How to Properly Leverage Demand Based Staffing in Hotels

I’ve been working in the hospitality industry since I was 22 years old.   Most of my colleagues know my story, that I had every intention of being a dental hygienist.   Somehow, I landed in an industry I’ve come to love dearly, serving others and creating fabulous experiences in hotels.

Defining the New Norm for Hotel Staffing Models

So, let’s look at what is happening to us in this moment.  This is a defining time when so much of our landscape is changing. The two words we continue to hear every day are the “New Norm”. But in the hospitality industry, in staffing hotels, we really don’t know what the New Norm is yet.

  • When is the right time to bring back team members?
  • Should they be back full time?
  • Is the demand really there for this or are we in the middle of a W shaped recovery?

Right now, no one has the perfect answer.

What we have learned, is that we are all looking at the way hotels are staffed differently. Differently from both perspectives, the employer and the employee.

From the employer perspective many hotels are being very conservative when bringing back employees. Especially, full time. The total employee burden cost can be the tipping point of making the decision to bring back a full-time employee or a better use of dollars, especially at the management level, may for the moment be an increased use of Task Force.

Demand Based Staffing for Hotels

Utilizing task force consultants in management and sales positions is the true definition of demand-based staffing. This allows for a hotel to bring a Food and Beverage Manager, a Front Desk Manager or any other management position in only for the weeks when the hotel is achieving high demand.  Full time management positions simply don’t allow for this flexibility. This flexibility may be one of the reasons that Task Force is in even higher demand than before.

Every discipline is in demand: General Manager, AGM, Sales, Front Office, Housekeeping, Food and Beverage, Human Resources, Accounting and Maintenance. During the pandemic, many independent consultants took the time to strengthen their skill sets, preparing themselves to become an even stronger asset to hotels.

Task Force to Permanent Position as a Solution

Coming out of the pandemic, we also know that, at every level, every expense dollar counts and the expense most carefully scrutinized is that of executive search. While the need for executive search is very real and very in demand; it is not right for every hotel, every time. In these scenarios, a potential option is to again leverage task force, with option to move permanent. A “Task to Perm” assignment allows a hotel to utilize a consultant who is open to a task force assignment for a trial period prior to making a full-time commitment.

We have been through challenging times for centuries, and we have always rebounded.  While things may change, and what we once knew may not return, be excited about what is ahead.  “Be not afraid”.   And know that I’m right there with you, as our industry re-invents itself, and returns even better.

Charlene Carter is a former member of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants.

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