Managing the Mass Exodus: Strategies for securing top talent in the midst of a labor shortage

By Jason Ferrara Vice President, Corporate Marketing, CareerBuilder | December 15, 2009

It takes a lot of people to make a hotel feel like home for its guests. So it's not surprising that the hospitality industry is a major component of the overall U.S. labor force. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the accommodations and food services industry makes up 8.1 percent of all employment.

And Americans aren't abandoning their vacations or business outings anytime soon. The hospitality industry is expected to grow 18 percent and add more than 1.6 million new jobs through 2012, according to BLS data.

But while we're in the business of making others feel cared for, the labor market won't be very comfortable for hospitality employers in coming years.

A shrinking labor force

The United States is facing a looming shortage over the next few decades. In the past, the nation has always been able to depend on an expanding labor force, but this growth is expected to slow to just 3 percent over the next 20 years.

By 2012, the there will be 43 percent more people in the 55 to 64 age bracket. By contrast, the number of workers between the prime working ages of 25 and 54 is expected to stagnate. This means smaller generations of replacement workers will move in to fill the gap left by retiring Baby Boomers... and productivity can't make up the differential.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. 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.