Tech for Gen Z and boomers

05 July 2022
Many hotels around the world have a problem finding the people they need when guests are coming back. It will take several years and require investments in training, new processes, and technology. There are people available for hotels among Gen Z and boomers.
The hospitality industry is struggling to find people for all available positions. At HITEC 2022 in Orlando, keynote speaker Cheryl Chan predicted that the worker shortage would be here until 2030. How we work started to change before covid, so covid just accelerated trends already there. People got their life back and could use their time more effectively than by spending hours commuting to and from work. All of a sudden, the work-life balance improved significantly. At the same time, productivity improved, and things got done faster and more accurately. The world went from time-based performance (show up in the office and stay there for hours) to an outcome-based version (deliver outcome instead of time). Today, it is more about what results and how quickly we can provide them, which means we need to focus on what matters instead of just being present in a specific place.

Hotels are place-specific

Hotels are, however, place-specific. In most jobs in hotels, people perform the job on the premises. Only a few roles, such as accounting and some commercial roles, can probably perform the job remotely. Therefore, hotels need people to be present, and suddenly there is a worker shortage. People who left the industry during the pandemic will never come back. Instead, hotels need to embrace the current trends to find new people.

Gen Z and boomers

The first category of potential recruits are young people, millennials, and Gen Z. If they are under 35 years old, they are digital natives. They expect that the workplace uses the latest technology and tools. If not, they will prefer to work in other industries that have already automated mundane manual tasks and use their team members for jobs that need unique human skills.
 
The second category is older adults, boomers that want to work a few more years. They are all analog natives and expect that the hotel uses technology that is easy to learn and use. If not, they cannot re-enter the workforce unless they have roles without the need for technology.

Potential solutions

Old legacy hospitality technology is not helping hotels quickly onboard Gen Z and boomers. They might even be turned off by the technology and look for other jobs. The challenge is to find and implement new technology. Here are a couple of suggestions for solutions.

Move the job to the guest

Many consumer-facing industries have successfully moved part of the job to the consumer. For example, banks let customers make all sorts of transactions by themselves on the internet or on smartphones. Airlines allow you to check in and tag your bags. Food stores let you scan your items, etc. The check-in process in most hotels is the same as it was hundred years ago. If hotels can do the same trick as banks, airlines, food stores, and many other businesses, the need for people will decrease. The most exciting part is that the consumer will see this as a service improvement and become more satisfied.
 
Hotels need new technology, and a few hotel chains are well on their way with smartphone apps with excellent functionality.

Automate mundane jobs

If the hotel moves all possible jobs to the guest, a few jobs will remain that need human intelligence and skills. These jobs, such as collecting data, writing reports, forecasting, vacuuming, cooking, and many others, can be automated to elevate human intelligence to focus on tasks that hotels cannot yet automate.
 
Hotels need new technology and tools for this. Still, before the pandemic, hotels had no time to focus on productivity improvements back of the house since the guests kept coming and needed everyone's attention. Now, it is time to clean up behind the scene and make hotels more productive to increase profitability.