Lilo blog

Can the Gig Economy Help with Housekeeping Shortages?

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Hotel housekeeping shortages - can the gig economy help?


Maintaining a reliable and efficient housekeeping staff has always been a challenge in the hospitality industry. 

The cyclical nature of this sector, coupled with fluctuating demands, makes it difficult for hotels to consistently meet their staffing needs.

The pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges, leading to a critical shortage of hotel housekeeping staff.

According to the latest reports from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, more than two-thirds of hotels face labor shortages.  

In the U.S. alone, there were a staggering 9 million job openings in the hospitality industry at the beginning of this year.

Post pandemic, travel’s making a major comeback, but here’s the problem: many hotels can’t take advantage of this uptick in business because they’re short on staff. 

This deficit, particularly acute in housekeeping departments, impedes their ability to deliver exceptional guest experiences that foster loyalty and drive long-term revenue.

Enter the Gig Economy

The gig economy is known for its flexible, on-demand work opportunities. 

It could potentially hold the key to addressing housekeeping shortages in the hospitality sector. 

Gig workers typically work as freelancers or self-employed contractors and take on specific, short-term assignments.

Several startups, including Turno, Qwick, Serve Reserves, ShortStaf, Saijai, Grit hp, Go Gig, and others, are now bridging the gap between hospitality businesses and part-time housekeeping professionals via digital platforms.

The gig economy model offers a viable solution for hotels facing ongoing housekeeping shortages. 

Besides helping hotels address labor gaps in their housekeeping departments, it offers flexibility to professionals seeking control over their schedules. 

Housekeeping Shortages: How Can Gig Economy Help 

Flexibility: Hotels can scale their housekeeping staff up or down based on real-time demand. This adaptability is crucial in an industry where occupancy rates can fluctuate several times each year. 

Wider talent pool: Hospitality businesses can access a broader pool of potential workers for various hotel housekeeping duties. This model appeals to a diverse demographic, from students looking for part-time work to unemployed youth keen to gain work experience.

Enhance service quality: Gig workers are motivated to perform at their best in a competitive environment. They rely on positive ratings to secure future hotel housekeeping jobs, ensuring a high standard of cleanliness and service. Hotel GMs or HR managers can narrow the pool of workers to identify housekeeping staff with the right experience and skills. 

Reduce fixed housekeeping costs: The gig economy model aligns labor costs directly with demand, helping manage turnover rates and reduce fixed costs during the low season. 

Overcoming Challenges

Industry-wide adoption of the gig economy model in hotel housekeeping has been slow, with the exception of some hotels that have begun hiring part-time workers directly or through third-party contractors/gig-platforms.

The primary reasons for this slow uptake include concerns that employing gig workers in hotel housekeeping departments might:

  • Affect service quality
  • Complicate daily management
  • Necessitate continuous training for staff on various housekeeping tasks 

Merging the gig economy with traditional hiring frameworks presents its own set of challenges.

These apprehensions might seem overwhelming at first. But, embracing the innovative gig economy model is essential for growth.

In a manner similar to how Lilo Hotel Supplies streamlines hospitality procurement, application-based hiring & scheduling platforms can aid hotel GMs in mitigating housekeeping shortages through centralized platforms.