STB, SHA introduce new initiatives to transform hotels for sustainable growth

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) have launched a series of new initiatives focused on leveraging technology to foster business innovation and support job redesign efforts in the hotel industry.

These initiatives are designed to further boost productivity, which has grown 4.5 per cent in nominal terms annually since 2015, exceeding the 2020 target of two per cent set out in the Hotel Industry Transformation Map (ITM).

STB and SHA pushes out new initiatives to foster innovation and growth in the industry, including job redesign efforts to upgrade skills of employees to take on more value-added jobs

“We are pleased to share new and updated initiatives for hotel stakeholders to discover, adopt and benefit from. To transform the hotel industry and support our hotels to be more competitive and innovative for sustainable growth, we continue to work in close collaboration with industry partners to drive enhanced guest experiences via new solutions and initiatives. Even as we focus on the hardware, we are also invested in the software. The human aspect is at the heart of the business, and the
passion and skillset of hotel staff is what ultimately drives the industry,” remarked Tan Yen Nee, director, hotels and sector manpower, STB.

Towards a more seamless check-in experience

A new initiative, the E-Visitor Authentication (EVA) System will enable faster verification of guests’ stay validity, which will facilitate a seamless check-in experience for guests. Participating hotels can use facial recognition technology to authenticate their guests’ identities, and the guest data will be sent to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to verify the validity of their stay. By eliminating the process of performing manual checks on travel documents, check-in time will be reduced by up to 70 per cent.

18 new solutions to drive productivity and better harness data

The second Hotel Innovation Challenge (HIC), which was organised by STB and SHA this April, yielded 18 new solutions that will be piloted by 18 participating hotels. These solutions were conceptualised in response to the HIC’s call for crowdsourced ideas to address key challenges and opportunities in housekeeping, human resources and data management.

Some examples include a manpower scheduling solution developed by SIMTech, an A*Star Research Institute, to effectively roster employees based on their skillsets and demand; Champs Industrial’s peelable cleaning formulation to reduce cleaning time and water consumption; and Samsotech’s integrated Customer Relationship Management solution to help aggregate guest information across several silo systems.

With two Innovation Challenges and one Innovation Pitch held over the past three years, a total of 39 solutions have been or are currently being developed. The Innovation Pitch is designed to seed high-level ideation for solutions to address housekeeping and F&B productivity challenges. 46 hotels in the industry have participated in the challenges on a pilot basis, with 13 hotels implementing the developed solutions thus far.

For example, four hotels in the Pan Pacific Hotels Group have adopted the AI-enabled asset performance management system for their heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) while Mandarin Oriental Singapore has adopted a new inventory management system.

Guiding hotels towards customised transformation

Launched this year by the Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC) with the support of STB, the second edition of the Smart Hotel Technology Guide focuses on back-of house operations to drive productivity, and enhance both guest and employee experience. It proffers the vision of a smart hotel where back-end processes are streamlined and made more efficient by technology, thereby enabling hotel employees to focus on more value-added tasks for the organisation. The guide also features case studies of
hotels that have successfully implemented such innovative solutions.

Complementing the Smart Hotel Technology Guide is the newly launched Hotel Industry Digital Plan (IDP) by the HIC, with the support of STB and the Infocomm Media Development Authority. The IDP presents a full suite of hotel solutions that hotels can readily adopt at each stage of their business. These solutions are categorised into various stages of sophistication to help hotels enhance their digital capabilities and optimise operations, build a smart ecosystem with data-driven operations and drive intelligent businesses. The IDP includes illustrations on how hotels can incorporate STB’s technology resources, such as the Tourism Information and Services Hub, in their solutions to provide a seamless travel experience for the visitors.

Redesigning jobs and upskilling staff in the hotel industry

The hotel industry continues to be a source of good and fulfilling jobs for people of all ages and levels, thanks in part to job redesign efforts. Together with industry partners, concerted efforts have been made to improve HR practices and strengthen job attractiveness across the hotel industry.

Currently, more than a hundred hotels have pledged to implement job redesign under the Hotel Job Redesign Initiative. Developed and launched in May this year by Workforce Singapore (WSG) in partnership with STB and SHA and supported by the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union, the initiative encourages and enables hoteliers to create higher quality jobs and enhance job satisfaction for the hotel workforce by reviewing, optimising and adding value to existing jobs in their establishments.

To further support hotels in their job redesign efforts, WSG has also introduced the new Job Redesign Place-and-Train Programme for the Hotel Industry. The programme will help hotels train and upskill existing workers for redesigned job roles. Through the programme, hotels can receive up to 70 per cent of salary support for the training duration. Hotels are also encouraged to work with WSG to customise their training plans, which can comprise up to 100 per cent on-the-job training.

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