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Why hospitality industry leaders are focusing on employee engagement to enhance the guest experience

This week, hospitality industry leaders are gathering in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the world’s largest hospitality technology show, HITEC. It’s an exciting time for the tourism industry as technology transforms the way companies compete, operate, empower their employees, and serve their guests.

I’m especially energized by Microsoft’s opportunity to empower the people who are in the best position to represent hotel and travel brands with their customers—Firstline Workers. These are the employees behind the front desk, from the concierge who delivers a knowledgeable recommendation, to the committed staff working behind the scenes from check-in to check-out.

Transforming the Firstline Worker experience

By giving Firstline Workers modern tools that enable them to access information, stay connected, and communicate with coworkers in real-time, hospitality companies can create a more connected organization, and address guest needs on the spot.

Here are just a few ways hotels are integrating Microsoft solutions to improve the employee experience:

  • Using Microsoft Teams’ mobile-first capabilities, Firstline Workers can easily communicate, collaborate, and share best practices across the organization. Earlier this year, we announced new capabilities—including urgent messaging, location sharing, and image annotations—which enable hotels to act with agility, leading to a superior guest experience.

Image of three phones side by side showing Microsoft Teams in action. One phone shows a map, another an urgent alert, another a picture of a minifridge, with a can circled.

  • Using PowerApps and Shifts, organizations can digitize everyday activities—from repetitive and administrative to more personalized and role-specific tasks. For example, housekeepers use it to keep track of room tasks, helping reduce costs and freeing up time to focus on delighting guests.

Image of three phones showing PowerApps and Shifts. Two phones show analytics reports, the third a schedule in Shifts.

  • Using Microsoft Stream hotels can deliver dynamic, role-based content to increase engagement and retention of training programs—as well as support peer-to-peer information sharing.

Image of a laptop open displaying a video in Microsoft Teams.

Helping our customers succeed

Leading hotel brands, including Marriott International and Red Lions Hotel Corporation (RLH), are at the forefront of empowering their Firstline employees with digital communication and collaboration. In doing so, they’re building cultures of employee engagement, and meeting the needs of their guests in new ways.

Marriott recently selected Microsoft 365 to enhance productivity, collaboration, and workflows. Sales specialist Peter McDermott says, “In a world where guests demand answers, it’s more important than ever to connect with your teams… With Teams, whether my coworkers are across the hall or across the country, we can always stay connected to exceed customer expectations.”

RLH is also using Microsoft 365 to help accelerate innovation and enable new capabilities inside the company. The company has rolled out Teams to its entire workforce to make it easier for employees to connect with coworkers in other departments and streamline processes.

“The persistence of communication is what distinguishes the Teams solution. The style is somewhere in between, where IM might be too loose, and email, which is much more formal. It’s much more of a conversation; it’s much more efficient. We don’t have people saying where’s this or where’s that because they haven’t lost it in the noise of email,” says John Edwards, CIO for RLH Corporation.

Join us at the HITEC conference

This week, members of the Microsoft team will be at HITEC, the annual hospitality tech conference. Visit us at the Microsoft booth (#1634) and learn how Microsoft is enabling intelligent hospitality.

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