In the spring of 2022, travel levels not only returned to their 2019 levels but also surpassed them. This is fantastic news because the Covid-19 pandemic hit the tourism industry the hardest. Many people realized that the typical 9-5 is not working for them, there is so much left to see, and the world could come to a halt anytime. Tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. And yet, more than half of all US hotels are understaffed. Many travel-related businesses have been unable to keep up with of demand for travel and holidays. If you have recently taken a flight, perhaps you have noticed these effects at airports. More bags are being lost, more flights are being delayed or canceled altogether, and long security lines. All of these prove the unmatched demand levels for workers in the industry. If you are a hotelier, I am sure you have witnessed these effects firsthand when you go to work. Whether your housekeeping team is understaffed or your administrative team is, it can seriously impact your business from many angles. Your guests will not be as happy, nor will the staff you have been able to retain. While it is a great challenge to operate an understaffed hotel, there are ways to manage and still turn a profit.
Why Your Hotel Is Understaffed
First, you need to understand why your hotel is understaffed. It may primarily be due to the post-pandemic era we are living in. Everyone’s life severely changed through the course of Covid-19. Many people have been trying to regain that time by traveling or have decided to hop on the digital nomad lifestyle. Whatever the reason people now have for traveling, they are doing it. The world has never before seen these levels of travel occur. This should be an excellent opportunity for hoteliers everywhere. But that is not the case due to understaffing. The American Hotel & Lodging Association recently conducted a survey and found that 87% of all hotels in the United States are understaffed, 37% severely so. While this seems grim, the good news is that the situation has slowly improved. When this survey was first conducted at the beginning of 2022, it found that 97% of all hotels were understaffed, 47% severely so.
As you can see, businesses are regaining their staff. Once you understand the reason for an understaffed company, you can understand how to correct this. For example, people travel so much now because pre-covid life was not how they wanted to live. If people can choose, they will decide to make their life about something other than work. Maybe the best way to regain your staff in these situations is to offer more incentives and, if you can, raise their pay.
Effective customer service, while always important, is vital now to best deal with understaffed hotels. The customers need to be taken care of, and many will understand understaffing issues. The tourism industry is not the only one that has had to manage these problems. If a guest cannot enter their room on time due to your hotel being understaffed, you can take their bags up when the room is ready and offer them a drink on the house. When inconveniences arise, it is best to keep the customers happy so they come back to your hotel in the future. Someone should always be available to answer their questions. Your team should work to get their room ready as quickly and diligently as possible.
Make sure your employees prioritize the most urgent tasks. If you have a wave of guest complaints, ensure these are addressed promptly by the correct team members. If there are many incoming guests and not all rooms are ready yet, ensure that your housekeeping team knows how to prioritize them. Cross-checking the soonest arriving guests with the highest paying guests is one way to organize your housekeeping team when behind on rooms.
Automate Your Operations
Free up some of your workers by automating what work you can. Administrative work is a part of the job that takes up the most time. It is possible, though, to automate this process. Of course, you should always have one or two people at the front desk who are getting guests checked in. FAQs and specific phone calls are processes that you can automate to allow your employees to work more effectively on other tasks. It would help if you also used effective online programs to help you speed up the booking process.
Be Hands-Off With Alertify
Administrative work is not the only process you can automate. It is hard to keep up with guests when operating an understaffed hotel. Retaining whatever profit you can in these challenging times is essential, and you can do this by avoiding complaints. With the increase in travel, guests may take it upon themselves to smoke in their rooms or make excessive noise. You cannot be in two places at once. However, now you may be able to keep an extra eye on your hotel with Alertify. Alertify is a small, plug-in room monitoring device that allows you to be more hands-off. The device monitors noise decibel levels, smoke, room temperature, and crowds. You will receive customizable notifications about what is occurring and when you can get ahead of the problem before it arises in a complaint. By minimizing guest complaints, you will free up the time of your employees. With Alertify, you also have access to an online portal. This shows precisely what occurred, where, for how long, and when. If any damage has emerged from the listed activities, you will have the proof you need to ask for repayment for these damages. Protect and optimize your understaffed hotel with Alertify.