Travelers this summer could notice something they may not have seen before: The person who checked them in is the same person who helps clean their room.
Hotels say they are struggling to hire enough housekeepers, kitchen staff and other hourly workers—including the ones they laid off early in the Covid-19 pandemic—ahead of an anticipated upswing in leisure travel.
“There have been weekends where I’ve had to let rooms go vacant because we didn’t have enough people to clean them,” said Sloan Dean, chief executive of management company Remington Hotels. The company has about 500 open positions across its 78 properties, which bear major brands including Marriott International Inc., Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Hyatt Hotels Corp. and InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, Mr. Dean said.
To meet demand, David Mariotti, general manager of Remington-managed One Ocean Resort & Spa in Atlantic Beach, Fla., said he spends about half of his 50-plus-hour workweek on housekeeping tasks when it gets busy. He drives the laundry truck, cleans guest rooms, stocks linen closets and performs other duties he did for training purposes before the pandemic.
The pandemic has shifted where and how people work, and as the economy moves toward broader reopenings, hotels and the rest of the service industry are struggling to staff up. That is despite offering perks like higher wages, sign-on and retention bonuses and more flexible work schedules, hotel managers and owners say.