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The Hospitality Labor Issue: An honest assessment is a good thing.

Issue #5 (414 Words/3 Minutes)

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The Hospitality Labor Issue: An honest assessment is a good thing.

Recently Skift published an interesting article entitled "Hotel CEOs Concede a Lasting Labor Shortage May Reshape Guest Experience." The article was insightful at several levels. For the first time, hotel industry executives provided an honest assessment about the industry labor shortage, that the situation was not just related to pandemic unemployment benefits.

The article outlined the key issues of why employees are not returning to the hospitality industry. They include low pay, lack of benefits, advancement opportunity, and a lack of loyalty. The decision by executives to reduce staff with layoffs sent a clear message to employees; there is no loyalty. Those actions would have significant ramifications when asking employees to return to work.

There was an assumption by the hospitality industry that U.S. unemployment benefits, including pandemic relief, caused the current labor issue and that employees would return to work once those benefits ran out. The reality is quite different. The hospitality industry has triple the unemployment rate of the United States national average. According to Skift, the industry is still down 1.4 million jobs, and industry executives recognize that the issue is structural. What has to change? It's something the industry should have been doing all along, paying people better wages, providing benefits and real opportunities for advancement, and making sure it happens.

A second insight is how the industry has a penchant for always looking for the most optimistic scenario regarding bad or challenging news. Who can keep track of the overly optimistic recovery forecast from the pandemic, how many bad airline industry forecasts, and group travel and meetings forecast that have missed the mark? It's the same with the hospitality industry labor issue. The travel, tourism, and hospitality segment are an optimistic industry; we like good news, great travel, and great destinations. I get it. But we have to be more realistic with the challenges that we face. Not every issue has a rosy scenario, just like we are finding out.

We need to be more realistic be it with the pandemic, climate change, labor issues, housing, over-tourism, etc. These are real challenges, and constituents and communities need a realistic assessment. It's OK to put out an optimistic forecast, but it's important to bring out the less than optimistic ones as well. If we are not realistic with our information, we risk the potential of losing our credibility. The hospitality labor issue is just the most recent example.

For More Information contact Carl Ribaudo

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