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Company insight


Overcoming labour shortages in the pandemic


As it tries to get back on its feet, staffi ng shortages are making a bad situation worse for the hospitality industry. Global hospitality company Aimbridge Hospitality is helping to overcome these challenges using strategic partnerships and innovative technology.


he hospitality industry faced a year unlike any other. The rapid drop in occupancy rates during the Covid- 19 era led to hotel closures or limited operations, and industry-wide layoffs. Now, with a dramatic upswing in leisure and business travellers across the US, hotels are challenged to meet housekeeping and other staffing demands in tight labour markets at short notice.


T


Aimbridge Hospitality, a leading, global hospitality company, faces these challenges on a national scale throughout its more than 1,100 properties across the US. To do so requires a number of strategies, including collaborating with an ally and staffing partner with national reach, hospitality-industry expertise, and scalable, innovative solutions to meet this mega-critical moment.


Outsourcing industry expertise Aimbridge deepened its partnership with Hospitality Staffing Solutions (HSS), the hospitality division of KBS, to help hotels nimbly and profitably meet their housekeeping challenges.


Ed Burke,


vice president of rooms and engineering operations,


Aimbridge Hospitality


hospitality, retail, logistics, and business and industry.


The HSS strategy for Aimbridge is based upon three central pillars: strategic partnership; nationwide reach; and safety, quality and compliance.


Prior to Covid-19, HSS and Aimbridge enjoyed a productive and traditional vendor relationship with HSS – providing necessary staffing on an as-needed basis. The challenges of reopening and recovery demanded a new strategic partnership. “I look for certain things in a partner -- I look for reaction, I look for realism, and I look for recovery,” says Ed Burke, vice president of rooms and engineering operations for Aimbridge. “HSS has delivered on all three, giving us a strategic partnership that we can leverage to continue to build the


“HSS has delivered on all three, giving us a strategic partnership that we can leverage to continue to build the business as we emerge from Covid.”


Ed Burke, Aimbridge


HSS is the largest staffing and services provider to the hospitality industry in the US, with more than 90 offices in major markets across the continental US and Puerto Rico. Its parent company, KBS Services, is the largest privately-held essential facility services provider in North America with a broad portfolio in


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business as we emerge from Covid.” The strategic partnership is centred on a Strategic Account Management (SAM) programme. This new programme connects a specialised HSS team with senior Aimbridge executives to solve problems upstream and tailor solutions to meet the need.


Karla Dougherty, senior vice president of strategic accounts, HSS


Daily meetings are now augmented by a new online-ordering staffing system that allows for real-time delivery based on a hotel’s location and specific staffing needs. This strategic team can centrally monitor and manage staffing across the Aimbridge network, and work to implement solutions and plan ahead. “The main goal of the SAM programme is to provide not just more attention day-to- day but to have our team collaborate with Aimbridge so we can strategically think ahead of time based on their current and future needs,” says Karla Dougherty, senior vice president of strategic accounts for HSS.


National reach With hundreds of Aimbridge-managed hotels across the nation, HSS is the partner that is local everywhere in order to meet staffing needs across the country. HSS provides staffing services leveraging its network of branch offices. The company possesses a decades-long understanding of local labour markets and the available talent pools within each of them. Aimbridge delivers the staff required where and when it is most needed. In addition, HSS understands where the local workforce cannot meet the needs of a particular hotel or property. To that end, the company developed mobile teams, an innovation in hospitality housekeeping. Mobile teams of room attendants travel to and service a different


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


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