266 | Return Policies: Hotel industry works out rehiring plans


As the recognized COVID-19 infection rate began to gain strength in the U.S. in mid-March, lodging industry analysts said they expected at least half of the nation’s 4 million hotel employees would be laid off.

It’s a startling number when you consider that six weeks ago, most hospitality jobs were firmly intact.

In fact, in the beginning of 2020, the hospitality industry was grappling with a problem indicative of a healthy economy – a shallow labor pool. Competition from employers in and outside the industry forced hotel owners and operators to increase wages and figure out ways to retain staff, especially hourly workers.

What a difference a health pandemic can make.

April’s unemployment figures are expected to be unnerving. Twenty-two million people filed jobless claims from mid-March to mid-April.

Meantime, the Trump administration and some states are hatching plans to re-open communities and businesses beginning next month. In those cases, hoteliers will face some unique challenges in bringing back furloughed workers who are either comfortable on unemployment, uncomfortable with public-facing jobs or have found work elsewhere.

In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we talk to people involved in recruiting and training hospitality employees to find out what they’re seeing as the coronavirus pandemic has forced hotels to reduce their workforces.

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