3 Best Practices for Hotel Staff Scheduling During the Pandemic

August 26, 2020 | 304 views

3 Best Practices for Hotel Staff Scheduling During the Pandemic
3 Best Practices for Hotel Staff Scheduling During the Pandemic

Hospitality management can be a lot of fun. It exposes you to high rollers and lowbrow jokers. It presents dining experiences and travel deals. In large hotel chains, it can mean a solid career choice, too. But the industry has been especially hard-hit by the pandemic, leaving managing a hotel and staying profitable a day-by-day concern.

Hotel managers have always had a tough job, of course. Competition is fierce. Consolidation sites lower daily rates. Being on call 24 hours-a-day is exhausting. And with government-imposed restrictions, many hotels are finding themselves with inconsistent occupancy levels while striving to keep a healthy staff working.

Scheduling staff has new challenges, too. Predicting staffing levels is nearly impossible as cancellations can spike overnight along with coronavirus cases. Some workers have children at home more and aren’t available. No matter the issues, a close eye on staff scheduling will help keep hotel profit numbers looking good.

1. Right-Size as Needed to Accommodate Reservations

Creating weekly schedules no longer makes sense. Analyze booking trends daily, and modify staffing levels as needed. Stay flexible with all areas of the hotel. As bookings go down, there will lower demands for nearly every department from the front desk to maintenance. With nimble scheduling software, employees receive immediate notices of coverage changes. Careful oversight and quick response will optimize staffing levels by right-sizing to accommodate booking.

2. Focus on Needs, Not Job Titles

Job categories were initially created to meet various staff needs. When occupancy is down and group meetings are non-existent, this is the time to go back to basics. Efficient operations mean scheduling by the task; this means that one person can fulfill multiple needed roles. A concierge could also welcome guests at the front desk. Housekeeping could also provide room service. If you can create more versatile employees, then the necessary tasks will be done while keeping staffing levels suitable for your occupancy needs.

3. Flex Scheduling to Meet Employee Availability

You’ve probably already seen it…employees are asking for scheduling accommodations. Maybe they need to care for family or self-quarantine. Others have to homeschool young children. Some have asked for more hours (or less) to meet their needs. It is a good time to say yes when it makes sense. Based on hotel needs, it might make sense to offer longer weekend hours but fewer days as vacationers hit the road for weekend road trips. Some will want to stagger their schedules with their family to cover child care needs. If it makes sense for your hotel site, find a way to satisfy employee requests while staying true to the hotel’s continued success.

Hotel managers must continually reevaluate staffing needs during this ongoing pandemic. Optimizing your labor force to match reduced reservations is necessary to maintain profitability. Innovative ideas will help your hotel remain stable until occupancy is back to historic highs.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007, and 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

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