92 – How Your Hotel’s Digital Presence Impacts Recruiting and Staffing

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Host Ryan Embree discusses ways hoteliers can help attract employees in the midst of the staffing shortage by focusing on their digital presence. From reputation management to social media to review responses, hoteliers need to make sure their hotel is giving the right impression not just to guests, but to future staff as well. Listen now to learn what you can do to help combat the staffing crisis at your hotel.

Episode Transcript

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Ryan Embree:
Welcome to Suite Spot where hoteliers check-in and we check out what’s trending in hotel marketing. I’m your host, Ryan Embree.

Ryan Embree:
Hello everyone. And welcome to another episode of the Suite Spot. This is your host, Ryan Embree. Thank you for joining me and listening in. We’ve got a great episode for you today. And today we’re gonna be talking about recruiting and hiring. Now I’m sure this is a conversation that you’ve had with a lot of your teams right now. I know we are hearing it all over the country. Where can I find employees? We are just looking for more and more hospitality professionals to fill our front desk staff, to fill our management teams. Management groups out there looking for people. We had just gotten over this just devastating pandemic to our industry, and now we have this staffing crisis. Hotels cannot find people right now to work. So what this episode is talking about is how your hotel’s presence impacts recruiting and hiring. Now I know that is a weird correlation.

Ryan Embree:
Your hotel’s digital presence, things like social media, reviews, even review response, but this has an impact. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. But first we’ll start off with a quick couple stats. Now, hospitality employment is still down 1.2 million jobs from where it was in February 2020. 1.2 million, which is so sad because this is a people-serving-people industry. So when we can’t find the people to give these great hotel experiences, we obviously see that impacted every single day and, and could impact vacations and, and the, just the overall guest experience. So call it the great resignation, call it whatever. The hotel industry is a loss of 7.2% of its workforce. Now that’s compared to 2% for the rest of U.S. jobs. So hospitality has been extremely impacted from this staffing shortage, and it’s just so difficult to get people again, to work for our hotels.

Ryan Embree:
So it’s an employee job market. As you can imagine, employees are getting to pick where they want to work. They’re going to do their due diligence before signing on, and that’s where your hotel digital presence comes into play. So today what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna discuss the way again, your digital presence impacts recruiting and the first place we’ll start is reputation management. Now just like Glassdoor, employees are going to check your hotel’s reviews to see where they’re gonna be working. They’re gonna ask the question, “What will my day in the life look like at this property?” Now, a really good exercise that I would suggest to you, the hotelier, is to go to your hotel’s reviews online. So think about Glassdoor, right? When someone’s looking to potentially sign on and become an employee, they go check reviews for that company on the website Glassdoor.

Ryan Embree:
So of course, employees are gonna do this for your hotel because there’s public reviews online about your hotel experience there. So the exercise would be, is read all of those reviews and imagine that instead of them being reviews, imagine being behind the front desk and hearing that feedback directly from your guests. How many times is that guest complimenting you? How many times are they excited to talk about their stay with you? How many times are they being yelled at? How many times are you being asked to solve problems? So your negative reviews, because that’s what’s going through a potential employee’s mind as they’re reading the reviews. No one wants to work at a hotel where they’re constantly having to solve issues or things are going wrong. They wanna work somewhere that’s fun, people are enjoying themselves and having really great experiences. So that is how your reputation management can impact hiring and recruiting for your hotel.

Ryan Embree:
We have heard so much about mental health over the past couple years. So that’s what these employees are gonna be thinking about. What type of toll is working at your property going to take on my mental health in comparison to maybe the property down the road that’s paying a very similar wage. So that could be the difference there. Now, another question that your reputation is gonna answer to a potential employee is what’s the longevity of this business of your hotel. So if you come onto TripAdvisor and see that you’re just being just smashed with negative reviews, and this person has been in the hospitality for years and years, 2020 was just around the corner, just a couple years ago. They went through all of those furloughs and having layoffs in our hotel industry because travel wasn’t happening anymore. So they are a lot more cognizant now of the longevity of your business.

Ryan Embree:
And they are gonna look and say, “If I sign on this hotel, can I make this a career? Will I be able to be here for a couple years, a decade even, and actually advance up, or will this hotel business not be here anymore because of the way that it’s trending right now on reputation sites?” Again, just something to think about. And this is the, this is the mindset that these employees right now are having as they’re, as they’re doing their job search. And then lastly, when it comes to reputation management is an employee’s physical health, right? So health and safety, COVID 19 health protocols. If they see reviews talking about lack of cleanliness or even talking about COVID 19, unsafe travel conditions for your guests, how do you think that is going to make a potential employee feel? So just some things to think on when it comes to how your hotel’s reputation can make an impact and vice versa.

