Considering how hard hoteliers work, it feels almost insulting to accuse them of ever being unproductive. These are people who manage to cram twenty-five hours of work into a single shift. There are thankless days when it seems struggling through is the best anyone can do.
If you're having issues with hotel staff productivity, I've got a question.
Are you making the most of your PMS system?
I know it's easier said than done. It can be easy for duty managers to get a bit tunnel-visioned dealing with the issues each shift throws at them. And, it's all too easy to get into the habit of reacting to problems, rather than creating a proactive environment.
But technology's your friend. The surge of digitalisation in your hotel shouldn't be viewed as yet-another-thing-to-worry-about. Here are some ways your PMS system can help improve productivity in your hotel.
Reduce OTA dependency
Online travel agencies are helpful. They proactively do a chunk of your marketing for you. They can improve your occupancy. But they don't do it for free. While guests are using OTAs, they can see your prices in comparison to your local competitor. So, as well as lowering your room rate to stay competitive, you're shimmying a portion of your profit into someone else's pocket.
If your PMS incorporates an online booking engine, it will optimise your direct booking process. Ultimately, you'll be able to spend more time marketing your hotel through other channels.
Even if you're unable to completely rule out OTAs, you'll decrease your reliance upon them. Your PMS will also be able to link to many different OTAs and booking engines, meaning that you only have to worry about one single inventory management system.
How much time do you have to stand at the front desk checking on the status of your hotel? When you're working through a heavy list of priorities, it makes no sense to leave mid 'to-do' list to follow up on information that can be accessed from a smartphone or a tablet.
Use your PMS system to manage your hotel and bookings regardless of where you are in the building. You can monitor your status and all of your online functionality while on the move. Whereas this might create the idea that you always have to be online, you can make your decisions in real-time, thus decreasing the amount of time it takes to react.
Decrease human error
You might use Microsoft Excel to help with the day-to-day reporting of your hotel. As great as this software is, it still relies upon human accuracy, whether you're creating formulae or simply entering data into the system. Your busy hotel needs on-the-spot reporting, and reliable information. Is there any technology in your hotel that can achieve this easier than excel?
Reports produced by PMS systems are accurate, constantly updated, and accessible. It also saves your staff time as they no longer have to type tedious data into a spreadsheet, allowing them more time to interact with guests.
Connect your workforce
Your staff might not always be in the right place to take or deliver messages that will affect the guest's overall stay. Important information, without technology, takes time to distribute. And, at your front desk is Mr Grumpalot - the one who has been complaining all weekend. You know he is a two star review in progress.
Your PMS connects maintenance, housekeeping and the front desk together so that issues can be dealt with instantaneously. It's a good way to stop what might be a minor complaint escalating.
I could continue listing ways that your PMS system could not only increase your revenue, but save you time. The important thing to remember is that technology is not only a revolutionary force, but a unifying one. If your staff do a job that even the most basic PMS system can handle, then you are losing revenue.
I'm always interested in hearing your thoughts. How do you increase productivity at your hotel? Get involved in the comments section, below!