Virtual reality training at hotels: it's all about people
VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) technologies have become indispensable hotel marketing tools. For instance, interactive guest suites, virtual door keys, and 4D travel excursions are several ways hoteliers are using the technology to attract guests. However, strip away the QR codes, smartphone apps, and VR headwear, and the hotel guest experience still relies on something utterly old-fashioned: people.
That's why hotels are rebooting traditional employee training programs and using VR as a powerful learning tool. In a simulated world, employees can test out interactions with lifelike guests, hone housekeeping skills and even make critical mistakes without suffering real-world consequences. The result? Hotel staff with better skills, more confidence, and an improved ability to improve guest satisfaction survey scores.
Virtual reality training earns front-desk success at Best Western
Best Western reported a 71%1 decrease in customer complaints after implementing virtual reality training for front-desk employees. The training program has front desk agents accommodate a virtual guest who, aside from being represented by an avatar, sounds and acts like the real thing. For instance, during the dialogue, the guest may ask the agent to offer a parking discount, provide a list of the best local restaurants or schedule a wake-up call. Although it’s a simulated lobby, the dialogue is real, and the virtual guest reacts to everything the agent says. In addition to the reduction in complaints, Best Western saw a 20-point2 rise in customer satisfaction thanks to the virtual training.
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Hilton uses virtual reality training for corporate
They say that to understand someone you should try walking a mile in their shoes. Hilton would suggest you do their job. The leading hotel brand has developed a virtual reality training experience for their corporate employees, challenging them to perform tasks that front and back of the house staff do daily. Fitted with a VR head-mount, employees are immersed in a virtual hotel environment where they attempt common tasks such as cleaning a room, creating a food service tray, and checking in guests at the front desk. Hilton designed the virtual training to give corporate offices a real-world experience of the challenges hospitality workers face so they can support them better. The program has been a success with 87%3 of participating employees saying it increased their empathy and appreciation for hotel staff.
While VR/AR won't replace conventional training methods, it will be a key component of blended learning environments. It is not surprising that, when polled, 70%4 of hotel operators believe that virtual reality training will become mainstream in under 5 years.
Here are 3 predictions for how virtual reality training will benefit the hotel industry:
Reduced training times and costs
Training hotel employees across multiple properties and locations pose challenges. Travel costs, securing training facilities, and scheduling problems can cannibalize budgets and delay rollouts. Virtual environments will solve these challenges by making hands-on training available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Improved employee performance
Airline pilots use flight simulators to perfect their skills in real-world situations. Similarly, hotel staff will sharpen their skills at a virtual hotel that feels like the real thing. Invaluable on-the-job training will even take place before onboarding the employee.
Better training and operations intelligence
A good training program does more than improve knowledge and skills, it identifies weaknesses. Because virtual training involves employees performing tasks in a computer-generated environment, hotels will use software to better analyze processes. This could range from placing a fork on a table to how long it takes housekeeping to vacuum a room. As a result, management can determine if training needs improvement or if the processes themselves need tweaking.
Heart of the House Hospitality is a managed hospitality service provider focused on putting people first. Our onsite training programs are just one reason 500 client properties turn to us for talent. To learn more about our services visit us at www.heartofthehouse.com and connect with us on LinkedIn.