Companies are increasingly turning to mobile for their corporate training programs. With its low cost, proven effectiveness and flexibility – plus the ubiquity of smartphones – mobile learning has grown considerably.
Hotels are highly suited to mobile learning. With multiple departments each highly specialized, the flexibility that mobile learning provides means that programs can be developed that can be tailored to each specialization. For example, Front Office staff can refine their upselling techniques via mobile, service staff can learn Mandarin so they can provide better service to their Chinese guests, Housekeeping staff can memorize the steps to cleaning a room etc.
Furthermore, nearly all hotel staff have a smartphone and are more used to reading and learning from a screen than from a book. It is much easier to scale up a mobile learning program across multiple departments and hotels, than organisze a costly traditional classroom-based program.
However, as with many new technologies, there will always be challenges to implementation that needs to be overcome.
The most obvious challenge is a fear of the unknown. Many of today’s General Managers hail from a time when training was often done on the job, without a phone in sight. They may not understand or believe in the power of mobile, and its effectiveness in training and development.
While you can quote statistics and performance data until you are blue in the face, the best way to get senior management approval is by starting small, and demonstrating its real-life effectiveness. Additionally, you can also slowly implement mobile learning alongside traditional, classroom based learning programs, with a view to replacing classroom-based learning entirely at some point in the future.
Another challenge many HR professionals face is how to integrate mobile learning into the overall aims of the hotel’s training program, and the wider business objectives of the property. Establishing business objectives are key, even for training and development. Directors of HR should liaise with senior management and follow industry trends, aligning training objectives with the wider objectives of the hotel.
In Asia, Chinese tourism is increasing significantly – it is the largest outbound tourist market in the world – so strategies should be put in place by hotels to capture and retain this market. Among other tactics such as menus translated into Mandarin, Mandarin language websites etc, should be a Mandarin language training package for all front line employees.
The beauty of mobile learning is its effectiveness and flexibility, providing HR departments with many more tools with which they can achieve their goals. Implementation takes energy and commitment, but if done correctly can significantly impact the bottom line.