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The employee experience in the hotel industry [3/3]

How to deal with the current constraints of personnel in the hotel industry? How to recruit and ensure the loyalty of your employees nowadays?

There is no denying that the hotel market is "scarce", with the pandemic upsetting an already fragile balance and increasing the labour shortage. It is increasingly difficult to fill all positions, and many graduates leave the profession as soon as they gain experience. The tables have turned: candidates are now demanding better conditions and recruiters have been forced to rethink what they have to offer them.   

This is what an independent hotelier had to say during our webinar on the topic: 

I feel helpless about it and it is not for lack of trying several solutions (such as a 3 or 4 day week, a time-off schedule made by the employees themselves...). The problem for me is also the lack of motivation (seasonal contracts) and both mine and my permanent team's weariness.

Part III. Retention and Employer Brand

How to keep your staff?

Feedback from Holiday Inn Express Paris CDG

by Arnaud Vermerie, General Manager Holiday Inn Express Paris CDG Airport and President of theAICR

Currently, the magic word is Quality of Work Life (QWL). Hoteliers think that increasing the salary is enough (this is indeed the reason why some people change jobs) but this is often a mistake because the employees' careers must already evolve with this salary increase.
We often find receptionists or restaurant managers who go into management without being supervised or mentored and without having acquired management skills. Changing the job title is not enough. These staff are no longer good at bringing people together because they themselves are lost, they spend their time in the office without taking the time to provide guidance, support and training.

This creates a significant tension because quality of life also refers to the desire to grow and learn new things. So you have to decide whether you're looking for performers to start the job at the grassroots level and then learn and grow, or whether you're hiring a front desk manager right away who will spend their time on the front desk.

Because QWL is the whole package: the monthly schedule, the salary, the health insurance and its coverage, the organisation of shifts, the staff parties, etc. 

Is it a good idea to retain your employees at all costs?  

Some organizations are tempted to keep certain employees at all costs, especially in positions where training is complicated or in the case of a small organization. However, it may be strategic to help the employee develop elsewhere and continue their experience. This can lead to the employee returning a few years later with even more skills

There is, in fact, a generation that is willing to return to their former employer. Their desire is to evolve in their career, which does not necessarily mean a professional ascension but rather to a search for versatility. This phenomenon of "returners" are employees who try out another environment (for example for a couple years) and then return to their former establishment in another role or at another level. 

However, this implies that they left on good terms, because this is just as important as they way they were initially welcomed into the establishment. This is what will motivate employees to return and recommend the establishment to others. Former employees have an influential role.

How can technology improve well-being at work? 

The use of technology is very important for maintaining well-being at work. Simplifying repetitive or time-consuming tasks that do not add much value (such as re-entering reservation data, copying and pasting emails to customers, etc.) allows the employee to focus on the customer relationship and be more available. Using tools to manage operations simplifies communication between employees by ensuring that important information is shared and centralized. The idea behind this type of tool is to free up employees' time by reducing manual work.

Equipping staff with tools that help them be more efficient on a daily basis is a long-term investment because good tools mean that employees' lives are made easier, so they are more productive, and therefore more fulfilled. By improving the employee experience, it ensures that the organisation is an attractive place to work.  

The employee in direct contact with the customer is well equipped and has all the necessary tools to improve the relationship with the guest: to be responsive to their requests, to be available to assist them during their stay, to be an attentive ear to their slightest questions or simply offering them services or recommendations before they even have to ask. Guests therefore can't help but feel satisfied and fulfilled with their experience at the hotel. Happy employees make for happy guests (and vice versa). 

How do you ensure that technology makes operational staff more efficient? 

Technology can contribute to greater independence, transparency and accountability. It empowers employees to grow and bring more value to their work

For it to be readily adopted by all employees, the interface must be intuitive, quick to understand and easy to use. With the rate of staff turnover, it is essential that the tool can be learned quickly

The idea is not to give full access to the interfaces to all employees, but to limit the information, data, functionalities and areas that interest and concern them. Depending on the team, the hierarchical level and the responsibilities of the staff, the access to the workspace (and therefore to the data) is not the same. So make sure you have control over the management of the tool's admin rights (and regularly sort out the user sessions). Navigation and use of the tool will only be improved, and the user will not have to worry about making a mistake if they do not, for example, have administrator rights. 

