3 Most Effective Ways to Retain Your Hotel Employees

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | November 11, 2018

There is an adage in business that it's five times more expensive to find a new client than it is to keep a current customer. The same concept can be applied to employee relations, as hotels and hospitality tech companies spend thousands of dollars in hard costs and man hours recruiting a new hire. A 2013 study found that "costs [associated] with recruiting, selecting, and training new employees often exceeds 100% of the annual salary for the vacated positions." Those costs compound when issues like the seniority of a role or the need to onboard employees are factored into the equation.

However, increasing employee retention rates is easier said than done, and can require a number of efforts and initiatives. While some may be simple and largely inexpensive to implement, there are also efforts that require top-down buy-in from senior leadership in a hotel or tech company.

There are three general categories that retention efforts and benefits can fall into. Growth, Financial and Perks.

Growth Opportunities

Employee and career growth are critical in retaining quality employees, and this is true of all levels. Frontline employees at a property are more likely to stay in a company if they believe or have been presented a real-life of sight into how their career opportunities can improve. This also goes beyond the front desk of a property. Regional managers should be aware of what their next steps might be, as should employees in corporate settings.

Creating employee growth paths and opportunities can, on occasion lead to short-term concerns for hotel leaders. For instance, if a standout employee is promoted to another team or property, it can leave their former team short-handed. Many hotel leaders tend to get paralyzed by this fear. Instead, however, they should consider that the qualities that made the employee stand out will remain with the company, as will that person's institutional knowledge. Who better to train a replacement than the person who did the job so well they got promoted? As an ancillary benefit, the new hire, in this case, will onboard with the understanding that they have growth opportunities as well; their trainer is a walking demonstration of upward mobility in the hotel or tech company's business.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.