Happy, fulfilled, and passionate hotel employees are a tremendous asset that will add unique value.
As business is starting to bounce back for many hotels here in the U.S. many are experiencing a shortage of employees.
Some hoteliers tend to blame this on the pandemic, the stimulus packages, and unemployment benefits.
If hoteliers take a deep look in the mirror, they will discover an image that is much more complex than this.
As hoteliers, we have to look in both our personal and our business mirror to get a better understanding of how we can resolve this challenge.
Employee shortage impacts
People today are seeking hotel brands that care about their health and well-being. They want to ensure your hotel can provide a safe working environment.
Today, many hotels are running on a skeleton crew where employees are seriously overworked and not provided enough support through personal or professional development.
When we study reviews today customers express, they understand the situations many hotels find themselves in today. Though on the other side with hotels bookings for 100% occupancy and rates their expectations are still as it was before the pandemic hit.
On TripAdvisor customers’ expectations will in the end determine if empathy has any impact on how many stars, they give their review.
Employees are your hotel’s best friend
“Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first.”
I believe this quote from Simon Sinek is a great illustration of why hotels need to understand the value of their employees.
Today employees are under an immense amount of stress and need to feel assured that the hotel cares about them and has their best interests in mind.
What can hotels do today to attract employees back again to the industry?
First, stop pointing fingers or playing any blame games. That will not help resolve any challenges hotels face today.
Many employees also face unforeseen challenges today because of the pandemic.
Instead of focusing on your hotel’s challenges, why not focus on value innovation and be bold and turn things around?
What kind of impact would it make if your hotel put more energy on help with some of the challenges employees face today?
Is your hotel able to provide more flexible hours for employees with children?
Can your hotel provide some form of daycare solution?
Have you created an employee fund that can be used to support employees and their families?
Are employees able to do some work from home?
Labor shortage a reality check
The reality today is that hotels will face various labor challenges for a while unless the industry starts collaborating on innovative solutions that will make an impact long term.
And just so we all are on the same page when it comes to labor shortage this is not a new phenomenon for the hotels industry.
We can’t look away from the fact many employees in the industry have for a long time experienced long stressful shifts. In many cases, hotels were understaffed, and team members were paid low wages and marginal benefits. The hotel industry has for a long time been among the industries with the highest turnover.
The hotel industry has been bleeding for years. In 2019 there was a drop-out even among the highest-paid workers in the industry. At that time blue-collar workers were in high demand, and hotel workers picked jobs with higher wages and better benefits.
All of us together must identify new innovative solutions that will make the hotel industry thrive again, not use all our energy to point fingers, and put all the blame on the pandemic.
Your hotel’s new workplace
We already addressed some innovative questions about your hotel’s new workplace.
Hotels must understand the three C’s.
Reimaging your new workplace starts with connectivity.
We want the future for hotels to be a smarter connected workplace. A smarter workplace is a dynamic digital transformation process.
The idea is for your hotel to become more effective and productive as a result of digital solutions helping employees become more confident and happier in their new workplace.
Today we must look at digital solutions that make it easy for the hotel to provide ongoing training programs that support the day-to-day operation. But in addition, also provide alternative courses that make cross-training in different departments easier.
Many experts today indicate that collaborations are the new competitive advantage. I will also argue that collaboration is what will allow your hotel to tap into new uncontested markets.
Innovative brands today provide meaningful and exciting rewards for their employees. Brands are starting to utilize more experimental rewards like a once-in-a-lifetime rewards.
The key behind these types of rewards is that they are extremely motivating and engaging.
As a result, the employee ends up becoming more connected to your hotel and will start sharing sentiments with their peer and network which will pay back the hotel in dividends.
Make your hotel employees part of critical decision-making processes that help your hotel bounce back to a new and bright future.
Embrace an innovative inclusive workplace.
To create a rewarding community, you need to start with embrace a new culture for your hotel.
