Short Staffed and Overwhelmed? How to cope with less (hu)manpower

Wherever you go these days, it’s abundantly clear that businesses of all kinds are short-staffed. “We are Hiring” signs can be seen nearly everywhere. Hospitals, retail stores, the public sector, and service industries all lack proper staffing. Hoteliers are feeling this labor shortage as well, which leaves current staff feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and burned out. This can negatively impact your guests because the quality of service decreases, wait times increase, and standards may be compromised due to rushing or careless mistakes. What can be done to stay sane while still maintaining the level of service that your guests expect?

Be Honest.

As the old saying goes, “Honesty is the best policy.” The majority of people understand when things aren’t going exactly as planned. But sometimes you need to be upfront and honest about the situation by kindly acknowledging that things are taking a bit longer than expected while offering reassurance that they will be taken care of. Provide an estimate when possible or offer to call/message them with updates where appropriate. Being open and honest goes a long way and your guests will appreciate your transparency. 

Embrace Technology.

We’ve seen a huge jump in tech in the past few years. Recent studies show that travelers' expectations are higher than ever before. They want a personal experience but with less face-to-face contact. They are even willing to pay more if it means a better experience. What does that look like for guests? It looks like a quick and easy check-in either by mobile or kiosk. It looks like a quick scan of a QR code that can serve many purposes like information about the hotel, a food menu, or mobile checkout. It could be the ability to message back and forth with hotel staff instead of waiting in line or having to call. These are conveniences that guests are embracing and even seeking out when booking a stay. When you’re short-staffed, it might seem daunting to consider implementing a new tool such as a Guest Messaging platform or an Onsite Guest Solution, but in the long run, it can benefit your staff and guests.

Go back to basics.

Let’s think about some service fundamentals that never go out of style. Making eye contact, offering a smile, and making a connection with your guest is remarkable and memorable. Find something you may have in common with them. If you see them around the property during their stay, greet them by name. This might seem counterintuitive to the aforementioned point about less face-to-face interaction, but you can’t avoid your guests all together. If you think about a past experience where the service was excellent, what comes to mind? Was the person warm and human and did they go above and beyond to make your experience the best it could be? Was there an issue and someone stepped up and made it right? Did they remember your name or make a special occasion even more special? Even if things are a little hectic, you can still offer a positive experience that will keep them coming back again and again. 

The hospitality industry has evolved and we’ve had to quickly adapt to the changes. It’s been quite a challenge to adhere to new standards and keep guests feeling safe and secure. As travel resumes, hotel staff will feel the pressure, especially if your team is shorthanded. Being transparent with your guests, embracing technology, and providing a genuine human experience may be the key to providing your guests with a positive experience even with less hotel staff. 

Kelly Johnson

Kelly has been a passionate marketer in the software space for over a decade. Being immersed in the hospitality industry has sparked her love of travel and a keen eye for excellent service. Maybe someday she’ll travel abroad and blog about it along the way.

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