How Hotel Operators Can Keep Their Employees From Burning Out

By Roberta Chinsky Matuson President, Matuson Consulting | August 01, 2013

There are few businesses where employees are expected to be "on" 24/7 and to always have a smile on their face regardless of how they are feeling. But this is exactly what is required of those who work in hotels. Some say that if you can't stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen. That old saying may have worked well for other generations. But what happens when the next generation isn't as tolerant or committed as the one that came before them? Will you be able to compete for talent with the 9-5 industries and if so, will you still be able to create a five-star experience with employees who resemble characters out of the Zombie movie, The Night of the Living Dead? Here are some steps you can take to prevent this nightmare from happening in your hotel.

Frequently monitor your staffing levels and adjust accordingly

It's always great to be able to do more with less, but at what cost? There is only so long that a person can comfortably handle doing the work of two or more people. In the end, something has to give. An overworked and overtired employee will either be fired for substandard performance or will walk away if they are unable to personally manage the situation.

Pay attention to signs that may indicate it's time to bring staffing levels up to where they were pre-recession. This includes, employees falling asleep on the job; a sudden increase in employee absenteeism; a spike in employee turnover; pleasant employees becoming irritable.

Move employees around

Some jobs are more stressful than others. Identify which jobs fall into this category and then consider cycling these people into less stressful positions at similar pay rates.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.