India is growing by leaps and bounds. We have always been a major contributor in development of cutting edge technology at least in the IT for very long period now. But there is a shift now. Earlier we were exporting technology, now we export and consume technology together. Technology is everywhere now, from booking of train tickets to managing schedules everything is done online. Needless to say that this evolutionary phase would hit the Indian integrated facility management scene too, or if you ask us it has already hit the Indian IFM scene.
One of the greatest example is the changes the technology is making in the Indian hospitality sector.
Hotel operators are constantly on lookout to attract and retain hotel guests by enhancing their on-site experience with technology-based amenities to maximize guest experience. As a result, the hospitality industry is investing in a number of upgrades.
The scene is shifting completely for the hotels in India. Room bookings are being done online and guests expect and demand more and more from what hotels have to offer. Needless to say that the housekeeping services and IFM staff will always be in the center of providing superior services storm. Hotels are adapting new software and mobile based apps for delivering a more efficient and satisfying service to their clients. However the question is whether the housekeeping and IFM staff is ok with it?, Are they accepting and embracing the change as they should.
A recent article published in ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer’ stated how a mobile app is making a housekeeper’s job hard. The housekeepers at the city’s biggest hotel, Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, were handed out an iPod with a featured app installed in it. ‘It was supposed to make their job easy’, said the superiors, ‘but made it hard instead’, responded the housekeepers.
Housekeeping is not an easy feat. It is tiring and errors in service delivery are completely unforgiving. Apart from this the housekeepers are well trained people. They train for years to achieve the perfection, hence this also creates a set rules in their minds. They are more comfortable with pen and paper format of things and in India providing them with anything digital is often met with resistance.
The problem with mobile apps is that their human counterparts or the housekeeping team has to run all day from here to there. Apps are smart they are designed to make things super efficient and they do so perfectly well. Using the latest technology they report every customers housekeeping issues instantly and automatically assign it to the housekeeper. This makes his job very efficient but also puts additional pressure of delivering quick services. Here a time lag cannot be tolerated as the mobile app has already raised the expectations of the person requesting a housekeepers assistance.
In a hospitality business, response matters the most – and that too without compromising on quality. Imagine a situation where a hotel room just gets vacated at the eleventh hour and you have another guest waiting to get the keys. It may take your housekeeping staff anywhere from 30-90 minutes to bring everything in order.
Aval Sethi, Founder & Chief Executive, Protaiga
As you can see above, housekeeping operations are very time sensitive. Imagine a big property like Taj or Marriott, can they afford to ask their customers/guests to wait as the room is not ready yet. This is one big issue, which is now being taken care of by using mobile apps and smart technology. As soon as a room is vacated the housekeeping staff knows of it and would be there asap to make things proper for the next guest.
Earlier maintaining such efficiency meant having an army of housekeepers at your disposal. This would make sense during the peak season but would be a burden in off seasons. The smart mobile app technology is really making man management pretty efficient. So one would need less number of people for accomplishing a large set of jobs.
Resistance to technology and change is very natural, however the professional housekeepers should realise that it is going to make them more efficient. With less number of people doing large amount of works the chances of professional growth for housekeeping staff also increases.All in all the technology is there for good and will do good.