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A step-by-step guide to migrating to a new hospitality LMS

Making the decision to transition from your current hospitality Learning Management System (LMS) to a new provider is a significant undertaking, especially for hospitality business owners and operators.

Have you ever gone through a challenging migration process or heard horror stories from other hospitality operators about the hurdles they faced? Don't worry, we've got you covered!

12 mins
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Written by Rob Paterson

Hospitality businesses often have a number of specific systems in place already to support with staff scheduling or restaurant management, and integration with a new system can present challenges.

In addition, because of the distinct training needs of the diverse roles within the business, a hospitality specific LMS may be needed to ensure the correct compliance with legislation for staff handling food or alcohol and offer effective mobile learning for teams of predominantly deskless workers.  

The LMS migration may involve transferring your content from an outdated platform to a more suitable system. Investing in the best hospitality LMS for your business means having well-trained staff who are up to date on all crucial aspects of the hospitality industry and eager to progress in their careers with you. Therefore, finding the most appropriate product is worth the effort. 

At Access, we specialise in helping businesses transform their operations and have helped hundreds of businesses navigate the challenging migration process. Our expertise ensures that you can rely on us for a smoother journey toward learning success.

5 reasons to switch your hospitality LMS  

As migrating from one LMS to another could be seen as a bit of a headache, why should you go to the trouble? Education and training play a pivotal role in hospitality, and choosing the right LMS can yield remarkable returns. By providing comprehensive training through an upgraded LMS, you can cultivate a team of loyal, well-trained staff members who consistently deliver exceptional experiences to your guests. 

Let's look at the ways in which an upgraded LMS can transform your hospitality business: 

1. Hospitality-specific e-learning 

In the hospitality industry, it's crucial to ensure that your staff acquire specific skills that align with the industry's unique requirements. Off-the-shelf training content often falls short in addressing these precise needs. That's why it's essential to seek an LMS that provides tailored hospitality e-learning courses specifically designed to focus on compliance issues, such as health and safety protocols and licensing regulations. Look for industry-endorsed material developed in collaboration with sector experts, as well as modules that emphasise well-being and career development. 

By investing in an LMS that caters to the compliance and legislation demands of the hospitality sector, you can enhance your employees' skill sets while taking care of their career progression. The result? Highly trained staff who consistently deliver excellent service, and a motivated team that is dedicated to developing and advancing their careers alongside you. 

2. Bespoke courses 

Hospitality is a sector renowned for its diversity in operators. From fine-dining to fast casual and experience-led venues to quick service – your businesses tone, service and products could be highly important to the customer experience. That's where an LMS with course-authoring tools and other customisation features becomes invaluable. With these capabilities, you can take your training initiatives to the next level by creating bespoke courses that precisely align with your staff's requirements. 

Whether it's maintaining brand service levels, mastering the art of crafting signature drinks, or perfecting the preparation of unique dishes, an LMS that allows you to tailor content to your business's distinct demands empowers you to provide exceptional learning opportunities. By going the extra mile and offering personalised training experiences, you can ensure that your staff receives the precise knowledge and skills needed to thrive in your establishment. 

3. Data security 

In today's digital landscape, data security is of utmost importance. Your current LMS may lack robust security measures, putting your sensitive employee and guest data at risk and as a data controller, you have legal obligations to protect this or face potential fines. Upgrading to an LMS with industry-leading data security protocols ensures that your information remains confidential and protected.  

4. System stability 

Hospitality operations require reliable and uninterrupted access to training materials, and any system performance issues can significantly impact your staff's preparedness for their roles. The challenges you may be facing with your current LMS, such as frequent downtime, slow loading times, and software glitches, can hinder your training initiatives and cause frustration among employees and administrators alike. 

That's why it's crucial to consider a more stable solution. By transitioning to a new LMS, you can benefit from a robust and reliable platform that guarantees uninterrupted access to training materials. 

5. Career pathways and appraisals 

Investing in career development is crucial in the hospitality industry to combat high employee turnover. An advanced LMS can support career pathways, skills assessments and performance tracking. By aligning training programs with individual career goals, you enhance employee engagement and retention. With competency frameworks and clear targets, employees have a roadmap for career progression, benefiting both staff and your hospitality business. 

