Demand levels for staying in hotels are rising – but many hotels don’t have the staff to meet this demand.
That’s according to former hotel manager Noel Cunningham, who told Newstalk hotels, restaurants and bars do not have the same “bank of young people” they could previously rely on for part-time staff.
This comes following a recent Fáilte Ireland report found restaurants across the country are struggling to find staff as the tourism industry bounces back from COVID.
Mr Cunnigham said he understands why young people might not be attracted to the hospitality sector.
“For so long, everyone considered hospitality as a job that meant you are working night noon and morning,” he said. “But that is not the case.”
“We have to get that message out there, to get that positive image of what is a great industry.
“We have people here in the hotel that have been here since the hotel first began all those years ago.”
Recruiting part-time staff
While it might not be a problem retaining full-time staff, essential part-time staff is scarce, according to Mr Cunningham.
“People go off on J1s to America,” he said. “There's a young group here yesterday giving up their jobs locally again in hospitality because they were heading off to Malta because Malta were having problems looking for staff.”
It is always a “challenge” to recruit staff around the busiest seasons – but Mr Cunningham said they are facing a particularly difficult shortage recently.
“We always get [staff], but there’s no easy solution in business,” he said.
Many restaurants, bars and hotels are now looking abroad to find staff they can retain, according to Mr Cunningham.
“We are looking for people from outside our country, other countries are looking for [people from Ireland],” he said.
“It’s kind of a hen-and-egg situation.”
Hotels in the future, Mr Cunningham said, should emphasise the ability to have work-life balance in the industry if they want to recruit staff.
He said the hospitality sector needs to make a greater effort to attract young people into the industry.
“We just have to roll in and face them head on and see what we can do to improve our overall image,” he said.
“To make communication better with schools and colleges, telling young people that under these roofs, there are several wonderful careers.
“In our hotels, and in our restaurants and in our bars, we have to strive to make the job more attractive to attract young people who see, first of all, terms and conditions that they that they find acceptable and also opportunity.”