Hotel Workers

Solving the Hotel Industry Labor Issue

The skies are undoubtedly sunnier for many hotel owners and investors as vaccines are rolling out and businesses open up. A perfect example of this change in fortunes is seen by merely turning on the television and watching sporting events. Audiences are packing arenas and stadiums once more–and that’s splendid news for hotels. Even going back to March, this wanderlust was evident as ramped-up vaccine distribution spearheaded higher occupancy rates in hotels.

Despite this fantastic news for the industry, there’s a sinking feeling at the pit of owners’ stomachs: the hotel industry labor issue. 

The Hotel Industry Labor Issue

Some experts describe the current job recruitment climate as the worst in the hotel industry’s history.

There are a plethora of reasons for this less-than-ideal state of affairs. COVID-related layoffs and furloughs were wide-sweeping. Backtracking and rehiring staff once the demand returned to (or exceeded) normal levels would always present a stern challenge. After all, employees weren’t sitting and waiting for a call back to work. Instead, a large portion of them sought other opportunities in different industries.

Other issues – such as H-2B visas and unemployment insurance – continue piling on hotel owners and investors trying to regain their stride. As a result, compared to February 2020, before the cruel realities of the pandemic set in, the industry finds itself 2.8 million jobs short as of early May 2021. 

With travel’s oncoming rebound this summer, how can hotels sort out their labor shortage to meet the skyrocketing demand?

Remaining Consistent with Recruitment 

The labor shortage in the hotel industry is cause for concern, but there are likely more reasons for optimism and enthusiasm. In April alone, the industry added 54,000 jobs

Keeping that momentum up could involve the following recruitment efforts at given hotels:

  • Offering finders fees for candidate referrals
  • Retention bonuses 
  • Providing aid for child or pet care during workers’ shifts

Hiring versatile talent will also go far in meeting the surge in demand. For instance, someone setting up a banquet today could be the concierge helping in the lobby tomorrow.

Lastly, staying on top of industry trends (e.g., offering a more personalized hospitality experience with automation) can reduce the workload for staff.

Hotel Industry Outlook is Positive

The US has persevered through COVID-19, and that’s excellent news for the hotel industry.

Those involved in hotel real estate (or considering it as an investment) can take comfort in knowing that millions of Americans eagerly await their chance to travel. 

Moreover, the hotel unemployment rate continues to drop. Soon enough, hotels will be back at full strength and thriving like they were before anyone heard of COVID-19. Until then, follow the tips suggested above to offset the currents industry labor challenges.

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