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The Sharing Economy: How the Hospitality Industry Can Continue to Thrive in the 21st Century

Katie Ballantyne

VP, Product & Customer Experience at Cornerstone

With the new sharing economy, technology has enabled a new independent workforce of individuals willing to rent, or provide services at a rapid pace. You can now pick up a cell phone at the drop of a hat and order a ride or book a weekend in someone else’s apartment, causing increased disruption to traditional hospitality or retailer models. While this has added convenience to the lives of many everyday people, it continues to push businesses to quickly adapt to consumer’s needs and preferences - or become obsolete.

So what can hotels and resorts do to ensure they stay relevant in today’s economy, keep loyal customers, and attract new guests? Key strategies lie within robust talent management practices. Organizations must create an unforgettable guest experience by cultivating an engaged and enthusiastic workforce. By attracting, developing and retaining the best staff, hospitality organizations can ensure customers of all types have an exceptional experience they can count on.

Ensure leisure travelers have an experience they would recommend

Whether traveling on a long overdue family vacation or lounging by the pool– customer service is of the utmost importance to ensure a positive experience for all guests. In today’s sharing economy, one visit is no longer just one visit, as reviews can live online indefinitely. A customer is nearly 2x more likely to share their poor experience over a good one yet, a positive recommendation is most likely to get a consumer to try a new company, over a promotion, sale, or even brand reputation (Note1). Never has been "getting it right" more vital. To do so, organizations need a recruiting strategy that helps you find, evaluate and hire the right people that are willing to go the extra mile for your guests.

Keep business travelers loyal with consistency and convenience

The life of a road warrior can be stressful and unfamiliar. Providing business travelers with a consistent and comfortable experience allows them to focus on getting the job done. Hiring the right employees and training them to meet the needs of the business traveler is critical in capturing this repeat business. Regular onboarding practices, ongoing staff training, and structured employee performance measurement are instrumental talent management strategies which help promote consistency and maintain your brand’s expectation of quality across establishments and franchises.

Drive financial success with operational efficiency

Now, more than ever, efficiency has become the key word in the hotel industry. As revenues are impacted, employees are required to wear multiple hats and juggle more tasks than ever. Cross-training employees not only helps organizations to operate in a lean manner, but also aids in managing staff shortages or peak-season demand. Companies that utilize e-learning tools see up to 50% higher productivity andfor every $1 spent, an estimated $30 worth of productivity is received (Note 2). Clearly, investing in developing employees has huge ROI and is critical to driving operational excellence.

Creating a memorable experience for the leisure traveler, a consistent experience for the business traveler, and focusing on operational efficiency are three pivotal ways to ensure your organization’s longstanding success. While a sharing economy has shaken up the hospitality industry, hiring the right people and effectively developing and engaging them, remain the key components to succeeding in the changing world.

Visit us here for some additional ideas about how to cultivate exceptional customer experiences in today’s sharing economy.

Sources:

Note 1: http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2014x/2014-global-customer-se...

Note 2: https://elearningindustry.com/top-10-e-learning-statistics-for-2014-you-...

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