Staffing shortages within the hospitality industry can have a negative impact on the quality of a business, and the experience that customers or guests receive. However, the consequences of staffing issues can be greatly reduced through intelligent investment in technology. In this article, you can find out more about the various ways that technology can be deployed to solve staffing shortages or reduce the impact of lower staff numbers.

Quick Menu

COVID-19 and Staff Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

Staffing shortages in the hospitality industry can present a major challenge, and this has become a reality for many businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, two years’ worth of work disruption and uncertainty in the hotel industry and in restaurants and bars has led many of those working in the industry to explore other options.

As the world has gradually returned to normality, and as customers are coming back to hotels, restaurants, bars, and similar properties, many of these businesses face the very real challenge of living up to high customer expectations and delivering an excellent customer experience, all while operating with a reduced workforce.

This issue has also been worsened by the fact that the virus is still spreading, meaning employees who catch it are likely to need to take time off work to recover and avoid spreading it to customers, guests, and colleagues.

Reducing & Solving Staffing Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

In the aftermath of the worst of the COVID-19 crisis, many businesses are feeling the full force of staffing shortages in the hospitality industry, and are having to cope with a reduced workforce and a world where employees in other industries have the potential to increase their job satisfaction by working from home. Hotel technology is going to play a key role in helping to reduce staffing shortages within hospitality businesses and it will also help companies to reduce the impact of those staffing shortages too.

Investment in technology that can improve the experience of employees is a major consideration for hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, cafes, and other similar businesses. This technology can range from payroll software, that can accurately track hours of work and compensate staff properly, to in-work systems, which can allow customers to take advantage of more self-service options, reducing staff workloads and increasing satisfaction.

Meanwhile, intelligent investment in technology can also help to improve the customer experience in light of less staff being available to cater to their needs. For example, mobile check-in technology solutions can make it easier to check in to hotels without requiring individual support from the reception desk, while self-ordering options within restaurants can allow customers to place their order in their own time, without waiting for staff.

Key Strategies to Employ To Reduce the Effect of Staffing Shortages

There are a number of strategies that those in the hotel and restaurant industry, along with similar fields, can utilise with a view to minimising the effects of staffing shortages in hospitality.

Manage Guest Expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to ongoing staffing shortages in the hospitality industry, but the issues facing those in restaurant, bar, cafe, and hotel management positions actually became tougher, because customer expectations increased at the same time. This is especially apparent with things like hygiene and safety measures.

For this reason, it is important to manage guest expectations in advance using social media and your website. For those in the restaurant industry, this could mean explaining that menus are more limited, or that self-service options are in place. Meanwhile, it is important that hotels take the time to explain any services or facilities that are not available.

Show Appreciation to Your Current Employees

While the staffing shortages that have hit the hospitality industry can be frustrating, it is essential that managers and senior figures do not lose sight of the importance of the employees they still have. Efforts should be made to show appreciation to staff, and also to offer them incentives to continue their careers.

For instance, it may be possible to offer development opportunities. Not only can this help to make employees feel more valued within the workplace, it can also help to up-skill employees, allowing them to more effectively compensate for staff shortages. It is also important to seek feedback from workers and strive to improve their experience.

Automate When Possible

Another major strategy to cope with any staffing shortages in the hospitality industry is to try to automate as many tasks as possible. In particular, activities that are repetitive or predictable can often be handled automatically, as long as you take the time to invest in the right technology and keep pace with technology trends.

Examples of some of the tasks that can be automated include booking confirmations, the sending of pre-arrival information emails, and check-ins or arrivals. The use of robotics means that certain cleaning activities can be handled without human intervention, while AI chatbots can be used to respond to the most basic customer questions.

6 Technology Solutions That Can Help to Solve Staffing Shortages

Aside from adopting the aforementioned strategies for assisting with staffing shortages in the hospitality industry, it is also worth exploring some of the restaurant, bar, and hotel technology that can help.

1. QR Codes

Intelligent use of QR codes within a business can go a long way towards alleviating pressure on employees and reducing the overall impact of staffing shortages in the hospitality industry. For instance, in the restaurant industry, QR codes can be placed on menus and used to link customers to an online self-service ordering system.

Within hotels, meanwhile, QR codes can be used to link customers to room service ordering systems, to direct guests to a mobile app, or for checking in and out of the property. QR codes for tools like mobile apps can also be included in hotel marketing materials so that guests arrive for their stay with the app already installed.

