10 Hotel Staff Training Strategies for Success in a Tight Labor Market

Bryan Michalis
Bryan Michalis
Updated
October 25, 2023
/
Published
October 25, 2023
10 Hotel Staff Training Strategies for Success in a Tight Labor Market

Good hotel staff training is more important than ever. And that’s because, according to Gallup, six in 10 employees are ‘quiet quitting’. That’s a term used to describe employees who have psychologically disengaged from work. And to make matters worse, 82 percent of hotels are experiencing staffing shortages.

So, how can you create a resilient, lucrative workforce and convince great employees to stick around? The answer is good-quality, well-formulated training. It boosts productivity, reduces costly turnover and means you get a return on investment for your efforts.

What is Hotel Staff Training?

Hotel staff training is a process designed to equip employees with the necessary knowledge, skills, and competencies to perform their roles effectively. It’s not a one-time thing, either. Good hotel staff training is continuous, involving multiple people, departments and ideas.

Fortunately, there are more than a few ways to train your employees, including:

     
  • Onboarding and orientation
  •  
  • Annual refreshers
  •  
  • Workshops (optional or not)
  •  
  • External courses

What is Hotel Staff Training infographic

Your goal is to create a training program that suits your needs as well as your employees’. But to be successful, it should also engage workers. Hour-long presentations are primed to become a snooze-fest that no one will remember. Instead, think hands-on, interactive and fun. We’ll get into how you can do this a bit later.

What is the Importance of Training Hotel Staff?

Every hotel strives for high-quality service, operational efficiency and maximum revenue. And these cannot be achieved without high-quality staff training. According to the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2023, the skill sets needed for jobs have changed by around 25% since 2015. By 2027, that number is expected to double.

Offering training that takes into account new technologies will help you future-proof your employees and your business. This means that as customers demand more, you’ll be prepared.

Good training also reduces turnover, which in turn reduces expenditure tied to hiring. Ninety-three percent of organizations are concerned about employee retention. A lack of opportunities to learn and develop new skills is a top-five factor for considering leaving their job.

And hotel managers are right to be concerned about employee retention. The hotel labor shortage is significant. 82% are facing labor shortages, with 26% severely so. Staff training helps hotels mitigate the painful search for new talent in a tight labor market.

Don’t forget about your managers

According to Gallup, managers account for 70% of an employee’s engagement. A disengaged manager can be disastrous for the productivity of their staff. Managerial training results in 20% - 28% higher likelihood of high performance.

Providing your managers with quality leadership training leads to more effective management styles and will filter down through the ranks. It will also help you create a better workplace culture where employees feel valued and compelled to work harder.

Designing a training program may be costly at first—you might need to hire trainers, create training material, invest in technology or purchase equipment—but the rewards are worth it.

7 Essential Types of Hotel Staff Training

There’s a training type for every goal. Want to improve customer satisfaction? Customer service training could help. Want to get your new employees off to the best start possible? Create an outstanding orientation and onboarding program.

Let's look at the different types of staff training in more detail:

     
  1. Orientation and onboarding: This training takes place during the first few days or weeks of employment. It is designed to familiarize new employees with your hotel’s culture, policies and procedures.
  2.  
  3. Customer service training: Customer service training focuses on communication, active listening, problem-solving, conflict resolution and empathy. It teaches employees how to provide exceptional customer service suited to your standards.
  4.  
  5. Product and service knowledge: Product and service knowledge training gives employees a deep understanding of your hotel's offerings, facilities, amenities and services. This makes it easier for staff to communicate with guests, whether they are upselling or explaining.
  6.  
  7. Safety and security training: Safety and security training aims to protect the well-being of guests and staff. It includes emergency procedures, fire safety and security protocols.
  8.  
  9. Technology training: Technology training equips staff with the skills needed to use hotel management software, point-of-sale systems and other technology effectively.
  10.  
  11. Cross-training: Cross-training encourages employees to learn and work in multiple roles within the hotel, enhancing versatility and teamwork.
  12.  
  13. Compliance training: Compliance training covers topics such as health and safety regulations, discrimination and harassment policies and data protection laws.

7 Essential Types of Hotel Staff Training infographic

10 Tips To Make Staff Training Successful

The way you plan and execute your training program matters. The more clarity and hands-on learning experience you can offer employees, the better the results will be.

So, what can you do to ensure your hotel staff training programs are a success?

1. Plan and Organize Your Programs

Begin with the basics. Are you starting from scratch or building upon existing training programs?

If your answer is the former, begin by assessing your goals and objectives. Identify existing skills and knowledge gaps among your workforce. If it’s the latter, a similar strategy applies. Find out what’s working and what’s not, then optimize from there.

Your employees are a valuable resource when planning and organizing your training. Listen to what they have to say and consider their feedback.

2. Prioritize Interactivity

Strive to make the learning experience as engaging, fun and memorable as possible. This will make your training more effective and have a deeper impact on your hotel over time.

