Navigating Staffing Shortages

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With many hotels suffering from staffing shortages, it can be difficult to maintain the same degree of service experienced before the pandemic. Outsourcing and the use of technology can help.

November 9, 2022

The Importance of a Review

A bad review can mean a loss of up to 30 potential customers. Companies must strive to keep consumers happy so as to avoid any negativity in online posts. In today’s market, over 90% of people look at online reviews prior to making a purchase or booking a hotel stay.

Maintaining a guest’s satisfaction has not been easy since the pandemic in the hospitality industry. While hotel occupancy has been 63.4% on average (AHLA 2022), employment is only at 84% of what it was prior to 2020.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association’s Midyear State of the Hotel Industry report noted that 97% of hotels have had or are experiencing staffing issues, with it being a major issue for 36% of properties..

The travel boom that began in late 2021 has created an issue for hoteliers as travelers expect the same level of service even with a lack of staffing (Wadhwa, 2022). Guests are looking for the ultimate experience which hotels need to be able to continue to provide.

Why is there a shortage? Can it be fixed?

Many workers left the hospitality industry when their hotel closed or laid them off due to COVID, and they never returned. In many cases, the staff that stayed was forced to work longer hours and have a higher workload, without receiving higher compensation. While some workers simply did not want to come back to an environment where they did not feel safe being on the front lines during a pandemic, others felt the need to pursue something that gave them a better work/life balance.

In order to combat this, many hoteliers have increased wages and work flex, as well as expanded employee benefits. They also are creating a more caring environment in which to work in.

Hotels are adopting new practices

Many hotels have cut back on some amenities such as daily housekeeping or room service, while others have incorporated technology into their business model such as a contactless check in. These tech advancements should be meant to increase a hotel’s efficiency and enhance a worker’s job experience, but not replace them (Shiji, 2022). Guests who have positive, personal interactions with staff are the ones that will have a lasting memory and be more likely to leave a great review.

With the shortages, guest satisfaction fell 2.7% from 2021 to 2022 due mostly to long hold times and tense, overworked employees (ACSI, 2022). Front desk staff are unable to focus on the people in front of them as they are being pulled in multiple directions which can add stress.

Bringing on a remote contact call center like Topaz Services can fill the need of having a reservations department onsite, as well as ease the burden of a never-ending ringing phone. The World Travel and Tourism Council noted that hotels who facilitate remote work will ensure that shortages won’t exist in the long term (2022). At Topaz, we love being able to focus solely on a hotel’s callers, as it ensures that customer service is not compromised and a positive guest experience can start before they arrive. Guests who are able to have their questions answered and feel listened to are more likely to book, which adds to revenue.

While the staffing shortage may not improve in the immediate future, guest satisfaction does not need to be compromised through adaptations of technology, policies, and outsourcing of help. All of these add to maintaining the hotel’s branding and reputation.

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