As the festival of lights ushered in additional bookings for hotel rooms over the weekend, the return of guests would mean business and the severe impact of the pandemic is somehow soothed with their presence filling the once empty rooms.
While the operators are glad to see their occupancy rate go up, they are also feeling the heat of being understaffed due to labour shortages brought about by various reasons.
During the peak of the lockdowns, many hotels were forced to shut their operations, this led to hotel owners furloughing staff to keep overheads minimum. It was necessary as the industry was heavily dependent on manpower from the front desk to housekeeping.
This forced decision is now coming back to haunt hoteliers, those who were laid of have gone off to seek employment in other industries and are now disinterested in coming back as they fear their livelihood could be affected if the industry faces another lockdown.
But with the reopening and hotels eager to catch up on lost revenue, how does the industry regain its glory days if the key factor of staffing is hindering progress. BusinessToday spoke to some of the 5-star hotels in KL and got some of their views.
“There is progress and revenue,” said Saujana Hotel Kuala Lumpur Learning Development Manager Siva Kumar, he did not deny that there is an issue of manpower as more rooms are let but are coping internally to overcome the situation.
“The hotel occupancy has improved since MCO was lifted, but we can’t say for sure that we’re back to where we were before the pandemics.”
When asked about the staffing shortage, he says, “We’re not yet at full capacity but we are managing with overtime and having more staffs multitask at this moment”
Meanwhile, another 5-star hotel in KL told BusinessToday that while business is gradually improving as demand for rooms rises, hotels also need to increase their staffing levels to meet the demand.
“We can say that the hotel has regained at least 60% of its revenue, especially on weekends, before our customer lists were in the single digits, now we are seeing them in the double digits.”
“We do need more staff now as the business is back, so yeah, we need to increase the number of staff to accommodate the rise in business.”
The call for borders to be opened has led to increased guests for hotels, but this is now proving to cause another set of problems for hoteliers.
With the impending international borders reopening in the pipeline, could hotels accommodate the spike or will it continue to struggle and start turning guests away?
Iffah Salleh contributed to the article