Managing Change Management in the Hospitality Industry

Guest blog written by Chris Fletcher, CEO & founder of Tech on Toast

The competitive world of hospitality involves understanding and embracing new technologies on a regular basis. Across the board, hotels, restaurants, travel services, and more have integrated powerful technologies to navigate change management – the ultimate goal being to streamline operations and improve guest experiences.

To manage the inevitable process of change management in the hospitality industry, strategic planning and clear communication are key. More than anything though, building a culture of adaptability when it comes to technology is of paramount importance. In the post-COVID period, many things have already changed dramatically.

The successful implementation of innovative technology like AI-powered CRM systems, feature-rich POS systems, and all sorts of mobile apps that follow market trends, analyse time, data and analytics, and improve operational efficiency is the only way to find success in today’s market.

So how do you fully embrace managing change management and new technology? We take a look at the best practices and strategies for your hospitality business to manage change effectively in the competitive and dynamic world of hospitality.

Technology in Change Management

Change Management in general involves applying and implementing tools, strategies, processes and principles for managing the state of your business. As you probably already know, the goal is to reduce resistance and improve the adoption of change in the ever-flexible hospitality landscape.

Today, a large part of change management is embracing new technologies. The idea is to make it easier for employees and colleagues to adopt new systems to significantly improve the overall experience for guests while ultimately boosting revenue.

When does technology change management fail?

According to the McKinsey Report, the success rate of digital transformations in tech-savvy industries does not exceed 26%. That’s pretty wild. So when do they fail and why? And how do you avoid it?

The truth is that those implementing the new technologies don’t exactly know what they’re doing. Often, this can be due to poor planning, bad communication, and a misunderstanding of the end goal.

When employees are more annoyed than excited by innovative technology designed to improve operations, something is wrong, and something needs to change.

The ultimate goal is to avoid heavy resistance to what’s ultimately meant to benefit you in the short and long term.

So what can you do?

Key Steps To Effective Change Management in Hospitality

Don’t rush in. Read over our tips below and make sure you’re ready to tackle change management and technology in your hospitality business.

Set Your Goals

First off, set your goals. As simple as it sounds, jumping into something without clearly defined goals is setting yourself up for failure. Yet, many continue to do it.

With change management, your goals probably lie somewhere along the lines of improving operational efficiency, boosting sales, or enhancing the customer experience.

Remember, change management is meant to make life easier for your employees too. When they understand this, they’re more willing to adapt and restructure how they currently work.

The age-old SMART method of setting goals is still applicable today. 

Always make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. That may sound like something you discovered on day one of Digital Marketing 101, but its importance should not be understated.

Research & Understand How New Technology Works

Before you implement new technologies, do the work so you fully understand it yourself. Request demos, training manuals, customer support assistance and more to make sure you understand every single function.

Your employees should be able to turn to you whenever they have a question about the new technology – so understanding it yourself is absolutely essential.

Incorporating too many new technologies at one time can hurt your operational efficiency. So make sure your employees are not overwhelmed and given enough support to thrive in a new space.

Lastly, adding technology that doesn’t align with guest preferences can reduce guest satisfaction. 

Always check reviews for new technologies from both customers and businesses. Remember, whether you’re in hotel management or running a cafe, embracing change management should lead to exceptional guest experiences.

Have Robust Training & Onboarding Programs

The best way to make sure your employees thrive is to provide robust training programs that give each employee the tools to succeed while embracing change management initiatives.

A good training program should address the new technologies or processes with a clear goal in mind. The program should incorporate a structured learning path that follows a step-by-step process for employees to review.

There should generally be interactive and engaging content that incorporates training sessions, gamification, assignments, and on-the-ground supervision.

It’s also a smart idea to assign employees mentors who already understand the new systems to help new employees learn and embrace the change.

Apply a Forward Thinking Mindset

A forward-thinking mindset refers to an approach to life and work that emphasises anticipation, innovation, and proactive behaviour to prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

A visionary outlook that focuses on your goals, steps to achieve them, and new challenges that may come forth all form part of a forward-thinking mindset. A proactive attitude with an openness to change is also key.

A forward-thinking mindset involves cultivating adaptability and innovation in the workplace. When both you and your employees are open to feedback and develop a sense of resilience to setbacks and uncertainty, you can thrive in the hospitality space.

Clearly Define Your Strategy

Outline the scope of the change and the resources required, including time, budget, and personnel. The smart move is to create a timeline with key milestones and deliverables to track your progress.

Do a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats before you dive into implementing change management processes and technologies.

Key to any strategic plan is understanding the existing market conditions and trends.

