How To Find And Keep The Best Staff For Your Hotel

Guests often choose to stay at a particular hotel not only because of its amenities, but also because of the experience that it offers. At your property, your guests are more likely to remember the way that they felt during their stay rather than the artwork that was on the walls or the beautiful flowers that decorated the lobby. In order to give your guests the best possible experience, you need to prioritize hotel staff hiring.

In the current climate — in which the travel industry is still rebounding, and the hotel market is very competitive — it's more important than ever that you know how to hire hotel staff. Our guide can help you as you seek to build your staff, train your employees, and empower them to provide your guests with the best possible experience.

top of desk view with a We Are Hiring sign, cell phone, clock, and notebooks with text overlay of article title

Leverage Your Network to Recruit the Most Qualified Candidates

Before you can begin the hiring process in earnest, you need to attract a pool of applicants who are qualified to fill the open positions at your hotel. However, recruiting professional and knowledgeable staff members is more challenging than you might think, particularly during a time when there is a labor shortage in nearly every industry.

You can improve your recruiting strategy by:

  • Creating specific job descriptions: A generic title and a vague description of possible responsibilities will generate interest among prospective employees who likely are not specialized in one area or another. By being specific and transparent, you can recruit candidates who have the skills you are looking for at your hotel.

    Tip: Even better, can you provide a general timeframe for how the new hire can expect to progress through onboarding? Something simple like listing out summaries for the first 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, etc. can help a potential candidate understand the value of the role and see that you’ve thought through how they can be successful.

  • Leveraging technology during the recruiting process: It’s becoming more common to hold initial screening interviews over Zoom or other video conferencing platforms. This can save you and your candidates time in the early stages, versus meeting in person. You’ll also get a better sense of whether someone may be a good candidate to bring in for a second interview, versus a standard phone call.

  • Promoting open positions where they will have the most impact: Rather than paying for an ad on a general job site, find some industry-specific job sites, which may attract more qualified candidates to your openings and save you some money. Don’t forget to rely on word of mouth and share your openings with current employees, relevant associations or tourism groups you belong to, and on social media. You never know where your next great hire might hear about you!

Two people meeting over a video call, with text reading Use technology to your advantage! 
Consider having your initial contact be over a video call. This will save you and your candidates time rather than having everyone meet in-person.

Be Thoughtful and Strategic During Interviews

After you have narrowed down the candidates for the open positions, you’ll want to begin preparing for the interview process, which is critical when staffing a hotel. It's important to ask relevant and insightful questions that can help you gather the information you need to make the best decision for your property.

Ask questions during the interview that focus on the applicant's skills and experience, such as:

  • What experience do you have that makes you well-suited to this role?
  • How have you handled customer service issues in the past?
  • How would you approach a situation in which a guest was unhappy?
  • How would you improve this position?
  • Describe a situation in which you went above and beyond for a guest.

And go beyond the surface to get a glimpse into the job applicant's personality, by including questions like:

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What do you do when you feel stressed?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • Why do you want to work at our property?

Remember that the interview process is a two-way street. You want to find the right employee and your candidates want to find the right employer. So, make sure you give interviewees time to ask their own questions and learn what they can from you, as well!

Don’t over-complicate things, either. If the position doesn’t require multiple interviews, don’t put someone through the stress of that experience. Of course, if it’s a higher level role that will supervise others or manage critical parts of your business, you may need more rounds to narrow down your options.

In either case, trust the process. If you ask the right questions and make the most out of the time that you have with each candidate, you should be able to decide more quickly who the best person is for the role.

Two people meeting across a table, with text reading Remember interviewing is a two-way street!
Make sure you give your candidates a chance to ask questions as well.

Focus on Finding the Right Fit for Your Property

The type of employees that you need will depend on your specific property. There’s a big difference between hiring an extensive team to run a larger, boutique hotel in a bustling city and creating an intimate team that will play a hands-on role at your smaller, luxury bed & breakfast.

