As we continue to emerge on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry is finally in position to start turning profits again. Travel has been surging throughout 2022 as people are finally able to take trips that have been put on hold for several years.
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Midyear State of the Hotel Industry Report, hotels are well on their way to recovering from the massive downturn in occupancy caused by the pandemic:
Unfortunately, staffing shortages are preventing many hotels from taking full advantage of this uptick in business. The AHLA report estimates that hotel staffing will still be 16% below pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2022, and 2019 staffing levels aren’t expected to be reached until 2024 at the earliest. Approximately 97% of hotels have reported being unable to fill open positions this year, with 49% of establishments reporting being severely understaffed.
Housekeeping has been one of the most challenging positions for hotels to fill. Approximately 58% of hotels have identified housekeeping staff as their most critical staffing need. These housekeeping shortages have been negatively impacting hotels in a variety of ways.
One of the biggest ways the housekeeping staffing shortage is impacting hotels involves their ability to maintain high quality standards. During the height of the pandemic, these lower quality standards were being overlooked by many hotel guests. While less frequent room cleanings throughout the pandemic were largely driven by staffing issues, many guests were perfectly happy with this arrangement due to health and safety concerns. However, this good will is starting to wane as we move farther from the peak of the pandemic.
As guest expectations continue to return to pre-pandemic standards, guests are becoming increasingly less tolerant of infrequent room cleanings. Hotels that are unable to provide the high quality standards achieved prior to the pandemic are in serious danger of being perceived as providing a bad customer experience. This can have a devastating impact on a hotel’s reputation if they receive low quality scores and poor online reviews. Over time, this can result in substantially lower occupancy rates.
While hotel occupancy rates are surging this year, your establishment can only take advantage of this increase in demand if you have the staffing capacity to accommodate additional guests. Many hotels that have been concerned with maintaining high quality standards have opted to keep their occupancy rates artificially low in order to ensure their staff isn’t stretched too thin to provide a great experience.
If you only have enough housekeeping staff to clean 50% of your rooms, you may be capped at 50% occupancy even if demand would allow you to be much closer to maxing out occupancy. A failure to hire enough housekeeping staff means your hotel could be missing out on a lot of revenue. After several years of scraping by due to a depressed travel industry, this can be devastating to hotels looking to bounce back financially.
Understaffing can also impact your ability to retain your existing housekeeping team members. The housekeeping staff at many hotels has been forced to work overtime, leading to workers who are exhausted and frustrated. Ultimately, this may cause experienced staff to seek employment elsewhere. If current housekeeping staffing shortages are compounded by high turnover rates, hotels may reach a point where they are unable to deliver even the most basic level of services to guests.
Due to the serious consequences caused by housekeeping shortages, it’s critical that hotels get creative and find solutions that enable them to operate at max capacity while delivering the high quality service their guests expect. In many instances, this may require working with a third-party hospitality staffing agency. At Xclusive Services, we have you covered.
Xclusive Services provides staffing solutions for a wide range of hotel positions, including housekeeping staff. We can provide staff at all levels – from new hires to experienced housekeeping managers – ensuring you have the employees you need to keep your hotel operations running smoothly at all times.
You’ll benefit from our Xclusive Excellence™ promise which ensures we will:
Don’t let housekeeping staffing shortages damage your hotel’s reputation and limit your profitability. Xclusive Services can help you address your staffing needs.
Please request a quote or call a local office for immediate staffing needs.
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