Set KPIs, assign tasks, and continuously monitor how you’re employees are embracing the change as you begin to implement your strategy.

You’ll also need to be sufficiently prepared for potential challenges and issues that may arise. Nothing in life is a perfectly smooth process, so make sure you’ve considered all potential outcomes and disruptions with contingency plans in place.

Use Data-Driven Tools

Utilising data-driven tools is incredibly useful when it comes to managing and navigating change management.

First and foremost, you can use the key data to identify areas in your hospitality business that require change by analysing performance metrics, employee feedback, customer satisfaction scores, market trends, competitor processes, and more.

With historical data, you can use predictive analytics to forecast potential challenges and outcomes associated with change initiatives, allowing you to plan proactively and fully embrace the change process.

In the marketing landscape, data provides valuable insights that help you make informed changes which ultimately leads to improved guest experiences and smoother day-to-day operations. 

Manage & Meet Guest Expectations

When going through the process of change management, understanding your guest’s expectations is pivotal to the successful implementation of new technologies.

The most obvious way to fully understand what your customers want is to take guest feedback seriously. As an owner or manager in the hospitality space, you’re dealing with constantly evolving guest expectations.

Another way to understand what guests want is to look at how your successful competitors are operating. You should also perform thorough market research to identify trends and other key factors.

Lastly – make sure your guests are informed about new changes beforehand. People don’t tend to enjoy sudden and unexpected changes when it comes to hospitality, so make sure they are not unpleasantly surprised.

Strike a Balance

As with everything in life, don’t try to do too much too quickly. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your employees with unnecessary and overcomplicated technology.

It can be difficult encouraging employees to embrace new technology when you haven’t overseen a smooth transition or provided them with the necessary resources and time to navigate through the change management.

The hospitality industry is competitive enough as it is, and too much change at once can discourage your existing customers from wanting to return. As such, finding the right balance is key.

Powerful Hospitality Tools for 2024

Today, there are thousands of hospitality tools and platforms on the market, from free CRM systems to expansive inventory management systems. Let’s briefly run through what each system offers. 

Powerful hospitality tools for 2024

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, knowing the different systems on the market can help you make informed decisions going forward.

CRM Systems

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM systems are software platforms designed to help your business manage interactions with current and potential customers. 

These systems typically centralise customer data, automate certain tasks, and provide tools for sales, marketing, and customer support teams to better engage with customers – making it a powerful and necessary tool for improving guest satisfaction.

POS Systems

POS stands for Point of Sale. A POS system is essentially the place where a transaction is completed. It comprises hardware and software components that allow you to process customer payments and streamline various operations such as inventory management, sales tracking, and reporting.

PM Systems

Property Management Systems (PMS) are software platforms designed to facilitate the management of properties, typically used by hotels, resorts, vacation rentals, and other hospitality businesses. 

These systems streamline various tasks involved in property management, including reservations, guest check-in and check-out, room assignment, billing and invoicing, housekeeping management, maintenance scheduling, and reporting.

HR Systems

HR systems, or Human Resources systems, are software platforms or tools designed to streamline and automate various HR processes within your organisation. 

These systems are used to manage employee data, streamline recruitment processes, administer benefits, track employee performance, facilitate training and development, and ensure compliance with labour regulations.

Revenue Management Systems

Revenue Management Systems (RMS) are software tools or platforms used by hospitality businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, to optimise pricing and maximise revenue. 

These systems use various algorithms, data analysis techniques, and forecasting models to determine the most profitable pricing strategy for your products or services based on factors such as demand, market conditions, competitor pricing, and customer behaviour.

Final Word

Navigating change in the hospitality industry, particularly concerning technological advancements, demands a proactive and adaptive approach. Learning to embrace innovation while prioritising the human element is crucial for success. 

By fostering a culture of continuous learning, open communication, and collaboration, your hospitality business can effectively integrate technology into operations, enhance guest experiences, address guest needs, and stay ahead in an always-evolving market.

The best method to assess your existing tech stack is to get a tech stack audit from Tech on Toast. 

Implementing change not as a challenge, but as an opportunity, enables your hospitality business to thrive in the hospitality industry, guaranteeing sustained growth and relevance in the ever-changing digital age.

Hear from Conor Sheridan, Nory CEO on the Tech on Toast podcast.

Here Chris and Conor discuss the the challenges of scaling up a restaurant, the importance of data-driven decision-making, and how Nory is helping businesses of all sizes stay on top of their game. 🌟

Watch the full podcast
Conor Sheridan, CEO of Nory featured on the Tech on Toast podcast.