PKF's hotel industry study focuses on human resources

San Francisco - In its 60th annual edition of Trend in the Hotel Industry - USA, PKF Consulting, based here, has once again compiled the operating and financial information of more than 2,800 U.S. hotels and motels to paint a picture of the hospitality industry today. Human resources is the theme of this year's installment as the survey also includes results of PKF's most recent personnel survey of 535 U.S. hoteliers and a look at human resources issues in the hotel business of the 21st Century.

The results of PKF Consulting's 1996 personnel survey are revealed in an article titled Mission Impossible? Good Employees and a Balanced Budget. According to the article, while profitability seems to be continuing in 1996, hotel managers are worried about some human resources issues. Higher occupancies coupled with recent hotel construction are causing increasing concerns over rising labor costs. Already the article reports, payroll and related costs make up more than 50% of the average hotel's expenses.

On a positive note, the personnel survey substantiates the idea that the hotel industry is becoming more diversified. Of those surveyed, only 8.4% report having just one nationality among their line-level employees. About 66% report that they have employees from two to five different nationalities, and 25% of the respondents say they have more than five different nationalities employed. With the different nationalities comes a diversity among languages as well. While most hotel employees speak English as their first language, English is the second language for about one in four hotel employees, and more than 6% of line-level employees do not even speak English. The survey reports that some hotels have begun special training programs on languages and cultural diversity as recognition of their diverse employee base.

The personnel survey also brought out the recruiting challenges that the hotel industry faces because of its traditionally low wages. Managers struggle with finding the best possible workers without going over their budget. The most difficult positions to fill among line-level employees are desk clerks, which are required to have excellent communication skills, and cooks, which require technical skills.

According to the survey, most hotels rely on newspaper advertisements and walk-in applicants to fill positions. The most frequently used method for hiring is a combination of reference checks and face-to-face interviews, a method which is used by more than 95% of hotels.

Although compensation is low in the hotel industry, many hotels are coming up with innovative methods to encourage their employees. Bonus programs, merit-based compensation and special recognition programs are some of the method being tried.

Another article titled Human Resource Development at the Millennium discusses some of the human resources issues that have affected the 20th Century and will continue to change the future.

According to the article, the importance of human capital will expand in the more global markets of the 21st Century. "The most successful companies ultimately are the ones with the best people - managers and non-managers," according to the article. Also, the industry's changing demographics and growth have caused a shortage of highly skilled, high-performance, workers, a change, the industry will be facing in the coming millennium.

The success of the hotel industry in Asia, because of that areas superior service, stands as a marker as other areas will be working to improve their training and skills. The European Union has established the International Standard Organization 9000 Series (ISO 9000) certification program to standardize and assure the quality of products and services exported into Europe.

For more information on PKF Consulting's newest edition of Trends in die Hotel Industry - USA, call (415)

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