How to Translate The Labor Shortage

The hospitality industry is obviously a global industry. Hotels connect people from all over the world and bring them together under one roof. Industry insiders understand the importance of having a multi-lingual staff at all hours.

Given recent labor shortages, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hotels to find adequate staffing. Finding a bi or multi-lingual staff member can seem next to impossible. Even before the complications of the last two years, language barriers have plagued hotels for the duration of their existence.

For customers, nothing is more frustrating than trying to reserve a room, order a taxi, or find a meal without speaking the proper language. For hotel staff, it can be challenging to try to complete even the simplest of tasks for a guest when he or she doesn’t understand what they are saying. Finally, there’s a solution to language barrier problems in the hospitality industry that will aid hotels in just about every task.

How Language Barriers Affect Guests

Imagine you’re a guest traveling in a foreign country. Maybe, you’re on your way to an important conference. Maybe, you’re traveling with your family. It’s the end of a long travel day, and all you want to do is check into your room and go to sleep as fast as possible, only, they can’t find your reservation. You don’t speak the language, so you cannot communicate effectively that it was booked for you and could be under a different name.

This travel nightmare plays out every night in hotels around the world. Even if a hotel has a bilingual staff member, there not always working. Night shifts are typically light staffed, so it’s unlikely you’ll find someone who speaks the language.

How Language Barriers Affect Hotels

Now imagine this happens before check-in, but on the phone during booking. If you can’t find a way to communicate, you’ll lose the reservation.

When a customer picks up the phone, it’s likely because they have exhausted all options online or have a specific question that needs answering. If your staff is on the other end of the line and they cannot help a potential guest because of a language barrier, the reservation will likely go to a competitor.

Even if you have a bilingual staff member, there’s always the chance that they’ll run into a language they can’t speak. While English and Spanish are common languages in the US, urban centers in the United States are home to more than 350 languages.

The Labor Shortage and Language Barriers

The pandemic rocked the global economy and left many jobless. When the dust settled, many workers decided to leave their career paths for alternative pursuits, which caused a massive global labor shortage. Now hotels and other businesses around the world are scrambling to hire and train new staff to meet the demands of a now growing economy.

In many industries, new staff members are failing to meet the high standards of returning customers. In the hospitality industry, customer service is paramount, as it is the backbone of the industry. Every guest must be made to feel as if he or she is fully looked after at all hours. If there’s a language barrier that cannot be broken, guests will feel like the service is impersonal, and the hotel could lose a valued customer.

Annette™, The Virtual Hotel Agent™ breaks down language barriers

Annette is a virtual call center agent powered by artificial intelligence that is designed specifically for the hospitality industry.

When guests call, Annette understands. Annette has been programmed with a new model of Natural Language Understanding software based on human conversations, resulting in a powerful new way for her to understand what guests are requesting, and for her to provide the correct answer.

Soon Annette will feature API interfaces with common hotel software platforms, and her ability to work in different languages is an added advantage that will help hotels curb their labor costs and address language barriers in the reservation department.

To find out more about what Annette can do for your hotel, click here.

Looking for ways to addresses hiring and staffing challenges and control front desk labor expense?

Learn more about Annette™, the first AI-powered virtual agent dedicated to hotel guest service.

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John Smallwood, President

About John Smallwood, President of Travel Outlook

A veteran in the hospitality industry, John has owned, developed, and managed hotels for many years. After earning a BBA from New Mexico State University, he started his career with AT&T, gaining invaluable insight and experience in the early years of the data revolution. His experience in technology and hospitality merged in his development of Travel Outlook, the world-class hospitality contact center. More recently, he has branched out with the creation of ExpressRez, the premier contact center for the Bed and Breakfast industry, and with the creation of Annette, the first AI-powered voice bot for the hotel industry.

About Travel Outlook

Given its progressive approach to the voice channel – in terms of performance, training, transparency, testing and the tools used to measure performance – Travel Outlook Premium Hotel Call Center has become the premier voice reservations team in hospitality. Travel Outlook’s valued client list includes Viceroy Hotel Group, Outrigger, KSL Resorts, Proper Hospitality Group, Pacific Hospitality Group, Highgate Hotels, The Irvine Company, Catalina Island and many others. Travel Outlook’s team and approach increases sales conversion and helps to create more effective voice communication between hotels and their guests, resulting in improved social scores in addition to increased voice channel revenue. For more information, visit

About Annette™, The Virtual Hotel Agent™:

Annette is an AI powered virtual call center agent that represents the next generation of voice bots designed specifically for the Hospitality industry. Annette has been programmed using a breakthrough approach to voice bots, a system built from human conversations. Using social media, chat forums, and movie dialogue, Annette learns from billions of casual human conversations to understand human inflections and multi-turn queries. This revolutionary approach means Annette understands callers no matter what they say, when they say it, or how they speak. Annette can answer FAQs specific to your property, understand multiple languages, route calls, send follow up texts, and more.

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