Jan 14

Pay Attention to What Goes on Behind the Curtain!

How a Mobile PMS can Streamline Housekeeping and Enhance the Guest Experience

Right now, I want you to picture your favorite hotel. What property or hotel brand, regardless of the destination, has provided you with a consistent, exceptional experience and lasting memories?

Once you have something in mind, I want you to take a closer look at that hotel. What was it about the experience that won you over? Was it the fast, attentive service? Or the modern technology and high-end amenities? Was it the friendly staff offering personalized touches at every turn? Or your beautiful, pristine room with a picture-perfect view? Whatever it was, I can assure you that the hotel’s back-of-the-house operational infrastructure was what made it a reality. And as any hotelier knows, every “wow” moment in the guest journey is made possible by an enormous amount of behind-the-scenes work and support.

Fortunately, new technology can greatly streamline the operational processes going on “behind the curtain” at a hotel. Traditional PMS platforms often hindered staff with their complex user interfaces and manual data entry methods, creating processes which were error-prone and inefficient. Fortunately, these “dark ages” of hospitality are quickly fading into a distant memory. In their place, mobility is creating tech-enabled revolution, producing streamlined operations, enhanced revenue opportunities, personalized service, and a reimagined guest experience. With the help of mobile property management systems, hotels are finally able to deliver the ideal guest experience, as promised, with ease and to scale.

While the positive impact of a mobile PMS is apparent across seemingly all aspects of the guest experience, there is another facet of hospitality which the mobile PMS can have an enormous impact, but is often overlooked: housekeeping.

The Limitations of Manual Housekeeping Department

The housekeeping department is, quite simply, a critical pillar of any hotel. In fact, complaints relating to room cleanliness account for 10 percent of total guest complaints in a year, while 24% have to do with room temperature and room settings. And while the details of an exceptional experience may vary depending on which guest you ask, cleanliness and effective room turn-over is undoubtedly a baseline expectation shared by all guests.

Admittedly, this is no small task. Effective housekeeping requires foolproof processes that allow for cross-department updates, communications, and mobile functionality — especially in the case of large properties with many floors and countless rooms to service at any given time.

Unfortunately, for many years, housekeeping departments were held back by a lack of available technology. Before the advent of the mobile PMS, housekeeping teams had to be managed manually, with spreadsheets and checklists, paper time-sheets and reports, and two-way radios. It’s not difficult to see how a modern hotel – which can service hundreds of rooms each day – would falter when managing a large housekeeping team with nothing more than a clipboard and a walkie-talkie. Where is mobility? The open lines of communication with co-workers? The tools in place to empower fast response and escalation requests?

Simply stated, hotels can’t afford to remain attached to legacy systems and processes of the past which no longer serve their property, their guests, or their staff. After all, when the staff experience suffers, the guest experience suffers — and then? The hotel’s reputation and, ultimately, it’s future is put at risk.  

Mobile Technology to Revolutionize the Task at Hand

Fortunately, the rise of mobile-centric technology has finally begun to reach the housekeeping departments of hotels around the globe. Hoteliers recognize the value of mobile technology that was created specifically to streamline operations and inspire efficiency. As such, modern PMS platforms have become a critical project management tool.

Rather than relying on the paper-based methods of legacy housekeeping systems, a mobile PMS instantly tells the front desk which rooms are out of order, ready for new guests, require cleaning or maintenance.  Staff is no longer required to maintain and submit paper reports or circle back to the front desk to relay information – they can know the status of every room in their hotel in virtual real-time. With a mobile PMS they can move freely around the hotel interacting with guests, while accessing all critical information via an iPad. The system was created to streamline the staff experience, ensuring the dashboard is easy to access and navigate, while empowering employees to reach new levels of productivity and efficiency. A mobile PMS can also transform the management experience, as team leads are better equipped to communicate with their staff and, as a result, engage with guests in a responsive, attentive manner.

Of course, the positive impact of a mobile system goes beyond happy employees and spotless rooms that are turned over in a timely fashion. A mobile-empowered housekeeping team can also benefit the hotel from a revenue standpoint. By turning over rooms more efficiently and minimizing the time in which rooms remain empty and unattended, hotels are able to sell early check-ins and late check-outs much more frequently. Of course, a mobile PMS can also let guests check in and out using the smartphone in the palm of their hand – meaning that an efficient housekeeping staff can facilitate ancillary revenue generation and improvements to the guest experience.

Within an industry in which employee turn-over is such a prevalent concern, it’s more important than ever before for hoteliers to provide their staff with the tools they need within their roles. With the appropriate technology in place, the housekeeping department in any hotel can be revolutionized to offer enhanced, faster service that will not only transform the guest and staff experience, but will positively impact the hotel’s bottom line.

About the Author

Nicole Dehler, Vice President of Product Management

StayNTouch, A Shiji Group Brand

Nicole spent more than 12 years in the Regional Divisions of MICROS Systems, divided between Product and Project Management of Property, Sales Force and Central Reservations Systems. She led the Enterprise Team in Asia Pacific as Director of Operations, looking after large scale software implementations as well as managing the regional launch of E-Commerce products and Smartphone applications. Nicole joined StayNTouch in early 2013, spearheading the PMS development, strategy, innovation and growth from the very beginning.