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How Hotel Recruiters Can Handle Staff Shortages in 2020

Allison London

The tight labor market can be seen in many places, but perhaps it is most noticeable when you travel. From long lines at the front desk to the lack of dining options at hotels, the hospitality industry has struggled to keep up with demands from travelers.

The hotel and lodging industry supports 1 in 25 American jobs – more than 8.3 million in total. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of job openings across the hospitality sector has almost quadrupled over the past decade, with nearly 1 million positions now available.

"Labor gaps are not new to travel, but the magnitude of the current workforce shortage certainly is," according to Deloitte's review of the hospitality and travel industry. "In fact, travel leads all industries in open positions."

Recruiters at hotels have reacted to these labor shortages in three significant ways.

Apprenticeship Programs to Develop New Hotel Workers

Last year, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) launched its "Hospitality Is Working" campaign focused on recruiting younger workers.

The association's educational foundation plans to enroll 50,000 people into new and existing apprenticeship programs over the next five years. It also has pledged $500,000 grants to community-based organizations in Chicago, Dallas, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Orlando and Washington, D.C., to recruit 16- to 24-year-olds to the industry.

So far, the results have been promising. The retention rate for people enrolled in the apprenticeship programs is 94%, compared with a 26% retention rate for the average hotel. Forty-five large hotel companies are participating in the program at more than 500 individual hotel properties.

College Education Benefits Aimed at Retaining Employees

The AHLA also wants 5,000 hotel workers to earn a no-cost associate and low-cost bachelor degrees through its cost-free college programs over the next five years.

Davidson Hotel and Resorts, Red Roof Inn and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts are among the major hotel companies participating in the program. 

More than 2,000 hotel properties participate in the AHLA's program, though eligibility requirements depend on the individual employer. Seven out of 10 hotel companies offer some kind of tuition-reimbursement benefit.

Improved Pay and Benefit Offerings

Better training and education benefits will not be enough if labor shortages continue. Hotel industry compensation has risen 16% since 2015, according to the AHLA. The association finds that 98% of hotels already provide standard benefits, including medical, dental and vision insurance, to full-time employees.

Recruiters will need more than the basic benefits package to stand out in the crowd of hotels. An on-demand pay solution offered by GoDo can boost the morale and productivity of hotel workers with no additional cost to employers.

Hotel work is hard enough. GoDo allows hotel workers to gain access to their earned pay on demand daily with no fees through its mobile app. Meanwhile, hotels can implement on-demand pay with no changes to their current payroll processes and allows them to float payroll up to 30 days. Pay flexibility through GoDo gives workers more financial freedom and provides hotels a valuable edge over the competition.

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