A front desk agent is one of the most important jobs at any hotel, but what’s it really like to work as one? As a front desk agent, you’re the first person to welcome a guest to your hotel and the last one to bid farewell when they leave, so you’re responsible for the crucial first and last impressions as well as delighting guests throughout their time on property. If you’re curious about working as a front desk agent, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll dive into the tasks and responsibilities of a front desk agent, how to apply for a front desk role, and what career paths you can take after working as a front desk agent.
Hotel Operations Software Articles
How long does your budgeting process take? And how often do you update forecasts within the month? For most revenue managers, forecasting and budgeting is a painful, manual process which is stuck in the last millennium. In an effort to unlock the power of data-driven forecasting without the manual overhead, HotelIQ has launched an AI-driven forecasting management system that incorporates historical PMS data into its predictions. Tons of variables could lead to a hotel needing to update forecasts like unexpected seasonality, competitor pricing updates, renovations that affect room rates and more. Hotel management is extremely complex and requires constant demand forecasting and a careful eye on key metrics to ensure optimization of key performance data and healthy operating margins. In this article, we’ll walk through the challenges with the standard hotel industry forecasting process and then show the improvements and efficiencies that HotelIQ can bring to your hotel. With a more streamlined and accessible forecasting process in place, you can achieve higher RevPAR and hit your revenue targets.
Automation has played a critical role in business for years. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that varying industries began to consider its immense capabilities. Exploring the use of automation today, we’re unpacking this evolution in recent years, how it’s changing the hotel landscape and considerations for getting started with automation. The State of Automation Today Over the years the adoption of automation has grown significantly. Allowing businesses to focus on strategy and direction rather than tedious tasks that take up valuable time and resources. In more recent years, in part due to the pandemic, automation has accelerated rapidly. Back in 2018, it was reported that “57% of businesses were piloting the automation of business processes in one or more business functions.“ In that same study conducted in 2020, the year of the pandemic, it was reported “66% of businesses were doing the same - a significant jump of 9%” And while a number of industries are hopping on the automation bandwagon, hotels are beginning to recognize it’s tremendous benefits, with 77.6 percent of hotels expecting to increase their tech investment in the next three years. Today, automation is driving better and more agile hotels - allowing them get more focused, do more with less time and resources and provide greater, more personalized, experiences. While the state of automation continues to evolve it’s important to recognize the impact on specific industries. Here we touch on 4 ways automation is changing the hotel industry today. Seamless Check-in Experience It goes without saying that the traditional in-person check-in experience has its fallbacks. Usually involving long wait times at reception, reduced employee productivity and prone to manual error, there’s a lot of frustration that can build up at the front desk. Advancements in automation today have revolutionized the check-in experience. Guests can check-in on their own terms, whether on-the-go or from the comforts of their homes. Upon arrival, guests simply provide their name and are given their room key within minutes. For the individual who has travelled hours and sometimes days to get to their destination, having an automated email with a seamless check-in experience makes all the difference in satisfaction. Keep in mind that from an operational standpoint, this also alleviates repetitive and mundane processes for your staff. Especially if you’re dealing with rampant labour shortages, your team can focus on more pressing issues. Request Management Historically, reception and housekeeping have leveraged pen and paper to manage requests and fulfillment. And while it may have worked in the past, today’s demand and timely expectations call for new processes. For request management, automation has proven to greatly reduce time to fulfill requests, improve communication with guests, and provide greater transparency across multiple departments. In most instance, you can increase revenues by being able to manage more requests in less time and upsell without having to lift a finger. As an example, most request management tools will allow you to set your own parameters for automated processes. Simply define requests possible for in-stay guests once a room has been assigned. Once a request is made it’s tagged and routed to the right team member in real-time. Urgency is assigned based on parameters your team sets, so any pressing requests or comments are directed to senior management. With automated tickets and request management, accountability and transparency are provided and it’s no longer a guessing game of who’s dealing with what. Contactless Follow-Ups When a customer leaves a hotel the experience doesn’t stop there. The goal is always to continue the relationship and encourage repeat visits. With that, communication plays a vital role. Using a digital tool with automated capabilities, you can connect with guests, pre-stay, in-stay and post-stay. Send timed and targeted follow-up messages on the customers preferred channel without lifting a finger. If you’re following up take it a step further by adding a link to an experience survey. This way you can measure their satisfaction to improve the experience in the future. Personalization & Upselling As we’ve seen over the past several years, change can happen in an instant. Which means, finding ways to constantly stay in the know with your guests is key. With the adoption of digital tools that have automated capabilities, you can collect data that isn’t available through pen and paper operations. This means, your team can consistently improve offerings to meet changing preferences and even customize specific automated interactions. Take an on demand ordering functionality for example. After a guest selects a meal, you can use data gathered to automate the offering of a glass of wine or bottle of water with their meal. Further, you can personalize the message. If you’re using a messaging solution, set the introduction to your emails with a first name, or if you’re segmenting your audiences, reference their experience. Leveraging Automation Like any new tool, assessing the need for automation in your hotel is crucial. Today there are so many ways you can automate processes, that jumping into the first opportunity without considering your whole strategy can be damaging. Take a look at your hotel journey and locate where most of the friction is occurring with your guests and what’s taking up most of your employees time. From there you can make a list of all the tools to help you navigate a more seamless journey.
With guest expectations continually changing and new technologies popping up daily, how can you possibly stay on top of it all? You might feel paralysed by choice or unsure of where to begin; there are simply so many potential vendors to consider or new ideas to test. And let’s not forget about budget and resource constraints, since you probably don’t have a blank check to put toward endless bells and whistles for your guests. But even with limited staff and realistic budgets, hotels of any size can dazzle their guests with a five-star guest experience if you know which technology investments will pay off. Whether you own or operate a boutique hotel, an inn, guesthouses, or something else, this article will help you craft a smooth guest experience – leading to better review scores, more repeat guests, and higher RevPAR – by leveraging technology effectively.
