Hotel talent management: recruit, develop, retain for success

talent managementIn the challenging post-pandemic landscape, the hotel industry has grappled with a seismic shift in its operational dynamics. A significant fallout of this disruption has been the mass layoffs, shrinking the industry’s talent pool and presenting a daunting challenge for hotels – to find, develop, and retain quality talent.

The pandemic-induced layoffs created a talent gap in essential roles like marketing, sales, and revenue management. These roles are pivotal in understanding market trends, devising potent strategies, and driving profitability, particularly in the industry’s current recovery phase.

However, the daunting task of filling this talent gap becomes twofold – there’s not just the need to recruit skilled professionals but also the urgency to develop their skills swiftly and retain them long-term. The lack of time and comprehensive plans for talent development adds another layer of complexity to this issue.

In this post, we aim to address these pressing concerns head-on. We will explore effective strategies for recruiting top-tier talent quickly, actionable plans for fostering their professional growth, and techniques for encouraging continued service, ensuring a seamless bounce back for your hotel.

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Moreover, we’ll discuss how modern technology can catalyze these processes, streamlining your recruitment, accelerating talent development, and enhancing retention strategies.

Join us as we navigate the talent quandary in the post-pandemic hotel industry and discover the keys to rebuilding and nurturing a team that drives your hotel’s recovery, reputation, and revenue growth.

Preparation: setting the stage for successful recruitment

Before diving into talent recruitment, getting your house in order is crucial. Job expectations and work conditions have significantly shifted after the pandemic, and prospective employees seek specific assurances and opportunities. This preparation stage involves refining job descriptions, clarifying organizational structure, deciding on work modality (on-site or remote), and outlining the compensation and benefits package. Addressing these aspects is essential to making your hotel attractive to top talent.

Refining job descriptions

Job descriptions serve as the first point of contact with potential candidates. They should provide a comprehensive view of the role, including responsibilities, required skills, and expectations. In the post-pandemic era, job descriptions should also highlight any changes in role dynamics due to new operational strategies or safety protocols.

Clarifying organizational structure

Understanding the organizational structure and its place within it is vital for candidates. Recently, many hotels have been breaking down traditional silos between marketing, sales, and revenue management roles, opting to form a unified commercial team instead. This integrated approach emphasizes synergy and teamwork, making it imperative for the candidates to understand how these functions interconnect and collaborate.

You provide transparency by outlining these reporting relationships, collaborative efforts, and potential growth paths within the team. This allows candidates to visualize their future within the organization, comprehend their potential impact, and appreciate the emphasis on team-based success.

Deciding on work modality

The pandemic has introduced the acceptance and prevalence of remote work, and many professionals now prefer roles with flexible work options. Decide whether your hotel roles will be strictly on-site, fully remote, or hybrid, considering the nature of the roles and operational demands. Communicating this clearly will help attract candidates who are comfortable with your modality.

Outlining compensation and benefits

Competitive compensation and robust benefits have always been important, but the pandemic has emphasized the need for health benefits, mental health support, and work-life balance initiatives. Develop a competitive package that caters to these needs. Highlight your hotel’s unique benefits, such as staff discounts, wellness programs, or flexible scheduling.

By addressing these considerations, you’ll ensure that you’re offering prospective candidates an attractive, well-rounded package when you’re ready to recruit. This will draw in high-quality talent and set the stage for their success within your organization.

Recruiting talent

Recruiting the right talent is the cornerstone of building a robust team in your hotel, especially when the industry is recovering from a talent shortage. This process involves understanding the roles, finding the right candidates, and having an effective interview process.

Understanding the roles

To attract qualified candidates, you first need to understand the key roles in marketing, sales, and revenue management and the skills they require:

  1. Marketing Roles: These roles require creativity, an analytical mindset, and a deep understanding of your hotel’s brand identity. Employees working in marketing need to be able to craft compelling stories about their hotel, stay updated on industry trends, use data to make informed decisions, and have a strong grasp of digital marketing tools and strategies.
  2. Sales Roles: Sales professionals in the hotel industry should possess excellent communication skills, a customer-centric approach, negotiation capabilities, and a thorough understanding of the market landscape. They must form strategic partnerships, drive bookings, and meet revenue targets.
  3. Revenue Management Roles: These professionals must be analytical, detail-oriented, and comfortable with numbers. Their role involves forecasting revenue, managing budgets, setting room rates, and making data-driven decisions. Familiarity with revenue management systems and pricing strategies is a must.

Finding the right candidates

Attracting top talent involves proactively reaching out to potential candidates and making your hotel an attractive place to work:

  1. Leverage Professional Networks: Use platforms like LinkedIn to reach potential candidates. Encourage your current employees to refer people from their networks.
  2. Use Social Media: Showcase your hotel’s work culture and employee experiences on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. This can make your hotel a desirable workplace and attract potential candidates.
  3. Attend Industry Events: Networking at industry events, job fairs, and conferences can help you connect with potential hires and spread the word about job openings.

The interview process

The interview process is a critical step in hiring. It assesses not only the technical skills of the candidates but also their cultural fit:

  1. Behavioral Interviews: Ask questions that help you understand a candidate’s past behavior in different situations. This can help predict their future performance and adaptability.
  2. Situational Interviews: Pose hypothetical situations related to the job role to assess a candidate’s problem-solving skills, decision-making, and ability to handle pressure.
  3. Technical Assessments: Depending on the role, potential candidates can complete tasks assessing their technical competencies. For example, a candidate for a marketing role might be asked to develop a mock marketing campaign.

