Forging a more innovative and competitive industry, equipping hotels to deliver better guest experiences
Singapore, 6 November 2019 - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) announced a series of new initiatives today 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 percent in nominal terms annually since 2015, exceeding the 2020 target of 2 percent set out in the Hotel Industry Transformation Map (ITM).
“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 Ms Tan Yen Nee, Director, Hotels and Sector Manpower, Singapore Tourism Board.
Towards a more seamless check-in experience
A new initiative, the E-Visitor Authentication (EVA) System is launched today to 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.
The new arrangement will allow hotel front office staff to use the time saved to interact with guests and share customised recommendations on Singapore’s offerings and experiences. With the increased face-to-face engagement, hotel staff will be able to connect meaningfully with guests and in turn, improve guest satisfaction levels. STB welcomes interested hotels to explore how the EVA system can enhance their check- in processes.
The visitor’s check-in journey is explained in Annex B.
18 new solutions to drive productivity and better harness data
The second Hotel Innovation Challenge was organised by STB and SHA in April this year and yielded 18 new solutions that will be piloted by 18 participating hotels. These solutions were conceptualised in response to the Hotel Innovation Challenge’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.
A full list of the 18 new solutions is in Annex C.
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. 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 (IMDA). 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 (TIH), in their solutions to provide a seamless travel experience for the visitors.
The IDP also details systems interdependencies and benefits of each solution to help hotels better design a holistic technology roadmap suited to their own needs. Hotels can find information on training by SkillsFuture Singapore, aligned to the Skills Framework and emerging areas under the SkillsFuture Series, to upskill employees to support their transformation journey.
“The launch of the second edition of the Smart Hotel Technology Guide and the Hotel Industry Digital Plan (IDP) by the Hotel Innovation Committee is yet another step forward to drive transformation for the industry. Leveraging innovative digital solutions will not only raise productivity but also enable employees to deliver an enhanced guest experience. I would therefore like to strongly encourage all hoteliers to tap on these two new resources to further progress on their transformation journey,” said Ms Margaret Heng, Executive Director of the Singapore Hotel Association.
The Hotel industry redesigns jobs and upskills staff
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 (FDAWU), 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% 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% on-the-job training.
 The Hotel Innovation Challenge was first organised in 2017 to address key challenges of the hotel industry. A total of 14 solutions were seeded in 2017. As there remains a need to address challenges and introduce solutions, a second run was organised this year to seed more solutions.
 Hotels Innovation Challenge focus areas: i) Housekeeping-related: To speed up, reduce the effort required and increase the quality of housekeeping processes. ii) HR Relations: To optimise labour allocation dynamically (across different functions) and schedule workforce based on dynamic hotel demand, and enable closer productivity tracking iii) Data Related: To better consolidate and collect information of guests relevant to Hotels, and enhance the utilisation of such information.
 The Hotels Innovation Pitch was held in 2018 to seed high-level ideation for solutions to address Housekeeping and F&B productivity challenges. Five ideas were seeded, and one (banquet setup solution) is currently under development.
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About the Singapore Tourism Board
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is the lead development agency for tourism, one of Singapore’s key economic sectors. Together with industry partners and the community, we shape a dynamic Singapore tourism landscape. We bring the Passion Made Possible brand to life by differentiating Singapore as a vibrant destination that inspires people to share and deepen their passions. For more information, visit www.stb.gov.sg or www.visitsingapore.com or follow us on Twitter @STB_sg (https://twitter.com/stb_sg).
About Singapore Hotel Association (SHA)
The Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) is the umbrella body for hotels in Singapore. Its membership is made up of hotel entities which are represented by proprietors of hotels or appointed representatives.
Its current membership comprises 158 hotels which accounts for some 85% of total gazetted room count.
The SHA is currently headed by its Executive Director, Ms Margaret Heng, who is also the Chief Executive of SHATEC, the training arm of SHA.
Activities of SHA revolve around the following main themes:
· Research and Representations
· Marketing and Promotions
· Manpower and Training
· Productivity and Service Excellence
· Safety and Security
· Community and Public Relations
About the Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC)
Led by the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) and supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), the Hotel Innovation Committee was set up in 2015 to steer the industry in implementing cutting-edge solutions to raise productivity. The committee members come from a diverse range of hotels from international hotels, local chains and boutique hotels.