through disrupted workflows and staff shortages is hard enough without having to worry about documenting each task manually. Last year alone, service optimization solutions helped hotels to complete more than 6 million preventative maintenance projects that improved building and asset integrity, save and repurpose more than 7.9 million hours of time to complete other work, and expedite 150 million service orders.
Hotels that standardize and automate their maintenance will lower their operating costs, mitigate risk, and extend the life of their assets.
Scaling for “Generation Clean”
Preparing hotels for a future rebound in travel demand may look different from hotel to hotel. For smaller properties, adjusting to staff reductions will pose even greater challenges. Before the pandemic, most have operated without automation tools and resources. However, given the higher demand for sanitation and cleanliness, they’ll need a system such as HotSOS Select to help them fulfill those requirements. The Amadeus Service Optimization solution can scale to any size property and help managers focus on the priorities. With the Cluster Teams feature, hoteliers can create groups of hotels and assign key users access to manage those hotels in a centralized fashion. This could help managers and supervisors do more with fewer available staff while we recover. Another opportunity is to coordinate and track centralized call center activities for guest requests and shared engineering and maintenance staff between nearby properties.
In 2019, more than 683,000 hotel staff members from properties of all sizes used Amadeus Service Optimization solutions and increased their online review scores by completing more than 5.9 million guest rooms and staff service inspections. And since COVID-19, our customers have used our solutions with built-in disinfecting checklists, endorsed by the International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA), in conjunction with their newly launched health and safety programs to build confidence among guests.
Rethinking Service Optimization
The availability of alternative accommodations is challenging hotels to find new ways to differentiate their offering. With shifting traveler concerns, hoteliers must deliver a level of service that stands out from other competitive offers.
To stand apart from the competition, many management companies and hotel chains have developed certification programs to show appropriate safety standards and cleaning protocols have been achieved and are regularly implemented. From AHLA’s “Safe Stay” initiative to the British tourism industry’s social distancing quality mark, hospitality and tourism associations around the world are working hard to provide high-level guidance to travelers.
Hotels that can use the staff’s skills and technology in harmony will undoubtedly have a competitive edge in the new world of travel. From serving basic customer needs to executing highly personalized and anticipatory services, leveraging the right technology can make a world of difference in providing an exceptional stay and creating a happy, returning guest.