NerdWallet: If your next hotel stay is terrible, this is probably the reason

by | Sep 14, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  There’s no shortage of complaints about hotel stays these days, and one reason why is pretty clear: Many hotels are still severely understaffed. In 2018, U.S. hotels directly employed more than 2.3 million people, according to an Oxford Economics study funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Association Educational Foundation. But the AHLA forecasts that hotels will end 2022 with just 1.97 million employees, which is 84% of pre-pandemic levels.

If your last hotel stay was terrible — perhaps it felt like there was no one around to help you or the lines were too long — the worker shortage might be why. But it’s not all bad news; it’s more a tale of two hotels. While staffing shortages can certainly be brutal, they’ve brought about new technology to step in. And sometimes, the tech is an improvement over processes that relied on workers. Read: The real labor shortage is looming, and everything we’re doing is making it worseThe messy effects of hotel worker shortages on travelers Unsurprisingly, the staffing shortage has led to a decrease in customer satisfaction. The American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Travel Study interviewed 6,200 travelers from 2021 to 2022 and found that hotel guest satisfaction fell 2.7% during that time period. Respondents rated specific reasons for their dissatisfaction, and among the most common were:
Loyalty program (-4 points).

Quality of hotel amenities, like pool, spa and fitness center (-3 points).

Quality of food services, like restaurants and room service (-3 points).

Quality of in-room amenities, like refreshments, toiletries and bedding (-2 points).

Ease of making a reservation (-1 point).

Courtesy and helpfulness of staff (-1 point).

Call center satisfaction (-1 point).

Many of the top reasons for upset hotel guests have clear connections to staff shortages: long hold times for call centers or terse, overworked employees. Read: The U.S. does not have a national heat standard for workers. Advocates say it could save the lives of agriculture, construction, kitchen and factory workers. You might chalk up the reduced quality of hotel amenities to reduced hours, facilities that haven’t been cleaned, or a cutback in staff-heavy offerings like kids clubs and pool parties. Hotel breakfast buffets were largely paused, necessitated by efforts …

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