Automation is the process of using technology to produce goods and services with minimal human intervention. Automation facilitates processes, streamlines procedures, and accelerates activities that used to be done by humans. In most cases, automating tasks leads to improved performance. However, some responsibilities need direct human intervention.
More and more, property management is moving toward being automated. The first question that arises when thinking about automating properties is what happens to humans involved? Will this automation make humans redundant? Let us discover various aspects of automation and see what may happen to humans.
Why Use Automation?
Automation is generally used to reduce human labor, save time, and decrease costs. AI (Artificial Intelligence) can do dangerous and repetitive tasks or works that humans cannot do, tasks that don’t need decision-making or activities that do not contain emotional involvement. Robots or AI can substitute humans in many jobs. There are numerous programs, applications, and software that can automate the processes and minimize human intervention. In some cases, the machine performs the task alone and removes the human labor. In some other instances, human works as the controller and checks the performance carried out by the machine.
Examples of Automation
Automation was considered to be a valuable part of industry and business. However, technology advancement has led to the penetration of automation in countless areas, including the following.
· Home automation: using both hardware and software technologies to control household appliances.
· Network automation: the process of automating the configuration and operations of a network.
· Office automation: using computers (also software and applications) to computerize office works.
· Test automation: transmitting data and codes automatically to quality assurance testing, using automation tools.
Automation and Property Management
Automating properties is a blessing for the hoteliers, the staff, and the guests. Why? Let’s see what changes automation can bring about in a property.
· Contactless check-in/ check-out means less and less involvement of the front desk staff.
· Using smart locks at the property is another example of automating the property that improves the guest experience. Keys and keycards are easy to get lost and make great inconvenience for the guest and the staff. But smart keys that work with smart locks ensure safety and streamline the guest experience. Smart solutions like Goki provide coded access to each room that is unique for each guest. It enables you to experience automated contactless check-in.
· Controlling the smart appliances in the room, e.g., lights, blinds, TV, AC, etc., increases guest personalization and leads to less dependency on the staff;
· Lots of managerial processes can be facilitated using automation. These Processes include managing budgets, maintaining financial and statistical records, planning maintenance work, events, and room bookings, handling customer complaints and queries, promoting and marketing the business, and many more.
· Real-time communication with the staff regarding various requests (do not disturb, housekeeping, laundry, and so on) via notifying the related staff without leaving the room;
· Optimized task management and scheduling to decrease staffing costs, and distribute workload evenly.
· When the property automation software integrates with a PMS, almost all operations (maintenance, management, customer service, housekeeping, guest experience, etc.) are connected to one another, and automation reaches its highest levels.
Goki helps you automate your property by providing smart locks, smart discs, hospitality OS, software, and apps.
Will Automation Make Us Redundant?
It is normal to think that if we are automating tasks, what will happen to the staff. Will it make them redundant? Well, the answer is a big NO! As a property owner, you need to keep your costs down, but you don’t want to make anyone lose their jobs. As the staff, you need to keep your job and cover your costs. It seems that there is no choice! Automation really helps keeping costs down, but human intervention is necessary. Automated tasks are the ones that do not need human labor, tasks like check-in, providing reports, calculating costs and prices, and alike.
However, by automating your property, you can define different tasks for the staff. The staff does not need to do these small routine tasks. Instead, they can be specialized in improving the guest experience. They can increase their knowledge, work on themselves and find new ways of serving the guests.
How to Improve the Staff after Automating the Property?
1. Using contactless check-in, the guests go directly to their rooms, and there won’t be long lines waiting at the front desk. So, the reception staff are not chained to the front desk and can be helpful in various spots.
2. By Real-time communication among the guests and the staff using the software or apps, they can interact more effectively, and the staff can dedicate more time to answer the guests' questions and requests. Before automating the property, the guests had to call the front desk (which would be busy most of the time), or they had to walk to the front desk and sometimes wait in lines to say what they wanted. But today, thanks to modern technologies, communication has become a lot faster, easier, and more efficient.
3. The staff who doesn’t do simple routine tasks like answering the phone, booking, and check-in, will work on updating themselves and being more knowledgeable to do the tasks that machines cannot do. The staff can be specialized in tasks that need high precision, decision-making, and emotional involvement. Examples include controlling the performance of the AI, troubleshooting, support, solving problems, handling complaints, focusing on emergencies not defined for the AI, communicating with the guests, realizing their needs better to provide more personalized services and suggestions. It’s no secret that happy staff can have a more positive influence on the guests and providing a good experience for the guests makes them come back to your property.
4. Business owners need to look ahead and plan for the future. Old procedures are costly, time-consuming, and energy-consuming. We need to optimize all our performance at our property. Automating properties will decrease staffing costs and energy consumption and will save time for both the guests and the staff.
5. Maybe the most useful advantage of automating properties is providing complete control over all procedures. The good thing is this complete control will not add to your current workload, but it will regulate whatever you do. Property automation tools integrate into your PMS and provide a centralized hub to control everything, including all devices in the building from a single interface, energy usage, scheduling and task management, staff and guest access. Most importantly, the guests will achieve more personalized stays and, at the same time, you'll have ensured security, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
Automation is the Key
Working on improving the guest experience doesn’t necessarily mean hiring more staff. We need to work smarter, not harder. The staff empowered with automation, high-tech tools, and updated knowledge can complete the automation we use at the property. The properties equipped with automation and smart staff can move toward the future more efficiently. Since the smart staff is happier with what they do because it is facilitated and accelerated, they can improve the guest experience, leading to more revenue!