Overcoming Staff Shortage Woes: Practical Strategies for Hoteliers

Southeast Asia's tourism sector has commenced its recovery process. As per the reports of Asia Media Centre, Thailand leads the way with 6.15 million visitors in the first quarter of 2023, and it's expected to host 30 million guests throughout the year (as compared to 11.15 million in 2022). Vietnam saw 2.7 million visitors in the first quarter, whereas Singapore’s Changi Airport had more than one quarter of the total passengers they welcomed in 2022.

This increasing influx of tourists has brought the issue of labor shortage to the forefront, and it’s high time for hoteliers to take action. To help your business soar high in challenging times like these, you have to be innovative and put conscious efforts into attracting new talents, retaining your current employees, and staying ahead of the curve. Let’s dive into some key strategies that can help you override the woes of staff shortage.

Look after your workforce

At a time when employees are reluctant to return to the hospitality industry, it’s crucial to take care of your existing workforce and make them feel appreciated. When your hotel staff is happy, it will boost their productivity, improve employee engagement, and promote retention.

Here are some of the basic benefits you must take care of:

  • Fair pay for all employees
  • Well-defined pension and retirement plans
  • Comprehensive health insurance for employees and their families
  • Paid time off (PTO)
  • Life insurance benefits
  • Automating workflows to streamline day-to-day operations

Traditionally, the hotel industry has been notorious for failing to offer proper work-life balance to its staff, which is one of the reasons behind the current staff shortage crisis. So in today’s scenario, covering only the basics will not make the cut. Go a step beyond and extend additional benefits to your hotel staff, such as flexible working hours, remote work when it’s possible, parental leave, educational assistance, and provisions for rest and relaxation within the hotel premises, to mention a few.

For example, the hospitality giant Hilton is known for being an inclusive and welcoming workplace where the leadership actively prioritizes staff wellbeing. In the evaluation of the global research and consulting firm Great Place to Work®, Hilton secured the 3rd position in their 30 Best Multinational Workplaces in Asia 2022 list.

Establish clear ESG criteria to attract like-minded employees

Defining the ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria of your hospitality business can be a strategic move to attract and retain talent. According to a PWC report, 86% of employees prefer to work for companies that care about the same issues as they do.

As a business entity, try to be transparent about your ESG values and share your plan of action, ways of execution, and progress reports with your workforce. When you incorporate the right values within your business practices, you reflect your commitment to sustainability and ethical behavior, which appeal to socially conscious employees. This can potentially have a positive impact on the company culture, increase employee engagement, and give the workforce a concrete sense of purpose.

At the same time, you should also take initiative to solidify the DEI program of your business, so you can promote inclusivity, attract a diverse pool of talents from all over the world, and create a dynamic workforce.

Use hotel tech to promote efficiency

Improving the employee experience at your hotel is another smart strategy you can implement. Thanks to the tech revolution in hospitality, now you can digitize most of your offerings, ensuring a seamless guest experience while also reducing the workload of the hotel staff. Soon the majority of the workforce will be Gen Y and Gen Z, who are well-versed in technology, and they would appreciate the convenience.

For instance, you can integrate a comprehensive guest and staff app like MyConect with your hotel PMS to streamline operations. With this app, your staff won’t have to juggle between multiple screens or systems—every operation will be covered under one platform, so there will be no disruption to the workflow.

The transactional processes will go through the app, including mobile booking, payments, contactless check-in and check-out, digital keys, in-room controls, service requests, and upselling and cross-selling of services. The app allows employees to access the property management system (PMS) on-the-go. It will reduce their workload and empower them to offer better services and manage their daily work more efficiently.

Wrapping up

Navigating the challenge of staff shortages in the hospitality industry demands a comprehensive approach that recognizes the centrality of people in the sector. While catering to guests remains essential, a paradigm shift towards prioritizing employee well-being, growth, and satisfaction is non-negotiable.

To overcome these challenges as a hotelier, you must proactively engage in initiatives that draw the finest talents, creating an environment conducive to professional development and personal fulfillment. Harnessing technology as a tool to streamline operations, eliminate inefficiencies, and empower staff can significantly contribute to bridging the workforce gap. By embracing these practical strategies, you can not only recover from staff shortage but also cultivate an ecosystem where both employees and guests thrive, ultimately elevating the industry as a whole.