Limiting the Loss: How Asian Hotels Can Address the Brain Drain.
By Rachel Grier, Managing Director APAC for IDeaS
Tuesday, 15th December 2015

Exclusive Feature: In today’s increasingly complex regional hotel landscape, it is no longer sufficient to have advanced operational technologies and strategies in place to solely assist with revenue generation.

More than ever before, properly trained and engaged staff are critical to a hotel’s ongoing success. While the hotel industry recognises and understands the importance of attracting and retaining high quality talent, hoteliers across Asia still struggle to keep hold of their workers, causing a detriment to their business.

Deloitte’s 2015 Hospitality Report indicates that hospitality turnover rates are “nearly twice the average rate for all other sectors,” and asserts that “companies need to rethink their operating model to effectively execute business talent strategy.” The report also shows that 52% of the true cost of turnover is due to productivity losses, while 14% is related to orientations and training.

The effect of losing a valuable member of a hotel’s wider sales or marketing team can have a prolonged and negative impact on the financial viability of the organisation. Revenue managers and members of the wider sales team are highly skilled and trusted people that play an important role in the overall functioning of a hotel and can ultimately drive or dive relationships with a hotel’s clients and guests.

Nurture talent and limit the loss

To help prevent a scenario whereby a highly valued member of a hotel revenue management team becomes dissatisfied and moves to another organisation, it is vital that hotels implement an overall staff engagement strategy beginning when an employee first starts with a company.

Many individuals within the revenue management and sales teams play an important role in designing and implementing different pricing decisions and strategies that chart the pricing and revenue outcomes for their hotel.

Continuing to engage a revenue or sales professional in the overall commercial planning and direction is a key element in their career growth, and it is likely that their in-depth experience with not only their current property, but also with their previous properties, will provide high value insights and alternative approach methodology.

Revenue management personnel should be provided with ongoing guidance and support to help meet their own personal and team sales goals, as well as the opportunity to review the tools that enable them to do so. Sales and revenue working in collaboration to formulate the recipe for business success can lead to an increase in worker morale and an improvement in overall levels of staff retention. The ongoing financial viability of a hotel can often be decided by how pricing decisions are implemented and embraced by various staff members. To ensure this process is done with as much preparation as possible, hotels need to invest in the staff, processes and tools that drive these decisions.

A report in the Harvard Business Review highlighted how Starwood approaches the potentially complex issue of ensuring that their organisation’s high-achievers and most talented staff are being put to best use and are constantly engaged. Starwood seeks out those talented staff members and gives them real projects and access to top management in order to “test people with live ammunition.”

This means that the parent company of hotel chains such as Westin, W and the Sheraton lets innovators build and manage cross-functional teams to develop their projects and then present full-fledged sales and marketing plans to the company's top executives.

The role of technology in continuity strategies

The range of systems that an average sales, reservations or revenue team member touches in their role is extensive and includes reputation management, channel management, rate shopping, revenue management, sales and catering and property management systems. Ensuring that team members can use these systems properly and in line with a property’s standard operating procedures is a daunting, time consuming and costly part of the on-boarding process.

To address the lag time from starting a role to fulfilling a role’s responsibilities effectively, many hoteliers are turning to advanced hospitality learning technologies to drive change in their business’ continuity strategies.

Today’s automated hospitality technologies focus on improving system and employee interaction. These new technologies are able to push information to workers at the moment they need to perform an unfamiliar task. With near real-time access to information, these sophisticated learning platforms can transition away from teaching employees system specifics and instead focus on training them how to process information and solve business problems.

Automated hospitality technologies have advanced well past the point of providing handouts with screenshots and procedural steps. Learning platforms incorporate gamification, serve employees with real situations to work through and give the ability to practice solving these problems. This helps hotels retain and train their employees, which are both huge advantages in a high turnover industry such as hospitality.

Invest in intellectual capital

Looking forward, hotel owners and managers focused on winning the talent turnover war should ensure that their workplace is not only productive and profitable, but also involves the revenue and sales organisation in their tactics, tools and technologies in the short and long term.

For a hotel to effectively optimise their revenue on a continual basis, the right technology needs to be in place with the right staff and culture, which will only result from long term investment in intellectual capital. Only then will a hospitality organisation be able to effectively maximise their ongoing revenue capability.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

For more information, please visit www.ideas.com

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