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Labor Shortage Crisis in Hospitality - Can Technology Save the Day?

A woman looking out her hotel room's window
 

Labor shortages are a significant challenge for the hospitality industry today. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. hotel industry is down 350,000 jobs. As a result, hotels are scrambling to find and retain employees, all while trying to keep operations running smoothly with fewer resources. 

Unfortunately, labor shortages aren’t expected to go away any time soon, and will likely persist in the coming years as the industry expands. This leaves many businesses wondering what to try next.

Why is the hospitality industry suffering labor shortages?

There are various factors impacting labor in hospitality today, many of which are a consequence of, or exacerbated by the aftermath of COVID-19. Some examples include job losses, low wages, lack of benefits, and limited career advancement opportunities.

Together, staffing shortages, increased labor costs, and reduced revenue are having a detrimental effect on the guest experience. While it’s possible to scale back some less essential services such as daily housekeeping, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for hotels to offer the high-quality amenities that guests have come to expect. That’s not surprising. How can an industry built around service succeed without enough people?

Increasing efficiency with technology

Eighty-seven percent of restaurant operators globally agree that adopting new technology over the past two years has been essential for their business' survival. Hotels can reduce manual tasks and make the most of their limited resources by introducing automation to streamline workflows across teams and properties. It enables them to continue providing high-quality service to guests, all while running efficiently even when short-staffed. 

By automating bookings, check-ins and check-outs, and sales processes, staff will have more time to focus on critical tasks that require the human touch, like providing excellent customer service. The U.K.-based Lamington group recently incorporated automation technology into their operational activities. After implementing Thynk, the Lamington Group automated a number of their sales processes, from outreach to invoicing. In three minutes or less, Lamington Group can now generate offers for clients, enabling them to better serve their customers despite having limited staff. 

Improving communication and collaboration 

Technology can also help improve communication and collaboration within the hospitality industry. Postillion Hotels in the Netherlands leverages a cloud-based hospitality CRM to ensure they always have a 360° view of their business. The platform stores guest information and preferences in addition to schedules and shift information in one place. The centralized destination for information helped them improve staff communication and coordination. 

Developing a skilled workforce with training and development 

Labor shortages make it critical for hospitality providers to train existing employees with new skills and knowledge to succeed. Online training programs are a great way to roll out training quickly, enabling employees to take courses when it’s convenient for them. 

Marriott International implemented an online learning platform, Marriott University, which provides employees with access to training courses, assessments, and certifications.

Using technology for employee retention and beyond

It’s clear that technology can play a critical role in addressing labor shortages in the hospitality industry with the potential to increase efficiency, improve communication and collaboration, and provide a means for training staff to do their jobs. Using technology effectively not only sets hotels up for success for today and beyond, but it can also help create a  more desirable workplace for staff. While raising pay or improving benefits may not always be possible, introducing frictionless operational processes and procedures can make staff want to stay longer, leading to higher employee retention and longevity.

 

Are you curious about how hospitality technology solutions can improve your operations? Book a demo with Thynk to learn how you can maximize your valuable people resources.

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