In the recent past, the hospitality industry has seen a sea of change. One such area that has seen rapid improvements brought on by the growing use of technology is housekeeping. The long neglected department of housekeeping has been steadily adopting technology to increase efficiency, provide guests with a seamless experience and add to customer delight.
The largest costs in a hotel’s balance sheet is manpower. 40% of these manpower expenses are directly linked to housekeeping. Hotels are demanding technology based solutions that can enable them to reduce these costs and optimize manpower through innovative means.
Some of the technology leveraged by the housekeeping department has been iPads and smart phones with specific housekeeping applications, kiosk based stations and text message modules to address guests requests and grievances rapidly. Numerous housekeeping functions such as room cleaning, lost and found, supplies and inventory, accessing mini bar using telephones or kiosks and other mundane functions have been automated using smart housekeeping applications. Complaints from guests can be addressed faster through text messages, rather than through staff stationed at a desk. The constant endeavor is to provide guests with personalized service in the least possible time.
Challenges of Delivering Housekeeping Applications
With the demand for technology in housekeeping growing, hospitality software companies are constantly called upon to deliver better software offerings targeted at addressing real pain-points. R&D wings constantly interact with customers, locating issues and addressing them in newer product versions that are periodically launched.
Some of the requests for housekeeping departments include applications for tracking housekeeping maid cleaning time, floor- wise duty roster for cleaning schedules and comprehensive housekeeping console, which allows floor-wise, and user-wise performance tracking. This tracking is useful for guest supplies, laundry, room cleaning and housekeeping inventory information.
However, developing applications takes in-depth understanding of customer’s needs, investment in R&D and budgetary allocations for promotion. Not all companies except those like IDS NEXT with nearly two and a half decade of domain expertise can afford such investments where returns are not immediate.
Future Technology for Hospitality Segment
Till recently, hotels in Middle East were slow to leverage technology, but today, a growing number of hotels see the benefits of technology in housekeeping. With falling costs of technology, hoteliers are allocating higher percentages of their budgets to innovative vertical-specific applications. Hoteliers are also investing in technologies that can aid in guest retention, energy management, and staff optimization and increase average room rate.