Is April the New January Staff Turnover?

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | April 16, 2017

Traditionally, hotels were most exposed to staff turnover in January, a timeframe directly after the holiday season had ended and corresponding holiday bonuses had been paid out. Today however, as many large hotels report their annual earnings in March, the timeline has shifted, and hotel leaders find themselves facing uncertain employee retention issues as we enter the second quarter of the year.

This happens for a few different reasons. In some cases, this happens because employees tend to hang on to roles until directly after a large bonus (this is standard across a variety of industries). In others, it has to do with employees feeling the stress that can come with earnings season (leadership in large hotels often neglects to explain how a bad financial quarter may not actually be the end of the world). Regardless, this new timeline is creating headaches and opportunities alike, for small and large hotels as well as employees.

For Large Hotels

It’s important for leaders at large hotels to understand turnover begets turnover, and can dramatically impact their staff. When a well-liked (or well-respected) employee leaves for a new opportunity, it’s common for other to follow their lead, leaving hotels exposed on a variety of fronts:

  • Hiring and training replacements takes time. While a two-week notice is
    typical in the industry, it’s virtually never enough time to adequately find
    and instruct new hires. With multiple departures, this impact is magnified
    dramatically, as there are less ‘veterans’ available to pick up the slack
    while new hires are being integrated.

  • Staff morale can be greatly diminished during times of turnover. When
    co-workers are leaving, it can often feel like “work families” are being
    broken up. Beyond productivity, the emotional toll caused by staff turnover
    can hinder guest experiences. After all, a staff full of unhappy employees
    is unlikely to exceed their guest expectations.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.