The hospitality industry is obviously a global industry. Hotels connect people from all over the world and bring them together under one roof. Industry insiders understand the importance of having a multi-lingual staff at all hours.
Given recent labor shortages, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hotels to find adequate staffing. Finding a bi or multi-lingual staff member can seem next to impossible. Even before the complications of the last two years, language barriers have plagued hotels for the duration of their existence.
For customers, nothing is more frustrating than trying to reserve a room, order a taxi, or find a meal without speaking the proper language. For hotel staff, it can be challenging to try to complete even the simplest of tasks for a guest when he or she doesn’t understand what they are saying. Finally, there’s a solution to language barrier problems in the hospitality industry that will aid hotels in just about every task.
How Language Barriers Affect Guests
Imagine you’re a guest traveling in a foreign country. Maybe, you’re on your way to an important conference. Maybe, you’re traveling with your family. It’s the end of a long travel day, and all you want to do is check into your room and go to sleep as fast as possible, only, they can’t find your reservation. You don’t speak the language, so you cannot communicate effectively that it was booked for you and could be under a different name.
This travel nightmare plays out every night in hotels around the world. Even if a hotel has a bilingual staff member, there not always working. Night shifts are typically light staffed, so it’s unlikely you’ll find someone who speaks the language.
How Language Barriers Affect Hotels
Now imagine this happens before check-in, but on the phone during booking. If you can’t find a way to communicate, you’ll lose the reservation.
When a customer picks up the phone, it’s likely because they have exhausted all options online or have a specific question that needs answering. If your staff is on the other end of the line and they cannot help a potential guest because of a language barrier, the reservation will likely go to a competitor.
Even if you have a bilingual staff member, there’s always the chance that they’ll run into a language they can’t speak. While English and Spanish are common languages in the US, urban centers in the United States are home to more than 350 languages.
The Labor Shortage and Language Barriers
The pandemic rocked the global economy and left many jobless. When the dust settled, many workers decided to leave their career paths for alternative pursuits, which caused a massive global labor shortage. Now hotels and other businesses around the world are scrambling to hire and train new staff to meet the demands of a now growing economy.
In many industries, new staff members are failing to meet the high standards of returning customers. In the hospitality industry, customer service is paramount, as it is the backbone of the industry. Every guest must be made to feel as if he or she is fully looked after at all hours. If there’s a language barrier that cannot be broken, guests will feel like the service is impersonal, and the hotel could lose a valued customer.
Annette™, The Virtual Hotel Agent™ breaks down language barriers
Annette is a virtual call center agent powered by artificial intelligence that is designed specifically for the hospitality industry.
When guests call, Annette understands. Annette has been programmed with a new model of Natural Language Understanding software based on human conversations, resulting in a powerful new way for her to understand what guests are requesting, and for her to provide the correct answer.
Soon Annette will feature API interfaces with common hotel software platforms, and her ability to work in different languages is an added advantage that will help hotels curb their labor costs and address language barriers in the reservation department.
To find out more about what Annette can do for your hotel, click here.