Remember, the aim is not just to recruit but to recruit the best. It’s about finding professionals who can ride the tide, bring innovative ideas, and contribute to your hotel’s recovery and growth in the post-pandemic world.

Developing talent

Once you’ve recruited top talent into your hotel, the next step is to foster their growth and development. This involves effective onboarding, ongoing training and development programs, performance management, and creating growth opportunities.


A comprehensive onboarding process is key to successfully integrating new hires into your organization. This is the time to familiarize them with your hotel’s culture, values, expectations, and internal systems. An effective onboarding process sets the tone for a positive work experience, accelerates productivity, and contributes to long-term employee retention.

Training & development programs

Training and development programs are crucial in honing your employees’ skills and preparing them for future roles. Tailored programs for each role – marketing, sales, and revenue management – ensure your employees are updated on the latest industry trends, technologies, and strategies. This continual learning culture promotes competence, confidence, and commitment amongst your staff, fostering a high-performance team.

Performance management

Regular performance reviews and feedback sessions are an essential part of employee development. These provide insights into the employees’ strengths and areas of improvement and help set clear, measurable objectives. Having specific, achievable goals allows your employees to focus their efforts and provides a benchmark for their performance evaluation.

Creating growth opportunities

Career advancement opportunities are a major driver of employee motivation and job satisfaction. By providing opportunities for cross-training or upskilling, you enable your employees to expand their skill sets, take on new challenges, and advance in their careers. This sense of progression keeps them engaged and prepares them for larger organizational roles, fostering a culture of internal growth and succession.

Remember, developing talent is not a one-off event but an ongoing journey. By investing in your employees’ growth and development, you build a motivated, skilled, and committed workforce that’s equipped to drive your hotel’s success in the post-pandemic world.

Retaining talent

Once you have recruited and developed top-tier professionals, the next challenge is to retain them. Retention involves offering competitive compensation, fostering work-life balance, providing recognition and rewards, and creating a positive work environment.

Competitive compensation

A fundamental aspect of talent retention is offering competitive salaries, benefits, and incentives. This shows your employees that you value their contribution and keep your hotel competitive in the job market. It’s important to regularly review and update your compensation schemes to ensure they reflect current market rates and industry trends.

In addition to a strong base salary and robust benefits package, introducing bonus schemes that align with your hotel’s goals can be a powerful motivator. These schemes, which tie a portion of employees’ potential earnings to achieving specific business objectives, incentivize employees to directly contribute to your hotel’s success.

Remember, compensation is more than just salary—it also involves benefits like healthcare, retirement plans, vacation days, and other unique perks your hotel can offer. A comprehensive, competitive, and continually updated compensation package is a critical tool in your arsenal for talent retention.

Work-life balance

The pandemic has amplified the importance of work-life balance. Foster a culture that respects personal time and reduces employee burnout by offering flexible work hours, encouraging regular breaks, and supporting mental well-being. Remember, a happy employee is a productive employee.

Recognition and rewards

Regularly recognizing and rewarding your employees’ efforts go a long way in boosting job satisfaction and, in turn, retention. This can involve formal programs like ‘Employee of the Month’, or even just a personal note of thanks. The key is showing your employees their hard work is seen and appreciated.

Creating a positive work environment

Finally, creating a supportive, inclusive, positive work culture is instrumental in retaining talent. This involves everything from fostering open communication and promoting diversity to maintaining a safe, comfortable workspace. A positive work environment makes your employees feel valued and respected and encourages their loyalty and long-term commitment to your hotel.

Remember, retaining talent isn’t merely about keeping employees—nurturing their loyalty, commitment, and passion for what they do. By fostering a work culture that cares for and values its employees, your hotel can ensure a dedicated team of professionals driving its success in the long run.

Leveraging technology

In talent management, providing the right tools for your team is crucial for their productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. Modern technology, specifically designed to streamline marketing, sales, and revenue management operations, can make work more efficient, enjoyable, and rewarding.


In the post-pandemic world, attracting, developing, and retaining top talent in marketing, sales, and revenue management has never been more critical for success in the hotel industry. It begins with understanding and defining the roles within your organization, updating your compensation schemes, and embracing a holistic approach by forming a commercial team that encourages collaboration and teamwork.

The development of your team is an ongoing journey. Effective onboarding, continuous training and development programs, performance management, and opportunities for career progression are essential to cultivating a high-performance team.

Retaining your talent is about creating an environment where employees feel valued in terms of competitive compensation and positive, supportive work culture. Regular recognition, rewards, and respect for work-life balance are essential for job satisfaction and retention.

In conclusion, your people are your hotel’s most valuable asset. You are investing in your hotel’s future by focusing on recruitment, development, and retention. You’re building a team of motivated, skilled professionals who deliver exceptional guest experiences and drive your hotel’s success. In a world still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, this dedication to your team isn’t just good business practice; it’s the path to resilience and growth.

Tags: compensation and benefits, job descriptions, onboarding, organizational structure, recruitment, talent management, Training & developmen

CEO, Demand Calendar


Demand Calendar is an integrated marketing, sales, and revenue management software for hotels of all sizes.

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