MyNext Hotels - Staffing hotels digitally
HOTELIERS' VOICE S2E5
George Gaag, Manager of myNext – hostels, apartments, hotels – explains how the company uses technology to cope with the company’s seasonal business model. myNext’s portfolio consists of student accommodation in Austrian cities that is available during holiday periods. The guests are mainly from the student travel market, and in some cases families.
George explains how one of the biggest challenges is hiring staff due to the seasonal nature of operations. “All properties open on the same day and we have to find receptionists and other staff for all properties. What really helped is using an applicant tracking system. I highly recommend it for all hotels or hostels as it helped us to streamline the hiring and application process,” he says.
The process is highly digitalised. It starts with an application on the company’s website and an uploaded CV. The company screens applicants – mainly students from all over the world - then sends two questions, one in German and one in English, and asks them to upload answers on video.
“With this video, we already get a pretty good picture about them. Then in the next step, we invite them for a phone interview where we really talk to them and decide if we take that person or not,” he says. Successful applicants stay on the system and receive emails when work is available. “We’re looking for open-minded, friendly people who like to use technology”, he adds.
George tells us how the company uses technology to train staff then support day-to-day operations. New staff receive only a day’s training, but that is supplemented using the learning management system (LMS).
They have to be ready to check in guests and collect money and so on. So before the training day, we send a link to our LMS and they get access to a demo environment of our PMS and can already play around with reservations.
Meanwhile, staff can consult the knowledge management system (KMS) on how to use systems, but also deal with problems like difficult guests. Another use of technology is automating revenue management with Pace Revenue. “It really helps get the most out of our rooms. It’s so hard when we’re really busy in summer to always check rates and occupancy.”
George describes how myNext uses Bookboost as a channel manager for messages. “If we receive a message on Facebook messenger, for example, the receptionist has no need to log into Facebook. We receive it through Bookboost and the templates deal with questions much faster. It’s also connected to WhatsApp and our website.”
myNext uses digital technology, too, to manage limited resources. Mews’ Project Spacetime software managers online reservations for parking slots, which are in short supply. Other uses include hiring everything from meeting rooms to baby cots and scooters. “We have younger guests mainly. They’re used to messaging and don't want to pick up a phone and ask us directly very often.”
The myNext tech stack includes Application Tracking System, Video training, Virtual training environments, Mews, Bookboost, PACE RMS, HOTAs, Project Space Time. George says the company has accomplished a lot technically, but “there’s always something new to discover”.