The hospitality industry is facing continued challenges of labor shortages and are exploring ways to solve these issues for the long term. With many workers still hesitant to return to work due to health concerns, childcare responsibilities, or career changes, hotels are getting creative in order to attract and retain staff. One way that hoteliers are exploring solutions to this labor shortage is through their partnership with innovative and problem-solving suppliers.

So, how do suppliers help hotels address their labor needs? There are many companies that provide unique products and services and in the case of hotels, these solutions may include time saving technology, staffing solutions, employee wellness benefits, or other labor saving options.

One way that innovative suppliers can help hotels with their staffing needs is through staffing solutions. Staffing companies can provide temporary or part-time workers to hotels, allowing them to quickly fill open positions without having to invest time and resources in recruiting and training. This can be especially helpful during peak seasons or for events where additional staff is needed. Outsourcing housekeeping services, for example, is one key area where hotels can provide guests with cleaning services more regularly and make a dent in solving major labor issues in this department. In addition, implementing labor management software or platforms can help hotels optimize staffing levels and improve scheduling efficiency. These solutions utilize data analytics and forecasting algorithms to predict labor needs accurately, minimizing overstaffing or understaffing situations.

Another way that suppliers can help hotels with their staffing needs is through technology solutions that offer faster and better options for many departments throughout hotels. Some companies offer self-check-in kiosks, or lobby store checkout technology and mobile apps that allow guests to bypass the front desk entirely, reducing the need for staff in that area. Other companies offer tech and products that reduce labor time for staff such as robots for room service and delivery of items guests request, pool chemical dispensing solutions, and procure-to-pay eProcurement technology that orders, receives and pays vendors.

Technology solutions can also help hotels provide better and more enjoyable working conditions for their staff – this helps with employee retention. For example, some companies offer mobile apps that allow housekeeping staff to communicate with management more easily, reducing the need for staff to physically check in with their supervisors throughout the day. This can help to reduce stress and improve productivity.

Employee wellness is another area where creative suppliers can provide solutions to help hotels attract and retain staff. For example, some suppliers offer employee wellness programs that can help to reduce stress, and promote a healthy work-life balance. These programs may include exercise classes, gym memberships, nutrition counseling, or mental health services. Many non-hospitality industry companies offer these services as a standard and the hotel industry is getting on board.

Training and development programs are another way that innovative suppliers can help hotels create a more attractive workplace for employees. By offering learning opportunities, hotels can help their staff feel more engaged and invested in their work, and get excited about growth opportunities. This can lead to improved job satisfaction and reduced turnover. Many companies offer virtual training for onboarding sales managers, for example, which can help ease the need for task force associates and other labor time when training new or existing talent.

Of course, there are some challenges associated with thinking outside of the box to address labor issues in hotels. For example, some solutions can be costly upfront, and may not be feasible for all hotels, even though a ROI could soon be achieved. Additionally, some staff may be hesitant to adopt new technologies or participate in wellness programs. However, despite these challenges, strategically partnering with your suppliers can be an effective way for hotels to address their labor needs. By keenly exploring companies that provide unique solutions, hotels can attract and retain staff, improve working conditions, and increase productivity. And as the hospitality industry continues to evolve, it’s likely that we’ll see even more innovative solutions emerge to address labor issues and other challenges.

In conclusion, the hospitality industry is facing a shortage of labor as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the use of innovative suppliers, hotel management companies, general managers and owners can find creative solutions to this challenge for the long haul. Whether it’s through staffing solutions, technology, or employee wellness programs, there are a variety of options available to hotels looking to attract and retain staff. And with the help of suppliers, hotels may be able to make labor issues a thing of the past. A good place for hotels to start putting together action items with their suppliers is through their hospitality group purchasing organization (GPO) partners. These companies are already your partner and are always happy to help with exploring new ways to help boost bottom line revenue and solve problems for their customers.