When talking about robotic automation, the first thing that comes to mind will be machine check-in or automated room service. Little moving robots bringing club sandwiches and breakfasts from the kitchen to the rooms, just like Wally at the Residence Inn by Marriott on Century Boulevard.
Customer facing automation not only is a novelty and might draw curious customers in, the main relevancy here is to create efficiencies. Meaning that hotel operators are able to offer a better experience to the customer at lower cost. Where room service wasn’t offered to the guest it can now become cost efficient and be reintroduced into the hotel operation.
The upsides of robots? Better customer service and increased efficiencies, ultimately resulting in more money on the table. Wouldn’t it be great to apply the same principle to the commercial office functions? Don’t think it’s applicable? No customer contact? No tasks that can be automated? Think again!
We all know the pressures of deadlines and internal stakeholders, our internal customers. And we’d be foolish to think that all our day’s work requires 100% human brain power.
Does any of these sound familiar to you?
– Loading 5,000 reservations from one property management system to a new chain property management system when converting to a different brand. Working from one screen to the other and losing track of which line items has already been transferred.
– Manually routing group leads to different account managers and keeping track of post-event reports.
– Downloading refreshed data from the Central reservation system every day for accurate forecasting in your excel tool
Once you start looking at your work process through these eyes, you will find that the opportunities for efficiency increases are endless.
Real Life Example: Revenue Reports
Take reports for hotel forecasting for example.
Instead of waiting for the managers to come in every morning and manually start downloading data based on today’s date, trigger the data to be downloaded automatically every day at the same time. And since this doesn’t need manual interference this can be done early in the morning or in the middle of the night so all data is refreshed and available when the agents come to work in the morning. Take it a step further and remove manual reformatting of downloaded data to fit a specific excel report from the managers to do list. Maybe you are even working with two systems and pull information from one and enter it into another once a week. Teach a computer to do this on its own and you free up a few hours every week.
What does this mean on the bottom line? 1 hour saved for every revenue manager every day and faster response time from the managers to the hotel which means higher satisfaction with the revenue consulting service.
This is just one of many examples where automation can increase efficiencies and service levels. The benefits are massive.
This is what spotting automation opportunities can do for you
Automation can also step in where otherwise big system overhauls would be needed in order for different systems to talk to each other. Opting for automated data transfer instead of architectural changes keeps you flexible and offers a faster solution than months-long system transfers.
The opportunity is there. It may not seem obvious as we are used to a certain way of thinking. But once making a shift and understanding where the opportunities are, they really appear everywhere.