• Stephan Busch

Do we use Apps? Or do we behave like Apes?

I would like to but I can’t read all the articles about the benefits of modern technology in hospitality. It is interesting, fascinating but there are just too many! Too many articles and so many new apps and so much new technology to keep up with. I have to admit that some people call me a dinosaur as I use my mobile phone for calls only, my computer as a typewriter, calculator and a reading device. I don’t want e-mail on the phone – I check when I check – that’s enough for me. I had to upload Wechat for my Chinese contacts and whatsapp for Europe. I hardly check them – I always forget – what are they good for then?

Apps for apes.

Observing the use of devices is interesting enough. It looks often like a herd of apes that received a new toy that they have to figure out. Students in a classroom use the first 15 minutes to check the new teachers profile on Instagram, Facebook and whatever social network there might be. Mobil devices banned in classrooms makes it necessary to give a break at least every 45 minutes. Before that was also the case as concentration is declining after 45 minutes but now they really need to text urgently after being deprived of their phone so long.

The Zombie walk

I love to enjoy a walk. Lately I have to watch out for Mobil phone zombies who – head down, face clued to the phone – bump into everybody and everything. I wonder how many have died already falling in construction holes, bumping into trucks, elephants, other zombies and everything else they can’t see? Worse it gets on the roads. Not long ago somebody breaking sharp on the highway had a problem – now most properly his phone just rang and you – behind him – are the one with the problem! Somebody driving uncontrolled from left to right was drunken – now they are just texting! Sadly enough most traffic accidents are caused because of texting and phone calls!

Let the guest do the job and assume he ask for it!

In hotels and restaurants we have to tolerate and even adjust to the guest using his devices. We offer guest the use of devices to make their stay from check in to check out easier. But be honest – we also save intentionally and calculated a lot on labour when we think of introducing new technology. Let the guest do the job and assume he ask for it!

We have a serious issue on hand controlling our staff. Banned in most working places every staff member tries to smuggle them in like drugs. Every sideboard in a restaurant has one phone somewhere. The receptionist looking down at the counter is not checking the carpet – she is checking texts. A ringing stack of towels in the linen room is almost normal nowadays and the dry store is preferred by cooks as in the fridges the battery dies too fast. So relax - its not a mousse chewing on your cornflakes – it’s a phone vibrating!

Hotels and restaurant sell service and service starts with attention. The guest expects attention. The bad impression of staff attending to their devices is worse in hospitality then in most other businesses. We need to educate and help to concentrate on the guest and on the job. It is important for the guest but also for safety. Managers should be a good example but are mostly the worst example. They are so important that they attend all the time to their devices. Unfortunately also company policies are to blame. A company that requires a manager to have e-mails on the phone forces him to pay attention to the device.

Learn to delegate

It is of tremendous importance today to use all technology available to stay competitive and also serve the guest. But we need to learn how to delegate the checking, filtering and use of the devices. We need to get the head up again to look the guest in the face. We need to remove the ringing and vibrating that disturbs our conversations – with guest and with staff! It is a sign of disrespect!

The use of devices and video clips is a must in education and training nowadays but we have the responsibility to bring people back to read books, articles and manuscripts too. It is important to let phantasy develop and help staff, students and management to start thinking on their own. Critical thinking! Not just to accept a message. To question, to double check, to agree or disagree and to learn to voice an opinion!

At the end – not to be distracted but to learn to enjoy and develop!


© 2017 by Stephan Busch