Four Hospitality Staffing Tips to Meet Travel Demand

Trends come and go, but travel is forever in demand.

We’re a little over halfway through 2023, but it’s apparent that travel is back in a big way. Is your hotel equipped to handle it?

At the end of June, Skift released their annual State of Travel report. This study found that U.S. travel volumes have met 2019 levels, but that staffing levels have yet to recover. Overall, the study insinuated that this room for “catch up growth” is a part of a megatrend in the hospitality industry of bouncing back. Other setbacks in the last two decades have included terrorism, contagious diseases, and economic declines — none of which were able to stifle this resilient trade.

It was only a few days later on June 30th that travel volume broke the existing record, according to the Washington Post. The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) reported that 2.88 million individuals went through their checkpoints on the July 4th weekend, officially eclipsing the previous record set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019.

If your hotel was like the majority, you likely felt the strain of only being 50 – 75% staffed. You wanted to provide the best guest experience possible, but were limited by your lack of hospitality staffing. With the coming fall and winter months comes an increased demand for travel and accommodations — will your hotel be ready?

Continuing to recruit hospitality staff the way you did at the onset of the pandemic will not do you any good in this post-pandemic economy. Instead, you need to find sustainable ways for hospitality staffing. Below, we’ve outlined three tips you can use to hire better talent faster so you can meet the demands of a public ready to travel again.

Four tips to optimize hospitality staffing

Optimizing your hospitality staffing efforts is key to meeting the increased travel demand. Luckily, there are a few tweaks you can make to your existing hiring process that will allow you to recruit and hire the best in this talent pool.

Measure your metrics

You can’t control what you don’t keep track of — and you have more insight on your hiring process than you know. Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) allow you to access critical HR insights and analytics that feature metrics like time-to-hire and best ROI per recruiting channel. Having this information readily available allows you to identify bottlenecks in your current hiring process and make adjustments to create a process that works for both your hiring team and candidates. 

For example, if you notice that the average time to review a candidate is longer than two days from initially receiving the application, then you know you’re consistently losing out on top talent who is contacted by your competitors first. To counter this finding, you could establish a mandated response time; this will help keep top talent interested and hold your team accountable at the same time. 

Text candidates

If you’re relying solely on emails to communicate with candidates, you’re not reaching them in the most efficient and time-sensitive way. In our recent State of Hiring in Hospitality Report, over half of respondents indicated that they check their text messages before they check their email inboxes — meaning that your emails can get lost in the shuffle. 

In this hiring market, speed is key to adding top talent to your team, so you need to reach candidates where they are. For hospitality talent, this often means on their phones. After all, most of the staff that your hotel employs are not behind a computer during their shift — but their phone is likely in their pocket. To reach the candidates you’re looking for more effectively then, you need to incorporate texting into your hospitality staffing process. You won’t be using your personal number to contact candidates, however. The right ATS will allow you to generate custom and local numbers to send text messages through your in-platform inbox, so all of your candidate communications (including email) are managed in one place. And don’t worry about whether candidates will be turned off by this approach; in that same study we mentioned earlier, 90% of hospitality job seekers indicated that they would be willing to text with a recruiter.

There’s more you can learn about the modern hospitality applicant. Download your copy of the 2023 State of Hiring in Hospitality Report to find out.

Tap into your employees’ networks

It’s often said that you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with — so it should make sense that your best employees know others who would be great workers as well. You can tap into your employees’ networks with an employee referral program. In terms of ROI, employee referrals are the best recruitment method there is nowadays, meaning if you don’t have one set up yet you are severely missing out. Referrals are a great way to passively build a pipeline of talent so that when you have a need for workers, you already have a list of potential candidates to start the hiring conversation with. 

There are a couple of keys to a successful employee referral program. The four priorities you should keep in mind when creating your employee referral program are:

  • Internal marketing efforts
  • What type of payouts/bonuses you can offer
  • Tracking payouts and bonuses
  • Making the referral submission process as easy as possible

 If you keep these standards in mind, it will be much easier to create an employee referral system that helps you meet your hospitality staffing goals.

Keep candidates automatically engaged

These days, automation is everywhere — from content creation to even the hiring process. If you’re not using automation in your candidate communications, you are missing out on a very powerful tool. You can use this feature to remove tedious tasks from your hiring team’s plate, while keeping top talent engaged throughout the hiring process. 

Implementing automation can help your hotel be the first to reach top talent simply by sending an automated email or text confirming receipt of their application. That interaction is the first step of many in the hiring process, but it can make all the difference when it comes to hospitality staffing. You can use automation to ask for missing information from applications, share the next steps in the hiring process, or to share a calendar to schedule an interview. There are so many ways that you can set up automation to fuel your hiring process and save your hiring team’s time by removing back and forth with candidates. Automation allows you to drive more quality applicants, fill roles faster, and keep great candidates engaged from application to hire.

Not sure where to begin with hiring automation? Download our Hiring Automation Checklist for 11 ways you can automate your people processes today!

Ready to plan ahead for increased travel demand?

Providing a great guest experience starts with having a team that is trained and ready to help — and Hireology is here to be your concierge. Take a self-guided tour of our platform to see just how much easier hiring better talent can be with the right technology. 

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