– Remember the Fundamentals

Retaining Quality Staff

Every economy has its cycles and demand in the hospitality industry for quality lodging will have its peaks and valleys. The availability of quality staff in hotels is a critical reason why it is essential to retain quality staff in all cycles. The cost of turnover for a line level position is estimated to be as much as $6,000 according to recent research1 by Cornell University faculty.

When the economy is strong, recruitment and retention is critical because of volume . When the economy is mixed or struggling, retaining our trained staff is essential because of the obvious need to exceed the expectations of our guests.

Here are some fundamentals for retaining quality staff

  1. Provide recognition by thanking staff for a job well done, with a handwritten note or hotel wide recognition if appropriate. When you observe a specific achievement, reward it right away with a bonus or non-cash items such as event or movie tickets or an extra paid vacation day.

  2. Acknowledge your staff birthdays. Follow the example of Southwest Airlines, known for promoting a feeling of family among its employees.

  3. Ask for your employees’ opinions and actually use some of their ideas.

  4. Facilitate your staff’s professional development, whether it’s with college classes, seminars, conferences, membership in a professional organization, or even cross-training for career moves within your hotel. In tough economic times, limit this only to staff who have been with you a certain length of time.

  5. Hire the right people in the first place. Find people who are looking for the characteristics of your hotel culture – you need people who are service oriented. The right fit makes for a cheerful and appreciated person who is less inclined to leave.



Dr. John Hogan, CHA CHE CMHS


John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of a consortium ( of successful corporate and academic professionals delivering focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today. is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability. Individuals wishing to contribute materials may send them Special pricing is in effect for a limited time that also includes a complimentary copy of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD- A COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES.


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