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Staff replacement with technology. Image source.

Will technology replace staff in the future? 

Regardless of the COVID-19 spread, numerous businesses have started replacing staff doing manual work with robots. For example, some hotels or restaurants install robots to supplant receptionists and waiters in the hospitality industry. However, is this a positive development, or will technology be a force to be reckoned with in determining the fates of hotelier employees? 

Technology can reduce manual work for staff

Technology is one of the greatest assets when it comes to handling manual work. Some of the manual work might include: 

Contactless check-in process

Nowadays, guests do not have to wait in the hotel lobby for the receptionists to process their check-in procedure. Instead of managing guests, the hotels can let the guests automatically check-in by themselves. Hotels display check-in tablets so that the guests can scan their QR codes or necessary documents. This is an excellent alternative for waiting for the receptionists to quicken the check-in procedure. By putting tablets at the reception, hotels can expect the system to operate smoothly. Besides, this can save much time for both guests and staff. 

Contactless check-in using tablets. PINN Hotel in Sapporo, Hokkaido. 

Managing different channels 

Some hotels have installed systems for updating rates and inventory to avoid losses. However, Hospitality Net reveals that these losses can happen from overbooking when the demand for traveling surges. We can notice this issue during the peak of the vacation period, where hotels have fully booked rooms, and they cannot manually organize. Instead of manually putting guests in available date and room slots, hotel staff can instantly get it done with automatic channel management. 

Some channel managers such as Cloudbeds (myallocator). 
See more about Channel Manager at AirHost here

The downsides of technological gadgets in hotels 

While technology is a great friend to hoteliers, it is associated with some concerns: Increasing employee unemployment rate and unfavorable customer reception. 

Employee unemployment rates might get worse 

In the general landscape, when automation dominates, the unemployment rate will increase. Nowadays, technological devices can carry out tasks that humans could do in the manufacturing sector. In chain production, to cut down the costs of the workforce, companies invest in cutting-edge technology to increase efficiency. However, according to Forbes, automation will replace 85 million jobs by 2025.

Technology might supplant humans in some economic sectors. Image source: The Conversation. 

With the proliferation of auto check-in and check-out technology, AI robots will potentially replace hotel staff. However, with this ever-increasing pace of technological developments, soon, automation will replace all the hotel staff. Hotels can install a system that tracks the faulty/malfunctioned facilities, and they can automatically fix the system without the help of technicians.

Technology can hardly replace human interactions 

According to Liu and Hung (2021), customers’ and hoteliers’ perceptions depend on whether traditional human services surpass technology. For example, traveling with friends or significant others was shown to encourage self-service technologies since a sense of accompanying can help alleviate technological anxiety. However, when it comes to traveling alone, human interactions will be absent. 

Lastly, hotels operated on technology mainly dedicated to technology-savvy. When it comes to senior travelers, they might not get used to these advanced devices. The core value of the hospitality industry is human interaction. If technologies strip away communication among humans, the meaning will somehow be lost. Therefore, staff still play a crucial role in assisting these demographics. 

What will the future be for hotel staff? 

The future of hotel staff might still be certain. Image source: SiteMinder.

Just a reminder: we do not intend to worry anyone here. While technology is undeniably incredible, nothing can replace the feeling of human connection. The hospitality industry primarily operates on human contact. But, if we cut down all the human interactions and replace them with technology, the guest experience will be dampened. 

Smart AI can offer excellent service. But when it comes to meeting the customers’ needs by analyzing their facial expressions, staff still exceed. Not to mention, implementing technological gadgets can be costly, especially multifunctional robots. Therefore, hotel staff is still an essential part of maintaining hotel operations. 

Written by AirHost Marketing Team

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