The travel industry is still recovering from the blows it took from the lockdown situations during the pandemic as there remains a shortage of frontline workers.
In a survey, nearly all airports and half of hotels said they are adopting new technology in response to the labour gap. Although, only a third of those surveyed expect automation to cut the size of their staff in the next five years.
Most travel providers see technology as a way to boost the work experience and create new opportunities for frontline workers. Meanwhile, nearly half of all respondents cite reskilling workers for new technology as one of their top three workforce concerns.
Navigating around labour challenges
Airline and hospitality leaders gravitate to next-generation technology in combating labour woes, with 53% of hotel respondents believing that they are at 25% to 74% of their pre-pandemic workforce.
Nearly two-thirds of aviation respondents think their workforce is smaller than that of pre-pandemic times.
Many travel providers now expect the ongoing advancements in technology, such as artificial intelligence and cloud, to improve labour performance within the next five years. They turn to technology not only in addressing labour issues, but also in creating competitive differentiation.
The new technology is also viewed to fundamentally alter travelers’ experience in general. In the survey, 74% of airport managers and 56% of hotel general managers anticipate automation to impact guest experience.
Some of Deloitte’s other findings:
- Less than one in 10 respondents expect to reach 2019 staffing levels by the end of 2023, and 38% of hotel managers and only 3% of airport executives expect to be there any time in 2024.
- Many are hoping technology to ease labor challenges, with 99% of airports now adopting new technology, and 96% are upgrading existing technology. Meanwhile, 93% are automating repetitive tasks to bridge the labour gap. Hotels are also applying these strategies but at a lower rate, adopting new technology, automating repetitive tasks or upgrading existing technology.
- Seven in 10 surveyed airports invested in at least three new technology types, compared to 57% of hotels.