Ryan Embree:
If you’ve got some really great reviews, I would say, use that in your pitch to try to get people to come and stay with you. If, if people are constantly talking positively about their hotel experience or mentioning some of the other staff members on your team, that’s something to share on these recruiting sites. And that’s something to share within these interviews and talking about the work environment that you’re creating and cultivating that work environment and that’s something we’re gonna talk about a little bit later when we talk about social media. Now, another part that I want us to, to really see where there’s an impact in recruiting and hiring is review response. So one thing that we all do, no matter if it’s hotel industry or tech or finance or anything, is we want to know who we’re working for, right? Our boss and, and how they’re going to manage us.

Ryan Embree:
One of the ways that gives a potential employee a clue on how they’re gonna be managed is looking at the way that issues are solved on property. And one of the biggest places and, and windows that a potential employee can get a good look at that is through your review responses. So are you even addressing issues at the property? If that employee in their shoes says, I might have an issue and I need to come to my boss for that, are they going to hear me? How are they gonna problem solve? What type of problem solver abilities does my boss have? Again, some good insights and ways to look at that is, are you responding to your reviews and how are you responding to those reviews? So something to think about, and the last part of our digital presence that we’re gonna talk about today is social media.

Ryan Embree:
Social media is another place that especially younger generations are constantly on and looking at and give a glimpse into what type of work environment you’re cultivating at your property. It could be a great place to recruit. Places like obviously LinkedIn are major for recruiting. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: now we can use these as a recruiting tool talking about the open positions, maybe giving some details about the position, but I would argue that employees will also look at your property on social media and start to make some assumptions on, “Okay, what would it be like if I worked here?” So one of the places that we can make your property more attractive than maybe competition is recognition programs. Highlight some of your other staff members there. People love being recognized, especially in an environment where you don’t really get a lot of thank yous from your guests on a daily basis.

Ryan Embree:
The expectations since COVID 19 have risen to all time high. So the stress level for your staff, you need to keep in check and that’s, what’s causing a lot of this employee attrition. So recognizing your employees is a small little token of appreciation that employers can do, and really will give you some goodwill moving forward as employees are looking for potential landing spots and help you in your hiring journey. Maybe highlighting some of your other staff if any of them have moved through the ranks. When I was working at a couple hotels, I started off as a bellman, moving to the front desk, talking about those internal promotions. That’s gonna give that potential employee that’s looking a journey in a career path if they decide to eventually join your team at your hotel. Highlighting some of the things that you’re doing on property.

Ryan Embree:
So, company parties, holidays, celebrations, birthdays. We want to create a very fun environment at work. Everyone wants to enjoy what they do. So the more times that you can highlight maybe a dive in movie at the property, this is gonna be great for your, obviously your travelers and your guests that are gonna see this, but you don’t really think about it and how it looks as, as a potential employee, right? If I’m looking to get hired as a front desk agent, and I see that a hotel, every other Friday in the summer does a dive in movie, that could be something that I could say, “I’d love to get involved in that. That looks like a lot of fun. This could create some really cool memories” versus somebody that, that really doesn’t have this kind of event calendar going on. So, and then charitable work.

Ryan Embree:
So these are, again, it’s a win-win situation. You’re doing good, but now more than ever with employees really having their choice on where they wanna work, they wanna work for someone and for something, for a cause. So if you’re doing charitable work, if you’re doing some sort of food drives, charitable events at the property, this could be something that new hires could feel a purpose for and want to be a part of and join. So any sort of charitable works that you’re doing again, that’s a win-win situation for the hotel, because it’s good PR as well for them. So I mentioned this before expectations have risen exponentially and this has caused more stress than ever. So one of the ways that we can really take the pressure off the limited staff that you have now is outsourcing some of these things.

Ryan Embree:
So review response, reputation management, social media, we have seen through the staffing crisis, GMs, DOS’s, front desk managers have to take on tasks that they’ve never done before. Cleaning rooms, fixing things on property. Even something as simple as owners responding to reviews, they used to have staff able to do that. This creates a lot of stress and a lot of hotels right now are turning to third party vendors, such as Travel Media Group, to take the pressure off so that the limited staff that they have can really focus on the guests and ensure your hotel’s reputation and digital presence are being handled properly. What it comes down to is a better reputation means staff is more likely to be happier, stay longer and do a better job overall. So again, we know this is a huge crisis right now, hotels right now are looking for, for employees everywhere.

Ryan Embree:
And they’re for every single advantage to try to get ahead of the competition and capture some of these, these employees and, and help them man their property to give the best hotel experience and guest experience that they can. So with this episode, you really need to consider how your hotel’s online presence is impacting that recruiting and hiring to a new candidate that’s doing research for your property. So if you’re interested in learning more about some of our solutions at Travel Media Group and how we can maybe take some of this stuff off of your plate, you’ve never considered having a third party do your social media before or respond to your reviews, reach out to us. We would love to speak with you. We’ll give you a consultation and show you what makes us the best at what we do. So I want to thank you for listening today, and we’ll talk to you next time on the Suite Spot.

Ryan Embree:
To join our loyalty program, be sure to subscribe and give us a five star rating on iTunes. Suite Spot is produced by Travel Media Group with cover art by Bary Gordon. I’m your host, Ryan Embree, and we hope you enjoyed your stay.

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