Raffles Hotel rolls out new tech as part of productivity push

Initiatives aim to boost staff output, tackle manpower issues

Guests at posh Raffles Hotel can now bypass the butler service and order food, spa sessions and other treats with a click on a tablet that comes with the room.

The Digitvalet Guestroom Management System (GRMS) is just one of a slew of initiatives that the hotel has put in place to increase productivity and combat manpower issues.

The GRMS alone can do the work of about three staff.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat visited the hotel yesterday to learn more about its productivity campaign. The hotel, which is under renovation, will reopen on Aug 1.

Head butler Grace Kiong, 34, told The Straits Times during the visit that the GRMS enables butlers to respond more quickly to guests.

"Previously, guests would press a service call button and a butler would arrive at their door within a few minutes to attend to them," she said.

"With the tablet now, guests can ask for the butler to call them and then relay their requests over the phone, rather than waiting for a butler to arrive at their room."

Another initiative is a mechanical sling shaker used in the hotel's legendary Long Bar to help prepare the famous Singapore Sling cocktail.

The machine can mix up to 18 glasses of the cocktail at once, reducing the time taken to make each one from about eight minutes to under three.

Mr Chee also announced a new initiative to encourage more Singaporeans to join the hospitality sector.

The Hospitality Employability Enhancement Programme, which is being introduced by the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board, will roll out early next year.

Mr Chee said: "Through this programme, SHA will work with training providers to conduct training for Singaporeans who are interested to explore job opportunities in hospitality. SHA will also facilitate job placements."

He said it will be a win-win scenario, as the industry will have access to more manpower and workers will be able to acquire the right skills to get good jobs in the tourism sector.

Mr Chee added: "The hospitality industry is a diverse one and it needs people from a range of backgrounds and skill sets.

"It's also a sector that can provide many different types of jobs for Singaporeans regardless of their age group and background. So this is something that I hope will encourage more Singaporeans to consider joining the hospitality sector."