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How do you keep talented people?

24 June 2019

The competition between hotels is intense and they are struggling how to attract the talented people to work for their hotels. Finding the right people is for sure a problem which is increasing in the whole hotel sector. It is hard to find the right people, with the knowledge and experience necessary for the job. This is a problem for most hotels in many countries in Europe and worldwide. Therefore, it is a huge problem when hotels lose competence and knowledge when talented people in their staff is leaving the hotel. The fact that it is hard to find the right people to replace the ones leaving makes the problems for hotels even worse.

When hotels lose their talents and knowledgeable staff, it is costly and time consuming to find new competent staff since there is a lack of educated people with the right competence within the hotel sector. When people leave the hotel, they also risk losing knowledge as well as valuable information - about everything from revenue management to customer knowledge - when key people are leaving.

There is a lack of talented people within the hospitality industry in many countries in Europe, such as Sweden and Germany. And there is an equivalent situation in the US - according to the Deloitte 2019 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook, the current hospitality workforce gap has reached unprecedented levels, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that there were more than a million job openings within the leisure and hospitality sector in 2018 versus over 350,000 job openings in 2009. (1)

The search for qualified people has the highest priority for hoteliers and hotel owners. In fact, challenges like data protection and terrorism are regarded as less challenging and is regarded as less of a challenge when hoteliers in Germany ranks the challenges they face (2).
In “Travel Weekly”, they recently published a very interesting article about this topic and interviewed Guy Langford, Deloitte's transportation, hospitality and services industry head. He stated: “"When you look at what the hospitality industry is doing now, much of it's centered on creating a much stronger emotional connection to their employees, which goes a long way toward securing talent,"”.

The independent hotels are even more exposed to this threat as they risk losing their staff to the big chains. Thus, the competition hardens even more between the independent hotels and the hotel chains. The big chains are often regarded as a more lucrative employer than small independent hotels, as there are more possibilities to advance in a bigger organization compared to a small hotel. Most of the times there is also bigger possibilities for personal development when working for a broader organization.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to try to promote a positive working environment where the staff is feeling appreciated and where their skills are being used. It is also important to make sure giving the staff the right tools and systems as it is important to give them possibilities to make a good job in order to make them stay. It is always easier to make an employee stay than to attract new talents. Thus, it is really important to appreciate and value the staff you have in order to make them they stay.
As a hotelier, it will be up to you to find the best actions to take to make your workplace the most attractive for existing and potential employees. Being an independent hotel, you also have a big opportunity to experiment with new ways of leveraging your strengths and unique selling points to draw in new talent.

Regardless how you and your hotel choose to act to keep employees and how you choose to handle this problem, it is vital to have a strategy how to make talented people stay and to give them the right tools and possibilities necessary so they want to stay. Employees that are satisfied are also of the best ambassadors which also facilitates for the hotel in finding new talents when necessary.
In the future, no one can afford being a bad employer as with the employees leaving, knowledge and know how about the hotel guests also leaves.

Losing staff, which means brain drain and loss of information and knowledge, can be detrimental not only to small hotels but also to bigger hotels and chains. However, as mentioned - the independent and smaller hotels are more exposed to the negative impact of talented people leaving as they are more dependent on a fewer amount employees. Make sure you appreciate your staff and give them the right tools to do a good job so they stay, otherwise you risk creating a vicious circle with people leaving and the staff that is still there having to do other people’s job.

There is simply too much too lose and too much revenue at stake for hotels.

(1) “Travel Weekly”: https://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News/Hotel-News/Lots-of-jobs-less-immigration-causing-hotel-labor-shortages

(2) “Allgemeine Hotel- und Gastronomie-Zeitung”, 19 June 2018: