Hotel Recruiting Obstacles: Budget, Brand Reputation, and Location

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | December 16, 2018

Every property, management company and travel tech company (and really any organization) has recruiting challenges to overcome. While no two properties are exactly alike, there are commonalities that tend to appear, and can be lumped into three buckets: Budget, Brand and Location.

Each bucket tends to include a variety of issues, but all of them can be overcome (yes, even location). For recruiters to be effective in getting beyond these hurdles to identify and secure top talent, however, they need to work with a wide range of stakeholders in identifying organizational approaches to each challenge. This goes beyond basics like knowing the highlights of the property or the job. It means securing buy-in from other departments, like marketing, and roles, like GM.

Addressing the challenges in the interview process is extremely important. Transparency goes a long way with candidates. In this article we will discuss the common obstacles hiring managers and recruiters come across and how to tackle them.

Budget

The cost of making the wrong hire is astronomical, often surpassing the actual salary of the new hire, when accounting for things like onboarding, productivity, impact on staff morale, etc. However, for many hotels and hospitality tech companies, it's easier to cut budget aimed at recruiting. Though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, many hotels lack interest in preemptive spending when it comes to securing the right talent. This isn't an excuse for failing to source quality candidates. Instead, it is an opportunity for recruiters and HR leaders to get more creative.

If a property or management company's budget for recruiting is on the lower end, HR teams can partner up with the marketing department to leverage existing materials, and even advertising. This can be basic things like "borrowing" brochures and existing hard copies of materials or using sections of existing artwork to spruce up LinkedIn and Job board ads. It can also be to partner up and expand the reach of recruiting by incorporating hiring elements into current ad spending (for instance, including a line about the property hiring or a link to the careers section of the website).

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.