2. Contactless Check-In for Hotels

Contactless check-ins are one of the major ways that those in the hotel industry can reduce the burden on reception staff, while also improving the guest experience. The process typically involves the use of a mobile app and means that guests are able to check in without having to make contact with reception staff.

Once a guest checks in, the hotel is automatically informed of their arrival, and this can then alert concierge staff and others involved with greeting guests. This process means that staff can get on with other tasks in the meantime and also opens up the possibility of 24/7 check-ins, even if the reception desk is not staffed.

3. Restaurant eCommerce

Online ordering is one of the most significant hospitality trends to emerge in the wake of the pandemic, with a growing number of businesses reducing the burden on staff by offering eCommerce options. Within the restaurant industry, this could mean providing an online ordering system on the company website. This system can be used by customers to place takeaway orders, or to book a visit to the restaurant while pre-ordering their meals.

Where such options are available, customers can pay in advance, or provide details so payment can be automatically taken after their visit, and the restaurant can have advanced notice of what food needs to be prepared. Takeaway services are also one of the most significant restaurant trends, allowing restaurants to continue to generate income even in times like the peak of the pandemic, where in-person visits were prohibited.

4. Event Planning Software

One of the biggest challenges threatening hotels and similar businesses facing staffing shortages is event planning. This is a discipline that can be especially time-consuming, because individual events all have their own requirements and because rooms need to be set up for each event. However, event planning software can reduce the workload.

Some of the best event planning software solutions will allow you to quickly and easily create seating plans, provide the venue information to clients, and take orders for food, beverages, and more. Many will even provide automated arrival tools, allowing event attendees to arrive and get seated on their own, or with minimal assistance.

5. AI Chatbots

Artificial intelligence is being used to power a growing number of technology solutions, usually with the purposes of automating processes and providing faster analysis or data. One area that is showing particular promise for those experiencing staffing shortages in the hospitality industry is the use of AI chatbots.

Chatbots are essentially an AI-driven technology, which is able to hold online chat-based conversations with human customers. Chatbots are especially valuable for customer service, where they can screen customer questions, provide solutions for the most basic issues, and gather other useful information for customer service agents.

6. Hotel Robots

Finally, staffing shortages within the hospitality industry can be further aided through robotics. The use of robotics is one of the fastest-growing hotel trends because automated front desk and housekeeping services can help properties cope with rising customer hygiene and cleanliness demands, even when struggling with a reduced workforce.

Robots can potentially be used to greet guests, offer basic tourist information, provide directions, and offer suggestions or recommendations. Robotic vacuum cleaners can automate part of the cleaning process, and this can be especially beneficial in larger properties, where such tasks can take human staff many hours to complete.

Video: Japanese hotel boasts robotic staff

Tech Trends for Solving Staffing Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

For anyone dealing with staffing shortages in the hospitality industry, an awareness of the latest technology trends can go a long way. After all, technology can be used to automate common tasks, allow customers to capitalise on self-service options, and enjoy a more seamless experience, which is less reliant on contact with staff.

Read “The Latest Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry” for a breakdown of the most significant trends in this area, including contactless payments, voice control, robotics, recognition technology, and chatbots.

Hotel Tech to Solve Hospitality Industry Staffing Shortages

Hotels have been especially hit by the staffing shortages affecting the hospitality industry, but there are a number of specific hotel technology trends that are emerging, which have the potential to help. These include facial recognition technology, the rise of smart hotels, the use of hotel apps, and more.

Check out “Hotel Technology Trends: 16 Upcoming Innovations You Must Know” to learn more about the hotel tech solutions that are playing an ever-growing role in the industry and that will continue to do so in the years ahead.

Restaurant Tech to Solve Staffing Shortages in the Hospitality Industry

The restaurant industry faces its own unique challenges given the staffing shortages hitting the hospitality industry. Fortunately, many of these challenges can either be resolved or the impact of them can be reduced through investment in relevant restaurant technology. Of course, this does require an awareness of the latest trends.

Read “Latest Restaurant Technology Trends You Need to Know About” for more on digital kitchen displays, cloud-based point-of-sale systems, QR codes, contactless payments, and other technology disrupting the industry.

Staffing shortages have affected many businesses in the hospitality industry, with the COVID-19 pandemic contributing significantly to the problem. However, with the right strategies and with investment in relevant technology, the impact of these shortages can be greatly minimised, ensuring customers remain happy.

More Tips to Grow Your Business

Revfine.com is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all hotel & hospitality tips in the categories Revenue Management, Marketing & Distribution, Hotel Operations, Staffing & Career, Technology and Software.

Submit an Article