Home Hotels Hotel Company CEO Pitching In To Make Beds Amid Labor Shortage

Hotel Company CEO Pitching In To Make Beds Amid Labor Shortage

by SharonKurheg

It seems you can’t watch the news without hearing something about the ongoing labor shortage. Ever since the COVID pandemic began, millions of workers have stopped working at their pre-pandemic jobs (some willingly, some not), and just haven’t gone back. The reasons vary:

  • Some companies went out of business and their (former) employees had no job to go back to.
  • Workers who were close to retirement age decided to end their careers.
  • Those who were concerned about their health in light of COVID decided to not go back to jobs they thought would put them at risk of exposure.
  • Those who had previously worked with low pay, no benefits, poor flexibility, and little respect before the pandemic realized that they could make more money, be happier, etc., working for themselves or somewhere else.
  • And, of course, as of December 2021, about 205,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 64, and another 186,000 age 65-74 (many of which were still working) had died of coronavirus.

It’s hit every sector of work – white collar, blue collar – you name it. And so far there’s no end in sight.

Interessant Hotels & Resort Management is a hotel management company based in Orlando, Florida. The company describes itself as, “…a hotel and resort management company that provides a superior hands-on approach to hospitality management and development. IHRMC provides a highly experienced team of hospitality professionals to oversee our portfolio of hotels resulting in the highest level of satisfaction of our owners, operators, and employees.”

Since their inception in the early 2010s, IHRMC has bought 2 dozen hotels and manages 75 others. Their properties include well-known names such as Towneplace Suites By Marriott, Wyndham Garden, Hilton Garden Inn, Best Western, Best Western Plus, Four Points By Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Fairfield by Marriott, Sleep Inn, Radisson, Quality Inn and Comfort Inn.

Unfortunately, the labor shortage has hit the hospitality industry as much as everywhere else, and many of the hotels IHRMC manages have lost many of its workers.

According to The Palm Beach Post, Jan Guatam, the president and CEO of IHRMC, was on his way from his office in Orlando to a meeting in Fort Lauderdale – a car trip that can be anywhere from 3 to 4.5 hours, depending on traffic. While on his way, he stopped at a Holiday Inn Express in Boynton Beach (about 30-45 minutes north of Ft. Lauderdale) and helped make beds.

“I am going to make the beds,” Guatam said. “Our manager there needs help and if I don’t go, what happens?

“The people staying at our hotels demand 100% service. They are paying for it,” he continued. “The rooms have to be clean. They have to be ready.

“We are there as the managers. We make sure that things are getting done. My managers are working seven days a week. I used to take one day off, there’s no off anymore,” said Guatam.

Local TV station WESH asked Guatam why employees aren’t coming back.

“See there’s a few things out there. The older workers, they don’t want to come back. They’re scared about it. So they retired. The new workers, I think they’re getting good, good money from the government.”

Guatam is admittedly under the wrong impression about getting good money from the government. Federal unemployment benefits due to COVID ended in September of 2021, so potential workers aren’t getting anything that way. In Florida, the maximum amount of unemployment payment you can get is $275 per week.  That would be $6.88 per hour, which is over 20% less than the state’s minimum wage of $10 per hour.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Boynton Beach is currently looking for front desk agents and housekeepers, and offering them $12/hr. Assuming it’s a full time position, that’d be $480 per week, $1,920 per month, or $24,960 per year. As a point of reference, the average cost to rent a 1 bedroom apartment in Boynton Beach currently ranges from $889 to $7,320 per month, with an average monthly rent of $2,209.

So granted, if Guatam’s hotels are only paying $12 per hour, even if it’s more than what unemployment is paying, it MAAAAAY be their own fault that they can’t get workers. But that set aside, I don’t see the presidents, CEOs and other bigwigs of Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, etc. rolling up their shirt sleeves and helping with the day-to-day business of any of their respective hotels, either. So there ya go.

Feature Photo: Pexels

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