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Can employee incentives and technology help overcome staffing shortages?

employee incentivesThe hospitality industry has made a remarkable recovery in the last two years, reaching pre-pandemic levels in terms of occupancy, daily rates, and RevPAR. However, the need for more skilled workers is still present industry-wide, and maintaining service quality with fewer staff members is one of the biggest challenges property owners and operators still face today. 

One way to overcome this problem is by shifting the focus to improving employee incentives and embracing new technologies. Here’s more on the advantages that both initiatives could mean for independent lodging businesses.

Employee incentives: hiring and retaining talent

As current unemployment rates remain high, lodging companies across the globe are seeking effective methods to entice skilled workers. In the Uk, vacancies are still  48% higher than pre-Covid levels. In the US, 80% of hotels still experience staffing shortages.  

In an industry that frankly has never been known for paying the best wages, many professionals fled to other industries when the pandemic hit. With high competition to hire a limited pool of employees, lodging properties should reevaluate their incentive packages to get a competitive edge in the market. 

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While compensation still plays a fundamental role in attracting and retaining staff, employee incentives should go beyond higher salaries to make a hotel a desired workplace. Other benefits, such as health insurance, mental health support, and development programs, can be decisive factors for some. Reviewing and updating salaries and benefits to ensure the incentives reflect current market rates and trends should be a good starting point. 

But it’s not all about the money. The pandemic has deeply impacted job expectations and work conditions too. Remote work and flexible scheduling are on trend, and life-work balance is more important than ever.

Although only some jobs in hospitality can be fully remote, hoteliers expect flexibility, such as part-time positions and flexible working hours within specific timeslots. As a result, hybrid job roles are becoming more popular, including roles in social media management, event planning, accounting, marketing, public relations, customer support, and virtual concierge services.

Moreover, combining similar roles or cross-training staff can be an effective strategy to overcome staffing shortages. In addition to their regular duties, employees may have the opportunity to switch between various job positions or locations and receive additional benefits such as extra time off.

Prioritizing employee satisfaction and retention is important at all times, even more so in times of staff shortages. After all, people are the most valuable asset in hospitality. Therefore investing in human resources is always the smartest move. 

Technology: Increasing operational efficiency

Today’s hotel business is about providing a unique experience to travelers interested in unique stays and added value, as Cloudbeds’ 2023 State of Independent Lodging report revealed.

Guest experience is crucial in attracting guests, building loyalty, and boosting a hotel’s online reputation. That’s why many lodging properties aim to invest in technology to overcome how labor shortages impact operations and the guest experience. Providing the right tools can be game-changing in the pursuit of ultimate efficiency and productivity.

The technology shift in hospitality has been happening gradually for some time, but the pandemic demand for contact-free services has accelerated the digital transformation. The modern guest experience requires more integrated services such as remote check-in/checkout, contactless payments, digital messaging, real-time chatbot assistance, and more. These technologies can elevate guests’ stay by providing convenience, speed, and efficiency. They also help ease the burden on hotel staff and free them of repetitive tasks. 

Employee satisfaction will likely increase when staff spends time with guests rather than repeatedly clicking away between different software interfaces. In other words, by investing in technology, lodging properties can also enhance the employee experience.

Final thoughts

In order to maintain the high-quality service that’s expected from them and stay competitive, lodging businesses should address the needs and expectations of both guests and staff. With fewer team members and resources, innovative ways, such as investing in employee incentives and technology, can help overcome challenges and strive. 

Tags: incentives, staffing, technology

Content Specialist, Cloudbeds

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Cloudbeds is the hospitality management platform powering more reservations and happier guests for lodging businesses around the globe.

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