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.
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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.