Employees are more than just the backbone of a hotel’s operation. They’re its smiling face, its helping hands and the heart of its character. Without experienced, reliable staff, a hotel is just a set of very nice rooms—it’s the staff who take the guest experience to the next level. Knowing this, the current talent shortage in hospitality is alarming.
A number of factors are making it harder than ever to hire both front-end employees like housekeepers and back-end professionals like revenue managers. Given the low unemployment rate, there are fewer candidates to choose from. On top of that, hotels are facing new competition throughout the hospitality industry and increasing pressure to raise wages. All these forces combined make staffing a hotel harder than it used to be—but not impossible.
With smart recruiting strategies, hotels can attract the best talent in the candidate pool. Use these recommendations to keep your hotel at full strength.
Make Diversity a Priority
Diverse teams have been shown to outperform industry norms by 35%, and bring in 19% higher revenue. Considering that 67% of survey respondents said they preferred to work for inclusive employers, hiring diversely makes it easier to hire in general. Plus, hiring diverse workers means bringing in a new viewpoint that can help management understand the needs of different guests. For instance, a worker with a disability can provide valuable insight into your hotel’s accessibility needs, while a worker from another country can address potential cultural misunderstandings.
Treat Recruits Like Guests
You attract guests by highlighting what is unique, exciting and innovative about your hotel. Use the same strategy to attract talent. Focus on whatever makes your property, company culture, compensation package or management structure unique. When you’re hiring at the same time as your competition—for instance, leading up to the busy season, or when the economy is booming—qualified job seekers have lots of options to choose from. Make sure they understand why working for your hotel is different (and better) than anywhere else.
Recruit the Right Talent
When evaluating candidates, be sure to consider their character and personality along with their education and experience. For instance, you want people at the front desk who are caring, positive and empathetic because they deal so closely with guests. You want people in housekeeping who are methodical, discreet and dependable. Those qualities may not jump out on a resume, but they indicate a lot about whether a candidate is a good fit for a specific role.
Look for Passion
Many of the positions you recruit for may be entry-level, so hiring for passion can be hard. After all, no one is particularly passionate about working as a laundry aid or night auditor. Instead, look for employees who are passionate about the hospitality industry as a whole, and have a vision of where they want their career to go. These people are eager to go above and beyond for guests in any role and they’re excited to learn more and take on bigger responsibilities, often making them a valuable investment in your property’s future.
Develop Your Own Talent
Recruiting isn’t easy even when the talent supply is overflowing. The next time you need to fill a role, consider an existing employee. You already know their character and they already know your hotel, so there are fewer unknowns. Plus, it may be easier to fill their more junior role when you promote them than it is to hire for a more senior position. In general, hotels should do more to develop talent internally through training, education, mentoring and structured advancement opportunities.
Every guest is looking for something a little different. Whether that’s a streamlined vacation with no interruption or a personalized, high-touch experience, this level of nuance comes down to interpersonal understandings and interactions. Without great staff to fulfill these expectations, a hotel isn’t a business; it’s just a building.