Hospitality Labor Strategies
How Aimbridge Hospitality is Meeting Staffing Challenges During a Critical Time for the Industry
Challenge: Addressing Labor Shortages During Pandemic Recovery
The hospitality industry faced a year unlike any other. The rapid drop in occupancy rates during the COVID-19 era led to hotel closures or limited operations, and industry-wide layoffs. Now, with a dramatic upswing in leisure and business travelers across the United States, hotels are challenged to meet housekeeping and other staffing demands in tight labor markets.
Aimbridge Hospitality, a leading, multinational hotel management company, faces these challenges on a national scale throughout its more than 1,100 properties across the United States. To do so requires a number of strategies, including collaborating with an ally and staffing partner with national reach, hospitality-industry expertise, and scalable, innovative solutions to meet this mega-critical moment.
Solution: National Outsourcing Partner with Industry Expertise
Aimbridge deepened its partnership with Hospitality Staffing Solutions, the hospitality division of KBS, to help hotels nimbly and profitably meet their housekeeping challenges.
Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS) is the largest staffing and services provider to the hospitality industry in the United States with 90+ offices in major markets across the continental United States and Puerto Rico. Its parent company, KBS Services, is the largest privately-held essential facility services provider in North America with a broad portfolio in hospitality, retail, logistics, and business and industry.
The HSS strategy for Aimbridge is based upon three central pillars: Strategic Partnership; Nationwide Reach; and Safety, Quality and Compliance.
From Vendor to Strategic Partner
Prior to COVID-19, HSS and Aimbridge enjoyed a productive and traditional vendor relationship with HSS providing necessary staffing on an as-needed basis. The challenges of reopening and recovery demanded a new strategic partnership.
The strategic partnership is centered on a Strategic Account Management (SAM) program. This new program connects a specialized HSS team with senior Aimbridge executives to solve problems upstream and tailor solutions to meet the need. Daily meetings are now augmented by a new online-ordering staffing system that allows for real-time delivery based on a hotel’s location and specific staffing needs. This strategic team can centrally monitor and manage staffing across the Aimbridge nationwide footprint, and word to implement solutions as well as plan for the future.
With hundreds of Aimbridge-managed hotels across the nation, HSS is the partner that is local everywhere in order to meet staffing needs across the country.
HSS provides staffing services leveraging its network of branch offices. The company possesses a decades-long understanding of local labor markets and the available talent pools within each of them. Aimbridge delivers the staff required where and when it is most needed.
In addition, HSS understands where the local workforce cannot meet the needs of a particular hotel or property. To that end, the company developed mobile teams, an innovation in hospitality housekeeping. Mobile teams of room attendants travel to and service a different hotel every three weeks where labor shortages stubbornly persist. This allows properties to maintain high standards amidst spikes in bookings.
Safety, Quality and Compliance
Guest satisfaction and quality scores are more important to Aimbridge now, more than ever, with returning guests looking for extra safety and cleaning protocols provided by vetted and professional staffers.
HSS focuses on recruiting the best possible candidates for housekeeping and other staff through its national recruiting branch network. The HSS safety team provides regular training for a host of safety protocols outside of COVID-19. The team members also trained under Aimbridge’s AIMClean Training Program, which includes rigorous protocols in the proper use of EPA-approved products.
Compliance provides an additional level of guest safety and hotel brand protection. All HSS staff are vetted for identification verification employment authorization, undergo drug screening, and background checks.
Results: Scalable and Reliable Staff Nationwide
In an industry facing significant staffing challenges, Aimbridge hotels are more than meeting the mark. In the near term, thanks to its strategic partnership with HSS, this amounts to more than 1,500 high-quality, AIMClean-certified housekeeping staffers at a total of 224 properties. While keeping guests satisfied and hotels profitable right now, in the mid to long-term, Aimbridge now has a scalable solution nationwide so that its properties have a reliable pool of qualified staff from a high-quality and compliant source.
Evolution: Bundled Facility Service
As the hospitality industry continues to recover, it will require more than expert housekeeping services to keep it profitable. Thanks to the breadth and depth of HSS parent company KBS, bundled facility services have been added to the mix. For example, Aimbridge recently began bundling snow removal and landscaping services across its properties. The companies are examining other facility service offerings that can help Aimbridge properties address staffing challenges, manage costs centrally and, overall, raise standards and lower costs.