IHIF: Doing more with less
Increasing workforce productivity
This week, IHIF saw more than 2,500 members of the hospitality investment community gather in Berlin for its 25th annual conference.
Under the theme ‘Fortune Favours the Bold’, a series of high-profile speakers delivered sessions on asset optimisation, ESG, owner-operator alignment, profitability and more. Among them, our Managing Director, Susan Bland, facilitated a discussion on optimising workforce productivity and getting the most out of your teams.
Susan led the panel, including Marius Donhauser, hotelkit, Ulrich Pillau, Apaleo, Eric Omgba, Alboran Hotels and Rupert Simoner, HR Group, on analysing brand standards and guest expectations with lean operational teams.
Looking at ways to boost productivity and augment service quality by building a flexible, multi-skilled workforce and harnessing technology, Susan explained that employees are harder to find, and must be nurtured with effective training.
Technology was a hot topic, including the ongoing debate around human interaction and automation in hospitality. The panel discussed the need to look to other successful industries like airlines and retail for inspiration on most efficient use of technology to streamline workload. The point was made that things you can’t measure are hard to improve.
Uli Pillau shared the stark figure of 800,000 staff being lost from the hospitality industry in Germany over the last two years. He credits easily usable technology with the potential to rapidly improve staff retention claiming that “in order to find new staff, you have to use better technology in your hotels to motivate them.”
Marius Donhauser added that hotels should work a lot more closely with tech companies to collaboratively work out what the predominant needs are in hospitality.
Rupert Simoner suggested first approaching the aspects of hospitality that do not affect the customer experience, such as meeting the staff that clean the rooms. While the human element isn’t necessary here, the rooms being clean is of course still a big part of the experience, therefore as long as standards remain, could this be digitalised, e.g. using robot vacuums?
Eric Omgba went on to share examples of streamlining the housekeeping at Alboran Hotels, suggesting that the most effective way of identifying areas to streamline, is by talking to your staff. He explained that housekeepers came up with the idea to have beds that lifted automatically to aid the process of changing sheets. This in turn increased productivity by 15%, as well as making staff feel listened to and appreciated, contributing to staff retention.
Susan was joined at IHIF by our CEO, David Hart and CFO, Andrew Robb for a jampacked couple of days of networking, interviews and education.
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