Hospitality Sector Training and Gamification

Using Gamification in Hospitality Sector Training

Gamification in hospitality sector training can help overcome the challenges that the rapidly changing and highly competitive sector faces around high-quality, cost-effective training.

The hospitality sector faces numerous obstacles where training is concerned: staff retention in line with a high-turnover, regular changes to compliance legislation, and a customer-orientated business model susceptible to client and guest ratings. These issues increase demand for a more cost-efficient, standardised approach to workplace management and training opportunities. But the challenge is to provide the same high quality training for every member of staff in order to meet and exceed guest satisfaction.

This is a real challenge recognised across the sector. But what can be done differently to transform businesses, reduce spending, and ensure a 5-star-rating every time?

Be Open to New Methods

Introducing ‘serious-gaming’ into the workplace learning will increase employee engagement. It’s apparent that training costs due to a high turnover of staff can become a costly matter – replacing employees from the lower rank of a business’ administration can cost the company up to 50% of the individual’s annual income.

Resistance to change is natural and incorporation of new training initiatives, due to lack of confidence in innovative, engaging content, can be difficult. Elearning itself has, in many cases, been stripped from its true potential. There is massive scope for engaging, immersive content to support team transformation. A report by data-science gurus at Gartner revealed that 70% of business transformation efforts fail due to lack of staff engagement.

The report suggests, that transforming your business into an employee-happy, customer-focused  zone could be achieved through the use of gamification.  Gamification could revolutionise hospitality sector training, for the better. They predicted that by 2015, gamification would be the primary mechanism used by 40% of Fortune 1000 companies to transform business operations and the percentage only looks set to increase in the next few years. In fact, a case study by Gigya showed that gamification improves engagement by 1/3.

At a first glance, gamification is nothing new to the hospitality industry. Loyalty programs and ‘create-your-own’ hotel or pizza simulation gaming apps are already in place.

Stay Ahead by Using Digital Tools

However, as the digital landscape broadens its horizons, an increasing number of organisations have begun to leverage gamification through digital tools. As a result, hospitality decision-makers are edging towards new and innovative ways to stay ahead of the curve.


Let’s take the third largest hotel brand in the world, Hilton Worldwide, as a supporting example.

The Hilton Hotels Garden Inns branch implemented a role-playing game into their training program in order to test their employees in every-day situations where they have to choose how to best satisfy a hotel guest. Players are ranked by how well they complete the task, as well as how the guest responds. This is, then, calculated by the hotel’s real-world Satisfaction and Loyalty Tracking Survey, used to rank guests’ satisfaction with their stay.

Adrian Kurre, Senior Vice-President of Brand Management, Hilton Garden Inn, explained:

“The game responds to the evolving training needs of our employees while focusing entirely on enhancing the guest experience which has made Hilton Garden Inn an industry leader. Particularly in this economy, it is imperative that each interaction with our guests acknowledge their needs as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

And she adds:

“We take the guest experience as well as our team member training very seriously but we believe that having a little fun along the way will enhance our team members’ ability to deliver incredible service to our guests.”

Introducing a cutting-edge approach provides a more time-and-money-savvy approach rather than traditional methods of lecture-based training. Gamification will help simulate real-world guest interactions which is something team members can’t get in lecture-based training. And because it’s still relatively emerging in the training space, it will get their attention even more so. All workers want to feel they have control of their lives. Using digital tools to allow agents to feel they have a good work-life balance can provide this.

Similarly, Academy925 uses a Near-Life gaming technology approach to teaching the soft skills using immersive, realistic, role-play simulations in order to ‘manage challenging situations in the workplace’. Including situations such as poor performance, sickness absence, or handling issues around exclusion or diversity.

The Ultimate Training Tool

It’s clear that serious-game-based technology in the hospitality industry is soon to become an integral part of the ongoing commitment of such customer-orientated business models. Cost effective role-play gamification certainly gets the ultimate training tool vote, working hand in hand with great staff retention, and increasing employee engagement. When gamification becomes an integral part of hospitality sector training, at the very least, you should expect a lower turnover and a healthier business model moving with the zeitgeist.

This article was first published by

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