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The first review of 2018: What we don’t want to experience in the hotel industry in the new year

Profile Photo By: Carsten Hennig
January 2, 2018

The first review of 2018: What we don’t want to experience in the hotel industry in the new year

An unseemly interjection by Carsten Hennig, managing editor of Hospitality Leaders

2018 was the year of disruptive innovations: Anything that could be overturned in tried and tested and old-fashioned business processes was mercilessly and mercilessly tried out again without a double net, even in the late forties (and even slower masterminds; -)). With consequences… What we don’t want to experience in the new year:

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Temporary staff of OTA
A market-leading booking portal from the Netherlands was the first to come up with this idea: If more and more hoteliers have already left the operation of their own website (for alibi direct booking) to the OTA, why not also intervene on site? In view of the ever-increasing recruiting problems – hiring new front office workers now takes three to six months! More and more hotels are using the reception staff of the new “B Suite Onsite” program and paying only after hours actually worked. Not to mention: guest data and guest ties are transferred to the temporary employment service provider on a flat-rate basis, which many hoteliers accept as a necessary evil.

Day-Use became popular time-use booking
A strongly growing low-budget hotel chain had this “sparkling” idea: The increasing demand for day-use led to the time-use booking of sleep times, which were billed by the hour – depending on the length of the sleep. Initially, it was possible to book mattress lessons in dormitories by the app; this was only granted to individuals but was repeatedly abused. Guests quickly changed to the much more successful swarming principle: Guests rented mattress sleeping/nights/days and rented them by the hour to stressed out late-check-in guests (who, for example, travelled on the completely overloaded low-cost carriers or the cheap train) and more party-oriented contempt sleepers. The hotel chain with the catchy nickname could in turn significantly increase its earnings with extra charges for bed linen change or M&M bedtime cake or 20 minutes of hot shower + extra hot bean coffee.

Home office for housekeeping
A crazy idea turned out to be an achievement that the trade union had defended tenaciously: A well-known hotel in a northern German city introduced home office hours for housekeeping employees. What was intended more as a PR gag for the much-derided employer branding and only yielded a few percentage points in terms of increasing efficiency and employee satisfaction – mainly remote control of the suction robots and remote maintenance of the ironing machine – was again bitterly defended by the bargaining partner when they wanted to end this pilot project again. The first national associations of the hoteliers’ associations have already included this labour reform in their collective bargaining. The house, in which everything had its disastrous beginning, no longer wants to be publicly associated with this “achievement”, which has completely overshot the mark.

Part-time service and new discounts for educating guests
Mothers are the focus of industry-wide efforts to recruit career changers. A new working model of a traditionally inventive hotelier went to school: mothers served in the service – max. 3.5 hours a day A-La-Carte Service in the restaurant; remaining time self-service from the buffet or vending machine, which was refilled by robotic arms – and during this time their children could know that they were being looked after in the hotel’s own kindergarten – often as a kibbutz concept operated jointly by several hotels. Guests were recruited as guardians and assistants, who achieved substantial discounts for Cost & Logis with one or two hours of “child labour”.

Job rotation for hotel managers – oh dear!
In theory, it all sounded so nice: in order to improve employee loyalty to the hotel and to familiarize managers with the challenges (and lowlands) of everyday work in the kitchen and basement, Job Rotating became the latest scream in the working world. Interestingly, a number of suitcase carriers replaced on the executive chair were able to master their new challenge surprisingly well. However, the quality of the directors’ work on the posts, e. g. as an assistant cook or in the floor service, left a lot to be desired in some places; more than 80 percent of them were lost after one or two hours of work with back problems and industrial accidents. The unanimous conclusion was more appreciation for the hard-working low-wage workers in the hotel – after all.

Facebook automates working time documentation
Already at the beginning of the year, it became clear that the permanent monitoring and forced communication of Facebook could no longer be prevented. Even during the service corridor, hotel staff were asked to give assessments when entering the kitchens and serving at the table. At the suggestion of a hotel visionary, this turned out to be a much-vaunted additional function: Each work process was automatically recorded by the app on the employee’s smartphone and could be exported at the end of the month with a click. Inaccuracies such as toilet visits or waiting times at the pass have been eliminated by a quick learning AI. This works out quite well on the whole: however, some employees complain about hearing loss because their app sounded an unstoppable, loud alarm when their working hours were permanently exceeded.

To be continued…

About the author: Carsten Hennig, born in 1970, allows himself satirically admonishing background reflections with his “unheard of heckling interjections”, which is always based on a true core; the only question is: which one? As a biting and constructive co-creative thinker and to his financial disadvantage as a non-corrupt rapporteur, he responds to whatever comments of any kind from his so far thankfully increasing number of readers. He refuses to accept e-mails (in any case) and is only available for serious abuses by messenger – on all common channels. 


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