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Singapore launches series of projects for higher value-added jobs in hotels

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), together with the Hotel Innovation Committee (HIC) and led by the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), launched a series of projects yesterday (8 November).

This was part of ongoing efforts to encourage technology adoption and innovation by hotels, as well as to improve job processes across the industry. The aim is to boost productivity – which has grown about 5% annually since 2015 – and create higher value-added jobs for the hotel industry.

The following projects were introduced:

Smart Hotel Technology Guide and Hotel Technology Directory

The Smart Hotel Technology Guide outlines the vision of a smart hotel and identifies the relevant technologies for hotels to realise this vision with a focus first on front-of-house operations.

The vision of a smart hotel was defined as follows:

  • Imagine a hotel where guests could check-in independently and access their room through a smart device, and a robot could deliver luggage to the room.
  • A video analytics system supporting facial recognition could zero in on a guest leaving the hotel with a suitcase and send an electronic bill to the guest to complete the check-out process.
  • Food and drinks consumed from the minibar could be automatically computed in the bill, eliminating the need for a manual stocktake.
The guide details these scenarios and more, highlighting the fact that fuss-free check-in and check-out processes are no longer a pipe dream for hotels, with many of the required technology solutions already available in the market. Case studies of hotels such as Andaz Singapore and Grand Park City Hall that have successfully implemented such innovative solutions are also featured in the guide.

The HIC also launched the Hotel Technology Directory guide yesterday, in a push to facilitate link-ups between hotels and technology vendors. To date, more than 70 local and foreign vendors with solutions ranging from facial recognition to Internet of Things can be found on the directory, providing hotels with a one-stop portal for technological solutions and to start their transformation journey.

The guide and directory were developed based on feedback from focus group discussions and interviews with industry stakeholders from over 40 international hotels, local chains and boutique hotels, conducted in the past year.

"While productivity in the hotel industry has been increasing over time, we want to support the industry to boost productivity further and manage labour shortages more effectively. It is critical for the hotel industry to look beyond the present and learn to innovate and be future-ready," said Ong Huey Hong, director of hotels and sector manpower, STB.

Innovative hotel solutions

In April this year, HIC organised a Hotel Innovation Pitch for technology vendors and research institutions, sourcing solutions to address critical pain points in the housekeeping and food and beverage (F&B) departments.

A total of seven proposals – submitted by six participants – were shortlisted. Proposed solutions ranged from robots for banquet set-up to assistive devices for bed-making. Today, these solutions are ready to be developed and piloted in hotels.

Bright times in tech ahead

The STB and HIC plan to continue supporting hotel transformation next year, by developing a similar guide for back-of-house operations. At the same time, a new Hotel Innovation Challenge will be held to seek innovations in emerging solutions in key areas such as big data, blockchain technology and sustainability, as well as to continue sourcing for solutions to support housekeeping and F&B jobs.

Furthermore, Workforce Singapore will partner with STB and SHA, with support from the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) for a job redesign (JR) project to develop a JR Toolkit for the hotel industry, slated to be published in the first half of 2019.

Alongside, the new Advisory Committee on Human Capital Progressive Practices for Hotels, led by SHA and supported by STB, WSG, FDAWU and NTUC's Hospitality and Consumer Business Cluster, will also work with the hotel industry to develop more progressive HR practices.

Photo / Smart Hotel Technology Guide

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