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2018 Hospitality Trends and the Skills to Look for When Hiring Your Hospitality Staff

Posted by Eric Friedman

hospitality staff

Summer is almost here, and the hospitality industry is booming. PwC’s forecast for 2018 anticipates that a stable economy and tax stimulus will help to support the highest occupancy level in the hospitality industry since 1981 and forecasts occupancy to grow to 66.1% for U.S. hotels. Therefore, as a hospitality employer, you should be prepared to see increased competition for skilled managers and employees.

But that is not the only thing you should keep an eye-on. The trends in the hospitality industry are changing because of a new and passionate generation of travelers, the millennials. According to Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, the millennial generation will represent 50% of all travelers by 2025. Therefore, hotels need to adapt to their needs. This includes hiring skilled staff who can offer personalized interactions and guest experiences.

To help you keep up with industry trends, I’ve determined the most important skills needed for each department in a hotel.

  1. Food and Beverage

Did you know that restaurants are the #1 industry for employee performance complaints online? (Source). This goes hand in hand with the fact that 36% of restaurant operators name staffing as their biggest challenge to success. So how can you find staff who will reduce complaints? The skills to look for when hiring restaurant staff are patience, clear communication skills, knowledge of the product (foods and drinks served), the ability to use positive language and create rapport and a calming presence. There’s nothing worse than having an angry client who didn’t like their food and a server who doesn’t know how to handle the situation with grace.

Using eSkill you can test both these soft skills and the hard skills needed in the Food and Beverage Department. You can customize a test by combining questions from these subjects: Personal Appearance, Quality of Service, Sanitation and Safety Concepts, Server Function and Responsibilities, Service Equipment, Serving Drinks, and Serving the Meal.

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  1. Front Desk

Today’s trend is to make the guest feel more connected with the hotel with the help of technology. This means that guests can make special requests to the hotel through smartphone apps. For example, by using the Marriott International and Hilton Honors apps, guests can complete the check-in process before they arrive, unlock their room with a mobile key and make special requests of the hotel staff. Other brands, such as  Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts  are implementing a similar approach.

Therefore, when hiring for your front desk positions, you need people who have both technical savvy and good language and communication skills.  Computer and language skills are two areas of expertise that can make a front desk officer stand out. Here are the subjects you can use from eSkill to create the perfect test: Computer Knowledge, Customer Service, Daily Tasks, Direct Customer Interaction, Professional Attitude, Telephone and E-mail Etiquette, and Time Management and Organizational Skills.

  1. Guide and Tour Operations

The U.S. trends in hospitality in 2018 is to offer the guests local experiences. This is part of a differentiating strategy that follows the belief that only authentic experiences will bring the guests back. More and more hotels want to fulfill the unexpressed wishes of their guests. For example Waldorf Hotels offer “Unforgettable Experiences” packages, specific to each location, for guests who book a three-night stay. At their Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, couples get a spa treatment, fly in a hot air balloon, and take a camel ride to a desert dinner for two. Marriott Rewards members have access to PlacePass, a search engine that allows them to book more than 100,000 local experiences in 800 destinations. This means that among your staff, you’ll need people passionate about tourism and who can offer guided tour services. To find those people, eSkill recommends you create a test with questions from the following subjects:  Guide and Tour Operator Skills, Problem-Solving Ability, Tour Operator Customer Interaction, Traveling, Adventure, and Culture.

  1. Room Service

The trend for hotel rooms is to be more and more automated. For example, guests who download the Hilton Honors app can use their smartphones to adjust their room lighting and temperature, to act as a TV remote control and to order room service. However, the ease of using an app to order food doesn’t guarantee excellent room service. The server still has to deliver the food to the guests. And here’s where the attention to details come in–the little things will make the guest experience unforgettable. Everything from delivering the newspaper in the morning to addressing the guests by name to making sure the flowers are fresh, to surprising the guests with a bottle of champagne for their anniversary. Successful hotels are excellent at addressing every detail. When hiring your room service personnel, eSkill recommends you test for the following subjects:  Place Settings, Room Service Orders, Task Performance, and Trays and Carts.

So there you have them. These are the skills to look for when hiring your hospitality staff and how to test prospective staff in accordance with industry trends. You can use skills assessments customized after a job-analysis and combine them with behavioral assessments. This is the best way to form a high-performing hospitality team. Are there any other skills you look for when selecting your hotel team? Let us know in the comments below.

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About Eric Friedman

Author

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business, and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how best to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.

3 COMMENTS Join the discussion
  • Kelly May, 22, 2018

    Thank you for this list. There is certainly no other way than to follow the trends and adapt in this industry.

  • Daniel May, 22, 2018

    The hospitality industry’s backbone is comprised of customer service, a concept shared by all segments of the industry. I think we need to invest in those customer service skills that bring result.

  • Mathilda May, 22, 2018

    Regardless of the business, this industry relies heavily on providing an excellent level of service. Customers are visiting the business to get away from their troubles. A bad experience might keep them from returning ever again. Brand loyalty is very important to these customers, so the associated companies do their best to provide the best service.

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Guest May, 22, 2018