The solution implemented must also give users the opportunity to familiarise and teach themselves. With the help of training videos and a knowledge base, employees can teach themselves in self-service and gain greater independence with these tools, or even perfect their use and take full advantage of the available functionalities(this is the reason why the LoungeUp Academy was launched).

Another important point is that cloud-based technology is crucial for several reasons: automated updates, centralised data, multi-site access, high performance, scalability, built-in data security and availability. The associated mobile applications facilitate access to the platform by multiplying the devices that can be used (smartphone, tablet, desktop/laptop, etc.). These mobile tools are important especially in the hotel industry because the employee is not always at their desk

The new generation of hoteliers (who already occupy a large part of the workforce) are much better at adapting to the software used, but this does not mean that training on how to use and understand the tools should be neglected.

Learn more about how to increase productivity with a digital solution

How to deal with challenges in the industry?

Equipment upgrades may be necessary to improve material support. Some occupational health and safety training is also important. Taking into account the difficulty of the jobs is an essential point in the management of the teams. It has a direct impact on the lifespan and the difficulty of the sector. Some establishments set up "Live my life" workshops to identify the problems in each job that are not always apparent. 

A reorganization of the teams is sometimes necessary to ensure quality of life at work. Housekeeping is an example of a manual job where the work is difficult. The people who do the housekeeping may be ageing, so reducing the workload of the staff is crucial. 

 Creating team cohesion  is also important, for instance by establishing floor managers, in order to lighten the overall workload of the housekeepers.

Feedback from Holiday Inn Express Paris CDG

by Arnaud Vermerie, General Manager Holiday Inn Express Paris CDG Airport and President of the AICR

Reorganizing your teams can also help to lighten the workload. For example, our housekeepers (whose role is to train and accompany the chambermaids) go into the rooms beforehand to remove sheets and towels and empty the bins. The aim is to advance and lighten the workload of the chambermaids by emphasising mutual aid and team cohesion, but also their legitimacy, as they come back to the rooms to inspect them. 

Every two years, a group-wide survey is carried out to see how things have evolved, what improvements need to be made and to monitor employees' well-being at work and the expectations over the long-term. 

It should be noted that some strategies are context specific, depending on the size, structure, organization and geographical area of the establishment. For example, it may not be possible for some hotels to have a floor manager, but for others, this team building and complementary work will be decisive. 

In any case, it is always useful and beneficial to allow teams to get to know each other and acknowledge their own limitations, to help them work together and collaborate.

Conclusion on the employee experience

  • It is important to coordinateall aspects of human resources and not just focus on the actual recruitment process. A comprehensive strategy must be adopted to recruit, welcome and retain employees, and motivate them to develop.
  • We must question ourselves and continue to seek to improve and adapt to the current market. To do this, we need to ask ourselves questions: how do we integrate employees? How do we train on our methods, our processes, our values? How to create team cohesion?
  • It's essential to think broadly about the skills you have, and the skills you need to move forward. Try to determine the value of the business, secure your employees for the long term, and be able to spot the hidden talent you need when you meet them. 
  • The atmosphere at work is just as important as a good salary. The connection between colleagues and managers is an essential point that makes a person stay in a company. 
  • Think internally about where to place your best people. Some talent may not be placed in the right department. It's not all about vertical mobility. 
  • Honesty is essential, not only about the job conditions and development prospects, but also in terms of trying to help the employee find the right job for them, by thinking about the versatility of the position and even recommending other establishments.
  • Do not overlook hotel staff transfers, which require employees to leave on good terms to encourage referrals and the potential return of former employees, which is a growing phenomenon. 
  • Don't forget that there are partners and solutions dedicated to supporting you in your professional development or to facilitating the daily life of operational teams. 

For more information on this subject, watch our webinar on the employee experience:

Webinar speakers: 


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