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How Hotels Can Enhance Customer Experience Through Procurement Automation

Several housekeeping tasks can be improved with the help of technology. It is surprising to see that still most hotels, including the large ones, use devices like walky-talky to communicate with each other

Photo Credit : Subhabrata Das


Technology-led automation has been transforming pretty much every sector today, and hospitality sector is no exception. We can easily notice how easy and efficient it has become to plan travel, compare different options and make bookings in a few clicks. But that is just the beginning of the story.

I believe that there lies a huge room for bringing in automation in the several other aspects of the hotel operations.

Customer experience 
Customer experience sits in the heart of the hotel industry business. It is the single largest factor which determines the fate of a hotel.  Customers only prefer hotels where they get a good experience. Of course, it matters a lot how the staff receives them and how they are served.

While there is a great degree of human factor involved in this entire affair, technology and automation can be a great value-add in enabling the staff to deliver enhanced levels of customer experience.

It could be key to bring about a huge change right from room reservation and front desk operations to room service and billing. Tech-enabled automated check-in and check-out, for instance, could rule out the need to stand in the queue or wait for the formalities to be done by staff. Just like to aviation services, a guest could book the room of his choice and make online reservations effortlessly.

Why not provide the guest with a mobile app which he could download during his stay in the hotel, and use it to avail of all the necessary services through a single integrated platform? The app could have all the details about the room service; facilities such as gym, swimming pool, spa or any such services; local travel guide; and other value-added services which a guest may be interested in. The app could also become a tool not only to provide seamless services to the client but also to engage him with the hotel brand and provide him with some loyalty benefits too for continuing with the hotel in the future.

Automating housekeeping and procurement processes 
Housekeeping is perhaps the function which is least impacted by the technological revolution. It is a core activity that can make or break a hotel's business. However, it is mainly dependent on human-led processes and style of work. It is estimated that on an average a housekeeping personnel does anywhere from 15-30 tasks on a daily basis.

It is natural to have a drop in productivity when a staff works on the same stuff over a long period of time, and it is not that easy to quantify the dips.

In my view, several housekeeping tasks can be improved with the help of technology. It is surprising to see that still most hotels, including the large ones, use devices like walky-talky to communicate with each other. So typically the housekeeping staff starts with cleaning and replenishing the room one by one at each floor. They carry a paper checklist and make sure each activity is performed. This can be easily done with the use of a mobile app. The staff just needs to check all that needs to be done in the room, change the status and update their online account so that their supervisor and management is updated in real time.  

There is another significant angle to using technology in housekeeping and that is procurement. When all the information about the supplies and consumption is updated in an online system, it automatically updates the inventory. The procurement team, therefore, does not have to face the challenge of tracking and updating their inventory in hand. They can easily take stock of the situation and place orders for new materials without hassles that are otherwise usual in manual processes.

Last but not the least, this all could help save the environment, reducing the usage of paper by several notches.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
Procurement Automation

Aval Sethi

The author is Chief Executive, Protaiga

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