Why Your Hotel is Struggling to Retain Talent

In August 2023, 700,000 people entered the workforce to start their search for a new job.
That’s a startling number, considering that it jumped our unemployment rate to 5.8%. The Great Resignation may be over, but the hospitality industry is still struggling to find and keep the talent it needs to adequately serve travelers.

CHA International says that hotel turnover rates fall anywhere between 60-300% annually, and the cost of one employee leaving your organization is around $15,000. So what can you do to keep your staff around during a period of such high turnover?

You have to start by identifying the reasons they’re choosing to leave, then work to improve the conditions that make walking away from your hotel appealing. This blog will walk you through common reasons the hospitality industry has perpetually high turnover rates, and what you can do to keep your top talent around. 

Why hotel workers are leaving and what you can do about it

Low pay or benefits 

This issue plagues nearly every industry but the desire for better pay and benefits will never go away. As inflation rises, increasing your wages to maintain quality of life for your employees becomes table stakes. Your employees have options when it comes to where they want to work, so if you’re paying less than your competitors — or those outside your industry that require the same level of experience — you won’t be successful in retaining talent.

What you can do: Assess your benefits and pay structure. Compare your offerings to those in your industry, as well as other careers that require similar experience. Sometimes it’s tough to stomach the price tag of these initiatives, but considering replacing a single employee costs you between 100-300% of the individual’s salary, it’s worth it to invest upfront in your team. 

Lack of purpose

If an employee doesn’t feel valued or that their job has purpose, they won’t stick around long. This also could have to do with the greater purpose of the organization, as well. If employees can’t get behind your hotel’s mission, or if you don’t have an established mission, you’re much more likely to lose employees. 

What you can do: Consider your company values and mission statement. Does it help your employees understand the greater purpose of your hotel? Does each person at your organization feel like their role contributes to the greater success of your organization? Find this out through an anonymous survey and bring together your leadership team to help make the necessary changes. 


During times of high turnover, the staff you do have on hand is probably working more hours without any  benefits and little if any pay raises, leading to burnout. This hampers their work-life balance and can make it tough to remain motivated. It’s important to recognize that the more pressure you put on your employees without incentive to perform, the more likely they will be to look elsewhere for a job.

What you can do: Hiring more employees is already your priority, but if your process is slow, your offerings are lacking, or you’re not advertising your roles properly, you won’t find talent fast enough to keep your current staff around. Look into hiring platforms that can help you effectively advertise your open roles and streamline your hiring process. You’ll be able to attract talent and hire much faster than traditional manual hiring methods allow.

Inadequate recognition

When you don’t acknowledge the great work your team is doing, you risk losing them to your competition — or even to other industries. Working in the hospitality industry over the past three years has been incredibly difficult, so reassuring your staff that they’re doing a great job is paramount. After all, they are what keeps your hotel running.

What you can do: Give your employees the recognition they deserve. Do it in group settings and one on one, and make sure it’s clear that you value all the hard work they’re doing. Implement a shoutout method where your team members can shout out their coworkers for a job well done, too. 

No growth opportunities

Without clear growth opportunities or continuing education initiatives, your employees can feel like they’re working a job rather than building a career. According to our 2023 State of Hiring Report, 78% of hospitality talent said they would take a lower paying role if it offered the career growth opportunities they were looking for.

What you can do: If you don’t already have career paths created, make sure you draft up a general map that allows employees to see how they can grow with your company. Consider offering training and continuing education options, as well as tuition or certification reimbursement. Feature these on your career site as well so that applicants know that you offer development opportunities. And when it comes to promotions, make sure you’re extending these opportunities to your internal team before you look elsewhere.  

Insufficient onboarding 

Your onboarding program is a make-or-break period for your new hires. Nearly 70% of employees who are provided an effective onboarding process stay with an organization for at least three years. Conversely, approximately one-third of new hires look for a new role within their first six months at a company — making this a critical time period for you to make a good impression.

What you can do: Start onboarding before a new employee’s first day with a digital onboarding platform. Set up a checklist they can follow during their first few weeks or months to make sure they know how they’re progressing, and always be available for questions. You can also assign mentors or trainees to ensure they have someone to go to every step of the way. 

Poor employer brand

Organizations that have great employer brands retain employees at a much higher rate. Research by OfficeVibe says that employee turnover can be reduced by 28% by simply investing in employer brand. A great employer brand can also decrease your time and cost per hire, boost your employee morale, and build customer credibility, so make sure it’s a priority.

What you can do: interview your current employees on the strengths and weaknesses of your employer brand. Use your Glassdoor reviews to identify additional areas that need improvement, and dedicate team members and resources to making improvements where it’s necessary. 

Turnover shock

People often leave their jobs after an experience or life event that promotes self-reflection, also known as turnover shock. This event can be either positive or negative, but the pandemic definitely falls under this category. Time away from work helped people realize that they can have control over factors like low pay, inflexible hours, or poor benefits. And they are no longer going to take jobs that don’t meet their needs.

What you can do: This one requires you to implement all of the above initiatives. Your staff wants a place where they can grow, feel recognized and important, and have the benefits necessary to provide for themselves and their families.

It’s frustrating to see your employees leave, and even more frustrating to not be able to hire replacements quickly, but with a shift in processes, you’ll be able to keep your top employees around longer, as well as hire new great team members when necessary. Reach out to us to see how our all-in-one platform can help you hire and retain your best team. 



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