Common challenges when migrating a hospitality LMS 

Embracing the task of migrating your LMS as a hospitality operator is not just about overcoming challenges; it's an opportunity to position yourself as a competitive employer in the industry. By investing in advanced training and development, you can attract top talent and retain skilled professionals. 

However, getting ahead of the potential headaches can help you minimise the impact by anticipating issues before they happen. 

Below are a few of the areas to focus on when planning your LMS migration:  

  • Data transfer and integration: Plan the seamless transfer of training data and consider integrating the new LMS with other systems for a holistic training ecosystem. 
  • Downtime and business impact: Minimise downtime by scheduling the migration during a low-activity period and communicate the process to staff in advance. Partner with a reliable LMS provider to ensure a smooth transition. 
  • Cost considerations: Assess the financial implications of licensing, data migration, staff training and customisation when choosing a provider. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the long-term value and return on investment. 
  • Staff training and adoption: Invest in comprehensive training programs and provide ongoing support to facilitate a smooth transition and encourage staff adoption of the new LMS. 
  • Rolling out to multiple sites: Implement a phased approach for multiple locations, starting with pilot sites and gradually expanding the migration to minimise disruptions and accommodate varying training needs. 

By discussing your unique challenges with an LMS expert and following a tailored plan, you can ensure a successful migration. Check out our 12-step framework for migrating your hospitality LMS below, which you can adapt to your specific requirements. 

12 steps for migrating your hospitality LMS 

Embarking on an LMS migration journey can be a positive and stress-free experience, especially if you choose a hospitality focused supplier who understands the unique challenges of your business. The key to success lies in creating a clear plan that aligns with your specific business needs.

To help you, we’ve developed a step-by-step guide to LMS migration for hospitality, ready to be customised according to your needs: 

1. Evaluate your current system 

Before migrating your LMS, it's essential for hospitality operators to identify the specific shortcomings of their current system.

Assess areas such as limited functionality (e.g., gamification, mobile learning, real-time notifications, ecommerce, automation, compliance training), recurring costs, outdated user interfaces and insufficient authoring tools.

By understanding these challenges, you can justify the need for a new LMS that addresses the unique needs of the hospitality industry, providing enhanced functionality, cost-effectiveness, user-friendly interfaces and powerful authoring tools to elevate your training initiatives. 

2. Establish clear goals for the new system 

Once you have identified the problem areas specific to your operations, it's crucial to outline your expectations for the new LMS with a focus on industry needs.

Consider your business goals and employee training initiatives to determine the desired features and functionalities that will drive success. For example, since most of your staff may be deskless, prioritise mobile accessibility for e-learning courses to enable on-the-go learning. Involve stakeholders from various departments to gather their input and ensure that the new system aligns with their specific needs.

Creating a comprehensive requirement specification document will serve as a guiding framework during the selection process, ensuring that the new LMS effectively addresses all identified problem areas and meets the unique demands of the hospitality industry.  

3. Research and select a new LMS 

Now that you have identified your goals for a new LMS in the hospitality industry, it's time to explore the marketplace and choose a platform that specifically caters to your needs. Look for LMS products designed with a focus on hospitality operations. Consider factors such as industry-specific features, scalability to accommodate your growing business, integration capabilities with existing systems, user-friendly interface for easy adoption, reliable customer support and cost-effectiveness.

When selecting an LMS for the hospitality industry, consulting with experts is crucial. Engage in conversations to gain deeper insights into product capabilities and adaptability to your specific requirements.

Once you have a shortlist, book product demonstrations or trials to assess platforms firsthand, ensuring they align with your needs. Testing the LMS options empowers you to make an informed decision, elevate training initiatives, and drive success in your hospitality business. 

4. Identify technical challenges 

Preparing for your new hospitality LMS involves a comprehensive feasibility study that addresses sector-specific challenges.

Smooth transfer of training records is crucial for compliance with hospitality-specific legislation and regulations, ensuring accurate documentation of employee certifications and compliance training completion. Additionally, managing a diverse workforce with varying training needs and ensuring adherence to health and safety protocols pose additional challenges. Your new LMS should provide a centralised platform to effectively track and manage training records, addressing these specific challenges in the hospitality industry. 

