New and innovative smart technologies will benefit guest-facing business, but looking inward is equally essential.

FREMONT, CA: Hospitality's pandemic recovery has benefited from the use of innovative operational technology. In the post-COVID world, operational technology will align with guest preferences, centered on safety, simplification, and smartphones. Mobile apps simplify the check-in process and reduce the risk of getting sick from human-to-human contact, rather than having guests check-in at the front desk. Investing in guest-focused digital adoption over the next several years is vital, but operational technology is where incremental revenue increases are most likely to be achieved. A pandemic recovery strategy will depend just as much on in-house tech stack, including agile time tracking, labor management, and budgeting.

Scheduling flexibility in the workplace

Pandemic-related school closings or restricted access to public transportation prevented employees from working when needed. Due to fluctuations in guest rates, they were forced to cancel their work at the last minute, which also resulted in significant labor challenges. In today's workforce, limited staffing remains a challenge. Ex-hospitality workers laid off or furloughed during the pandemic have a low return rate, with more transitioning into alternative employment. Hoteliers will have to develop innovative ways to satisfy guests in an environment where safety and health are heightened.

Managing labor efficiently

Labor management needs to be rethought by hoteliers to foster financial recovery. An organization's labor-management strategy dictates employee engagement, efficiency, and effective training that impact the guest experience. Advanced forecasting algorithms that can generate short-period demand projections are the first aspect of labor-management that needs to be automated. Optimizing labor management can indicate if outside resources (contractors) are required for specific roles to meet customer expectations, considering staff availability, planning, and scheduling.

Budgeting effectively

Traditionally, hotels operated on a single operating budget. The traditional approach to budgeting has been two-dimensional, with one driver and one expense. Navigating demand volatility, a daily budgeting, and planning process must consider additional factors, such as average daily rate, guest demographics, groups, or others. Developing hybrid budgeting strategies tailored to the hotel's needs can be accomplished with the right labor management system.