Hotels Are hiring. Where Are The Workers?


To help fill thousands of open hotel jobs across the country, the American Hotel & Lodging Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation have launched a new advertising campaign. The campaign will run until early August on digital platforms, radio and in print.

With leisure travel resuming, the hotel industry needs to fill thousands of open positions to meet an uptick in consumer travel demand. To entice more workers to join the industry, hotels are offering employees more competitive pay, flexible scheduling, and additional benefits, including paid time off, health care benefits, retirement savings and more. With open positions in housekeeping, management, food and beverage, guest services and more, hotels also provide transferable skills that allow for career opportunities around the globe.

We reached out to several Fort Myers Beach hotels to see if they were also hiring. Here’s what they had to say.

Best Western Managing General Partner and Owner Tim Malbon agreed there’s a shortage of workers. “Yes we’re experiencing staffing problems and it’s a local and industry-wide problem. We’ve had to offer sign-on bonuses and increase hourly wages. Now that the extra $300 in unemployment benefits is over we’re seeing an increase in applicants. However, affordable housing on the island has long been displaced by investors converting affordable housing into Airbnb’s adding additional inventory on the island and less options for staff that want to live and work on the island.”

Pink Shell General Manager Bill Waichulis tells us he’s definitely found hiring challenging due to the federal supplement. “We’re glad that the Governor discontinued that supplement on June 26th and since then we’ve been seeing an increase in applicants. We currently have 300 employees and have 20 open positions. We have increased our pay rates and are accepting applicants.”

Matanzas owner Doug Speirn-Smith said as a long-term local family business, Matanzas has always cultivated a supportive team environment. “The recent COVID challenges and failures with many immigration policies have heightened the need to assess how to best respond to an adjusting labor climate and this includes improving wages and policies that support our team members. We see this as an important industry wide need to ensure all staff have a positive work experience.”

“On the heels of the worst economic crisis on record for our industry, hotels are now facing a rapidly emerging issue of staffing shortages, particularly in vacation destinations. Hotels are in the midst of a hiring spree as we welcome the return of leisure travelers, and this campaign will help raise national awareness about open positions and the benefits of a career in hospitality,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “Hotels, especially those in urban markets, have a long road to regaining what we lost during the pandemic. Ensuring we can fill positions to meet a rise in guest demand is a critical step as we work toward a full recovery.”

To help associates advance in their careers, the AHLA Foundation awards nearly $100,000 in professional development scholarships each year and offers two registered apprenticeship programs, which combine on-the-job learning with related education to help associates advance and earn a fast-track to a raise and promotion. The AHLA Foundation also awards $1 million in academic scholarships each year and works with over 70 affiliated schools.

The portal will provide resources for job seekers to help them learn about a career in the industry and apply for open jobs.