Hospitality LMS: What to Know

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving. According to Social Tables, some of the latest findings are an increased push to go green, companies looking for International meeting space, and hotel guests wanting a more “home-like” feel when traveling. In response, the hospitality industry must always be ready to adapt their best practices. So it’s vital to properly train your team with a hospitality LMS so they can meet the ever-changing demands of today’s customers.

What is a hospitality LMS?

If you are unfamiliar or don’t fully understand what a hospitality LMS is, an LMS stands for learning management system. It acts as a centralized place to store all your learning materials from training manuals to courses to webinars. But unlike an Intranet, a hospitality LMS offers a better interface, the ability to integrate with other company software programs, and complete training tracks.

Let’s say for example you have a new product being launched and you need to train your sales team. The issue is a more senior-level sales manager may need less training than let’s say a junior level sales employee. So unlike an Intranet where information is simply stored, a sales director could assign different training tracks to each employee based on level of experience. Not only can an LMS train employees, but managers or directors can also see when training has been completed and which employees still need to take it.

How an LMS can help

You may wonder how an LMS can specifically help hospitality employees. And the answer is there are several reasons to use a hospitality LMS. Since these employees are always interacting with customers and are often the first point of contact a customer has with a company, a positive first impression is vital. And the hospitality industry can be seasonal with more employees being onboarded at certain points in the season. So training needs to be streamlined and automated to keep the process moving.

Here are some other ways a hospitality LMS can add value.

  • Scalability

Training through an LMS works whether you have a company of five or 5,000. And if you need to add more staff during the busy season, there is no need to change your training protocol.

  • Flexibility

If you are a hotel chain for example with properties in several countries, a hospitality LMS offers flexibility. It can be set up to train in multiple languages, different time zone, offsite or virtually.

  • Individualized

Since many hospitality employees spend most of their time interacting with customers, a hospitality LMS offers individualized training. An employee for example can take training early morning, over a break or at night so it doesn’t interfere with their work schedule.

  • Standardized

A hospitality LMS offers a centralized system for training. So every employee is seeing the same training materials across the entire organization. There is no confusion as to what training track to take or where to find course materials.

  • Adaptable

By housing all your training materials on a hospitality LMS materials can be easily tweaked based on new training demands.

  • Analytical

While a system like an Intranet simply houses materials, a hospitality LMS lets managers see how employee training is going. Managers have access to reports on who has taken the training and how employees are scoring on the training being given.

  • Economical

Although there is an initial cost, a hospitality LMS will save you money in the long run. Your training program will be more organized, employees better trained, and managers won’t be bogged down administering training.

Choosing the right LMS provider

Now that you know some of the benefits of an LMS, it’s time to choose the correct partner. There are many learning management systems, but you’ll want to select one that caters to the hospitality industry. Here are some questions to ask yourself whether switching LMS or choosing one for the first time.

1. What are your company goals?

Write down your company goals and keep in mind what training is needed to achieve these goals. For example, is it hospitality elearning or a more blended learning platform? Make sure you also consider short-term and long-term goals. If you see adding staff or your learning needs shifting over time like to ramp up for a large product roll out, make sure to write down things like scalability as an important training driver.

2. What key features do you need?

Next, what are the key features you will need your hospitality LMS to have. In other words, should training involve peer to peer training or is in-person training needed for certain departments. Once you lay out what types of training are important, it will be easier to select a hospitality LMS that offers the key features you need.

3. Who will administer your hospitality LMS?

Regardless of whether you are switching LMS providers or choosing one for the first time, you will want to involve your team. Who will be responsible for your LMS? This could be a single person of an entire LMS launch team. Talk to everyone from who will administer your LMS to who will be the point person to answer employee questions as they arise. Ask each of these employees what features and capabilities they would like to see in an LMS. This will help you determine which option is best.

4. How is the new LMS vendor’s reputation?

There are a sea of LMS providers to choose from. Since you don’t want to overhaul your LMS vendor again in the near future, select one based on their ability to always stay relevant and up on the latest technology. Plus, you want one that is responsive when you have questions both I.T. and platform related.

5. Is SaaS the best option?

Many times companies choose an LMS that they install themselves. This may be more cost-effective in the beginning, but is not the best option overall and can actually be more costly in the end. You really want to opt for a SaaS version. SaaS will get you a dedicated LMS maintenance team and a company to house it all for you. Plus, set up will be a lot faster. And after all, time is money.

6. Do they offer a free trial or a demo?

Gathering a shortlist of LMS vendors is great and so is hearing about all their features. But it’s also about how well your company works with a product. That’s why it’s vital to take this process for a test drive. Choose a company that offers either a free trial period or one with a demo so you can get a good idea if this is a good vendor for you.

Top hospitality LMS providers

After deciding what you need in a hospitality LMS, it’s important to take a look at some of the top providers. This will help narrow your decision. And to make it easier, we’ve provided a list of the top five to consider.

1. Continu

Continu, launched in 2012, offers a simple cloud-based interface. Their goal has always been to provide a hospitality LMS that is easy to use, doesn’t over complicate the implementation process and keeps up with changing technology. Continu’s Learning Tracks is how administrators create courses, facilitate onboarding flows, quizzes, and more. This system is also an authoring tool which means companies can create training materials directly onto this platform without the aid of third parties.

