3 Most Effective Ways to Retain Your Hotel Employees

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | November 11, 2018

There is an adage in business that it's five times more expensive to find a new client than it is to keep a current customer. The same concept can be applied to employee relations, as hotels and hospitality tech companies spend thousands of dollars in hard costs and man hours recruiting a new hire. A 2013 study found that "costs [associated] with recruiting, selecting, and training new employees often exceeds 100% of the annual salary for the vacated positions." Those costs compound when issues like the seniority of a role or the need to onboard employees are factored into the equation.

However, increasing employee retention rates is easier said than done, and can require a number of efforts and initiatives. While some may be simple and largely inexpensive to implement, there are also efforts that require top-down buy-in from senior leadership in a hotel or tech company.

There are three general categories that retention efforts and benefits can fall into. Growth, Financial and Perks.

Growth Opportunities

Employee and career growth are critical in retaining quality employees, and this is true of all levels. Frontline employees at a property are more likely to stay in a company if they believe or have been presented a real-life of sight into how their career opportunities can improve. This also goes beyond the front desk of a property. Regional managers should be aware of what their next steps might be, as should employees in corporate settings.

Creating employee growth paths and opportunities can, on occasion lead to short-term concerns for hotel leaders. For instance, if a standout employee is promoted to another team or property, it can leave their former team short-handed. Many hotel leaders tend to get paralyzed by this fear. Instead, however, they should consider that the qualities that made the employee stand out will remain with the company, as will that person's institutional knowledge. Who better to train a replacement than the person who did the job so well they got promoted? As an ancillary benefit, the new hire, in this case, will onboard with the understanding that they have growth opportunities as well; their trainer is a walking demonstration of upward mobility in the hotel or tech company's business.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.