Hotel Recruiting Obstacles: Budget, Brand Reputation, and Location

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | December 16, 2018

Every property, management company and travel tech company (and really any organization) has recruiting challenges to overcome. While no two properties are exactly alike, there are commonalities that tend to appear, and can be lumped into three buckets: Budget, Brand and Location.

Each bucket tends to include a variety of issues, but all of them can be overcome (yes, even location). For recruiters to be effective in getting beyond these hurdles to identify and secure top talent, however, they need to work with a wide range of stakeholders in identifying organizational approaches to each challenge. This goes beyond basics like knowing the highlights of the property or the job. It means securing buy-in from other departments, like marketing, and roles, like GM.

Addressing the challenges in the interview process is extremely important. Transparency goes a long way with candidates. In this article we will discuss the common obstacles hiring managers and recruiters come across and how to tackle them.


The cost of making the wrong hire is astronomical, often surpassing the actual salary of the new hire, when accounting for things like onboarding, productivity, impact on staff morale, etc. However, for many hotels and hospitality tech companies, it's easier to cut budget aimed at recruiting. Though an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, many hotels lack interest in preemptive spending when it comes to securing the right talent. This isn't an excuse for failing to source quality candidates. Instead, it is an opportunity for recruiters and HR leaders to get more creative.

If a property or management company's budget for recruiting is on the lower end, HR teams can partner up with the marketing department to leverage existing materials, and even advertising. This can be basic things like "borrowing" brochures and existing hard copies of materials or using sections of existing artwork to spruce up LinkedIn and Job board ads. It can also be to partner up and expand the reach of recruiting by incorporating hiring elements into current ad spending (for instance, including a line about the property hiring or a link to the careers section of the website).

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.