Hospitality is going through a rapid transformation. Advances in technology, changes in customer behaviour and a more connected world mean that everyone in the industry must adapt to meet and exceed customer expectations.
But PwC research has revealed that when it comes to hiring, the thing that keeps nearly half of hospitality CEOs up at night is the lack of skilled workers. This represents a big opportunity – job seekers and employees who embrace these new ways of working will stand out and get ahead.
Hospitality employees are increasingly expected to serve customers in a more connected way, while striking the right balance with traditional human interaction.
Hotels are starting to use technology that until recently was the stuff of science fiction: real-time translation earphones, facial recognition room access and even robots that make deliveries to rooms.
Guests enjoy the convenience and efficiency, and it gives a sense of luxury to the experience. And as we continue to use tech like this in our own homes, the demand for it in hotels, gyms and other leisure facilities is sure to increase.
What does this mean for hospitality workers? Confidence with technology, social media and IT systems are key skills to emphasise and develop, and they’re only going to become more important in the future.
But if the growing presence of technology makes you nervous, don’t be. The tech boom will give staff the opportunity to learn more about their customers and offer a more personalised service by leaving the repetitive tasks to the machines.
MULTI-SKILLED CUSTOMER-CENTRIC STAFF
When you think about the best hospitality experiences you’ve had, they likely involve unexpectedly good interactions with employees. As tech frees up employees to interact more with customers, the nature of these interactions becomes even more important.
Hospitality staff are now likely to be trained in more than one job to heighten the customer-centric experience. For instance, a front-desk receptionist will be expected to deliver a bottle of wine within minutes of the call to room service, or bring extra towels themselves instead of waiting for a member of housekeeping staff to be available.
Having the skills and flexibility to change tasks based on customer needs will be vital to offer this level of service.
THE EMOTION ECONOMY
Research has shown that it’s not the experience as such that matters to the customer – what can really make or break the relationship is the underlying emotions associated with the experience. And if there’s one thing tech still can’t do as well as humans, it’s emotional intelligence.
Emotional experiences require empathy and interpersonal skills to create, but when done correctly they can delight guests and lead to customer loyalty.
So much is changing. And much of it driven by the most important person in hospitality: the guest. Professionals with strong people skills, tech competence and client-focused thinking are in high demand in the international hospitality industry. Employees who take a service orientation and approach every interaction with the intention of doing what they can to please the guest will go far.
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