Dr. Cristian Grossmann, CEO and Co-Founder of Beekeeper, looks at the key trends you can expect in the luxury hospitality industry in 2020.

More operational communication

The UK hospitality industry has a historically high staff turnover rate. Because of this, the predicted labour shortages in the industry after Brexit (depending on subsequent new UK immigration laws) could cause big staffing issues for luxury hospitality businesses in 2020. With this in mind, investing in innovative ways to successfully manage and retain your luxury hotel’s frontline workers is more important than ever. That’s one of the reasons why in 2020 more luxury hotels are set to introduce a mobile, real-time operational communication platform.

An operational communication platform is essentially digital workplace software (accessible via mobile device or PC) that can help a luxury hospitality operator with all types of internal communication: peer-to-peer, top-down, and bottom-up communication.

It allows luxury hospitality operators to communicate directly with their frontline teams in real time, and streamline their internal processes to operate more efficiently. Real-time operational communication through internally-visible, digital communication channels ensures that high levels of transparency are maintained throughout a luxury hotel operator’s organisation.

Greater investment in recruitment and HR

Expect to see hotels invest heavily in recruitment in 2020. In an effort to fill open jobs, luxury hotels are going above and beyond simply posting a job online to find new employees. In 2020, there will be a rise in hospitality companies (including luxury hotels) recruiting employees through hospitality job fairs and hospitality-specific recruiting agencies, while at the same time offering more competitive pay and benefits to attract new talent.

Along with renewed efforts around recruitment, retaining employees through initiatives like digitising shift scheduling for hourly employees will prove to be just as important as attracting workers for luxury hotel brands in 2020. Using digital and mobile scheduling services saves time, minimises confusion, and makes it easy for employees to request time off or swap shifts. Being able to access schedules on demand and on-the-go leads to more agile, efficient, and productive team communication, and ultimately better access to work schedules can lead to enhanced work/life balance, which can make staff more likely to stay with their employer.

Also, as artificial intelligence takes on more company tasks, it will be up to HR departments in 2020 to ensure that their workforce is properly trained on the new tech.

Investing in risk management

More luxury hotels will invest in risk management in 2020. It has become an increasingly important priority for all hotels to have a robust crisis communications plan in place due to the ongoing threat of terrorist attacks and natural disasters like flooding.

If a company experiences a local natural disaster, has a PR crisis, or suspects that competition is about to launch a negative narrative, advanced internal communication methods are necessary. This is important both to ensure your staff members are informed and know what to do in the event of emergency, and can clearly and quickly advise customers on evacuation routes and other crisis contingencies.

Your guests will understand if there is an emergency beyond your control, it may cause them some inconvenience. However, they will still expect your whole team’s response to the situation to meet the high level of service and quality that comes as standard for luxury hotels.

Improving operational efficiency and tech stacks 

Automating processes throughout your luxury hospitality business can save money and increase efficiency for hotel management. Online reservation services, automated chatbots, inline translation functions, and mobile hotel check-in features are only a handful of examples of how hotels now depend on technology for their operations. In 2020 luxury hotels will continue to invest in mobile to enhance the guest experience and reduce operational friction, whilst they should also prepare for some big shake-ups to their hotel tech stacks.

Biometrics adoption has grown steadily in the past years with fingerprint scanning being the most popular use, and this trend will continue next year. However, although there are many industries that will eventually be dominated by Al, the hospitality industry isn’t likely to go full-automation in 2020, given the importance of the human element in hospitality interactions. So service with a smile will still count next year!

From reliable Wi-Fi networks to voice command technology and smart televisions in rooms, the latest technology has become non-negotiable for many guests staying at luxury hotels. They now expect connectivity and innovative gadgets in luxury hotels which exceed what they have at home. These guest-focussed digital features will continue to mature and grow in 2020, especially in luxury hotels, where guests expect the highest standards.

Dr. Cristian Grossmann is CEO and Co-Founder of Beekeeper. Beekeeper is an internal communications platform that helps hospitality companies like hotels streamline their operations and connect with their frontline employees.

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