In general, if you manage a smaller hotel, you will want to look for staff members who:

  • Enjoy interacting with people: Find someone with a proven track record of providing caring, personalized service. Guests opt to stay at boutique hotels because they want an authentic experience during their stay, which means that you must have a reliable team who can provide genuine interactions with guests.

  • Know the area well: While you may have to look outside your destination in order to find a job candidate who has the exact qualifications you are looking for, it's always best to make sure you have a team of staff members who are familiar with the community. Your staff members will need to make recommendations and help guests with their itineraries, so they need to be able to offer thoughtful, reliable recommendations that can improve the overall experience.

    Tip: Consider incentivizing your staff to stay current on the best things to do and where to dine around your area. Provide gift cards and time to try new things during work hours a couple of times per year per employee. Make sure to include this fun perk in your list of benefits!

  • Have experience in the hospitality industry: Hiring staff members who have the right technical skills and industry knowledge should enable you to build a team that can take your hotel to the next level. That being said, we know the industry was hit hard. It might take some effort to bring back the great people that have left.

    With historically long hours, including nights and weekends, and sub-par pay, you can see why not everyone is clamoring for a hospitality job! Make sure that you’re offering a competitive compensation and benefits package. Your team can make or break your business and showing them how valuable they are can have a huge impact.

image of a viewfinder overlooking water with text reading Offer a valuable compensation package and consider including fun incentivizes like trying new tourist attractions and restaurants.

Learn How to Train and Onboard New Hotel Employees

Once you’ve chosen a candidate and hired them for the job, you need to make that person feel like part of your hotel family. You can do this by providing detailed information about your business, culture, training process, and onboarding right away.

This can help you set up your new employees for success before they officially start their position:

  • Begin the process by welcoming your new employees in a thoughtful and kind way. You need to make as good of an impression on your new employees as you do on your guests. A small welcome gift — such as a branded mug or a bouquet of flowers — can immediately make your new employees feel appreciated and valued.

  • Create a customized onboarding procedure based on the positions that the employees will have at your hotel. The onboarding process should educate your new employees about your business as a whole, as well as provide practical advice for making the most out of their positions.

  • Provide your new employees with technical training so that they can quickly start feeling familiar, comfortable, and confident with the programs that you have in place. Give them easy access to how-to articles and videos when possible and recognize that everyone learns differently and at their own pace. Set expectations, but remember to have patience!

  • Let your new staff members know who they can go to if they need any help and assure them that they can and should ask questions. Make sure to introduce them to everyone on your team, even if they may not regularly interact with them. The more friendly faces they see, the better!

woman sitting at a table on a cell phone smiling with text Did you know? According to one study, 80% of people said they were more likely to do business with a company that offered personalization?

Motivate Your Employees and Focus on Retention

There’s an effort to reduce staff turnover in the hospitality industry around the globe, and even at a small boutique inn, you need to be focused on your retention efforts. Hiring a new employee requires an investment of your time and your financial resources, and building a staff of long-term employees is best for your business on multiple levels.

Here are a couple ways you can motivate your employees and improve your staff retention rates:

  • Show your employees that you value them by keeping an open line of communication and listening to their ideas. Be sure to implement changes when they make valuable suggestions, as this can prove to them that you truly value their insights and input.

  • Reward your employees. Not only should you provide your employees with tokens of your appreciation at regular intervals, but you should also focus on regular performance management. Provide feedback and opportunities for growth. And reward them by increasing their responsibilities, their salaries, and their perks.

While the guest experience at your hotel is your priority and your focus, you also need to make an effort to build relationships with all of your staff members. By creating a sense of camaraderie and giving your staff members an opportunity to feel a sense of ownership about where they work, you should be able to develop a devoted team who loves their workplace and who will move mountains for your guests.

Whether you are just beginning to learn how to start a hotel or you are focused on learning how to manage a hotel more effectively, you should recognize the important role that your staff will play at your property. By hiring the right team and empowering them with training, rewards, and opportunities, you may find that your bookings increase quickly and that your hotel becomes one of the most desirable hotspots in your destination

We look forward to helping you discover new ways to grow your business!

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