To ensure business innovation within your hotel, it is essential to train staff to their maximum capacity so they understand how process transformation will optimize operational management during their work day and enhance the overall quality of service.
If the employees of your organization are not familiar with the concepts of innovation and management of new technologies to enhance your product or service, you cannot make the most of the benefits of automation because the human factor has not yet been oriented to the new work dynamic. The challenge is to get people to accept the change in a natural and progressive way, and to understand that there are better ways of doing things than what was learned 10 years ago or more. The key here is re-learning what was learned.
Amongst your employees, there will be a group that will buy into the idea right away because they will prefer personal and professional growth to losing their job. There will be another group that will radically oppose it because they fear being replaced by technology. And there will be another group, which stays in the middle, giving the impression of acceptance of the new methods but not executing them completely, and on the contrary, silently sabotages the change. It’s with this latter group that hotel and business owners could be trapped in a dead end, and lose confidence in both the technology and their employees. The solution is to focus on developing the capabilities of managers and staff through the training and reinforcement of the following aspects:
- Prepare for The Management of Change: Every change brings fear, uncertainty and doubts. Everyone doesn’t handle leaving their comfort zone in the same way. The way to overcome these fears is to become aware of them, talking as a team of the virtues and risks of not adapting to changes in time, discussing the different scenarios and variables, and taking into account your team members’ opinions and feedback about the change process.
- Prepare a Change Plan: all changes require detailed planning to ensure their effectiveness and follow-up over time. Many of the changes fail because they are not planned in advance, taking into account their impact and necessary to achieve the change. The Change Plan must include: objectives, responsible people, delivery dates (deadlines), needs or tools required for execution, financial resources or budget.
- Flexible Mental Models: Any effective change in an organization is first a change in the mentality of its people, that is, an update in workflow behaviors. Welcoming diversity and instability is a condition to encourage innovation and creativity. As a basic principle, respond well and in time to changes in the market, and look for sustainable changes as a strategic focus. Promoting these ‘flexible mental models’ in our work teams is key in initiating new challenges with more openness.
- Communication and Teamwork: The resistance to change is reduced, and greater adaptation is achieved, when the teams are well communicated and follow a plan to adapt to digitalization and process automation in order to adopt the new vision of company culture.
- Leadership: It is vitally important that there be good leadership, that it be participatory and consistent with the actions to be taken in the process of change, and that it transmits confidence. It is also important that the new processes to be implemented are flexible and susceptible to future improvements.
We are in the presence of a digital age that advances very quickly; resisting the changes that it entails is not an intelligent decision if we want to continue to exist in the industry. But how we incorporate it is what will make this process a successful, or unsuccessful path. Technology should not replace or diminish the humanization of our services—that ability that people have to transmit, through human contact and their emotions, the brand they represent. That is the experience that will genuinely win over our customers, and in this process, technology can be your ally.
Ana María Pittaluga
Hotel consultant, founding entrepreneur of AMP Hotel Consulting and mentor, with more than 20 years of experience in the tourism and hotel sector, leading business innovation and business development plans in Latin America and Europe.