5 Ways to Scale Hotel Operations: Overcome Uncertain Occupancy Rates

If there is one thing you can count on for 2020, it’s that you can’t count on anything. As a result, hospitality has been put in an almost impossible position. Due to circumstances brought on by COVID, properties are unable to accurately predict future guest occupancy rates and plan operations accordingly. Which means that the industry known for giving travelers refuge, now finds itself in uncharted territory.

Hospitality currently has to walk a fine line when planning operations. If properties are too optimistic and hire back much of their staff, they could face lower than expected guest occupancy rates. On the other hand, if properties run on a skeleton crew to minimize costs, a sudden surge in guests could ruin a golden opportunity to bring in new revenue and jeopardize service standards. And playing catch up with the trends can be a costly mistake. Hiring experienced employees is already a challenge and letting them go can plummet morale and productivity. In addition, the process quickly runs up hiring expenses. So, what can properties do in this impossible situation?

In the words of Bear Grylls, “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.” It is in properties’ best interest to become more agile and responsive than ever when it comes to operations. As guest occupancy rates fluctuate, hotels should be prepared to instantly scale their operations accordingly. This includes the amount of staff on the property. However, even before the pandemic, staff shortages plagued the hospitality industry (which held a 78.3% turnover rate). And future projections aren’t encouraging. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association, 52% of polled hotels said that staffing levels aren’t expected to be restored until almost 2021.

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Time to do more with less. To accommodate for fewer staff members, it’s important to give the ones you have the tools to succeed. These tools involve a perfect pairing of staff involvement and hotel operation platforms. When staff feel acknowledged and included, hotel staff are more likely to stay. And once they stay, the features that platforms offer help them ride the highs and lows of guest occupancy.

Create Multi-Managers

Instead of hiring two managers, enable one. Allow your GMs & HODs to oversee multiple departments (for example, the Front Office and Housekeeping) and manage several positions simultaneously. They can track operations while accessing analytics from various departments. Enable a single manager to plan, schedule, allocate, and track work assignments from multiple teams in one place. A real-time overview allows them to remotely monitor various tasks such as digital handovers.

Schedule Housekeepers in Advance

If there is a sudden increase in your guest occupancy rates, alert your hotel's team for the entire week. Add more housekeepers to the schedule in advance to anticipate guests’ needs. If there are sudden cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances, adjust the schedule accordingly. If a trend in new reservations holds steady, managers are also able to assign rooms to housekeepers weeks in advance. Once you optimize staff resources, you’ll avoid over- or understaffing as you try to play catch up.

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Cross-train Staff

Similar to managers overseeing multiple departments, staff can widen their skill sets. One of the most effective training tools, digital hotel checklists, can help employees quickly learn and master new responsibilities. They can reference a clear list of steps to take as they are trained to maintain the highest standards in every department.

Stay Updated on Health & Safety

Access the newest hotel SOPs with just a click to ensure your property’s compliance. With the hospitality industry’s standards updating constantly, it’s important to stay informed and follow the latest procedures. Guarantee that fewer people on staff never jeopardize health and safety adherence.

Share Knowledge and Standardize the Training Process

It takes a while to get new team members up to speed. Especially when they need to be trained to your standards and procedures. Some of the best resources are short videos, photos or presentations created on your mobile phone. Make them accessible to your staff on the go by attaching them to SOPs. Create a completely mobile and digital resource library to help new trainees comply with the latest internal guidelines.

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With these tools literally in your pocket, turn your property into a model of absolute efficiency. In addition to cutting down on expenses during low occupancy times, you’ll be able to maximize revenue during peak times without compromising service.

If you feel that your property could directly benefit from these features, click here so we can introduce you to more advantages.

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