Focus On Productivity: How COVID taught us to do more with less resources...
— 17 experts shared their view
According to the Global Travel Staffing Barometer, due to the pandemic, travel companies around the world have laid off or furloughed over half a million people, and the number of LinkedIn users in the hospitality space applying the #opentowork hashtag to their profiles grows day after day. Most hotels are struggling to run operations with skeleton crews only, yet they do not have any real alternative. In some countries, in fact, the financial help coming from governments is close to zero, so the only option for these hotels is to get rid of "superfluous" staff and try to run their businesses with a fraction of their employees. This forced most properties to heavily concentrate and focus on productivity, trying to get the best out of dire circumstances. How will this situation affect hotels? Can a global reset actually be a good thing, after all, forcing the industry to get more done with fewer resources? Or will this trend damage the guest experience in the long run?
Less staff have to take on more tasks yet more concerning: less qualified staff have to take on more complex tasks.
We shouldn't fool ourselves that "Covid taught us to do more with less resources" - we are not! The net outcome is the same, we are not doing more, we are simply re-distributing the same tasks amongst a lesser amount of people. Therefore, new hires can do new tasks as the old ones have been "absorbed".
Further: We can't look at it with a blanket approach. Some departments had the writing on the wall for years to come to either be outsourced or the ratio of "hotels per person" to be increased - natural law of selecting! Whilst housekeeping has always had outsourcing elements, now RM, Marketing, finance, reservations, etc. can easily be outsourced. Essentially all jobs that do not require face to face interactions with guests and can be done with a phone and a computer. On the other hand, some jobs will always require human intensive relationships.
We also need to understand the shift in working and the economy around it - e.g. gig or even creator economy. Through Covid we finally learned that commuting is not a badge of honour but a deterrent that takes away valuable hours in the day - not to work, but to spend with loved one! And this increased remote working more and more, and enhances productivity (and I don't mean more hours, but less hours whilst getting more done!)
Hotels not "should" but need to look at outsourcing and should embrace it - local talent is sparse, yet global talent is ripe. The benefits outshine the draw backs by miles!