During the feasibility study, it is essential to assess technical complexities, including data transfer compatibility, integrity, and accurate migration of historical training information. Engaging in discussions with potential LMS suppliers is crucial to evaluate their expertise in handling hospitality-specific challenges and ensuring a seamless transfer of training records while maintaining compliance with industry regulations. 

5. Data preparation  

The next step is to cleanse and organise your existing data to ensure its accuracy and consistency. This includes user profiles, learning outcomes, employee data and any other relevant information. Look out for repeat entries or out-of-date information which can be erased. This is a good opportunity to standardise the data format to align with the new system's requirements.

Again, by talking this through with your LMS provider you can identify issues before they become problematic. Once you are satisfied your data is in good order, make a back-up drive in case there are any issues. 

6. System configuration and customisation 

When configuring and customising the new LMS, work closely with the provider to cater to your specific hospitality needs. This includes setting up content libraries, user roles, integrating with other systems, and accommodating unique workflows or processes in your business.

Consider the diverse training requirements across different sites and ensure the new LMS offers the adaptability required to handle evolving situations. Opting for a system with variable modules and course authoring tools provides the flexibility you need to customise and tailor your training programs effectively. 

7. Data migration 

Develop a data migration strategy to transfer your cleansed data from the old system to the new LMS. Ensure that data is mapped correctly to the appropriate fields in the new system and perform multiple tests to validate the accuracy and completeness of the migrated data. 

8. Integration 

In the hospitality industry, seamless integrations with third-party systems are crucial for efficient operations. When selecting a new LMS, prioritise finding a provider that understands the unique needs of hospitality businesses and offers robust integration capabilities.

Collaborate with your LMS provider to establish connections with third-party systems such as payroll systems or scheduling tools, ensuring smooth data transfer and functionality.

Look for an LMS designed with hospitality in mind, offering add-ons specifically tailored to partner with third-party providers and streamline your operations. By choosing an LMS that supports easy integrations, you can enhance productivity and optimise your workflows. 

9. User training and support 

In the fast-paced and multi-site hospitality industry, ensuring effective software training across multiple locations can be a challenge. It may be necessary to allocate dedicated time and even consider temporarily closing the venue to prioritise staff training.

Provide comprehensive training sessions, user manuals and ongoing support to help your team become proficient in using the new LMS. It's crucial to collaborate with your LMS supplier to ensure they can offer the necessary support throughout the entire process, from installation to data migration and beyond.

A reliable LMS provider will go the extra mile to address your needs and provide ongoing assistance as you navigate the transition and maximise the benefits of the new system. 

10. Parallel testing 

Before fully transitioning to the new system, conduct parallel testing to run both the old and new systems simultaneously. This allows you to identify any discrepancies or gaps and ensure that the new LMS is functioning as expected while the old system can still support the business.  

11. Go-live and post-migration support 

Once you are confident in the new system's performance, establish a date for the final switch-over. Communicate the change to your staff and ensure they are prepared for the transition. Provide additional support during the initial days of the go-live to address any teething issues and monitor the system's stability. 

12. Continuous optimisation 

After the migration, closely monitor the system's performance and gather feedback from your staff and guests. Make necessary adjustments, fine-tune configurations, and optimise processes to maximise the benefits of the new LMS. 

This step-by-step guide is adaptable to your business and the help of an informed expert will be invaluable in migrating your data to a new LMS. Here at Access, we are on hand to talk you through your options and give you the support you need to make this process as seamless as can be. 

How Access can help

We recognise the daunting prospect ahead and when you choose Access CPL Learning for your LMS, you’ll receive unparalleled support as we work closely with you for a successful onboarding.

And once you’re up and running, we won’t leave you high and dry. We’re with you for the long run to make sure you are consistently getting the most out of your learning platform.

As well as delivering a top-notch training platform (if we do say so ourselves!), our platform helps you to retain and develop your workforce to create a strong, skilled employee base to deliver your operational goals.   

We help businesses transform their operations and help navigate the hospitality LMS migration process

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Read more on hospitality LMS and developing your team members

By Rob Paterson

Sales Enablement Specialist (Hospitality People Products)

With more than two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Rob plays a pivotal role in supporting and empowering our commercial teams to effectively market systems that optimise hospitality businesses.

His focus lies in streamlining People processes, mitigating compliance risks, driving employee engagement and reducing labour costs for hospitality operators.