Housekeepers are the unsung heroes of the hotel industry. They often have to clean hundreds of dirty rooms per day to make sure they are perfect for the next visitors. Unfortunately, those in corporate don’t understand how demanding those jobs can be. This could lead to hotel staff being overwhelmed and result in a decrease in quality. One major hotel chain is using virtual reality to help corporate team members see what other employees deal with on a daily basis
In an effort to help team members better understand what goes on in day-to-day hotel operations, Hilton Hotels is turning to VR. Many in the corporate offices do not really have any hands-on experience working in a hotel. Hilton, which has over 6000 locations around the world, is hoping the new training program will allow them to better emphasize with housekeepers and other hotel staff.
Hilton VR Hotel Immersion Created by SweetRush
The training program is called Hotel Immersion and it was created in partnership with San Francisco based company SweetRush. It combines 3D graphics and 360-degree video to truly immerse users. Team members use an Oculus headset and controllers to simulate tasks normally performed by housekeeping, room service, and front desk employees.
“Our goal was to make our corporate team members virtually sweat. We want them to understand the physicality and complexity of hotel operations so they can better feel what it’s like to be in the shoes of a room service attendant,” said Blaire Bhojwani, Hilton’s Senior Director of learning innovation.
Team members have to perform tasks such as setting up room service trays, checking in guests, and cleaning hotel rooms. They can also tour kitchens rooms, boilers and elevators from different Hilton locations around the globe.
“In the housekeeping experience, participants have to take care of nine items in each room, In reality, housekeepers have 62 checklist cleaning tasks to accomplish. Our learners are shocked when they really experience how much housekeepers need to accomplish,” said Bhojwani.
VR Helps Employees See What It’s Like to be a Guest
Participants can also feel what it’s like to be a guest in one of their hotels. Called “Exceed with Empathy”, they’ll face frustrating guest experiences such as slow restaurant service, an improperly set up meeting room, a nonfunctioning digital key, a drawn-out checkout process, and a broken coffee maker. This will help them make better policy decisions to improve a guest’s stay.
Along with helping corporate staff to better emphasize with day-to-day hotel operations, Hilton is hoping the VR experience will cut down on in-class training time. According to the company, 75 percent of the participants felt the VR training helped improve their problem resolution and customer service skills and 94 percent said it helped raise their sense of empathy for other workers.
With the success of the VR hotel training, the company plans to expand the use of virtual reality and technology to other parts of its business improving the experience for both employees and guests.