The next wave of staff training could blend reality with digital, significantly improving the way hotel staff are taught.
While still in its infancy, augmented reality (AR) has the potential to significantly change the way people learn with their mobile device. AR works best with situated activities or contextual experiences Ð where learning occurs as a function of the activity, rather than as a result of learning in a classroom Ð and so is perfectly suited to the highly interactive environment of a hotel.
But what exactly is AR? AR comprises a live view of a real-world environment (ÒrealityÓ) with computer-generated input (including sound, graphics, text, video, and GPS information) supplementing (ÒaugmentingÓ) the visual elements in the view. So you may look at a typical hotel room, and the AR device will superimpose a chair in the corner of the room. Depending on the quality of the device, this chair can seem incredibly realistic.
By expanding this concept into the realm of staff training, it is not difficult to identify a range of possibilities for hotels. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which transports the user into another world, AR is contextual, so the hotel employee will still be in a familiar place, and therefore it will be more realistic. Here are three areas where AR can be used to supplement mobile learning in hotels:
1. Housekeeping Ð one of the biggest bugbears for rooms division managers is consistency and cleanliness of their hotel rooms. One sweet wrapper left on the floor is too many, and attention to detail, combined with a good eye and a bit of experience, are key to a perfectly clean room. AR is able to simulate Ômess’, testing the student’s ability to identify any object that is out of place, or should not be there, and speed by which they are able to do this.
2. F&B Ð for a new, inexperienced waiter, there is probably no more nerve-wracking a time than their first day on the job. AR devices could help train the waiter by simulating F&B scenarios in the same restaurant. Tasks could include serving virtual customers, to handling multiple tasks in a (virtual) busy restaurant. Angry customers could be superimposed on a physical chair, enabling the employee to get used to the space, and angry customers!
3. Language learning Ð this is relevant, pretty much, for all front-of-house departments, especially for the front office and concierge. It is one thing learning grammar and vocab by rote in a classroom, but if you are required to stand behind the front desk and practice handling guest requests in another language, then learning will both improve, and get a lot more fun. Guests would of course be superimposed, and the Front Desk will no doubt have to be remade in back-of-house, but the possibilities here are endless.
Mobile learning has already revolutionised the way staff learn and take on new skills, the data generated from mobile learning enabling hotels to make better, more informed decisions as to who they hire and promote. AR promises to take this to the next level, with hotels being provided with almost real-life demonstrations of how the employee interacts with guests, and their skills in the art of hospitality. Now, we just have to wait for the technology to catch up!
By David Topolewski, Chief Executive Officer of Qooco
David Topolewski is Chief Executive Officer of Qooco, which provides mobile language learning and vocational training solutions for employees in the hospitality and service industries. Through advanced neurolinguistic techniques and pedagogies and powerful speech recognition technology, Qooco allows associates to learn languages and service skills anywhere, anytime, more efficiently and cost-effectively than ever before Ð improving customer service and increasing revenues. Qooco’s holistic solution promotes greater workforce engagement, allows accurate performance measurement and real-time feedback. Qooco’s suite of products include: Qooco Voice, Qooco Upsell, Qooco Link, Qooco Core and Qooco Pro. For more information, visit www.qooco.com.