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In the wake of the COVID pandemic, hotel operators are facing intense pressure to mitigate rising labor costs while still providing exemplary customer service. While operators have always been sharply focused on labor costs as a line item on the expense report, the current economic climate will shape the way hotel companies build their teams for years to come.

Hospitality is an industry whose quality of guest experience hinges on “personal touch.” But after two years spent six feet apart, the definition of “personal touch” is being completely reconstructed.

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the hospitality industry has a major labor issue. Occupancy is roughly back to pre-pandemic levels, but a lot of the workers have not come back – and they don’t plan to. In the U.S. alone, the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employment in the accommodation sector is still 19% below its February 2020 level, or almost 400,000 jobs short. Many of my past blog topics have explored areas where technology can reduce the workload at hotels, and the feedback is that it often helps.

Think back to a time you went to see the doctor because of an issue. Do you recall the first thing the doctor did? Instead of going straight into surgery, they would first gather all the information about your case and then send you to get some tests done. 

If you are a hotel IT executive and your company operates identical technology portfolios at every hotel, then you can stop reading right now: this column is not for you. But this only describes independent hotels and a few brands that own and manage all their hotels within a limited geographic footprint. Omni, Loews, and some of the gaming hotel companies come to mind in North America. There are others elsewhere in the world, but it is unlikely that they account in total for more than a few percent of all non-independent hotels worldwide.



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The American sitcom “Cheers” is ranked as one of the most popular television shows in history. Over 11 seasons and 275 episodes from 1982 - 1993, millions tuned in each week to see the latest happenings at local Boston drinking establishment "Cheers" (although we Bostonians know the show actually showed the exterior of the Bull & Finch pub). And while the show was mainly centered around various romances, social issues, and the personal dilemmas of the cast, it was the friendship, camaraderie, and good-natured joviality of the staff and guests that created a welcoming atmosphere that kept audiences returning each week.

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