Hotels limit availability, raise rates to make up for staff shortages
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — With the summer travel season in full swing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a vacation or flight that hasn’t skyrocketed in price due to inflation and shortages.
Hotel and accommodation are also seeing skyrocketing room costs despite there technically being more rooms available, but experts say you’ll pay a lot more for that too, just so this business can take advantage of it. .
John Cario says the Hilton Downtown did pretty well last April, but the hotel manager said it wasn’t because they had more reservations.
“Our April 2022 month has finally reached April 2019 levels,” Hilton said. “But it wasn’t about the occupation; it was on the price of the room.
Cario says that while travel has resumed, hotel staff have not kept pace, which is why hotels need to offer fewer rooms at a higher price. So while the Hilton and similar hotels have more space to offer — which usually drives down the room rate — Cario says every hotel is working with fewer staff these days.
Essentially, hotels have not rebounded from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
“Travelers may see some of their favorite places sold out, but it might not be that they’re full. It’s just that hotels had to close their inventory to catch up and prepare for upcoming periods. higher demand,” Cario said. “So yeah, the rates are going up to offset some of that demand.”
Cario says it’s a statewide problem. He says travelers can expect hotel rates to be 10-20% higher than normal.
Coming out of the pandemic as business returned, we were excited; however, the staff did not return,” Cario said. “Many of our employees have left for other industries, left the industry or retired.”
Eric Terry of the Virginia Restaurant Lodging and Travel Association says to expect that to be the norm no matter where you go this summer.
“If you can’t maintain it, you can’t sell it,” Terry said. “The hospitality industry needs to adjust its rates just to offset the cost of labor and other costs it incurs.”
According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), almost all hotels experience a similar phenomenon.
According to a survey of new members conducted by the AHLA, 97% of survey respondents indicated that they were experiencing a staffing shortage, 49% severely. The most critical staffing need is housekeeping, with 58% ranking it as their biggest challenge.
According to the AHLA, there are up to 130,000 open positions nationwide.
“We had to put in place length of stay restrictions and we had to increase the rate to slow some of the demand because, again, we are understaffed to convert rooms, clean rooms and operate the hotel. said Cario.
In response, hotels offered incentives. Nearly 90% have increased their wages, 71% are offering greater flexibility in hours and 43% have increased their benefits.
In response to higher room rates, Cario says hotels will offer more perks to entice customers to make repeat bookings.
In a press release, AHLA expanded its advertising initiative known as “A Place to Stay” to 14 cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas.
“If you’ve ever thought about working in a hotel, now is the time because the pay is better than it’s ever been. The benefits are better than they’ve ever been and the opportunity is better than it’s ever been,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA. “Expanding the AHLA Foundation’s ‘A Place to Stay’ recruitment campaign will help us get this message out to the masses at a crucial time, helping to broaden the pool of potential hospitality industry workers and develop our talent pool.”
To soften the financial blow of higher-than-normal room rates, Cario says consumers can also expect hotels to start offering more perks to entice guests to make repeat visits.
Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.
Send it to 12 here.
Want the best NBC12 stories in your inbox every morning? Subscribe here.