As you likely know better than anyone, the hotel industry is facing a major labour shortage. The French newspaper Le Point has revealed that in the 2022 summer season, the hotel and restaurant industry expect to come up approximately 250,000 short which could lead to some establishments doing the unthinkable and closing their doors for a few days during high season. The question many are asking themselves is what caused this staff shortage. The question you need to ask is what can we do in response. I’m going to do my best to answer both.
A long expected shortage
Many are happy to credit the staff shortages solely to the global pandemic which resulted in travel bans, a general wariness of travel and if these were not enough the lockdowns which caused the majority of establishments to close altogether for large periods of time over the last two years. All this said however to completely lay the blame at the feet of COVID would be to miss part of the bigger picture.
According to UKHospitality the shortage has been growing since at least 2006, with a reported 90,000 unfilled vacancies reported in 2017 in Britain alone and in 2019 establishments reported a staff turnover rate of 30%, double the UK average. With dates and figures such as these it’s plain to see that while COVID certainly hasn’t helped the situation neither was it the root cause. Why then has the old adage of it being hard to find good staff morphed into the more chilling statement that it’s simply hard to find staff of any iteration.
The Big Quit x Working Conditions = The Current Crisis
If you read that subtitle figured there’s some new Netflix sensation that’s gotten over your head think again. Catchy title though it may seem The Big Quit is a very real, very scary phenomenon brought on by the pandemic and hitting hardest in the hospitality industry.
The Big Quit - original title ‘The Great Resignation’ as observed by Business Professor Anthony Klotz in 2021 - is the name given to the phenomenon of 4 million Americans monthly tendering their resignations in the months that many employers were attempting to get back on their feet and open following the first year of the COVID crisis.
As I’ve mentioned, this movement hit the hospitality industry particularly hard. Other affected sectors have reported employees reflecting during lockdown and concluding they’d like a career change or at least better conditions. For hospitality workers not only had they had sufficient time for reflection - every weekend they finished work as the rest of the world was finishing making merry - but the relative insecurity of their positions had seen them promptly in the position of seeking government aid or employment in a different sector.
As the numbers I’ve shown you should suggest, the merest improvement of a more sociable schedule was enough to see them turn their back on the industry for good.
One worker who wished to remain anonymous commented "Why do you have to expose ourselves to health risks, perform strenuous tasks without recognition and have no social life, when we can simply make more money from unemployment benefits? In the hotel and catering industry in particular, the salary is not worth it. We always have to leave the place at 3am, completely exhausted. These days I earn enough and live better by simply staying at home."
Hotel Software - Solace and Solution
To try to halt the haemorrhaging of the “Great Resignation” the leaders of the hotel industry decided in early 2022 to increase the minimum wage by around 16%. New policies were pushed to fight against the more anti-social staffing policies, such as split shifts or weekend rotations. If we were to honestly list the areas where the industry could use reform on paper we’d need a forest - it’s suffice to say they’ve their work cut out for them if they want to make it a more attractive career choice and perhaps reclaim some of the workforce they’ve lost in the last decade or so.
In the short-term however, rather than waiting for hospitality think tanks and academics to map the best paths around this new mountain, there are plenty of digital resources at hand to help you with your day-to-days. That’s right, for all the worrying people do about technology replacing the labour force we’ve yet to see it flipped on its head and embraced for helping to ease the grind inherent to a staff shortage - until now!
The fact is that every day sees the introduction and evolution of digital tools whose sole purposes are to help you streamline your daily tasks, saving you time, money and headspace. Amenitiz, for example, currently offers a PMS, a channel manager, a payment solution, a website design tool which allows you to create and edit your own site as you wish and includes an integrated sales engine, as well as a Revenue Management system which will be added to the suite in the near-future.
Everything offered by Amenitiz is not only designed to increase your site traffic, direct booking rate and income but to leave you more time to get to know your guests - to be a presence not necessarily attached at the digits to a keyboard. Whatever it was you imagined yourself doing when you decided to open your own establishment - assuming it wasn’t hammering away at a computer six hours daily - that’s the picture we aim to help you paint.
One client, Mari-Martin Matthews, who owns the five-star Olif Bed and Breakfast in Snowdonia, Wales, speaks of such gains, with specific reference to Amenitiz Pay, saying “We now automate payments instead of spending two to three hours per week manually charging people’s card - so that’s been a real time-saver.”
Same story for the Le Center Hotel, whose happy owner Yousria Tir says “Before Amenitiz, I didn't have a PMS or channel manager so I would have to manually write all the reservations into my schedules and that took a lot of time. Now reservations appear in the schedule automatically, confirmations are automatically sent to customers, so in the end I have saved more time that I can devote to my customers.”
For sure it’s been difficult, but if it wasn’t everyone would do it. You’re finding it hard to find staff - never mind good staff - but here’s a real solution. Take the plunge and digitise your establishment with a streamlined software suite. Even if you’re used to doing everything yourself it will make your life easier and if you’re used to delegating this is more or less that but cheaper and it doesn’t ask for holidays. Get in touch with us via the content information provided and book a demo with one of our team of experts - invest a few minutes to gain back full days of your week, plus a few extra quid no OTA will see a penny of.