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2023 Hospitality Trends: Opportunity and Risk-Mitigation for Properly-Staffed Hotels

The hospitality industry enjoyed a healthy 2022 rebound. Travelers returned in droves. Airline bookings bumped up against 2019 records (with some well publicized system meltdowns), and RevPAR reached a new record.

In talking with our clients across the country and our in-house experts, we’re sharing what we see as the four big trends in 2023:

RevPAR Remains Strong

Current estimates put overall RevPAR growth at 5.8 percent in 2023, driven by higher occupancy and higher ADR. Great news! RevPAR is one measurement but there are others. We work with clients to go a step beyond and consider optimized staffing strategies that can expand revenue potential.

“Mullet Travelers” 

With business travel forecast to grow, many guests will be tempted to add on a day or two of leisure travel at the end of a work trip. These “Mullet Travelers” – playfully named by the Wall Street Journal to denote all business in the front and fun in the back – will require properties that can cater to the totality of their needs – think free WiFi, staff knowledgeable about local attractions, and robust food and beverage offerings suitable for client entertaining and a fun dinner for two. More than 41% of likely travelers will be sporting the Mullet.

No More Free Passes

As we’ve written before in this space, we are calling the current era a time of No More Free Passes. During the depths of COVID, guests were willing to overlook limited food and beverage offerings, every-third-day room cleaning, and limited interactions with staff. Safety was the top priority. Returning guests – many of whom are traveling again after a long hiatus – want to avail themselves of all the benefits afforded by hotels. Proper staffing will be key to meet and exceed high expectations.

Hard Labor

It’s a Tale of Two Cities when it comes to hospitality employment. 2022 witnessed a healthy rebound but enormous shortages remain, which are proving hard to overcome. According to our friends at the American Hotel & Lodging Association, a staggering 400,000 jobs have yet to return, with 87% of its members reporting a staffing shortage. 

Tellingly, the key area they can’t find employees to fill is in housekeeping, with 43% calling it their biggest challenge.

2023 presents hotels and management companies an opportunity to rethink how it approaches staffing. The above trends are all united in the fact that they all require appropriate staffing. Outsourced staffing models  – which come in a wide range of scope and size – are key to taking advantage of the current recovery period and mitigating the risks posed by today’s labor market.

From the depths of the COVID-era, it’s a remarkable turnaround. Hotels and resorts that are properly staffed-up can take advantage of the opportunities and mitigate the risks. Happy New Year.

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The Hospitality Staffing Playbook is our step-by-step guide that shows how supplemental staffing works.

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