Hospitality Training: Don't Lose the Personal Touch

Hospitality Training: Don't Lose the Personal Touch

Kiosks for check-in. Mobile hotel keys. Tablets for tableside ordering. Table tracking devices for food delivery. These are a few of the innovations in hospitality technology improving the customer experience and removing the human element. So, what about the guests who are not comfortable with technology (like my mom)? Or when the wifi and technology is down? Or the hotel and restaurant chains without these innovations? Your employees will be there to make the difference for your guests and it’s your responsibility to train them.

The flip side to the technology efficiencies is a labor shortage in certain areas of hospitality. Successful restaurants are closing around the country due to shortages of wait staff, line cooks, dishwashers, etc. (I won’t get political in this post but the changes around undocumented workers are also adding to this challenge.) Businesses are changing how they treat employees and offering creative benefits to attract and retain the talent.

In a recent New York Times article, a restaurant owner was quoted: “We don’t win them over with a paycheck. Pay is important, but of more importance is respect and admiration and learning. If people feel like they are learning, they are more apt to stay.”

The national hotel and restaurant chains have large training departments that are well prepared to handle the training challenges of today. The hospitality training courses from HSI are perfect for the smaller and medium-sized companies with the same training needs but much smaller teams. Our videos provide a solid foundation for the basic skills in areas like front and back of the house, bartending, front desk, housekeeping and valet.

As with any job, it is difficult to transition to a new department without experience. If a host wants to become a server or bartender, they can take our courses to gain a basic knowledge of their desired position. The mobile access and microlearning format make it easier for employees to access training when and where they want. It also supports cross-training for more efficiencies in the dining room, kitchen, guest rooms, etc.

Hospitality training can support employee retention and improve morale, but ultimately the goal is to provide a positive guest experience, drive repeat visits and positive online reviews. No business can ignore the technology in the hands of their customers: Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google Reviews and social media in general.

A poor decision by a manager to call the authorities on a group of men who appeared to be loitering cost Starbucks millions in lost business when they shut down for diversity training and an immeasurable amount of damage to their brand. This event started via a cell phone video by a fellow customer. Technology allows customers to hold brands accountable for their behavior: good and bad.

You know that one day of diversity training is not enough to fix the issue. It’s an ongoing conversation and a culture change. I am going out on a limb and guessing that Starbucks employees could use regular training on harassment, discrimination and safety, not just diversity. And by regular I mean reminders in team meetings, follow-up quizzes and exams, and language from senior management that supports the culture.

You see that training hospitality employees needs to reach beyond greeting guests, clearing tables and cleaning rooms. They are your brand ambassadors. They are the frontline to the customers giving you their money that keeps you in business!

But they are on their feet in perpetual motion. How do you find the time and place to train them? The good news is that when you purchase training content from HSI, you get our modern, mobile learning management system (HSI LMS) for free! Your team can access our content via their phone or tablet 365/24/7.

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