US hotels employ fewer workers but at higher wages
US hotels employ fewer workers but at higher wages
28 AUGUST 2020 7:38 AM

Data shows most rooms-division workers have received pay raises, averaging around 4%.

U.S. hotels employ on average about half of the workers they did prior to the pandemic, but are paying those workers higher wages, according to the latest labor management data from Hotel Effectiveness.

The latest data, for the week ending 22 August, shows that hourly wages for most-rooms division roles have risen by nearly 4% to record-setting levels for the U.S.

“Some of this increase is due to the increased tenure and experience of the current workforce in U.S. hotels,” said Taylor Beauchamp, chief product officer and co-founder of Hotel Effectiveness. “When hotels cut back on their staffing levels, they generally retained the most experienced, most highly paid people.”

According to data from more than 4,000 U.S. hotels, hotel workers hired within the past 30 days are receiving the same starting wages that they were in February, before the sudden downturn in the industry.

“I’m not surprised,” Chesapeake Hospitality President and CEO Chris Green said. “Our industry was likely underpaying our people before COVID-19, so we are probably lucky that wages are not a lot higher.”

Green attributed the stable wages to three factors: an increase in demand for “essential workers,” often at higher wages than many hotel jobs; a rise in new economy jobs such as food delivery and at Amazon distribution centers; and a lack of sophistication in how wage rates are set in the hotel industry.

“Hospitality is a wonderful business, but other industries have become much more sophisticated with how they use data to determine compensation strategies. While we re-invent other parts of our business model including the cross-functional nature of many positions, we need to re-examine our whole approach to hiring, training, developing and paying our people,” he said.

Job growth took a step back as demand for upscale and luxury hotels softened with peak leisure travel season approaching an end. Staffing at the sample hotels dropped by 0.3%, or about 25,000 jobs, compared to the week ending 15 August. Hotel staffing overall was at 53% of pre-COVID levels.

The data and charts above represent a sample of more than 3,300 same-store hotels and excludes hotels which have been closed during the analyzed period.

Del Ross is Chief Revenue Officer for Hotel Effectiveness.

The assertions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

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