I already enlisted several steps that will lead your hotel up to this point.
Hotels need to involve employees in helping them create a new mission statement. The employees will feel they are working towards a goal that is bigger than themselves.
All the elements in this process focus on value innovation and a growth mindset.
You want your employees to become unique brand ambassadors for your hotel.
Since your hotels will implement new innovative connectivity ideas this will open the doors to implementing unique alternative training programs.
What if your employee wants to learn Scooba diving? Paragliding? Playing piano? Social media? AI programming?
If your hotel has done your homework, you should have a picture of your new ideal customers.
When introducing a new culture for your hotel also make sure you involve your employees in helping you to identify your new ideal customers.
You can trigger some ideas from the customers’ skillset to help employees engage with customers at a unique level.
Remember this is about building a community that will truly understand the value of making a direct booking with your hotel
Create a working pool
I already mentioned cross-training between departments. With a new unique work pool, we take cross-training to a new level.
This is about cross-training between hotels in your area.
As we already talked about labor shortage is a challenge for many hotels. Therefore, we must think outside the box to help the industry with this challenge.
If hotels A and B have sold to 50% capacity, hotel C has sold out. Hotel C is then in a position where they need some extra help. What if they then could tap into a working pool to call in some extra help?
We are already seeing many hotels get hit on reviews because they are running on a skeleton crew. And we as hoteliers must look at creative alternative solutions so we don’t overwhelm the employees that are doing their very best to serve the customers.
In the scenario where hotels A, B, and C are sold out then hotels must have a foundation built around connectivity, collaboration, and community. When this happens we also have to focus on flexibility and innovation to help each other out.
Competitive wages and benefits
All the processes up to this point focus on employee happiness. And we already know happy employees are more productive and effective.
We also introduced new creative rewards.
Wages and benefits are important components to attract new talent and skillsets.
And we are seeing more hotel ramp up wages and incentives.
One essential point to the previous processes we discussed here is that one underlying goal is to reduce turnover in the industry. This alone can save the industry as much as 25%.
Reports show that increased wages will make employees more positive and loyal to the employer.
Remember we want to create a cultural shift that results in a new bright future for the hotel industry.
In the situation, hotels find themselves in today wages must be increased in context with a new innovative digital initiative. With new innovative digital solutions employees will able to handle more complex tasks, while technology takes care of simple tasks.
Always be prepared for the next guest
It is not magic that creates the customer experience, it is the way excellent hotel performers works that creates the magic.
Working in hotels we know that even customers aren’t conscious of it, they have very definitive expectations about tangible experiences like a comfortable bed, sleeping, eating and good food.
We have also seen a rise in intangible experiences like how they are greeted, how the question is answered, and how their concerns are handled.
With new technology, digital media, social media, and artificial intelligence knocking on the door there are now more opportunities available to make the customer feel good. But this also carries with it much higher expectations that hotels need to meet.
This trend has also broadened the aspect of intangible experiences customers expect from their service providers. Traditional amenities and loyalty rewards will no longer do it. Hotels need to be prepared and understand the real scope of value innovation in today’s markets.
Hotel performers today must be able to respond in a new setting in ways that positively influence the values of customer satisfaction.
If you follow the processes here employees will bring with them new favorable attitudes. And they will perform to the best of their abilities.
Related article: How Can Happy Employees Increase Your Bottom Line
We are in this together!
I need to let you all know that we are in on this together. If you need to vent, talk, cry, or just have someone to talk with, I am here listening. Since I am working part-time at the local Kroger, I will best work it out around my schedule to the best of my ability.
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We will get through this unprecedented event together! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
We are starting to reopen some hotels again (Yay!!!). Make sure you follow their guidelines and say THANK YOU to those that now show a unique spirit to serve, and help us all get through this!! #hotelstrong #hospitalitystrong
About Are Morch
Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert help hotels create unique and unexpected experiences by freeing up resources to focus on new ideas through value innovation and a growth mindset.