[SPONSORED CONTENT] Address the hotel staffing shortage by levelling up customer service and attracting new talent.
Vaccination rollouts, milder strains of Covid-19 and warmer weather have led to hotels all over Europe opening just in time for summer. Travel, as a result, is picking up both domestically and internationally.
According to the Europe Edition of the Cvent 2022 H1 Planner Sourcing Report, 71 per cent of event planners said that they were sourcing for in-person events.
And, according to the Europe Edition of the Cvent 2022 H1 Travel Manager Report, 69 per cent of corporate travel managers say they are sourcing internationally, both within and outside of Europe.
But an old problem is becoming a 2022 trend. Today, the hotel staffing shortage is a major issue for many hotels, causing them to turn away business or reduce their service offering.
We explore why this is happening and how you can begin to address staff shortages at your hotel.
Reasons behind the hotel staffing shortage
Staffing shortages are not a new problem for the hospitality industry – the Covid-19 pandemic only brought it to a new level.
As hotels in 2020 lost business due to travel restrictions and new lockdown rules, furloughs and redundancies became a way for businesses to survive. According to Statista, roughly 62 million jobs were lost in the hospitality and travel industry worldwide.
Former hotel staff, in need of a new form of income, turned to other industries in need of employees. With so many transferable skills, experience working in diverse teams and being so customer focused, hospitality workers are valuable.
It wasn’t just layoffs and furloughs which prompted this exodus from the hospitality industry. Medallia Zingle found that health and safety concerns, a high perceived lack of job security, and people finding new jobs during lockdowns were all top reasons workers left hospitality.
In addition, 61 per cent of hospitality workers worldwide reported that their roles were harder and less rewarding since the pandemic. 24 per cent claim their employee experience has gotten worse and that they feel less engaged. Finally, 27 per cent feel the customer service they’re able to provide has also deteriorated.
This meant that leaner hotel teams everywhere had to find ways to do more with less.
Five ways to address the hotel staff shortage at your property
The following five points will help you unburden your teams and provide ideas on how to level up your customer service, attract new talent and beat your competitors.
1. Set your priorities
Where is your guest experience suffering most due to staff shortages? Once you establish whether it’s housekeeping, front desk, or F&B, you can begin to prioritise and look for ways to solve issues in these areas quickly.
2. Make yourself attractive to new talent
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that workers want fair wages and a good work-life balance. Hospitality is no exception.
This is your opportunity to come out onto of your competitors. When advertising your job vacancies, tout the benefits your staff will receive such as a supportive work environment, internal training, and career development programmes.
If you can show that as an employer you are empathetic and care about staff growth and wellbeing, workers will likely follow.
3. Unbundle services
Certain services added on top of visitors’ stay – such as daily housekeeping – were once a given. Now, however, to take the pressure off large brands have been changing things up.
Hilton, for example, recently announced an opt-in model for daily housekeeping at its non-luxury US properties. Consider doing something similar at your hotel.
It’s likely that a good deal of guests will opt out of housekeeping, given the option. This will help take the load off your housekeeping staff and cut costs for cleaning products and equipment.
4. Support your team with technology
One of the best ways to support your team and offset their workload is by giving them the right technology to get the job done.
Keep in mind that the goal here shouldn’t be to replace humans with machines though. Instead, new tech solutions should support your team by lightening their load. Let tech take over repetitive, boring tasks, so your staff has more time for the important work, i.e. providing an amazing guest experience.
Here are some options for several departments:
• A chatbot on your website can answer FAQs.
• Modern PMS’s support online check-in and check-out.
• Hotel operation platforms streamline internal communication.
• Self-service kiosks in the lobby can handle simple tasks.
• Automated upselling tools help you drive ancillary revenue.
• Event planning and management solutions increase efficiency. Event management is one of the most time-intensive activities at many hotels. But innovative tools can help you work more efficiently. For example, Cvent Event Diagramming lets you work collaboratively with event planners to design seating arrangements. Passkey helps you manage room blocks. And the Cvent Supplier Network lets you get your property in front of the right potential guests to generate more MICE business at your property.
5. Invest in existing employees
While appealing to new talent is important, it’s vital to continue to nurture and train your current ones to avoid a high staff turnover.
These employees are invaluable. They know your standards, your guests and your property’s ins and outs. Do everything you can to keep them around.
Invest in their professional development, create a healthy work culture in which they must work every day, offer flexible scheduling and more holiday for long-serving staff.
The impacts of the staffing shortage can be felt in every department of a hotel. Avoid negative guest reviews and overworked teams by implementing these tips.