Shortage of staff in the hotel industry – why the industry needs to find new ways

When there is a shortage of staff, services must be limited, resulting in dissatisfied guests and a loss of important revenue and sales. Employees have to perform tasks of the missing staff and are overworked and dissatisfied, which can worsen the working atmosphere. One problem leads to the next and the way out of the vicious circle becomes more and more difficult


Shortage of staff as the greatest economic risk for the tourism industry

A major problem in the hotel industry is the shortage of skilled workers, which has increased sharply since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. Many employees have reoriented themselves out of uncertainty and moved to other industries. Some of them have become accustomed to regular working hours without weekend and shift work and do not want to change back.

But even before the pandemic, there was a tight situation in the hotel industry when it came to recruiting staff. The reasons for this are reflected in technological as well as social developments. Digitalization and new technologies have created a variety of new fields of work that offer the next generation more opportunities for advancement and careers. For this reason, many young people prefer to study or look for innovative and technology-oriented work environments instead of entering the traditional hospitality industry. According to a 2019 study by the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), the shortage of staff is the greatest economic risk for the tourism industry. Two-thirds of companies are affected. 66.5 percent of hoteliers saw staff recruitment as the main problem in the hotel industry.

Employment development in the hospitality industry from 2013 to 2022
Grafik, die die Beschäftigungsentwicklung im Gastgewerbe von 2013 bis 2022​ zeigt
DEHOGA Bundesverband: Employment development, reporting date June 30 in each case


Creating more attractive jobs – The role of process optimization and digitalization

The shortage of skilled workers in the industry is further driven by poor working conditions, low wages, lack of appreciation, unmotivated colleagues, and lack of opportunities for advancement. A topic that currently being discussed more frequently and is increasingly coming into focus is the Work-Life-Balance. In an era of globalization and digitalization and with the transition to the Generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000, this concept is becoming increasingly important. People want more freedom, independence, flexibility and participation in the community. In the future, new working time models such as the 4-day week and digital support for staff, but also digital processes for the guest, will therefore become increasingly important. These developments make jobs in the hotel industry more attractive again and can counteract staff shortages in the long term.

Reasons for a job change from the hospitality industry
Grafik die die Gründe für einen Jobwechsel aus dem Gastgewerbe​ zeigt
A study by Gronda with the support of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, 2019: What employees really want in the catering & hotel industry


The fact is, jobs in the industry need to become more attractive again – especially for younger generations. In this context, digitalization plays a crucial role, as it offers the opportunity to make everyday work more efficient and reduce the workload on staff. Time-consuming processes should be identified through an analysis of the work processes. In many cases, this applies to manual, repetitive tasks that already have a negative impact on employee motivation.

By using digital solutions, hotels can optimize and automate workflows. Digital check-in procedures, digital registration forms, and automated messages are just a few examples of how digital technologies can help make jobs more attractive, increase employee motivation, and thus counteract staff shortages in the long term.