Key features

  • Track assigned and completed courses
  • Tag content by national or international office locations
  • Assign and track course completion
  • Download, export and share reports
  • Support for blended learning which includes hospitality eLearning
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Scalable platform

Integrations

Slack, Okta, Nelogin, Workday, Scorm, Google, YouTube and Vimeo

Noted customers

Eventbrite, Lyft, Dollar Shave Club, Warner Music Group, Stuart Weitzman

Cost

Subscription based. Call for details.

2. Canvas LMS

If one of your biggest needs in a hospitality LMS is flexibility, Canvas is a good option. It provides a customizable interface and design for better learning. There is a built in communication tool which allows teachers to interact with their students in a hospitality elearning environment. Plus, Canvas can be used across various devices to get notifications, submit assignments, and interact with other users. There is also an interesting feature that lets a user connect Canvas with their personal social media accounts.

Key features

  • Facilitators can provide feedback, combine blogs, wikis, and more for students
  • SpeedGrader function has the ability to record audio/video during grading
  • Open-source software that has APIs, security audits, and feature discussions
  • Can add new technology to existing courses without IT support
  • Hosted on Amazon Web Service making it fast to load
  • All changes, migrations, and updates done in real-time
  • Scales up to demand with automated peak load management

Integrations

Twitter, Delicious, Skype, Diigo, SMS, YouTube, LinkedIn, CAS, SAML, Diigo, Adobe Connect, and more

Noted customers

San Jose State University, Utah State University, Pittsburg State University, Del Mar College

Cost

SMB and Enterprise pricing information is available only upon request. Contact the company for more details. Free trial is also available.

3. Absorb LMS

Absorb LMS is a hospitality lms that offers an HTML5-based user interface that works well with companies’ various hardware platforms. This technology works on smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Absorb LMS gives self-guided lessons that have tasks, videos, quizzes, documents, surveys, exams, and more. The learning materials enable users to access only the materials like or are required by the company. Companies can buy a standard version or upgrade with an add-on called Mercury Module. While Absorb LMS offers an extensive list of features, it is also a bit pricey and may not work for smaller companies.

Key features

  • Learner interface
  • Online course assembly
  • Question banks
  • Global resources
  • Scheduled reporting
  • Department level branding

Noted customers

GAP, Airbnb, Johnson & Johnson, New York University, and Swarovski

Integrations

Microsoft Azure, Twitter, PingFederate, Okta, BambooHR, OneLogin, Salesforce Sales Cloud, G Suite, Workday Human Capital, SharePoint, UltiPro, Google Analytics, Oracle TBE, PayPal, Facebook, ADP GlobalView® HCM, Degreed, FoxyCart, Identity Services, Dayforce Ceridian HCM, Oracle HCM Cloud

Cost

Call for pricing. There is a 30-day cancellation policy.

4. TalentLMS

TalentLMS is a cloud-based LMS that is SCORM and TinCan certified. Users can easily transfer presentations, videos, and other online material through their integrations. Plus, administrators can create custom domains, logos, and themes.

Key features

  • Course downloading when offline
  • Video conferencing
  • Advanced gamification
  • Analytic functionality
  • Collect and analyze surveys
  • Ability to sell courses
  • Available in multiple languages

Integrations

Integrates with services through Zapier. Native integrations with Shopify, Salesforce, WordPress, and GoToMeeting.

Noted customers

DeLonghi, Oyo, Triton Aerospace, Safe Management Group, ACL

Cost

Subscription-based. Four plans dependent on number of users. Price ranges from free to $349 monthly.

5. Bridge

Bridge by Instructure is an outcome-based talent management system for companies large and small. This company provides training, development, and a platform to bring companies together to better retain their current workforces. Bridge is a performance management software that helps define new company strategies, new decisions with analytics, and promotes employee and management development. Some of the features include continuous innovation and advancement, and customer service support. With Bridge, companies can achieve happier and well-trained employees.

Key features

  • Records employee practice or live pitches for future reference and improvement
  • Enables users to create courses
  • Can design classes and integrate in-classroom training into system
  • Build manager to employee ratios for better company relationships
  • Peer to peer learning through video coaching
  • Performance tools
  • Self-directed learning

Integrations

HRIS, ERP and CRM systems as well as with several third-party apps. it can also be readily integrated with Lynda.com, OpenSesame, and Shopify.

Noted customers

Tesla, Swift, General Electric, Unilever, Empire Today, Lowes, Villanova University, Generation

Cost

Offers individual and enterprise plans. You can also schedule a demo of the service and there is a free trial plan available for up to 90-days. Call for pricing of plans.

Which hospitality e-learning platform is right for you?

According to Dailypay.com, the employee turnover rate is over 73 percent in the hotel and motel industry. This figure is significant considering most human resource managers see a turnover rate of only 10 to 15 percent in other industries. So you can see having a hospitality LMS is key to properly train new, seasonal, and short-term team members quickly and effectively.

Just remember to ask yourself some key questions as to what’s most important in your training program. And then look at the top hospitality LMS providers to see which features align best with your training objectives. And if you are switching LMS providers, choose a provider that knows how to scale with your company, can easily migrate your existing platform over to the new one and has a customer service team in place to answer questions along the way.

 

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Kristy is a content writer for Continu and marketing freelancer. When she’s not working on her latest blog post, she enjoys tackling new recipes and destressing during yoga sculpt.