May 25, 2021 | By Graeme Kemlo

In reporting on the shortage of hotel staff – particularly housekeepers and senior kitchen staff – caused by Australia’s international border closure, micenet has been careful not to name hotels with self-imposed capacity caps as low as 40 percent.

Talking to micenet early last week, Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson confirmed that major hotels were short-staffed and could service less than half their rooms.

But Accor Pacific CEO, Simon McGrath said, “we’re not seeing that within in Accor, but there is some evidence of that in the industry”.

More than two years ago, Accor Australia moved away from relying on outsourcing agencies to provide staff such as housekeepers, chefs and cooks McGrath said.

“Our staff are so important to us. They are our business, they are everything about Accor and we’ve always had those values.  We use some outsourcing but only when needed to supplement Accor staff.

“What’s going to happen in the short term future where staff are in such demand as we open up – and currently 65 of our 65 hotels in Victoria are employing people – is that you are going to have to make sure that you care for those people,” he said citing Accor’s training academy as a key pathway to growth for future employment.

Accor has 38 brands globally, not all of them present in Australia yet, but luxury and lifestyle are the in-demand sectors now so Accor will be opening or seeking sites for properties such as Mama Shelta and the eclectic 25hours.

“You need to be able to provide the full spectrum to be the best place to work and you will attract the best talent…we’re seeing that already coming out of COVID, as well as respect for our employees, as it should be, will be at the highest level.”

There are reports in the industry of employees being lost to other industries, including the construction industry during a period when most capital cities unveiled a brace of new-build hotels

But McGrath said these people are now returning to hospitality.

“Some employees had sought safety in other industries, as you can well imagine, but they are excited at coming back and we are welcoming them back,” he said.

Top image: Artist impression of a new 25hours hotel which will open in Sydney at the end of 2022. Another 25hours hotel will open in Melbourne in 2023.