Make Way For Hospitality’s Deskless Employee

As hospitality businesses struggle to create operational efficiencies, many look to tech to help hotel staff ditch the desk.


In the 1983 film Local Hero, a young American businessman sent to Scotland encounters an innkeeper who is also the accountant next door. When taking on each role, the man has a different personality. The accountant is unctuous and the innkeeper is vaguely rude, as a New York Times review noted.

There’s some truth in that exaggeration. As any traveler will tell you, the smaller the hotel, the more likely it is that the employees will wear several hats. For the larger companies though, employees’ roles are likely to be much more rigid. If the bar is overrun, guests may glance longingly at the empty front desk and wonder if there’s a better way to allocate staff.


Franchise hotels for sale.  Hospitality’s Deskless Employee.


Thanks to enhanced automation, there is. In particular, a software suite that includes a mobile-facing interface can let hotels abandon that mainstay of hoteling, the front-desk receptionist. In some cases, the same goes for the front desk. Using such a solution, hotels can address labor costs, which can represent up to one-half of total operating expenses.

For instance, Robert Holland, regional operating manager for the Bermondsey Hotel in London, used software automation tools to rearrange his workforce more efficiently. “After breakfast service, the waiters come and help greet people who arrive, taking their bags through,” he said. “And when the reception isn’t too busy, the receptionists come and help out in the restaurant and vice versa.”

Holland said the change took place last October. Some employees were initially resistant, he said. “Obviously staff that had been there a long time were reticent,” he said. “They were often returning to their stations. If you were a restaurant worker before you’d gravitate toward hanging around the coffee machine. If you were a receptionist, you’d probably feel more comfortable by the front office.”

Despite those growing pains, Holland said that the hotel was able to eliminate three full-time workers. Because the UK recently introduced a higher minimum wage, the hotel was able to keep its spending on workers level, thanks to the reallocation of staff.

Source: ALICE + Skift  / Jun 15, 2016


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