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Facing Challenge of the Labor Shortage in Hospitality Industry (by Fung Ling Wong)

The hotel and restaurant industries have experienced a recession in the past two years and encountered difficulties. Nowadays, the hotel and restaurant industry has been recovering. Meanwhile, the hospitality industry needs to confront the severe problem of labor shortage. 

Manipulating strategy to overcome labor shortages

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (ALHA), the rate of job vacancies in the hotel industry is very high. The hotel industry has 91 percent of job vacancies that cannot be filled. In addition, 87 percent of hotels encountered a lack of staff. Additionally, Hospitality Asset Managers Association (HAMA) is concerned about the labor market. Matt Arrants is the president of the HAMA. He mentioned that labor is an important asset. A good employee can provide good services to the customers and help the business increase sales. During the pandemic, many hotel employees left their jobs. Some employees resigned from their jobs. However, many employees were laid off. It is difficult to attract employees who have been laid off to return to the hospitality field because they lost their confidence in the employer or have already changed to work in another field. The management team should enforce some strategy to attract new applicants and employees who have been laid off. The manager should have a detailed plan for recruitment. Managers should avoid errors such as similarity errors and first impression errors. The management team should enforce comprehensive orientation and training programs. Therefore, the employee turnover rate will reduce. 

Lobbying with the government to solve the worker shortage

American Hotel & Lodging Association (ALHA) is fighting to increase the number of H-2B visas to solve the workforce and seasonal worker shortages. Chip Rogers is the president of AHLA, and he mentioned the organization proposed increasing an additional 55,000 H-2B visas in 2022. When managers hire people, they should employ the citizens in the United States first. After, they can use H-2B visas to employ foreigners. Additionally, managers should use forecasting to calculate employee demand and attract the applicant through a recruitment plan. Moreover, managers should enforce the policy carefully and avoid violating labor laws. Also, the manager should be familiar with employment laws and the laws regarding compensation and benefits.

Using advanced technology to retain and help employees

Advanced technology is widely used in the hospitality industry. For example, a property management system (PMS) is used in hotels. According to the article "How Modern PMS Technology Improves Staff Retention and the Hotel Operations Experience," Warren Dehan mentioned that web and mobile platform-based PMS could help hotel employees working in the operations. Technology can let hotels operate more efficiently because it streamlines their operation. It can retain employees because technology lets them finish their tasks quickly and conveniently. For instance, the guests can use mobile check-in to do the check-in process instead of waiting in a long queue when the front desk is at peak period. Nowadays, SMS communications also are significant in the hospitality industry. The hotel and restaurant staff can reduce the workforce and enhance work efficiency when using SMS communications. Therefore, employee retention can be improved quickly. In addition, human resources managers can develop retention programs to reduce the turnover rate.

In conclusion, the hotel and restaurant industry is bouncing back. The hospitality industry contributes huge revenue in the United States. However, hospitality is also facing many challenges, such as worker shortages. The hospitality industry can use human resources strategy, government aid, and smart technology to confront difficulties. If the management team can manipulate their resources efficiently, hospitality will grow and develop more quickly.

Open-ended questions

Is advanced technology helping to solve labor shortages or reduce worker job opportunities?

Apart from H-2B visas, what policies should the government enforce to help the hospitality industry?


References

Dehan, W (2022, October). How Modern PMS Technology Improves Staff Retention and the   Hotel Operations Experience. Hospitalitynet. Retrieved from https://www.hospitalitynet.org/opinion/4113129.html

Fox, J.T. (2022, October). DHS, DOL expand H-2B visa program to reduce labor gap. Hotel Management. Retrieved from https://www.hotelmanagement.net/operate/dhs-dol-expand-h-2b-visa-program-solve-labor-gap

Jorden, R. (2022, October). Hotels Still Face Wide Gap Between Job Growth and Openings. Skift. Retrieved from https://skift.com/2022/10/07/hotels-still-face-wide-gap-between-job-growth-and-openings/

McCracken, S. (2022 October). Recession, Labor Market Sour Hotel Asset Managers' Optimism. CoStar. Retrieved from https://www.costar.com/article/1798678100/recession-labor-market-sour-hotel-asset-managers-optimism

About the author

My name is Fung Ling Wong. I am a junior at Cal Poly Pomona, majoring in Hospitality Management. I love to work in the hospitality industry, particularly in the hotel industry. I like to communicate and help people. I worked as a front desk receptionist in a hotel. I enjoyed meeting and assisting guests who came from different countries. When I worked at the front desk, I could learn about other cultures and knowledge. Therefore, the hospitality industry is a very good prospect and a fun career field.

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