How Hoteliers Can Streamline Labor Management throughout the 2019 Summer Season

Written by: Steve Pappas

With the summer months in full swing, vacation season is booming — making it one of the busiest times of the year for the hospitality industry. And an influx in guests means a need for seasonal employees. As hotel’s biggest expense, payroll can be a headache for general managers during the busiest time of the year. Implementing a cloud-based time management tool allows hoteliers to maintain a cost-effective strategy in real time to manage big expenses like payroll. With an exclusive reporting system, hoteliers can rely on seamless labor monitoring and management from time clock to paycheck before, during and after the peak of the summer season.

#1: Streamline the Onboarding Process

While seasonal employees are only on the payroll for a few months, guests should receive the same level of service from both full-time and seasonal employees. But as things get hectic during the summer season, hoteliers often fast-track the onboarding and training process, which can lead to high turnover rates, low productivity and a decrease in guest satisfaction.

By streamlining the labor management onboarding process through a flexible labor management tool, hoteliers can decide on their hourly or weekly compensation structures, reduce payroll preparation and manage more complex transactions using pre-defined application rules in a fraction of the time it takes to manually input this data. Hoteliers can also design custom reports to manage hours and overtime before the peak of the season, allowing more time to focus on guest satisfaction and revenue rather than staff management.

Using a forecasting tool, a time management system provides hoteliers managerial guidance to monitor daily coverage by identifying an ideal labor model based on a hotel’s expected business volume. For example, a hotelier can manage its housekeeping staff by pre-setting guidelines in its forecast model. If it takes 30 minutes for a housekeeper to clean a room and there are 100 rooms in the hotel, the general manager can program the model’s guidelines to ensure that he or she has the ideal number of housekeeping staff to meet the 50 hours of labor required to clean the rooms on any given day. Additionally, a forecasting business model can be altered and reapplied to a hotelier’s labor model to accommodate the changes in season, weekends and holidays.

#2: Manage Labor in Real Time

Seasonal hires can be a challenge for hoteliers due to the additional responsibilities for payroll and human resource departments, but with the right tools in place, labor management doesn’t have to be a lot of work. By monitoring daily labor costs and flagging major expenses, hoteliers can prevent overtime or extra-time labors and track employee hours to maximize performance anytime, anywhere. Hoteliers can also oversee daily payroll transactions in real-time through their computers or via wall-mounted touchscreens which are user-friendly, reliable and more time efficient than sorting through file cabinets.

A cloud-based solution also allows for the creation of custom reports to monitor and compare forecasted business models against actual metrics, allowing for crucial adjustments to meet goals. For example, if a hotel is fully booked on Memorial Day weekend but a large group cancels their reservation last minute, a general manager can alter the labor schedule to reflect the change in the hotel’s business volume in real-time.

#3: Forecast Management Needs with Performance Data

After the hectic summer season comes to an end, hoteliers should rely on data to make informed decisions on their property’s overall performance. By tracking spending against labor costs, general managers can more accurately budget for seasonal needs in the future, creating a more efficient process from onboarding to season end. From adding more housekeepers to doubling up staff on the weekends, these valuable insights will inform how the property will perform in the future. In addition, a robust labor management tool can trend information from whole teams to an individual employee, pinpointing the largest opportunities for additional training or reassignment.

The bottom line is that labor management must be a top priority for hoteliers as it is the core of successful time management throughout the busy season. Summer can and should be a prosperous time for a hotel. Implementing a proper labor management system will ensure that prosperity flows through to the end.

Steve Pappas is the time management product manager for M3, an exhibiting company at HITEC Minneapolis 2019, taking place June 17–20 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA.

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