Hotels and hotel chains that have been awaiting a post-pandemic travel boom are now facing an economic downturn that’s likely to constrain both business and consumer travel. As these businesses look for levers they can pull to increase revenue, reduce costs, and offer an outstanding customer experience, “payments processing” probably isn’t an obvious option. That’s probably because historically, payments providers have provided a commodity service that’s at worst viewed as an unavoidable cost center and at best treated as an afterthought. But this legacy model is now being replaced with a new way of thinking about payments, which is why we’ve partnered with Stripe to discuss how payments can catalyze growth for the hospitality industry. Modern providers need to do more than just process payments, because modern businesses have increasingly complex needs and consumer preferences are constantly changing. That’s why Stripe offers software to create optimized payments experiences, streamline revenue management, and facilitate a range of different business models from subscriptions to multi-sided marketplaces. These are the kinds of capabilities that hotels need to be thinking about as they’re exploring new ways to grow amidst our current economic climate. It takes a provider truly focused on technology to deliver what’s needed, and modern providers like Stripe are much more focused on building new payments technologies than traditional providers. For example, about 37% of Stripe employees are engineers, compared to only 11-12% of the teams at two major incumbents (according to LinkedIn employment data). By working with a tech company like Stripe, your business is able to build on flexible modern infrastructure–and ultimately execute faster. In this article we’ll explore the paradigm shift in hospitality from the legacy view of payments as a cost center to the modern view of payments as a revenue driver. We’ll cover the different ways that hotel businesses of all sizes can use payments innovation to their advantage using a modern provider like Stripe.
Looking for ways to engage with your hotel guests? Or are you searching for initiatives that will help you improve guest review scores, even if you have fewer front desk staff than in previous years? Welcome letters (or welcome note) are a small but impactful element that sets each guest experience off on the right foot. These friendly messages can set the tone for a guest’s entire stay, and they can communicate important information that a guest needs to know. They can be branded, personalized, and even interactive - with QR codes, links, and social media handles. For such a meaningful touchpoint, welcome letters are quite easy to implement. With the best practices in this article and the templates we provide, you’ll get a big head start toward adding welcome letters to your guest journey (or elevating your existing letter templates).
Mobile messaging, chatbots, contactless check-ins—-we wouldn’t blame you if the thought of instituting technology feels cold and unwelcoming. After all, advances in hotel tech are a result of streamlining operations in favor of a more automated approach. But the why behind hotel tech is not about less hospitality, it’s about better hospitality. Hotel tech is often touted as a time saver, which goes hand-in-hand with better hospitality. Time freed from conducting mundane paperwork thanks to hotel tech can be rerouted to providing other guest services, from organizing surprise-and-delight initiatives to in-person guest assistance. But the most compelling argument for hotel tech is how it supports proactive hospitality. Traditionally, hoteliers would cast a large net to catch guests, with hospitality commencing upon booking and check-in. Yet with developments in hotel technology, hoteliers can define their target market (or guest segments), create appealing content, and develop personalized offers and service—taking hospitality to the next level. Moreover, hospitality doesn’t end when a guest checks out. Through hotel tech, hotels can nurture relationships with their guests in a proactive way that garners repeat bookings. While at first glance hotel tech may seem to lack a human touch, the opposite is true. Through the thoughtful and human-designed application of chatbots, websites, email automation, guest databases, and guest messaging, hoteliers can provide personalized guest experiences through every stage of the guest journey: pre-stay, stay, and post-stay.
How is your hotel performing? Many hotels leverage tools like STR reports to answer that question, but a STR report is only effective if you have picked the right properties (direct competitors) to compare your hotel against. Without context, your ADR and RevPAR might as well be numbers you pull out of a hat. A competitive set, or compset, can add necessary context to help revenue managers, leadership teams, and owners understand a hotel’s performance relative to similar hotels in the market. But in order for compset data to provide this valuable benchmarking context, the compset must include hotels that are close competitors of your hotel. In this article, we’ll explain the power of selecting the right competitive set and walk you through the process of building and maintaining a solid compset. Then, you’ll be able to use your compset to unlock insights and opportunities to capture higher ADR and more occupancy in the market.
Rancho Caymus Inn in Napa Valley, managed by Life House The last five years have put the hospitality industry through the ringer. COVID shut down properties around the world, caused a labor shortage and the aftermath is steering us straight into the eye of a new storm - looming recession, inflation and potentially stagflation. Increasingly volatile market conditions have made hotel management exponentially more challenging. In order to succeed in today’s rapidly changing environment, hotel management companies need to have tools that empower them to act on real-time shifts in market conditions. Hotel operators who are ahead of the curve on all things digital can spot shifting market trends and implement new strategies to adapt in real-time. Volatility and technological change have left legacy hotel management firms scrambling to rework their operating models and update their technology tools. This scramble has opened the door for a new type of hotel management company - tech first hotel managers. Tech first hotel management companies have taken a first principles approach from day one by leveraging proprietary technology tools to automate back office operations, eliminate cost redundancies and more effectively generate demand for their partners - hotel owners.
Across the world, hotels are struggling to find and retain staff in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff shortages are a problem in every department of a hotel, but particularly within operational departments. Requests are going unanswered, check-in queues are growing long, and many hotels cannot promise the same level of service standards as before. However, new technologies introduce solutions that are within the average hotel’s reach.