AHLA: Hotels offering higher wages, benefits, flexibility to lure employees

The survey found that 79 percent of respondents are experiencing a staffing shortage, severely so for 22 percent

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AHLA report
The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Front Desk Feedback survey of more than 500 hoteliers found that, in an effort to attract new employees, 71 percent of respondents are increasing wages, 64 percent are offering greater flexibility with hours and 33 percent are expanding benefits.

AS THE LABOR shortage continues, hotels are offering more incentives to attract new employees, according to a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. They include higher wages, more benefits and greater scheduling flexibility.

AHLA’s Front Desk Feedback survey of more than 500 hoteliers, conducted Jan. 10 to 17, found that 79 percent of responding hotels were experiencing staffing shortages. Also, 71 percent of respondents are increasing wages, 64 percent are offering greater flexibility with hours and 33 percent are expanding benefits. Despite that, 81 percent said they are still unable to fill open positions.

Also, 79 percent of respondents are experiencing a staffing shortage, severely so for 22 percent. The most critical staffing need is housekeeping, with 43 percent ranking it as their top hiring need.

At the same time, in September, 87 percent of respondents said they were short staffed, 36 percent severely, with 43 percent ranking housekeeping as their top hiring need at the time. Respondents are attempting to fill an average of seven positions per property, down from 10 vacancies per property in September.

“Recruiting enough workers continues to be the top challenge for many hoteliers, and this is leading to historic career opportunities for hotel employees,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA president and CEO.

Average hotel wages nationally were at all-time highs of more than $23 per hour as of December, AHLA said. Since the pandemic, during which the hospitality industry lost thousands of jobs, average hotel wages have increased faster than average wages throughout the general economy.

Still, hotel employment is down by more than 250,000 jobs compared to February 2020, AHLA said citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and nearly 100,000 hotel jobs are currently open across the nation. In response, AHLA and the AHLA Foundation expanded their “A Place to Stay” multi-channel advertising campaign in 14 cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and Tampa.

Also, AHLA affiliate “Hospitality is Working” recently launched the “Workforce & Immigration Initiative.” The effort is aimed at urging Congress to address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy.

“AHLA and the AHLA Foundation are working tirelessly to grow the industry’s talent pipeline and retain workers through innovative events like National Hotel Employee Day and compelling ad campaigns like ‘A Place to Stay,’ but there is still more to be done,” Rogers said. “We need Congress to help address workforce shortages with bipartisan solutions to incorporate more immigrants into the American economy.”

Another recently released AHLA survey predicted that U.S. hotels will generate $46.71 billion in state and local tax revenue, more than ever before.