A Closer Look At Labor
Technology, Employee-Centric Approach Key Strategies For Hoteliers Going Forward
Increased use of technology, outsourcing, and an employee-centric approach were cited as some of the key strategies for hotel companies to attract and retain talent in today’s difficult labor environment during a keynote address at the recent BITAC Independent event.
Larry Mogelonsky—managing partner, Hotel Mogel Consulting, and contributing writer to Hotel Interactive—delivered the presentation entitled “Labor Shortage: The TNT Approach.”
Mogelonsky pointed out that, according to the AH&LA, some 97 percent of hotels are currently facing staffing shortages. In addition, he noted that roughly 90 percent of hotels have increased wages while some 43 percent have expanded their benefits offering. Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July there were 1.5 million fewer hospitality jobs compared to February 2020.
Acknowledging that the “the make-up of the labor force has had a radical change,” Mogelonsky offered some advice to hotel owners on how to succeed in today’s environment.
“You can’t think guess-centric anymore, you have to think employee-centric. Stop thinking it’s all about the guest, it’s not. It’s about the employee and if you get the employee right you’ll have the guest right; it’s completely reversed. As hoteliers you have to recognize that your most important asset is not the building and it’s certainly not your owners, it is your team and you have to learn to survive with a much leaner team,” he said.
To that point, Mogelonsky acknowledged the impact of COVID and how that changed the mindset of much of the workforce.
“These workers had some time to retrain and they said ‘I’m not going into hospitality because I can work from home and join the gig economy,’” he said, adding that other many other industries have been impacted as well.
As a result, Mogelonsky further touted the importance of improving the hiring process with perks, such as signing bonuses, and by creating more enticing job descriptions. He also stressed that company’s job applications need to be mobile friendly and tap into social media channels, such as Tik Tok and Snapchat, for example.
Mogelonsky also emphasized the importance of technology in helping properties cope with the aforementioned labor shortages.
“You’re always going to have an onsite team, that’s going to be the reality. They’re going to be delivering your high-quality service, but look to technology to eliminate duplicate responses and things that are repetitive tasks,” he said.
Housekeeping is one such area that can be made more efficient through technology.
“Most people have housekeeping management software, I challenge the people who don’t and ask ‘why’? The days of the whiteboard with housekeepers coming in and saying ‘you do this room and you do that room’ are long gone. As long as you have more than one housekeeper you must have housekeeping software with complete integration into the property management system. The old days of coming into the hotel and they say ‘your room’s not ready,’ that should not exist and the full integration is important with hotel maintenance software,” he said.
Mogelonsky also pointed to robots as a way of saving on costs.
“You don’t even know with these new ‘bots whether you’re talking to them or a person,” he said.
Finally, circling back to staff, Mogelonsky detailed the importance of seamless leadership transitions.
“You have to start thinking about succession planning and mentorship. A successful CEO is planning for who is going to be the next CEO and every single person down the line has to be prepared to move up and over. Otherwise they’re going to be moving out,” he said.