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Giving language skills a ‘Boost’: Mobile learning for hotel staff

Stefanus Ajie

The Jakarta Post

Surakarta, Central Java  /  Mon, April 8, 2019  /  01:30 pm
Giving language skills a ‘Boost’: Mobile learning for hotel staff

'Boost' is a mobile app for hotel staff to learn English (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

Good service is key in the hospitality business. While we may say service is synonymous with a human touch, good communication between service providers and the receiver is mandatory. Foreign language skills, particularly English,  has become mandatory for those who directly interact and provide services to guests in hotels.

“Anyone from anywhere might stay in a hotel, hence hotel staff must be able to communicate with them,” Yudi Alamsyah, general manager of Harris Pop Hotel Surakarta, told The Jakarta Post.

Yudi went on to say that hotel staff often avoided communicating with foreign guests and relied on senior staff to interact with the guests.

Regarding language barriers in communication and service at the hotel, Harris Pop hotel and other hotels under Tauzia Hotel Management provide an English learning program that utilizes a mobile learning system. The hotel group uses Boost mobile app, a mobile learning solution that enables hotel staff to learn English from their cell phones.

Boost is used in more than 225 hotels across the Asia-Pacific, including Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and China. Boost has provided learning tools for around 20,000 hotel staff to improve their English language skills. 

Boost learning program begins with a simple test to assess the learners’ English skills. Learning covers conversation and listening, and concludes with a final test that summarizes improvements in learners’ English during the program.

Read also: Mid-tier hotels the future of hospitality: Veteran hotelier

Harris Pop Hotel applies this learning program in its food and beverage division, front office, housekeeping and engineering, which often interact directly with guests.

Titus, an F&B staff member at Harris Pop Hotel Surakarta, uses the Boost mobile app to learn English during his break.Titus, an F&B staff member at Harris Pop Hotel Surakarta, uses the Boost mobile app to learn English during his break. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)

According to Yudi, Boost has helped his team learn English more effectively and efficiently. Unlike learning methods in time-consuming conventional classes, Boost also offers more flexible learning, with the process and result supervised by the company’s management team.

“Staff can therefore learn anytime, anywhere, during breaks, after work or during spare time at home, as long as they have internet,” said Yudi.

After six months of applying Boost mobile learning in Harris Pop hotel, Yudi was able to see progress on his team. 

“Staff members are now more confident in communicating with foreign guests, [as] the key is they understand what the guests are saying, asking for, and the guests also understand what we are delivering.”

Yudi is very optimistic that the program will be able to improve the hospitality business as good communication is a crucial part of service. Good communication with no language barrier is key to the effective handling of requests and complaints. (mut)

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