Every year, the Hotel Business Green Book Directory & Market Guide offers insights from experts on a variety of industry subjects. This year, we are offering even more insight with Green Book Extra.
Bryan DeCort, COO, Hotel Equities; Stan Kennedy, COO, Remington Hotels; Barbara Purvis, president/director, Essex Hotel Management; and Larry Spelts, president, lodging & lifestyle adventures, The Indigo Road Hospitality Group, offer their takes on the biggest challenges of 2021.
What were the main challenges this year following the worst period for the industry ever?
DeCort: The labor shortage coupled with intense wage pressure and the ongoing impact of COVID were the biggest challenges. We are a people-centric organization and one of our company value statements is “Hire an attitude and teach them the business.” In staying true to that core value, we have always heavily invested in our training programs that we offer associates and that offering has certainly benefited us this year in our ramped-up recruiting and retention efforts.
Kennedy: Labor shortages throughout the industry put more pressure on operators and limited capacity, while high occupancy per rooms sold due to the very high leisure business levels strained housekeeping workload and efficiencies. Supply chain disruptions have continued to cause backorder on supplies like linen and terry, thus putting more pressure on operators. Additionally, long backorder wait times for replacement parts added to overall challenges.
Purvis: The labor shortage was and remains the biggest challenge. As business began to pick up, finding and retaining staff, particularly at the line level, was extremely difficult. Burnout remains an issue. Our corporate operations folks spend a lot of time being cheerleaders to boost the spirits of our on-property teams.
Spelts: This year’s greatest challenge was staffing, and it continues to be staffing. As a hotel management company that leads with food and beverage and has 26 restaurants, we were challenged with finding labor to fill important kitchen roles and some customer-facing roles. On the rooms side, we now pay room attendants more than front office guest services staff. As a former general manager, I feel like this is warranted and long overdue as these have been the hardest working folks in hotels.