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EXPERT SPEAK

The Power of People in Hospitality

Friday, February 17, 2017, 11:34 Hrs  [IST]

In the rapidly advancing times as today, technology has become an essential aspect of every industry existing in the world today. Besides easing the archaic processes, it has been evolving phenomenally to revolutionise the traditional ways of working, hence improving the productivity.

The hotel industry, over the years has surely evolved to graduate from the Whitney Racks to hi tech property management system. With the fast growing amalgamation of technology into the conventional hotel operations, the subduing relevance of human interference has continued to be a seething subject of debate at various hotel summits and forums.

The cost conundrum
The investment of technology has always been a debatable aspect of a hotel management agreement. Being an ever evolving field requiring immediate implementation of latest trends, the onus of its investment is often disputable between the operators and the owners of the asset- creating a bulwark against the expectations of the discerning guests making them turn to the hotel’s competitors in many cases.

Owing to the steadfast tech race in hotels, the costs of implementation of ongoing trends have been exorbitant enough to substantially affect operational budgets. The hotel operators, in a bid to bolster their brand’s competitiveness in the market are bound to goad the owners of the asset for the capital expenditure budget for technological advancement of the property which in turn raises the expectations of the asset owners for a higher ROI with a decrease in the budget for human resources.

Perspective of personalisation
For long, state-of-the-art hospitality has been identified with personalised services by the people in the hotel organisation. While one can’t completely dismiss the necessity of technology in the hotels, it would equally puerile to consider replacing humans with technology in a premium hotel.

Technology should rather complement the human impact on the guests by expediting the processes in the fast pacing world. In this increasingly hurried and frantic world, an unhappy guest despite a seamless automated check in wouldn’t appreciate an automated and fed response to get his grievances redressed.

A traveller consequent to the immediacy of the business routine may marvel at an electronic concierge at the lobby but would certainly prefer a traditional and well attended welcome during a leisure travel with family or spouse.

Image for representation purpose only


The people power
Regardless of the ease a technological innovation may render to the clientele, the cognitive abilities of the well trained people in hospitality business are irreplaceable. A guest may choose to avoid human intervention during the stay but only a physical presence of a colleague would help eliminate any unforeseen crisis or grievance.

The art of relationship building by skilled workforce in the industry has been quite instrumental in ensuring continued loyalty of many guests towards the brands of their choice- an enable which is a far cry even for the most advanced gizmos ever produced.

Nonetheless, with the advent of technology in every aspect of hotel operations, there has been a reduction in the overall requirement of the manpower which has not only increased circumstantial attrition leading to a trimmed budget for hiring but has also impacted the need for talent retention and training.

However, this would surely not deem replacement of skilled workforce in a highly people oriented industry as hospitality where a situational gesture by a frontline colleague is all what makes a brand leverage over their competitors and the hotel chains haven’t been far in recognising its people as the heart of the business. Apart from ensuring an impeccable experience for the guests, many leading hotel chains have been successfully selling the people work culture of their organisation to strengthen their employer branding in order to attract the finest talent to serve their guests.

After all, the naturally occurring human emotive abilities are beyond emulation by the combinations of codified lexicon set for artificial intelligence.





The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

 
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