It’s never been so turbulent in the hospitality industry; in fact the winds have got to storm force! Where sometimes it all feels more like hostility rather than hospitality…
Cancellations, refunds, amendments, bookings re-made then cancelled, credit notes and vouchers are the current norm. We talk to people in the industry who have upwards of 10,000 guest/membership emails (and growing) unanswered waiting for a response…and then to have to process them. With delay more emails are received pursuing the course of action originally requested…and it begins, a vicious circle.
With back office functions now operating remotely or temporarily back on-site it is difficult to get back to processing levels of the past, never mind take up the increased workload. Employers are seeing stress levels rising within members of their teams who are relentlessly pursuing the ability to get stuff done, in less than ideal working conditions, bulk processing transactions, out of sight of the business.
But there are some cool heads out there…
We are talking to enlightened leadership teams who have managed to take a step back and revaluate what needs to be done. Obviously looking at immediate solutions, as well as re-evaluating the future. One thing is for sure, as things have changed and moved forward, they are never going back to where they were…but where to look to start freeing up the time and capacity of the workforce?
The hospitality sector is increasingly looking at the use of software robots, or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to augment and takeover a whole range of processing and transactional tasks. With this technology it’s possible to spin up a robot in a few weeks to create a “Digital Worker” who will automate a process. You can have this technology supporting you getting over an immediate hump, heartily eating away at a catastrophic email inbox, calming the storm! A Digital Worker will work 24/7 and not require any vacation, concentrating on the task in hand. The time saved and the efficiencies gained releases you and your teams to start to look at the longer term.
We know that the industry is adopting RPA more widely for the long term. It is now a well-established technology, knitting together disparate systems and taking care of routine process tasks and transactions. Anything a human can do on a computer screen, your Digital Worker can do as well.
With the rise of remote home working it is an advantage to have the bulk/ transactional process handled centrally and to use a distributed workforce to concentrate on higher value and revenue generating, or revenue protection types of activities. RPA is an ideal way to centralise these repetitive tasks and get the job done with a big injection of efficiency and effectiveness. This frees up people to calm the waters, to enable them to work on member/guest facing value adding activities. The aim is to bring the real face of the business back to guests and be responsive, rather than just trying to clear ever growing backlogs – bringing “hospitable” back to hospitality.