Hotel labor shortage could cause problems for travel plans

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 6:45 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Summer is one of the busiest travel times of the year, but the labor shortage is causing some problems for those in the hotel industry.

Hotels being completely booked for some days over the summer is nothing new but add in the lack of workers, and that makes keeping up with the work demand even harder.

“I would say that last year at this time was less stressful than this year at this time. Even though we’re on the other side of the pandemic, the business has come back with a vengeance which is great, but when you don’t have the employee base to service the customers correctly it creates a lot of stress on your existing staff,” said Paul Hegg, President, and CEO of Hegg Companies

Dione Deuel, the People Engagement Leader for Hegg companies, says the worker shortage has put more responsibilities on every staff member involved with the hotels.

“It’s required us to do a little more cross-training. People who would normally work in one department might be working in two. We’ve been asking managers to roll up their sleeves and work shoulder to shoulder with our people to help support in the right way,” said Deuel.

Some places, like the Holiday Inn Express in Sioux Falls, are limiting availability to half-capacity on Sundays, just to catch up on all the work that needs to be done.

While Hegg Companies hotels have not had to something like that yet, they have discussed the possibility a few times.

“What we call ‘roll rooms,’ meaning you don’t clean them, but you can’t re-sell them the next day. So you end up limiting your total capacity, on a night-by-night basis. We’ve had to toy with the idea, but luckily we haven’t had to do it yet,” said Hegg.

Hegg Companies has seen a few more applications for their hotels in recent weeks. They still expect to be hurt by the labor shortage, as some staff members have left due to the increased workload.

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