Staffing Across The SeasonsNick Throlson
All businesses need to have an effective staffing strategy in place. This is especially important for hotels, as their requirements are going to change throughout the year. Needless to say, during peak season, you are going to need a lot more helping hands; in fact, over 142,000 people in hospitality and tourism are employed in seasonal, fixed-term, or temporary contracts. So, how do you deal with this? Read on to discover some top tips and practices for staffing your property across different seasons.
Dealing with turnover costs
Turnover costs can become extremely high if you end up hiring too many people during your low season, which can often be the case. You may find that some staff also quit because they are not getting enough shifts. Equally, your employees may resign if you do not hire enough people during the peak seasons, as they may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you are placing on their shoulders. All of this results in more turnover costs. You need to manage this effectively. The best approach is to decipher the ideal mix of seasonal and permanent employees. You can do this by looking at previous demand and calculating your revenue and demand numbers. You can also look at alternative ways to cater to high demand, for example, implementing an affiliate program or outsourcing certain tasks to a third party.
Annualized contracts whereby workers do fewer hours in the winter and more hours in the summer should be considered. This removes the uncertainty for the worker while also dealing with turnover costs, as mentioned above. It’s much easier to manage, and while some employees will leave, you won’t have to train seasonal staff every year only for them to move on after a few months.
Incentives for seasonal workers to return
You should also consider incentives so that your seasonal workers return. PGL, a company specializing in school trips and education activity courses, is a good example to follow. They employ roughly 2,700 seasonal staff per year, and approximately half of them return every year. They achieve this by actively engaging their seasonal staff by offering them training no matter their contract. They provided all staff with a programme accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management, meaning they benefitted from a course that could help them in the future, whether they returned or not.
Focus on increasing bookings during the slower seasons
Finally, it is important to look at your staffing strategy from all angles, and one way to make sure you can have more permanent staff than seasonal staff is to increase your bookings during the slower months. You will need to assess your marketing strategy carefully to achieve this. Loyal customers are especially important for this time period. Encourage them to make repeat bookings with special discounts. Also, set up a referral program whereby your current business customers are rewarded for referring new people to your hotel. This can also be very profitable.
To conclude, if you follow the strategies mentioned above, you should be able to get a better grip on staffing at your hotel. High turnover rates and incorrect staffing calculations can be highly costly to any hotel, so it is important to get on top of this sooner rather than later.