Those who work in hotels and hospitality are deeply familiar with the need for great customer service. From hotel restaurant staffing to room service personnel, hotel staff fill the roles of hotel management for restaurants, customer service, room service, cleaning services, reservation care, and restaurant reservations. Like any other customer service role, there can be issues in the world of hotel staff.
In 2022, an American Hotel and Lodging Association survey found that 97% of its members were experiencing a worker shortage. There’s been a shortage of hotel staff for a while now, starting at the beginning of the pandemic and carrying on. It goes hand in hand with the restaurant labor shortage.
Of course, the recent hotel staffing shortage issues aren’t the only issues hotels run into with employees. There are also issues like scheduling and heavy workloads that show up for employees. Today we’ll look at five common hotel staff issues and solutions from both the employer and employee sides.
Before we dive into common issues in the world of hotel staff, we’ll give a brief overview of staff structure in hotels. Hotel staff consists of the owner, managers and directors–including the food and beverage director, and every employee working within the departments of those leaders. Potential issues can arise anywhere throughout that structure.
These five issues and subsequent solutions are common enough that–if you’re working in a hotel, opening a hotel, or looking to get into hotel work–these are things you need to be aware of. From hotel restaurant staffing concerns to front desk staff work, you can expect to see these issues crop up in any hotel business.
5. Labor-Intensive Work
Labor-intensive work causes staffing issues because hotel work is more physically demanding than other industries. This issue applies to all customer service jobs, too. It’s hard to find people willing to work under labor-intensive pressures when there is other, less physically demanding work available.
The solution for this issue is two-fold:
- One solution is to utilize more organizational systems to streamline hotel work and ease the burden on individual workers. That includes better restaurant equipment.
- The other solution is to invest in long-term solutions like inventory software–including restaurant inventory software and order management software, to give each worker a more manageable workload. This will cut your costs in the long run, and provide more support for your employees.
4. Overwhelming Demand
Overwhelming demand comes from vacationers looking to escape after the last few years of COVID-19-related shutdowns. As restrictions ease, more and more people are flocking to hotels. When this trend is paired with supply chain issues–including the food and agricultural supply chain, it’s more than most hotels are equipped to handle.
The solution for hotel staff is to put a maximum capacity on the amount of guests who can be accommodated–in both room availability and recreational hotel activities–at any given time. Of course, this is a hard pill to swallow when guests were scarce through the COVID-19 pandemic.
With a maximum capacity of guests, however, hotels are better prepared to serve those guests with greater operational efficiency. When that happens, hotel staff can have a reasonable expectation of work.
3. Unruly Guests
The issue of unruly guests is similar to troublesome customers in a retail setting. There will always be some guests who are hard to please. Your hotel’s guests may well be the reason that your employees end up unhappy and search for other work.
The solution here is to take the burden of dealing with these guests off the shoulders of your employees. Of course, your employees should be trained to deal with guest complaints on a reasonable basis.
Give your employees the training and resources necessary to handle situations, but be ready to support your employees as they need it. The best plan for these situations is to provide comprehensive training for guest services and have a system in place for your employees to alert you to any guests they need assistance with.
When a guest causes an issue, deal with it, without putting staff in an uncomfortable situation (if you can help it). Stepping in as the manager to deal with unruly guests will make your employees happier at work. It will also make them more comfortable with and trusting of you as their manager.
2. Industry Competition
Industry competition puts a direct strain on any hotel, from the owner to the managers to every staff member. Industry competition can increase the workload of everyone in the hotel. It can also make employees look elsewhere for better job prospects.
The solution to competition lies in staying one step ahead of your top five competitors. This can be done through marketing, varied promotions and restaurant specials, benefits for employees, and consistently analyzing the local hotel scene.
1. Pay Discrepancies
Pay discrepancies still exist in some professions these days. The average cost of living in the United States has surpassed what the minimum wage can provide for too many years. Of course, there are many companies that have addressed this issue and raised wages internally, but there is still work to be done.
There is only one solution here: prioritizing the pay of your employees. This may mean cutting bonuses for higher-ups, trimming costs by ordering from a wholesale marketplace, or raising prices for guests. These are all difficult decisions to make, especially when your business is just coming back after the pandemic. If you want to keep good employees on the books, however, it’s necessary.
“Key Takeaway: From hotel restaurant staffing concerns to front desk staff work, there are a variety of issues faced by hotel staff and hotel businesses. The key to solving these issues is innovative solutions.”
Frequently Asked Questions About Hotel Staff
From finding work as a hotel staff member to dealing with hotel restaurant staffing issues, the definition of hotel staff is multifaceted and far-reaching. Whatever your connection to hotel staff work is, there is always more you can learn.
These days, with staffing issues being even more prevalent, there is a lot you might be worried about. Our answers to these frequently asked questions give you the support you need.
What Is the Work of Hotel Staff?
The work of hotel staff includes a mix of taking reservations, maintaining the hotel, and ensuring overall guest satisfaction throughout the hotel experience. In the hotel restaurant staffing department, work can include similar tasks to what you would find in a normal restaurant or the best bars. Overall, the work of hotel staff is to make the visit for each guest as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
Why are Hotels Understaffed?
Currently, many hotels are understaffed due to the sociocultural aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some hotels never bounced back from the shutdowns and business restrictions throughout the pandemic. In many cases, workers who were laid off found work-from-home positions, leaving hotels scrambling when reopenings began.
What are the Challenges In Hotel Operations?
The challenges of hotel operations include:
- Communications between teams
- Low hiring rates
- High costs of operations, including restaurant operations and overhead expenses
- Supply chain issues beyond the scope of normal supply chain management concerns
- Slow season times
Many of these issues are common in other industries as well. For hotels facing these concerns, the best thing to do is to minimize loss whenever possible and work hard at everything they have control over.
Why Is There Such a Shortage of Workers Right Now?
The current shortage of workers in the hotel and hospitality industry–and frankly across the customer service industry–stems from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues and places open up to varying degrees, the shortage of workers continues.
From the allure of work-from-home jobs and the need for better pay to a wariness to return while the pandemic continues, there are many reasons for the worker shortage. For businesses, the best thing to do is understand these causes and change your business model so coming back to work is worth it.
How Do Restaurants Handle Short-Staffing?
For restaurants both in and out of hotels, short-staffing can lead to hectic nights and an increase in errors in inventory and accounting. Restaurants can handle short-staffing by:
- Focusing on hiring for an extended period of time
- Balancing roles between all members of the team, including management
- Streamlining processes with restaurant inventory management software and restaurant tech
- Setting up a perpetual inventory system for simplified work
Staffing issues can lead restaurants into troublesome times; it’s true. With a focus on long-term success and a great team effort, restaurants can bounce back better than ever.
Hiring Hotel Staff: Make a Habit of Quality Hiring
The work of hotel staff is truly never done. Wherever you’re at within the hospitality industry, come back to the BinWise blog, or our sister site, the BlueCart blog, for more hospitality, wholesaling, and B2B eCommerce content.