Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.



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Last month's feature articles...

Theresa van Greunen

According to a recent 2018 GSMA Report, mobile technology is rapidly expanding around the world and emerging in all economies with over 5 billion smartphone owners. This global leap towards smart technology in recent years has prompted a shift in brand digital engagement to further reach the masses and expand into a more personal vertical and connect directly with consumers. By taking a deeper look at the most prominent social media trends and utilizing discoveries from properly executed social listening tools, brands are able to identify and understand how to continue elevating brand-presence ahead of the 2020 advances. READ MORE

Matthew Babiarz

Since the dawn of social media, hotel owners and operators have challenged their marketing executives and agencies to demonstrate ROI on the investment in engaging with them. And yet social media is outpacing advertising and public relations as a preferred way to reach customers and prospects. As platforms become more sophisticated, along with those responsible organic community management and paid initiatives, it is becoming ever more possible to prove ROI, but you have to have the right approach. This article offers insights and best practices for ensuring that social media is on target and measurable. The ROI question is solvable. READ MORE

Michael Kessler

People have always shared their experiences with one another, but in the last decade, the method of communication has completely transformed. Technology is developing fast, and hotels have to keep up to protect their reputation on social media and OTAs. Luckily, hoteliers have access to the right tools and processes that allow them to not only maintain control but thrive in this competitive environment. From responding to reviews to selecting the right online influencer, there are many things a hotelier can do right now to harness the power of social media. READ MORE

Brandon Billings

Social listening helps uncover key observations and insights based on how a visitor is talking about a destination or hotel brand across social. This firsthand social voice of traveler data is critical in not only helping set a strategic foundation but also continue to drive improvements across marketing initiatives. The following article provides a base-level understanding of social listening and service providers in the space as well as how listening data can be used to drive success for local, national and global hotel brands. READ MORE

Laura Guitar

While coronavirus is a serious health threat, the risks go beyond wellbeing – with misinformation spreading more quickly than the disease itself. The current media landscape capitalizes on public fear, and communicators must navigate ways to share important information in a way that will get through to stakeholders while clarifying the facts. In an age of click-bait, there are several key factors to consider when tackling communication around a topic as complex and fear-inducing as a new virus strain. READ MORE

Babs S. Harrison

The hot concept in 2020 hotel and resort marketing is influencers - you know you want to do it. But you also must know that there are many ways to do influencer marketing wrong. There are plenty of reasons to want to do this right - notably the popularity of social media channels (think Instagram and Facebook) and their increasing importance as places where consumers search for travel information. Which can mean inspiring pictures, for instance. Also brief, punchy write-ups that make the reader want to pack and go. Resolution for 2020: learn to succeed with influencers. READ MORE

Dean Minett

For many hoteliers, 'attending to social media' means dutifully responding to comments and guest reviews. In truth, it means far more than that. Hotels can no longer afford a languid approach to social media. A vivid presence on relevant channels – Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, Google – is a basic requirement for survival in a hyper-competitive landscape. What do we stand to lose by adopting an unsuccessful strategy, or no strategy at all? By understanding the cost of mediocrity in the digital world, hotels can navigate toward better engagement and stronger balance sheets. READ MORE

Lance Concannon

Over the past decade the unstoppable rise of social media has impacted almost every industry in some way, but the hospitality business has been especially affected. Online customer reviews, real-time feedback through social channels, and the rise of travel-influencers are just a few of the side effects from social media that have had a profound effect on hospitality. But social never stands still and, for marketers in all industries, a process of constant evolution and learning is necessary in order to stay in ahead of the game and take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the channel. READ MORE

Janelle Schwartz

If managed strategically, social media can serve as an early warning system, alerting hotel managers of guest concerns and dissatisfactions before such guest discontent mushrooms to the point where it can seriously damage a hotel's reputation and eventually its profitability. To help prevent such a scenario from occurring, hotel managers can turn to technology known as social listening tools. These are applications that search the web for posts and comments about particular hotels. Once such tools are put in place, hotel managers can begin to analyze the results and then take remedial steps to quickly and effectively minimize any damage that might have occurred to the hotel. READ MORE

Peter O'Connor

Online user reviews, on TripAdvisor, Online Travel Agency sites or Google, have become incredibly influential in terms of influencing where the customer books. Most people agree that they send a clear, unbiased signal to the marketplace about the quality of the hotel, and are much appreciated by customers as a valuable and powerful input into their decision making process. However reviews also have a deeper, more hidden value. Properly analysed, reviews can give you deep and meaningful real-time insights into what is important to customers in your marketplace and your relative strengths and weaknesses compared to the competition. READ MORE

Arielle Rubenstein

A day in the life of a social media manager is anything but slow. But, it can be routine, stale, and tiresome. When that happens, a social media audit is a perfect opportunity to uncover hidden gems and rededicate your efforts to connecting with your audience. Whether you've got a dedicated social media team on-site, liaise with a contractor for social media management, employ an agency for campaign creation, or haven't touched your Facebook page in months - a social media audit can inject some inspiration and strategy into your social. For hospitality brands, there are a few specific boxes you must check to have the whole picture READ MORE

Clara Rose

With the start of a new year, customer acquisition and employee retention are both topics of conversation around many board rooms. Brands that understand the challenges are; hiring consultants to educate them, creating strategic plans to implement, or holding annual planning retreats, to find new solutions. Everyone is looking for the secret to brand loyalty. It is no longer enough to attract the ideal customer; brands must find a way to connect with them emotionally, to turn them into raving fans. Not surprising, it seems the same is true for employee retention. Staff turnover, beyond natural attrition, can be largely attributed to a lack of appreciation or a toxic culture. READ MORE

Stephanie Hilger

Once your hotel has mastered social media monitoring, it is time to take your efforts to the next level. Social media listening is a proactive approach that allows your team to analyze what others are saying about your brand and your market. Effective social media listening can improve your hotel's social media account performance and enhance your entire marketing strategy as a whole while helping your marketing team make educated decisions that yield optimal results. Investing in social listening will help your hotel be in tune with how past, present, and future/ potential customers truly feel about your brand. READ MORE

Gio Palatucci

In the world of hospitality marketing, nothing emphasizes a faster change in popularity or trends than social media. When brands strategize to secure business with a wide range of consumers, those who implement comprehensive social media strategies with newly launched, lesser-known or up-and-coming platforms are rewarded, while those sticking to traditional organic posts may earn a reputation as less hip and less accepting of a growing younger audience of travelers. Understanding the sleeping giants of social media - Reddit, Twitch, TikTok and GIPHY - will help the hospitality industry grow their social media savvy to keep and win customers in the social media age. READ MORE

Jan Sammeck

Messenger services such as WhatsApp have become deeply integrated into most people's lives, being integral tools for communication and coordination. Given the widespread use of such apps, it is time to take a closer look at the possible impact this may have on the hotel industry. This article intends to lay out possible benefits and costs for hotels that are attached to integrating messenger services into daily hotel operations: although there exists a lot of opportunity in offering messenger communication to guests, the associated risks are not to be underestimated. READ MORE

Stephanie Smith

With over 2 billion active users on Facebook, it is a mistake for hotels to not include Facebook advertisement in their marketing strategy. This article, Running Facebook Ads for Hotels, is a detailed step by step instructional guide written specifically for hotels to help even beginners to create ads. Branded hotels as well as independent hotels will learn brainstorming ideas on how to determine marketing objectives, targeting options of customers based on interests, geographic locations, and demographics, as well as budgeting for ads. After reading this article, hoteliers will know how to use Facebook ads to tap into the right audience to increase brand awareness, engagement, and direct bookings. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.