Incorporate role-playing scenarios that mimic real-life customer interactions. Or, organize hands-on workshops. For example, have housekeeping staff practice cleaning and setting up rooms within a given time frame.

3. Be Clear and Consistent

The key to effective training is clarity and consistency. Make your expectations clear from the get-go. What skills or knowledge will your employees receive as a result of this training?

Make sure your training material—whether it be a video, booklet or in-person talk is structured well and tested. Find out what training styles and formats work best for you and your employees, then repeat.

4. Utilize Technology

There are a few ways technology enriches staff training. Incorporating e-learning, videos and digital resources is a great way to make learning accessible at any time.

Additionally, implementing easy-to-use technology to streamline operations and the customer experience helps simplify training and reduce workload.

hotel staff training is crucial

5. Create a Supportive Learning Environment

People learn best when they’re not afraid to ask questions—no matter how silly. Creating a supportive learning environment starts with your managers. Are they approachable? Kind? Empathetic?

This sort of environment will also encourage employees to share feedback. Perhaps a module is putting them to sleep or a workshop is becoming outdated.

It’s also a good idea to offer multiple formats to suit all types of learning styles. For example, while some may prefer a booklet, others may find it hard to focus on written content.

6. Pair New Hires with Experienced Staff

Want your employees to learn and assimilate into your culture as quickly as possible? Mentorship or buddy programs may be for you. This is where you pair new, inexperienced members of your staff with those who are more experienced.

But it doesn’t just have to be for new hires. Mentorship programs are also useful for those wanting to progress in their careers, learn new skills and one day move up the ranks. These programs benefit both mentors and mentees as they foster professional growth and collaboration within your hotel.

7. Update Training Materials Regularly

Technology and guest demands move on in the blink of an eye. So, make sure your training materials continually reflect changes in the hospitality industry. Update when:

     
  • You implement new technology
  •  
  • Guests consistently complain about something
  •  
  • Employee feedback signifies dissatisfaction
  •  
  • Laws and regulations change
  •  
  • New industry trends surface

8. Measure Training Effectiveness

So, your staff training program is up and running. Success! Your next step is to measure its effectiveness. Much like the training itself, this also isn’t a one-time thing.

You’ll need to continually assess the impact of your program. This means measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) and gathering employee and guest feedback. Calculate the time it takes for new hires to reach proficiency in their roles. Or, conduct follow-up assessments to find out how much your employees absorbed from the training.

9. Offer Training in Multiple Languages

Hospitality is an industry that attracts workers from all over the world. And that means for many workers, English will be their second (or third) language.

Look at the most commonly spoken languages among your staff and offer training in those languages. Research suggests that people understand and remember information better when it’s delivered in their native language.

10. Foster a Culture of Learning

Training shouldn't feel boring. It should be something employees look forward to. Offer employees multiple opportunities to learn and grow and make sure to celebrate their achievements along the way.

This change begins with leadership. Have your managers champion a culture of learning and make it a key part of your overall strategy.

Hotel Staff Training Trends To Watch for 2024

2024 is primed to be a year of technology adoption in hotels, better guest experiences, and happier workforces. But what might be in store for you? Here are a few trends we think are on the horizon (or already here!):

Diversity, equity and inclusion

According to LinkedIn, diversity, equity and inclusion is the second top learning and development program area for 2023. And 41% of organizations already use DE&I to improve employee retention.

The number of hospitality, travel and leisure businesses with a DE&I strategy in place has increased since 2020 from 80% to 86%.

The reason for the rise in DE&I programs stems from a fundamental need: people of all backgrounds, orientations, abilities, and neurotypes seek a sense of belonging and acceptance. Adding DE&I to your training program allows you to create a safe, welcoming culture and helps attract candidates.

The Artificial Intelligence Boom

PwC estimates that Artificial intelligence (AI) could add $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. This is because AI offers users efficiency to every individual, organization and industry.

While AI isn’t new, recent advancements mean it's important to keep your workforce up-to-date and trained on the latest technology. Let’s say you’ve just implemented AI messaging technology to improve your guest experience and streamline operations. Now it’s important to teach your employees how to not only use the AI component but also get the most out of it.

Find out how AI guest messaging saves you time and enhances guest communication:

Demo Canary Guest Messaging

Sustainability

The hotel industry contributes 1% of the world’s carbon emissions. And today, more and more travelers are getting educated on the topic of global warming and sustainability.

This has made protecting our environment an important part of travel. In fact, 61% of travelers said that the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future.

Your people are at the center of your sustainability efforts. Training them on recycling, sourcing local ingredients, water consumption control, and energy efficiency helps you reduce your carbon footprint.

Also, consider training your workforce on your hotel’s existing sustainable initiatives and projections for the future. This knowledge is sure to come in handy should an environmentally conscious guest ask.

Better Hotel Staff Training Means Happier Guests

Good hotel staff training is essential, especially today. Put these tips into practice and implement easy-to-use technology and you’ll find yourself with a happier, more productive workforce in no time!

Learn How Canary Can Help Your Properties Thrive

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