Managing Labour Costs in Your HotelBalance great service with a profitable operation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry was turned upside down. Two years on, trade still hasn't returned to the level it was previously.

For many businesses, there remain widespread staffing challenges and hotels have only recently been able to restore full levels of service. Budgets have taken a hit.

Despite all that, customer expectations remain as high as ever.

Research by Tripadvisor found that customers who travelled in the US, Europe and Asia in 2021 left more intensely negative reviews, focusing mainly on cleanliness, food standards and service.

And negative online comments can further harm your business's bottom line. According to the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, a single bad online review can cost a business between £620 to £2,500 a year.

Of course, hotel managers are the ones tasked with balancing the books during these trying times. And the difficulty they have is that a major chunk of their operating budget is taken up by wages—50% on average.

Labour is an obvious place to start looking for savings, but streamlining employees can leave your business short-staffed. That’s a recipe for disgruntled guests who, as we've seen, leave damaging online reviews.

So what's the solution? In this post, we offer suggestions for managing labour costs in your hotel.

Forecast your staffing needs

It’s important to really drill down into your staffing requirements. Are there any areas in which you can make savings? It might sound like an intimidating job, but it helps to understand every daily task that needs to take place across your business—and how long it takes to complete each of them.

With this information, you can build a detailed forecast that accurately predicts the shape of your ideal team. This will help to limit the number of staff members who are either run off their feet or underutilised.

Findmyshift’s software can help with this; it includes a smart payroll calculator to help you stay on top of your expenses and budgeting tools to deliver accurate staffing costs and forecasts.

Train staff in an additional responsibility

Staff absences happen. Occasionally, team members call in sick right before their shift starts or, sometimes, forget they were supposed to turn up at all. This is frustrating, and at short notice, it can leave you unable to find a replacement.

To mitigate this, it can be worth training your staff to take on additional responsibility. For example, a bartender, whose role is public-facing, could be trained to cover reception (which also requires ‘front-of-house’ expertise). This gives you options in the event of a staffing crisis.

Keep workers happy

The average cost of replacing just one employee ranges from one-half to two times their annual salary. Clearly, staff are less likely to leave if they work in a happy, collaborative environment, so it makes financial sense to help them feel like they're part of a close-knit team from the outset.

Findmyshift's morale-boosting messaging tools are effective at improving team communication, and help keep staff in touch and on time.

Establish an onboarding process

A strong onboarding process can get new starters up to speed quickly. It will also help them feel welcome into your business, and set expectations.

The trick is to keep it consistent for all new hires. Writing up a checklist can help with this; on it, note all the information, orientation tips, paperwork and training you need to deliver to any fledgling staff member during their first couple of days on the job. Templated documents can speed the process up—all you need to do is personalise these with each new starter's name.

Then, assign the newbie a mentor to guide them through the onboarding process, answer their questions and help them acclimatise.

Be kind to yourself

A manager’s morale is important too. It can be draining if you constantly have to remind your team members about their shift times or spend your precious time off dealing with last-minute changes to the rota.

Findmyshift’s scheduling tools make everyone’s lives easier. Our simple drag & drop scheduler lets you assign shifts in just a few clicks, while automated notifications and reminders tell staff when they’re meant to be working.

What’s more, you don’t have to be at your computer to keep tabs on it all—​​you can manage your rota on the go with online access and a handy app too.

Try Findmyshift for your hotel today and see how it can work for your business.

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