Hotels Use Digital Media To Train Employees


Each day, all sorts of customers come through hotel doors. Now, the hospitality industry is using high-end technology to understand who these customers are.

Homewood Suites, Marriott, Hilton and Aloft have all enlisted the help of iPods, Playstation Portable and other electronic devices for their employee training. Rather than using traditional methods of speeches or slideshows, these hotels have created training “modules” (a fancy word for what is also known as “boring lectures”) designed specifically for viewing on gadgets. The new digital training programs are affordable, easily translated into a variety of languages, and – let’s be honest – far more entertaining than sitting in a conference room.

Dawn Koenig, vice president for brand performance at Homewood Suites, revealed that her company spent $250,000 to create a 20-minute iPod training video. Marriott, an off-chute of Hilton, has been using Sony PSP and iPods as training tools since 2007. Chains Springhill Suites prefers Sony products while Aloft, another lower-priced competitor, has used iPods since 2009.

Last year, Hilton designed a role-playing game for the Sony PSP called the “Ultimate Team Play” that allows employees to work in different areas of a hotel and learn related tasks, including those of the front desk and housekeeping department.

According to luxury hotel Andaz 5th Avenue General Manager, Jonathan Frolich, “Guests come from all angles, and training needs to be unconventional.” Employing the gadgets has helped brands to experiment with new tools, retain employee attention spans, and understand both learning processes and customer behaviors, thereby marking a shift in employee training programs, having tailored them to a consumers’ preference for technology.