How digital learning is helping hospitality deliver better customer experiences
Hospitality is back in business with customer numbers growing. It’s an intensely competitive industry with everyone looking to gain an edge. That means delivering a great experience for customers and having them coming back for more.
The hospitality sector is growing again
In 2023 the value of the hospitality sector in the UK has been estimated at more than £20 billion. On the surface then, the hospitality industry is going from strength to strength and bouncing back strongly after the COVID-19 crisis. But dig a little deeper and you will find underlying issues that are still holding the sector back.
Recruitment and retention problems continue to dog hospitality
In 2022 the number of UK vacancies increased by 83% reflecting a shortfall of 170,000 jobs in hospitality. This is particularly acute for an area that has a built-in high turnover rate – up to 30% annually or twice the national average – with large numbers of casual, temporary, and seasonal workers. At the same time firms are facing a large rise in operating costs arising from the cost of living crisis.
Customer expectations are on the rise
As customers return to hospitality, they offer new challenges to businesses. Customer expectations have grown in terms of levels of service, ease of engagement, and availability of attractive offers and flexible options. For example, the innovative use of technology during the pandemic has meant customers now expect a seamless tech experience, including social media, across the sector. Firms that fail to meet these heightened expectations risk damaging the business by losing customers as well as staff.
Training is essential to securing future business
Businesses that invest in training do better at retaining staff and customers. But training needs to be agile, flexible, and targeted to meet the sector’s needs. One of the defining features of hospitality training is the need to train and certify large numbers of staff in both general foundational and job-specific areas. Hospitality training typically covers diverse locations and may be required to cover different geographies. The increasing use of IT in the industry means there’s a growing need for both specialist IT training and training in how to use technology internally and in customer-facing roles.
Elearning offers a scalable, cost-effective training solution for hospitality
With the shift towards greater reliance on IT, it makes sense for the hospitality sector to embrace elearning. The IT infrastructure and software are often already there interconnecting people and locations. It’s likely too that hardware including mobile devices is widely available or that staff can bring their own devices. It means firms can digitize their training programs and extend them across their entire working environment.
Learning platforms are adept at managing and delivering content to a variety of audiences
Learning platforms provide a one-stop shop for digital learning. Content can be stored and curated in the platform which is then accessible 24/7 to everyone on a variety of devices. Content can range from off-the-shelf courses suitable for foundation training to bespoke training in role-specific areas. Digital content can be easily edited making it quickly available to learners, thus dispensing with the need to organize special one-off remedial training events.
Elearning content can come in a variety of formats including text for checklists and procedures and video for presentations. Learning platforms also contain social learning applications to encourage knowledge-sharing and user-generated content.
Learning platforms store and report learning data allowing learners’ performance and competence to be tracked and for certification in internal and industry-recognized standards. Platforms facilitate learning analytics that means businesses can more accurately assess the effectiveness of training, identify skills gaps, and better calculate ROI.
Elearning is a good fit for hospitality
Elearning is easily scalable enabling the effective training, upskilling and certification of large numbers of employees across locations in a fast-paced industry. It can improve onboarding by fast-tracking new hires into work while improving the onboarding experience. Centralizing content in a learning platform helps standardize training. Digital content can be easily localized into different languages which can be vital in a multi-lingual sector like hospitality.
Making training materials accessible on mobile devices allows hospitality staff to learn and access information on the go when and where they need it most.
Training improves staff retention
Studies repeatedly show that people are more likely to stay and engage in a business or industry where there are clear opportunities for career advancement and personal development. This makes it more likely hospitality businesses will keep staff and create an experienced cohort of employees more able to meet customers’ demands. Learning platforms can offer pathways to career development by offering personalized learning plans tied to digital reward and recognition schemes to address the needs and aspirations of individual employees.
Better employee training leads to a better customer experience
While technology can enhance customer relations, hospitality still relies on that key differentiator, the personal touch. Learner-centered, customer-focused training enhanced by elearning can increase employee retention by improving onboarding and giving clear paths to career development. A better trained, more engaged workforce will ensure a better experience for customers and greater opportunities for the business.
Get in touch to find out how we’re helping some of the biggest brands in hospitality deliver training that prepares their staff to deliver world-class customer experiences that keep their customers coming back.
Got a learning problem to solve?
Get in touch to discover how we can help