Labor hours per occupied room drop at US hotels
Labor hours per occupied room drop at US hotels
02 OCTOBER 2020 1:43 PM

As hotels continue to operate at about half of pre-COVID-19 levels, jobs at the property level have changed dramatically, such as the reduction in daily housekeeping.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—U.S. hotels employ approximately half of the people who worked in the industry before the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving more than 4 million out of work, hotel labor management data from Hotel Effectiveness shows.

At the same time, those who have returned to work have found their jobs changed.

Every role in a hotel and every process has been adjusted in response to the virus to ensure guest and associate safety, and this is now evident in the fundamental economics of the industry.

“Overall labor hours per occupied room (LHPOR) have declined by 20% since March,” said Mike Martin, CEO of Hotel Effectiveness. “Food and beverage accounts for a big piece of this, but rooms division labor investment is also way down as a result of changes to housekeeping and guest services processes.”

The near-complete elimination of daily housekeeping means that rooms can be serviced with fewer people and less total hours of work.

This drop in LHPOR is good news for hotels, which have been struggling with historically low revenues and average daily rates, but experts warn that this boost to GOP margin won’t last.

NorthPointe Hospitality CEO Greg Winey said, “Most of the service changes in hotels are temporary, and after the pandemic both guest expectations and service requirements will return to normal. Managers need to take advantage of the current time savings to find long-term efficiencies that will boost profitability after recovery.”

Overall employment levels peaked in late August, but since Labor Day the hotel industry has lost nearly 200,000 jobs because of reduced occupancy. Since early September, the percent of hotels operating at or above 40% occupancy (typical breakeven point) has remained stable even as daily guest volume remains highly volatile.

The data and charts above represent a sample of more than 4,000 same-store hotels and excludes hotels that have been closed during the analyzed period.

Del Ross is Chief Revenue Officer for Hotel Effectiveness.

The assertions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

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