In a world full of technological breakthroughs and advancements that we often take for granted, there are still certain moments when you realise just how far we’ve come.
For example, a few nights ago, I spotted a particularly bright star in the sky. Curious, I reached for my smartphone, tapped a couple of times on the screen and pointed it upwards. Normal behaviour in 2017, clearly; I thought nothing of it.
The star, as I found out, was in fact Venus. I knew this, because my smartphone had given me an augmented view of the night sky, turning it into a virtual map of the stars and planets. I could move the device around and instantly see a textbook view of the universe.
I momentarily realised what I was doing - and it took my breath away. As it should.
Similarly, if you’re a Facebook user, you may have spotted the recent addition of an innocuous-looking ‘Live’ button that resides at the top-left of the smartphone app. Press it, and you can instantly start streaming live video to your friends and followers. Just a few short years ago, such a feat would have required a satellite truck outside your house and a remortgage to fund the broadcast.
Not any more. We can do incredibly powerful things with devices that reside in our pockets and which were once nothing more than portable telephones.
Traditional hospitality in the digital age
In hospitality, tech continues to advance at an equally impressive rate. Guests chart a seismically different booking journey that relies on crowd-sourced reviews, real-time social media updates and mobilised reservations. Perhaps even more impressive is that fact that independent hoteliers can capture their attention by using management tools that were once the domain of large chains.
But where does this leave the housekeeping team? Can one of the most traditional elements of hospitality management benefit from these significant advances in technology?
Absolutely. In fact, above all departments within a hotel, I think housekeeping staff are best placed to latch onto the mobile revolution. It’ll just require a slight change in mindset.
Out with old interfaces, in with smart, connected apps
There have long been interfaces between PMS and telephone systems that enable housekeepers to dial codes on handsets to confirm rooms as being clean. That’s all well and good, but in a world where you can point your smartphone at the night’s sky and find out which stars reside above your head, we need something a little more… advanced.
The future of housekeeping management lies in the ability for tech companies and the hotels themselves to embrace mobile. And what better tool do such staff have to hand when going about their daily business than their smartphone?
The ability to confirm rooms as clean from a PMS-connected app and communicate with members of their team while having an ever-present list of duties on which to call - all from a device that resides in the palm of their hands - will transform this vital element of hospitality.
The future is closer than you may think…
How far are we away from such tools being available? Not far at all, thankfully, but the trick lies in something I alluded to a little earlier; this kind of tech needs to be made accessible to all, not just those with massive budgets.
Just as Facebook has made live video streaming available to everyone for free, hospitality software companies need to build solutions for housekeepers that don’t require days of training and which are affordable for even the smallest of operators.
Everyone should have the chance to benefit from technology that makes a real difference in the hotel industry. I’ve noted just a few examples of what could be done for housekeepers in this post, but the night sky really is the limit.