With winter upon us, many hospitality operators will be turning their attention (if they haven’t already) to the next peak season and Christmas. It is undoubtedly a busy and exciting time in terms of bookings, revenue and profits, but against a backdrop of rising costs, evolving guest preferences and staffing challenges, it can also be a daunting one from an operational perspective.
Chronic labor shortages remain, especially when you consider that staff numbers too often are not matching the level of guest demand for hospitality—demand that is only set to increase, widening the gap even further as we head into the festive season.
How can hoteliers stem this tide and ensure they are in position to maximize the upcoming opportunity for festive revenue, support their operations and provide an exceptional experience to guests?
Fortunately, a host of technology solutions are available to bridge the gap. Hotels are leveraging technology to repurpose and reallocate resources so that staff can be supported effectively and deliver great service and a first-class experience to guests who are likewise willing to adopt the technology also available to them.
How to Leverage Technology Solutions
Reassuringly, mobile ordering and self-service is proving popular among guests. The move to online interaction continues in line with the continued advancement in the functionality and options. QR code access to menus direct from a device, the ability to open a tab and preview nutritional information, submit orders, track order progress and pay all from the palm of their hand are all growing in popularity and adoption. Guests appreciate the option to fulfill their own orders at a time and place that suits them, which is particularly advantageous when you consider the festive season, when there are more covers to serve and larger group bookings and parties to cater for.
It is worth considering the potential increase in average guest check and order volumes if guests could open a tab and order additional drinks or food at their own convenience, eliminating the need to search for a menu, physically go to the bar or flag down a server.
Working hand-in-hand with digital guest ordering is digital staff ordering. The principle is the same—staff are equipped and empowered with the tools to manage orders and payments all from a hand-held device. When a venue is busy and multiple orders need to be processed in a short space of time, this is a valuable alternative, and likewise for high-end establishments that still require table service and perhaps more attentive staff.
Digital orders can be processed and delivered to the bar or kitchen immediately without the risk of being forgotten or lost on a paper notepad, thereby improving delivery times, enhancing accuracy and ensuring happier guests. Equally as important for those guests who are keen to have a fully mobile experience (view, order and pay all via an app), staff are then able to focus on other areas of operations and guest service that might require support.
Operators face a very real and present challenge to drive total revenue, maximize profit margins and deliver exceptional experiences—a challenge that will only become bigger in the lead up to the holidays.
The scale of adoption and deployment of mobile ordering will vary depending on the type of venue, type of guest and type of festive offerings, outlets and menus that will be available. Take the time to understand staff and guest preferences and be aware of how mobile ordering solutions can support both day-to-day operations as well as peak season and bespoke Christmas menus, so that on Christmas morning, hopefully you can unwrap a healthy profit.
Graham Rushin is vice president of sales and marketing for IRIS.