Mobility Equals Flexible Ops: Hotel Purchasing & Inventory from Anywhere

By Fourth|Sep 9, 2021|7:00 am CDT

Amid the tumult of a chaotic global hotel market, brands of all sizes are reckoning with myriad unexpected factors — worldwide supply chain disruptions resulting in temporary inflation, nationwide labor shortages confining operations, and regional lingering restrictions limiting growth — each making the global recovery slower than expected.

As a result, hoteliers have had to reimagine how they do business. With operators expected to get more done with fewer resources and skeleton crews, knowing how mobile tech solutions can enhance operations while simultaneously minimizing costs can be the difference in an increasingly competitive industry.

Labor Shortage: Are you Working with Fewer Hands?

The oft-cited national labor shortage has extended to the hotel and resorts industries, straining bandwidth for the employed and forcing operators to pick up additional responsibilities. This can lead to inefficient operations, sacrificed offerings, and dangerous employee burnout.

With a reduced labor pool to choose from, hiring operators have found themselves in stiff competition with rivals for recruits — which has often resulted in raising wages or adding additional benefits and perks that ultimately cut into the bottom line. Recently, hoteliers have trended toward using gig workers to temporarily fill the hiring scarcity, a move that provides temporary stability but creates its own challenges.

Since gig workers typically don’t receive benefits, they demand higher-than-average wages, which can drive up short-term labor costs for the same work output in a time where hoteliers are trying to stretch every dollar possible. Total labor costs per available room in North America came in at $47.17 in June, which is $17 higher than at the same time a year ago.

To get new workers — whether part- or full-time — up to full efficiency, department heads and team leaders need to devote proper time and resources to train. There simply isn’t time for that when everyone is taking on twice the workload, especially when much of the work is done onsite. If employees are improperly trained and expected to take on more responsibilities than normal, you can expect burnout and increased turnover.

All this to say, even if your teams can get past the labor shortage, they may not have the time or resources to maximally utilize labor — an effect that keeps profits in limbo.

Fierce Competition: Major Brands Consolidating and Expanding

COVID’s main throughline across all industries is the large brands have used their resources to expand market share while the independent operators and medium-sized groups have had to pare down operations and focus on survival.

Marriott’s doubling of its all-inclusive Caribbean resorts earlier this year and Hyatt’s similar move to expand its presence in the Caribbean and Europe portend the direction the market is taking. With ferocious competition and changing customer expectations, creating, a well-connected staff through strategic mobile tech solutions becomes essential to coordinating unique and valuable guest experiences.

Limited Budgets: Slower-Than-Expected Recovery

Varying forms of lockdown restrictions are still in place across much of North America, cutting into consumer confidence and limiting revenues across the industry — making demand impossible to forecast. To augment some of the shortcomings listed above, many operators have embraced or upgraded tech to fill their gaps.

Whether in the front or back office, implementing the right tech can supplement what reduced staffs cannot to keep costs and waste to a minimum while maintaining brand standards and creating exceptional guest experiences.

With a growing trend of corporate and back-office support roles becoming increasingly remote for certain periods of the week, operators have an opportunity not really available before the pandemic. Adopting tech with mobile functionality allows your teams to operate anywhere without being chained down to an office or stock room. Keeping your teams in the loop with these mobile tech solutions keeps costs down, makes your operations more competitive, and reduces the likelihood of operator burnout.

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